Thailand’s Military Corruption: Dirty money, from local to global (Updated)

The global arms sales industry is gigantic. Those countries, who are heavily involved in buying arms, are usually governed by some form of authoritarian, where the rule of law is weak, and little transparency to anything. And, often, when governments, changes from democratic, to authoritarian, usually, the spending on the military, sky-rocket, such as the case with Thailand and Egypt.

Most military will point to military equipment purchase, being mostly, “Government to Government” as proof that the deal is transparent, however, in every government to government purchase, in making the deal occur, there is always “Middle-Men.”

And corruption, in the military is all over, for example:

China, which has the world’s largest active military, scored as a “high-risk” country on a new global index on defence establishment corruption (See http://www.scmp.com/…/china-rated-high-risk-global-military-corruption-inde&#8230😉

Transparency International: Mideast and North African Military (see https://theintercept.com/2015/10/28/transparency-international-mideast-and-north-african-military-corruption-critical/)

Pakistan’s army: as inept as it is corrupt: Mustafa Qadri (see http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2009/may/03/pakistan-taliban-military-swat)

Military Corruption Fuels Ivory Trade (see https://sites.utexas.edu/wildlife/2015/04/20/military-corruption-fuels-ivory-trade/)

Revealed: Myanmar’s jade trade is run by former junta members (see http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2015-10/23/jade-trade-burma-corruption)

Thai military spending among the least transparent: Transparency International (see http://www.prachatai.com/english/node/5608)

Opinion > Opinion Thai Army must realise statue scandal is not going away (see link:http://www.bangkokpost.com/opinion/opinion/772996/army-must-realise-statue-scandal-is-not-going-away. View our policies at http://goo.gl/9HgTd and http://goo.gl/ou6Ip. © Post Publishing PCL. All rights reserved)

1

Lets look at the Kingdom of Thailand:

The Thai military set-up, reform Thailand body, just made a statement, that if Kingdom of Thailand had no corruption, Kingdom of Thailand will be a developed country in 17 years. The problem is, Kingdom of Thailand, is about the military, being above the government & the law, & is addicted, to taking power by coups, meaning “Corrupted by Power.”

But that is not all, the Kingdom of Thailand military, is highly corrupt, on “Money Matters” also (see end of this article on Thai press institution, Isra, investigation, on military corruption inside of Thailand deals over the past few years).

2

And corruption by Thailand’s military has been going on for a long time

For example, Thailand’s Army Denies Skimming Sihanouk Fund, during the after-math of the Vietnam War, after The Washington Post reported Thai military officers and perhaps businessmen had stolen about $3.5 million from an American aid program for the Cambodian guerrillas. Washington Post quoted The Far Eastern Economic Review that said the Reagan Administration had decided to increase its aid to the Cambodian guerrillas despite the discovery of serious corruption in Thailand’s delivery of the assistance (See Here http://www.nytimes.com/1988/11/02/world/thai-army-denies-skimming-sihanouk-fund.html).

And also, in Thailand’s Deep South there is a “Separatist Militant Movement” but given corruption, discrimination and unfair treatment against Muslims by the state, separatism in Thailand’s Deep South was nothing surprising. And Thailand’s Deep South has mostly been mostly, under the administration of Thailand’s military, under some form of emergency law form years now (See http://www.fpps.or.th/news.php?detail=n1149480173.news).

Thailand has also long been hit with a human trafficking problem. And here, local press reports military Lieutenant General Manus Kongpan is the most senior official to be charged to date in the anti human trafficking operation. Police say they have made 51 arrests. Manus was in police custody on Wednesday after turning himself in. He was suspended on Monday when police ordered his arrest. “He says he has no involvement, which is a denial (of charges),” Thai national police chief Somyot Poompanmuang told reporters on Wednesday. Manus is the only soldier who has been charged with offences related to human trafficking, said deputy police chief Aek Angsananont. Given the power of Thailand’s military, that is the dominant power in Thailand, what is the likelihood that only one soldier is involved in Thailand’s vast human trafficking problem (See http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/03/us-thailand-trafficking-arrest-idUSKBN0OJ14G20150603)?

While the Vietnam War and War with the Separatist Militant Movement & Human Trafficking, are corruptions, involving decades old questions, however, also, in Thailand’s modern history, with ample evidence of corruption in military, no corruption case, has ever, been bought on Thailand’s military.

For example, Transparency International rates the Sorayuth military junta government around 2006 to 2007, less transparent than Thaksin’s government & in fact, Transparency International ranked Thaksin government as the most transparent in Thailand’s history, since the ranking.

Thailand military, under the military junta of Sorrayuth, bought US$ billions in arms from the highly corrupt, Ukraine (armored carriers) arms industry & Sweden (planes) arms industry & a host of equipment Thailand’s military bought, such as balloon surveillance, to bomb detectors, does not work, and many arms purchase, faced years of delays in delivery. In fact, the corruption perception of Thailand’s military, meaning how corrupt is Thailand’s military, sky-rocketed after 2006 coup, where the military that staged the 2006 coup, with the rationale, that the coup was to stop Thaksin Shinawatra’s corruption (See http://knoema.com/QOGISD2015/quality-of-government-institute-standard-dataset-2015?tsId=1365740).

Here about massive corruption at Sweden arms industry (See http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/bribe/2009/03/sweden-uncovering-the-secret-deals.html)

Here about massive corruption at Ukraine arms industry(See http://www.kyivpost.com/opinion/op-ed/ukraines-arms-concern-needs-to-be-free-342020.html)

And corruption, under Thailand’s current “Dictator” Prayuth junta, is well known, as the Diplomat reports, headlined “Thai Junta Beset By Corruption Scandals” and said “The May 2, 2014 military coup in Thailand was justified on the need to fight corruption. Recent events prove that’s a sham” (See http://thediplomat.com/2014/10/thai-junta-beset-by-corruption-scandals/).

And Corruption by Thailand’s current “Dictator” Prayuth, have reached point, of creating a pollster, to produce fake public opinion news. Thai junta: Why are some opinion poll results so positive (See http://thailandchatter.com/showthread.php?3434-Thai-junta-Why-are-some-opinion-poll-results-so-positive)?

Now the Prayuth junta wants to spend about US$1 billion, to buy submarines from China. Transparency international rated China at the highest ranking of corruption & Kingdom of Thailand, the next, lower ranking level. Kingdom of Thailand’s economy is also stagnating, and many wonder, why is Thailand military planning a big ticketed purchase item. But globally, China is known as an arms seller, that “Transparency is rarely part of China’s deal” both opening the door for corruption and decreasing the likelihood that the system procured will be the best fit for the needs of the country (See http://latinamericagoesglobal.org/2015/05/should-u-s-be-worried-about-chinese-arms-sales-in-the-region/).

3

Anti-Corruption as a Political Tool

But as has been with Thailand for a long time, with a coup or attempted coup every 3 years, in Thailand modern history, after every military coup, resulting junta, raise corruption issue to legitimize coup, meaning, there have always been a war on the civilian government, that the coup ousted, for corruption. Basically, what the Thaksin and Yingluck are going through, is nothing new.

And structurally, Thailand is not ready to cope with corruption, of any kind, with an anti-corruption effort, always “Politicized” to go after the enemy of the Bangkok establishment and military.

For example, again, Transparency International found Thaksin’s government (Thaksin was ousted by the Sorrayuth 2006 coup) less corrupt than the 2006 coup Sorrayuth coup government & also the Democratic Party, Abhisit government which, mostly represents Bangkok’s middle-class. However, Thailand’s official anti corruption agency, called “Politicized” & ranked at the bottom in Asia, by Political & Economic Risk Consultancy (PERC), have rush going after Thaksin (Ousted by Sorrayuth 2006 coup) and his sister Yingluck (Ousted by Prayuth 2014 coup) with corruption charges.

News on PERC analysis on Thailand’s official anti-corruption agency being politicized and ranked at bottom in Asia here (in Thai language by Thai press association news institution ISRA http://www.isranews.org/isranews-news/item/32616-perc02.html)

No corruption charges have been bought by Thailand’s official anti corruption agency, against the Sorrayuth 2006 coup government or Abhisit government, despite, Transparency International findings.

And the Abhisit’s government & Thailand’s military is highly corrupt, according to Reuters, the wire service (See Reuters on Thailand’s military as a perennial source of cost overruns and corruption allegations (http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/09/28/us-thailand-corruption-idUSTRE68R0RZ20100928).

As many have noted, the combination between Thailand’s official anti-corruption agency, going single-mindedly after Thaksin and Yingluck, and leaving corruption by others, un-scrutinized, and furthermore, apart from not scrutinizing corruption by other, the official unit has a long track record of clearing corruption by other, have left many Thai specialist and expert to conclude what PERC says. Furthermore, apart from not scrutinizing corruption by other, the official agency has a long track record of clearing other of corruption. Many Thai specialist have also noted, all of Thailand’s private or public anti corruption organizations/units, are “Politicized” & works for elite.

For example, on Thailand’s official anti-corruption agency, the agency clearing corruption, of non Thaksin & Yingluck issues, local Thai press reports, Thailand’s anti-corruption agency cleared a Thai military General (Thailand’s current “Dicatator” Prayuth brother) wife in a case involving asset declaration, where about US$2 million of military money was in the General’s wife account, as having no wrong-doing (See http://www.newseveryday.com/articles/28390/20151015/thailand-military-dictator-preecha-prime-ministers-brother.htm)).

And again, for examples of corruption, Thailand military, under the military junta of Sorrayuth, bought US$ billions in arms from the highly corrupt Ukraine (armored carriers) arms industry & Sweden (planes) arms industry & a host of equipment Thailand’s military bought, such as balloon surveillance, to bomb detectors, does not work, and many arms purchase, faced years of delays in delivery. And in one case, here, on the fake bomb detector, Thailand’s official anti-corruption agency says investigating into Thailand’s military bomb detector for corruption is difficult, as the case is deep and mysterious (See in Thai language http://www.matichon.co.th/news_detail.php?newsid=1444995073).

Also, recently, a Swedish NGO, has filed a case with the Swedish police, urges the police to probe the sales of Swedish fighter planes, the Gripen, sale to Thailand. However, Thailand’s official anti-corruption agency has remained silent on the news that the local newspapers published (See http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/security/732584/swedish-ngo-urges-probe-of-gripen-jet-sale-to-thailand).

And local Thai press, has long did investigative report on the Swedish fighter jet, Gripen, sales to Thailand. Local press has long compares Thailand’s military purchase of the Swedish jet fighter, as being more expensive than the purchase price, 5 other countries have paid for the fighter jets. And again, nothing but silence, from Thailand’s official anti-corruption agency (See in Thai language http://www.matichon.co.th/news_detail.php?newsid=1279160046).

And also here a report on Thai Military Link to Foreign Criminals (See Website blocked in Thailand http://www.andrew-drummond.com).

4

So why can Thailand’s military get away with corruption & what is the problem?

First; please consider, this recent news from the local press, reporting that 5 new members to Thailand’s official anti-corruption agency is close to the military junta (See in Thai language http://www.thairath.co.th/content/533949?utm_source=CPBee&utm_medium=twitter).

Secondly, please consider, the military organisational structure, by design, tolerates corruption. Even though it is efficient in term of combat and warfare, its prices are paid for in term of transparency and accountability. The military gets extra shields from positive public perception allowing corruption to be accommodated rather than be challenged and accountability more hard-earning. In conclusion, the military did not fight against corruption at all, despite the fact that it is always alleged so in many coup d’état (Chambers, 2013b). Moreover, anti-corruption coup never happens in Thailand. Policy implications of these findings are quite repulsive. Basically, the rationale of eliminating corruption by staging military coup is no longer valid (See http://extranet.isnie.org/uploads/isnie2014/thavornyutikarn.pdf).

Third, please consider, “Dark Powers” who come to power in Thailand often finance by credits from banks and facilitated by links to police, military and bureaucrats (See https://books.google.co.th/books?id=g3eGAgAAQBAJ&pg=PA81&lpg=PA81&dq=thailand+military+corruption&source=bl&ots=zuJO1nXdvm&sig=ttow8nkDG11-6qZC-MtjnI6jjd4&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CC4Q6AEwAzgeahUKEwj47eD-29XIAhXTBY4KHa2HBvI#v=onepage&q=thailand%20military%20corruption&f=false).

Fourth, please consider, there combination, between Thailand’s anti-corruption agency being politicized and Thailand’s “Dictator” Prayuth power, going after Yingluck, have resulted, in an incredible little respect to the “Rule of Law” & “Justice System” moves, in that Thailand’s military Dictator, Prayuth, has been going after Yingluck Shinawatra for “Failing to Stop” corruption case, in her agriculture subsidy scheme, to the point of by “Passing the Courts and Using Administrative Order” to go after her.

A politician, demonstrated the level of out-raged in some circles in Thailand. Chatuporn, a politician, just asked the Dictator, Prayuth, if he is not interested in going after other corruption case and raised the case of Thailand’s failed financial firm asset sales and police station building scam. Both case involved the Democrat Party, where Abhisit is a leader of the party. Both case involves US$ billions in damages. Abhisit’s chief of security is Suthep, who went on to lead the Suthep Movement (called by Forbes Magazine Neo Fascist) that destabilized Thailand & called for a coup (Suthep called on Prayuth to stage a coup, to which latter Prayuth staged the 2014 coup) After the coup, Suthep said he and Thailand’s Dictator, Prayuth, had been working together & he spend about US$50 million to get rid of Yingluck. Suthep is now a staunch supporter of Prayuth (See in Thai language http://www.matichon.co.th/news_detail.php?newsid=1445168843).

And what can Yingluck do? Local press reports Yingluck Shinawatra is very unhappy at being so closely watched by the military during her recent trip to make merit in Nong Khai province, to the point that the military was taking pictures of her going to the restrooms (See http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/politics/739436/yingluck-upset-by-military-scrutiny-during-ne-trip).

5

The following is from Isra News:

The following is a list of Non-Transparent purchase by Thailand’s military, as exposed by the Thai press institution Isra. A note is that the Kingdom of Thailand’s military is independent from every civilian government & is out of government control. Also corruption statistics by PwC Consulting, from 2014 survey says Thais are champion of highest corruption by personnel w/i organizations at 89%, average Asia-Pacific 61%, global 56% (See in Thai language http://www.posttoday.com/biz/gov/395258).

1) 2 firms have a virtual monopoly on selling tear gas to Thailand http://www.isranews.org/investigative/investigate-procure/item/25753-%E0%B8%B7com.html … … …

2) Isra News shows cross share-holding structure of 4 big arms seller to Thailand’s military http://www.isranews.org/investigative/investigate-procure/item/26027-ww_26027.html … … …
3) Thai army buys 2 breeder dogs at about US$30,000 each http://www.isranews.org/investigative/investigate-procure/item/28804-dog.html … … … …

4) A newly formed firm win contract worth about US$40,000 with the Royal Guards http://www.isranews.org/investigative/investigate-procure/item/28876-company_28876.html … … … …

5) Three big contractors monopolizes army’s animal division US$60 million business http://www.isranews.org/investigative/investigate-procure/item/29004-company_29004.html … … … …

6) Isra calls for investigation a public unit, Thai Aircraft Industries for transparency http://www.isranews.org/investigative/investigate-procure/item/30085-isranews_30085_01.html … …

7) A firm has a virtual monopoly on socks & other, contract with army, about US$50 million http://www.isranews.org/investigative/investigate-procure/item/30392-come.html … … … … …

8) Army bought soldiers clothing 6 times at single day/store, spending of about US$2 million to escape scrutiny http://www.isranews.org/investigative/investigate-procure/item/31026-army_01.html … … … …

9) Isra News calls on Prayuth to look into US$1.5 million gun shooting range contract http://www.isranews.org/investigative/investigate-procure/item/31154-pernh.html … …

10) A firm, monopoly on Thai military radio battery, sold about US$150 million http://www.isranews.org/investigative/investigate-procure/item/31966-company_31966.html … … … …

11) Thai army, close relationship with a firm, over years bought total US$40 – 50 million http://www.isranews.org/investigative/investigate-procure/item/32499-company_32499.html

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