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.

All praise Yudhoyono

The Sydney Morning Herald reports today that Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) visited East Timor, “during which he laid a wreath at the Santa Cruz cemetery where Indonesian troops massacred civilians in 1991.” The paper said that Yudhoyono pledged to respect East Timor’s independence.

Max Lane is convenor of the Asia Pacific International Solidarity Conference (APISC). He released the following press release over the weekend which paints a less rosy picture of the President’s visit. It should be remebered that after Yudhoyono’s recent visit to Australia, our political and media establishment have fallen in love once more with our northern neighbour’s leadership. The Australian’s Foreign Editor Greg Sheridan calls the President “ordinary and extraordinary.” Then again, Sheridan was once fond of dining with the military leaders behind the invasion of East Timor.

“Around 200 East Timorese protesters were attacked this morning (April 9) by East Timorese police, including special branch paramilitary forces. The protesters had gathered at the Santa Cruz cemetery, the site of the 1991 demonstration and massacre by Suharto’s military, to commemorate the massacre but also to protest the decision by the government of Xanana Gusmao and Mari Alkatiri to invite President Yudhoyono to visit East Timor. Yudhoyono was scheduled to visit Santa Cruz cemetery.

The police stated that the demonstrators had no permit for a demonstration at the cemetery, although a law requiring such permits had not yet been passed by parliament. After seizing banners and using force to disperse the demonstration, the demonstrators relocated to the offices of the Socialist Party of Timor. They are now sealed off inside the offices of the PST which have been surrounded by police and vehicles from the Rapid Response Unit. The Secretary-General of the PST, Avelino de Silva, told APISC that he had tried three times now to enter his office but had been stopped.

Meanwhile inside the offices, students and youth from activist NGOs and from the Socialist Youth Organsation are putting up a banner outside the office which reads: “No Impunity – Justice for the Victims”.

Now inside the PST office, Tomas Freitas, from the Lao Hamatuk organization, told APISC contacts in Darwin that the demonstration was protesting against the East Timorese government’s policy of “reconciliation” with the Indonesian government, because it involved dropping the demand for an international tribunal to judge human rights violators during the period of the Indonesian occupation.

“Democracy is dead in East Timor,” Avelino told APISC Covenor, Max Lane, by phone. “In Jakarta you can demonstrate against SBY, but they have made him a god here. They have allowed no banners anywhere protesting SBY’s visit but have forced people to put up welcome banners everywhere. When people gathered outside our office just a while ago, they too were dispersed by force.”

4 comments ↪
  • Binnsy

    Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono – kinda rolls off the tongue. Indonesia has a way of making presidents sound funny. Remember Prez Habibe? Hehe….

  • mobias

    I just heard about this from my friend C___ who was at the protest. A few days before SBY arrived Xanana threatened to resign if any protest took place. As C___ said "this is not about reconciliation, this is about arse-licking" (a rough translation). I, and most of my friends in Timor, respect the need for good relations between Timor and Indonesia. But there is a big difference between necessary diplomacy and burying the truth.As Xanana should know, Indonesia is not its government. The unchecked power of the military causes suffering for ordinary Indonesians. Giving impunity to generals who were responsible for grave human rights abuses only adds to the military's ability to act as a force unto itself. Xanana bravely put his life on the line for over 25 years, and it is understandable if he now wants to tread carefully to avoid conflict & protect Timor's economic interests. But I don't think anyone in Timor, including the protestors, is asking him for bravery – they're asking him for dignity. Last year Xanana embraced war criminal and presidential candidate Wiranto in a photo-opportunity in the lead-up to national elections. He made no explanation of this to the Timorese people.One week later, my friend S___'s brother died from the long-term complications of an injury he acquired during a beating by an Indonesian soldier. For S____, and for a lot of people who lost friends and family during Indonesia's occupation of Timor, the demand for 'justice' is not about revenge, but about truth and accountability. What is stopping the leaders of Timor and Indonesia from standing together and saying – this happened, it was wrong, and to make sure it never happens again we're going to find out the truth and hold those responsible accountable? Maybe it’s realpolitik. Or maybe it's a failure of imagination. NB – a bit of background to this – in Timor the army is under the control of President Xanana, and the police are under the control of Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri. Mari has been lukewarm on Xanana's extreme take on reconciliation until now. E.g. as far as I'm aware he has not yet come out in support of the 'truth and friendship commission', which is a PR stunt cooked up by Xanana, foreign Minister Horta, and SBY, with no real power to hold perpetrators accountable. However, the actions of the police in this incident make me wonder if he's changed his mind.

  • Antony Loewenstein

    Thanks for those insights, Mobias. In our media, Indonesia is fun and friendly again, East Timor is a happy place, and West Papua and Aceh can and should be ignored, again. Do we not remember history?Pressure should be placed over and over again for past crimes to be tried in an open court, or some kind of truth and reconcilation a la South Africa, though that had many flaws. A recent report on SBS Dateline detailed the killing of a major human rights activist in Indonesia, quite possibly with the assistance of the govt and certainly Garuda Airlines. Jesus, I reckon that's a big story, and yet it's received virtually no coverage here. Vigilence is the only way, as ever…

  • mobias

    Pressure should be placed over and over again for past crimes to be tried in an open court, or some kind of truth and reconcilation a la South Africa, though that had many flaws. There already has been one – the commission for truth & reconciliation (CAVR), which mostly dealt with non-serious crimes by Timorese militia members. There is also the Serious Crimes Unit (SCU), which issued a number of indictments of suspected war criminals, both Timorese and Indonesian. Indonesia of course refuses to hand over any of the suspects. The SCU actually indicted Wiranto last year – but the (East Timor) government immediately distanced themselves from it & said that they would not forward the warrant to Interpol. There's a big group of people calling for a proper tribunal at the ICJ…but I'm not sure what chance there is of that happening now that both countries have agreed on the 'tribunal-lite' version. I'll stop rambling on now – if anyone's interested in this issue then the Judicial System Monitoring Program has an excellent site with lots of up-to-date info.