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 must fully investigate activities in Gaza, demand human rights figures

The following statement was released on 26 December by a host of Israeli human rights groups:

Adalah — The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel | Association for Civil Rights in Israel | B’tselem – The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories | Gisha – Legal Center for Freedom of Movement | Hamoked – Center for Defence of the Individual | Physicians for Human Rights – Israel | Public Committee Against Torture in Israel | Yesh Din – Volunteers for Human Rights  |  Rabbis for Human Rights

26.1.10

Press Release –for immediate publication

Human rights community to Israeli Prime Minister:

Time is running out. Establish independent inquiry into Operation Cast Lead

Human rights organizations in Israel reissued their call to the Government of Israel to establish, without delay, an independent and impartial investigation mechanism to thoroughly examine the allegations raised regarding violations of international law during Operation Cast Lead. In a letter addressed to the Prime Minister and members of his cabinet, heads of the organizations today (Tuesday, 261.1.10) called on Israel to take advantage of the short time still remaining before the UN deliberated on the Goldstone report’s implementation.

The organizations specify in their letter why the military’s internal examination, which includes operational debriefings and approximately 30 Military Police investigations, does not satisfy Israel’s obligations to investigate. These examinations do not conform to the demands set by the Goldstone fact-finding mission, that Israel and Hamas each investigate suspected violations of international law during Cast Lead. Therefore, they will not be accepted as an appropriate response to the Goldstone report. Furthermore, the organizations warn that Israel’s refusal to hold an independent investigation will expose military officers and members of the previous government to investigation and legal proceedings likely to take place outside Israel.

In light of the above, the organizations called on the Prime Minister to establish, without further delay, an impartial investigative body which will conduct an independent and effective investigation of incidents in which allegations have been raised that Israel violated the provisions of international law during Operation Cast Lead. In order that the investigation will be seen as credible, the organizations believe that a foreign expert on international humanitarian law should be a part of this process. The investigation should examine Israel’s conduct during Operation Cast Lead, including an examination of accountability on the political and command level. Likewise, the investigative body should be charged with preparing the legal groundwork for future military conduct.

This morning the Israeli media reported that the PM is considering appointing a legal team to review the military’s investigations and debriefings. The organizations clarify that only an independent and transparent investigation will satisfy Israel’s international obligations.

The extent of damage to the civilian population during the operation was unprecedented. The allegations raised regarding the military’s conduct are serious and grave. The Israeli public has the right to an explanation of the actions taken in its name in the Gaza Strip. This is an essential issue at the heart of Israeli society.

For additional information: Sarit Michaeli, B’Tselem +972(0)50-5387230

Libby Lenkinski Friedlander +972(0)54-2457682

The full letter:

January 25, 2010

To:

Mr Benjamin Netanyahu

Prime Minister

Jerusalem

As human rights organizations in Israel, we reissue our call to the Government of Israel to establish, without delay, an independent and impartial investigation mechanism to thoroughly examine the allegations raised regarding violations of international law during Operation Cast Lead. We do so once again, despite the negative responses we have received to date, because we believe this is an essential issue at the heart of Israeli society. A year has passed since the conclusion of the military operation, and soon deliberations will begin in UN institutions regarding implementation, by both parties, of the recommendations of the Goldstone Commission Report. One of the primary recommendations was for an independent Israeli investigation of the allegations regarding violations of international law.

Recently, the Military Advocate-General stated that to date 27 investigations have been opened by the Criminal Investigation Division of the Military Police regarding different incidents. The rest of the allegations are being investigated through “operational debriefings.”

However, these debriefings and Military Police investigations do not fulfill Israel’s investigative duty nor do they achieve its goals. Firstly, criminal investigations by the Military Police examine deviations from orders issued. As such, they are only suitable for cases where the allegation is that acts were committed that contravened military orders. On the other hand, significant information has come to light thus far, including through research conducted by Israeli and international organizations, alleging that most of the harm to civilians, property and civilian buildings during Operation Cast Lead was a result of policies determined at the senior government and army levels, with the approval of the Military Advocate-General. Therefore, the investigation must include an examination of the orders and instructions given prior to the operation and throughout its duration. In order to investigate the allegations that illegal orders were given, or that the combat strategy violated international humanitarian law, it is necessary to appoint someone or some mechanism that is not subordinate to decision-makers and which was not involved in the formulation of the orders and instructions prior to the launch of the offensive.

Secondly, most of the allegations are being investigated, as noted, through “operational debriefings” only. This refers to debriefings conducted by senior officers, which are forwarded to the Military Advocate-General for review. This system of inquiry is flawed in three major ways:

  1. Lack of Independence – It involves inquiries conducted by “interested parties” who are not impartial but rather are the people whose decisions and actions are supposed to be under investigation. This is particularly the case when the Military Advocate-General, who was involved in making the decisions prior to the launch of the operation and throughout its duration, is the same official who is now the primary adjudicator on the matter;
  2. Lack of Transparency – Operational debriefings are closed matters and there is no possibility of monitoring them.  As a consequence, as an investigative process there is no real way to supervise them for credibility or seriousness;
  3. Lack of Effectiveness – Those conducting the debriefings are not professional investigators, and the goal of the investigations is not to uncover violations of the law but rather to identify operational failures. Therefore, in addition to the fact this process is not independent and not transparent, it is clear that the investigation process via these debriefings cannot lead to objective findings regarding accountability for actions in any reasonable manner.

Indeed, the UN Commission headed by Justice Goldstone noted the inadequacy of the operational debriefings and Military Police investigations as a tool for appropriate investigation. It emphasized the State of Israel’s obligation to facilitate an independent and effective inquiry, which would not have the flaws of these two investigative mechanisms.  Because the investigative proceedings initiated by Israel subsequent to the publication of the Goldstone Commission Report are no different from those that preceded its publication, we understand that the problems noted by the UN Commission remain unaddressed today.

In light of the above, we call on you to establish, without further delay, an impartial investigative body which will conduct independent and effective investigations of incidents regarding which allegations have been raised that Israel violated the provisions of international law during Operation Cast Lead. We believe that a foreign expert on international humanitarian law, who will add credibility and weight to the investigation, should be a part of this process. The investigation should examine Israel’s conduct during Operation Cast Lead, including an examination of accountability on the political and command level. Likewise, the investigative body should be charged with preparing the legal groundwork for future military conduct to ensure that orders and instructions given will be consistent with Israel’s obligations under international law.

We are approaching the deadline set by the Goldstone Commission Report for both sides to hold independent investigations, before the investigation of the allegations is transferred to international and foreign forums. The State of Israel’s refusal to hold an independent investigation will expose military officers and members of the previous government to investigation and legal proceedings likely to take place outside Israel.

The extent of damage to the civilian population during the operation was unprecedented. This population is still subject to the closure policy and collective punishment, which is preventing reconstruction and normal life even after the fighting ended. The allegations raised regarding the army’s conduct are serious and grave. The Israeli public has the right to an explanation of the actions taken in its name in the Gaza Strip.

Signed:

Hagai El-Ad

Executive Director

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel

Jessica Montell

Executive Director

B’Tselem

Adv. Sari Bashi

Executive Director

Gisha – Legal Center for Freedom of Movement

Dr. Ishai Menuchin

Executive Director

Public Committee Against Torture in Israel

Roi Maor

Executive Director

Yesh Din

Dalia Kerstein

Executive Director

HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual

Adv. Hassan Jabareen

General Director

Adalah: The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel

Hadas Ziv

Executive Director

Physicians for Human Rights – Israel

Rabbi Arik W. Ascherman

Executive Director

Rabbis for Human Rights

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