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 reporters are not saying about Palestine

The pressure on media companies and journalists to cover up Israeli crimes is legendary (and something I examined in detail in My Israel Question).

A new book by Emma Williams, It’s Easier to Reach Heaven Than the End of the Street, is by an English doctor married to a UN official. She recalls her conversations with many journalists and government officials during the second intifada and after. Mondoweiss provides the extract:

[T]alk, hasbara, and “information” were all-important in the business of silencing, extending through every sphere of life, the obvious being the media. There were “issues” at almost every stage of the media’s work, with the result that, while journalists saw the injustices played out to both peoples, the Palestinian context was submerged to the point that many abroad were unaware of the military occupation. Editors in the bureau, editors back home, were acutely sensitive to the supervision of every word and image printed or broadcast on the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Influence was pushed at every level both at head office and in the field–visits, lunches, informal meetings, questions, friendly advice and not so friendly criticism, threats to withhold advertising, funding, promotion, career: a relentless, tireless program of monitoring and “guidance.”

In London a senior editor admitted he had been “brought to heel” by his management, and financially he couldn’t risk his position by including unacceptable–to management–balance. A radio journalist told me in Jerusalem: “When I do a Palestinian story, my editors are all over me. They tell me I must have an Israeli story to balance it, but when I do an Israeli story, there is no such request.” Sometimes the journalists applied the silencing themselves: “That editor’s visit,” said a Times correspondent, “was  a waste of bloody time. Doing a story on the Palestinians, comes all the way to Israel, and refuses to go to the Occupied Territories. Still did the story though. From Tel Aviv.”

One Jerusalem bureau chief was frank. “This is a machine,” he said. “It’s not just the individuals, the officials, the influential friends. There are endless arms of the machine. There’s deciding who gets press passes, who gets recognition as a journalist. There’s singling out individuals for criticism. There’s pressure applied to individual journalists: complaints are made, accusations placed with the bureau or the paper back home. The journalist would know that he or she was a target and would have to deal with the pressure of ’surveillance’ without jeopardizing either organization or career. The balance is tipped against the journalist if the organization is not supportive: the pressure and constraints are sometimes bad enough for journalists to resign.”

The bureau chief went on, “And there’s the department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs set up with banks of television screens, to watch, count, time, assess, and report on each one of the networks 24 hours a day, seven days a week.” He was matter of fact. “…if they think that you give more airtime to the Palestinian stories than to Israeli ones, or if the way you present the information doesn’t gel with their interpretation and the way they want the information to be seen, then they get on the phone or come and see you and tell you so. And then of course you have to defend yourself.

“It is endless. However professional we fancy ourselves to be–and we do, by the way–the result is that we are–how shall I put it?–more careful than anywhere else in the world that not one word is out of place, which can’t be a bad thing. But on the other hand, it does affect what we put out and how we do it. Yes, of course it does.”

As a result of the “carefulness”–the censorship and self-censorship–[husband] Andrew and I, and the children, too, found ourselves saying unexpected goodbyes. One family moved back to Britain when the husband, Sam Kiley, quit a successful career with the Times as a result of wearying criticism and constraints during his Jerusalem posting. He wrote later that while in Jerusalem he was not to refer to “assassinations” of Israel’s opponents, nor to “extrajudicial killings or executions,” he was to call them “just ‘killings,’ or best of all– targeted killings,’” if he had to write about them at all. His editors did not dispute that settlements were illegal under international law, but to refer to this was “gratuitous.” On the other hand, “the leader writers,” he wrote, “were happy to repeat the canard that Palestinian gunmen were using children as human shields.”…

Our second child, Xan, was miserable when his best friend Balthazar left in a hurry. His mother, Alexandra Schwartzbrod, was one of a number of journalists removed from their posts: she was the correspondent for Liberation. For more than two years she filed story after story with no quibble or query from her editors. Then, suddenly, she was replaced and found herself back in Paris on an unrelated assignment. An investigation of silencing published in Le Monde Diplomatique found that one organization systematically accused her of inciting ethnic hatred and anti-Israel propaganda, until, on July 14, a headline proclaimed: “Alexandra Schwartzbrod is leaving! Our friends at Liberation have confirmed the rumor with some satisfaction, reporting the internal discussions which ended up with her recall…”

one comment ↪