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.

Will Serco be continually rewarded for failure?

The ongoing chaos at Christmas Island – with refugees, guards and citizens all being led astray by the Australian government and Serco – is a blight on our conscience. We treat asylum seekers like animals, lock them up indefinitely, and wonder why their resist? As they should.

Last night Immigration Minister Chris Bowen appeared on ABC TV Lateline to answer questions about the current situation and he was given a roasting. Many, many questions from interviewer Ali Moore on Serco, its incompetence and the government’s reliance on a company that clearly can’t handle the situation.

My partner joked that Serco was being so damned in the media at the moment that maybe the government would dump them as soon as contractually possible. But who would replace them? Just another faceless security multinational. These services should be in public hands:

ALI MOORE: Are you aware that the former manager of the centre reportedly writing to his boss five months ago and saying they’re 15 people short on a daily basis and even if they had a full complement they’d be struggling?

CHRIS BOWEN: Yes, I am aware of the reporting of that letter and that’s something the inquiry will be examining closely, along with all sorts of investigations as to not only the staffing of Serco, but the preparedness of Serco, the intelligence reports as to possible disturbances, how they were managed et cetera. They are all very legitimate issues for the independent arms-length inquiry I’ve set up.

ALI MOORE: When do you hand control back to Serco, not until the end of that inquiry?

CHRIS BOWEN: No, it’ll happen before then. Control will be handed back to Serco when the Australian Federal Police, my department and Serco are satisfied that is appropriate. The AFP remains in control of the centre and, of course, they are working closely with Serco.

The AFP are the appropriate people with the training, resources and skills to manage what was a very difficult, tense and violent situation in the course of last week. The situation, of course, now is much calmer. The AFP will hand back over to Serco when it’s felt appropriate that’s the safe and responsible thing to do.

ALI MOORE: But at the same time if you don’t know what went wrong with Serco, you’re not sure about the staffing issues, you’ve put in an investigation to try to find out. Is it wise to give them control when you don’t actually know what went wrong?

CHRIS BOWEN: I don’t think you should pre-empt the inquiry. There’s a premise to your question that for some reason we should be assuming that there are management failures on Serco’s behalf. I’m not pre-empting the inquiry.

Serco manages a range of detention centres across the country and a range of facilities for a range of government and the private sector. I’m not pre-empting whether there was anything that Serco could or should have done, but they manage all our detention centres and they manage most of them without incident and I’m not going to criticise Serco before I’ve seen the results of that independent review.

If there’s criticism of Serco or my department I’m more than happy to accept it and make it, but I’m not going to pre-empt an independent arms-length inquiry.

ALI MOORE: Have they got a timeframe for reporting?

CHRIS BOWEN: Yes, they’ll report to me by the middle of the year.

ALI MOORE: By the middle of the year? So there’s a fundamental problem, you could have that problem in place for months?

CHRIS BOWEN: Well, this was a major incident. It requires significant investigation. These are two very respected and experienced former public servants. I think you could appropriately criticise me if I didn’t give them enough time to conduct that inquiry.

2 comments ↪
  • Marilyn

    So they leave the incompetent and violent cops in place to over react every time someone moves and treats asylum seekers like criminals and then hands back to a bunch of profit driven losers like Serco.

  • John Kemp

    Motion for Wednesday 30 November
    In the light that Serco continually gets rewarded for incompetance this Branch calls upon our Federal Government not to finance the Fiona Stanley Hospital while Colin Barnet is pursuing contracts with Serco. This Branch believes that it is in the best interest of the patients and Government finances, that Goverment jobs be awarded to Public Employees and not to a company that will thrive on profit and not on care. http://antonyloewenstein.com/2011/03/23/will-serc