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 damages worker’s lives but government wants more privatised staff

Two stories today that highlight the pernicious effect of British multinational Serco in Australia.

One from today’s Australian (to its credit, the only serious newspaper tackling this question regularly):

The company running Australia’s immigration detention centres has acknowledged the work is traumatic for staff following the death of a young guard troubled by the hanging of a teenage asylum-seeker.

Kieran Webb died while holidaying with his family last Wednesday after working for six months as a security officer at the Curtin immigration detention centre in Western Australia’s far north, according to a memo to all staff from government contractor Serco last Friday.

There were no suspicious circumstances, Serco Immigration Services managing director Chris Manning wrote in the memo.

“If you feel the need for emotional support arising from the work you do, please consider speaking to someone,” he said.

“It is important we acknowledge that our line of work can at times place us in difficult and traumatic situations as we manage vulnerable people in our care.”
Five detainees have killed themselves in immigration detention centres since last September. Self-harm and threats of self-harm occur daily, and a psychologist is employed full-time by Serco to help guards deal with the fallout of acts such as lip-sewing, slashing and attempted hangings.

The Australian has been told detainees are taking increasingly dramatic steps to draw attention to their grievances. On Christmas Island last Thursday, a detainee sewed his lips together and had a friend tie him to the compound fence in a crucifix position.

On March 28, Mr Webb was among guards who cut down a 19-year-old Afghan detainee who hanged himself in his room.

Mr Webb was deeply affected by the death and by the unrest that followed, according to guards who worked alongside him at the time.

Two from United Voice, a union that represents workers:

A month after Villawood Detention Centre was burned to the ground, Serco was pushing to reduce staffing on key shifts.

The company wants to cut numbers on some shifts by as much as 50 percent.

United Voice members say the move would wreck their family lives, and reduce their ability to build relationships with detainees that could head off future trouble.

More than 120 Villawood members responded to a Union survey, panning proposed changes as family unfriendly, impractical and a health and safety risk.

Officers, predominantly working 12-hour shifts, currently get seven days off every 21 days. Under the revamp, they would have to wait 35 or 42 days for their long breaks.

United Voice assistant secretary, Peter Campise, says extending the qualifying period would be a blow to morale.

“Anything that hurts morale at the centre is a problem for our members and the whole immigration detention regime,” he said.

“United Voice rejects any changes that expose our members to increased risk.”

Meanwhile, Villawood officers are buoyed by Serco’s retreat from attempts to slash overtime rates for people required to work more than 14 hours.

Serco reduced double time payments to time and a half early in the New Year but agreed to “revert to the previous interpretation of the clause” after it became apparent member would pursue the issue..

Peter says securing back pay is now the issue.

  • Marilyn

    I seriously don't think they can say that Villawood burnt to the ground when it was just a couple of worthless demountables.

  • Family

    My Brother was Kieran Matthew Webb is there anymore information on what happened at this detention centre which could of lead him to take his own life?