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.

Friends in high places

The Independent examines the role of lobbying in Washington and its ties to the top echelons of the Republican Party. This story has it all. Indians, friends of George W. Bush, fraud and corruption of the democratic process. As we’re told: “Eventually in politics, money wins.”

Back in Melbourne, Sushi Das discusses the role of government spin doctors. Key line: “…The government uses our taxes to pay media advisers to obscure the truth, block access to ministers and protect politicians from scrutiny. It keeps the public in the dark.” These media advisors are unaccountable and paid by our tax dollars.

It’s time – as suggested years ago by Margo Kingston at the Sydney Morning Herald but rejected by a senior editorial staffer – to name and shame individuals blocking the free flow of information. Journalists should reveal the source of their “scoops”, if at all possible. Chances are they’ve received a call from a ministerial advisor offering an “exclusive”. To not do so means reporters are complicit in the grand political game and trust in public institutions falls every further. Treasurer Peter Costello may say that the Liberals will be “very, very careful” with their newfound Senate power, but we aren’t going to take his word for it, are we?

4 comments ↪
  • michael

    "It's time – as suggested years ago by Margo Kingston at the Sydney Morning Herald but rejected by a senior editorial staffer – to name and shame individuals blocking the free flow of information."Hmm, that's interesting considering that she banned me from Webdiary for persistently trying to name Australian journos who were blocking information about corruption in the AFP, abuse in the NSW prison system and evidence manufacture by NSW police.Seems to me that Margo is strongly committed to 'naming and shaming' people she doesn't like – ideological enemies, those working for the wrong corporate news outlet, the disempowered targets of Fairfax's faux investigative journos like Andrew Rule – but totally intolerant of any light shone on her or her colleagues.

  • Antony Loewenstein

    I ain't getting involved in that one. That's between you and her, though I remember you telling me this before.

  • michael

    Still, you've got to wonder about people who campaign for openess and honesty in public discourse without cleaning up their own acts first.Seems to me that there are two really strong reasons for practicing what you preach regarding honesty. One is that you can't really change anyone's views by countering the lies of your opponents with lies of your own – only degrade the whole discourse into empty rhetoric. This works if you are trying to maintain the status quo by inducing despair and apathy (witness the success of Coalition of the Willing propaganda in marginalising the anti-war movement even as their deceits and failures become increasingly undeniable) but not if you are promoting the sort of 'democratic renewal' that Webdiary gives lip service to.But more importantly, it seems to me that you can only maintain dishonesty over the long term by internalising it to the point where – at some level – you believe it yourself. I think that has got to have a serious impact on your own ability to distinguish truth from bullshit and makes you more vulnerable to precisely the distortions you want to campaign against.I just got another example of the problem listening to an interview with Debra Lipstadt, the historian who effectively nailed David Irving as a serial liar, racist and holocaust denier. In the course of the interview she showed herself to be in the same class (if not league) as Irving by minimising the casualty estimates of the Dresden firestorm and claiming that it was not a war crime because there were valid strategic reasons for the bombing (Declassified RAF documents show that the real reasons for attacking Dresden were to demoralise the German population and to 'show the Soviets what the RAF could do'. The claim that it was an attempt to deny the Wehrmacht an important rail junction was always a furphy, as by 1945 the Allies were perfectly aware that the Germans could re-lay the tracks within a day or two).So in the course of a 20 minute interview, Lipstadt went (in my eyes) from being a heroic defender of truth to just another partisan culture warrior whom I will probably not trouble myself to listen to again. All for the sake of scoring a trivial rhetorical point against a totally discredited serial liar.

  • Iqbal Khaldun

    Well said Michael. Where do the Lipdstadts of the world disappear to when Indonesians deny their generals committed genocide in Timor? Or when Turkey denies the mass extermination of Armenians (with Israeli support I might add)? Morocco and the West Saharans. And so on…Speaking of which, interesting thing about the Allied bombing of Europe during WWII. German industry eventually became more efficient after the bombing (especially from 1944 onwards), outstripping output from before the period of the heaviest bombing. Although it's unlikely Allied commanders were aware of this fact (maybe they were, it's just difficult to know for sure), it's self evident that military theorists have always overemphasised the importance of aerial bombardment as a war strategy. Cf Vietnam, and more recently Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq. Clearly the human (collateral) cost was far outweighed by the perceived benefit of aerial bombardment.