Vague references to the 'war on terror' and the 'threat to national security' are frequently used by venal politicians to cover-up criminal associations and covert illegal activity, ranging from money-laundering, narcotics trafficking, abduction and murder to the wholesale slaughter of non-combatant civilians - glibly dismissed as 'collateral damage' in mainstream media coverage of state terror, from the Caucuses to the Middle East and the streets of European capitals, while locally, in towns and villages that never make headlines, predatory Catholic clergy and radical Islamic academics and imams abuse trust to accommodate their personal agendas of greed, lust and revenge. The issues in Understanding Shadows include how the overweening pride of US and European intelligence agencies contributed to the development of the 'Islamic' bomb, and the proliferation of nuclear technology; crime and extra-judicial 'punishment' in Russia and abroad under President Putin; and how the bloody and brutal end of 'democratic Islam' in Algeria has facilitated the fear and loathing which has dominated the West's security agenda since 9/11.The arrogance and political hubris of former British PM, Tony Blair, and the corrupt use of intelligence, took the UK to war in Iraq, and was a factor in the lonely death of WMD specialist, Dr David Kelly, while 'off stage' Israel continued its colonization of occupied Arab lands and upgraded its collective punishment of Gaza. There is an account of the curious journey the CIA's USSR 'dangle', Lee Harvey Oswald, made across Cold War Europe in June 1962, while the end of the apartheid regime in South Africa provided an opportunity for self-serving, power-hungry ANC politicians to 'feather their own nests' at the expense of the impoverished majority - a depressing example of a righteous liberation struggle turned sour.Meanwhile, the 'long war' continued. Operation 'Banner' was the codename given to the longest British Army deployment since 1945. In the North of Ireland, where the 36-year period of active service is referred to as the 'Troubles', clandestine military units, including the murderous Force Research Unit, waged a 'dirty war' against the Provisional IRA in particular, and the nationalist community in general. An estimated 763 British soldiers died and over 6,000 were injured during the 'Troubles'. An awareness of the 'back stories' to these issues is an important factor for the understanding of shadows.