Review download: ‘Outlaws Inc.’ launches in Germany, gets full-page rave in The Literary Review!

Thanks to Britain’s leading literary magazine, The Literary Review, for their full-page write-up on Outlaws Inc. this month, by veteran BBC man John Sweeney. You can read the review by clicking on the scan above to enlarge – but suffice to say, I’m framing it and the cover. Coming on the heels of the Washington Post‘s “Fascinating… great writing” and the Seattle Times piece, this has been a great month for the book. My heartfelt thanks to all concerned.

 

Meanwhile, Outlaws Inc. launched under its German title Tödliche Fracht (‘Deadly Cargo’) in Germany, with a party at Ullstein Verlag’s HQ on Berlin’s Friedrichstrasse. Radio interviews in German with ARD and RTL as well as press interviews with newspapers from Kiel to Cologne and Potsdam to Münster saw it off. I’ll be posting some of the features and interviews, in German, in the very near future.

Report: Smuggling, security & the power of cheap – speaking at NYU’s Center for Global Affairs

On 22nd September, I was honoured to be invited to discuss the links between big business, mercenary airmen and terrorist groups at a special event presented by the Transnational Security Committee of NYU’s Center for Global Affairs. The conversation that followed, moderated by CGA Academic Chair Dr Mark Galeotti, took in the disintegrating Soviet Union, the forces and motives directing policy in Afghanistan, Central America and increasingly, East Africa.

 

The high point for me personally was Dr Galeotti’s killer question – one I haven’t been asked before, and when I think about it, I wish I had, because it’s an incredibly fertile way to look at how our world works. He posited a hypothetical set of conditions where it was possible to shut down all rogue air operators and stem the flow of invisible cargo overnight. He then asked, what would our world look like then?

Well, war would get bigger again, for a start. Not just in the sense that smaller groups would find it harder to access plentiful weapons without a superpower ‘backer’ – much as they did in Cold War days – but in that moves like invasions, regime change and reconstruction would come with a far higher tax bill attached, since the grunt work could no longer be outsourced to cost-effective partners-for-hire, but would demand the presence of a far larger standing force.Prices for other things would rise, too. Not just contraband – though the plentiful supply of cheap movers helps keep prices artificially low there too – but everything from bouquets to chickenburgers and parcel post to washing machines.

 

Humanitarian aid, too, would come with a heftier bill attached – again, it would require bodies like the UN to run a far larger standing transport resource – and would be slower in its deployment, since the perma-circling flocks of cheap Russian cargo planes operating in and around the world’s troublespots would have disappeared. Smaller aid outfits would likely be squeezed out of the emergency-response market, since they would not have access to cheap capacity in planes that were already going to Somalia, Pakistan or Haiti, and could neither afford to charter nor run their own plane.

 

No wonder the Q&A with the audience was described as “spirited”! You can read more about the event, and the CGA’s upcoming lecture programme, here.

Free audio download: Matt talks 9/11’s unreported aftermath on the Rick & Donna Martinez Show

Listen to Matt on WPTF with Rick and Donna Martinez:
Matt’s guest appearance on WPTF’s Rick and Donna Martinez show yesterday kicked off the show’s coverage of some of the more unheralded players in 9/11 and its global aftermath. Matt and Donna discussed the dirty deals our governments make with phantom carriers – in Iraq, Afghanistan, and closer to home. You can download the show as an iTunes-ready Mp3 here.

Outlaws Inc is Maxim magazine’s big adventure

Maxim magazine has made Outlaws Inc. its adventure of the month for August, with a three-page feature interview on some of the key locations featured in the book. From mafia-run Belgrade to the bootleggers’ paradise of Kabul and war-torn Africa, the feature takes a long, hard look at just how the guns, drugs and gold gets in and out. Thanks, guys!

Latest: Outlaws Inc makes front page news for the Huffington Post

The newly launched UK edition of the Huffington Post today picked up on Outlaws Inc., featuring the book’s whistle-blowing on the role of arms-traffickers in the Somali famine as its front-page story.

The August 4th edition ran Matt’s exclusive 1,000-word outtake ‘Death dollars and déjà vu in Somalia: how the seamier side of the international airlift is turning a crisis into a calamity’, linking to the book on Amazon and featuring it in the adapted copy.

The piece – first published on this website last week – reveals the deadly compromises made between aid NGOs, mercenary aircrews, Al-Shabab, international cargo operations, pirates and the UN itself, and the role they play in perpetuating the current crisis. For more information, contact Matt via the details on this website’s Contact page. For all UK serialisation, comment or review requests, just get in touch.

News: Australia wakes up to Outlaws Inc after “sensational” ABC Breakfast show interview

This morning I was a guest on Australia’s no.1 breakfast show on ABC. During the link-up interview with host Mike Rowland (a still from the show, above), we talked about how the cut-throat economics of the global marketplace in everything from aid delivery to the food in our supermarkets feeds a shadow industry of mercenary pilots, smuggling narcotics, weapons and diamonds.

 

 

Viewer verdicts, via the channel, to Mike direct and over social networks, ranged from acclaim (“Sensational interview!”) to outrage (“… can’t believe our Western governments don’t care!”) and requests for more info. By lunchtime, the channel had released a clip in response to calls to share it. Mike Rowland himself finished the show’s slot with the words, “Well, all I can say is: we await the inevitable Hollywood movie of this one.” You can view the interview here: Matt Potter on ABC Breakfast show, 2nd August 2011

 

Meanwhile, the media schedule in Australia is manic, with the newly launched Maxim Australia running a four-page feature on Matt’s adventures with what they call “Air Don’t-Give-A-Fuck”, great banter with John Safran and Father Bob Maguire on ABC TripleJ’s legendary Sunday Night Safran cultural chat show, trading repartee on Evenings With Robbie Buck and co, and more radio and print stuff.

 

Meanwhile, Melbourne & Victoria daily the Herald Sun has announced it will be serialising Outlaws Inc in August, with extracts also pushed to subscribers to its iPad app, and content available online.

 

Launch party goes with a bang

The champagne launch party for Outlaws Inc. went with a bang this week at London’s Goldsboro Books, with nearly 200 attendees and word of mouth putting the book at No.2 on Amazon‘s true-crime bestseller list by the following morning. Attendees included many of the detectives, diplomats and monitors in the book itself, plus a couple of surprise ‘undercover’ guests.

Novelist Tim Turner, Matt Potter, Henna Silvennoinen of Conville & Walsh

At the outset, all toasted the success of the non-fiction work – a journey into the largest gun-running network the world has ever seen, from Eastern Europe to Africa and beyond – with crystal glasses of iced, triple-distilled Russian Standard vodka (to give things a truly Russian flavour) and champagne. There were talks from Ingrid Connell, editorial director at publishers Pan Macmillan, and author Matt Potter, followed by signings as the party spilled out onto the flagstoned courtyard of London’s Cecil Court. The highlight? Apart from the book, of course, the edible Hammer & Sickle cupcakes, Soviet star petit-fours with Lenin’s head on them, and muffins decked with edible dollars and ‘lines’ of icing sugar – all courtesy of cake artist Jules O’Neill – held guests rapt.

Signing copies of the book

Thanks to David at Goldsboro Books for playing the role of host to the hilt, to Jules O’Neill for the edible artistry, and to all at event sponsors Russian Standard vodka for providing the thirsty media types, UN inspectors, diplomats and publishers in attendance with a taste of Slavic sophistication they won’t forget!