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.

Sydney’s Daily Telegraph on big Sydney Wikileaks rally

Today’s big rally for Wikileaks in Sydney (I think around 2000 people were there) saw a wide cross section of people outraged with the intimidation of Wikileaks and Julian Assange and the Gillard government’s capitulation to American demands. I spoke and chaired the event. This story appears in the Daily Telegraph:

Protestors today converged on Sydney’s town hall demanding that the Gillard government protect Australian-born Wikileaks frontman Julian Assange in the first offline mass action in the country since “cablegate” broke.

The message from the handful of speakers to the 1200-strong crowd, from Greens MPs through to an American businessman, was simple: the Australian government needs to do a better job in protecting citizens abroad and Wikileaks is critical for the democracy both here and internationally.

Independent journalist and author Antony Loewenstein said Prime Minister Julia Gillard had to condemn the death threats on Mr Assange’s life and should support the besieged whistleblower with as much government assistance as possible.

“We should not make the mistakes that we made with David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib,” Mr Loewenstein said today.

And he questioned just how much the Australian government is independent of the US after leaks this week revealed that Labor senator Mark Arbib was an American informant.

“Are we independent or are we a client state of the US?” he said to the cheers of the crowd.

Get Up’s Sam Mclean, one of a number of political groups represented in the crowd, said that in just 12 hours close to 50,000 people had donated a total of almost $250,000 to buy advertisements in the New York Times supporting Mr Assange.

“We want to make a statement to our allies in the States that the Australian people support Wikileaks,” Mr Mclean said.

“We are buying full-page ads in the New York Times because our government has failed to represent us.”

Former Get Up CEO Brett Solomon will appear on the Bill O’Reilly show today in the US taking Get Up’s message to conservative America, Mr Mclean said.

Greens senate-elect Lee Rhiannon said: “Right now our government should be celebrating the work of Julian Assange.”

But Ms Rhiannon said the government had instead engaged in sycophantic behaviour in claiming that Wikileaks had broken the law but could not say which laws had been broken.

“The government is big on sharing information on MySchool and MyHospital but not on My Government,” she said.

Melbourne-run website WL Central moderator Asher Wolf said recently the site had received 1.9 million hits per day as interest in the diplomatic cables had spiked.

However, she said that US government talk of listing Mr Assange and Wikileaks associates as terrorists was effectively a death threat against her and her colleagues.

During the speeches an elderly man made his way onto the town hall’s steps and held up a series of signs in support of free speech.

However, he drifted off topic with one anti-gay sign sparking an angry response from one member of the crowd who tore the placard off him and tore it up.

2 comments ↪
  • Glenn Condell

    Nice to meet you yesterday Antony.

    It was a fair crowd given the lack of coverage in the media prior to the event (nothing in the SMH today either, so far as I can see online) Even union and SRC types I know at Uni were unaware the day before that it was on. There was therefore more than a smattering of the usual suspects, such as the old cockatoo with the signs and the Green Left and Socialists, etc.

    All good but better would be some cardigans and a bit of blue rinse. The outrage and fear in that cohort definitely exists but if a protest is not mentioned in the Herald, or on 702 or GMA or whatever, they simply don't know about it and all that useful anger dissipates thru phone conversations and over the fence. This issue is not yet at the level, like Iraq was in Feb 03, where the media's stalling tactics could not contain an eruption of public feeling, nor does it hit hot-button issues for large ethnic communities a la Gaza. In these cases, large numbers of innocent people had either just died via imperial violence we officially supported, or were just about to. The Wikileaks button is very important but not yet very hot.

    One reason for this is that the revelations thus far have been, to my mind, a little underwhelming. The reaction of course has been overwhelming, but I wonder if that's due more to what hasn't yet been revealed than what has. Really, much of the outrage that the isue has generated in people like me is due more to the reaction than the leaks themselves.

    As I said somewhere else recently, Assange is the anti-Obama. Obama, surely history's greatest disappointment, sailed into office powered by the goodwill of people who believed his promise of change, a promise he never intended to keep. Had there been any real intention to change, he would either have (a) not been plucked from obscurity by wealthy kingmakers, or (b) had a fatal air accident by now. He is a playa, not a game changer.

    Assange by contrast is one of history's more useful surprises. He is actually effecting change; he has generated massive global coverage recently (would Obama or even Oprah have had as many mentions on the info superhighway this last month?) and in so doing sowed seeds in millions of minds worldwide, seeds that will grow into an informed distrust of government and media that may in myriad minor ways over time alter the currently unhealthy balance of power in our society.

    The black windbag can strike a pose and chunter on with the best of them but there is nothing inside him; no goals, only calculations. The albino misfit can never claim the laurels Obama seems to exist for (maybe a posthumous Nobel some decades down the track?) but may in the end leave a far greater mark on the history of human civilisation on this planet. Obama will, like the captain of the Titanic, be remembered more for the unfortunate timing of his tenure than for anything he actually did. In fact, he'll probably be remembered more for what he DIDN'T do.

    While Obama is doing a very passable Manchurian Candidate impression, Assange reminds me a bit of Max Headroom, V for Vendetta, Network… but what he really is is 'the little guy', that popular and much abused concept so central to the structure of the American dream. The beleaguered but brave nobody who takes on entrenched privilege and power, a la Mr Smith Goes to Washington. Americans can't see the irony of course, happy to ignore Assange's courage in favour of tropes (terrorist, anti-American, leftist etc) fed them by the very government/media power nexus Wikileaks attacks.

    Sorry, haven't visited in a while, then hog the mike. Keep it going Antony, great job yesterday under occasionally trying circumstances.

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