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.

Serco and Australian government see no evil, hear no evil

The ever-increasing growth of Serco in Australia is occurring while the company faces intense scrutiny over its record managing refugees in immigration. This story on ABC TV Lateline highlights the problems. I’m having a growing number of former and current Serco staff approaching me and wanting to speak about what they’re seeing in Australia’s dysfunctional detention centres. Stay tuned:

TONY JONES, PRESENTER: The immigration centre on Christmas Island was labelled a factory for mental illness after overcrowding and frustration led to a series of riots and disturbances.

Tonight, we’re bringing you a new perspective from inside the detention centre.

A guard has broken ranks with the Government and Serco, the secretive company that runs the centre, to give Lateline a disturbing account of working life inside the facility.

We’ve agreed to protect his identity because he fears for his job.

His language is colourful, at times even offensive, but his story adds to a sense of urgency that there are serious problems in the way Australia is managing the flow of asylum seekers.

Peter Lloyd reports.

ANONYMOUS GUARD: I thought I was going to go up there and change the world. You go up there – it’s an eye-opener, it’s just an eye-opener.

PETER LLOYD, REPORTER: When trouble breaks out on Christmas Island, security is the first line of defence, but according to at least one guard, when there’s an average of one officer for every hundred detainees, the mayhem is hard to contain.

ANONYMOUS GUARD: First off you go “Shit!” Then you just go and try and help the people who are not involved get out of the way, go to their rooms. And then if it’s out of control you just leave the scene to let them go.

PETER LLOYD: Every man for himself?

ANONYMOUS GUARD: Yeah, but you help your mates out first if anyone’s hurt or in trouble, you go and grab them, protect them, just drag everyone out and just let them go. We’re paying for it all and these monkeys are going, ripping everything apart. It’s just a wanted waste.

PETER LLOYD: He is a self-confessed angry man, angry at some asylum seekers and Serco, the company that runs the Christmas Island detention centre on behalf of the Federal Government.

ANONYMOUS GUARD: You’re shadowed for week and in you go. This is you, this is what you got to do, go for it. And you’re learning as you go. It’ll make you a stronger person or it’d turn you into a puddle.

PETER LLOYD: What sort of preparation and training did you get for this job?

ANONYMOUS GUARD: To put it bluntly: jack shit.

PETER LLOYD: He says he was hired to guard the fence line, but instead found himself working directly with asylum seekers and their desperate acts of self-harm.

ANONYMOUS GUARD: Slashings, hangings – or one hanging.

PETER LLOYD: What’s that like to witness?

ANONYMOUS GUARD: Messy. Blood getting – squirting everywhere. It’s not a nice feeling.

PETER LLOYD: What do you do?

ANONYMOUS GUARD: Just calm them down, wrap them up, shoof them off for medical, then clean up the mess.

PETER LLOYD: What happens to the paperwork when there is trouble?

ANONYMOUS GUARD: Your hands are tied. You might get unruly detainee, and Immigration will say, “Oh, no, you can’t do him, you can’t touch him.” Even if he pushes you or shoves you, you just look at him. If you write him up, sometimes he goes into Bin 13. And that’s it.

PETER LLOYD: On Christmas Island, “Bin 13” is code for the document shredder. Among guards it’s popularly believed that Serco keeps the truth about what happens from the Government.

one comment ↪
  • Ex employee

    I worked for Serco in the UK as a senior manager and left soon afterwards when i learnt the real truth about what goes on….it's all about the money and nothing else, i witnessed forgery, cover ups before police investigations, corrupt staff being allowed to resign so nothing goes public…and much more.