This month, Esquire magazine took up the story of Outlaws Inc., publishing a three-page expose of the phantom cargo trade in the Middle East. You can read the feature for free here by clicking on the layout image below and opening it on your desktop.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
Listen to the first discussion of Outlaws Inc. on Wednesday 1 June’s edition of Up All Night, BBC Radio 5Live’s night-time show – also available on BBC iPlayer. Matt talked to Giles Dilnot about the adventures, investigative work and accidents that informed the book. Once it’s vanished from iPlayer, I’ll try to post a recording of the show here, too.
The first virgin cases of Matt’s non-fiction thriller/true crime book Outlaws Inc. will be broken open at a launch reception at London’s Goldsboro Books. For a place on the guest list, more information, or interview opportunities and press material, email matt [at] mattpotterbooks [dot] com or h.guthrie [at] macmillan [dot] co [dot] uk.
Outlaws Inc.: Under the Radar and on the Black Market with the World’s Most Dangerous Smugglers. Bloomsbury, dist. by Macmillan. Aug. 2011. 288p. ISBN 9781608195305. $25.
When communism collapses, some Russian military men get together and buy a decommissioned Soviet plane for mere kopeks, then launch a shipping business. Soon they’re crisscrossing borders with everything from illegal weapons to emergency aid, trading behind the scenes with the Taliban, the U.S. government, and various global corporations. It’s scary, but it pays, until the world settles into a new groove and their smuggling expertise isn’t in as much demand. Then they move their operations to a particularly troubled part of Africa. Okay, sounds like a thriller, but it’s all true. Widely published British journalist Potter traveled with these risk takers for a time so that he could tell their story. This should be great narrative nonfiction reading.”