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.

Australia and Timor, a tortured relationship

I’m an irregular contributor to the Washington Post’s Post Global site (my first piece, on the US/Australia alliance, is here). My second article is now published and it discusses “Australia’s meddling in East Timor“:

During Indonesia’s brutal, 24-year occupation of East Timor, the Western world remained complicit in the oppression. Current President Xanana Gusmao handed the UN a report in January that detailed gross human rights abuses over those years. It alleged that Jakarta’s deliberate policy of starvation and murder cost the lives of between 84,000 and 183,000 people between 1975 and 1999. Furthermore, the Indonesian military used Western-supplied napalm bombs during their reign of terror.

None of the leading Western nations involved – Australia, the US and Britain – have accepted responsibility for their actions nor offered compensation. A further insult has been the lack of international pressure to bring former Western-backed dictator General Suharto to trial for war crimes in Timor and elsewhere in Indonesia.

Although Australian assistance helped end Timor’s occupation in 1999, the world’s newest nation has suffered great instability in the last seven years.

Within Australia, a mythology has developed: Australia is seen as the white knight that arrived to save Timor’s soul. In reality – as pointed out by Australian historian Clinton Fernandes in his incendiary 2004 book, Reluctant Saviour – “Australian diplomacy functioned in support of the Indonesian strategy [of holding onto Timor]. It functioned as an obstacle to East Timor’s independence. When the [John] Howard government was eventually forced to send in a peacekeeping force, it did so under the pressure of a tidal wave of public outrage.”

The relationship between Canberra and Dili has always been complex but the ongoing struggle over the Timor Gap – vast oil and gas reserves in the seabed off East Timor – has caused Australia to be accused of exploiting Timor’s future economic prosperity. The country’s former Prime Minster, Mari Alkatiri, was a strong defender of these natural resources, but his popularity within Timor had waned, eventually forcing him to resign.

The recent unrest in Timor resulted in violent clashes between disgruntled soldiers and the ruling Fretelin party. Tens of thousands of Timorese were forced to flee their homes into refugee camps. And Australia, once again, sent troops to quell the troubles, though the exact details of the unrest remain unclear.

The country’s new Prime Minister, Jose Ramos Horta, has thanked Australia for its assistance and already criticised its role in the struggling nation. Australia’s Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, recently told the East Timorese that, “they have to learn to find solutions to their own problems, not just expect the international community indefinitely to solve all those problems for them“. It was a typically arrogant statement from a government that enjoys maintaining control over a number of nations in the region.

There are many unsubstantiated allegations that the Australian government instigated the latest unrest in East Timor and wanted regime change. What is clear, however, is that East Timor should be allowed to prosper into a truly independent nation, and heal from years of Western-backed misery.

one comment ↪
  • Ian

    Our role in the 24 year, and continuing, misery of ET is one of our more shameful episodes. One that we are yet to fully acknowledge.

    And you really have to feel for a people who are at the mercy of the 'Idiot Son of the Establishment'!!

    As for bringing Suharto to trial, it ain't gunna happen for a multitude of reasons, not least of which being that the phrase "war criminal" dare not be used anywhere near Messrs. Bush, Blair and Howard, and their assorted fellow travelers/apparachik. It positively sends shivers up their collective spines, such as they are. And with good reason.

    I see that a Bosnian Serb leader has just been sentenced to 27 years in the salubrious ICC slammer. While I don't want to in anyway to downplay the suffering of the victims, his crimes pale almost into insignificance compared to the ongoing evil perpetrated by the above mentioned 'Three Amigos' with possible even greater bastardry being planned!