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.

Helping asylum seekers may soon be completely illlegal down under

Once again, like in decades past, Australia is becoming a country many of us simply don’t want to recognise:

A modern-day Oskar Schindler would be jailed for up 10 years under the Rudd government’s proposed crackdown on people smuggling, lawyers say.

In largely unscrutinised changes, backed by the opposition, the government is introducing new criminal charges for supporting people smugglers, even unwittingly.

”It’s mind-blowing legislation. I’ve never seen anything like it,” the University of Sydney professor of public law, Mary Crock, said.

”These laws capture innocent people who may be operating under perfectly good humanitarian reasons.”

Currently, the law defines people smugglers as those who are acting for profit when bringing five or more people to Australia. Proposed laws make criminals of anyone sending money to asylum seekers overseas, who later use it to pay a people smuggler.

They also capture Australians who organise for asylum seekers to escape danger for no financial gain, jeopardising some of the work of charitable organisations.

The president of the Refugee Advice and Casework Service, Ben Saul, said the changes had evaded the attention of refugee communities they would affect. ”Unfortunately, most of the focus was on recent changes to asylum policy,” he said. ”This one’s snuck under the radar.”

Non-government organisations have increased criticism the government’s freeze on processing asylum claims from Sri Lanka and Afghanistan and the reopening of Curtin detention centre.

The anti-people smuggling and other measures bill also criminalises ship captains who rescue people on the high seas and bring them to Australia and pilots who unknowingly fly foreigners into Australia on false documents.

The Tampa captain, Arne Rinnan, who rescued more than 400 asylum seekers from a sinking boat, would have been jailed if the laws had existed in 2001, Professor Saul said.

”You could capture anyone, from a mariner at sea who saves people whose lives are at risk on the high seas – like captain Arne Rinnan who was the captain of the Tampa – through to people who saved Jews from extermination in the Second World War, like Oskar Schindler who didn’t do it for a profit,” he said.

The changes planned for Australia go beyond comparable laws in the US, Canada, Britain and New Zealand, he said.

The government proposed the changes in February.

2 comments ↪
  • Marilyn

    "As has been observed in relation to other cases of this kind, the prisoners were not involved in a 'people-smuggling' exercise. There was nothing covert about either operation. They were transporting the non-citizens to Australia for presentation to Australian authorities. There was no attempt to hide from the authorities or to disguise what they had done. "

    This is what our own courts say about this so-called people smuggling.  They actually send Indonesian fishermen to jail for giving refugees a ride straight to the authorities and claim that they facilitated their movement reckless of whether or not it is lawful.

    Well as it was pointed out in the senate hearing (one day) it is legal for anyone to enter Australia without documents and claim asylum, that is under Australian law.

    So I have been sending this sort of stuff to the senate since I put together 89 cases in 2004 and they keep coming up with the same old babble.

    Then there is the little point that they are illegally using a people smuggling protocol to call it people smuggling when that protocol and the UNHCR specifically said this in 2000:

    IV. Final provisions

    Article 19

    Saving clause

    1. Nothing in this Protocol shall affect the other rights,

    obligations and responsibilities of States and individuals under international

    law, including international humanitarian law and international human

    rights law and, in particular, where applicable, the 1951 Convention and the

    1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees and the principle of nonrefoulement

    as contained therein.

    2. The measures set forth in this Protocol shall be interpreted and

    applied in a way that is not discriminatory to persons on the ground that

    they are the object of conduct set forth in article 6 of this Protocol. The

    interpretation and application of those measures shall be consistent with

    internationally recognized principles of non-discrimination.

    UNHCR Summary Position on the Protocol Against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air and the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, Supplementing the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime

    1.      UNHCR has followed with interest the recent adoption of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, including the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air ("Protocol against Smuggling") and the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children ("Protocol against Trafficking"). The Office is pleased to be present at the High-Level Political Signing Conference held in Palermo, Sicily, from 12 to 15 December 2000.

    2.      UNHCR shares the concerns raised by many States that criminal and organized smuggling of migrants, on a large scale, may lead to the misuse of national asylum or immigration procedures. However, given an increasing number of obstacles to access safety, asylum-seekers are often compelled to resort to smugglers. UNHCR is also aware of cases of trafficked persons, particularly women and children, who may, under exceptional circumstances, be in need of international protection. The Office therefore participated in the preparatory work of the Ad Hoc Committee in Vienna, supporting its efforts  to elaborate international instruments which would enable governments to combat smuggling and trafficking of persons, whilst upholding their international protection responsibilities towards refugees.

    3.      The Protocol against Smuggling, for instance, contains a number of provisions which may impact on smuggled asylum-seekers. The authorization to intercept vessels on the high seas, the obligation to strengthen border controls and to adopt sanctions for commercial carriers, or the commitment to accept the return of smuggled migrants may indeed affect those who seek international protection. A number of comparable provisions of the Protocol against Trafficking may have a similar effect.

    4.      During the sessions of the Ad-Hoc Committee, UNHCR therefore emphasized the need to reconcile measures to combat the smuggling of migrants and the trafficking of persons with existing obligations under international refugee law. The Office welcomes the adoption of a saving clause in both Protocols, designed to safeguard the rights of asylum-seekers and refugees under the 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees, in particular in relation to the principle of non-refoulement.

    5.      In addition, UNHCR appreciates the adoption of provisions for the protection of smuggled migrants, such as the obligation of States Parties to take appropriate measures to afford smuggled migrants protection against violence and to take into account the special needs of women and children. The Protocol against Smuggling is also clear in that it does not aim at punishing persons for the mere fact of having been smuggled or at penalizing organizations which assist such persons for purely humanitarian reasons. Indonesian fishermen do not deserve to be charged or jailed.

    6.      In conclusion, UNHCR hopes that States Parties will respect the international legal framework set out by both Protocols through the adoption of  similar safeguards in all bilateral or regional agreements or operational arrangements implementing or enhancing the provisions of these Protocols.

    And for those of us with long memories that was done because Australia started calling it people smuggling instead of seeking asylum, the only country in the world to continually do so.

    I have spoken to many journalists, read the report out over the radio and written numbers of blogs about this and been ignored.

    This appalling legislation is the result of being ignored and our media being brainwashed clowns. 

     

     

     

     

     

  • Marilyn

    Not to mention this – who will determine that the people sponsored were not smuggled at some time and why is that any of our business anyway?

    Overview of the Offshore Humanitarian Program

    The offshore Humanitarian Program has two categories.

    The Refugee category for people subject to persecution in their home country.

    The Special Humanitarian Program (SHP) category for people who, while not being refugees, are subject to substantial discrimination amounting to a gross violation of their human rights in their home country.

    People who wish to be considered for an SHP visa must be living outside their home country and be proposed for entry by an Australian citizen, permanent resident, eligible New Zealand citizen, or an organisation operating in Australia.

    These categories go beyond our international obligations and have been introduced to enhance our assistance to those in need