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.

Pity the wealthy

What will the rich have to cope with next?

Fuel prices have grounded an unexpected frequent-flyer: US hip-hop mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs.

Combs complained about the “too high” price of fuel and pleaded for free oil from his “Saudi Arabia brothers and sisters” in a YouTube video posted on Wednesday.

no comments – be the first ↪

Time for re-education camps

Beijing, you have a nation of addicts:

Around four million Chinese youngsters are addicted to the Internet, mainly attracted by “unhealthy” online games, state media reported Friday, citing a top legislator.

“Internet-addicted teenagers” account for around 10 percent of China’s Web users under the age of 18, the Beijing Times said, quoting Li Jianguo, a vice chairman of the standing committee of the National People’s Congress, or parliament.

no comments – be the first ↪

Don’t mention the ‘I’ word

The Independent’s Robert Fisk recalls a telling story:

As one of the Arab world’s most prominent commentators put it to me this week, “[Joseph] Biden’s being set up to protect Israel while [Barack] Obama looks after the transportation system in Chicago.” It was a cruel remark with just enough bitter reality to make it bite.

Whatever it takes to protect Israel’s supposed sanctity in the American political arena.

no comments – be the first ↪

We can’t ignore modern Islamism

This week marks the 42nd anniversary of the execution of Sayyed Qutb, one of the most prominent figures in contemporary Islamism.

What is his legacy today, by an young Egyptian member of the Muslim Brotherhood (who features in my new book, The Blogging Revolution.)

no comments – be the first ↪

The other side of the gender divide

Human rights for women in Saudi Arabia – and no, that’s not a contradiction – through blogger’s eyes.

no comments – be the first ↪

Please help with our repression

The United States says Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank threaten any peace between Israel and the Palestinians – yet it also encourages Americans to help support settlers by offering tax breaks on donations.


Ditch the web

Is the internet ignoring the important details in life?

Internet mapping is wiping the rich geography and history of Britain off the map, Britain’s most senior cartographer warned yesterday.

Churches, cathedrals, stately homes, battlefields, ancient woodlands, rivers, eccentric landmarks and many more features which make up the tapestry of the British landscape are not being represented in online maps, which focus on merely providing driving directions, said Mary Spence, President of the British Cartographical Society.

one comment ↪

The Independent Weekly examines Blogging book

The following book review of The Blogging Revolution, in Adelaide’s Independent Weekly, was published by Kate Lockett on August 29:

Did you know that Iran has around one million bloggers, that Farsi is in the top five languages used on the internet or that 20 per cent of Saudi Arabians are now online? Australian journalist and blogger Antony Loewenstein explains that blogging is not the sole domain of pornographers or Hollywood gossips and that a previously voiceless Saudi Arabian female can now, by blogging, explain the realities of her life and culture with readers in Sydney. He argues that bloggers are being referred to increasingly by journalists and the curious alike to find out what is really happening in hot spots around the globe because it is a legitimate form of “stand alone journalism, almost completely self-sufficient and able to reach readers directly without any unnecessary filters”.

Loewenstein travels to Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Cuba and China to meet bloggers who are often risking their lives in order to share their views on their country’s rulers and their opinions on Western democracy, the US in particular. He is at pains to point out that he’s not calling for regime change in the countries he visited, nor an increase in US involvement, but for the right of all citizens to access, distribute and discuss information without persecution. He notes with interest that in homes where men and women go to great lengths to socialise away from the eyes of the authorities, the last thing they wanted to discuss was politics: “It was time to escape the daily need to assume a public role, to be what society, and especially families, expected.”

He meets a variety of journalists, writers, bloggers and partygoers and allows the reader to learn more about life in what we tend to view as repressed or backward countries. As one Iranian journo puts it, “Western media agencies only want to know about nuclear problems and al-Qaeda”. Loewenstein’s intelligence and humanity shine through and have made this reader, at least, keen to investigate blogs that discuss things other than Lindsay Lohan’s new girlfriend.

no comments – be the first ↪

A deadly legacy

Who was responsible for dropping cluster bombs during the recent war between Russia and Georgia?

no comments – be the first ↪

Not trusting its own citizens

I discuss in my new book, The Blogging Revolution, about the political and social realities in Cuba, and gradual liberalisation of the country under new President Raul Castro. And then this:

Cuba has ordered jailed punk rocker Gorki Aguila, an outspoken critic of Fidel Castro and the communist government, to stand trial on Friday for “social dangerousness,” a charge that could carry up to four years in prison.

Authorities arrested the 39-year-old lead singer of Porno para Ricardo at his Havana home on Monday, shortly after the band had completed work on a new album. Cuban law defines “social dangerousness” as behaviour contrary to “communist morality,” and police use it to detain offenders before they have a chance to commit a crime.

Performing songs with angry lyrics that poke fun at or openly insult Fidel Castro and his brother Raul, who became Cuba’s president in February, Porno para Ricardo is banned from official Cuban airwaves.

This is the sign of a weak and insecure regime.

one comment ↪

Friends, not enemies

What, all Muslims aren’t terrorists who hate the West?

Contrary to the common assumption that Muslims view globalization as a threat to their society, a new poll of Muslim countries finds that globalization is generally viewed positively. The poll was conducted by in six nations with predominantly Muslim populations in different regions of the world including Egypt, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Iran, Indonesia, and the Palestinian Territories, plus the Muslim population of Nigeria.


The Iranian perspective

Sadegh Zibakalam, Bitterlemons International, August 28:

Iranian support for the newly established Iraqi regime was quite reasonable and to be expected. The Iranians fought eight long years to witness a Shi’ite-dominated government in Iraq. Iran lost a million of its people in that war, its economy was shattered and the Islamic republic lost nearly all the international support it had achieved during the early days of its revolution. Yet by the end of that bitter and tragic war, Iran had failed to achieve any of its objectives.

“Allah helps Islam in mysterious ways,” explained a highly respected senior clergyman to a group of Iranian mothers and wives who had lost their loved ones in the war with Iraq due to Saddam’s use of chemical weapons. “Who would have thought that the man who poisoned your sons, fathers and husbands while the so-called civilized world stood by and did nothing would fall from power so disgracefully.” The view that the fall of Saddam was a “provident action” was indeed shared by many pious Iranians, particularly those who had lost their loved ones in the war.

one comment ↪