Below are various books, organizations, and sources of data and information relevant to the issues raised in this Compendium.

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Corruption in the Arms Trade/Military Sector | Arms Trade in General | Corruption in General


Corruption in the Arms Trade and the Military Sector:

The Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade by Andrew Feinstein (Penguin, 2011)

Pulling back the curtain on the secretive world of the global arms trade, Andrew Feinstein reveals the corruption and the cover-ups behind weapons deals ranging from the largest in history – between the British and Saudi governments – to BAE’s controversial transactions in South Africa, Tanzania and eastern Europe, and the revolving-door relationships that characterise the US Congressional-Military-Industrial Complex. He exposes in forensic detail both the formal government-to-government trade in arms and the shadow world of illicit weapons dealing – and lays bare the shocking and inextricable links between the two.

The Shadow World places us in the midst of the arms trade’s dramatic wheeling and dealing, ranging from corporate boardrooms to seedy out-of-the-way hotels via far-flung offshore havens, and reveals the profound danger this network represents to all of us.


Armes de corruption massive by Jean Guisnel (La Découverte, 2011) is the best source of information on corruption in the French arms trade. From the publisher’s website:

Aujourd’hui, les « transferts d’armements » assurent des centaines de milliers d’emplois dans les pays vendeurs, généralement au Nord. Dans les pays acheteurs, le plus souvent au Sud, les armes servent à dissuader des adversaires potentiels ou à conduire des guerres. Et à enrichir les élites… Car les contrats de ventes d’armes donnent traditionnellement lieu à des commissions occultes considérables. Et quand les industriels refusent de pratiquer la corruption, leurs carnets de commandes se tarissent…

Jean Guisnel propose dans ce livre un voyage inédit vers le côté obscur des industries d’armement. Après des années d’enquête, il dévoile les ressorts de ce monde régi par le secret et révèle le rôle de représentants de commerce très particuliers : ceux qui agissent dans l’ombre pour « huiler les rouages » en reversant aux décideurs une partie des sommes que leur État paiera pour acquérir des armes. D’où des portraits de personnages hauts en couleur, qui n’ont qu’un désir : devenir riches. D’où, surtout, une cascade de révélations sur les dessous des grands marchés d’armement, où les responsables politiques jouent souvent un rôle déterminant. Depuis le mégascandale de corruption de l’affaire British Aerospace en Arabie saoudite, jusqu’aux rétrocommissions de la vente de sous-marins français au Pakistan ou aux mésaventures du Rafale – et bien d’autres encore.


Deception in High Places: A history of bribery in Britain’s arms trade by Nicholas Gilby (Pluto Press, 2013) reveals the corruption endemic in Britain’s biggest arms deals over the last fifty years.

Based on painstaking research in government archives, collections of private and court papers and documents won by the author in a landmark Freedom of Information Tribunal against the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the book illuminates a shadow world of bribery and elite enrichment.

Deception in High Places charts British government involvement in arms trade corruption and presents the fullest history yet of bribery in Britain’s arms deals with Saudi Arabia. It includes the backstory of the controversial termination of a Serious Fraud Office corruption investigation following pressure by the Saudi Royal Family and the British establishment.




Corruption Watch UK is a London-based, global anti-corruption NGO founded in 2009. Started by Andrew Feinstein and Susan Hawley, Corruption Watch undertakes path-breaking investigations into cases of grand corruption in order to reveal patterns and systems of corruption, predominantly but not exclusively in the global arms trade.


Transparency International’s Government Defence Anti-Corruption Index provides an overview of the risk of corruption in the military sector for 115 countries, across 5 dimensions: Political, Financial, Personnel, Operational, and Procurement. It is based on peer-reviewed assessments by experts within each country. While the TI Government Index cannot tell one for certain whether a particular deal is corrupt, it gives an indication of where the risks of corruption are likely to be particularly acute.





Arms Trade in General:


Indefensible: seven myths that sustain the global arms trade, by Paul Holden et al., is an “essential handbook for all those seeking to debunk the myths that underpin the global arms trade”.

Indefensible puts forward a devastating challenge to this conventional wisdom, which has normalised the existence of the most savage weapons of mass destruction ever known. It is the essential handbook for those who want to debunk the arguments of the industry and its supporters: deploying case studies, statistics and irrefutable evidence to demonstrate they are fundamentally flawed, both factually and logically.

Far from protecting us, the book shows how the arms trade undermines our security by fanning the flames of war, terrorism and global instability. In countering these myths, the book points to ways in which we can combat the arms trade’s malignant influence, reclaim our democracies and reshape our economies.



The SIPRI Arms Transfers Database is by far the best source of data on international transfers of major conventional weapons. It provides both lists of orders and deliveries of arms to and from each country (and some armed non-state actors), with details of order and delivery years, type of equipment, numbers, etc.; and a quantitative measure of the volume of transfers in any given period, between any pair of countries, using SIPRI’s own ‘Trend Indicator Value’ (TIV) measure. (NB: this is not a financial measure and cannot be expressed in or compared to dollar figures).




The Security Assistance Monitor, a project of the Center for International Policy, provides detailed data on US arms export, military/security aid, economic aid, and military training, in a user-friendly visual format. The Monitor also provides news updates and reports on issues related to US security assistance. This includes a recent report on corruption risks in US counter-terrorism aid.


Campaign Against Arms Trade is a UK NGO which does what it says on the label! Among the many useful resources on the website is an interactive visual tool for searching for data on UK arms export licenses, sourced from government data, but presented in a far more user-friendly fashion. Another is the Political Influence Browser with data on senior Ministry of Defence politician, civil servants, and military officers, who have moved between government and the arms industry in the “revolving door”.


The Stimson Centre‘s Conventional Defense Program provides reports and analysis on the arms trade, drones, and other security and defense issues.


The Forum on the Arms Trade is a network of civil society experts and a point of contact for strengthening public efforts to address the humanitarian, economic and other implications of arms transfers, security assistance, and weapons use. The website provides links to a variety of resources on the arms trade, as well as information on the worldwide experts who are members of the network.

Corruption in General:


Transparency International is one of the largest and best known anti-corruption organizations worldwide. It has 100 national chapters which campaign on corruption issues in their countries. TI’s annual Corruption Perceptions Index provides a useful barometer for levels of corruption in different countries.




The World Bank’s Governance Indicators are another widely-used set of measures for corruption and related issues worldwide. These include measures on Voice and Accountability, Political Stability and Absence of Violence, Government Effectiveness, Regulatory Quality, Rule of Law, and Control of Corruption.




Curbing Corruption is a web resource created by former Transparency International Defence & Security director Mark Pyman, providing information, ideas and resources for developing sector-by-sector anti-corruption strategies.





FCPA Professor is a blog and set of resources on the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and issues and news relating to it. Described as “the Wall Street Journal concerning all things FCPA-related,” FCPA Professor readers include a world-wide audience of attorneys, business and compliance professionals, government agencies, scholars and students, journalists and other interested persons.


The FCPA blog (not to be confused with FCPA professor) is a blog with news and commentary about white-collar crime, enforcement, and compliance.


The Project on Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that investigates and exposes waste, corruption, abuse of power, and when the government fails to serve the public or silences those who report wrongdoing. POGO’s Center for Defense Information specifically monitors waste and corruption in the Pentagon, including issues such as the ‘revolving door’ between government and the arms industry.


The Center for Responsive Politics tracks the role of money in US politics, and its effect on elections and public policy. It hosts databases of campaign contributions, lobbying expenditure, revolving doors, and much else.