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.

The right to protection

Australia’s shame:

The Immigration Department may be forced to consider Australia’s interest, not just humanitarian concerns, when deciding who is allowed asylum.

The Prime Minister, John Howard, has ordered a review of the asylum process and yesterday warned Papuans thinking of fleeing to Australia: “Do not imagine for a moment that we want you to come to Australia.”

The Howard government has experience in abusing asylum seekers:

Papuan boatpeople face the same treatment as the Tampa refugees did under the 2001 Pacific Solution, as the Howard Government moved yesterday to defuse tensions with Jakarta, warning the asylum-seekers they were not welcome in Australia.

John Howard raised the prospect that boatpeople fleeing the troubled Indonesian province would be treated in future in the same way as the 433 refugees picked up by Norwegian container ship the Tampa in 2001.

“I’d be concerned about the abuse of human rights anywhere in the world, and I guess no country is free of human rights abuses, but I do not think it serves anybody’s interests for us to encourage in any way the fragmentation of Indonesia,” the Prime Minister said.

The idea that Indonesia should have any influence in determining asylum for Papuan refugees is as ludicrous as asking the Taliban or Saddam during their reigns whether Afghanis or Iraqis were being persecuted. Howard’s decision is political cynicism of the most transparent side.

Further commentary here, here and here.

Self-determination for West Papua is both inevitable and morally sound. So-called pragmatists in Australia will resist such moves – as they did during Indonesia’s East Timor occupation – but history is on the side of justice.

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7 comments ↪
  • edward squire

    “I’d be concerned about the abuse of human rights anywhere in the world, and I guess no country is free of human rights abuses…” the Prime Minister said.

    Yeah – take Australian Aboriginals for example.

    but I do not think it serves anybody’s interests for us to encourage in any way the fragmentation of Indonesia,” the Prime Minister said. …

    Self-determination for West Papua is both inevitable and morally sound. So-called pragmatists in Australia will resist such moves – as they did during Indonesia’s East Timor occupation – but history is on the side of justice.

    I suspect this is the product of an outsider-view on both the 'pro' and the 'con' sides in Australia. Both have bought into disfferent versions of The Fragmentation Thesis: the 'pro' Indo govt side seems to believe that if W.Papua breaks away, it will inevitably result in a domino effect and the whole Republic will disintegrate. The 'con' Indo govt side seems to believe that it is inevitable that W.Papua will in time break away, and that this will not result in a domino effect.

    I think both sides have bits of the truth. On the one hand, the 'pro' side is right that there is no inevitability about the breaking away of W.Papua – whether momentum is maintained for independence depends mostly on how the Java-based govt responds to groups that have been oppressed in the past (and to an extent, in the present). On the other hand, the 'con' side is right that it is not inevitable that the dominos would fall (or that there even are dominos) if W.Papua broke away – again breaking away movements usually only escalate after vicious responses from the Indo govt to fairly reasonable demands from locals. What happens in one area has no inherent connection to what happens in another area.

    As to whether they should break away – this cannot be exclusively established on a 'rights' basis. One can certainly construct a coherent moral rights-based argument for breaking away, but there is usually more to such a decision – and by whom, incidentally – that just having the right to. For example, it is by no means clear that things would in fact get better for the majority of the population if W.Papua did break away. Such a decision hangs on many things, such as the political structures that would emerge as a result, how the economy would function and what would be dominant economic policy decisions (including the extent of influence of private interests – viz. Freeport – over those public policy decisions), etc. And that wuld have to be weighed against potential military and economic changes the Indo state may make in meeting the original reform-minded concerns of the W.Papuans.

    That's an outline. Its about a hundred times more complicated than that in reality.

  • JohD

    I think leftist are way off the radar on this issue. It serves nobody's interest to break up Indonesia; which only creates several small and weak nations – minnows in a pond full of sharks. Better to support Indonesian Sovereignity and insist that corrupt practices be curtailed, and the largesse of the natural resources be utilized for the benefit of the people of Indonesia, including Papua. Australia may be supportive of Indonesian Sovereignty right now, but this will change fairly quickly as Australia becomes more of a marauding imperial force in the region. Splintering larger nation States is the name of the of neo-liberalism game.

  • Addamo

    This smacks of the very cirsumstances which lead to the whole East Timor disaster. Australia pandered to Indonesia, usualyl at the behest of a nod and a wink from the US. What is sop sickening about htis however, is that the Howard government carries mantle of comming to the rescue and undoing the evils of the previosu governments, and is now repeating the same.

    Liberal shills liek Ackerman insist that Howard was more righterous that Hawk/Keating for standing up to Indoenesia over East Timor. Well, they can now stop pretending to have any moral high ground on that score.

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  • Shay

    Just as Howard pipes up in his usual racist way, observe the alternative government coming out in characteristic style and showing us all just why they lose election after election.

    Kim Beazley attempts to out-racist the government by spewing his typical lame reposte: "Howard just isn't tough enough on asylum seekers", "Should have had a coastguard years ago so this problem would remain off the radar".

    If he can't even stand up to his own opponent what hope do we have that me may stand up to Jakarta or Washinton?

  • edward squire

    Meanwhile, yesterday Ellison, Minister for Injustice & Customs basically told Peter Mares of ABC Radio National's "The Public Interest" that people who come to Australia by boat and are caught by the coast-guard or navy will be told to turn back from Australian waters even if they assert they are asylum seekers. Ellison refused to respond directly to Mare's repeated questions as to whether this meant Australia was in breach of its international treaty obligations – sending asylum seekers back to their place of persecution is exactly that.

  • boredinHK

    I didn't know an eletion was due ?

    Is wily little Johnnie getting in early or is this a useful diversion from the Cole enquiry ?