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.

Next move in Australia; Serco guards carrying deadly weapons?

This is the state of human rights against faceless asylum seekers in Australia. Justified frustration, after months and years of waiting for decisions, is met with violence. And under-staffed Serco are the battering rams of the failed policy?

From yesterday’s ABC’s The World Today:

BRENDAN TREMBATH: Refugee advocates and the Greens say they’re horrified that Australian Federal Police officers used so called “bean-bag” bullets to quell a demonstration at the Christmas Island immigration detention centre.

The rounds are supposed to stun someone without killing them.

The bean-bag bullets were used along with tear gas to break up a protest by around 300 people on Saturday night at the North West detention centre.

Immigration Minister Chris Bowen says the AFP officers were acting within their use of force guidelines and he respects their decision.

From Canberra, Naomi Woodley reports.

NAOMI WOODLEY: The Immigration Minister revealed on Monday that officers from the Australian Federal Police Organisational Response Group used tear gas to break up a protest by around three hundred asylum seekers at the Christmas Island detention centre on Saturday night.

The AFP has now revealed that officers also used synthetic bullets known as “bean bag” bullets – fired out of a 12 gauge shotgun.

The Immigration Minister, Chris Bowen.

CHRIS BOWEN: They have confirmed that they used what is known as a bean bag bullet and like you I needed some education as to what a bean bag bullet is. But as it has been explained to me, it is a bullet which the worse damage that can be done is bruising. It is like a little mini beanbag which comes out of a gun-like weapon.

NAOMI WOODLEY: He says the police were responding to a genuine fear about a protest which he’s described as violent.

Chris Bowen says it left immigration officers and staff from the centre’s operators, Serco, in need of help.

CHRIS BOWEN: Certainly there was a fear and an indication that there was a violent protest on that particular night, that it was necessary to do that and that (inaudible) and Serco officials needed the assistance of AFP because there was a very volatile situation on the evening.

NAOMI WOODLEY: Chris Bowen says around 70 detainees escaped from the centre on Friday night, and 100 on Saturday. He’s confident they’ve all been returned.

CHRIS BOWEN: My advice is that the vast majority are in. Of course, there are ongoing headcounts just to confirm that everybody is in. But certainly my advice is that all, almost all detainees are inside the centre.

NAOMI WOODLEY: The Minister says there was another protest overnight, but it was peaceful. He acknowledges the situation there is tense, and frustration levels among detainees are high.

The executive director of the Refugee and Immigration Legal Centre, David Manne, says long wait times in detention are causing asylum seekers enormous stress.

DAVID MANNE: Why is processing taking so long? What are so many people being held for so long when the policy that the Government announced promised that people would be released from detention for the duration of processing after initial checks for health, security and identity?

The second question is, why is it necessary to keep so many people under these sorts of conditions in remote incarceration?

NAOMI WOODLEY: The AFP says the use of the bean bag bullets will be subject to a routine investigation, and the Minister Chris Bowen has already announced an “arms length” inquiry into the way the weekend’s events were handled by Serco and the department.

David Manne says he doesn’t know of the bullets being used before in immigration detention centres before, and an independent inquiry is urgently needed.

DAVID MANNE: It is critical that there be a full independent enquiry with terms of reference which are broad enough to look at the context which has created this situation and as part of that, to look at how it is that the use of force came into play and why.

NAOMI WOODLEY: The Minister, Chris Bowen, says he respects the decision of the officers on the ground, and the AFP says it’s acting within its guidelines for the appropriate use of force.

But the Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young says the Government has some obvious questions to answer.

SARAH HANSON-YOUNG: Who indeed authorised this type of force to be used? When was the minister made aware of- that people were planning on using this type of action – and of course, what on earth could be used to justify this type of action and justification for this type of action on vulnerable asylum seekers?

one comment ↪
  • Marilyn

    I watched that Dispatches episode and it was horrific.  Serco make billions from misery all over the world and love it.

    As to shooting refugees – I blame the morons in the media and their hysterical screeching over the last few years.