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.

Spot the news story

My following article appears in today’s ABC Unleashed:

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s overseas trip has been extensively covered in the mainstream media. From George W. Bush to Gordon Brown, the travelling journalists have given readers and viewers a running commentary of his daily meetings.

Missing from the vast majority of the coverage, however, has been analysis of anything substantive. The trivial became “news” and constructed controversies were deemed worthy of discussion.

Take Chris Uhlmann’s report on ABC1’s Lateline last week that stated Rudd had “laid to rest the claim he would threaten the [US/Australia] alliance”. The only people who ever truly believed he would “threaten” the alliance were former Howard government ministers and a few conservative commentators.

Somehow this rump was suddenly worthy of note and repeated by journalists as established fact. It was nothing of the sort, but after being repeated by countless journalists for many years, Uhlmann simply repeated a familiar mantra.

Scott Burchill, senior lecturer in international relations at Deakin University, challenged an article by The Australian‘s Foreign Editor Greg Sheridan, which states “Rudd will be a tremendous disappointment to the ideological Left in Australia”:

As is so often the case, Sheridan couldn’t be more wrong.

No sane observer of Kevin Rudd from either end of the ideological spectrum expected Rudd to be anything other than a craven and uncritical supporter of Washington’s reckless foreign adventures. Rudd was always going to be as pro-American as Howard, and anyone who claims otherwise is being disingenuous. Anyone who says there are people who believed anything other than this is simply nuts.

Rudd is the same on Israel. Same on China. Same on Indonesia. Same on everything that counts (Kyoto doesn’t). Why else would he give Bush an open-ended commitment to Afghanistan as a quid pro quo for a partial withdrawal from Iraq, when the war is hopelessly lost, has no coherent strategic objectives and only imperils Australia’s strategic position? Bipartisanship was never in doubt.

Perhaps the best example of the media amplifying trivialities to “news” was Rudd’s salute to Bush at the NATO conference in Bucharest. It was major news in Australia and across the globe, a supposedly poor reflection of subservience towards Washington. We’ll never know Rudd’s exact motivation for the gesture – probably nerves by the new leader in town – but it hardly warranted prime time coverage. It was a story in brief, at best.

ABC1’s Lateline claimed the salute signified Rudd “coming unstuck in Bucharest” with “critics” slamming the move. It was “news” because a few politicians in Australia were upset – Liberal leader Brendan Nelson and Greens leader Bob Brown – and therefore allegedly serious reporters had to quote them. The establishment media never seemed so servile.

Salon‘s Glenn Greenwald has extensively documented the ways in which the American mainstream media consistently highlights the trivial over the meaningful. Here’s Greenwald on April 5:

In the past two weeks, the following events transpired. A Department of Justice memo, authored by John Yoo, was released which authorized torture and presidential lawbreaking. It was revealed that the Bush administration declared the Fourth Amendment of the Bill of Rights to be inapplicable to “domestic military operations” within the U.S. The U.S. Attorney General appears to have fabricated a key event leading to the 9/11 attacks and made patently false statements about surveillance laws and related lawsuits. Barack Obama went bowling in Pennsylvania and had a low score.

A search of journalism database Nexus found that Obama’s bowling featured thousands of times in the past 30 days, but the fact that the Bush administration authorised torture was largely ignored, as it was in Australia.

Greenwald rightly argues that the elite media focuses on the trivial because they believe that’s what the “regular folk” care about and don’t want to concern themselves with holes in the 9/11 story or US interrogators torturing prisoners around the world. This is what establishment media has become.

Republican presidential nominee John McCain has benefited from this unquestioning allegiance to his “war hero” status. The fact that he still doesn’t seem to understand the difference between Sunni and Shiite appears irrelevant.

Being “pro-war” is “serious” while being critical of the Iraq war is deemed by journalists to be weak, anti-American and emboldening the enemy. A majority of Americans embrace setting a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq, though this is lost in the distracting noise amidst fawning over a man, McCain, who believes in endless occupation of the country. Witness the love letter by The Australian‘s Geoff Elliot in January.

One critic of Greenwald says that the media “appears to be more interested in events that determine the future… than in events that look back at the past.” Therefore, focusing on Obama’s bowling skills or Hillary Clinton’s cleavage – another “serious” story in 2007 – is merely want the public craves.

In fact, recent studies show that the American people are increasingly disillusioned with where their country is headed.

This is not a call for the media to solely report information that the “elite” think the public should care about. It’s a reality check.

One of the major stories in the past two weeks in Australia has been Rudd’s salute to Bush. Whatever the merits of Rudd’s overseas trip – and Scott Burchill’s point about his slavishness towards major powers rings true – journalists need to remove themselves from the insulated bubble and not simply repeat each others stories and repackage them as “news”.

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