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.

Blogging against Mubarak

My following article appeared in yesterday’s Guardian Comment is Free section:

In mid-June 2005, US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice delivered a speech at the American University in Cairo. She said that her country’s pursuit of Middle East “stability” had led to a democracy deficit in the region. “Now, we are taking a different course. We are supporting the democratic aspirations of all people,” she said.

Rice’s ambitious rhetoric appeared to signal a significant shift in US foreign policy. Two years later, however, it is clear that nothing has changed – except for greater cynicism towards Washington’s true goals.

The rise of the Egyptian blogosphere is just one of the ways in which dissidents in the US-backed dictatorship are struggling for rights on their own. Not reliant on foreign handouts – in fact, I was constantly told while there that receiving US financial assistance was unthinkable – this disparate group of neo-con, liberal and radical political bloggers are united around one issue above all others: campaigning against police brutality and torture.

Hosni Mubarak’s regime initially ignored the political writings of bloggers, but in the last years his state security forces have changed their attitude. Imprisonment and torture are not uncommon for politically active Egyptians, especially if they are members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood (just last week one of its bloggers was released after spending 45 days in jail).

Cairo-based Human Rights Watch researcher Elijah Zarwan told me that the regime’s attitude towards the internet was “schizophrenic”. On the one hand embracing the technology for economic gain, but also increasingly suspicious of internal dissent posted online.

After speaking to bloggers, opposition figures and activists in Egypt over the last weeks, it became clear that Mubarak was steadily cracking down on any voices that challenged his decades-long rule. It bemused and angered many that the western media regularly referred to Egypt as a “moderate” Middle East country, when freedom of speech and association were routinely stifled.

The Brotherhood is the country’s largest opposition party and although it contests elections, its members are often arrested, intimidated and jailed. Human rights groups have documented this continuous abuse, though there has been a deafening silence from western political and media elites.

The reason for this is clear. The Brotherhood is often viewed as a fundamentalist Islamist party, closely aligned with al-Qaida, Hamas and Hizbullah. For many in the west, any party that espouses political Islam is suspect and anti-democratic. Although the Brotherhood’s current slogan in Egypt states, “Islam is the answer”, a group spokesman told me that he rejected the fundamentalist interpretation of Islam in Afghanistan. “I’d rather live in the US than under the Taliban, or in Pakistan or Iran,” he said. He thought Turkey had the secular/religious mix about right.

The Brotherhood has launched many blogs for family members of imprisoned activists. They write about the personal toll of missing a father, husband or brother and the conditions in the prisons themselves. It is yet another way to convince the public that only the Brotherhood is giving a voice to the marginalised.

Female bloggers are also fighting for public recognition in a society that still sets strict boundaries for gender relations. Activist, translator and blogger Dalia Ziada told me that one of the primary aims for her site was to campaign against the still-widely practised procedure of female circumcision. Other female bloggers said that their gender wasn’t necessarily the reason they started blogging, but it soon became unavoidable to discuss the issues widely ignored by the male-dominated blogosphere.

The blogging community in Egypt is still relatively small – and around 50% of the population remains illiterate – but its influence over the last years on both the domestic and international front has been impressive. For example, the ability to post video images online of police torture has forced authorities on the defensive, though the practice continues in police stations across the country.

In a recent article for the Washington Post, journalist and blogger Wael Abbas made a plea on behalf of his fellow Egyptians:

How much is enough to make Americans question why their money goes to support this government? We Egyptians want a fair struggle for our freedom. We’ll never have it as long as Mubarak and his corrupt regime are propped up by US aid. All we ask is: Give us a fighting chance.

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