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.

Yes to a new future, but what?

With a distinct lack of media options here in Cuba, and relying almost solely on CNN for international news, this Guardian article rings true:

Thirty-two die in American university shooting. Result? Huge media coverage in the US and Britain. In Iraq, almost 200 die, arguably the worst day of carnage in that beleaguered country since the coalition invasion. Result? Coverage so restrained as to be, in many cases, totally negligible. Could you even find it in the Times this morning? Why?

General reasons first. The media operate what amounts to a hierarchy of death. Here are the criteria: foreign deaths always rank below domestic deaths. Similarly, on the basis that all news is local, deaths at home provide human interest stories that people want to know about, while the deaths of foreigners are merely statistics.

Sure, the victims and their families are human beings, too, but if they are thousands of miles away they cannot – in the eyes of the media’s editorial controllers – generate the same sympathy and interest as deaths near at hand.

Deaths in ongoing conflicts always receive less coverage than unexpected deaths elsewhere (because the latter are, by their nature, unpredictable and news values always rate new-ness above old-ness).

Now let’s get down to some other controversial home truths. The deaths of non-white people in foreign parts – and, I would contend, often at home – are never accorded equal status by the white, western media. The deaths of Arabs and Muslims (and, in many media eyes, there is no difference) are overlooked because they are, variously, anti-western, anti-Christian or anti-capitalist, or all three, and are therefore undeserving of sympathy. By virtue of their religion and their ethnicity they cannot expect the same treatment as the people in the west (who, of course, are also more civilised, better educated and altogether more wholesome). In other words, it’s racist.

Finally, specific reasons. Iraq is considered to be a basket case.

The massacre at Virginia Tech was horrific and deserves coverage but the almost pornographic pleasure in analysing every detail, and therefore ignoring the rest of the world in the process, shows the sickness at the heart of the American media (perhaps the Australian media is currently the same.) It’s not surprising that many people I’m speaking to here correctly claim that the American media shows a lack of interest in non-white deaths around the world.

Yesterday I spoke to a number of Cuba’s leading dissidents, some of whom have been in jail, some of whom have just been released from jail (due to bad health) and many of whom risk returning to jail. They have spent their entire lives fighting the Castro regime and often being ignored by the world for their pains. Of course, they have their own agendas – and some remain very close to Miami and Washington, and some do not – but their detailing of human rights abuses here was chilling.

Displaying a healthy sense of scepticism is always important in these situations, but their criticisms of the state-run media and the lack of freedom of speech was hard to argue with. They told me that the younger generations simply didn’t believe in the revolutionary Castro-style fervour anymore, and wanted change. What form that could take, of course, greatly depended on the ways in which the US and Latin America reacted after Fidel’s death.

In the evening, I went to an orchestral concert at one of the country’s finest cultural centres. An original concert of Latin American music, and a young crowd that jumped to its feet at any available opportunity, gave the sense that music was indeed one form of expression that had thrived over the years. Some of the pieces sounded a little like Gorecki – that ominous and driving tone – but the spirit in which the night proceeded was actually not dissimilar to a rock concert in Sydney or New York.

one comment ↪
  • I'm currently in Denmark and the US shootings have been front page news here too. So along with everything you've said about the way the media covers human suffering I'd add that there's a general American-centric, if not control, of international news stories. In other words, the media is dominated by American perspectives.

    PS: know the feeling of being stuck with CNN as the only news source in a foreign land. At least their weather reports aren't too bad. All the best with the rest of the travels.