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.

My evening with the New York Times

My following article appears in today’s edition of Crikey:

Antony Loewenstein writes from New York:

The glittering New York Times building in Manhattan is a striking, architectural wonder, exuding success and power. Unfortunately, the reality of the paper’s financial decline is far less glamorous.

The world’s most famous newspaper is struggling like most media companies. What better way to humanise and sex-up the aging organisation than to allow public engagement with Times executive editor Bill Keller and managing editor Jill Abramson at an event called “Behind the Scenes at The New York Times”?. It was also a way to make some much-needed cash at $20 a head.

On a rainy Monday evening, the mostly grey-haired brigade filed into the lavish TimesCentre to hear two senior hacks talk principally about the past, a supposedly golden age of journalism.

Keller, just back from Iran and his first page one stories in 14 years, had a laconic charm. Abramson, central in the Times publishing consistently bogus information on Iraq’s non-existent WMDs before the 2003 war, had a nervous energy with a slow and deliberate New York drawl. The audience clapped and laughed at the appropriate moments.

Their journalistic insights were far and few between — both talked about reading the Times first in the morning, followed closely by the Wall Street Journal and the internet was largely praised not damned as an innovator — but both subjects have had a varied media career.

Keller has been based in Moscow and South Africa — met and interviewed Nelson Mandela and wrote a book about him — and Abramson was the hard-nosed type, who “never believes in access journalism” and not going to establishment parties. She grew up believing that “what the Times wrote was the truth.” She wasn’t opposed to speaking warmly of the famed Gridiron Club, Washington’s oldest and most exclusive journalistic club.

When the issue of web reporting finally emerged, Abramson said that she believed it was important to “resist the temptation to file constantly online. Take a step back.” It’s good advice, though not one always considered by her colleagues. A friend here in New York works on the Times online desk — wisely integrated with the print reporters — and she’s always writing stories with little hard information. Print journalists then take the story up later in the day and finish the job.

Keller offered little indication that his paper knew how to manage the web onslaught. “We’re exploring any way we can to make money from web journalism”, he said. He rightly praised the Times blog, The Lede, as an invaluable aggregator of Iran-related material.

Keller did reveal some interesting news about the abduction and recent escape of Times reporter David Rohde, kidnapped in November last year in Afghanistan along with a driver and local reporter. The vast majority of the mainstream media remained silent about the ordeal after requests from the paper itself.

Keller said that he had spoken to Rohde that morning and felt vindicated by the decision:

“I was relieved this morning when I talked to David and he said, ‘By the way, thank you for not making a public event out of this. We heard the people who kidnapped me were obsessed with my value in the marketplace. If there were a lot of news stories, they would have held me much tighter.”

During the question and answer sessions, the first woman asked why the paper “wanted to portray Israel as a Goliath, an occupier, settlement builders and unforgiving” (maybe because the country is an occupier that continually builds illegal settlements?)

Another, a religious looking, bearded Jew, demanded to know why the paper “does not acknowledge the Palestinian refusal to accept the Jewish state.” Keller simply said that, “our goal is not to construct good and evil and readers should make their own judgement. Our job isn’t to say who the villain in the Middle East is.”

I asked whether the Times felt any responsibility for publishing so many bogus reports on Saddam Hussein and whether they believed in accountability in journalism when some of their senior journalists were complicit in running Bush administration spin? Keller acknowledged that “we did a lot wrong, there was too much incredulous writing, but we didn’t have access to classified information. There is an urban myth that the Times took the country to war; the Bush administration took the country to war.”

Antony Loewenstein is a journalist and author of My Israel Question and The Blogging Revolution

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