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.

Poisoning the well

My following article appears in today’s edition of Crikey:

Martin Amis claims we live in “the age of horrorism”, an epic struggle between the forces of “evil” and Western values.

Meanwhile, the fifth anniversary of September 11 has caused Prime Minister John Howard to claim that Iraq is now better off without Saddam Hussein. As usual, no journalist dares ask Howard about Iraq’s civil war, Iranian influence in the country, US-backed Shiite death squads or rising violence against Iraqi civilians and US troops.

It is therefore fitting that Peter Manning, the former head of ABC news and current affairs, has released his book, Us and Them, a Journalist’s Investigations of Media, Muslims and the Middle East. His main focus is the media’s obsession with “people of Middle Eastern appearance” and their automatic association with terrorism and rape.

Perennial stirrer Mike Carlton launched Manning’s book on 31 August at Sydney’s Gleebooks. His speech took aim at the conservative commentators in Australia “who fear they are an oppressed minority…For what unifies them – beyond the backslapping and self-congratulation, the pleasures of mutual masturbation – is paranoia. They are gripped by a cold fear that they might not prevail. That they have not yet achieved world domination.”

Carlton slammed News Ltd, “Israeli Defence Force” spokesmen Colin Rubenstein and Ted Lapkin, Alan Jones, Quadrant magazine and the Howard government. He ridiculed the cultural warriors’ obsession with the “monsters” of the ABC, Fairfax, the ALP and Greens, environmentalists, trade unions, refugee advocate groups and civil libertarians.

“Leftist ideas” are swamping Australia and leading us to cultural oblivion, or so they want us to believe.

Although Carlton’s speech was peppered with witticisms directed at the “conservative cavalcade” and its empty rhetoric, he praised Manning’s book for “turning a searching eye on racism, bigotry, prejudice, ignorance and hatred in Australia” (though one high priest of the cavalcade, Piers Akerman, has already ignored the message.)

Manning’s call-to-arms reminds us that “poisoning the well of public life” can be strongly blamed on a mainstream media that prefers to keep its readers scared witless every day and to instil distrust towards Australia’s Muslim population. After all, as Carlton offers, “inner city elitists” are just “chardonnay-swilling, latte sipping, Howard hating, Muslim loving, aborting promoting, sexually permissive, refugee-sympathising, soft on the war-on-terror [and] un-Australian.”

5 comments ↪
  • Don Wigan

    As Glenn Condell said on an earlier thread, the link between Blair's mortality and Howard's seeming invincibility is the way the respective media treats each.

    Not a single challenge to Howard's assertion that Iraq is now better off! These people are failing in their duty and their integrity as reporters. There has to be some connection somewhere to the truth. Of course we cannot expect any better from the Murdoch media. But Fairfax, the ABC, Stokes and Packer ought to be able to do better. It is not enough that people like McGough and Carlton get a run here and there.

    We ought to demand more from our MSM reporters. They are seriously failing in trying to focus all the time on how clever JWH is and how off the ball Beazley is. These assertions are not necessarily untrue. They're just not giving us any relevant information, and are reducing the whole process to political theatre. And it's not as if that has much appeal anyway because both leaders are unerringly boring.

  • Glenn Condell

    G'day Don

    what gets me is that Howard is palpably under pressure, but this is because of chickens from Iraq, IR, AWB, cross-media, petrol prices etc coming home to roost – NOT from a media questing for the truth in these matters. It is almost as if his apparent invincibility is not so much encouraged by a complaisant journalistic cadre as it is dependent upon it. They aren't neutral, they are actors and they are protecting him. He's crumbling despite their best efforts rather than because of them.

    You saw the same thing in the US with Bush, the cult of personality, for several years before they started deciding all that water was becoming too heavy to carry. When will that start here? No sign yet, but I guess when whoever funds the Sydney Institute tells Henderson it's time, the ball will start rolling. Or maybe it will be when that Aust-US Leadership Council thingy gives the nod (it'll be difficult to perceive if No Neck Armitage gives it) and all of a sudden we see Blair, Devine, Bolt etc pirouette in unison.

    Not holding my breath.

  • Addamo_01

    I am curios to see what happens when Washington eventually admits that Iraq is totally FUBAR.

    This is orecisely what is making MSM to irrelevant in favour of the internet. The psysophants are only contributing to their own demise.

  • Don Wigan

    Thanks for that, Glenn.

    I sincerely hope you're right that it's all finally falling apart for Howard and no amount of papering over will hold out forever. I do have moments of gloom, however, not least because Beazley keeps finding ways of launching some dumbass populism instead of either shutting up or promoting an alternative vision.

    I often wonder if the media's concentration on celeb gossip is more than just a cheap way of filling in space between the ads. Could it possibly be that the public finds the current-events news or their own lives so unbearable that they seek solace in celebrities or sport?

    Nah, I guess it's really an older media baron tactic. In the heyday of the Womens Weekly a generation or two ago it was standard Packer practice to have at least one Royal Family (colour) feature per issue. And in the States Hearst et al made a bundle out of gossip columnists like Walter Winchell and Louella Parsons. Great patriots all.

  • melanie

    Antony,

    Bought your book at Sydney airport last month and really enjoyed it. It is fantastic to have such a book.

    For what it's worth, I've done a 'fisking' of Amis here: http://angel80.livejournal.com/341216.html