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.

Wikileaks: Not all leaks are created equal

My following essay appears today in Online Opinion:

The Obama administration is pursuing Wikileaks and its Australian founder Julian Assange for alleged criminal activity in releasing classified documents.

The US Department of Justice has ordered Twitter to hand over private messages sent by parties close to Wikileaks and the whistle-blower website says that even the more than 600,000 followers of its tweets may be investigated.

Barack Obama is more vigorously chasing leakers than the Bush administration. In early January a former CIA officer was charged with disclosing national security secrets about Iran to a New York Times journalist.

But Washington’s outrage is highly selective. Former US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announced details of his memoir this year and acknowledged that never-before-seen documents, sourced without using traditional freedom of information methods, would be included. Nobody has called for Rumsfeld to be prosecuted and nobody will.

The legal wrangling over Wikileaks will continue for years but the relationship between journalists and governments and reporters and the general public is being transformed in ways that has been rarely examined.

Here’s why it matters so much.

The traditional form of investigative journalism has involved reporters digging around for material on business, government or individuals and then distilling this information into a readable and important story.

Sources are discovered and maintained. Unsuspecting leaks (as well as sanctioned ones) may occur that shed invaluable light.

But through it all, readers would rarely see the background to the news-gathering. All they saw was the final product and assess its worth accordingly.

This unhealthy secrecy is one of the key reasons Assange speaks about scientific journalism, the right of consumers to dig deeper into a yarn. As he wrote in the Australian in December:

“Scientific journalism allows you to read a news story, then to click online to see the original document it is based on. That way you can judge for yourself: Is the story true? Did the journalist report it accurately?”

Despite the mainstream media’s reluctance to reveal its journalistic engine-room, corporate media has been central to launching Wikileaks into the stratosphere. Reporters from a carefully selected number of newspapers and television outlets dissected the cables and only released the angles they thought were important. Wikileaks was not in charge of this process and thus far little more than 3000 out of 250,000 cables have been published.

Judicious care has been shown by both Wikileaks and the media to avoid any potential harm to civilians, a concern perhaps not fully appreciated by Assange with the Iraq and Afghan war logs in 2010.

But where does this leave investigative journalism itself? Middle East correspondent for the Independent Robert Fisk told Al-Jazeera English in late 2010 that the cables made for fascinating reading but risked making the media lazy. Would they simply wait at their computers for the next intriguing cable to drop into their laps? Still nothing beats being on the road and witnessing events in person.

Contributing editor at the Financial Times John Lloyd worries that the sheer volume of Wikileaks documents “reduces investigative journalists to bit players whose job is to redact the output and provide context.”

Perhaps, but journalists should not forget that the alleged leaker, Bradley Manning, didn’t send his treasure trove of documents to the mainstream media but picked a website with a track-record of judiciously disclosing secrets.

Manning’s exact motives are impossible to currently determine but he allegedly told convicted hacker Adrian Lamo in 2010 that the cables contained “almost criminal political back dealings” and had to be exposed to the public.

Media players may have to start getting used to a new form of release; hackers often view complete information transparency as the best way forward. A former collaborator with Assange, Melbourne-based Suelette Dreyfus, wrote in December that the Wikileaks founder had always wanted to “improve the lot of the most oppressed” by “using information which can be replicated endlessly – and cheaply – to promote change for the better.”

As the internet continues to develop, serious journalists have no choice but to appreciate and understand how online communities disseminate information. There are now endless numbers of players willing to share news and a reporter’s job will be to find it and understand its significance. The days of the traditional news drop from a political advisor may be coming to a close; this unhealthy embedding serves nobody except the power and media elites.

Indeed, Wikileaks provided invaluable background to the current turmoil in Egypt and across the Arab world. US diplomats wrote back to Washington that there were concerned with Egyptian bloggers being detained and tortured but the billions of dollars of military aid continued nonetheless. The main concern for the US remains Israel, a message heard loud and clear on the streets of Cairo.

With a majority of Australians according to polls supporting the Wikileaks cable release, politicians and journalists should listen to the wise words of Britain’s independent freedom of information watchdog, Christopher Graham. He recently argued that the relationship between the state and its public has fundamentally changed:

“From the point of view of public scrutiny, the web and the internet has empowered citizens. Governments now need to factor in that things can be Wikileaked…You can’t un-invent Wikileaks. If all of us accept that this is the people’s information and 99.9% should be out there in all its tedium, you wouldn’t have a Wikileaks.”

Attacking Wikileaks for releasing information or claiming the group has revealed nothing new is a predictable tactic of insiders who fear a challenge to the status-quo of cosiness between powerful interests and the media.

We should all celebrate its downfall.

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