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.

Is Qatar unduly affecting al-Jazeera’s clarity?

Al-Jazeera is a truly unique news service that covers the world in a way that no other global network does.

However, there is always a risk when the major sourcing of funding is a Middle East dictatorship:

Qatar is using the Arabic news channel al-Jazeera as a bargaining chip in foreign policy negotiations by adapting its coverage to suit other foreign leaders and offering to cease critical transmissions in exchange for major concessions, US embassy cables released by WikiLeaks claim.

The memos flatly contradict al-Jazeera’s insistence that it is editorially independent despite being heavily subsidised by the Gulf state.

They will also be intensely embarrassing to Qatar, which last week controversially won the right to host the 2022 World Cup after presenting itself as the most open and modern Middle Eastern state.

In the past, the emir of Qatar has publicly refused US requests to use his influence to temper al-Jazeera’s reporting.

But a cable written in November 2009 predicted that the station could be used “as a bargaining tool to repair relationships with other countries, particularly those soured by al-Jazeera’s broadcasts, including the United States” over the next three years.

Doha-based al-Jazeera was launched in 1996 and has become the most watched satellite television station in the Middle East. It has been seen by many as relatively free and open in its coverage of the region, but government control over its reporting appears to US diplomats to be so direct that they said the channel’s output had become “part of our bilateral discussions – as it has been to favourable effect between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and other countries”.

In February, the US embassy reported to Washington how “relations [between Qatar and Saudi Arabia] are generally improving after Qatar toned down criticism of the Saudi royal family on al-Jazeera”. In July 2009, the US embassy said the channel “has proved itself a useful tool for the station’s political masters“.

In one dispatch, the US ambassador, Joseph LeBaron, reported that the Qatari prime minister, Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, had joked in an interview that al-Jazeera had caused the Gulf state such headaches that it might be better to sell it. But the ambassador remarked: “Such statements must not be taken at face value.” He went on: “Al-Jazeera’s ability to influence public opinion throughout the region is a substantial source of leverage for Qatar, one which it is unlikely to relinquish. Moreover, the network can also be used as a chip to improve relations. For example, al-Jazeera’s more favourable coverage of Saudi Arabia’s royal family has facilitated Qatari-Saudi reconciliation over the past year.”

Although LeBaron noted that the station’s coverage of the Middle East was “relatively free and open”, he added: “Despite GOQ protestations to the contrary, al-Jazeera remains one of Qatar’s most valuable political and diplomatic tools.”

US allegations of manipulation of al-Jazeera’s content for political ends also contradict Qatar’s claim to support a free press. “The Qatari government claims to champion press freedom elsewhere, but generally does not tolerate it at home,” the US embassy said after the French director of the Doha Centre for Media Freedom resigned in June 2009, citing restrictions on the centre’s freedom to operate.

In a clear example of the regional news channel being exploited for political ends, the Doha embassy claimed Sheikh Hamad (HBJ) told the US senator John Kerry that he had proposed a bargain with the Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, which involved stopping broadcasts in Egypt in exchange for a change in Cairo’s position on Israel-Palestinian negotiations.

“HBJ had told Mubarak ‘we would stop al-Jazeera for a year’ if he agreed in that span of time to deliver a lasting settlement for the Palestinians,” according to a confidential cable from the US embassy in Doha in February. “Mubarak said nothing in response, according to HBJ.”

The US has benefitted, too. “Anecdotal evidence suggests, and former al-Jazeera board members have affirmed, that the United States has been portrayed more positively since the advent of the Obama administration,” a cable in November 2009 said. “We expect that trend to continue and to further develop as US-Qatari relations improve.”

In 2001 the emir, Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, refused a US request to stop al-Jazeera giving so much airtime to Osama bin Laden and other anti-American figures, saying: “Parliamentary life requires you to have a free and credible media, and that is what we are trying to do.

“Al-Jazeera is one of the most widely watched [TV stations] in the Arab world because of its editorial independence.” The Gulf state has frequently held up al-Jazeera as evidence of its relative openness. The independent Visit Qatar website states: “What makes al-Jazeera such a unique channel in the Middle East is its editorial independence.

“This has been seen by many as evidence that Qatar is one of the region’s more liberal and democratic countries, and one which provides freedom of press and speech.”

Qatar maintains a working relationship with Iran, and the US embassy was concerned by the lack of al-Jazeera coverage of the civil unrest in Iran after the disputed presidential election in the summer of 2009.

“Al-Jazeera’s coverage of the Iranian election and its aftermath has been scanty by comparison to other hot topics in the region, such as Gaza,” reported the embassy at the time.

Al-Jazeera “has proved itself a useful tool for the station’s political masters”, the cables said.

Local media are also affected by government interference. “Over the past three [visits] we have assessed as steady the lack of overall media freedom in Qatar,” the November cable said.

“Although overt and official censorship is not present, self and discreet official censorship continue to render Qatari domestic media tame and ineffective.”

Al-Jazeera last night denied the claims. A spokesman for the station said: “This is the US embassy’s assessment, and it is very far from the truth. Despite all the pressure al-Jazeera has been subjected to by regional and international governments, it has never changed its bold editorial policies which remain guided by the principles of a free press.” The embassy of Qatar in London declined to comment on the story last night.

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