Best-selling journalist Antony Loewenstein trav­els across Afghanistan, Pakistan, Haiti, Papua New Guinea, the United States, Britain, Greece, and Australia to witness the reality of disaster capitalism. He discovers how companies such as G4S, Serco, and Halliburton cash in on or­ganized misery in a hidden world of privatized detention centers, militarized private security, aid profiteering, and destructive mining.

Disaster has become big business. Talking to immigrants stuck in limbo in Britain or visiting immigration centers in America, Loewenstein maps the secret networks formed to help cor­porations bleed what profits they can from economic crisis. He debates with Western contractors in Afghanistan, meets the locals in post-earthquake Haiti, and in Greece finds a country at the mercy of vulture profiteers. In Papua New Guinea, he sees a local commu­nity forced to rebel against predatory resource companies and NGOs.

What emerges through Loewenstein’s re­porting is a dark history of multinational corpo­rations that, with the aid of media and political elites, have grown more powerful than national governments. In the twenty-first century, the vulnerable have become the world’s most valu­able commodity. Disaster Capitalism is published by Verso in 2015 and in paperback in January 2017.

Profits_of_doom_cover_350Vulture capitalism has seen the corporation become more powerful than the state, and yet its work is often done by stealth, supported by political and media elites. The result is privatised wars and outsourced detention centres, mining companies pillaging precious land in developing countries and struggling nations invaded by NGOs and the corporate dollar. Best-selling journalist Antony Loewenstein travels to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Haiti, Papua New Guinea and across Australia to witness the reality of this largely hidden world of privatised detention centres, outsourced aid, destructive resource wars and militarized private security. Who is involved and why? Can it be stopped? What are the alternatives in a globalised world? Profits of Doom, published in 2013 and released in an updated edition in 2014, challenges the fundamentals of our unsustainable way of life and the money-making imperatives driving it. It is released in an updated edition in 2014.
forgodssakecover Four Australian thinkers come together to ask and answer the big questions, such as: What is the nature of the universe? Doesn't religion cause most of the conflict in the world? And Where do we find hope?   We are introduced to different belief systems – Judaism, Christianity, Islam – and to the argument that atheism, like organised religion, has its own compelling logic. And we gain insight into the life events that led each author to their current position.   Jane Caro flirted briefly with spiritual belief, inspired by 19th century literary heroines such as Elizabeth Gaskell and the Bronte sisters. Antony Loewenstein is proudly culturally, yet unconventionally, Jewish. Simon Smart is firmly and resolutely a Christian, but one who has had some of his most profound spiritual moments while surfing. Rachel Woodlock grew up in the alternative embrace of Baha'i belief but became entranced by its older parent religion, Islam.   Provocative, informative and passionately argued, For God's Sakepublished in 2013, encourages us to accept religious differences, but to also challenge more vigorously the beliefs that create discord.  
After Zionism, published in 2012 and 2013 with co-editor Ahmed Moor, brings together some of the world s leading thinkers on the Middle East question to dissect the century-long conflict between Zionism and the Palestinians, and to explore possible forms of a one-state solution. Time has run out for the two-state solution because of the unending and permanent Jewish colonization of Palestinian land. Although deep mistrust exists on both sides of the conflict, growing numbers of Palestinians and Israelis, Jews and Arabs are working together to forge a different, unified future. Progressive and realist ideas are at last gaining a foothold in the discourse, while those influenced by the colonial era have been discredited or abandoned. Whatever the political solution may be, Palestinian and Israeli lives are intertwined, enmeshed, irrevocably. This daring and timely collection includes essays by Omar Barghouti, Jonathan Cook, Joseph Dana, Jeremiah Haber, Jeff Halper, Ghada Karmi, Antony Loewenstein, Saree Makdisi, John Mearsheimer, Ahmed Moor, Ilan Pappe, Sara Roy and Phil Weiss.
The 2008 financial crisis opened the door for a bold, progressive social movement. But despite widespread revulsion at economic inequity and political opportunism, after the crash very little has changed. Has the Left failed? What agenda should progressives pursue? And what alternatives do they dare to imagine? Left Turn, published by Melbourne University Press in 2012 and co-edited with Jeff Sparrow, is aimed at the many Australians disillusioned with the political process. It includes passionate and challenging contributions by a diverse range of writers, thinkers and politicians, from Larissa Berendht and Christos Tsiolkas to Guy Rundle and Lee Rhiannon. These essays offer perspectives largely excluded from the mainstream. They offer possibilities for resistance and for a renewed struggle for change.
The Blogging Revolution, released by Melbourne University Press in 2008, is a colourful and revelatory account of bloggers around the globe why live and write under repressive regimes - many of them risking their lives in doing so. Antony Loewenstein's travels take him to private parties in Iran and Egypt, internet cafes in Saudi Arabia and Damascus, to the homes of Cuban dissidents and into newspaper offices in Beijing, where he discovers the ways in which the internet is threatening the ruld of governments. Through first-hand investigations, he reveals the complicity of Western multinationals in assisting the restriction of information in these countries and how bloggers are leading the charge for change. The blogging revolution is a superb examination about the nature of repression in the twenty-first century and the power of brave individuals to overcome it. It was released in an updated edition in 2011, post the Arab revolutions, and an updated Indian print version in 2011.
The best-selling book on the Israel/Palestine conflict, My Israel Question - on Jewish identity, the Zionist lobby, reporting from Palestine and future Middle East directions - was released by Melbourne University Press in 2006. A new, updated edition was released in 2007 (and reprinted again in 2008). The book was short-listed for the 2007 NSW Premier's Literary Award. Another fully updated, third edition was published in 2009. It was released in all e-book formats in 2011. An updated and translated edition was published in Arabic in 2012.

Risky journalism

From today’s newsletter:

“Fairfax’s robust Iraq correspondent, Paul McGeough, is in the news again, this time playing a dicey game of diplomacy to try to free Australian hostage Douglas Wood. The results of his talks with various sheikhs are splashed over the front pages of The Smage (here), and McGeough has been all over the radio this morning. But Alexander Downer is not impressed. The foreign minister went on radio this morning warning that, in this case, too much publicity is bad publicity.

“I’d rather this kind of material wasn’t covered too much in public,” said Downer. And he answered questions about the government’s efforts to free the hostage with a Downeresque flourish: “I’m not going into the names of the people we’re talking to… Sheikh This, or Minister That.”

“McGeough’s efforts at international diplomacy and delicate hostage negotiation are not out of character. Readers will recall that McGeough made headlines last year, reporting that Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi had personally executed prisoners – a sensational claim that remains unsubstantiated.

“This time we hope the well-connected McGeough (a former Herald editor whose partner is Fin Review power hackette Pam Williams) can bring home the bacon. But diplomacy is a tricky trade, and McGeogh shouldn’t expect much help from Allawi.”

The role of journalist as intermediary is ethically fraught. In this case, McGough appears to be establishing contacts with influential leaders that the Australian government would never know about (and makes you wonder what kind of contacts the Howard government truly has in the country, other than US officials or US proxies.) We wish nothing but success to McGeough and Douglas Wood, but somehow I suspect that behind the scenes the Australian government is furious with McGeough; his actions makes them seem utterly irrelevant to proceedings.

  • wbb

    What makes crikey believe he is acting as an intermediary? And if he is the only Australian to have talked to somebody who claims contact with the kidnappers does that mean he is necessarily playing diplomat? Should he refuse to meet with his source? And on what grounds? If he believes he is endangering the captive's life then he should desist from publishing but then I'd be asking the question of Farifax as they are in a better position to weigh that decision. Of course that still leaves open whether he is endangering the man's life.

  • Antony Loewenstein

    It's a tough call. Is McGeough doing all this simply for publicity? Unlikely. He has the contacts, after working in Iraq for many years, and presumably reckons he has a decent chance of helping Douglas Wood. He may fail, but so may the government. And who says the Aussie government actually has any chance of recovering Wood? McGeough is a respected journalist, and one hopes, prays, that he knows what he's doing. In Iraq, I suspect, having many possible avenues open can only be a good thing.

  • Anonymous

    Any man brave enough to leave his woman to shack up with Margo Kingston is brave enough to face up to the terrorists!

  • michael

    Given McGeough's near death experience in Afghanistan due to the excessive trust he placed in the military professionalism of a bunch of Northern Alliance cowboys I personally wouldn't be too confident of his judgement on these things.And, as the Crikey piece suggests, there are probably some pretty influential people in the Iraq puppet regime who would like to see McGeough with egg on his face too.If I was going to get a journo to do the negotiating for me, give me Robert Fisk, Pepe Escobar or someone from Al Jazeera – not Paul McGeough.But still, at least McGeough is probably trying to do the right thing. I don't believe the Aus government are. And with the hectoring, arrogant tone the messages from his family have taken … well, with family like that, who needs enemies.

  • wbb

    Bizarre comment about his family, no?