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.

Neither Sri Lanka nor Israel should have impunity in their ‘wars on terror’

My following article appears in today’s Lebanon Daily Star newspaper:

Israel’s war against the Gazan people in December and January devastated the tiny Strip, killing over 1,400 people, a majority of whom were civilians. The Western powers, including America, England and Australia, backed Israel’s battle against Hamas and shared its belief that destruction of the Islamist group would benefit their interests.

More than six months later, however, the political realities in the region remain virtually unchanged, with Hamas still in control of Gaza, Israel and Egypt imposing an inhumane siege on the area and Israel regularly launching military strikes against “terrorist” targets.

During my visit there in July, I found many of the 1.5 million Palestinians desperate for a normal life, something denied to them for decades due to Israeli occupation and irregular bombardment.

The recent UN released report on Gaza, investigated by distinguished South African Justice Richard Goldstone, found overwhelming evidence that both Israel and Hamas committed war crimes during the conflict and should be held to account in an international tribunal. Goldstone stressed that the culture of impunity endemic in the Middle East must end the targeting of civilians and their infrastructure and the lack of international will to fully investigate the atrocities carried out in the name of “defeating terrorism.”

Goldstone told US magazine Tikkun that, “the powerful are protected because of their power. But it’s not prejudice it’s politics. They use their power to protect themselves.” Israel and US are determined that the former never face justice for its crimes.

Compare the international outcry over the Gaza massacre to the relative silence toward  Sri Lanka’s war against the Tamil people in 2008 and 2009. Conservative estimates place the death roll at over 20,000 people, perhaps as high as 50,000. The Colombo regime dismissed all attempts to cease its military operations, negotiate with the Tamil Tigers or allow the transfer of hundreds of thousands of civilians to safety. Today, close to 300,000 Tamils are trapped in government-imposed camps, surrounded by barbed wire and unable to leave.

The International Crisis Group told the European Parliament in early October that “such restrictions on freedom in the absence of due process are a violation of both national and international law.”

Sri Lanka was fighting its own “war on terror” with the Israeli playbook. Ban all independent media from the war zone, demonize human rights groups as sympathetic to terrorists, dismiss all questioning of tactics as giving in to terrorism and support the doctrine of overwhelming fire-power. Like Israel, Sri Lanka won the battle, but will inevitably lose the war.

Israel has battled Palestinian nationalists for decades and remains unable to destroy the spirit of the people. Independence for the Palestinian people will come one day. Despite extensive media coverage and global sympathy for their cause, the Palestinians are today still stateless and under occupation. But their plight is far better understood than the Tamils.

Israel’s ambassador to Britain, Ron Prosor, wrote in the London Times in late September that the “farcical” United States Human Rights Council, tasked to investigate the Gaza massacre, should not examine Israel because, it “did its utmost to direct Palestinian civilians out of harm’s way.” Every human rights group in the world has evidence to prove the fallacy of this argument. Israel should be treated like any other country calling itself a democracy and not excused because of its bellicose tactics in the global arena.

A growing number of Jewish groups are joining this call, unafraid of being labelled anti-Semitic or self-hating and simply believing in equitable justice. An initiative I co-founded, Independent Australian Jewish Voices, is part of this conversation, regularly working with Palestinians over our shared concerns.

Proser demanded to know why the UN wasn’t investigating the “300,000 Tamil civilians currently languishing in Sri Lanka.” It’s a fair question, except his ideal outcome would be impunity for Western states fighting their own “war on terror.” In this worldview, it’s only developing or Third World nations worthy of sanction.

Sadly, the vast majority of Muslim and Middle East countries, except Bosnia, voted with Sri Lanka in the UN Human Rights Council in May to support its war against the Tamil people. The idea of non-democratic nations backing a brutal regime isn’t new; defeating “terrorism” is a language democracies and dictatorships both share. The fact that the UN is a flawed body doesn’t prevent it from conducting important work in the field of human rights and abuse prevention.

Sri Lanka doesn’t enjoy favored nation status like Israel but it should face a thorough examination of its conduct during the war. Many states, such as Israel and China, have no desire to discover the truth behind the conflict because they provided arms to the Sri Lankan government. Israel is reportedly protecting Sri Lanka from any American pressure against its actions. But obstacles to international justice should not preclude their commencement. Crimes in Congo, Sierra Leone, Cambodia and the former Yugoslavia were thoroughly investigated by legal bodies, even if the final outcomes were not perfect.

It is time for the Sri Lanka leaders to understand that destroying a terrorist infrastructure without political and social assistance to the vanquished is doomed to failure. The Sri Lankan government will need to be convinced that normal relations with the world will not be possible until its crimes against the Tamils are acknowledged.

Peace with justice demands nothing less.

Antony Loewenstein is an Australian journalist, author of “My Israel Question” and “The Blogging Revolution.” He sits on the Advisory Council of the British-based Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice.

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