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.

Israel faces kangaroo court

Following my article in last Friday’s Australian Financial Review on Israeli war crimes in Gaza (and the Zionist lobby’s response on Tuesday), today’s paper publishes a piece by Robert Goot AM SC, a Sydney barrister and President of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry:

Before pronouncing a person guilty of a crime, it is customary in our society to accord the accused a fair trial. Antony Loewenstein, however, is untroubled by such technicalities (“Israel must pay for crimes”, Legal Affairs 30/1/09). Relying solely on a comment made by one habitually anti-Israel UN functionary, and statements by two NGOs and the UN Secretary-General that make noallegations of criminality, Loewenstein rushes in where angels fear to tread and confidently finds Israel guilty of unspecified war crimes in Gaza.

As a general rule in most jurisdictions in advanced countries the reports of non government and international organizations are not of themselves accepted as evidence in support of their own conclusions. For example, in MA v Immigration and Naturalization Service (1990), the US Court of Appeal, Fourth Circuit, warned against relying on pronouncements of non-government investigative bodies, noting “these organizations may have their own agendas and concerns, and their condemnations are virtually omnipresent”.

The Court concluded that reports issued by human rights organizations are an unsuitable basis for issuing judicial condemnations of the conduct of a foreign government. The wisdom of the Courts caution is highlighted by the conflicting conclusions expressed by three different human rights organizations concerning Israel’s alleged use of white phosphorous in Gaza.

Part of the difficulty lies in identifying and interpreting the relevant law. Protocol III of the 1980 UN Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons prohibits certain uses of air-delivered incendiary weapons. Israel is not a party to Protocol III,and its provisions therefore do not apply, except to the extent that they may reflect customary international law, which is extremely doubtful.

In any event, the Protocols definition of an incendiary weapon expressly excludes illuminants, tracers, smoke or signalling systems and other weapons that are not primarily designed to set fire to objects. Israel says that it used munitions having incendiary effects primarily as illuminants, tracers and smokescreens. These uses are lawful even if, as a subsidiary effect, some civilians suffer burns.

Loewenstein suggests that, as the International Criminal Court lacks jurisdiction, criminal trials could be held by popular courts. How, where and by whom such courts would be constituted and by what authority he does not say.

Nor does he specify which law would apply or how it would be enforced. He also omits to mention that in international law only individuals, not States, may be criminally liable. There can be no criminality without criminal intent.

Loewenstein’s polemic is conspicuous for the lack of any material that would be relevant to this issue. Remarkably, he avoids mentioning that Hamas openly admits that it targets Israeli civilians and uses Palestinian civilians as human shields.

Loewenstein’s lack of specificity on all these critical matters invites the suspicion that a popular court would be distinctly of the kangaroo variety.

6 comments ↪
  • ej

    Given that AL's original article and Goot's response are buried in Friday's legal section (essentially a gossip section without substance) of the AFR, if it weren't for the reproduction here, only the legal profession is likely to have seen them. Add a handful of odd people who read the rag from cover to cover.

    One couldn't have this exchange on the Opinion page because the Zionists own the opinion page.

    As for Goot, this is a masterpiece of obfuscation that only a top barrister could pen. Not your usual ZIonist obfuscation but a Zio-legal obfuscation. What a combination!

    Nothing is denied because nothing of substance is discussed. Thjere are the usual lies about Hamas, as diversion.

    But the centre of gravity is this wonderful non-story about white phosphorous.

    For a start, says Goot, Israel is not a party to th UN's Protocol III on conventional weapons. for obvious reasons. And, claims Goot, 'Israel says (if Israel said it, it must be true, whereas we know by experience that it is almost certainly a falsehood) it used munitions having incendiary effects primarily as illuminants, tracers and smokescreens. There uses are lawful even if, as a subsidiary effect, some civilians suffer burns.'

    Some civilians suffer burns!!!

    Really just like a suburban cracker night, eh Robert.

    In other words, guilty as charged your honour.

    There is a moral here. If key personnel in the Israel lobby renounces its humanity and integrity on matters to do with Israel, does it readily reclaim it for dealing with the rest of one's professional and personal involvements?

  • ej

    Goot is at it again (today's Age).

    Australian Jewish officialdom is shocked that local Muslim organisations might find something distasteful about the mass murder and infrastructure destruction in Gaza and might find unsavoury the Labor government's formal support for the mass murderers.

    Goot claims that the government's response, for both parties to sit down and talk, was appropriate. but then:

    "It's all very well to say people should sit down and talk, but Hamas won't talk to Israel because it doesn't recognise it and is dedicated to its annihilation. There's no one to talk to."

    THe usual parroting.

    The first thing that the newly elected Hamas did in February 2006 did was to offer Israel 'recognition' in return for evacuation of the Occupied Territories and acknowledgement of the right of return of Palestinian refugees. Hamas repeated the offer to negotiate perennially on subsequent occasions. It was ignored.

    So Goot is either ignorant or a liar. In either case he is unqualified to talk to the media on a subject of which he evidently declines to inform himself or to represent with integrity.

  • AJay

    Well the good barrister should possibly consult Professor Boyle on the Issue of Israel complicity in War Crimes over many decades. There is eminent legal opinion to that effect so I would say that Antony is well justified in recording that fact.

    That the Israeli government need to use political influence to prevent these charges being laid, speaks for itself.

  • Another Lawyer'

    "Before pronouncing a person guilty of a crime it is customary in our society to accord the accused a fair trial"

    Hey Robert, I suppose when you are referring to "our society" you are referring to Australia…only.

    You are obviously no referring to Israeli society as Israel often does not even let their victims meet 'skippy'
    They are assassinated outside the Israeli jurisdiction, kidnapped or jailed without trial. Tell us Robert, how many Arabs are locked up (including children, they would love to meet skippy) in Israeli prisons for years without trial. It appears that they are just kept there for barter in time of need?

    Robert, you monocular view makes you not worthy of listening to, unless of course you are reinforcing the same view held by your audience, after all, some justification from and an esteemed lawyer must make; whatever Israel does lawful and you audience more self righteous in reinforcing God's wisdom in his/her selectivity.

    Many other Australians are becoming weary (and wary) of Israel, in view of the true history lessons now being undertaken by the many of the populace from genuine sources outside the Main stream media outlets.

    So Israel is not a signatory to Protocal 111, Oh dear, really, the truth is that Israel is not a party to many protocals encompassed by the increasing civilised world.

    I suppose Robert you can with out doubt opine that Israel can continue to use phosperous munitions so long as they are marking out….say; a tennis court.

  • Pingback: NGOs challenge Gaza blame | Antony Loewenstein()

  • Stewart Mills

    Robert Goot your words become meaningless when we see daily images of people with smoldering and burnt flesh. Will you words comfort those who now have to live with hideous scars across their face and torso? Will they look in the mirror and be thankful for your legal prose which serves to protect the strong and ignore the weak.

    Mr Goot I will be the first to denounce the actions of Hamas condoning or instigating rocket attacks on Israelis. It is sheer madness. But in the inhumanity that is war; Israel too must be held to account.

    Sadly, Israel will not play ball. Israel will not submit herself to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court.

    Israel cries foul play, prejudice, anti-Semitism and what does Israel do: Israel builds more settlements, builds walls and barriers beyond the Green line, annexes East Jerusalem, makes 'generous offers' demolishes more houses, destroys more olive groves, makes more 'generous offers' and then Israel continues to kill 14 Palestinians a week as it has done since 2000.

    When will this stop Mr Goot?

    You can respond by pointing the finger at Hamas (as has been done in recent years – or point the finger at Arafat and Fatah or the PLO in times gone by or point the finger at Haj Amin al Husseini if you want to go a little further back).

    We can play the blame game, Mr Goot, but what good does that serve?

    Why not just agree that both Hamas and Israel have let their people down. Fatah and Likud, Labor and Shas all have jeopardized each others security by relying on military violence to solve politically solvable problems. We need the international resolve to put on trial both Israelis and Palestinians who have committed war crimes.

    Until such a day comes we need to put the political pressure on these nations to block the flow of military arms to the region. The US and Australia cannot be seen to be complicit in this disgraceful loss of life.

    We need a future for Palestinians and Jews to live side by side. This demands accountability and transparency. Let's call all parties to account then…