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.

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.

Jean-Luc Godard teaches #ZeroDarkThirty 200 things about torture

The recently released US film about the capture and killing Osama Bin Laden, Zero Dark Thirty, was rightly condemned, including by me, as a fanciful examination of the “war on terror” with a dodgy moral centre.

Richard Brody, writing in the New Yorker, responds:

In 1960, France was embroiled in the Algerian war, in which some of its soldiers tortured prisoners (mainly Muslims) suspected of involvement in the pro-independence militancy, while agents waged a dirty war against Algeria’s advocates in Europe. Against this backdrop, Jean-Luc Godard made his second feature film, “Le Petit Soldat” (“The Little Soldier”), whose story centers on a planned extrajudicial assassination and depicts the practice of torture, at length and in detail.

Like “Zero Dark Thirty,” the film’s protagonist is a secret agent on the hunt for terrorists and their sympathizers. Like “Zero Dark Thirty,” many incidents in the film were based on real-life events (though there’s no title card stating as much). Like “Zero Dark Thirty,” the movie proved controversial—not least with the French government, which banned the movie outright both in France and internationally (the latter accomplished by threatening to bar Godard, a Swiss citizen, from France and the film’s producer, Georges de Beauregard, from the movie industry altogether if it were shown outside the country). “Le Petit Soldat” (which arrives this Friday at Film Forum, in a crisp new print, for a weeklong run—I’ll be introducing the screening on Tuesday, March 12th, at 8:30 P.M.), however, stands apart from “Zero Dark Thirty” in other significant ways. Godard’s harsh and direct, yet complex and intimate approach to the subject contrasts with Bigelow’s relatively careless, aesthetically mediocre, and entertainingly grandiose and unsophisticated way with it, and the crucial differences that result are ultimately not just aesthetic but moral.


The place to start with is the point of view; the thing to start with is the sound. The protagonist is Bruno Forestier (Michel Subor), a twenty-six-year-old French man who arrives in Geneva and makes contact with his handlers, who order him to assassinate a radio commentator whose political broadcasts are in support of Algerian independence. But in the meantime he has met and fallen in love with Veronika Dreyer (Anna Karina), a young Danish woman of Russian descent and an aspiring actress, and doesn’t want to carry out the mission. His handlers pressure him into it; in the course of their conflict, activists with the Algerian independence movement recognize him, kidnap him, and, in order to get him to reveal his handlers’ phone number, torture him. I won’t go into detail on the dénouement but will stick with the torture scene itself.

Where the images appear to be faithful representations, the soundtrack is wildly, but subtly, distorted. The movie is almost entirely dubbed, as Godard’s first feature, “Breathless,” had been. (Godard even started work on “Le Petit Soldat” before “Breathless” had been released—he feared that if the first film did poorly he might not get to make a second film at all.) But, unlike the soundtrack of “Breathless”—for which Godard collected a vast number of location sounds and put them together in an elaborate sound edit, resulting in a mix so dense and so precisely matched to the image that many critics mistook it for sync sound—that of “Le Petit Soldat” is obviously dubbed. For instance, many scenes feature no ambient sound at all, which is especially noticeable when they take place in a convertible that’s moving in traffic: there’s no sound of motors or wind, a car door closes soundlessly as characters speak clearly to each other, the snap of a cigarette-lighter cover is the only sound that’s heard. It’s as if the image is the realm of the objective reality that Bruno experienced but the soundtrack as a whole blends with his interior monologue to convey the realm of subjectivity, of experience from within.