Sunday, 6 November 2011

The Global Arms Trade: Making a Killing
Andrew Feinstein is an ex South African MP who was appalled to see at first hand the way BAE ‘persuaded’ the ANC to spend £6bn on weapons they did not need when millions were dying of HIV/AIDS. He has written a book exposing the way the arms dealers do their sordid business, ‘The Shadow World - Inside The Global Arms Trade.’ The Sunday Herald published a very positive review today.
“There’s a memorable sequence at the start of the 2005 Hollywood blockbuster Lord Of War which shows a bullet’s-eye view of a bullet’s life cycle, from a manufacturing plant through various intermediaries until it ends up in the head of an African civilian via the chamber of a Kalashnikov.
The message is clear: arms don’t come from nowhere. From factory to gun, there is a path that is easy to trace for anyone with the will so to do. The fact is, as Andrew Feinstein explains in this remarkable and courageous book, that governments are so heavily involved in the deeply corrupt world of arms dealing that they turn a blind eye to the human cost and the damage they do to their own economic and moral integrity.”
Feinstein follows the careers of several leading dealers and exposes the way they are protected by security services and intelligence agencies. He also details the nefarious activities of the tories favourite, Margaret Thatcher. 
“....the Al Yamamah arms deal, the biggest in the world, negotiated personally by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher with the Saudi Royal family in 1985. It was an arms-for-oil deal worth £40 billion, benefiting the UK defence conglomerate BAE systems and, according to documents submitted to parliament by Tam Dalyell in 1994, the Iron Lady’s son, Mark Thatcher. Huge sums were paid in “commissions” and other kickbacks to Saudi Princes and shady intermediaries. More than £6bn was paid out, and some of it, according to Feinstein, even flowed through the accounts of the Saudi fixer, Prince Bandar, into the pockets of two of the terrorists responsible for 9/11.
Feinstein’s account of how the Serious Fraud Office was nobbled in its attempt to bring BAE to justice is deeply disturbing because of the insight it gives into the way that the entire British establishment has been subborned by decades-long complicity in the arms firm’s illegal activities.” 
And who was that pillar of the establishment who ‘nobbled’ the SFO? 
Step forward Reverend Tony Blair and take the opprobrium your seedy, disgusting, hypocritical actions merit. 
The Herald review concludes, “We knew the arms business was corrupt, but only a book as exhaustively researched as this one is able to reveal just how serious and extensive this corruption really is, and how democracy itself is threatened. “The tragic reality,” Feinstein says, “is that arms companies, large and small, and arms dealers and agents, get away with corruption and bribery on a massive scale, complicity in crimes against humanity and even murder. They operate in a shadow world, taking advantage of gaps in the international legal system and hiding behind the protective cover of powerful politicians and intelligence agencies.”
“The Shadow World is a heroic book by an author who, in writing it, has placed himself in the firing line.” Sunday Herald 6/11/11
Remember the name: Andrew Feinstein.

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