China, Russia, US & UK are the most corrupt arms manufacturers
At a talk in London on 22 October, 2012 invited by Transparency International, an organisation leading the global fight against Corruption, Andrew Feinstein, an ex South African MP of the ANC and now author and journalist working in the field of the arms trade, said that "China, Russia, Germany and the UK are the most corrupt countries in the world."
Feinstein has just published an expose of the lies, bribes, corruption, dodgy Royals and arms dealers and death-dealing of the modern arms trade. The book, 'The Shadow World - Inside the Global Arms Trade' comes out on 25 October, 2012.
He said that it is up to individuals round the world to get together and tell their Governments that corruption is unacceptable, like the international Occupy Movement, even though there are just too many people with a vested interest. 'People power' can clamp down on it and make changes to improve the situation. They could investigate businesses from a tax point of view, rather from a criminal law point of view, because the burden of proof is lower; this could involve 'very large penalties'. Feinstein said that imaginative alternatives to preventing corruption would be worth looking into.
He added that the arms trade is now so unregulated that it is now out-of-control; it is making countries more dangerous to live in than ever before. Bananas, he said, are more strictly regulated than weapons which only have a few constraints.
He pointed out that in many countries, hard pressed taxpayers are shelling out for billions of weapons that are so out-of-date they aren't even being used to protect their own country. "This is just wasteful " particularly in a recession. Greece, he said, spends most of its money on weapons. "In October 2001, the Pentagon awarded Lockheed Martin what could amount to £382bn contract - the largest in US history - to build a strike fighter jet, the F-35, that might have been useful during the Cold War but is largely irrelevant to the military needs of the twenty-first century'. He also said that British taxpayers' money was being spent on defence to supposedly boost jobs, but, on investigating, he said that most of the jobs were abroad.
The book, also exposed highly shady dealings between Britain and Saudi Arabia. He said that the British public were also footing the bill towards a private run-a-round plane provided by BAE, painted in the colours of a favourite football team for a Saudi prince.
Transparency International (TI) gave the UK its lowest ever ranking for 2010, after three consecutive years of decline. The book is banned in Saudi Arabia and there is no guarantee that it will be published in the Chinese Language.
The Freedom of Information Act is just not good enough, there are still barriers to transparency as important information is still being withheld for 'national security' and 'commercial interests'. This is helping 'feed' corruption.
Another country mentioned in the book was Kazakhstan which is ranked 105th in the Transparency International Corruption Index with a score of 2.9 out of 10.
The audience included officials from HM Customs, Transparency International staff investigating local Government corruption in the UK, lawyers, international CEOs, and an aide of Nigel Farrell, Leader of UKIP.
For further information: Andrew Feinstein can be contacted on Twitter @Andrew Feinstein