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.

Justice for all, not just a few

My friend Clinton Fernandes, former Australian army and current international relations expert at the University of New South Wales and the Australian Defense Force Academy, is a tireless campaigner for human rights in our region, especially East Timor.

He sent this latest news – the guilty verdict of Peruvian former president Alberto Fujimori – with the following comment:

These justice campaigners were accompanied every step of the way by politicians, diplomats and academics who dismissed the prospects, undermined the efforts by casting doubt on the likelihood of success, or sat on their hands. But an international norm has crystallised against impunity. It takes time and pressure.

His words are undoubtedly true for a host of other countries, including Israel, a nation that wants to be insulated from international norms (including its illegal possession of nuclear weapons). In time, the prosecution of Israeli soldiers and generals will occur. War crimes must be investigated, even those committed by the so-called protected countries in the world.

Here’s Clinton’s talk from yesterday’s JSCFADT Human Rights Inquiry:

Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you. I am a senior lecturer at the University of New South Wales. Before that, I spent about thirteen years as an officer in the Australian Regular Army.

My core proposition is that the most relevant regional human rights mechanism is an international tribunal for the war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated by the Indonesian military against the people of East Timor. Without an international tribunal for East Timor, any other discussion of regional human rights is a pretty hollow exercise.

As an historical event, the Holocaust stands out on its own as an unparalleled crime. Yet, it may be said with confidence and accuracy that the East Timorese people suffered one of the largest death tolls relative to total population since the Holocaust. My submission sets out the evidence for the death tolls in East Timor.

For those East Timorese men and women who survived, but especially the women, the crimes were immense. My submission sets out this horrendous record of crimes: rape, torture, enslavement, arbitrary arrests, destruction of property and forcible relocation. My submission explains how women and children suffered specific crimes and were particularly vulnerable.

On the weekend, some newspapers (like the Age and the Sydney Morning Herald) reported that many Catholic churches around Australia had a 1 minute silence and prayers of the faithful on the tenth anniversary of a massacre in a church in East Timor. Churches in East Timor had similar ceremonies, and yesterday East Timor’s National Parliament also had a 1 minute silence.

These crimes were perpetrated against a people who sheltered and protected our Australian commandos during World War II. They occurred on our doorstep, and our government was a strong supporter of the Indonesian dictatorship during this period.

The perpetrators of these crimes have not faced justice. They have not been held accountable.

Despite Australia’s intervention in 1999 and subsequent assistance, our government has remained silent about the crucial issues.

As for the government of East Timor, its situation is akin to that of a bullied child in a schoolyard; without allies willing to stick up for it, it is forced to make peace with its tormentor.

But I would argue that just as the newly-formed state of Israel did not have to prosecute Nazi defendants at Nuremberg, so also the newly-formed state of East Timor should not have to carry the burden of justice on its own.

Without an international tribunal, we will only strengthen the politics of impunity. Prosecutions are the most effective guarantee against future crimes against humanity. A human rights mechanism without an international tribunal for East Timor would be as if Shakespeare wrote about the Prince of Denmark without mentioning Hamlet.

An international tribunal requires political will, but so have other tribunals.

Other tribunals, too, have had their prospects dismissed at first and then come into existence. For example, New York University’s Professor of Law, Theodor Meron, once wrote in Foreign Affairs magazine that a Yugoslavia tribunal “will not be very effective”. Less than a decade later, he was president of that tribunal.

The Security Council resolution establishing the tribunal for Rwanda had only one opposing vote – that of the government of Rwanda, which at one point even threatened to prevent tribunal officials from entering its territory. Yet that tribunal also began functioning, and indeed some of its jurisprudence has made its way into the High Court of Australia.

But our government has remained silent about justice. We might well ask why. Policymakers put great weight on relations with Indonesia, especially with the Indonesian military. These military links are highly valued. We can see that in the signing of a Statement of Military Cooperation between the Chiefs of the defence forces of Australia and Indonesia in 2009. Our special forces (the SAS Regiment) have had a close relationship with some of the worst abusers in the Indonesian special forces.

Vested interests have sought to represent their interests as the national interest. Yet what is required is an international tribunal for those Indonesian military personnel who committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in East Timor.

This would be the most meaningful human rights mechanism in the Asia-Pacific region.

one comment ↪
  • Marilyn

    And the Palestinians sheltered our soldiers during two world wars, tend our war graves and then we cheerlead for Israel whenever she bombs the bits out of Palestinians.

    We have no shame and no honour – we sat on our hands for the 25 years of East Timorese occupation and murders, we have sat on our hands for 61 years of illegal jewish occupation of Palestine and we still don't get how disgusting we are.