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.

Ominous warning

Norman Pearlstine is a lawyer and Time Inc’s editor-in-chief. His recent announcement to hand over documents revealing reporter Matt Cooper’s confidential sources to a grand jury over the Valerie Plame case is of major concern. I covered this case in a recent entry. Thankfully, the New York Times and its journalist Judith Miller are currently refusing to capitulate. Editor and Publisher reports that although Bush side-kick Karl Rove may be the prime suspect in the leaking of CIA agent Plame to the media, a journalist may actually be to blame.

This story goes to the heart of independent journalism in a free society. Pearlstone says the decision was a hard one (and went against Cooper’s own wishes), but Columbia Journalism Review succinctly explains the dangers of this move:

“But for a Pearlstine, straddling two worlds, a day at the office is more complicated than that. Time Inc. is a vast enterprise, publishing Time, Fortune, Money, Sports Illustrated, People, Entertainment Weekly and over 100 smaller magazines – yet, for all that, it is but one division of the megalith entertainment company Time Warner. As David Halberstam told the New York Times, Time Inc. “is a strange company and it’s a different company now, and it is really part of an entertainment complex. The journalism part is smaller and smaller. There is a great question out there: is this a journalistic company or an entertainment company?

“Once media companies become part of larger conglomerates like Time Warner, Viacom, Disney, General Electric, those companies and the journalists they employ have sharply diverging obligations. And the top editors among them find themselves with one foot in each camp. Was Pearlstine, for example, acting as a journalist, or as a corporate executive?”

A major news organisation needs to be stand up, and take the consequences, if the law is wrong, as it is in this case. Time Inc. should have done just that. Instead, the back pocket won the battle.

In a world where media diversity is lessening by the day, and cross media laws are likely to loosen in Australia in the coming months – last night’s ABC PM outlined the various manoeuvres of Murdoch, Packer and Fairfax, including Fairfax expressing interest in purchasing Channel 9 and News Ltd’s new and free Sydney daily, MX, threatening the Sydney Morning Herald’s already small, young readership – the mainstream media is simply attempting to protect its turf. Simply put, we cannot rely on the establishment media to behave in the interests of the community. Indeed, could we ever presume this to be the case?

Mark Scott, editor-in-chief of newspapers at John Fairfax, writes in the latest Walkley magazine – after telling media organisations that they must adapt to the new online environment – and ends with this telling flourish:

“As we want to protect our papers and secure their futures, an ideological resistance to scale and concentration in the media industry might be something that needs to be sacrificed for a greater good.”

A greater good? Australia already has the tightest concentration of media ownership in the Western world. Proposed changes will only make that situation worse, despite initial claims otherwise. The decision of Norman Pearlstine is an ominous warning that even the largest news organisation no longer sees itself as separate from governmental pressure.

Bring on the alternatives.

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