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.

Australia’s immigration detention abused by Serco and government

This is what Australia currently faces; a system for asylum seekers that simply can’t cope with the inevitable anger, fear and prolonged detention of those fleeing persecution. Mental trauma is rife. British multinational Serco are unwilling to spend the required funds to service human beings but the fault largely lies with the federal government. Privatised care almost guarantees abuses.

The following article by Paige Taylor appears in today’s Australian:

Guards have for months feared for their safety at Villawood, the centre that workplace safety watchdog Comcare considered “a basket case” in the days before up to 100 detainees ran riot, lighting fires that gutted nine buildings.

The Immigration Department has been in dispute with Comcare for the past fortnight over safety and other standards at the centre, and the watchdog has ordered improvements in relation to staffing and risk assessment.

Comcare has visited seven detention centres in the past fortnight, including Christmas Island, as part of an investigation that left some senior investigators shocked.

The Weekend Australian has been told investigators and other staff at Comcare privately described Villawood as “a basket case”.

They were appalled by what they found, including risk assessment processes that they believed left Villawood, its guards and some detainees vulnerable.

Staffing levels at Villawood left guards “massively outnumbered by a volatile detainee population”, according to author and activist Antony Loewenstein, who has recently interviewed dozens of detention centre guards as research for a book about privatisation.

“The system in some ways is brutalising refugees and the staff members,” he said.

“In talking to the guards at Villawood, I was struck by the way in which they have been fearful of the refugees.”

Mr Loewenstein said guards also spoke freely to him about their belief that they had not been given enough training for the sometimes dangerous work they did.

Last week, just days before rooftop protests at Villawood, Comcare issued the Immigration Department with a lengthy improvement notice asserting that a guard in charge of Villawood’s high-security unit was not trained for the job.

The unit holds boatpeople from Christmas Island alleged to have been ringleaders of riots on March 17, as well as non-citizens convicted of crimes who are awaiting deportation.

But the department denies the guard running the high-security unit was unqualified.

Training and staffing levels are the responsibility of the Immigration Department contractor Serco, which was heavily criticised in the wake of the Christmas Island riots for understaffing compounds.

Serco defended itself at the time by pointing to the island’s chronic accommodation shortage.

Even if the company had been able to recruit large numbers of extra workers, there was nowhere for them to stay.

Mr Loewenstein, who has been highly critical of Serco on his blog, said there was sentiment at the highest levels of the company that it was being blamed for problems that were actually caused by the blowout in detainee numbers.

“Governments contract out services that they cannot do or do not want to do . . . it is far easier for a government to blame a private company than to blame itself,” he said.

When Serco signed a five-year contract to run Australia’s immigration detention centres in 2009, there were about 600 detainees. Now there are more than 6000.

The company’s original contract for detention centres was valued at $340 million. The latest adjustment, in November last year, puts the value of the contract at $712 million.

More adjustments are likely.

one comment ↪
  • Marilyn

    And 20% of them should not even be in detention because they are refugees and another 20% because they are kids.