With defense budgets soaring, the human cost of military expenditures is becoming disturbingly apparent. Feinstein's latest is an attempt to expose the corruption of the defense industry and the global arms trade, centered around British company BAE Systems and American defense contractor Lockheed Martin. One of the founding codirectors of London-based CorruptionWatch, Feinstein (After the Party) examines historical factors in the industry, from post-WWII Nazi arms-dealers to the impact on trade of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Through investigative transcripts, Feinstein illuminates strained international relations, government commissions, and trade complexities. He outlines business secrets and political pressures, as well as ongoing efforts to quell "the systemic 'legal bribery' that is the US arms business." Feinstein proffers some potentially effective but perhaps overly optimistic solutions, such as greater transparency and harsher sanctions. Immensely detailed and informative, Feinstein's timely book is engaging and challenging.
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Feinstein profiles the global arms trade, which embraces above-board government-to-government arms trade, illicit arms dealing, and the shady relationship between the two. His credentials? He resigned from the African National Congress when it refused to investigate suspect South African arms deals and is founding codirector of Corruption Watch—so he must be a busy man. Important enough to merit a one-day laydown.
A highly pertinent, deeply damning indictment of the flourishing of the world's "second-oldest profession." Global military expenditure was priced at $16.2 trillion in 2010--"$235 for every person on the planet," writes South African journalist and former ANC member of Parliament Feinstein (After the Party: Corruption, the ANC and South Africa's Uncertain Future, 2009). The trade in conventional arms, the legitimate tool of government (as opposed to weapons of mass destruction), engenders a secretive world, mainly due to enormous profits and the advance of nefarious political aims. The author focuses on the black market as well as the so-called grey market, where the government is involved "through legal channels, but undertaken covertly." He methodically examines the construction of the global military-industrial complex, including the breakup of the British arms trade after World War II, exemplified by British Aerospace's (now BAE Systems) courting of Saudi contracts, and the inroads of the Americans in the early '60s. After the war, the Americans had incorporated many key ex-Nazis into the West German intelligence service--e.g., Reinhard Gehlen and Gerhard Mertins, who secured beneficial arms deals for the U.S. and Germany. Feinstein looks closely at Margaret Thatcher and BA's deal with Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia in the mid '80s; and the pernicious legacy of Lockheed Martin and middlemen John Murtha, Charlie Wilson and Adnan Khashoggi. The author sees the collapse of the Soviet Union as key in changing the way arms dealers did business, since small, fractured states became the new clientele of rapacious dealers, from Croatia to Africa to Pakistan. He also provides portraits of the crusading investigators who have pursued these criminal cases--e.g., Helen Garlick of the UK's Serious Fraud Office. The detail is occasionally overwhelming, but Feinstein's book is sound, timely and invaluable. Diligent readers will be rewarded.
That the world is awash in weapons is not news. But the way weapons large and small flow from the United States, Britain and other producers to the world's villains is ever astonishing. In The Shadow World, Andrew Feinstein gives us a sweeping and troubling story of how this happens, who benefits, and what consequences follow…Feinstein…writes with a crusading spirit and a depth of detail that lend The Shadow World urgency and authority. Many of the sensational stories he tells have earned attention before, but he adds depth and shows how often patterns repeat.
The Washington Post
"This book is essential [listening] for anyone who cares about justice, transparency, and accountability in both the public and private spheres, and for anyone who believes that it is more important to invest in saving lives than in the machinery of death." Archbishop Desmond Tutu