Let’s stop the war business

Shadow World Trailer from Louverture Films on Vimeo.

The New Zealand Film Festival is coming up this week in my home city. I have picked around 10 films to go see and half of my top picks are documentaries. The Shadow World is one of them. If you are in Auckland

Shadow World 2016 Directed by Johan Grimonprez FRAMING REALITY

Based on a behind-the-scenes exposé written by former South African politician Andrew Feinstein, this excoriating doco from Johan Grimonprez offers a superb and succinct examination of the global arms trade.

The trade in weapons is worth trillions and hundreds of thousands of human lives lost as real foreign policy is being practiced in secret. We know hardly anything about it because it is morally indefensible and in my view mostly illegal.

At the moment there are something like 65m people displaced by war in the Middle East and Europe.

As I noted a few weeks ago Jeffrey Sachs suggested that at least two direct changes that the UK and Europe could do straight away. First on his list was to stop the war in Syria. His second point was stop the new cold war.

What I find a bit surprising about that is he seems to think any of that is doable. In the sense that man made disasters are now caused by leaders and politicians who live in the pockets of corrupt businesses.

But the reality is as long as there are arms sales to be made wars will never stop. And when the main cheerleaders for the war business are politicians and so called leaders of the world then we have no hope at all.

Unless we as citizens ask our politicians to stop facilitating the war business. Perhaps a documentary like The Shadow World might help in some way to do this?

By the way all those Brexit voters who were worried about immigration to the UK. Yes it was 333,000 last year but that is a tiny fraction of the population. By contrast in NZ while the next migration numbers are much lower the percentage compared to current population is much higher. Brian Gaynor: Leave vote could bite older Brits hard

Brian Gaynor - Net migration NZ vs UK

Ironically it turns out that the fear of super high immigration levels is much more potent than the actual migration levels. And despite the fact that there are millions of displaced people in Europe and the Middle East the largest source of immigrants to the UK is not Syrians at all.

“The largest sources of UK immigration are India and Poland, each representing 9.6 per cent of the foreign-born population, Pakistan (6.3 per cent), Republic of Ireland (4.6 per cent) and Germany (3.6 per cent).”

The kind of deliberate mis-information that was part of the voting hysteria in the UK is straight out of the pages of the book 1984. Doublethink and perpetual war when Orwell was writing those were satirical devices.

What we have now is real life satire where the new media is so dead that it can no longer speak the truth to power to any great extent.

Every so often a story does get published though and it is easy to see who
JP Morgan and Bank of America in cluster bomb investors ‘Hall of Shame’

More than 150 financial institutions including JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America invested $28bn in companies that produce cluster bombs despite an international ban, according to a new report by the Netherlands-based peace organization PAX.

The report includes a “Hall of Shame”, a list of 158 banks, pension funds and other financial institutions that have invested in cluster munitions producers since June 2012, according to the 2016 report, titled Worldwide Investments in Cluster Munitions: A Shared Responsibility. The leading financial investors come from 14 countries including the United States, Canada and the UK, and include the investment firms China Everbright Group and T Rowe Price.”

Here is a clip of Andrew Feinstein who wrote The Shadow World. You should watch the documentary but this video gives you an idea of some of the background facts and figures.

I haven’t even mentioned the Chilcott Report and that I consider ex PM of the U.K to be a war criminal. I am so ashamed of what us adults have done to the planet in some many areas.

The Guardian view on the Chilcot report: a country ruined, trust shattered, a reputation trashed

The reputation of Tony Blair has never recovered from the disastrous invasion of Iraq. Now the long-awaited inquiry has hung an unforgiving verdict around his neck


“There was diplomacy, all right, but it was diplomacy aimed at licensing war. When even this failed, the final cabinet discussions were less concerned with the real looming battle, than about the PR war with the French. For any progressive internationalist, and Mr Blair was once one, the most damning of all Sir John’s verdicts is that the result of the invasion was not – as was claimed – to uphold the authority of the UN, but instead to undermine it.”

We are heading for a massive social and political disaster as global inequality spreads around the world. It is hardly surprising that in the U.S there are war simulations based on dumbass military thinking. From Pentagon preparing for mass civil breakdown

FFS has no one even read the 1984 book at all?

A US Department of Defense (DoD) research programme is funding universities to model the dynamics, risks and tipping points for large-scale civil unrest across the world, under the supervision of various US military agencies. The multi-million dollar programme is designed to develop immediate and long-term “warfighter-relevant insights” for senior officials and decision makers in “the defense policy community,” and to inform policy implemented by “combatant commands.”

Launched in 2008 – the year of the global banking crisis – the DoD ‘Minerva Research Initiative’ partners with universities “to improve DoD’s basic understanding of the social, cultural, behavioral, and political forces that shape regions of the world of strategic importance to the US.”


We are already living with perpetual war. Why pretend that is in the interests of the 99%. It very clearly not.