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.

Opposition to Serco isn’t solely by refugees

An ongoing theme at this site is the privatisation of detention centres in Australia.

Eminent Australians are increasingly vocal against the practice but it’s so much easier for neo-liberal governments to pay a foreign company to do their dirty work, isn’t it?

Privatisation of detention centres and particularly the health services associated with the current model may have deepened the already alarming mental health plight of asylum seekers, psychiatrist and 2010 Australian of the Year Professor Patrick McGorry has warned.

“ I believe the situation was much better managed when the Department of Immigration and Citizenship itself exercised direct control over detention centres in the 1990’s and also allowed mainstream mental health services to provide mental health care to the detainees including release into the community when necessary so that this became more feasible. In fact trying to provide humane mental health care to seriously mentally ill detainees within detention centres is like trying to treat malaria in a mosquito ridden swamp. Despite the best efforts of the DIAC and detention centre staff, the context is fundamentally hostile to effective care.“ Prof. McGorry told the Australian Institute of International Affairs Victoria yesterday.

“ Before the late 1990s detention centres were not surrounded by razor wire, run buy private prison operators for profit, or isolated in the desert or thousands of kilometers offshore. In the late 1990s, these obviously punitive elements were introduced as a deterrent. No other country has taken this step, which greatly increases the burden of mental ill health and limits the capacity to provide effective mental health care. The present government has made some attempts to humanize this policy, however punitive elements persist with serious consequences for the mental health of detainees.
The contracted international companies who now provide the detention centre services are private prison operators and naturally enough cannot in all fairness be expected to treat immigration detainees, who are innocent of any crime, in a qualitatively different to convicted prisoners.”

Detainees, he said, were usually people fleeing war zones or areas of crisis and may have been victims of torture. They may have experienced primary injury, their first psychological trauma, before deciding to seek refuge in Australia.

A second trauma, even if apparently minor, could trigger a relapse of mental illness and worsen it. This was the risk of secondary injury that asylum seekers faced when they were detained for long periods in poor conditions.

People were then at risk of developing persistent and severe mental disorders, from which they might never fully recover. This is the key driver of self-harm and suicide especially when combined with the perceived and actual helplessness and hopelessness of their predicament.

“Adolescents are known to be very sensitive to these extreme traumas, especially the young men who constitute the bulk of the detainees. ”

Prof. McGorry stressed that people who interact with detainees, such as healthcare workers, guards, immigration officials, lawyers and interpreters, could themselves be affected by the helplessness and frustration they witnessed and absorbed through their work.

During Prof. McGorry’s presentation for Access Youth Network at Dyason House, the Hon. Michael MacKellar, former Minister of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs in the Fraser government, stated that it was a very difficult task to check the identities and backgrounds of asylum seekers, and that all stories cannot be trusted.

He went on to say that Australia has had a good record over many years of accepting refugees in accordance with our international obligations.

Professor McGorry acknowledged Australia’s positive history up until the 1990’s, but questioned the notion that many asylum seekers fabricated their stories, referring to his own personal experience with many hundreds over the past 20 years or so.

Prof. McGorry asked, “ Why are we taking such extreme political and administrative measures when we only get a few thousand people each year compared to other countries who attract many more and who manage the situation more humanely? ”

“Assessments of a highly contestable nature are made by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade that it is ok for refugees to go back to countries like Afghanistan and Sri Lanka because they are now deemed safe. These assessments are able to impact at the individual case level in a quite inappropriate manner. A second yet related issue is that having been on the losing side in a bitter war (for many Sri Lankan Tamils) and hence at obvious risk on return is allowed to block the granting of a protection visa. This is the very reason they have fled. This raises again the spectre of political and diplomatic interference in decisions which must be made on an individual basis in relation to the UN convention”

“In good faith I would be very pleased to assist the government in reviewing the mental health needs of detainees in cooperation with the existing advisory processes.”

The event at which Prof. McGorry spoke was organised by Access, the youth network of the Australian Institute of International Affairs Victoria. Professor McGorry shared his thoughts with Access Youth Network after his speech at Dyason House.

one comment ↪
  • Marilyn

    Why do they all blah blah that "accepting" refugees is in accordance with our obligations when it is nothing to do with anything except as a lazy means to avoid our obligatios?

    Visas

    More Information

    <!– EDITABLE REGION STARTS HERE- CONTENT CAN BE EDITED BEYOND THIS POINT UNTIL OTHERWISE NOTED!!! –>

    Overview of the Offshore Humanitarian Program

    The offshore Humanitarian Program has two categories.

    The Refugee category for people subject to persecution in their home country.

    The Special Humanitarian Program (SHP) category for people who, while not being refugees, are subject to substantial discrimination amounting to a gross violation of their human rights in their home country.

    People who wish to be considered for an SHP visa must be living outside their home country and be proposed for entry by an Australian citizen, permanent resident, eligible New Zealand citizen, or an organisation operating in Australia.

    These categories go beyond our international obligations and have been introduced to enhance our assistance to those in need.

    The number of applications for resettlement received is far greater than the visas available each program year. For instance, in 2007–08 more than 47 000 persons applied and around 10 800 were granted visas.

    18. P Power, ‘Speech to ALP National Conference fringe event: which way

     

     

     

    Are asylum seekers ‘queue jumpers’?

    There is a view that asylum seekers, particularly those who arrive in Australia by boat, are ‘jumping the queue’ and taking the place of a more deserving refugee awaiting resettlement in a refugee camp. The concept of an orderly queue does not accord with the reality of the asylum process. Paul Power, CEO of the Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) notes that:

    Implicit in this view is that Australia should not be bothered by people seeking protection under the Refugee Convention and that genuine refugees should go to other countries and wait patiently in the hope that Australia may choose to resettle them.

     

    18

    The reality is that only a small proportion of asylum seekers are registered with the UNHCR:

    UNHCR offices registered some 73 400 applications out of the total of 861 400 claims in 2008. This number has decreased compared to 2007 (79 800 claims). The office’s share in the global number of applications registered stood at 9 per cent in 2008 compared to 15 per cent in 2006 and 12 per cent in 2007. As the overall number of applications has continued to rise, states are increasingly taking responsibility for refugee status determination.

     

    19

    Once registered with the UNHCR, many refugees seek resettlement to a country such as Australia. Refugees do not have a right to be resettled, and states are not obliged under the 1951 Refugee Convention or any other instrument to accept refugees for resettlement. It is a voluntary scheme co-ordinated by the UNHCR which, amongst other things facilitates burden-sharing amongst signatory states. Resettlement therefore complements and is not a substitute for the provision of protection to people who apply for asylum under the Convention.

    According to the UNHCR,

     

    less than 1 per cent

    of the world’s refugees may be resettled in any given year:

    Millions of refugees around the world continue to live with little hope of finding a solution to their plight … resettlement benefits a small number of refugees; in 2008, less than 1 per cent of the world’s refugees directly benefited from resettlement.

     

    ur resettlement is nothing more than an expensive hoax and it is so harsh and arbitrary it is a wonder any of the world's refugees ever get here.

    I do wish people who stop justifying our cruelty with a stupid lie.20

     

     

    O