International Arms Dealer: Politicians are Expensive Prostitutes
The thing about politicians is that they’re very much like prostitutes, but only more expensive.
- Riccardo Privitera
Have truer words ever been spoken?
Riccardo Privitera, in the excellent documentary Shadow World.
The concept is by no means novel, we all know that politicians are
bribed, handed lavish gifts, wined, dined, and payed-off in a myriad
of ways. They might call them 'contributions' or 'donations' but the
result is the same.
Politicians are purchased.
The Shadow World
I’ve got nothing against money, I don’t mind paying brides to politicians, it’s part of the deal.
- Riccardo Privitera
If anything is clear from the documentary Shadow World,
it’s that the global arms trade is likely the shadiest, most corrupted,
and nefarious trade in the history of the world.
The film details how arms dealers and weapons manufacturing companies
taking part in these massive arms deals sell weapons to state governments,
who most often don’t need the armaments they’re being sold in the first
place, by bribing a select number of key government officials.
In return, these officials allocate public funds to pay for the enormous
arms deals and receive ‘commissions’ from their business partners.
The politics is dictated by the whims of the arms industry.
Politicians are nothings more than sales reps my dear friend.
They have as much power as a middle ranking executive in Lockheed Martin.
At the end of the day they do what they’re told.
- Riccardo Privitera
The documentary is based on the book of the same title written by
South African Andrew Feinstein (no relation to Diane Feinstein).
Mr. Feinstein, a former ANC member of parliament who now heads
the UK based organization Corruption Watch, has been researching
the global arms trade for close to two decades. His work monitors
the multi-billion dollar industry between governments and corporate
entities while also seeking out information pertaining to the
international trade of illicit weapons.
A great accompaniment to the documentary is this recent lecture given
at the University of British Columbia’s Peter Wall Institute for Advanced
Studies by Feinstein.
The Shadow World of the Global Arms Trade
In my 17 years of studying this phenomenon, I’ve yet to come across an arms deal that did not comprise of some form of illegality.
Same players who conduct ‘legal’ arms deals are the same individuals involved in illicit arms deals
Black market arms trade operates in a parallel legal universe where there are rarely any legal repercussions
UN arms embargoes are regularly violated. In a study of 502 violations of embargoes, just 2 cases lead to any form of legal accountability.
Crucial to an understanding of the arms trade is the collusion of: governments, publicly listed corporations, military, intelligence services, foreign affairs, arms dealers (intermediaries/ brokers/ agents). Every action takes place behind a national security imposed veil of secrecy.
As a result of collusion, arms trade accounts for 40% of all corruption in world trade.
In every given year there are 5-6 major weapons deals in the world each worth over 10 billion.
Most corrupt commercial transaction in history Al-Yamamah deal between the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia in which there was 6 billion GBP of ‘unauthorized commissions’ (bribes) were observed through a network of offshore accounts.
The $6 Billion pound deal also included a 178 million GBR slush-fund for yachts, drugs, alcohol and women were bought for the use of senior members of the Saudi government.
The investigation was shut down by Tony Blair on the grounds of National Security.
Every year, 84% of retiring generals at the Pentagon go into senior executive positions in the defense companies for whom they given contracts for their military careers. Earning salaries that dwarf their salaries of their entire military carriers. So, while they’re in those careers it’s very important to keep those contracts sweet.
The F35 project will cost the US taxpayer 1.5 trillion USD and is of no value to the US in any conflict it is currently engaged in or likely engaged in in generations to come.
The size of this bribes ensure that war is always the preferred option to diplomacy in resolving disputes and conflicts.
Sales Rep in Chief
act as the “Sales Rep in Chief” seeking out new deals for their industry masters.
War-monger and BAE sales rep Tony Blair was instrumental not only
as a broker of several enormous arms deals, but also played a crucial
role in shutting down a plethora of investigations into the corrupt practices
of the UK flagship manufacturing giant.
Although not covered in detail in the film, the lecture touches
upon the bombing of Libya and the assassination of Colonel Gaddafi.
Just a couple of years prior to the NATO “love bombs” intervention,
Libya had appeared to achieve a remarkable rapprochement with Western
powers. Gaddafi even enlisted the help of Tony Blair to help negotiate a US
victim's lawsuit brought against Gaddafi in relation to terrorist attacks.
Tony Blair made numerous trips to Libya after leaving office in 2007,
where many believe he facilitated a number of deals enriching himself in
The former prime minister is thought to have visited Libya at least six times after leaving Downing St in 2007 as he tried to build up his business and philanthropic interests. Mr Blair has since built up a fortune estimated at £60 million, based on a consultancy business that includes advising foreign governments.
Mr Blair is understood to have attempted to put together a number of deals during his trips to Libya.
Indeed, the weapons industry is always on the lookout for new markets
in which to sell their wares.
Libya had spent hundreds of millions, and possibly billions,
worth of armsvfrom the UK's BAE systems, American and Russian
weapons dealers. Among the weapons purchased by Gaddafi were
anti-aircraft missile defense system.
An inquiry into the matter provided some evidence that Blair was intimately
connected to the 400 million pound prisoner exchange and arms deal.
Tony Blair has strongly refuted allegations that he did a deal with Muammar Gaddafi to release the Lockerbie bomber from prison in exchange for Libya signing a £400m air defence deal with a British manufacturer.
Secret documents released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request reveal that Britain's then-ambassador in Tripoli, Sir Vincent Fean, sent an email to Blair declaring the prisoner transfer agreement would be signed as soon as Libya went through with the arms deal.
According to Andrew Feinstein, the first thing the NATO allies did
when they intervened in the North African country was to take out
the air defense systems, the very armaments that had been sold to
Libya in the years preceding the 2011 bombings.
The vast stockpiles of lightly guarded arms depots and warehouses across
Libya were looted and emptied by rebel militias, groups affiliated with
Al-Queda, and ordinary citizens. Respected journalist Sy Hersh, discovered
that much of the weaponry looted from Libya's stockpiles were routed via
rat-lines through Qatar, Jordan and Turkey and ultimately ending up in the
hands of US backed Syrian 'rebel' forces.
Perpetual War, Perpetual Profits
What now? Who’s the enemy?
How do we justify all this tanks, all this planes, all this bullshit?
What better new enemy than an hypothetical invisible enemy called the War on Terror.
Conflict sustains the global arms trade.
Peace, cooperation and diplomacy are not profitable for the industry
therefore from a myopic corporate view point a military answer to conflict
is the only acceptable option. There’s just too much money to be made.
What better way to maximize profits than to arm both sides in a conflict?
This practice continues to this day.
Here are just two examples:
"If you liked Iraq, you'll love Iran"
As I write this, I can't help but think that the longest War in
US history still drones on in the background out of the spotlight.
The US has been conducting military operations in Afghanistan
for 17 years. Some people reading this may not have been
born yet. The invasion and occupation of Iraq began in 2003
and will turn 15 years old next month.
George Bush's pronouncement of "Mission Accomplished" a top
an aircraft carrier once sounded absurd to me but upon reflection
perhaps he was not referring to the major military operations ending.
Instead, maybe he was signalling the beginning of Perpetual War
in the region.
The Saudi bombing of Yemen continues with American made
fighter jets, bombs and technical support. No one is happier
than the defense contractors and probably just as happy that
the media has almost completely ignored the developing
humanitarian crisis in the country.
US warmongers are still desperately trying to find their way into
the conflict in Syria as their proxy armies have suffered a proverbial
bitch slap by Russian forces. Just the other day, the narrative that the
Syrian government is gassing its own people has resurfaced. It would
seem that the perpetual propaganda moves in lock-step.
Iran has long been the jewel in the eyes of US hegemony in the region.
Another long protracted war with Iran would insure windfall profits for
the arms industry, without a doubt. Experts estimate that a war with Iran
could last a least 14 years and after that time the region would remain
marred in conflict, bearing little difference to today, a continuation of
war and war profiting with no end in sight.