Shadow World is an eye-opening look at the international arms trade. It makes for pretty worrying viewing and suggests that this trade is not only endemically corrupt but also works alongside governments to perpetuate warfare. This film casts a light on some of the sordid goings-on behind the scenes and particularly highlights the actions of certain high profile individuals and arms companies. One of the central scandals that underpin the narrative is the illegal dealings that went on between the Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan and British arms company BAE Systems, the latter controlled a slush fund which was used to pay off high ranking officials around the world as well as Bandar himself who even received a huge private jet as a gift. Others such as Mark Thatcher are alleged to have received 12 million pounds for their work in enabling deals. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair comes off looking very poorly indeed, and seems to be a man engulfed in corruption, blocking investigations into corruption in the arms trade, taking huge sums from arms related companies as a representative in his post Prime Minister capacity, as well as most damningly lying to Parliament and the public in order to allow the country to enter the Iraq War, the repercussions of which we endure to this day; including the rise of ISIS as a direct reaction to this.
The film looks at how much of the Islamic extremist groups we have today were actively enabled by foreign policy that sometimes backed them, such as the Afghan mujahedeen receiving military assistance from the USA when they fought the USSR in the 80's, this ultimately led to al Qaeda and the Taliban of course. Moreover, the film looks at the way that the arms trade is inextricably linked to governments to the point that they are part of the establishment who dictate what goes down. The money involved is so massive that what they say goes and politicians often meekly obey. This has led to a scenario where we have self-fuelling endless wars in which supply will never lose sight of demand. A perfect example of this is the 'war on terror', which as Clare Short describes here is a ludicrous concept when you think of it. It's a war against what exactly? It is so vague to be meaningless but can be used to encompass a continual conflict that will never effectively end. How do you ultimately declare victory in a war against 'terror'? The truth is that you can't and so the war goes on. Overall, this is chilling stuff and does not bode well for the future.
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