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.

Credibility isn’t exactly their middle name

The following great piece by Greg Barns in today’s Crikey tackles the sickening behaviour of the local media and political elite towards the Israeli state:

Back in the days when the hammer and sickle flew proudly, the Soviet Union would spend big dollars on paying for journalists, academics and diplomats to see for themselves the “workers’ paradise”. It was part of a long term and relentless strategy by the Communists to win the propaganda war against the West.

Today the heirs and successors of those Soviet sympathizing journos, head to Israel. This week saw the announcement that three columnists, The Australian’s Greg Sheridan, and the Herald-Sun’s Andrew Bolt and Alan Howe would be part of an Israel bound trade and diplomatic mission to be headed by Julia Gillard. The trip is being sponsored by the Australia-Israel Cultural Exchange which has Israeli and Australian government endorsement.

The Israelis have clearly learnt a thing or two from the Soviets. They understand how important it is to roll out the red carpet for the media, by offering them carefully choreographed trips to Israel and in return ensure that their spin on events is planted in the minds of the western media.

The Israelis also know that they have the upper hand in this game, because the impoverished Palestinians will not be able to outdo them when it comes to lavishing hospitality on a willing media.

That the Israeli propaganda strategy of handpicking journalists and others to come to Israel works was made abundantly clear when The Australian’s Janet Albrechtsen visited Israel last November as a guest of the Israeli government and New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies.

Albrechtsen wrote a blog while she was in Israel and guess what — there is not one sympathetic word for Palestinians. Instead she berates the Palestinians for filling their children with hate, bangs on about rockets, and condemns the Rudd government for giving aid to the Palestinians. No doubt the Israeli Embassy in Canberra and their colleagues in Tel Aviv would have thought the trip they gave Ms Albrechtsen was money very well spent.

As Crikey’s Margaret Simons chronicled on January 13 this year, Albrechtsen is not alone in being feted by the Israeli propaganda machine. The Sydney Morning Herald’s Paul Sheehan is another.

Just as the Soviets carefully selected the journalists they wanted to show around the country, so it is the case with the Israelis. The Soviets would go for the leftist sympathisers in papers such as the New York Times, The Guardian and other influential mastheads. The Israelis also favour sympathetic writers.

Greg Sheridan as recently as May 6 was comforting poor Israel because “second only to the US, Israel is the most acute object of the hostility to the West that flourishes in Western intellectual life.”

One is tempted to evoke the immortal phrase “useful idiots”, attributed to Lenin, and used against Western journalists who fell for Soviet propaganda in the 1930s, to describe western journalists who accept paid trips from the Israeli authorities.

There is however a deeper intellectual question here that people like Bolt and co should answer. Why are they prepared to be the guests of any government, anywhere in the world, and particularly one that is as conjectural as the Israeli government? Journalists love to posture about their independence and intellectual integrity, but knowingly accepting trips as part of a government’s public diplomacy program is surely undermining of those values.

7 comments ↪
  • Marilyn

    They should go to the war memorial in Canberra and note the memorial to those who died in PALESTINE. They will discover there is no memorial to anyone who died in ISRAEL.

    These snivelling cowards and hypocrites – even the US media reports more fairly these days and scolds Israel.

    None of that here from the cretins though.

  • ej

    Noone has pointed out the irony of the venue for the 'cultural' exchange of this 'high level' delegation – the King David Hotel.

    Is the Israeli expertise in terrorism going to be on top of the agenda?

  • ej

    Our very own Julia G has signed up for the program in advanced terrorism and advanced propaganda weaponry.

    I can just see her now, returning to Australia looking like the iconic poster of Patty Hearst with the sub-machine gun.

    Against the legless Opposition, her rapier wit will probably suffice.

    But the heavy artilery is more appropriate for her old comrades, the people who leveraged her current position of 'authority', a status that she has now thoroughly debased.

    To those who can't come at Julia's complicity in the weakness of the Fair Work Bill, in the retention of the Australian Building and Construction COmmission, in the ludicrous National Assessment program for secondary schools, in her acquiescence in the maintained funding of elite private schools, etc., her response? Eat Lead!

    We knew from the start that Rudd was more of the same, but what a huge disappointement has been Julia G. and she gets worse by the minute. This excursion to Israel really is the last straw. She probably has a photo of Golda on her office desk.

    As for Peter Garrett, words fail me.

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  • Mick

    Twas when Greg earned his Jerusalem Award
    .