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.

Say after me; Serco isn’t that hard to spell

The issue of Australia’s immigration detention centres is routinely misreported/ignored by corporate media.

British multinational Serco runs all the country’s centres – not that you’d know that by reading most media reporting – and here’s just a few latest examples of where this information routinely lies (ie. a black hole):

One:

Hundreds of asylum seekers at the Curtin Detention Centre near Derby have gone on hunger strike this morning and are refusing to even drink water, according to a refugee advocate.

Advocate Pamela Curr said a detainee told her of the protest in a short telephone conversation earlier today.

“Some of the men have been on hunger strike for three weeks and some have been taken to hospital because they’ve collapsed … he said two people are in hospital that he knows of,” she said.

“I asked him if he would consider drinking water – and he said ‘I would consider it, but nobody wants to do it. We have decided no.'”

Ms Curr said she had been told that the men, mostly young Afghani males, were frustrated at not being told anything by the Department about how their cases were proceeding.

He had also claimed that access to the internet had been blocked, she said [I have heard from refugee activists that Serco has been responsible for this decision].

Detainees’ moods had lifted in October after the Federal Government lifted its six-month processing ban for Afghani asylum seekers.

Ms Curr said many of the detainees had been interviewed in November but since then, about 150 people had been rejected as refugees.

Two:

The Gillard government wants to raze the habitat of an endangered West Australian cockatoo to build its latest immigration detention centre, but is relying on permission from a hostile Barnett government.

The Northam detention centre was to hold 1200 asylum-seekers by March and a further 300 by June but has been hit by delays. The Immigration Department now hopes the first 600 detainees will be moved there in late March or early April.

The entire proposed camp is subject to a public comment period and has been referred to the Federal Department of Sustainability, Water, Population and Communities because it requires clearing banksia woodland found to be a feeding ground of the Carnaby’s black cockatoo — an endangered native bird found only in parts of southwest WA.

“The design of the detention centre will ensure minimal clearing of the identified black cockatoo foraging habitat in the northwest of the project is required. Clearing in this section will be less than one hectare in area,” says a report prepared for the Immigration Department by environmental consultants GHD.

Neither story mentions Serco despite the firm being directly relevant to both situations. That’s bad journalism.

If any evidence was needed that the Australian government is so desperate to rid itself of refugees, it’s now done a deal with one of the most corrupt regimes in the world, Afghanistan. Furthermore, what kind of pressure has Serco placed on Canberra to lessen its loads in the over-flowing detention centres?

Australia has the green light to deport thousands of Afghan asylum seekers after reaching a historic agreement with the Afghan government.

The Immigration Minister, Chris Bowen, signed a memorandum of understanding with the Afghan Refugee Minister, Jamaher Anwary, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Sydney yesterday.

It enables the forced return of Afghans whose bids for asylum fail. The move is alarming security experts and refugee advocates.

Mr Bowen said it would deter Afghans considering travelling to Australia. ”Never, all through the Howard years, never before today, has there been an involuntary return from Australia to Afghanistan,” he said.

”To dissuade people from risking their lives by joining people-smuggling ventures, it is important that Afghans found not to be owed protection by Australia are returned to Afghanistan.”

About 2600 Afghans are in Australia’s detention centres. Of those, 49 must win court appeals to avoid imminent deportation.

The opposition was sceptical about the agreement, saying it was only as good as the government’s will to enforce it. ”The minister is unable to say when anyone is going to be returned,” said its immigration spokesman, Scott Morrison. ”It’s not clear to me the government has the resolve to implement this.”

In three years, only three asylum seekers have been returned to Afghanistan – all last year after volunteering to go. In 2008 and 2009, 126 people were returned to their countries of origin.

The director of the Asia Pacific College of Diplomacy at the Australian National University, William Maley, warned that ethnic Hazaras, in particular, should not be deported without extreme caution. ”The security situation in Afghanistan is extremely unsettling,” he said.

He cast doubt on the security expertise of Australian officials making refugee assessments.

The decapitation of 11 Hazaras in Oruzgan province in June contradicted a cable from the Kabul embassy proclaiming a ”golden age” for Hazaras, he said.

one comment ↪
  • Marilyn

    So much neater for us if those pesky Afghans just stay home and let us bomb them to bits.