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.

My #LeftTurn chapter on media complicity in war post 9/11

This appears in Crikey’s Pure Poison blog today:

Following is an extract from “Media War Junkies Unite”, an essay by Antony Loewenstein from Left Turn: Political essays for the new Left which is edited by Loewenstein and Jeff Sparrow, and which was released last week.

***


The decade since 11 September 2001 has seen a litany of western journalists, editors, writers, opinion makers and politicians, many on the progressive Left, endorse a neoconservative worldview that required massive American military might. ‘Liberal hawks’ spruiked toughness. They preached eternal vigilance after the terror attacks in New York and Washington and spent the following years hyping threat after threat. First it was Afghanistan. Then Iraq. Yemen and Pakistan were in their sights. Add Somalia, Syria, Gaza and Iran.

They opined without responsibility and reputations that should have been diminished, but because of their endless credulity towards official claims continued to be published and respected. Take Christopher Hitchens, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman or the Sydney Morning Herald’s Gerard Henderson—who praised the ‘Coalition of the Willing’ in March 2011 for creating ‘nascent democracy’ in Iraq. Three prominent commentators whose standing hasn’t been negatively affected by years of amplifying government spin over the ‘terror threat’ and downplaying civilian casualties. There are many others.

This has occurred precisely because of a journalistic and political culture that rewards loyalty to an establishment class without accountability. It allows the Australian to editorialise in late 2010 that former US president George W Bush should be respected because of the ‘achievement’ of the Iraq war. ‘It was a war for democracy’, readers were informed, though ‘the price its people paid is very high’. That’s how the death of over one million Iraqis became a mere footnote. Liberal Party senator Nick Minchin could merely muster the claim of ‘debacle’ for the war when speaking to the Senate in 2010.

Half-hearted mea culpas about being ‘wrong’ about the Iraq war were the extent of some commentators’ regret over the mess the invasion created. Laying the intellectual groundwork for the invasion and occupation contributed to an atmosphere, even years after 2003, where Baghdad remains a deeply polluted city and electricity levels lag at pre-war levels. Millions of external and internal Iraqi refugees remain displaced.

Today Tehran is in the cross-hairs of Tel Aviv and Washington; the same media courtiers are working hard to rehash suspect WMD ‘intelligence’ and unnamed US ‘officials’ are claiming Iran is on the verge of attacking American cities. It is as if the last decade never happened. Understanding the reasons behind this media reality requires an appreciation of how mainstream journalism, from the BBC in the United Kingdom to Fairfax in Australia, has historically been willing to sacrifice independence for access to power. A favourable quote from an MP here. A sanctioned leak from a ministerial adviser there. An exclusive interview with a leader or advance notice of an important policy for tomorrow’s lead story.

Perhaps the most forthright appraisal of why scepticism after September 11 disappeared was expressed by former executive editor of the New York Times, Bill Keller, who soon after stepping down to become an opinion columnist for the paper in September 2011 wrote ‘My Unfinished 9/11 Business’. He argued that the ‘exclusive boy’s club’ of which he was part—middle-aged men who ferociously championed the Bush administration’s rush to war against Iraq—were ‘drugged by testosterone. And maybe a little too pleased with ourselves for standing up to evil and defying the caricature of liberals as … brie-eating surrender monkeys.’

Reporting in the post-9/11 decade has revealed a media class that has too often not been a check on power but an enabler of it. Bringing accountability will require a fundamental rethinking of the role of language and intent. It makes independent journalism all the more important but its funding remains limited. Until an embedded mindset is excised and a critical posture adopted, we are guaranteed to see yet more wars in the name of eradicating terrorism and ‘protecting’ the homeland.

one comment ↪
  • examinator

    I am often bemused, sometimes amused but more often simply annoyed by 'journalists' and their inferred claim that, by simply being one they or fellow journalists' opinions ARE the NEWS. That some how THEIR OPINIONS/ Perspectives are worthy of discussion.
    At issue here are the opinions of some of the more well known. Call me weird or something else but frankly a degree in journalism doesn't necessarily make the bearer's insights (?) any more significant that other people's. That same degree in 'journalism' doesn't render the holder an expert in all matters particularly specialised ones . ( Christopher Monckton is a prime example) In fact it only means that the holder has had training on how to write an article and how best to present it so it's clear concise and cogent.
    Simply put why is say Christopher Hitchins et al opinions on the validity of the Iraq, Afghanistan war as valid or more That of Noam Chomsky's ? I think not! ( when was the last time you saw him or read his thinking on such issues in the MSM? See http://www.alternet.org/world/155712/chomsky%3A_a…? ) Frankly witty and clever they may have been but he was like most journalists more entertainment, bias than substance. I think not!
    Popularity , or clever argument are not interchangeable with wisdom, truth proportion and context. The latter being the most often omitted or perverted. I'll come clean I think Context is 80% of the meaning of a story.
    Nothing happens in a vacuum… human events are forced by factors ..they don't just happen.
    In context 911 was a tragedy but the USA's actions made something like that inevitable. By way of proportion 40000 people are killed on the roads each year in the US why haven't the people declared war on the vehicle manufacturers demanding a better (safer) product? They could win that one.
    I'm afraid I'm a media heretic I look for substance not what most journalists/editors dish up. In answer to the article I find words like 'who cares' come to mind. A poor argument is the still the same no matter who proffered it. likewise a wise or sound one doesn't depend on its originator.