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 pays millions to company that denies crayons to children

Fairfax reports on a company, Serco, whose primary aim is to punish refugees in its care:

The private company that runs immigration detention has been forced to back off an arbitrary ban on children using crayons and coloured pencils in their rooms.

Serco Group’s officers in Darwin had decided on the ban, even though crayons are not listed as controlled or prohibited substances in the detention services manual. The Immigration Department could not point to any official reason for the ban yesterday.

Serco officers told a group of Darwin people, including three children, who had wrapped 80 art packs to give to 200 children at the Darwin Airport Lodge detention centre on Christmas morning, that the presents could not be distributed because ”the children might draw on the walls”.

It is believed that Serco had stopped child detainees from using crayons and pencils other than in group classes, and said they could not be used in family rooms, even under parental supervision.

The Greens and refugee groups said yesterday such a restriction would impair the development of young children, and was in breach of Serco’s contract. ”Preschool children learn how to write by first learning how to mark paper with crayons,” said Kate Gauthier, chairwoman of ChilOut (Children Out of Immigration Detention).

”It is a necessary part of the early childhood education process.”

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said: ”This is another classic example of why children should not be in immigration detention. Serco is under a contractual obligation to provide early childhood materials to children in detention.”

After protests to the Immigration Department by the Darwin residents, the Christmas presents, which included 100 individually wrapped gifts that Serco had unwrapped, were distributed on Thursday, 12 days after Christmas.

A Serco spokesman yesterday apologised for the delay, and admitted its process for checking the gifts ”did not work well in this case”.

Said Ms Gauthier: ”It shows Serco are not just heartless buggers for interfering with Christmas presents, but are breaching their contractual obligations.”

A department spokeswoman said: ”The department is very appreciative of the gifts delivered to clients by the Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network, ChilOut and the wider Darwin community. We regret there has been this slight delay in this single incident, and understand most of the 200 children have now received their gifts.”

”Safety procedures” were in force when goods entered a detention centre, she said.

The Immigration Department’s detention services manual lists controlled items, including alcohol, vitamins, phones with camera capability, computer modems, knitting needles, scissors, sporting equipment and religious candles, but does not mention crayons.

2 comments ↪
  • Marilyn

    And all those lovely parents in our parliament want to make it even meaner, along with the Murdoch rags and haters like Greg Sheridan.

  • Victoria

    It is often the petty absurdities that are the most revealing.
    But the mindset behind this is the same as the one that tried to tell RRAN volunteers that toys and comfort items (like stuffed teddies) should go into a toy library and could not see the difference between owning and loving a Ted and visiting it for an hour a week. Untrained security guards caring for vulnerable children. I question whether these pole even safe to care for their OWN kids with these attitudes.