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.

David Hicks shows us what we became after 9/11

My following book review appeared in yesterday’s Sydney’s Sun Herald newspaper:

AUTOBIOGRAPHY
Guantanamo: My Journey
David Hicks (William Heinemann, $49.95)
Reviewed by Antony Loewenstein

Almost 10 years after the Bush administration launched the ‘‘war on terror’’, the victims of the policy remain largely voiceless.

The unknown number of civilians murdered by Western bombs have no way to express their outrage. They are invisible, mostly in countries Australia has either occupied (Iraq or Afghanistan) or helped colonise (Pakistan).

But Australian David Hicks is a notable exception. Imprisoned for years in Guantanamo Bay, tortured and then tried before a flawed military commission, he now lives as a free man in Sydney. This book is an attempt to set the record straight from his perspective.

Critics of Hicks in the corporate press still abound. The Sydney Morning Herald columnist Gerard Henderson wrote in 2008 that there was ‘‘no need to analyse the case against Hicks advanced by the United States and Australian governments and/or other agencies’’. In fact, the opposite was true, with the legality of Hicks’s incarceration, the torture he suffered while there and the bogus ‘‘trial’’ all condemned by human rights groups and Attorney-General Robert McClelland, who said in 2003 that practices at Guantanamo Bay were ‘‘alien to Australians’ expectations of a fair trial’’.

More recently, Henderson claimed Hicks was in ‘‘denial’’ for not telling the truth about his behaviour and activities during the past decade, with his book (and supporters) having whitewashed his alleged consorting with al- Qaeda. Even ABC reporter Leigh Sales argued in The Australian that Hicks wasn’t entirely honest about his activities before and after September 11, 2001.

But only a fair and open civilian trial could conclusively determine the possible guilt or innocence of Hicks.

His reactions to the charges against him are relevant but My Journey carefully explains the Howard government’s capitulation to Washington dictates in the years after September 11. John Howard’s autobiography details his admiration of George W. Bush’s world view. Bush barely mentions Howard in his own recent book. A memoir is always selective in its focus.

The most revealing sections of this book concern illegal incarceration in Guantanamo Bay.

Hicks details guards who punished him for simply studying his legal options. He often asked for medical care to help stress fractures. Little help was given. ‘‘You’re not meant to be healthy or comfortable,’’ he was told.

Faeces flooded the cage where Hicks lived and slept, ignored by the American officials. Dirty and unwashed clothes were common. Deafening loud music was pumped into cells to disorientate prisoners. Hicks writes of having to urinate on himself while being shackled during countless hours of interrogation. Detainees on hunger strikes were regularly force-fed.

Many of these actions are defined as torture under international law and yet nobody has faced trial for imposing such restrictions.

Indeed, the Obama administration still retains the right to incarcerate individuals indefinitely without trial or even after they are found innocent. Guantanamo Bay remains open and Hicks notes grimly, as he arrives at the ‘‘notorious’’ Camp Five in 2005, the involvement of American multinationals Halliburton and Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR).

My Journey is written with workman-like efficiency. Glamorous prose is ignored, as it should be. Not unlike another Guantanamo Bay detainee illegally imprisoned and tortured, Briton Moazzam Begg, who wrote a book about the experience called Enemy Combatant, Hicks aims to tell readers what Australia (and Britain) supported in its desperate bid to stay on the good side of Bush.

Hicks isn’t proud of his previously anti-Semitic ravings, sent in letters to his family years ago, nor does he defend the violence committed by al-Qaeda. He strongly rejects ‘‘and always will, any claims that I was a terrorist or supporter of terrorism. My personal definition of a terrorist is a coward and a murderer.’’ He vehemently opposes occupation of lands such as Kosovo and Kashmir and demands the right to ‘‘bear arms and risk my life to help them’’.

This book won’t be the last word on Hicks. But it fairly stands as a personal tale of misdirection, struggle, hope, delusion and Western silence over torture.

The last significant individual abandoned by Canberra was legendary Australian journalist Wilfred Burchett. The true test of democracy is how the most unpopular individuals are treated by officialdom.

5 comments ↪
  • Andrew

    I liked Hicks' book and feel that it rings true. It was revealing to watch John Howard on the Q & A program responding to the question from Hicks in true dissembling Howard style, repeating every discredited cliche of Hicks pleading guilty to a terrorism related charge, etc, etc.

  • Marilyn

    I read it and it gels with what we already knew from the US.  It's interesting that none of the media reported what Beazley said way back in 2006 that Hicks was a dill but should be released.

    Guess that world view doesn't fit with the bigotry.

    Now we discover that India has been committing wholesale torture against the Kashmiri's as claimed and the government here is silent.

  • Wayne Clark

    It was worth the read even if half is not true a lot of bad things have and continue to happen with the American way.

    It is interesting to note that one of the AFP persons to visit Hicks when first captured and also reported Hicks was not being abused, and then 5 years later this person requests the control order on Hicks when he is released from Yatala prison, is the same person heavily involved with the wrongful detention of Dr Haneef. This AFP person was adversely mentioned in the Clark Report in late 2008. In early 2010 this person was promoted to a very senior role (National Manager) in the AFP in early 2010.

    It shows that being seriously wrong in your prime working role decisions at least twice (how many others) and having a vindictive nature will get you where you want to go in the AFP. This person should have been dismissed or at least sent back to the state police force. We can not afford to have him in our premier police force.

     

  • S Breen

    Thank you for your review, I have purchased the book and am looking forward to reading it

     

  • Lindsay Smith

    I am still reading David's book. That so much bs was & even now is still being flogged by the media is amazing. Howard, Bush & Blair should have been on trial in the Hague years ago along with all the underlings who perpertrated the Iraq & Afghan Wars. That Australians are still over there messing around getting killed is a national shame.