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.

Of course Wikileaks matters, profoundly

While the New York Times releases a book about Wikileaks and editor Bill Keller feels the need to smear Julian Assange while saying how much he loves America, Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger is far more nuanced in his explanation of the relationship between corporate media and Wikileaks:

The challenge from WikiLeaks for media in general (not to mention states, companies or global corporations caught up in the dazzle of unwanted scrutiny) was not a comfortable one. The website’s initial instincts were to publish more or less everything, and they were at first deeply suspicious of any contact between their colleagues on the newspapers and any kind of officialdom. Talking to the State Department, Pentagon or White House, as the New York Times did before each round of publication, was fraught territory in terms of keeping the relationship with WikiLeaks on an even keel. By the time of the Cablegate publication, Assange himself, conscious of the risks of causing unintentional harm to dissidents or other sources, offered to speak to the State Department – an offer that was rejected.

WikiLeaks and similar organisations are, it seems to me, generally admirable in their single minded view of transparency and openness. What has been remarkable is how the sky has not fallen in despite the truly enormous amounts of information released over the months. The enemies of WikiLeaks have made repeated assertions of the harm done by the release. It would be a good idea if someone would fund some rigorous research by a serious academic institution about the balance between harms and benefits. To judge from the response we had from countries without the benefit of a free press, there was a considerable thirst for the information in the cables – a hunger for knowledge which contrasted with the occasional knowing yawns from metropolitan sophisticates who insisted that the cables told us nothing new. Instead of a kneejerk stampede to more secrecy, this could be the opportunity to draw up a score sheet of the upsides and drawbacks of forced transparency.

2 comments ↪
  • Art Brennan

    Of course WikiLeaks matters.  In fact, I find it hard to imagine what it would be like if there were no Wikileaks.  I am a US veteran, and a retired judge.  I worked in Baghdad as the director of the short-lived Office of Accountability and Transparency (OAT).  I learned quickly that the US State Department and the Department of Justice ( to say nothing of the Department of Defense) routinely and as a matter of policy misinform the American people about the their inexcusable negligence, corruption and murder of our own soldiers as well as tens of thousands of innocent civilians who have had the misfortune to stand too close to American "interests."  I am happy that WikiLeaks and some conscientious young American soldiers have brought by own inside experience with these US agencies to all of the world, particularly to Americans.  I hope the WikiLeaks gets the Nobel Peace Prize.  Its work toward transparency, truth and peace is certainly head and shoulders over anything President ("moving forward") Obama has done.

  • JOHN CANDIDO

    Just to show you how much a political retard I am, my first impression of Wikileaks is one that mirrored the political elites of western nation-states.  I thought that it was irresponsible and potentially dangerous for undercover operatives.  I really don't have a clue when it comes to politics.  I am quite slow to hit the mark at times, and this is one of them. 

    As a teenager, I immensely disliked the Vietnam War, but in hindsight I think that I lived pretty mindlessly throughout the Vietnam War era, and had a vague memory of Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers until Wikileaks was unleashed, forever changing the global political landscape.  I think I preferred pop music and other diversions I suppose, without trying to pillory them. 

    It was only after a grass-roots movement of support for Wikileaks and Julian Assange developed around the world, as well as the support of John Pilger and others that I started to appreciate this issue a little deeper.  I think that Guardian editor Alan Rusbringer's suggestion for an academic analysis of the positives and negatives of Wikileaks' impact on democratic and non-democratic governance, is a very good idea, and needs to be vigorously pursued by interested academics.