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  • 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.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Seen at the Durban International Film Festival: Shadow World

    Director: Johan Grimonprez

    Shadow World is based upon the 2011 book by South African, Andrew Feinstein, 'The Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade'. Andrew Feinstein is a South African now living in London who was an ANC MP. He was revolted by the shenanigans of the South African arms deal and finally resigned from the ANC. He wrote a book about the trauma he and our country experienced during that era in his book, 'After the Party'.

    This is yet another must-see gem that many will appreciate. It details the close links between giant arms manufacturers and governments. Huge revenues are acquired, often from very poor nations who lose the plot. They focus on arming themselves instead of emphasising health, education, crime prevention, the police, civil servant salaries and housing among other priorities. They are the authors of their own civil unrest and destabilisation. That plays right into the hands of the wealthy countries of the world, many of which had conquered most of the planet in the last few hundred years - and still dominate it.

    Mega bribes are all part of the package with this 'trade'. The film focused on the Saudis. South Africa also came in for its share of the opprobrium. Telling commentary from intellectuals and others illuminates the mind. Eduardo Galeano says that he was told, 'Lying sucks, and getting used to lying sucks, but worse than lying is teaching to lie.' We are introduced to the minds of great authors like Jeremy Scahill and Vijay Prashad as well. Here are some fascinating comments from the film: 'The US has privatised the ultimate public function, War.' An arms dealer called Riccardo made the point that 'munitions have a sell by date.' Yes, I wrote, munitions are expensive. They need wars. They need human flesh, human misery. We all live in a cloud of various degrees of mendacity and truth. Lies make people speak and behave stupidly. May we be part of the process that disseminates the truth.
  • I stumbled upon this by mere coincidence during channel surfing PBS Thanks-Giving morning.

    Being politically aware, I already knew most of what this production entails. However, it didn't take away from the sick feeling I felt in the pit of my stomach - the opposite. It confirmed everything and brought it home in full color, no filters. Things you won't see on American news outlets. They'd rather report on The Kardashians and American Idol than show you what's going on in the world. It's part of the dumbing down and conditioning of the American populace.

    Since this goes back in time and ends in today's world, it is sure to offend people on both sides of the political spectrum. Which is why you see 1 star reviews criticizing this production.

    I'm beyond that, having left "my" party last year. To me, it's two sides of the same coin which is another truth you get out of watching this.

    It was available for free streaming online on the PBS website, until... today. Wow. I wonder why it was taken down... Not.

    Anyway, watch it. And then be honest with yourself.
  • There is nothing new about the documentary, all of what is said is already known. But what this movie does is tie the ends and shows you how western corporations and countries such US/UK and Israel benefits from the sectarian violence in middle east. Orchestrate and perpetuate war and sit back and collect benjamins.

    Watch it and you be the judge.
  • I just saw this truthful expose on Danish television (DR2 March 18) and thought of how all these wars the US and UK conduct in large part for the gouging profit of their war weaponry capitalist firms just doesn't happen in Russia. How Putin is so clearly working assiduously for world peace while his counterparts in the USA/UK are doing what they can to find excuses to war against Russia. It matters little what anyone in the West thinks of "democracy", "free speech", "free press", "honest elections" that occur or do not occur in Russia or anywhere else--what about the UK/USAs great friends in Saudi Arabia and all the Gulf States and, of course, Israel. What really matters to West citizens as well as all of the planets peoples is whether the US/UK will blow up the world to please war industry's profits. Maybe they have plans to fly to the moon with their cash. When will the Western people wake up and stop this war industry, the military-corporate consort from killing and killing, torturing and torturing? When will the media do its job of watching over the powerful and informing real news to the citizenry? When will we demand such and let Putin win all the elections that clearly the majority of Russians want him to? Can one say the same for any US/UK president or prime minister, can one say they have the vast majority of the citizenry behind them?
  • midas0212 March 2017
    I started watching this, but gave up after twenty minutes after having lost belief something interesting was still being kept from me.

    Going back to the initial promise, it claims to be a) a documentary, and b) to give an insight into international arms trade. But it does neither.

    A documentary gives you facts. Laid out in a sequential or chronological order, so one can form its own opinion on the data being presented. Alas, that's not happening here. On arms trade, you get little or no info. Instead, you get a rather idiosyncratic collection of news snippets and interviews with self-declared investigative journalists, mixed with footage of world leaders, retrieved from their context, with a clear intention of blackening them. It makes you wonder if the documentary maker understands how the world works, and the tough choices its leaders need to make.

    Clearly the intention was not to make a factual documentary. It's the usual leftish rubbish by that class who believes the people need to be told on what they are allowed to think, because they can definitely not be trusted to think for themselves.

    If you do want to get a good insight into arms trade, I'd rather recommend the 'How Rolls- Royce Bribed Its Way Around the World' episode of BBC Panorama. Factual and concise, it will tell you ten times more on the topic, in five times less time.
  • What a shocking load of rubbish! Living in South Africa, I always had respect for Andrew Feinstein when he exposed the arms deal scandal allegedly involving the SA government and major foreign arms manufacturers. But having now seen this "evidence", I can finally understand why the many official commissions of inquiries held about this matter over many years came to nothing.

    Never having read Feinstein's book, I was hoping to uncover some coherence of his accusations in this film, but alas all we got was flimsy uncoordinated conspiracy theories spoken by mostly loose canons, without any real facts, or proof, whatsoever. The dots could not be connected! A great pity as I believe that the underlying theme of the movie is correct, but what's the point if such story is completely unbelievable, bordering on pure imagination, and actually counterproductive?

    The truth is out there but not in this depiction.
  • A film of talking heads and insinuation, pointing fingers at the symptom and not the cause, further slanted by the obvious left wing bias. As if the Israeli's would experience peace if arms were not sold to that region. Once you remove the ominous music and cut out the talking heads when they have nothing concrete to say there isn't much there to such films which amount to little more than propaganda. The anti colonial types who would nod along wouldn't dare to consider the actual alternative to such systems of corruption and control, it would be direct control because the alternatives due to human nature would result in inevitable violence. The lofty standards and knee jerk backing of underdogs leads to perpetual conflict, the people who push a naïve ideology are responsible for the problems they complain about. Just look at south africa, weapons contracts, mass corruption, what did people expect when you saddled a population unprepared for democracy with "democracy", instead of taking responsibility, they point at the west, the weapons, the convenient explanations because they cannot view the world as it truly is, poisoned by the white mans burden denying other peoples their history, and their agency. One cannot complain about a national security state when one pushes for massive expansions of not just government, but global governance, all the while on a perpetual moral crusade demanding international interference.