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.

Being Tamil in Australia isn’t a crime (pass it along)

Some timely reading on the ways in which Australia deals with the Tamil question.

First, a reminder of what’s at stake (in Murdoch’s Herald Sun, no less):

Thousands of desperate Tamil refugees in Sri Lanka have a stark choice: stay and be persecuted or risk the long, dangerous voyage to Australia.

A senior diplomat, experienced in people smuggling matters, said Sri Lanka’s government cared about neither the refugees’ fate nor Australia’s boat people predicament.

Naval intelligence sources told the Herald Sun that Colombo encouraged Tamils to risk the dangerous voyage.

Some Tamil boats have disappeared, though no one knows how many might have perished.

“The only way forward is through multilateral diplomacy using Indonesia, Thailand and even New Zealand to lobby the Sri Lankans,” said the diplomat, who asked not to be named.

Second, a necessary humanitarian plea:

This is a letter that was sent by a Sri Lankan lawyer to an Australian refugee activist. His name has been censored to protect his identity.

This letter below is from a Sri Lankan lawyer who has assisted people who have been returned and whose lives have been placed in danger as a result. He does this work after hours pro bono. He has asked her to circulate this letter so that Australians get an understanding of the conditions and uncertainty facing Tamils who are deported and why they are leaving.

Today is a very sad day for one young asylum seeker on Christmas Island. He learnt yesterday that his 14 year old brother had been kidnapped and then murdered. He comes from a well off Tamil family. The inability and unwillingness of the Sri Lankan authorities to protect Tamils is another reason why they are fleeing from their lives.

Father Jim said prayers for the boy yesterday afternoon in Alpha Compound. He said that when the men heard about the death, there was a silence then tears and weeping as the men thought of their own families at risk back in Sri Lanka.

Dear [Australian refugee activist]

A friend of mine called me today and said that he was in Sydney and was on a UN mission which means that the UN is also supporting the Bali Process and trying to stop refugees leaving Sri Lanka. Returnees are complaining to me that they can not live in Sri Lanka and need to leave the country. Some of them will try to take boats again. Every moment someone is trying to go to Australia by boat. Two weeks back two boats reach to Australia. As far as I know an Australian Television team is coming to do a programme called 60 Minutes on Sri Lankan boat people. Every body wants to stop Sri Lankans going to Australia but nobody is trying to change the Sri Lankan government’s attitude on Human Rights for the Tamil people – rights are denied such as when the government takes their lands and gives this land to foreigners for hotel projects. Tamils can not say no as we Singhalese can, because they are Tamils who have been defeated and as such they can not open their mouths.

The Australian Government has provided the Coast Guard System to Sri Lanka. The Australian High Commissioner donated this system to the Sri Lankan Government. They said that it is for the safety of the Sri Lankan coast but actually it is to stop Sri Lankans sailing to Australia.

The Australian High Commissioner said at the Australia Day celebrations that Australians are a very peculiar nation in that they eat their own national symbol. That night they provided Kangaroo meat as well as Crocodile meat for dinner. As others have said Australians are a peculiar in another aspect also. This is that they were boat people at one stage of their nation when they grabbed the land from the Indigenous people when they came by boat from UK. Now they do not want the Sri Lankans to come by boat.

Please tell people that they can contact me for legal assistance. I am still making efforts to have the imprisoned returnee released but the Sri Lankan government have charged him with aiding and abetting so it is a struggle.

Name withheld

Attorney at Law

An article from a prominent Australian lawyer, Brian Walters, damns the federal government for shamelessly pursuing frivolous terror cases against the Tamil people:

Clearly, Australia should not have permitted its resources to be diverted to assist in a civil war. Nonetheless, the AFP embarked on a multi-million-dollar spending odyssey in response to the Sri Lankan High Commissioner’s complaint, including multiple overseas trips by several officers. According to answers produced in parliament, the AFP spent no less than $5,271,706.91 on its investigation.

The Australian Attorney-General has the controversial power under the Criminal Code to list an organisation as terrorist. Both the current and previous incumbents have considered proscribing the LTTE but declined to do so, even after considering material that went well beyond evidence admissible in court. In fact, the LTTE are not proscribed in most countries around the world.

Members of the Tamil community, accordingly, thought they were entitled to deal with the LTTE – which was, after all, the de facto government of their homeland. Nonetheless – even though the Attorney-General had never listed the LTTE as a terrorist organisation, and even though at the time of the alleged offences the LTTE was not proscribed as terrorist even in Sri Lanka – the AFP set out to prosecute, under the Criminal Code, those men alleged to have sent aid to the LTTE.

In the end, the anti-terrorism laws that we have passed, and the large agencies which have been staffed to enforce them, have resulted in Australia taking sides with war criminals and adding to the misery of a terrible humanitarian crisis.

no comments – be the first ↪