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.

Amnesia rules

It is now two days since Seymour Hersh published his stunning report in the New Yorker about Iraq’s rigged January election. As yet, the Australian media has completely ignored the revelations. We shouldn’t be surprised. While Prime Minister John Howard is in Washington and the media focuses on back-slapping and delusions over Iraq, a new study indicates that around 25,000 Iraqis have been killed since the 2003 invasion, more than a third caused by US forces.

These figures, if correct, rather make a mockery of Howard’s calls to “stay the distance in Iraq [and] we won’t go until the job is finished.” How many deaths are justified as “liberation?” And when exactly will the job be done?

The mainstream media’s amnesia on matters of reality in Iraq is today examined by Tom Dispatch. American Mark Danner has written extensively about the failure of the US media to highlight the growing amount of disastrous news emerging from Iraq. When the now infamous Downing Street Memo was released, much of the US press ignored it. Michael Kinsley, editorial and opinion editor for the Los Angeles Times, “wrote a piece typical of this mainstream moment in the Washington Post, (No Smoking Gun), discounting the importance of the Downing Street Memos as, among other things, no more than “an encouraging sign of the revival of the left. Developing a paranoid theory and promoting it to the very edge of national respectability takes a certain amount of ideological self-confidence.””

Danner rightly says that a growing number of Americans – and I would argue Australians, too – now see a “the widening gap between what [Americans] are told and what they see – a gap that, when it comes to the Iraq war, is becoming harder and harder to ignore.”

Jay Rosen’s Pressthink profiles the increasing role of the White House – and his theories can be equally attributed to Canberra and the weak-willed Press Gallery – in “roll[ing] back the press as a player within the executive branch, to make it less important in running the White House and governing the country.”

“Lying to the press—though a serious thing—is what all Administrations do”, Rosen says and this fact is routinely dismissed in Australian media. When will journalists learn that the state lies routinely? Rather than expressing scepticism towards the general public, reporters should get behind government spin and “out” lying politicians, media advisers or spin doctors. Cynicism should be directed their way, rather than a “gullible” public.

The aim of numerous governments around the world can be explained thus (courtesy of US journalist Ron Suskind): “That’s the whole idea, to somehow sweep away the community of honest brokers in America – both Republicans and Democrats and members of the mainstream press – sweep them away so we’ll be left with a culture and public dialogue based on assertion rather than authenticity, on claim rather than fact.”

Instead, we’re treated to a story such as this in today’s Melbourne Age: “Janette Howard has kept a low profile since arriving in Washington at the weekend with Prime Minister John Howard, but a $20,000 diamond drew her into the public spotlight yesterday. She presented a glittering 2.09 carat cognac-coloured diamond to Washington’s Smithsonian Museum on behalf of Sydney jeweller Nicola Cerrone and Rio Tinto’s Argyle diamond mine in Western Australia.”

Until journalists see themselves as outsiders rather than privileged insiders being fed the scraps offered by all-too-willing politicians and PR agents, our democracy will remain in a parlous state. ABC TV’s Insiders program personifies this problem. Why does the national broadcaster think that the general public is interested in hearing opinions from reporters and politicians who spend their lives in the incestousness world of sanctioned leaks?

UPDATE: Seymour Hersh explains his current thesis on Democracy Now.

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