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.

What privatisation does to the prisoner’s soul

The rise of privatised detention centres and prisons globally is an issue that receives far too little scrutiny in the media (yesterday’s Al Jazeera’s The Stream was a notable exception). The profit motive inevitably skews priorities.

Here’s a great piece from this week’s New York Times by Thomas Gammeltoft-Hansen that asks the necessary questions:

Immigration control has traditionally been viewed as an inalienable sovereign function of the state. But today migration management has increasingly been taken over by private contractors. Proponents of privatization have been keen to argue that the use of contractors does not mean that governments lose control. Yet, privatization introduces a corporate veil that blurs both public oversight and legal accountability.

Despite efforts to introduce outside supervisors, performance reports and other monitoring mechanisms, the private nature of these companies breaks the ordinary administrative chain of command, placing both governments and the public at a disadvantage in terms of ensuring transparency.

Private companies seldom have an interest in securing public oversight, as any criticism may entail negative economic consequences. Australasian Correctional Management, which ran detention centers in Australia from 1998 to 2004, was known to require medical staff members or teachers entering its facilities to sign confidentiality agreements preventing them from disclosing any information regarding detainees or the administration of the centers. Being foreigners, migrants and refugees have always had a hard time gaining access to outside complaint mechanisms and advocacy institutions. As an employee in charge of reviewing disciplinary cases at a Corrections Corporation of America facility in Houston once told a reporter from this paper, “I’m the Supreme Court.”

The corporate veil also distorts lines of legal responsibility. Human rights law is largely designed on the presumption that it is states and not private companies that exercise sovereign powers like detention or border control. Legally holding governments accountable for human rights violations by contractors requires an additional step showing that it is the state and not just the corporation or individual employee that is responsible for the misconduct.

As the world’s largest security company with more than 650,000 employees, G4S is involved in a plethora of migration functions all over the world, from operating immigration detention centers in Britain to carrying out passenger screening at airports in Europe, Canada and the Middle East. In America, G4S operates a fleet of custom-built fortified buses that serve as deportation transports for illegal migrants caught along the United States-Mexico border. Just last month, the U.K. Border Agency signed a new contract with G4S worth up to $337 million to house asylum seekers.

G4S’s success in this market shows that deportation, detention and border control have become big business. Boeing’s current contract to set up and operate a high-tech border surveillance system along the United States-Mexico border is worth $1.3 billion and involves nearly 100 subcontractors. The Florida-based Geo Group — one of G4S’s main competitors — manages 7,000 detention beds in the United States and, until recently, at the Guantánamo Bay detention center, where migrants intercepted in the Caribbean are transferred. N.G.O.s and international organizations profit, too. In 2010, the International Organization for Migration was paid $265 million to assist governments in returning migrants to their home countries, among other activities.

The migration control industry covers not only detention and deportations but also border control. Many airlines today employ former immigration officers or themselves contract security companies to perform the document, forgery and profiling checks required by destination states. In Israel, the West Bank checkpoints are gradually being transferred to private security companies.

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