Yikes. Prepare to be unsettled & alarmed. This is an urgent & weltering assessment & tally by Professor of Public Policy & director (& founder) of the Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center, Prof Louise Shelley. An advanced veteran on the subject & a skilled scribe, we are delivered a withering & disturbing stream of highly accurate warnings & acute details concerning illicit trade, smuggling, organised crime & a wide diversity of corruption in its many forms & appliances.
Just as central to the discourse as the traffickers, gangsters, poachers & drug dealers are the state actors, politicians & corrupt officials that are necessary for the flourishing of this profoundly destructive criminal economy.
Repeatedly stressed & illustrated by the author is the vital coacttive bond & symbiosis between corrupt official & “standard” criminal ….. a kind of commercial conspiracy & codepedence.
The book covers a lot of ground, expertly navigating a wide berth of theatres with meticulous research, examples & statistical detail.
It can also be read from two primary angles – that of corruption & that of organised crime & illicit commerce.
I would actually say that from a purley “corruption” perspective, this is one of the most essential writings available.
Considering the current moment of heaving crisis – & corruption & plutocracy related meltdown – Dark Commerce generates yet another angle, running concurrent like a super tool.
This is an extremely important compendium to almost any section or field of our ongoing catastrophe.
It was particularly impressionable reading this book in relation to Brexit.
Whole tracts of the book – entirely disconnected from any specific context or reference to the Brexit mega fiasco – are tremendously cogent, & despite never even mentioning Brexit, striking simulacrum occurs whilst discussing other major criminal activities & events.
There is a conclusive wealth of information here for those that take the historic & ginormous crime of Brexit – & it’s free falling aftermath – seriously… this is a book you will want to read that will provide extra vantage.
Another criminal sect & now corrupt regime that epitomises the worst case “criminal capture” that Shelley so strenuously admonishes us of is Brazil under the degenerate misrule of the deranged criminal reprobate Jair Bolsonaro & his bandit squad of grossly pernicious “non state actors”.
Time & time again, she pinpoints & deconstructs the precise strategies & malpractice that define this criminal takeover & the exact magnitude of the sprawling destruction & abuse that befalls “institutions” that are unfortunate enough to fall prey to these malignant forces.
The horror annulling Brazil currently is a kind of worst case scenario, & demonstrates just how severe the consequences are when a member of the criminal contingent penetrates power.
The double murder of Dom Phillips & Bruno Pereira are just some of the latest collateral in this awful & sordid criminal affliction.
Another highly valuable feature of scrutiny from Dark Commerce is the detailed study of “the trade deal” & how criminal elements & actors can specifically benefit from these sweeping measures from outwardly “legitimate” governments or departments.
Soft touch, ineffective, lenient, biased, collusive & even straight up facilitation to the interests or agents that they are elected to police or prevent, are all examples of the kind of co-optive criminal behaviour that the tainted state can lavish on secured criminal enterprise.
Returning the the Brexit blast hole again, we now watch two ultra-pillagers & hardcore kleptocrats from two massively deleterious & threatening extremities compete to deliver seemingly the most destructive & shredding policy imaginable. Rishi Sunak representing the finance & bank extremity whilst Liz Truss bares the super virus of the “US style” extreme Libertarian, Koch, Cato death-cult corporatocracy.
You would be splitting hairs as to what the actual difference is between these baneful, harmful, virulent, murdering, toxic, sociopathic & annihilating creeds & the stratospheric suffering & damage they deliver, with the end objective being essentially the same oblivion & die-off, plastered in a nova of criminal absolutism & extinction advocacy.
Looking at this sick, obscene, contemptible & “underworld” like spectacle, Louise Shelley’s shrill warnings take on an even more pivotal significance.
Like the work of corruption specialist Sarah Chayes & Nancy MacLean’s seminal Democracy in Chains, Dark Commerce is one of the most crucial & up-to-date instalments on the current mass corruption & transnational criminal ascension underway.
Louise Shelley, 2019, Princeton Press, 250 pages