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.

What can the internet really do?

Ethan Zuckerman, co-founder of Global Voices, is a leading thinker on the benefits and limitations of the web and social groups. He isn’t a net evangelist or pessimist. His eloquence is unlike many other people.

A recent speech articulates his current thoughts:

Xenophiles are people who are fascinated by the whole world, by things other than their ordinary experience. They’re people who want to connect with people who see the world very differently. Some of these people are born this way, lots more are made – a good recipe for xenophilia is to raise a child in a culture deeply different from that of her parents – people call these kids “third culture kids”. Third culture kids have one foot in each of two cultures – the culture of the country they grew up and the culture of their parents, and as a result they don’t really live in either, but a little bit in both. Some kids hate this – many love it, and they end up bridge figures, natural xenophiles who can help translate cultures for other people. Barack Obama’s one of them.

It’s my theory that xenophiles are going to be very powerful in the future. We’re living in a world that the pro-globalization folks refer to as “flat”. That’s bullshit, obviously. The world is flat as far as stuff is concerned. In my hometown of 3000 people, I can get water from Fiji and fish from Chile, but I’m not going to encounter any Fijians or Chileans. I’m not even likely to encounter information from those countries, news, opinion or cultural influences like films or TV… not unless I very actively go looking for it. So the world’s flat in terms of stuff, but not in terms of human interaction. It’s flat, but in the least important ways – in the ways that matter, in the ways that would allow us to connect with people from other cultures, allow us to share ideas and solve problems together, the world is disconnected. It’s lumpy.

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Who should we trust?

Big Brother isn’t just a problem in “repressive” regimes:

Telecommunications executives told the US Senate Commerce Committee [official website] Thursday that their companies would refrain from using certain surveillance technology without users’ permission but stopped short of endorsing legislation to outlaw the practice. The committee hearing [materials] to investigate the privacy practices of American Internet service providers (ISPs) focused on deep packet inspection (DPI) [ backgrounder], a technique of compiling information about users’ browsing and online behavior for security and advertising purposes, generally without consent.

It’s time for Western societies to discuss the influence of web companies in monitoring our lives.

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Besieged from the inside?

My latest article for New Matilda discusses the troubles ahead for Israel:

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Words followed by some more words

Confused about the first US Presidential debate between McCain and Obama? Don’t be:

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What can the internet do for you?

The internet and its various guises online and in print.

How to discuss the relationship between the reader, contributor and producer.


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Fighting web repression, together

Sami Ben Gharbia, head of Global Voices Advocacy, talks about his struggles against censorship in Tunisia and beyond and the importance of world action on fighting internet filtering.

I met Sami during the recent Global Voices summit in Budapest and found him to be a warm and sympathetic person. The movement needs more people like him.

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Pointing the finger

If Barack Obama doesn’t win in November, blame the Jews:

The Great Schlep from The Great Schlep on Vimeo.

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Farewell to all that

The global financial crisis will see the US falter in the same way the Soviet Union did when the Berlin Wall came down. The era of American dominance is over.

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Loving Israel to death

Why John McCain’s VP pick, Sarah Palin, knows about the “good guys” and “bad guys” in the Middle East. God help us all:

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Torturing their way to freedom

America in Iraq: a lesson in how to make friends and influence people:

Torture and other abuses against detainees in U.S. custody in Iraq were authorized and routine, even after the 2004 Abu Ghraib scandal, according to new accounts from soldiers in a Human Rights Watch report released today. The new report, containing first-hand accounts by U.S. military personnel interviewed by Human Rights Watch, details detainee abuses at an off-limits facility at Baghdad airport and at other detention centers throughout Iraq.

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From Zionism to Communism

Israel is seemingly happy to sell weapons to anybody in the world and also train repressive regimes:

Israel Police held secret training for Chinese police officers ahead of the recent Olympic Games, Haaretz has learned. The approximately six-week course was held in Israel for about 20 selected officers of the People’s Armed Police Force, to use Israeli experience to train them for possible scenarios involving terror and civil disturbances at the Games.

The training involved, among other things, how to neutralize terrorists with their bare hands, how to deal with a crowd that riots on the playing field, and how to protect VIPS and remove demonstrators from main traffic arteries.

How exactly does this make Israel a moral state?

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A different kind of cultured

Following the Sydney launch of my book, The Blogging Revolution, last week, Sydney-based Iranian-blogger Nazanin comments on the ways in which Iranian society is fundamentally misunderstood in the West:

Of other points he discussed in this meeting was the clash he has observed between Iranian public and private. He brought examples of Iranians behaviour outdoor, which was somehow in accordance with Iranian version of Islamic behaviour, and Iranians private behaviour, where they hold parties, etc. And live with many Western criteria very different from the way they behave in public. Here it reminded me of Danny Postel’s book. In most of his books and articles about Iran, Postel insists that Iranians are a people who read Habermas, Arendt, Berlin, Negri, and Kolakofsky while many Westerners don’t know these thinkers or they are not familiar with Western literature. Albeit, his mention to these points is not to blame people live in the West, but he examines the needs of a people like Iranians for such texts and their interpretation of such thinkers. That’s why he is a fan of Azar Nafisi’s “Reading Lolita in Tehran”.

All these stories made me think of an interesting issue; that I haven’t talked to an Australian who didn’t know where Iran is and didn’t like to visit Iran some day. Of course, I don’ generalise this for most of those with whom I talk are academics or students. But, I am thinking that the great Persian Empire is getting pale for many people and people like to see Iranian society and the ways Iranians live their lives rather than visiting Pasargad and Perspolis.

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