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.

Britain being transformed into an unaccountable, privatised mess

One (via Open Democracy):

My post yesterday about G4S recruiting ex-police officers to run cut-price murder investigations [9] ran with a rather shocking image: epaulettes emblazoned with the red, white and black G4S company logo above the words (in much smaller type): “LINCOLNSHIRE POLICE”. G4S dominant and on top, as it were.

I guessed that the image (first spotted here [10]) might be a spoof, mocked up in protest at the massive privatisation contract [11] — worth £200 million — by which 540 civilian Lincolnshire police workers turn into employees of G4S, the self-styled “world’s leading provider of security solutions”.

It had to be a spoof, for what self-respecting police authority would submit to its name being attached to a corporate logo at all, let alone a corporate logo in the striking red, white and black colour scheme favoured by the Third Reich?

I contacted both Lincolnshire Police and G4S by separate emails, asking, were the epaulettes genuine? And, if so, who was entitled to wear them? And where else do the G4S and Lincolnshire police insignia appear together? And waited.

Meanwhile, we ran the image with my G4S contract-cops piece: spoof or no spoof, it seemed to express — with visceral impact — something about the corporate takeover of this most important public service.

Yesterday at noon, confirmation came that the image was . . . genuine! The explanation, from G4S head of UK public relations Nicola Savage, is worth quoting in full:

“This epaulette is worn only by G4S civilian uniformed employees working in the Lincolnshire Police strategic partnership,” said Ms Savage, who, by the way, used to be a government information officer.

“It was jointly designed and agreed by both Lincolnshire Police and G4S. It is worn by employees working in departments such as the Force Control Room, Custody as well as by Town Enquiry Officers. There are no plans to introduce the dual logo elsewhere.”

Almost four hours later the very same words arrived, pasted into an email from the Lincolnshire police department, G4S having the whip hand again.

So, uniformed civilians sporting G4S-Lincolnshire Police epaulettes, will be Town Enquiry Officers looking and acting like police officers.

And uniformed civilians with G4S/Lincolnshire police epaulettes will be running police custody units (although, according to the Lincolnshire police authority [12], a real police officer will play custody sergeant).

They’ll be running police identification units and the force control room (with a real police officer playing inspector).

Two (via the Guardian):

The private company hired by the government to deport foreign nationals has decided to place its own guards under surveillance after concluding that some lack respect for ethnic minorities and women and display “loutish” and “aggressive” behaviour.

The damning assessment of the attitudes and conduct of staff working for Reliance is made in an internal company memo, drawn up by senior managers after the company won the Home Office contract to deport foreign prisoners and refused asylum seekers.

The document, one of a number of internal company records leaked to the Guardian, identifies problems “at all levels of the business” and cites poor communication, peer pressure and use of “inappropriate language” by guards empowered to use force to return foreign nationals.

In response, executives at Reliance have decided to recruit a team of covert monitors who will pose as passengers on commercial flights and report back on the performance of guards. They hope the move will quell the growing impression that the deportation system remains in crisis – 18 months after an Angolan man, Jimmy Mubenga, died after being forcibly restrained on a flight from Heathrow.

The Guardian has obtained details of seven further cases of alleged mistreatment of detainees said to have occurred since last May, when Reliance took over the lucrative government removals contract from rival private security firm G4S.

The Home Office said the five allegations it had investigated were found to be “entirely without merit”; in at least one case a detainee is believed to have seriously injured guards during altercations.

Campaigners argue that the complaints process rarely finds in favour of deportees and say the latest complaints indicate a culture of using excessive force remains.

Three G4S guards arrested over Mubenga’s death in October 2010 remain on bail. The Crown Prosecution Service is expected to announce whether they will face manslaughter charges at the end of the month.

A parliamentary report last week suggested the removals process was in chaos, as a fifth of foreign prisoners who recently finished their jail terms had still not been deported by last November. The home affairs select committee was highly critical of the UK Border Agency, the Home Office department that works with Reliance, saying it was failing to fulfil its basic tasks and risked damaging public trust.

2 comments ↪
  • backblow

    From near the bottom of the article:

    "That’s an awfully long way from police minister Nick Herbert’s assurances only four weeks ago that, “This is all about supporting the front line by making sure that the backroom jobs that do that can be done more efficiently (are)" and that core policing would not be privatised."

    Never mind the quality, feel the width! Typical neo-liberal crap – the UK's police forces don't compete in international markets (yet) so we should be more concerned about effectiveness than efficiency – but then these neo-liberal want government to fail so that they have less of it.

  • Anthony, thank you very much for cross-posting.
    all good wishes
    Clare Sambrook