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.

Anything to protect the privatised asylum seekers

Following my article in yesterday’s Crikey about the out of control privatisation agenda in Australia, two heavy hitters respond today in the publication in predictably shallow ways. Spin, spin and more spin:

Department of Immigration and Citizenship spokesman Sandi Logan writes: Let me assure Crikey readers the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) — and its detention services provider Serco — treats seriously its duty of care to all people in detention.  The safety and good order of all of our detention facilities is paramount.

Serco, our current detention services provider and the subject of your correspondent’s report, was selected as the Australian Government’s detention services provider through a fair and transparent tender process. Where areas for improvement have been identified since Serco was contracted by DIAC, appropriate action has been taken to remed these issues.

If Loewenstein knows of anyone in detention who has complaint about the way they are being treated or the detention environment in general, he can advise them there are clear complaint-handling mechanisms in place to ensure their concerns are treated seriously, investigated promptly and resolved.

Finally, contrary to the tenor of your Loewenstein’s report, and as Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young herself said in recent days, there is a community feeling among detainees at Curtin Immigration Detention Centre (IDC) as well as goodwill towards those in charge.  Clearly he was writing about Australian immigration detention arrangements without recent first hand knowledge.

Emma Needham, Communications Director, Serco Asia Pacific, writes: I write in response to Antony Loewenstein’s references to Serco in yesterday’s edition of Crikey.

Serco has grown to become one of the world’s leading service companies by working in partnership with its customers, mainly governments, to manage change smoothly and positively. Citizens want faster and better services so we think innovatively to help governments improve services across a diverse range of sectors. Serco has been operating in Australia for more than 15 years, partnering with governments in the delivery of services in transport, health, justice, immigration and defence.

Serco began operations in 1929, known then as RCA Services Limited. In 1987, RCA Services Limited was renamed Serco Limited and in 1988, the company achieved a full listing on the London Stock Exchange as Serco Group plc. Serco has no connection or association with KBA or Halliburton as inferred by Mr Loewenstein.

Serco’s values-based approach and strong management capability are underpinned by a robust accountability framework in all contracts we operate, including immigration services. Serco is subject to closely monitored contractual requirements and the company will be penalised where it does not meet these requirements. Furthermore, governance and accountability is assured through a rigorous independent inspection and monitoring framework, which is often far more comprehensive than that to which the public service is subjected.

Serco aims to positively contribute to the communities in which we operate and has a strong history of high performance. We are working closely with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship to deliver a humane and dignified service for the people in our care. Following a two day visit to Christmas Island last week, Professor Patrick McGorry spoke of the improvements that have been made, describing the centres as, “a more supportive and humane environment” where staff are treating asylum seekers as clients, not criminals.

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