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.

Journalism in the age of a Syrian civil war

What’s the role of a reporter in such a conflict? To provide context, as much hard news as possible and not be taken in totally by any side. Scepticism rules. Interesting piece in the New York Times:

Even when his country was not convulsed by war, President Bashar al-Assad of Syria rarely gave televised interviews to foreigners. His session with Barbara Walters in December was a public relations disaster. So it seemed surprising a few weeks ago when Mr. Assad granted another Westerner a face-to-face chat on camera.

This time, however, the questions were posed by Jürgen Todenhöfer of Germany, a 71-year-old writer and former judge, publishing executive and onetime member of Parliament. Unlike Ms. Walters, he is known in his country as an outspoken antiwar advocate and a critic of Western policy toward the Muslim and Arab worlds. And he has castigated Western press coverage of the Syrian conflict, calling it unfairly hostile to Mr. Assad and overly sympathetic to his enemies.

Rejecting accusations by critics that he had given Mr. Assad a propaganda platform, Mr. Todenhöfer said he saw the interview as an opportunity for Mr. Assad to explain himself. “They said, ‘You speak to dictators,’ ” he said. “I thought it was important that we listen to this guy, whether we hate him or not.”

In the interview, broadcast last month, Mr. Assad expressed a willingness to talk to adversaries if they were also willing, and he conceded that his military could have handled the early phases of the uprising less harshly. But as before, he did not acknowledge the legitimacy of those seeking to depose him. He also referred to all armed opponents as terrorists and accused other Arab countries, and the United States, of abetting them with weapons and supplies.

Less than two weeks later, insurgents struck at the heart of Mr. Assad’s inner circle, assassinating four high-ranking aides, including his defense minister, in a Damascus bombing. Mr. Assad has barely been seen or heard from since.

Speaking by telephone from Munich, his home, Mr. Todenhöfer said the Syrian conflict had been distorted by half-truths and fictions — much of it, in his opinion, by the opposition figures who want the world to see Mr. Assad as a butcher. “Lying is the most effective weapon in wars,” he said.

He had interviewed Mr. Assad once before, on a trip to Syria in late 2011, and had written in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, a major German newspaper, that he believed Mr. Assad could achieve a peaceful transition to democracy because he “still holds the authority among the majority of the population.”

Now, Mr. Todenhöfer conceded, such an outcome no longer seemed possible. “There is something which is changing now in Syria; for me it is a terrible tragedy,” he said, adding, “a classic tragedy without a clear solution.”

Many others disagree. At a debate organized by the German weekly newsmagazine Der Spiegel in late July, after the Assad interview was broadcast, Christoph Reuter, Der Spiegel’s veteran Syria correspondent, called Mr. Todenhöfer’s conclusions absurd and also rejected his view that Mr. Assad is interested in compromise. “Real negotiations would be the downfall of his regime,” Mr. Reuter said, “and Assad knows it.”

Mr. Todenhöfer faulted Mr. Reuter and other Western journalists for what he called their willingness to accept the rebel narrative, with its uncorroborated casualty reports, unverified videos of destruction and anonymous witnesses to atrocities by soldiers and thuggish militiamen. “I criticize their disinformation campaigns and their dreadful ‘massacre marketing,’ ” he said.

Mr. Todenhöfer’s televised session with Mr. Assad, which lasted nearly 20 minutes, was taped at the presidential palace and broadcast July 7 on ARD, a public service network in Germany.

Mr. Assad’s aides knew his interview “would be hard,” he said. “They know I’m critical, but I also criticize the atrocities of the rebels.”

 

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