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.

Journalists shouldn’t be silenced by Singapore

An important essay by the New York Times’ Public Editor about the limits a Western news organisation should go to when appeasing dictatorships.

I understand the dilemma but surely being able to write freely is paramount. And if one can’t write that, say, the leader of Singapore is an autocrat, then how much influence can you truly have? Apart from making money, of course:

Last month, on the same day The New York Times praised Google for standing up to censorship in China, a sister newspaper, The International Herald Tribune, apologized to Singapore’s rulers and agreed to pay damages because it broke a 1994 legal agreement and referred to them in a way they did not like.

The rulers had sued for defamation 16 years ago, saying a Herald Tribune Op-Ed column had implied that they got their jobs through nepotism. The paper wound up paying $678,000 and promising not to do it again. But in February, it named Lee Kuan Yew, the founding prime minister, and his son, Lee Hsien Loong, the prime minister now, in an Op-Ed article about Asian political dynasties.

After the Lees objected, the paper said its language “may have been understood by readers to infer that the younger Mr. Lee did not achieve his position through merit. We wish to state clearly that this inference was not intended.” The Herald Tribune, wholly owned by The New York Times Company, apologized for “any distress or embarrassment” suffered by the Lees. The statement was published in the paper and on the Web site it shares with The Times.

Some readers were astonished that a news organization with a long history of standing up for First Amendment values would appear to bow obsequiously to an authoritarian regime that makes no secret of its determination to cow critics, including Western news organizations, through aggressive libel actions. Singapore’s leaders use a local court system in which, according to Stuart Karle, a former general counsel of The Wall Street Journal, they have never lost a libel suit.

The notion that it could be defamatory to call a political family a dynasty seems ludicrous in the United States, where The Times has routinely applied the label to the Kennedys, the Bushes and the Clintons. But Singapore is a different story.

Lee Kuan Yew once testified, according to The Times, that he designed the draconian press laws to make sure that “journalists will not appear to be all-wise, all-powerful, omnipotent figures.” Four years ago, The Times quoted his son as saying, “If you don’t have the law of defamation, you would be like America, where people say terrible things about the president and it can’t be proved.”

Steven Brostoff of Arlington, Va., wondered whether The Times had other agreements like the one with the Lees, and asked, “What conclusions should we draw about how news coverage from these countries is slanted?” Zeb Raft of the University of Alberta, Edmonton, asked if The Times was admitting that certain world leaders “deserve to be treated with deference. This is the implication of the apology.”

George Freeman, a Times Company lawyer, said the 1994 agreement was the only one he knew about and that it applied only to The Herald Tribune. Bill Keller, the executive editor of The Times, said, “Nobody in this company has ever told me what our reporters can write — or not write — about Singapore.” He said the Times newsroom has no agreements with any government about what can be reported. “We don’t work that way.”

Andrew Rosenthal, the editor of the editorial page, said, “If we have something that needs to be said on the editorial or Op-Ed pages, on any subject, we will say it, clearly and honestly.”

That is what the late William Safire did on the Op-Ed page in 2002, when he criticized Bloomberg News for “kowtowing to the Lee family” by apologizing for an article about the elevation of the younger Lee’s wife to run a state-owned investment company. Bloomberg, he said, had “just demeaned itself and undermined the cause of a free online press.”

Safire wrote that he took “loud exception” in 1994 when The Herald Tribune, then owned jointly by the Times Company and The Washington Post Company, “cravenly caved” over an article by Philip Bowring — the same Hong Kong-based columnist who sparked last month’s dust-up. “I doubt such a sellout of principle will happen again.”

Richard Simmons was the president of The Herald Tribune in 1994 and authorized the agreement that was broken last month — an “undertaking” by the company’s lawyers to prevent a repetition of the language that offended the Lees. “We had, in my view, no choice,” he said. “What the American media absolutely refuse to recognize is Singapore operates on a different set of legal rules than does the United States.” He said Western news organizations can accept the legal system there or leave.

For The Herald Tribune and all the other news organizations that have paid damages to Singapore’s rulers (The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, Bloomberg) or had their circulation limited there (Time, The Asian Wall Street Journal, The Economist), the choice has been to stay.

Singapore is tiny, with a population of around five million, but it has outsized economic power as a financial hub, making it an important source of news. For The Herald Tribune, the economic stakes are large: more than 10 percent of its Asian circulation is in Singapore. It prints papers there that are distributed throughout the region. It sells advertising to companies throughout Asia that want to reach readers in Singapore.

“If you want to be a global paper, it has lots of banks, lots of commerce, a highly educated, English-speaking population,” said Karle. “It’s hard to turn your back on that.”

Faced with this predicament when the Lees objected to the article last month, The Herald Tribune apologized and paid up — $114,000 — before it was even sued. Karle said the paper could have spent a million dollars for a worse result in court: forced to pay higher damages and make a more humiliating apology.

But settling the way it did has its own price. Roby Alampay, the executive director of the Southeast Asian Press Alliance, told Agence France-Presse, “This continuing line of major media organizations too quick to offer contrition and money is a sad sight and a persisting insult on legitimate journalism, fair commentary, free speech and the rights that Singaporeans deserve.”

Safire told The American Journalism Review in 1995 that the world’s free press should unite and pull out of Singapore in the face of any new libel action. I think that is what should happen too, but it never has.

That leaves the Times Company with its own choice if another challenge arises. “Singapore is an important market for The International Herald Tribune,” the company told me in a statement. “There are more than 12,000 I.H.T. readers who shouldn’t be deprived of the right to read the paper in print or online. In addition, getting kicked out of Singapore would also make it more difficult for others in the region to get the I.H.T. since we print in Singapore for distribution there and in the neighboring areas.”

Google faced a similar painful dilemma in China. With potentially billions of dollars at risk, it stuck to its principles, and The Times applauded editorially. I think Google set an example for everyone who believes in the free flow of information.

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