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.

Poor little Murdoch hacks don’t like being challenged

Get used to it.

Wendy Bacon, professor of journalism at the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism at the University of Technology, Sydney, writes today that the empire is feeling real pressure for the first time in living memory:

On Thursday, with News Corporation awash in allegations of criminality and failed corporate governance, I sent an email to John Hartigan, the chief executive of its Australian arm, News Limited.

Hartigan was in damage control. He had hastened to reassure local audiences that illegal practices such as phone hacking were not used in Australia and, in order to make sure of this, that he would carry out an independent internal audit of editorial spending.

But that missed a vital point. While no one was suggesting that phone hacking was occurring in our far-from-competitive media scene, News is a vertically and horizontally global media company.

This means that even if you were not a News of the World reader, if you bought News Ltd papers here, you could still read News of the World ”scoops” about, say, the sexual activities of Jude Law, who is now suing The Sun and News of the World for hacking his phone.

News Ltd papers in Australia had continued to draw on News of the World stories even after the phone hacking scandal became a serious issue.

This was just one issue I had in mind when I emailed Hartigan some questions. They included: Do you consider that bias by newspapers in cities where only one company owns a newspaper could ever be an issue? How do you monitor whether fair means of reporting the news are being applied across the company? What auditing or monitoring mechanisms do you apply? Are there occasions when you do take up matters of bias with editors? Do you think that it would be a good idea if the Australian Press Council became an independent body with funding from both media and other sources, including government?

I received this reply:

”Your bias against our organisation over many years and the errors and omissions in your recent New Matilda piece renders your right to answers from me completely redundant. It is deeply troubling to me and to all of our editors that someone like you has any role in teaching young journalists in Australia.”

Hartigan did not elaborate on my errors or omissions. Nor, to my knowledge, has he pointed these out to online magazine New Matilda (which has a policy of publishing corrections).

But it seems an extraordinary and evasive response from a media organisation which daily seeks answers and information from people big and small, powerful and powerless, in the name of the public’s ”right to know”. Some might also say that it illustrates a bullying mindset that has grown in a too-powerful media organisation that owns more than 70 per cent of this country’s newspapers.

4 comments ↪
  • Hartigan can squeal, but the fact remains that in all probability, if the Murdoch tabloids in Australia didn't hack phones it was only because it was done for them in London and they just used the tainted stories.

    What still remains to be explained is the toxic influence peddling by Murdoch in Australian politics, which we should regard as intolerable along with the phoney climate denial stuff and Zionist propaganda they are pushing.

  • Gederts Skerstens

    The Murdoch Press shows what The Most of Us want.
    It's not Antony's or Wendy's brief to tell the Most of Us what that should be.
    Remember who pays you. You produce bugger-all. Someone else, producing something, pays your bills. Wendy's nicely dressed and Antony has the time to appear anywhere, anytime, to Yap Away. Paid by someone else.
    Namely, the Most of Us. Enjoy it.

  • paul walter

    Had a tanty. Someone like Bacon would be his worst nightmare, at mo. A Dateline segment tonight had some sad stories indeed about it.
    Pitiless bastards.

  • patriciawa

    Even without a strong interest in media and News Ltd's overwhelming influence in this country surely anyone watching Hartigan on 7.30 recenty would have found his protestations of probity and objectivity suspect. They were clearly laughable, when in almost the same breath he talked of the need for newspapers to call governments to account and cited the BER scandal as an example of good work done!

    Good news reporting? Suggest a whiff of scandal, investigate, find a spark of a story, blow it up into bush fire proportions and use it to bring down a government or destroy a career. I mix my metaphors there deliberately, thinking of both the BER and the Victorian bush fires. On the latter, with hindsight, I could believe News Ltd capable of hacking into Christine Nixon's voice mail to check out her daily itinerary.