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.

Asylum seekers have rights, in case we’ve forgotten

This is wonderful news for human rights, refugees and decency:

The [Australian] High Court has ruled in favour of two asylum seekers in a move that could undermine the Federal Government’s offshore processing system.

The two Sri Lankan Tamils had their refugee claims denied and wanted to challenge that decision in the courts.

But they were prevented from doing so because they were being held in an offshore detention centre on Christmas Island.

However, in a unanimous decision, the High Court has ruled that was an error of law and the two men were denied procedural fairness when Government contractors reviewed their case.

The men had wanted Immigration Minister Chris Bowen to personally review their case but were told he had no duty to do so because they were being held offshore.

The High Court’s decision means the Federal Government can no longer refuse to allow the courts to review decisions made about people who are processed offshore in places like Christmas Island.

The Federal Government has been ordered to pay the costs for the two asylum seekers.

The men arrived on Christmas Island last October claiming they would be persecuted if sent back to Sri Lanka.

The pair were alleged supporters of the paramilitary Tamil Tigers movement.

The men’s lawyers claimed the Federal Government’s processing procedures on Christmas Island are unlawful and unconstitutional.

David Marr in today’s Sydney Morning Herald offers background:

Even before wreaths are laid on the cenotaphs of the nation this morning, the High Court may send to the grave Australia’s treatment of boat people since the arrival of the Tampa. Sweating on the outcome are two Tamils who took their troubles to the court. Both were refused refugee protection early this year. Both are sitting in Villawood facing forced removal to Sri Lanka.

Canberra is sweating too. A decision in favour of the men could halt dozens of deportations and change the fate of thousands of boat people held in camps across Australia. The “excision” system that ships them all through Christmas Island would become redundant. The court might put in doubt every negative finding of the so called “non statutory” Refugee Status Assessment system that has decided the fate of every boat person for a decade.

It’s big. Few decisions of the court have been so anxiously and eagerly awaited. All will be clear this morning, but when lawyers gathered in August to argue the case in Canberra, judges on the bench indicated they were ready to make a big call: that boat people cannot be detained and processed outside the law.

Had the two Tamils known as M61 and M69 flown to Australia on a tourist visa and then asked for refugee protection, they would have been released into the community and assessed by the Refugee Review Tribunal with the courts keeping an eye on officials to make sure all was properly done.

But because M61 and M69 arrived at Christmas Island, their fate was entirely in the hands of the Minister for Immigration. That’s the theory anyway: they landed in territory “excised” from the Immigration Act so no court can have a say in their processing. A “non statutory” Refugee Status Assessment was compiled for each by outside contractors, but ultimately whether the two Tamils stayed or went was at the absolute discretion of the minister.

The claim that these contractors “do not need to be regulated by decisions of this court is,” observed the High Court judge William Gummow, “a rather remarkable state of affairs.” What’s more, M61 and M69 were detained while being assessed. This was the ordinary fate of all boat people processed in Australia but how, asked the judges, can a “non-statutory” process immune from court scrutiny authorise detention? Gummow again: “People are incarcerated under this system and transported around the country.”

In late March, M61 and M69 were among 89 asylum seekers flown to Villawood in a blaze of publicity as Christmas Island reached bursting point. The prime minister, Kevin Rudd, told the nation: “They are currently being processed for return back home.”

Rudd was jumping the gun. But both men were eventually denied refugee status because the contractors employed to conduct the “non statutory” Refugee Status Assessment considered the account the men gave of their predicament back home did not square with the official “country information” they had about Sri Lanka. But the two men were never quizzed about this fatal discrepancy; never given a chance to explain themselves. Instead they were rejected. Had they arrived in Australia by air, such a failure of natural justice could have been corrected by the courts.

one comment ↪
  • Marilyn

    I have lost count of the number of times I have sent journos in this country the actual law of this country and been ignored or abused.

    I was right and the lazy tossers can now do their frigging jobs and find out that the refugee convention is part of domestic law and has been since fucking 1992.