Shadow World is directed by Johan Grimonprez and is in part based on Corruption Watch UK founder Andrew Feinstein’s globally acclaimed book The Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade. Andrew, who will be chairing our Q & A, is a former ANC MP in South Africa, who resigned in protest at his own government’s refusal to allow an unfettered investigation into a massive, corrupt arms deal with BAE.
The film reveals how the international trade in weapons – with the complicity of governments and intelligence agencies, investigative and prosecutorial bodies, weapons manufacturers, dealers and agents – fosters corruption, determines economic and foreign policies, undermines democracy and creates widespread suffering.
The film suggests peaceful alternatives through the experience of an activist and war correspondent, as well as through the voice of the author Eduardo Galeano who contributed selections from his stories for the film.
The UK arms trade is amongst the most corrupt and deadly in the world. BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce, amongst others, have been involved in corrupt arms deals across the world for decades. The UK has sold Saudi Arabia almost £5 billion of weaponry since the Saudi-led coalition first invaded Yemen in a conflict that has cost over 15,000 civilian lives, and rendered millions homeless and vulnerable to starvation and disease. According to UK law, multilateral and international agreements, such arms sales should not be happening. But they are, and at an ever increasing rate.
Labour under Jeremy Corbyn has committed to suspending arms sales to non-democratic countries and those engaged in conflict. The party has also committed to a comprehensive review of British arms sales and the mechanisms for concluding weapons contracts. In addition, the party has indicated support for some diversification from the defence sector.