How the UK Sold Fake GT 200 Bomb Detectors to Thailand and Got People Killed

The UK proves that power and profits come before the lives of even its own allies’ soldiers and police.

 The GT200 is an otherwise useless plastic box that does nothing with equally useless “sensor cards” that serve no discernible function.

Despite this fact, UK-based Global Technical and an array of salesmen ranging from experts in the British military serving as equipment export support teams, to British ambassadors, to even the British government’s Department of Trade and Industry (now renamed the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) peddled the useless item as a “bomb detector,” putting lives at risk in the nations they were peddled in, and even costing the lives of hundreds including dead police and soldiers in both Iraq and Thailand.

In Thailand, amid the wake of the scandal, US and British backed media services have attempted to capitalize on the political fallout, laying the blame squarely on the Thai government, never mentioning the central role of the British government in promoting the useless and ultimately deadly device.

Faced with mounting violence in Thailand’s deep south, the government in Bangkok placed its trust in its British allies. It is clear that this trust was not only misplaced, but shamefully used and abused by London in a multi-million dollar scam involving the British military, government, and diplomatic corps.

Critics of the Royal Thai Army and the current government have seized upon the scandal to opportunistically and dishonestly undermine both, with some even going as far as blaming the soldiers who risked their lives in the restive southern provinces of Thailand while employing the fraudulent British-made GT200.

The BBC and Guardian Expose the UK Government’s Role 

While the BBC’s Jonathan Head in Thailand politically wields the GT200 scandal against the Thai government and its military exclusively, the BBC itself has exposed the breadth and depth of the UK government’s involvement.

A lot of effort was put into creating the illusion of credibility where no technical merit existed. This not only included slick as well as unscrupulous marketing tactics, but also included the recruitment of British ambassadors and even equipment export support teams drawn from the British military, despite the fact that the British military itself refused to use the fraudulent device.  

The BBC’s 2011 article, “UK government promoted useless ‘bomb detectors’,” would report (emphasis added):

The government has admitted that the Army and UK civil servants helped market so-called “bomb detectors”, which did not work, around the world.

Export of the “magic wand” detectors to Iraq and Afghanistan was banned on 27 January 2010 because of the threat they posed to British and allied troops.

The move followed a BBC Newsnight investigation showing they could not detect explosives – or anything else.

Now Newsnight has learned that they are still being sold around the globe.

The BBC’s report would continue by explaining (emphasis added):

a Royal Engineers sales team went around the world demonstrating the GT200, another of the “magic wand” detectors which has been banned for export to Iraq and Afghanistan, at arms fairs around the world even though the British Army did not consider them suitable for its own use.

The government’s Department of Trade and Industry, which has since been superseded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, helped two of the manufacturers sell their products in Mexico and the Philippines.

The BBC’s article concludes by stating:

…there will be questions about why the ban on exports to Iraq and Afghanistan has not been extended to protect the citizens of other countries.

However, it is clear that this question has an easy answer. The lives of foreigners to the British government, military, and industry are subordinate if not entirely meaningless to profits and power.

Giles Paxman, Britain’s former ambassador to Mexico. Before the GT200 scandal, and even after it, accusing ambassadors from the US, UK, or Europe of immense criminal impropriety would be met with accusations of being “conspiracy theorists.” In reality, it appears that immense criminality is endemic across Western diplomatic circles with their ties to industry and organized crime so close the two are virtually indistinguishable from one another. 

It is an ethos that defines the last several centuries of British – and in general – Western history.The BBC would publish another report on the GT200 titled, “The story of the fake bomb detectors,” in which they detailed the coercive methods used to peddle the useless devices upon unsuspecting nations (emphasis added):Sales demonstrations would be rigged to succeed, she says. Anyone sceptical of the devices would be publicly humiliated. And users were instructed not to open the equipment – to avoid damaging the “sensitive technology” inside. 

Some of the devices came with “detector cards” which were programmed, the fraudsters claimed, to detect everything from explosives, to human beings and dollar bills through concrete, water and from great distances.

Considering how humiliation is used by the Western media to portray anyone questioning the West’s various narratives as “paranoid” or as “conspiracy theorists,” one can only imagine the abuse one would be subjected to had they accused British ambassadors and British military sales support teams of selling what is essentially and empty plastic case with a disconnected radio antenna on it as a “bomb detector.”Yet that is exactly what the British government did. GT200 Couldn’t Have Been Sold Without London’s Complicity The UK Independent would also cover the story in an article titled, “How UK soldiers and ambassador were enlisted to help sell fake bomb detectors,” reporting that (emphasis added): Giles Paxman, then Britain’s ambassador to Mexico, wrote to senior officials in the embattled state government to introduce the wares of Kent entrepreneur Gary Bolton, who was selling the GT200, a handheld detector supposedly capable of identifying drugs or explosives at up to 700 metres. Unbeknown to the ambassador, it used nothing more than a car aerial attached to a hollow plastic grip and did not work.

Ambassador Paxman would, according to the Guardian, emphasize “the excellence of the UK’s security industry.” He would arrange meetings with officials across the country with the maker of the GT200, and is precisely why an otherwise unknown criminal was able to peddle his fake devices globally to the UK’s various allies.

Thousands of brave police and soldiers like those pictured above, had their lives knowingly placed in danger by the British government who mobilized its various departments, the military, and even its diplomats to promote and sell the GT200 “bomb detector” that quite literally did nothing. 

The Independent would reveal that the device cost a mere 2 GBP to make, but was sold for as much as 15,000 GBP each.The Independent would also reveal (emphasis added):Bolton’s ability to enlist a British ambassador to back his fraud reveals how British diplomats and officials around the world are routinely available for hire, and how the government does not normally check whether products they are promoting actually work. 

Eight years before Paxman got involved, a Home Office scientist had concluded an early version of Bolton’s device was “a useless lump of plastic and warned: “Not only does it not work in theory, it doesn’t work in practice either.” About 1,000 copies of the warning were sent to the Foreign Office, police forces, the Ministry of Defence, the Royal Engineers and the prison service, the Guardian understands.

In other words, the British government was well aware that the device did not work, did not use it domestically or with its military forces abroad because they knew it did not work, but proceeded to sell it to allied nations anyway.The British government used its influence and reputation to pressure allied nations into buying them, knowingly putting the lives of soldiers and police in jeopardy, as well as implicating suspects falsely of criminal involvement in cases the devices were used to investigate.The Independent would also note that the GT200’s creator “had been quick to recognise the value of British government involvement in the sales pitch for his adapted novelty golf ball finder as he pitched to authorities in Thailand, Bahrain and across Africa.”Thailand Swindled by its Ally, Then Betrayed Again  The Thai government is likely embarrassed by being swindled by the UK. They likely believed – as well as were likely told by the British government itself – that the involvement of British ambassadors and equipment export support teams drawn from the British military were a sound substitute for the rigorous testing the GT200 should have undergone before purchases were made.

Because of the high-level nature of the meetings arranged by British diplomats to facilitate the fraud, the British government knows that investigations into Britain’s role would also require implicating those Thai officials who were present at these meetings. Because of this, the British are confident they can get away with their crime with only minor repercussions.What the Thai government has hopefully gained from this scandal is the realization that those claiming to be its closest allies should be those least trusted.

The privileges Thailand has erroneously granted nations like the UK and US should be gradually rolled back until entirely revoked. The necessity to uproot the influence and interests of both the British and their counterparts on Wall Street and in Washington from the Kingdom of Thailand is increasingly evident.The UK’s actions maliciously cost Thai police and soldiers their lives and in the fallout of the scandal, the British and Americans through their grip on international media, are dishonoring their memories by portraying the victims as being “incompetent” and “corrupt.”

The GT200 scandal reaffirms just how little the West thinks of people beyond their borders and how far they will go and how many they will trample to further accumulate power and wealth. And the GT200 scandal is just one of many angles from which the West attacks, undermines, and pilfers the wealth, dignity, stability, and futures of nations like Thailand. If this is the sort of help the British government will afford a single criminal and his fake bomb detectors – imagine the support they would render for Fortune 500 corporations.For Thailand and the Thai people, perhaps this latest demonstration of the contempt the West has for the East will provide an impetus for the East to finally stop paying into the ideas, wealth, and influence of the West.

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