An Exposé of the Massive Greed and Corruption of the Global Arms Trade “Shadow World” Premieres on PBS’ Independent Lens

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15 November 2017
Shadow World
Courtesy of Ronald Reagan Library
“Shadow World”
Monday, November 20 from 9:30 to 11 PM ET on PBS
(Check your local listings)

          From Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama, from Margaret Thatcher to Tony Blair, Shadow World reveals the shocking realities of the global arms trade, the only business that counts its profits in billions and its losses in human lives. Directed by Johan Grimonprez (dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y), the film is based on The Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade, the acclaimed book by Andrew Feinstein. Shadow World explores how governments, their militaries and intelligence agencies, defense contractors, arms dealers and agents are inextricably intertwined with the international trade in weapons, and how that trade fosters corruption, determines economic and foreign policies, undermines democracies and creates human suffering.

            Through the insights of whistleblowers, investigators, prosecutors, journalists, military and industry insiders, Shadow World unravels a number of the world's largest and most corrupt arms deals. It illustrates how the global arms trade operates in a parallel legal universe, in which the national security elite who drive it are seldom prosecuted for their often-illegal actions. Ultimately the film reveals the real costs of war, the way the arms trade drives it, and how a defense industry that is supposed to enhance security instead gives us the exact opposite: a more dangerous world. "I came to realize that corruption is not a dirty little side effect of the arms trade, but is, in fact, its defining factor," said Grimonprez. "Even more crucial is how it is entangled in driving foreign policy, and how it actually sets the stage for war."
          Shadow World features interviews with Chris Hedges, former New York Timeswar correspondent; Franklin C. Spinney, former Pentagon military analyst; Cynthia McKinney, former member of the U.S. House of Representatives; Lawrence Wilkerson, who served as Chief of Staff for Secretary of State Colin Powell; and Wesley Clark, U.S. Army (retired), Supreme Allied Commander, Europe (1997-2000), among others.

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