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.

Finding Serco staff involved in unaccountable abuse; all in a day’s work

The reach of private company Serco is global and its human rights record remains abysmal. Yet it continues receiving lucrative contracts. That should stop:

Prison campaigners last night called for a review of a North-East secure unit after revelations that 21 children had suffered injuries while being restrained.

The injuries were sustained by children at the privatelyrun Hassockfield Secure Training Centre, near Consett, County Durham, between June last year and May.

Officials defended the centre’s record last night, insisting the use of force was a last resort.

The unit has been at the centre of controversy since a 14-year-old died in its custody six years ago.

Adam Rickwood, from Burnley, Lancashire, hanged himself hours after being restrained by staff who used a controversial technique that involved striking him in the face. The “nose distraction”

method was authorised at the time but has since been banned.

Youth Justice Board statistics show that between April 2008 and March last year restraint was used 543 times on children in Hassockfield – an average of 45 times a month.

The Howard League for Penal Reform last night accused the educational watchdog Ofsted, which oversees secure training centres, of failing children in Hassockfield’s care.

In a letter, it said: “Children held in Hassockfield Secure Training Centre (STC) have been subject to violence, danger, fear and, possibly, abuse, yet Ofsted has failed to acknowledge this and prevent it.

“The inspection regime for STCs has failed to provide assurance that children in these institutions are being cared for safely.

“Two children have died while being held in an STC and, in both instances, restraint was a key factor.”

The group has a long standing opposition to privatelyrun prisons for children.

Director Frances Crook said: “It is time that we ended the obscene experiment with locking up children… and closed down these prisons.”

It has written to North-West Durham MP Pat Glass, calling for an overhaul of those responsible for the inspection of Hassockfield and similar units for children.

Mrs Glass said she would be seeking a meeting with staff to discuss their resources and training.

The MP, who has a background in the education of people with behavioural and special needs, said: “This is about the level of training and resources that staff are receiving.”

An Ofsted spokesman said: “The Howard League has a long-established view that secure training centres should be closed. Ofsted respects this.

“Our responsibility is to inspect and report on the evidence.

“The use of restraint is something that we scrutinise rigorously. We extensively review records of restraint, including the viewing of CCTV footage.

“We meet with both the Youth Justice Board and the local authority who are responsible for monitoring the use of restraint, and the advocates who visit the young people weekly. Most importantly, we talk to young people themselves, without staff present.”

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “Restraint is only ever used as a last resort when young people’s behaviour puts themselves or others at serious risk.

“In response to recommendations made in 2007, the National Offender Management Service has developed conflict resolution training designed to provide staff with measures reducing the need for force.

“Staff will apply restraint techniques as a last resort when all other options have been exhausted.

“Even where a young person is restrained, the emphasis will continue to be on using de-escalation techniques to minimise the use of force.”

The Government awarded a 15-year contract for running Hassockfield to private operator Serco in 1999.

The unit houses up to 58 young people aged 12 to 17, who are described by Serco as “some of the most damaged and difficult young people in the country”.

A spokesman said: “Our staff operate to a high standard of professionalism. Physical control is only used as a last resort. They do a good job, often in difficult circumstances, working with a demanding and challenging group of young people.”

4 comments ↪
  • Thanks Anthony for posting this. this is scary stuff. How the fuck do they get away with it. This is particularly disturbing for us here in the West as the Barnett mob are planning to privatize a new juvenile detention facility (prison) and my prediction will be surprise surprise that Serco will win the contract. we shall see

  • Cate L Bowman

    Absolute rubbish!!! The staff are extremely well trained, and very professional in caring for the 'young people' in what can be trying and difficult circumstances. If the staff were bullying abusers you would not have young people not wanting to leave the centre at the end of their sentence ( which has happened on many occassions)

    Before anyone passes such judgement on the hard working staff of these establishments, I would recommend they get out of their liberal Ivory Towers and walk in the shoes of these workers for a few weeks. It would be an eye opener.

    • CAROL

      How can you say the staff are well trained???? This was a proven fact during both the inquests into the death of my 14year old son,that the staff had had VERY LITTLE OR NO TRAINING AT ALL. AND NUMEROUS OFFICERS STATED THAT WHAT LITTLE IF ANY TRAINING THEY HAD HAD,THEY COULD NOT REMEMBER IT.
      THIS SPEAKS FOR ITSELF IN MY EYES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • CAROL

    I have NOT said all the staff DID NOT care,I AM saying is NONE of the staff at the time of my sons death,had had adequate training,not even the nurse on duty was fully qualified.