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.

Remembering Jimmy Mubenga and the “outsourcing of violence”

Verso is the publisher of my new book, Disaster Capitalism, and this week issued the following:

Jimmy Mubenga died of cardiac arrest whilst waiting to be deported on board an Angola-bound plane at Heathrow airport on 12 October 2010. Fellow passengers heard Mubenga scream, “I can’t breathe” as he was restrained and pinned down in his seat. G4S guards forced his head down and restricted his breathing, despite Mubenga already being handcuffed from behind.

On 16 December 2014, three G4S guards were found not guilty of manslaughter. This Black History Month, we remember Jimmy Mubenga and publish an extract from Antony Loewenstein’s Disaster Capitalism exposing the institutional racism that acquitted Mubenga’s killers, and the government-approved, corporate unaccountability that means G4S still secures massive contracts, earning £6.8 billion last year.

“Racism had become endemic within an economic system that produced dehumanization while suppressing transparency and neglecting proper training.”

Photograph: Guardian, Graeme Robertson

Jimmy Mubenga was an Angolan man killed by G4S on a British Airways flight in 2010 as he was being deported from Britain. Three G4S guards were charged with manslaughter and acquitted, despite evidence emerging at their 2014 trial that they had forcibly held Mubenga down while he screamed: “I can’t breathe.” G4S whistle-blowers told a Home Office committee after Mubenga’s death that the company routinely hired individuals who were not trained appropriately, or who showed insensitivity towards vulnerable detainees. The potentially lethal technique used to restrain Mubenga had been flagged as dangerous, but this had been ignored by management. Other deportees also complained of rough handling by G4S employees, including a Zimbabwean man who alleged that he had been punched and kicked while handcuffed and wearing leg locks.

The Mubenga case was a perfect example of corporate unaccountability. At the end of the 2014 trial, Mubenga’s widow, Adrienne Makenda Kambana, pledged to pressure the Home Office “to make sure there is an independent monitor on each deportation so they can observe what is going on. I can’t stand by and watch this happen to another family. I have to do that for Jimmy.” After four years of investigations and public shaming of G4S, Amnesty International commented that it was still impossible to “know which of these [dangerous restraint techniques] are still being used today or if the UK government has actually delivered on its promise to introduce new and safer methods and training. Once again a migrant has lost their life in detention, and once again no one will ultimately be held to account.”

At the heart of this tragedy was the role of G4S and its hiring practices. Although, at the 2014 trial, text messages from the guards had inexplicably been deemed not to have “any real relevance”—as was the testimony of a whistle-blower who told an earlier inquiry that a form of banned restraint known as “carpet karaoke” was used to forcibly restrain Mubenga and push his head down—two of the three defendants had sent dozens of messages that displayed hatred towards Muslims, Asians, and Africans. One of the guards, Stuart Tribelnig, 39, had written: “Fuck off and go home you free-loading, benefit grabbing, kid producing, violent, non-English speaking cock suckers and take those hairy faced, sandal wearing, bomb making, goat fucking, smelly rag head bastards with you.”

(Photograph: Guardian, Lauren Hurley. Terrence Hughes had 76 texts on his phone in which he abused Africans, Asians and Muslims. He was acquitted of killing Jimmy Mubenga)

With so many cases of G4S having hired racist employees, and report after report having found that the company had employed a disproportionate number of staff who displayed a callous disregard for people of color, it was reasonable to ask why the firm was not charged with corporate manslaughter when a person died in its care.

Racism had become endemic within an economic system that produced dehumanization while suppressing transparency and neglecting proper training. An anonymous account of a Serco guard working at the remote Curtin detention center, in Western Australia, explained: “If you start off a bit of a cunt when you arrive, you’re a major cunt by the time you leave.” As for the G4S guards hired to transport Mubenga, poorly vetted and intolerant, an aggressive attitude and a contempt for non-whites was often a prerequisite. Although guards dealt every day with the most vulnerable members of the community, they were, the Australian guard said, there because they “need[ed] a job that will last a few months, pay well, employ immediately, and requires no expertise.”

Mubenga’s coroner, Karon Monaghan QC, understood what outsourcing meant in reality. In a far more humane assessment of the case in 2013, which forced a criminal trial after the initial inaction of the Crown Prosecution Service, Monaghan wrote, after reading the racist texts, that “the potential impact on detainees of a racist culture is that detainees and deportees are not ‘personalized.’” The sheer scale of the problem, exacerbated by years of state inaction, was revealed in a 2015 Institute of Race Relations report, Dying for Justice, identifying Mubenga as one of over 500 minority individuals who had died after an interaction with the police, prison, or immigration services, or one of their privatized proxies, since 1991.

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