Friday, August 10, 2012

How not to win a war


More than two years after being told they were fake, Thailand's military is still using bogus bomb detectors that were fraudulently sold by a discredited British company, according to the country’s Department of Special Investigation.

Thai security forces so far have bought 1,576 of the fake devices at a cost of US$30 million, investigators said, which the army currently uses against Islamist guerrillas despite a U.S. Embassy alert that the devices are "like a toy."

Asia Sentinel and other publications reported on Feb, 17, 2010, that the devices were fake. Then-Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said at the time that the devices had worked only four times in 20 field tests, a frequency even below random chance. Critics said the use of the devices could subject the users to the possibility of being blown if the operator fails to detect a nearby explosive that is detonated.

The Department of Special Investigation --Thailand's equivalent to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation -- announced two weeks ago that the manufacturers and distributors of the useless devices fraudulently sold them to Thailand's security forces and other agencies. The DSI then sent the case to the National Anti-Corruption Commission, which set up 13 panels on July 24 to investigate the purchases