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.

Why Australia has consistently failed hold war criminals to account

I wrote recently about Australia’s incredibly shameful failures in prosecuting the countless war criminals residing in Australia.

We now have some further information from the Australian Parliament that partly explains the country’s lax attitude towards the issue (via the Lowy Institute):

On Monday Senator Wong tabled some fascinating answers to a series of questions on notice from Senator Ludlam concerning Australia’s approach to war crimes (see p.110 of this Senate Hansard, made available online this morning). Just incidentally, the questions were asked on 30 September 2009 — so at 146 days for a reply that’s slightly over the 30-day rule.

A number of Senator Ludlam’s questions are dodged, but there are some interesting insights into the gaps in Australia’s war crimes policy. The most interesting replies concerned:

  • Gaps in our war crimes legislation: the answer to question four confirms the obvious enough fact that the AFP only investigates ‘potential war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide where there is jurisdiction’ but goes on to note there were serious gaps in Australia’s jurisdiction before comprehensive legislation was implemented in 2002. For war crimes committed in non-international armed conflicts before this date — like the devastating Rwandan genocide — the only legislation referred to in the response is the Crimes (Torture) Act which criminalises torture committed after February 1989 and the Crimes (Hostages) Act which criminalises hostage-taking after June 1990.
  • Asked about closing these gaps consistent with ALP policy, the response was evasive, but noted ‘it is generally not appropriate to punish people for conduct which was not a crime at the time it was committed.’ This highlights the two different approaches Australia takes to war crimes: domestic and international. At an international level, Australia has supported and is a financial contributor to the tribunal set up to prosecute the perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide for crimes committed in just such a conflict well before 2002. Domestically, before 2002, Australia treats such acts differently.
  • Expertise: answer six reveals that just three AFP officers have undergone specialist war crimes training in the last 10 years (five AFP members have also worked at the ICTY). There is no indication whether these individuals serve in the Special Operations Unit that covers war crimes or elsewhere, but we are told the average turnover in the unit is just two years. This highlights the inherent problems with the AFP’s current approach and why countries around the world have set up dedicated war crimes units. It also shows through in results.
  • Results: despite evidence Australia is home to a significant number of war criminals, the AFP has conducted just 29 war crimes investigations in the last decade. And the AFP referred ‘preliminary material’ to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions in just one of these 29 matters, but ‘this material did not amount to a formal brief of evidence’.
  • What was also revealing is how these individual cases came to the attention of the AFP. Only one referral came from a private citizen. One came from a law firm, one from the Defence Force and one from Foreign Affairs. The Attorney-General’s Department referred four, but the vast majority (21) came from the Immigration Department. These figures suggest the AFP is not doing much of the heavy lifting when it comes to proactively identifying war crimes suspects.
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