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.

Closing the net

The following news story, by Peter Hackney, appeared in leading gay publication SX on January 21:

With the mandatory internet filtering trial to begin any day now, Peter Hackney explores what it might mean for our community.

The words ‘gay’ and ‘lesbian’ are hardly offensive. They merely describe a sexual orientation. But as any journalist working for the queer press can tell you, if you send an email to a Federal Government department these days containing either word, you’ll more often than not find it bouncing back to you, or simply not received at the other end.

The Federal Government has evidently decided that its employees need protection from the debauchery of homosexuality. Our mere existence is apparently offensive.

But ‘protecting’ its employees is one thing. Protecting its citizens is another. What will the Federal Government deem offensive to the average Australian when its mandatory internet censorship trial begins this month?

That question is to be answered any day now, when the Federal Government’s mandatory internet censorship trial begins.

Originally due to begin on December 24, it was delayed due to “technical issues”, with commencement pushed back to mid January.

As SX went to press on Tuesday, January 20, the office of Federal Communications Minister Stephen Conroy was still unable to advise when the trial would start.

But start it will – and soon. So how will the GLBT community be affected by a censorship regime ostensibly created to combat illegal online pornography and violence?

ACON  President Mark Orr is concerned that one of the effects will be to limit the reach of its HIV-prevention and education campaigns. To that end, the organisation has taken the unusual step of censuring the Federal Government over the net filter, public supporting the ‘Save The Net’ campaign run by political lobby group GetUp!

“ACON is supporting GetUp!’s Save The Net campaign because we’re concerned that the Federal Government’s proposed mandatory ‘clean feed internet system’ will severely limit the effectiveness of our internet-based HIV-prevention and education campaigns, by restricting access to culturally appropriate information,” Orr tells SX.

In other words, it is very possible that mention of anal sex, oral sex, ejaculation, rimming, fisting and the like – all of which is essential when discussing sexual practices, and how to conduct them safely – will cause the relevant web pages to be blocked by the ‘great firewall of Australia’, as the mandatory filter has been dubbed.

“ACON is absolutely supportive of measures to protect children from pornography [but] we believe that the current proposal will significantly inhibit our ability to achieve good public health outcomes,” says Orr.

Others opine that all Australians – gay, lesbian or otherwise – should be concerned because the Federal Government has embarked on a slippery slope with the unprecedented censorship regime.

Sydney-based political activist, author and blogger Antony Loewenstein finds the precedent of internet censorship disturbing.

“Perhaps the most important factor in this whole debate is the precedent being set,” he tells SX. “Child pornography and violent website today – but what will they deem dangerous tomorrow? Sites that promote terrorism, perhaps? And what will the definition of ‘terrorism’ be? Who will decide? What other things could the government deem offensive or dangerous in the future?”

Who can say? But according to Loewenstein, one thing’s for sure: “We should always be suspicious of governments that tell its citizens what it can and cannot see or hear. A cursory glance at modern history shows you why.”

Visit www.getup.org.au to sign the petition against mandatory internet censorship in Australia.

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