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 torch, boycotts and Tibet

My following article appears in the Amnesty International Australia’s Uncensor campaign about human rights in China:

The Beijing Games is shaping up as a public relations disaster for the Chinese Communist Party. Four months from the opening ceremony and global protests against the torch relay are gathering speed. Tibetan activists are successfully highlighting their cause to the world, and the international route of the torch is now in serious doubt.

Demonstrators in London caused a security breach and severe embarrassment to the organisers. The London 2012 Olympics chief was overheard calling Chinese officials guarding the torch as “thugs”. The Paris leg of the relay was cancelled after protests, although China’s Foreign Ministry denied this was the case.

Australia’s Olympic chief, John Coates, appears resigned to the reality of months of controversy surrounding Beijing’s authoritarianism and pressure is growing on Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to boycott the opening ceremony. Former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser has urged avoiding a boycott, though Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton has encouraged President George W. Bush to take a stand.

International calls to boycott the Games are accelerating. London’s Independent editorialised this week that London’s torch fiasco was reminiscent of Hitler’s attempt at the 1936 Olympics to showcase Nazi Germany. The paper’s columnist Johann Hari argued that British athletes should take part in the August Games if the Chinese release the country’s 10 greatest human rights activists, invite the Dalai Lama to Beijing to talk and allow a legitimate UN peacekeeping force into Darfur.

The Chinese people have been largely shielded from the torch relay protests though the local media showed brief shots of the London scuffles. Chinese bloggers were incensed at what they viewed as anti-Beijing media coverage on CNN and BBC and millions of web users signed an online petition protesting biased Western media coverage of the recent Tibetan uprising. Interestingly, one of the Chinese torchbearers was interviewed before arriving in London and spoke of his pride at being involved and dreamed that “one day one of my kids will be able to compete in a future Olympic Games and even win a gold medal.”

Chinese authorities have attempted to counter the negative global coverage of its aggression in Tibet. One online story quoted a Tibetan author who said the Dalai Lama had “never done anything good” and was ruining Tibet in the name of human rights and religion. An opinion piece warned America to butt out of criticising China’s behaviour and again alleged that the Dalai Lama was the organiser of the recent violence. An Australian eyewitness has provided an alternative view.

More ominously, China has threatened to increase its “re-education” campaign against Tibetans. Officials called on Buddhist monks to be Chinese patriots. Another oppressed ethnic group, the Uighur Muslims, are also now openly rebelling against Chinese rule in a clear attempt to gain international attention.

Human rights activists are determined to use the Olympics as a platform to highlight China’s global responsibilities. A leading New York Times columnist wrote this week that China had to face some “greater truths” about its failed policies in Tibet. Pressure is increasing on Western internet multinationals doing business in repressive regimes to institute better mechanisms to avoid assisting persecution of dissidents.

It is always important to maintain perspective, however. A recent study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project found that a majority of Chinese polled believe that the internet should be “controlled” by the government, a majority believed the information they read on government websites and “an influential and highly informed group of elite Chinese bloggers continues to test the limits and vigilance of the censors.”

Censorship is clearly in the eye of the beholder.

2 comments ↪
  • Marilyn

    WE control the net. Filters against porn and so on. Goodness yesterday Israel closed down a radio station and arrested the staff because they talked about peace and reconciliation.

  • The London 2012 Olympics chief was overheard calling Chinese officials guarding the torch as “thugs”.

    —————

    the British are "thugs" when they invaded Tibet and China in last century