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.

Britain’s Murdochcracy (just got worse)

Money buys power, again:

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation empire was yesterday given Government approval to take full control of BSkyB, a decision that was derided as a “whitewash” by media rivals and “cavalier” by political opponents.

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt had previously said he was minded to refer the proposed £8bn deal to the competition authorities, but changed his mind after News Corp offered to spin off Sky News into an independent company to appease concerns over a lack of media plurality. Mr Hunt claimed the spin-off, which will see the news channel being given its own independent chairman and board to guarantee its editorial integrity, was a “welcome step forward”.

He told MPs: “Throughout this process I have been very aware of the potential controversy surrounding this merger. Nothing is more precious to me than the free and independent press for which this country is famous the world over.”

But this cut little ice with Mr Murdoch’s commercial rivals, who claimed that the Sky News arrangement was “pure window dressing”. An alliance of companies that includes the publishers of The Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, Daily Mirror and The Guardian said: “It has been well-documented by former Murdoch editors that arrangements of this kind, including those put in place to protect the independence of The Sunday Times and The Times, have proved wholly ineffective.”

Ivan Lewis, the Shadow Culture Secretary, linked the approval of the deal to the recent choice of the former Conservative Party chairman Lord Patten as the next chairman of the BBC, BSkyB’s broadcasting rival. “This process has exposed an arrogant government, cavalier about its responsibility to be impartial and contemptuous of the importance of transparency in circumstances where there is a high level of public mistrust,” he said.

The Independent editorialises about what the Tory government has just done; endorsed unfettered corporate media power and shoddy “journalism”. How many more wars can we support today, daddy Rupert?

Promises of good behaviour from some media organisations might be credible. But we should remember the nature of Mr Murdoch’s empire. The News of the World appears to have been at the centre of a massive and illegal phone-hacking operation. According to the Labour MP Tom Watson, speaking in the Commons yesterday, journalists employed at other Murdoch titles might have been involved in this, too. Fox News, the Murdoch-owned US channel, is a virulently right-wing broadcaster that has contributed to the disastrous polarisation of the political discourse across the Atlantic. News Corp simply does not merit the benefit of the doubt.

The proposed arrangement also ignores the primary objection to the bid: the power in respect of advertising sales that it will afford News Corp across its range of different media platforms, giving the company a market position that can only be regarded as anti-competitive. At a time when the newspaper industry in particular is experiencing unprecedented pressure on revenues, it could have a catastrophic impact on other publications. Furthermore, News Corp will be able to “bundle” online subscriptions to its newspapers in special offers when BSkyB customers renew their satellite packages – and there would also be scope for intensive cross-promotion of News Corp titles. It all adds up to an advantage for Mr Murdoch’s media empire that verges on the monopolistic.

It does not require a conspiracy theorist to detect something fishy about this meeting of minds between News Corp and the Government. In opposition, Mr Hunt enthusiastically praised Mr Murdoch’s entrepreneurial skills. David Cameron hired a disgraced former News Corp editor, Andy Coulson, to be his director of communications. And Mr Murdoch’s newspapers all threw their weight behind the Conservatives in last year’s election. Mr Hunt’s agreement to allow News Corp to skip past regulatory hurdles as it accrues still greater market power looks uncomfortably like political payback.

one comment ↪
  • ej

    'guarantee its editorial integrity'.

    ah yes.

    The Murdoch dynasty rivalling the Zios for the ultimate in chutzpah-ity.