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.

Don’t trust Serco and friends to manage asylum seekers in Australia

Under-trained. Under-staffed. Traumatised. And that’s just the employees of disaster capitalist companies, loved by governments, to add “efficiency” to a straining refugee system.

Paige Taylor reports in today’s Australian:

An English backpacker on a tourist visa, Australians straight from high school and overseas students are among hundreds of casual workers earning up to $450 a day as “officers” in immigration detention centres.

Immigration Minister Chris Bowen has used his special powers under the Migration Act to turn the casual workers into guards authorised to deal with asylum-seekers and respond to incidents such as riots and suicide attempts, The Australian has confirmed.

They are allowed to perform almost all of the same duties as guards from contractor Serco, who are required, under the strict terms of a contract with the Immigration Department, to complete training that covers cultural awareness and cross-cultural communication, suicide awareness and the government’s detention values.

Mr Bowen used his “instrument of authorisation” to empower workers from subcontractor MSS in May last year and from Wilson Security in October last year. Each holds a Certificate II in Security Operations, according to Serco. Industry-wide, the course can take five to 10 days to complete.

“Some of them are just hopeless,” one MSS worker said yesterday.

“You get ones who aren’t fit for work or who are too young to handle what you see in there . . . that includes Serco people.”

There are 62 MSS workers on Christmas Island and a similar number of Serco guards.

The debate about the qualifications and training of all guards began in March during mass walkouts, scuffles with detainees and rioting. This month an inquest into the suicide at Sydney’s Villawood detention centre of Fijian asylum-seeker Josefa Rauluni was told that two officers who dealt with him before his death were trained in the use of force, but not in Australia, nor to the specifications in Serco’s contract.

Serco has rigorously defended its training regime. Its own employees complete a four-week induction that begins off site and finishes in the workplace, a Serco spokesman said.

Serco began using subcontractors to supply guards last year when the number of people in detention rocketed as a result of the government’s decision to suspend processing asylum claims for boatpeople from Sri Lanka and Afghanistan.

Serco maintains that its subcontractors are suitably trained. “(They) hold licences to act as security officers including a level II in Security Operations. Regular checks are undertaken to verify this is the case,” a Serco spokesman said.

An MSS worker who lasted less than a week on Christmas Island is among at least three flown home for medical reasons this year. He had severe and long-term health problems associated with obesity and diabetes.

One 18-year-old woman said she had no idea what to do when she was placed inside the Christmas Island detention centre as a “rover” among more than 2400 men.

“I was shitting myself the whole time,” she said.

2 comments ↪
  • AskSerco

    Serco as a company is leach on public money. They have earned billions of pounds from the government contract in UK, Middle east and Australia. They are basically into grabbing government contract with the cost reduction is main plank. Once they have a contract they start to push cheap labor and untrained people into work. They entire crux of the contract revolves around saving cost so nobody asks about the quality.

    Serco manages public relations a great deal better than contracts. So all government officials keep their mouth shut. Serco is responsible for a large number of job losses in UK since they keep moving large part of work to cheap labor destinations such as India and Philippians. They run a large sweat shop in india.

    What is most surprising is that governments who are most powerful and resourceful find it easier to give away work to Serco then to manage it directly. Prison management for example is not Serco's capability ever. I am sure most governments run much larger and better prisons. So what is it that Serco brings. definitely no expertise. it is only the money that goes into some empty pockets, and some politicians who gain mileage in political donations. It is a complex game. Much complex than the prison management

  • brad

    i worked at the curtin detention center and without doubt the training levels of both serco and mss are pitifull. If any training in dealing with different cultures is given,,, and i recieved none,,, few if any pay regard to it and it is little wonder that the people housed there act up as they are treated very poorly. I have since left as the whole show there is unacceptable and little wonder that both diac and serco do not want any media around.