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 public and the private

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

Spending time in Iran inevitably results in endless conversations about politics. Virtually everybody has an opinion about the US, Israel, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the nuclear issue, women’s rights or even underground hip-hop (one of the country’s most famous rappers was recently arrested in Tehran for subversive activity.) I’ve never visited a country where the bounds of behaviour are so profoundly divided between the public and private spaces.

The country’s former vice president in parliamentary legal affairs under previous President Khatami, Mohammed Ali Abtahi – he is also a popular reformist blogger – told me last week that the country’s current tensions with the west were highly regrettable, but could be resolved with better diplomacy. He imagined an Iran with strict Islamic values, filtering of “pornographic and inflammatory” websites, no engagement with Israel but societal liberalisation. Like many in Iran, Abtahi is a contradictory figure – not willing to tell the west what they wanted to hear about the Islamic republic – but he remains a believer in strong engagement with the US.

Perhaps one of the most surprising aspects of Iran was the private discussion over the Iraq war. State-run media was comprehensively against the US-led occupation, but many people told me, including Abtahi, that a sudden withdrawal of American troops from the war-ravaged nation was inadvisable. There was a general belief that the country’s chaos would only worsen if US forces left too suddenly. I had simply expected common consensus against the American presence. Despite this position, nobody had any comprehensive ideas how to end the current crisis.

The Iran regularly portrayed in the western media – a Jew-hating president determined to strike Israel – is shunned by many Iranians. Access to the internet is pervasive – around one million blogs exist in Iran and while many are for meeting boys and girls, rather than political in nature, the web has changed the dialogue – and young Iranians are very well aware of the damage being done to their country by Ahmadinjad’s ravings (though none supported a US strike against the country). Iranians appear willing to shun US foreign policy while warmly embracing the American and British peoples, despite both countries meddling in the republic.

Internet censorship is a growing problem, however. Type in words like “choral” or “queer” into Google and both will be blocked (the former because “oral” is a banned phrase.) Google Earth is not generally accessible. There is little international e-business because Iranians can’t easily obtain a Visa or Mastercard, making such transactions virtually impossible (likewise trying to purchase products on sites like Amazon.) The mullahs have realised the potential of the internet – magazine editor and blogger Bozorgmehr Sharafedin said that the reformist movement was failing to gain international support because it translated none of its newspapers into English – and now train bloggers in the holy city of Qom.

Using the internet at Iranian “coffeenets” is an interesting experience. Numerous, seemingly harmless sites are blocked – Australian news-sites are filtered, the New York Times is not – and censorship appears to be based on certain key words appearing regularly on websites. Like in China, where western multinationals are covertly assisting the government in building a massive filtering system, the Iranians, under Ahmadinejad and the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, are following a similar path. Engagement with the outside world is matched by a paranoid mentality that views many Western sources as suspect.

The surreal nature of the regime was highlighted when I spent the day at the offices of the magazine edited by Sharafedin. He received a call from a bureaucrat inside the ministry of culture and was asked why his publication had been released without covers for the past two months. Sharafedin explained that glossy covers had been attached to all editions, and clearly the copies that the ministry had received had been inadvertently published without them (every publication must be submitted weekly to the ministry for their comments and criticisms.) After a short, terse conversation, Sharafedin organised copies of his magazine to be sent to the ministry immediately.

While Iran is an authoritarian country, there is far greater political debate there than many other Middle Eastern nations (such as, say, Syria). Iranians may be the most hospitable people in the world, and yet any American or Israeli attack against the country’s nuclear facilities would be met with even-greater repression at home and rallying around the conservative leadership. For many westerners, the concept of Islam at the heart of a prosperous nation is too much to bear. It’s a sad indictment of many post 9/11 mindsets.

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