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.

Governments embrace Serco then wonder why they fail

Another day and yet another example of the British multinational unable to manage the job (and good on the Australian’s Paige Taylor for reporting on this running sore):

There are now tensions among guards as well as detainees on Christmas Island.

Up to 100 untrained casual detention workers at the centre claim they are doing the same work as qualified security officers but are paid about $800 a week less.

Serco, the company chosen to run Australia’s immigration detention centres, is battling a shortage of workers on the remote island and has grown concerned by recent resignations and dissatisfaction among the lower-paid workforce employed by subcontractor MSS.

Serco has begun recruiting MSS workers in a bid to quell disquiet and prevent further resignations, The Australian has been told. “We’re the ones doing all the work while Serco workers get the good pay,” one MSS worker told The Australian.

“Some Serco officers are sympathetic but some just lord it over you because you haven’t done the Serco course. We’re not even supposed to have contact with the clients (detainees) and we’re running the place.”

Under Australian law, detention centre officers who interact with asylum-seekers in detention must complete a training course that usually takes six weeks.

The paper published a long feature yesterday that detailed what Serco has become and why so many officials find them so appealing. And yet despite the company’s troubling record, it doesn’t seem to stop them receiving more and more contracts. That’s the genius of unquestioned privatisation; transferring the problems of the state to others:

Serco, the company that has attracted headlines by operating Australia’s troubled immigration detention centres, says that unlike some US contracting firms it is not interested in providing armed forces.

It does, however, provide a wide array of defence support services. Serco’s expansion from a small cinema company into today’s multi-tasking giant with a £4.3 billion ($6.6bn) annual turnover began with a 1962 contract to build and support a missile early warning system at a Royal Air Force base.

Its military work now gives it a role on every defence base in Australia and includes training RAF pilots and helping to manage the Atomic Weapons Establishment that provides and maintains Britain’s nuclear warheads.

At the same time it has moved into everything from administration services to education, transport and healthcare. It is one of the largest air traffic control operators in the world and is Britain’s largest employer of scientists.

With the Cameron government determined to outsource more services and Serco’s foreign earnings growing rapidly to 40 per cent of its revenues the company has become a blue-chip darling of London stock analysts, with many of its operations not just recession-proof but benefiting from an era of government cutbacks.

n 2005 the Chief Inspector of Prisons reported that Serco’s Doncaster prison was run with an “institutional meanness” that was reflected in “the physical conditions in which many prisoners lived, which in some cases were squalid”. “Many prisoners lacked pillows, adequate mattresses [and] toilet seats,” the inspector said.

One person familiar with the prison at that time tells The Australian part of the problem was that a private company’s duties had to be encapsulated in a contract. “In that case the contract said the company had to maintain proper toilets but it didn’t say anything about toilet seats, and it said there had to be decent bedding but it didn’t mention pillows.”

The next inspection in 2008 found things had improved at Doncaster although some “two-person cells had been turned into three-person cells by placing a bed in the shared toilet [cubicle].”

David Ramsbotham, chief inspector of prisons from 1995 to 2001, believes private firms cut costs in a worrying way.

“The thing that worries me most about the private sector prisons is that frankly because obviously they are trying to make a profit they have got to decide where they can afford to cut corners and the corners they cut are usually to do with staffing and staff numbers,” he says.

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