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.

Vulture capitalists fails and yet its masters will thrive

One (via the Guardian):

The depth of the crisis over G4S‘s Olympic security preparations became increasingly clear on Thursday as recruits revealed details of a “totally chaotic” selection process and police joined the military in bracing themselves to fill the void left by the private security contractor.

Guards told how, with 14 days to go until the Olympics opening ceremony, they had received no schedules, uniforms or training on x-ray machines. Others said they had been allocated to venues hundreds of miles from where they lived, been sent rotas intended for other employees, and offered shifts after they had failed G4S’s own vetting.

The West Midlands Police Federation reported that its officers were being prepared to guard the Ricoh Arena in Coventry, which will host the football tournament, amid concerns G4S would not be able to cover the security requirements.

“We have to find officers until the army arrives and we don’t know where we are going to find them from,” said Chris Jones, secretary of the federation.

G4S has got a £284m contract to provide 13,700 guards, but only has 4,000 in place. It says a further 9,000 are in the pipeline.

G4S sent an urgent request on Thursday to retired police asking them to help. A memo to the National Association of Retired Police Officers said: “G4S Policing Solutions are currently and urgently recruiting for extra support for the Olympics. These are immediate starts with this Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday available. We require ex-police officers ideally with some level of security clearance and with a Security Industry Association [accreditation], however neither is compulsory.”

Robert Brown, a former police sergeant, told the Guardian that he pulled out of the recruitment process for the Games after seeing it close at hand.

He said: “They were trying to process hundreds of people and we had to fill out endless forms. It was totally chaotic and it was obvious to me that this was being done too quickly and too late.”

Another G4S trainee, an ex-policeman, described the process as “an utter farce”.

He added: “There were people who couldn’t spell their own name. The staff were having to help them. Most people hadn’t filled in their application forms correctly. Some didn’t know what references were and others said they didn’t have anyone who could act as a referee. The G4S people were having to prompt them, saying things like “what about your uncle?”

Two (via Common Dreams):

The United Nations is increasingly hiring private military contractors for protecting its staff and operations, threat assessments, and a wide array of security services.

According to a new report by the independent policy watchdog Global Policy Forum, the increased used of mercenary-style groups by the world body is both troubling and dangerous. Citing various reports from governments, NGOs and media outlets, the GPF says such firms have a history of committing serious human rights abuses, killing or injuring innocent civilians, engaging in financial malfeasance and other breaches of national and international laws.

Between 2009 and 2010 alone, the US increased its use of private security services by 73 percent (from 44 million to 76 million dollars), according to the report.

“When you look at 2006 to 2011, use of PMSCs in field missions have increased by 250 percent,” Lou Pingeot, program coordinator at GPF and lead author of the report, told Inter Press Service in an interview.

“In the absence of guidelines and clear responsibility for security outsourcing,” says the report, “the UN has hired companies well-known for their misconduct, violence and financial irregularities – and hired them repeatedly.”

Three (via Huffington Post):

For many years now, private military and security contractor (PMSC) advocates have argued that utilization of PMSC in United Nations peace operations offers an alternative to doing nothing or trying to organize a frequently dysfunctional U.N.-sponsored, often ill-equipped and organized intervention.

Indeed, about ten years ago, Doug Brooks, head of the International Stability Operations Association (ISOA), a PMSC advocacy group, wrote in a paper that:

“PMCs offer the only military forces both willing and capable to provide rapid and effective military services in most Third World conflicts. PMC operations in the past have saved tens of thousands of lives, but their potential is even greater. Working as “force multipliers” PMCs can provide the competent military backbone to ensure the success of UN or regional multinational peacekeeping or peace enforcement operations.”As sweeping generalizations go that, to use my childhood Yiddish, takes a lot of chutzpah.

Don’t get me wrong. While I’m the first to agree that U.N. operations often leave a lot to be desired, a U.N. blue helmet peace operation can only be as successful as members of the Security Council want it to be. Given the often radically differing agendas and interests of Council members that doesn’t happen very often.

And to be objective about it, the United Nation already employs large number of private contractors for all sorts of humanitarian purposes and has greatly increased its use of these companies in recent years. But does the record to date with regard to PMSC use by the U.N. encourage even greater use of and dependence on PMSC?

one comment ↪
  • examinator

    ATTENTION!!
    New acronym for large scale security= BFIG ( translation.. Brute Force, Ignorance and Greed)
    Any Questions?