Thursday November 23, 2017
History shows us that when empires over-extend themselves, military commanders become semi-independent warlords who usher into place systems of graft and corruption. Such was the case in the Roman Empire in 193 A.D., when Emperor Pertinax’s Praetorian Guard – a combination personal security force for the emperor and elite special forces unit that distinguished itself on distant battlefields – sold out the emperor in exchange for a bribe from an aspirant emperor, Didius Julianus. The Praetorian Guard assassinated Pertinax and swore their allegiance to the new emperor, Julianus.
The rot of corruption would help ensure the downfall of other global empires. The fraudulent British East India Company and its corporate nabobs, backed by British military and naval power, helped to ignite colonial rebellions in America in the 1770s and India in 1857.
As the United States has over-extended its military realm into the Middle East, South Asia, Africa, Europe, the Asia-Pacific, and Latin America, corruption within so-called “Areas of Responsibility” assigned to regional US military commands has run rampant.
Within the US Pacific Command (PACOM) region, a major bribery and fraud scandal centered on a US Navy contractor, Singapore-based Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA), headed by Leonard Glenn Francis, a 350-pound Malaysian citizen nicknamed “Fat Leonard.” In return for cash, vacations at five-star hotels, first- and business-class flights, expensive concert tickets, Rolex watches, Mont Blanc pens, Dom Perignon champagne, vintage wine, Cuban cigars, spa treatments, foie gras, $2000 bottles of cognac, and prostitutes, US Navy officers provided Leonard with virtual unfettered access to Navy intelligence and sensitive contract information that was used by GDMA to secure lucrative Navy logistics contracts. The “Fat Leonard” scandal grew to include senior officers, including admirals, attached to the US Seventh Fleet in Japan.