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.

Defending Wikileaks faces Oprah-obsessed police force

Today’s rally for Wikileaks in Sydney was a success, apart from the excessively brutal police force seemingly determined to not allow citizens the right to protest in the streets.

Before the event itself, the Sydney Morning Herald reported under the misleading headline, “We’ll march anyway; Wikileaks protesters to defy police” – suggesting the police were completely correct to oppose the holding of the event – and the story included this:

According to the Facebook page, the rally will be addressed by Mr [NSW Greens MP David] Shoebridge, independent journalist Wendy Bacon and author Antony Loewenstein.

Mr Loewenstein, a spokesman for the rally, accused police of having ulterior motives for denying the protest.

“We have been given the reasons [for denying the protest], yes, but we don’t accept them,” he said.

“We feel the real reasons [for police denying the protest] could be rather that they might be overwhelmed with the Oprah circus in town and they don’t want the embarrassment for the Gillard government while the international media is in town.

“We have a democratic right to protest and we will do so at Town Hall at 5.30pm today.”

Mr Loewenstein said the protest was planned to be peaceful, but could not rule out possible violence.

“Look, you know … it is planned to [be] a peaceful protest … but what they, the police do, well that’s up to them,” he said.

The rally took place (roughly 800 people attended), we all spoke and then the crowd wanted to march. A number of people tell me that the police were overly aggressive and keen to provoke the crowd. State-sponsored thugs, in reality:

Protesters have clashed with police at a rally in central Sydney in support of the WikiLeaks website and its jailed founder Julian Assange.

About 70 officers, including mounted police and the riot squad, tried to keep the crowd of several hundred people on the footpath.

The protesters marched down busy George Street alongside a wall of police, chanting slogans and waving banners reading “Hands off WikiLeaks” and “We deserve the truth”.

But when some of them tried to run on to the road, police stepped in and made a number of arrests.

The crowd reacted angrily and continued to march to Martin Place, where another arrest was made.

Police allege one man punched an officer and three protesters tried to block traffic at an intersection.

The man has been charged with assaulting police and the trio have been released with a penalty notice.

Greens MP David Shoebridge, who was among the protesters, says police could have handled the situation better.

“There were two ways the police could have dealt with it,” he said.

“They could have worked with the organisers and there would have been a peaceful march to the consulate.

“The police refused to give permission to the organisers and instead there was a confrontation on the streets caused by that police intransigence.”

Police say the protesters were refused permission to march through the city because the mandatory five days’ notice was not given.

Inspector Chris Craner says police had a deal with the organisers that the protesters stick to the footpath.

“From the outset we’ve had a bit of non-compliance in relation to the issue of the scheduled one (march),” he said.

“We’ve been in negotiations with them, some of the organisers have been quite fine to talk to.

“There’s always a crowd of people who try and disrupt certain events. Some people are here purely for a peaceful protest which is what we’re happy with, we’ve facilitated that. Those that play up, end up being arrested.”

But activist Pip Hinman says the protesters staged a peaceful rally and did not disrupt peak-hour traffic.

“The police I saw were grabbing people from the footpath. They were pulling people onto the street. At the same time they let out their dogs from their vans and that’s where I saw a few people getting dragged away,” she said.

She says they were trying to send a message to Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

“It was a message to Julia Gillard that Julian Assange is not a criminal,” she said.

“If any charges have been laid, he has a right to have them heard in a court of law and not be tried by governments and the media.”

Meanwhile, about 600 people protested in support of WikiLeaks in Melbourne, marching along Swanston Street to the British consulate.

Police say the protest was peaceful and no arrests were made.

Let’s not forget the main reason people are protesting. Defending Wikileaks and its right to publish important information for the public good.

4 comments ↪
  • Aaron

    I'm glad the Sydney crowd were angry. They understand what's at stake.

    Gillard would do well to consider her position and start supporting Assange – and I mean REALLY supporting him, by fighting the inevitable US attempt to have him extradited – before the entire ALP base defects to the Greens. As is, Gillard looks set to do to her party what Meg Lees did to the Democrats over the GST – utterly alienate the base.

  • Wendy Bacon

    The whole police language of "schedule one" protests, rules about 5 days notice let alone the use of horses to initially try to stop any sort of march at all, demonstrates we have moved a long way from having a right to assembly and protest. Is it surprising that people would feel angry about this?  I guess people are accepted to acquiesce to the this as normal, in the same way as we are supposed to get used to the daily spin and lies that Wikileaks exposes.

    Listening to the result of the bail case this morning and the decision of the Swedish government to appeal, surely noone now thinks that the Swedes are treating this sexual assault case like any other case. Even the conditions would seem onerous, let alone the Swedish prosecutor's decision to appeal. Sweden, as the first country to guarantee freedom to information, is disappointing many people.

     

    BTW you did a great job chairing the rally, Antony.

     

  • Ross

    I look forward to the day when Australia will have an independent foreign policy. When will we ever stop being toadies to the Americans and dragged into their immoral wars.

    As it is our politicians are worse than Hamid Karzai. At least he os a puppet that is willing to disagree openly with the Americans who pay him

  • paul walter

    What sad deterioration in NSW politics over the last generation and how spectacular the magnitude of the deterioration of Labor.

    Altho, some might like to point out events back in the good ol days, re Askin then the Wrandalism of NSW politics, Goannas and the like.

    Once again it seems, everything stays the same and nothing  remains the same.