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.

The invisible Iraq

Faiza al-Arji, co-author of Iraqi blog A Family in Baghdad, reflects on a recent trip to America:

I started asking people in my interviews: In the past three years, do you remember seeing one Iraqi opposing the war in the mainstream media? They shook their heads and say no. I would then tell them that the US media is in partnership with the government in this war. You Americans don’t know anything about Iraq, about Islam, about our culture, our civilization, our religion, I said. All that reaches you is through the lens of a distorted, biased and deceitful media that sows disdain and discrimination and justifies wars and hatred between us.

Let us take a small example of a report broadcast by Fox News about the women of the Middle East. They showed a picture of a woman completely veiled, with only her eyes showing. The commentator said, this is the image of the traditional woman in the Middle East, but we are interviewing extraordinary women today. An interview with two Egyptian women working as jewellery designers then followed. I laughed and was shocked. Women in the Middle East are for the most part educated and cultured. 

The Australian media is no better. Iraqi voices and bloggers are rarely heard. But then, embedded, Western journalists surely know far more about Iraq than the citizens of the country.

6 comments ↪
  • I agree. Journalists in Iraq who are "embedded" in the military are ultimately beholden to the military. So they file pro Western and West-centric stories.

    An additional reason is journalists give the public what they want. The public usually want to see the exotic, different and "bizarre". Coverage of Muslim countries meets this need.

    Pete

  • Well since the war against Iraq started I have been stunned at how many people seem to have such confidence that THEY know ALL about Iraq and that I only tell lies about Iraq. A country I lived in for many years, seem to mean nothing. What I had to say was only seen as either pro-Saddam or anti US or as most of the time a combination of both. Many times it’s so strange because I feel embarrassed on their behalf when it’s clear they have no idea what they are talking about.

  • Addamo

    Amen to that Nadia,

    All the time in the media, we are told that the Iraqi's are better off, that this is form them so to speak. I cannot believe that people would want to learn from someone like you. It just goes to show how narrow minded and biggoted the few remining peopel who support this was really are.

    I have seen doco's and listnened to interveiw of Faiza al-Arji, and she is without doubt one of the most gracious and captivating people I have listened to. She is such a woman of substance, who while obviously harboring a lot fo anger from what has happend to Iraq, still mainatain a lot fo grace and digniity when speaking about the subject.

    It is the peopel in Iraq and Iran who we shoudl be speaking to if tehre is any truth to the idea that we are there to liberate them. I caught a taxi recently and the driver was Iranian. He was emebarassed to admit it and I assured him that he should never appologise to anyone for that fact, and that he has every righ tto feel proud of being an Iranian.

    It struck me as so tragic that Iranian and Iraqi people should ever be made to feel ashamed of their country.

    A very charming chap indeed. We spoke non stop for the whole trip.

  • Ian

    The insurgency's biggest strategic error was targeting journalists with the result that most never leave the security of the Green Zone or only do so accompanied by CoW troops.

    Image how low Mad King George I's rating would be if journalist had been able to report on what really happened in Fallujah for example. Or if they could just show the impact the occupation was having on average Iraqis.

  • Addamo

    Ian,

    I half agree with you. Yes the targeting of journalists seems counterproductive, but seeing as even that story is impossible to cover properly, who knows who or what is behind these kidnappings?

    For example, the Death Squads operating out of the Ministry of the Interior in Iraq are painted by the media as being under control of the Badr army (ie. Iran) and made up of vigilantes settling old scores with Sunnis. The facts are quite different.

    Firstly, the reports of the death squads in action describe them as driving Toyota Land cruisers. Secondly, the Interior Ministry commandos are under the leadership of a Sunni General who was responsible for suppressing the 1991 Shiite uprising. Finally, the death squads operate at ngiht, but no explanation is given for how these guy manage to get past military check points driving the Land cruisers.

    For all we know, the kidnapping of journalists could be another similar operation. After all, who is best served by the block of information coming out of Iraq?

  • boredinHK

    "Women in the Middle East are for the most part educated and cultured. "

    I have to wonder about this statement . Delusions all around I guess.