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.

Duty to hold Sri Lanka to account for war crimes but Australia embraces the thugs

In some countries, such as Britain, there is continued public pressure on Colombo to hold those accused of war crimes to account. And rightly so.

The Australian government has a rather different view:

Several of the Tamil asylum seekers caught trying to flee Sri Lanka for Australia this week are being held in detention camps without charge under draconian anti-terror laws.

Australia has praised Sri Lanka for intercepting a boat carrying 44 asylum seekers, including two children, with high commissioner Kathy Klugman applauding the Sri Lankan security forces’ work.

But refugee advocates have criticised Australia’s uncritical support for Sri Lanka and accused the government of ignoring war crimes allegations stemming from Colombo’s brutal civil war with the Tamil Tigers.

Despite the praise for Sri Lanka, Prime Minister Julia Gillard this week cited past unrest in the country as a reason prompting people to seek asylum in Australia.

Thirty-eight of the 44 Tamils appeared in a Colombo court after being stopped on Sunday. They were remanded until September 28, except for two boys aged four and seven who were released into the care of their grandparents on bail of 100,000 rupees ($A885).

Six of the asylum seekers are alleged to be former fighters with the Tamil Tigers, the separatist group crushed in a brutal civil war that ended in 2009. They have not been brought before a court but are being detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act at a detention camp.

Sri Lanka has faced intense criticism over its broad use of the anti-terrorist laws, which critics say are used to detain people in secret without charge or judicial oversight. Suspects can be held without charge for up to 18 months.

Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young said yesterday the Gillard government had dismissed Australia’s obligations under international refugee conventions. ”Australia should be helping build protection frameworks in the region, not praising countries for trampling on the rights of their own citizens,” she said.

A Foreign Affairs Department spokeswoman said Ms Klugman was authorised to issue media statements without clearance from Canberra.

A Sydney Morning Herald editorial damned Canberra for its hatred of Tamil refugees over any concern towards the government’s handling of them:

The Australian high commissioner in Colombo, Kathy Klugman, has displayed appalling judgment in praising the Sri Lankan navy and police after the interception of a boat carrying 44 people, apparently bound for Australia. What we know of this particular case is limited: the 44 Tamils, including two children, were picked up in rough seas off the east of the country on Sunday as they attempted to flee. The children are now in the care of their grandparents, 36 others hauled before a magistrate and remanded in custody. The remaining six have disappeared into a detention camp in the country’s south, accused of being former fighters with the Tamil Tigers.

We know much more about the broader context. Sri Lanka stands accused of vicious abuses in the civil war – abuses that were certainly committed by both sides, but a military victory does not absolve the government of its moral culpability. Prime Minister Julia Gillard has acknowledged the conflict was a major factor in the increased number of people seeking haven in Australia in recent years. The United Nations has recognised more than 140,000 refugees from Sri Lanka.

Yet Australia’s representative has blithely ignored the cloud hanging over Sri Lanka’s security forces in what appears an effort to preserve official ties and warn of the dangers of a 5500-kilometre sea passage to Australia. Of course the journey is treacherous. But it is a sour look that damages Australia’s reputation to applaud the ring fence around Sri Lanka and pre-judge the merits of people seeking to escape.

5 comments ↪
  • Josh

    Who is investigating war crimes made by Tamil terrorists? None of the countries are talking about this. Amazing????

  • Marilyn

    They are demanding it, but us gloating about turning around Tamils to the torturers is illegal and depraved.

  • Jos Ladislaus

    Isn't it more amazing how some talk through their hats. The international call for war crime investigations includes former Tamil rebel cadres inside and outside of Sri Lanka adminstration.

  • AKP

    The crimes by the Sri Lankan Government against the Tamils go far beyond the war crimes committed during the latter stages of the war. In 1983, following the last pogrom which which transformed a low intensity conflict into a war, the International Commission of jurists concluded that Sri Lanka's crime "amounted to acts of genocide" Since then Amnesty International has consistently accused successive Sri Lankan regime of state terror and in September 1990 launched a poster campaign under the heading ""Licensed to Kill: State Terror in Sri Lanka”. There have be numerous reports by other humanitarian and human rights agencies accusing Sri Lanka of genocide over the last three decades. Clearly the killing of 40,000 having corralled them into safety zone sis the worst of all!

  • pamela

    Four Sri Lankans returned 2 years ago are still in Negombo Preison. Initially charged with people smuggling but hard to make it stick when they are impoverished fishermen. now held indefinitely as LTTE sympathisers. They are Singhalese but dont let that stand in the way.
    One man beaten and tortured in colombo airport before transfer to negombo- visited by "australian woman from the embassy who cried when she saw me".
    Two others picked up and beaten then transferred to prison.
    WE WILL BE REMEMBERED FOR THIS.