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.

Sipping that cocktail in Sri Lanka should wait til the blood is removed

Sri Lanka is desperate to lure tourists back to the country after decades of fighting (and most of the Western, corporate press seem oblivious to the gross human rights abuses still taking place in the north and east).

But anybody with an ounce of decency would seriously re-consider visiting a nation plagued with violence and corruption:

Britons are again flocking to Sri Lanka. Tourist arrivals surged 47% last month from a year earlier and sun-seekers from the UK form the largest single group. That’s an astounding turnaround for a country that for more than a quarter of a century had been a case study in ethnic warfare, terrorism and brutal repression.

This week the government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, buoyed by recent wins in presidential and parliamentary elections, marks the first anniversary of its military victory over the separatist Tamil Tigers.

In the past few months Sri Lanka has been trying to burnish its image as an Indian Ocean paradise. And with some success. In January, the influential travel section of The New York Times slapped a picture of Colombo’s colonial-era Galle Face hotel on its front page and put Sri Lanka at the top of its 31 Places To Go in 2010 list.

And a western tourist sipping palm wine on a white sand beach or Ceylon tea in a plantation hill station might agree. The weather’s balmy, the people smile, and the price is oh-so right.

What visitors might not notice is that broad swaths of the mainly Tamil north and east of the country are still effectively closed military zones, and tens of thousands of Tamil civilians displaced by last year’s army onslaught are still held in camps. Visitors would have a hard time finding independent reporting on these stories in the Sri Lankan media. But not to worry. So would Sri Lankans.

Peace may be bringing a dividend for tourism and other business, but not for free speech. The Tamil press has long been intimidated and is extremely wary of being the first to break news critical of the government or the military. But now the Sinhala and English language press based in Colombo is also under fire. The writing on the wall for those who report critically on Rajapaksa or his extended family, which occupies positions of power and influence throughout the island, came in January last year with the brutal beating to death in broad daylight of Lasantha Wickramatunga, editor in chief of the popular Sunday Leader newspaper.

That still unsolved murder sent a chill throughout the media. More attacks and harassment of reporters followed. Journalists, who already toned down or spiked critical stories, began to censor themselves even more. Several slipped out of the country fearing for their safety. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), in its latest report on Sri Lankan media, estimates that a total of 10 journalists have been killed for their work in the past decade, and that more than 25 have fled into exile. The authorities have not secured a single conviction in any of those 10 murders. This has earned Sri Lanka the dishonour of fourth place on the CPJ’s Global Impunity Index, which ranks countries that fail to bring the killers of journalists to justice.

Troublesome journalists sometimes just disappear. Once such is Prageeth Ekneligoda, a columnist and cartoonist whose wife and two sons have not seen him since he left to cover the presidential election campaign on 24 January. Police seem uninterested in investigating his disappearance. His editor at the online news site Lanka eNews, Sandaruwan Senadheera, has already fled the country.

Sri Lanka is used to having its poor human rights record under the spotlight. Western democracies have lost some of their leverage to effect change as the government in Colombo has turned to Asian countries for arms, aid and investment. China and Pakistan provided much of the weaponry for the final push against Tamil insurgents; Iran is financing the construction of a power station and supplying oil; and China is providing loans and labour for air, sea and rail transport projects.

But in addition to tourism, Sri Lanka still relies on Europe and the United States as export markets, particularly for apparel. Sri Lankan textiles entering the European Union enjoy low tariffs under the generalised system of preferences known as GSP+. Brussels has said it could suspend that privilege in August as part of a review of the island’s human rights performance. Colombo has sought to play down the importance of the GSP+ but the EU accounts for 35% of Sri Lanka textile exports. The loss of that market could jeopardise 200,000 jobs.

Those who care about freedom of expression and the safety of journalists in Sri Lanka have few opportunities to influence the new government in Sri Lanka. The prospect of suspending preferential tariffs gives the EU a powerful tool to extract human rights improvements from Sri Lanka. Brussels should use it.

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