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.

Crime and Punishment

Clinton Fernandes is a Melbourne writer, historian and military man. His 2004 book, Reluctant Saviour, revealed Australian involvement in the 1999 East Timor massacres.

In the wake of the Schapelle Corby guilty verdict today, Fernandes has a few thoughts about Indonesian justice:

“Commit mass murder in East Timor = no punishment.
Import marijuana = 20 years.

Foreign Minister Downer has praised the new Indonesia with “an independent judiciary and a democratic political system and a free press”. Fair enough. But remember that in this new Indonesia, its first civilian defence minister, Juwono Sudarsono, rejected calls to investigate high-ranking war criminals within its military: “We can’t go up into the high ranks as they were just carrying out state policy”*.

Accordingly, no action has been taken against the architects of the ethnic-cleansing campaign in the final days of the occupation of East Timor**:

a. Feisal Tanjung remained active in party politics after he lost ministerial office in October 1999.
b. Mahidin Simbolon, the deputy commander of the military region that included East Timor, was promoted to his own command in West Papua, where pro-democracy activists began to experience another reign of state-sponsored terrorism.
c. Former information minister Yunus Yosfiah remained free of meaningful legal sanction.
d. Zacky Anwar Makarim remains in the Indonesian army, attached to the headquarters without specific assignment.
e. Sjafrie Sjamsuddin, who presided over atrocities against students in 1998 when he was chief of the Jakarta garrison, was appointed official spokesman for the military.
f. Hendropriyono, the former transmigration minister who helped organise the mass deportations, was appointed head of the new National Intelligence Body.”

* “Reluctant Saviour”, p 75.
**”Reluctant Saviour”, p 117.

12 comments ↪
  • michael

    "Commit mass murder in East Timor = no punishment.Import marijuana = 20 years."Hmm. How about …Commit an unprovoked war of aggression on trumped up WMD claims = no punishment.Import heroin = 15 years.Chika Honda has something else in common with Schapelle Corby too.They appear about as guilty as each other.

  • Antony Loewenstein

    Injustive everywhere, and more often than not people who aren't as photogenic as Corby.Just watching the nightly news shows what a circus this really is. It's hard not to feel great sympathy for Corby. Perhaps we should look at some other individuals in equally dire situations, ignored by the media…

  • Anonymous

    Jeez, Ant, how can you go around criticizing the Indonesian legal system for not prosecuting the butchers of East Timor? I swear, mate, this post is just rife with the racism that is never far from the Schapelle Corby case.

  • michael

    Of course there is a bright side to this.Every bigotted yobbo in Australia has today promised to never go to Bali again.Should be a nice place to be for the next few months.

  • Antony Loewenstein

    Rife with racism? Whatever. (though I presume you're being HILARIOUS!).One can talking about the failures of the Indo legal system, pros and cons, without being racist. My point has always been about talking about the system as a whole, or dismissing the entire culture as "inferior". Sound familiar?

  • Anonymous

    Hey, I said nothing about the culture of Indonesia, lovely folk and a great mate of mine is Balinese (and yes, some of my best friends are Jewish), but you seem to feel that any third-world strongman state is de facto legit (Saddam, etc), while treating democratically elected leaders like Howard and Bush with contempt. It's just funny that on the one hand you'll take a dump on anyone who's skeptical of the Indonesian ability to prosecute this fairly (none of the judges have ever acquitted a drugs defendant, which seems pretty kangaroo-courtish to me) and call them racists, but then on the other poo-poo them for not going hard enough, or hard at all, on their own genocidal thugs.

  • Bruce M Warrington

    Anon, the fact that one opposes the use of externally-imposed violence to remove a thug from power does not mean one supports that same thug.I don't think Antony would "poo-poo" you for your comments about the Indonesian judiciary, as you seem to be making a valid criticism of the system. There are some, however who do not, like Malcolm Elliot, with his disgusting "monkey" references and gratuitous insulting of Indonesia's current and former presidents. That shit is clearly racist.

  • Anonymous

    don't want to divert the thread from its central theme, but let's get one thing crystal clear.Bush Junior has not been democratically elected to the American Presidency. ej

  • Anonymous

    Wow, Bruce, I've found a supporter here, thanks!Um, other anonymous, how do you figure? (I know, I know, off-topic…but this promises to be good.)

  • michael

    Of course there's nothing wrong with making negative comments about something as perverse and corrupt as the Indonesian justice system, but you've got to wonder why so many Australians are so fixated on the failings of a foreign legal system which has screwed over one Australian while there is another one a lot closer to home that is also corrupt and perverse and screws over many Australians (and non-Australians) every week. And, what's more, if you believe that we live under a regime somewhat more democratic than the one to our north, there might even be more scope for actually doing something about it other than whining and promising to avoid Bali as a holiday destination.Seems particularly odd to me that a lot of the same commentators who support indefinite detention of foreigners who roll up on our shores with little more than the clothes on their back are so outraged about the 20 year sentence for one person who rolled up in Bali with ganga in her board bag.BTW, has anyone heard of any proposed boycotts of Qantas for failing to stop their baggage handlers from smuggling gear and implicating innocent beauticians?Seems that allowing your baggage to be processed at an Australian airport is as much of a risk factor as landing in Bali with an unlocked board bag.

  • Anonymous

    What's interesting here, and got lost in the whole Schappelle debate here, is that while calling for punishment for East Timor's butchers, you ignore that the 'ethnic cleansing' was really a religious cleansing of Muslims versus Catholics as much as anything else, though I know with your unabashed love of all things Islamic that's a bit uncomfy…

  • Bruce M Warrington

    Anon, I'm afraid you and I part company here. Religion had nothing to do with East Timor. In fact, I believe (though I could be wrong about this) that the general who led the invasion, Benny Moerdani, was a Christian – a Catholic even. Soeharto's motivation for invading East Timor was fear of "communism" (though Fretilin was hardly that) and (probably) a good old-fashioned resource grab.