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.

Jail time

The New York Times’ Judith Miller has been ordered to jail for refusing to reveal confidential sources. Hyperbole spewed forth by all concerned:

Miller: “If journalists cannot be trusted to guarantee confidentiality, then journalists cannot function and there cannot be a free press. The right of civil disobedience is based on personal conscience, it is fundamental to our system and it is honoured throughout our history.”

Bill Keller, executive editor of The Times: “Judy Miller made a commitment to her source and she’s standing by it. This is a chilling conclusion to an utterly confounding case.”

Arthur Sulzberger Jr., the publisher of The New York Times: “Judy has chosen such an act in honouring her promise of confidentiality to her sources. She believes, as do we, that the free flow of information is critical to an informed citizenry.”

The New York Times article on the development contains this telling paragraph: “The case highlights a collision of the press’s right to protect its sources, the government’s ability to investigate a crime and even the Bush administration’s justification for going to war in Iraq.”

The paper is being predictably coy. It was Judith Miller who channelled bogus intelligence before the war, provided by fraudster Ahmed Chalabi, and contributed to an atmosphere of inevitability.

Rosa Brooks writes in the LA Times that Miller is no heroine. “Should Miller have refused to offer anonymity to all those “high-level” sources who sold us a bill of goods on Iraq?” she asks. “Yes.”

Brooks writes: “It’s possible (though not likely) that Miller is covering for a genuine whistle-blower who fears retaliation for fingering, gee, Karl Rove, for instance, as the real source of the leak. But I have another theory. Miller’s no fool; she understood the lesson of the Martha Stewart case: When you find yourself covered with mud, there’s nothing like a brief stint in a minimum-security prison to restore your old luster.”

It pains me to defend or support Miller. Her reputation is tarnished beyond belief after the Iraq intelligence debacle. Her title should be changed from journalist to propagandist. In this case, however, the court’s ruling is indeed incorrect and civil disobedience appears the most principled stand.

Let’s pray Miller doesn’t become a martyr.

2 comments ↪
  • Anonymous

    Why on earth do you think the jailing verdict is incorrect. Check out http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/media/jan-june05/j… for University of Chicago law professor Geoffery Stone’s explanation. i copied this from TPMcafe ,http://www.tpmcafe.com/story/2005/7/6/15588/40407, as it sums up pretty well:There are a lot of people like the person above who are normally strong advocates of journalistic shield protections, but who find themselves unable to feel comfortable with Miller and Cooper in this, and can't quite put their finger on why.I can tell you why (and it's not just because "Bush sucks").It's because the conceptual separation between the crime and the communication about the crime does not exist in this case. In this case, the communication is the crime. The reporters in this case are not passive listeners to the story of the commission of a crime. They are participants (albeit passive, we presume) in the commission of it.Let me give you an example:Source tells reporter, "The mayor hired me to rob a liquor store last week because he wants to intimidate the owner into leaving." This reporter learns of the commission of a crime from the guilty party. He/she is later questioned in connection with either the robbery or the mayoral scandal and refuses to reveal the source. Good reporter, yes?Look at the differences between these two situations. Everyone and his brother has already pointed out the "whistleblower" difference. The source is blowing the whistle on corruption, and the reporter needs to protect the source so that corruption in gov't can be rooted out. In the Plame situation, that's clearly not the case.But there's an even more fundamental difference at work here: the Plame source wasn't communicating to a reporter about a crime. The Plame source was committing a crime by communicating to a reporter. That is an essential, significant difference. The act of communication itself was a crime.Shielding the source in this case is damaging in two ways:1. It is akin to having a murderer ask you to hold the victim's arms to keep them from flailing in self-defense. You may not be the murderer, but you are aiding and abetting. Think about it: who is the victim of this crime? The United States. By acting as passive participant in this crime (which is the act of communication itself), you make it impossible for the United States to defend itself from this crime, because…2. You make it, ultimately, an unprosecutable crime. It would mean that the crime of this particular kind of communication would be absolutely and utterly unprosecutable if the other person involved happened to be a reporter. That's unacceptable.The fact of the matter is, not even those accorded the greatest legal privacy protections — clergy, attorneys, and mental health professionals — are granted the right to be party to their clients' crimes. By committing a crime which takes the form of a piece of communication to a reporter, the source made the reporter a party to a crime, not just a person who happens to know about a crime.Those of you who are feeling very squirmy about having to defend Miller and Cooper on this are feeling that way for a damn good reason.

  • Antony Loewenstein

    Very interesting, thanks for that.My mind isn't totally closed on this matter, though this perspective is one that I'm not seeing much of.I still believe that protecting sources, and in this case, is essential. It's not everything as a journalist, in all cases, but vitally important.