Ever since the Eighties, the British public and media have suspected that the Conservative Government of Margaret Thatcher was heavily involved in corruption surrounding international arms deals. And that the involvement has continued with successor British governments.
But while substantive allegations have been made about British defense contractors, not least BAe, offering bribes to those smoothing the path of British arms deals, no-one has been able to link kickbacks to British politicians. Until now.
Cast Iron: The Arms Trail To Margaret Thatcher is able to present information about the trail of arms commissions into the British body politic because the author was the best friend of the lawyer who helped to set up the first money trail for the Conservative Party and Margaret Thatcher.
On November 15 1988, Hugh Simmonds CBE turned up dead in a beauty spot a few miles from his and the author’s hometown in Buckinghamshire, England. $7.5 million was missing from his law firm. The incident made international headlines: Simmonds had been a rising star in the Conservative Party and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s favourite speechwriter.
As one of Simmonds’ closest friends, the circumstances of Simmonds’ death made no sense to the author of Cast Iron, Geoff Gilson. Employing his forensic skills as a lawyer, and his aptitude for asking difficult questions of difficult subjects, the author set out on a fearless quest to discover the truth.
The author was immediately launched onto a rollercoaster ride of adventure through the hidden and dangerous worlds of secret societies, arms deals, high-level politics and covert intelligence ops.
High-speed car chases in Glasgow, Scotland; cat-and-mouse games with an MI5 officer wielding a military revolver; secretive rendezvous in Montreal, Canada with a former Mossad agent; and a warning-off from the CIA in the backstreets of London.
The world of James Bond forms a tense backdrop to the author’s 10-year investigation, which uncovers details of Simmonds’ covert role as MI6 officer, arms dealer and money-launderer for the Thatcher family. Specifically, the author finds a trail of bribes from international arms deals, wending their way deep into the heart of the Conservative Party, and all the way to Margaret Thatcher.
Cast Iron is no dry recitation of revelations from 30 years ago. The book represents a living chronicle of the crooked politicians, the fraudulent banks, the ‘clean’ defence contractors and their ‘less-than-clean’ backdoor dealings, all of which are required to support a burgeoning arms industry.
As such, the book is a must-read, active roadmap of what to look for in a Britain, which still ranks as the world’s fifth largest arms exporter, and is run by a government dedicated to placing arms sales at the forefront of its export policy.
Robin Ramsay, one of Britain’s leading Intelligence investigative journalists, says this of the book: “…the parade of the military-political characters from the Thatcher years, an almost palpable smell of the growing British arms industry in the period…kept me going…right to the end. The author may be correct and has uncovered a significant and hitherto unknown set of SIS [British Intelligence] ops in the Middle East in support of US policy in the 1980s.”
The author of Cast Iron, Geoff Gilson, was for 10 years active in the Conservative Party, up to and including the national level. He trained as a lawyer, and pursued a commercial career in public relations. Currently, he is focusing on his creative interests, and resides in a small mill town in central North Carolina.