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.

The day we’ll see an Israeli leader in the dock

A surprising result in the US and one that should be welcomed. For too long, Western leaders have enjoyed impunity simply because of their birthplace or connections. Let justice be served:

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled this week that under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, not  all former foreign officials living in the United States can claim immunity from prosecution in U.S. Courts.  Its decision could have an immediate impact on Israelis.

‘Sovereign immunity’ offers states protection from lawsuits in another country’s courts, based on the principle that disputes between nations should be resolved by diplomacy, not litigation.

Victims of the Somali regime recently filed a civil lawsuit against Mohamed Ali Samantar, who 20 years ago, had served as Somalia’s prime minister, vice president, and defense minister.

The plaintiffs claimed that Samantar had been responsible for their torture, as well as other human rights violations. Their allegations included torture during interrogations, imprisonment for years without trial and rape by their prison guards. They based their suit on federal laws aimed at protecting foreign torture victims, allowing foreign citizens to claim for damages in American courts.

In his defense, Samantar claimed that as he was a minister in Somalia’s cabinet at the time of the alleged crimes, he was immune from civil lawsuits in the U.S. A district federal court upheld his argument, and the suit was thrown out.

The plaintiffs appealed to the Supreme Court, which ruled that the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act did not apply to specific foreign government officials, effectively revoking Samantar’s immunity.

The former Somali PM was then granted a rare second appeal from the Supreme Court, questioning whether or not the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act could in fact be applied to individual officials.

But the Supreme Court effectively rejected Samantar’s claims, leaving only a narrow opportunity to gain immunity nonetheless. From the ruling’s wording, it seems the court did not feel that this loophole would benefit Samantar’s cause.

In recent years there have been two failed attempts to prosecute Israeli officials in the U.S. In 2007, Palestinians filed a lawsuit against former Shin Bet chief Avi Dichter, claiming he was responsible for the deaths of their relatives after an Israeli plane dropped a one-ton bomb on their Gaza home. A  federal court said  Dichter had functioned within his official duties, ruling him immune.

Another 2007 lawsuit accused former Israel Defense Forces chief Moshe Ya’alon of war crimes over the 1996 bombing of a United Nations camp in the Lebanese town of Kfar Kana, in which a number of civilians wer killed. But Ya’alon too was ruled immune from litigation, with appeals at federal level also rejected.

This week’s ruling could now result in a wave of lawsuits against foreign officials. So far, 36 separate civilians lawsuits have been filed in the U.S. against various foreign officials, all of which were denied. The list of counties whose officials had been prosecuted includes Israel, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Jordan, Japan, and France.

Israeli officials could conceivably defend themselves from civil lawsuits in the U.S. by claiming their actions should be considered an “act of state” – a defense relying on the principle that each country may handle affairs within its jurisdiction without intervention from foreign states.

The problem with this line of defense is that as opposed to relying on the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, the claim of a “state act” recognizes the court’s authority while seeking protection regarding a specific claim. The risk of that is that senior officials would have to explain their motivation for their actions to the court.

one comment ↪
  • ej

    Somalia is one thing, Israel another.

    Better get Elena Kagan onto the Supreme Court quick smart.