The Shadow World is a grim film, and a fantastic and beautiful film, featuring poems by Eduardo Galeanos and General Smedley Butler’s piece on the 21,000 new dollar-millionaires who evolved from the Great War.  Billion after billion disappeared into the pockets of a select few.

In the 1980s, when President Ronald Reagen wanted to sell weapons for several billion dollars to Saudi Arabia, Israel put a stop to it. So, he handed the trade over to the British Prime minister Margaret Thatcher. Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia had forged close ties to both the British and the US. The British sold 43 million pound worth of weapons to the Saudis, including six billion pound in commission – in other words, more than 60 million kroner of pure corruption, and also, of course, prostitutes.

Shadow World is based on the eponymous book and features an interview with weapons dealer Riccardo Privitera. He explains that in big business only two things matter: money and sex.

Politicians and prostitutes. A Norwegian acquaintance of mine corroborates: During weapons systems purchase negotiations, the American company ushered in prostitutes – perhaps to make the customer happy, perhaps to record it and use as extortion tool. Of course, my acquaintance declined.

Another friend has explained how British BAE Systems, who set up the deal between SAAB-Gripen and South Africa, was forced to pay a little extra to the USA (due to patents and other things) to the tune of 260 million dollar. They paid this without batting an eyelid – it was small change. BAE Systems managed to get South Africa to pay 2.5 times the amount their national air force had envisaged: ten billion dollar. This a huge amount for a poor country – or in the words of South African journalist Andrew Feinstein, «for weapons we did not need».

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