Arms and the Men

A review of Andrew Feinstein’s The Shadow World.

Originally appeared in The Daily.

The premise of Andrew Feinstein’s book “The Shadow World” is that humanity owes much of its war and misery to a dark cabal of arms dealers, corrupt politicians and defense contractors. This cabal runs on money (lots of it), cocaine and influence. Its major players are total amoralists, millionaires virtually to a man, and responsible for looting the treasury of nearly every developed country and spilling the innocent blood of every undeveloped one. Law enforcement nips at the feet of these men, yet most of them remain not only free to enjoy their network of mansions and kept women, but also toasted as statesmen and royalty.


Mercenary Hires Self, Has Fool for a Client

I reviewed Simon Mann’s memoir, Cry Havoc, for The National.

John Blake Publishing Ltd


Everyone’s favourite kind of coup d’état is the bloodless one: El Presidente is surprised in his pyjamas, or while shopping in London, his trusted military aides turn out to be snakes, and he ends up, along with his loyalists, either under house arrest or in exile – padded at first, then increasingly threadbare as the secret accounts are frozen, one by one. Meanwhile, if you are an average citizen of his beleaguered country, not much changes. The money flows to anyone but you: meet the new Presidente, same as the old Presidente.

Simon Mann, one of the most famous living mercenaries, set out in 2004 to manage what he insisted would be a bloodless coup to topple Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, president of oil-rich Equatorial Guinea. But the Wonga Coup was so bloodless that it barely got started. Mann chartered a Boeing 727 full of armed men and planned to fly into the capital of Malabo, where an advance team led by the South African mercenary Nick du Toit intended to take over the airport. Mann hoped to install Severo Moto, the leader of a government-in-exile headquartered in Spain, as president, and in return reap millions in oil revenues.

Barnes & Noble Review

Christopher Hitchens, 1949-2011

The Barnes & Noble Review published a few of my words on the death of Hitchens.

International Herald Tribune New York Times

Clinging to the Egyptian Army

I visited Nag Hammadi for the IHT and found an Egyptian Wild West.

Read my story here.