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.

Classic example of how not to undermine serious human rights reporting

The role of the mainstream media in reporting hard news while also taking compromising advertising is an intriguing one. The Guardian recently discovered this and mis-fired badly. To its credit, they’ve now run this strong piece by Chris Elliot, the Readers Editor:

Sri Lanka‘s civil war, in which tens of thousands of people were killed over a period of 26 years, ended just three years ago. Since then Sri Lanka has been fending off allegations of human rights abuses against its Tamil population to restore its image around the world. Both faces of the country were on show on the same day in the Guardian in what many readers thought was at best a bizarre juxtaposition and at worst an example of crassness or hypocrisy.

A front-page story on 6 June, under the headline “Tamils deported to Sri Lanka being tortured, victim claims“, laid out detailed allegations that Britain is forcibly deporting asylum seekers who are then tortured in Sri Lanka.

Much of the detail was provided by the testimony of one man who claims he was left scarred and suicidal after a two-week ordeal. The former member of the Tamil Tigers’ intelligence service said he was tortured by Sri Lankan security personnel after the Home Office deported him and two dozen other asylum seekers in June 2011. He escaped by bribing his guards, and again fled to London, where he is making another claim for asylum.

Publication of his story – which turned to page 6, accompanied by a graphic picture of the scars on his back – followed a high court decision a week before that halted the deportation of 40 people to Sri Lanka at the last minute, citing human rights concerns. Later that day, Mahinda Rajapaksa, the country’s president, had to cancel a speech in the City of London after concerns about the threat of large demonstrations by Tamil rights groups.

It was a powerful story, which was why readers were puzzled when they found a 24-page supplement on Sri Lanka funded by the country’s government distributed with the same issue. The supplement’s producers ran the following disclaimer down the side of its front-page illustration: “An independent supplement distributed in the Guardian on behalf of The Report Company, who takes sole responsibility for its content. Our sponsors have no control over the content of this editorially-led supplement.”

The headline on the front cover is “Sri Lanka. Asia’s next wonder?”, and the supplement’s clear focus is – unsurprisingly – to promote the country. The civil war is addressed. The first feature, headlined “The place to be”, suggests in a standfirst that “after three years of peace, old wounds are beginning to heal”. President Rajapaksa was interviewed for the supplement, and in it he talks of being able to convince the world in the next few years that “Sri Lanka is truly the emerging wonder of Asia”.

Human rights issues are also addressed. GL Peiris, Sri Lanka’s minister of external affairs, “bemoans a ‘very sharp, almost obsessive focus on the human rights issue'” that he says is driven by the influential Sri Lankan diaspora and what the author of the article calls “a sometimes sensationalist media”.

As one reader put it: “Wonderful juxtaposition of today’s page one headline … and the front cover of your special supplement … Serendipity or what?”

one comment ↪
  • examinator

    Antony,
    Messy but a ' free' media IS messy. Yes they should have put the disclaimer on it. Was that deliberate or not? We all have our own treasured biases. Having worked in a large pressure driven environment and witness to several 'shit happens' human oopses and based on the information available, I am not convinced either way.
    "To err is human but to really Screw up you need a computer and a bureaucracy/ big organization under pressure". At it's BEST MSM can be likened to a Sack Race where each racing sack contains all the members of their organisation….organised chaos!
    Notwithstanding, it does raise the my favourite Media grissle i.e. That the media's primary function is to make a profit. NOT to inform.
    This emphasis on profit first, simply means that it is vulnerable to he/she/it that has the most money can/does have the biggest say.
    Like Cruise's Character that yells "show me the money" and the whisper of history's "there goes the power".
    Look at Australia's joke for its MSM.