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.

Lonely Planet must include morality when covering travel to Sri Lanka

Travelling ethically to Sri Lanka, a nation run by a thugocracy, requires skill.

A key source of traveller information is Lonely Planet guidebooks but UK-based Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice demands the company steps up and takes greater responsibility for the information they’re disseminating:

Lonely Planet made the news recently after the BBC sold it to reclusive Tennessee billionaire Brad Kelley at a reported £80 million loss.

Meanwhile we and our friends at Society for Threatened People have been having a debate with Lonely Planet over their Sri Lanka guide.

Lonely Planet’s website has a page asking if it is ethical
to visit Burma. Why not the same for Sri Lanka?

Lonely Planet have named Sri Lanka the number one travel destination in the world for 2013. They have done so without regard to the consequences of Sri Lanka’s tourist boom, which is helping to whitewash the reputation of the regime. Furthermore their guide to Sri Lanka recommends three companies (Sri Lankan Airlines, Helitours, and the whale watching tours in Mirissa and ferries in Jaffna) without making any mention of the fact that these companies are owned by the regime itself. Two are owned by the military.

We wrote to Lonely Planet making these points:

“Declaring a country like Sri Lanka a “number one travel destination” without providing information about the alarming human rights situation is not what we consider responsible tourism. Nevertheless we want to make clear that it is not our intention to call for a boycott of Sri Lanka as a tourist destination generally. Tourism can bring positive benefits to a country. The difficulty is to make sure the money spent,really benefits local communities and not an oppressive regime and alleged or known human rights abusers. If it really is Lonely Planet’s intention to encourage tourists to travel responsibly and have a positive impact, then it is important to provide them with up-to-date information in order to raise awareness and let them make informed choices.”We further sent them our research, in which we had flagged:

  • 28 instances in which the Lonely Planet guide had used insensitive language or made mention of an organisation around which we have concerns without any acknowledgement of human rights concerns.
  • A further 26 instances in which the Lonely Planet guide had used slightly simplistic language or made mention of a complicated subject (such as tea farming) without fully explaining the related ethical conundrums this raises for a responsible traveler
  • That the Lonely Planet guide makes no mention at all of ongoing human rights violations, the lack of a free media or freedom of expression, torture, the current political situation (almost uniquely among Lonely Planet guides there is no “government and politics” section and the history section ends in 2009), the increasing militarisation of Sri Lankan society, or the role of the ruling “family” and the extent to which Rajapaksas fill almost every political role

In their response they admitted that as Sri Lanka is a rapidly changing nation, their ‘Sri Lanka Today’ section may no longer reflects the current state of the nation and they will address that in the new edition. However they refused to be drawn on the other issues we raised, and refused to take any immediate steps to redress the serious gap and imbalance in information they have provided to the public, and how this is being exploited by the Sri Lankan authorities.

We wrote back:

“…your work is being used for political ends whether you like it or not. Your decision to declare Sri Lanka the number one travel destination in 2013 has been heavily exploited by the Sri Lankan government. A recent example is an interview with Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner in Australia, Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe,broadcast by Radio Australia, in which he dismisses the new Human Rights Watch report on continuing torture and sexual violence as baseless, citing “Lonely Planet research” – and explains that if sexual violence were really occurring in Sri Lanka Lonely Planet, a publisher with a good reputation, would not have declared it the number one travel destination. We only wish we could share the Admiral’s faith in your good judgment.”We also cited a number of things they could do immediately, such as write up an FAQ on the ethical questions raised by travelling to Sri Lanka, as they have done for Burma.

They did not address these suggestions in their response. Nor did they address their failure to prevent Admiral Samarasinghe from manipulating them politically. They did promise to pass our information on to the report’s authors but they said that the date for a new issue had been fixed at 2015 and would not be brought forward.

It is far from satisfactory, as the Society for Threatened people told the Swiss Sonntags Zeitung. Perhaps the Lonely Planet’s new owners, who you can write to here, will be more responsive.