After 12 years of silence and inner struggle, lieutenant of the Spanish Army Luis Gonzalo Segura (Madrid, 1977) decides to report a supposed 5 million-euro budget gap inside the ground forces. Yesterday at the Club LA PROVINCIA Segura presented Un paso al frente (A step forward), a cathartic story which will dynamite the conscience of many civilians and senior military officers. He states that he has been threatened, his salary has been reduced, and he is convinced that he will be imprisoned due to “military disloyalty”.
Luis Gonzalo Segura de Oro-Pulido
Lieutenant of the Command of Information, Telecommunication and Technical Assistance (Jcisat)
“There is a boycott against my book because Spanish Army fears citizens know about it”
LA PROVINCIA / LAS PALMAS DE GRAN CANARIA, 7 May 2014
You have written the book Un paso al frente (A step forward), that might dynamite the conscience of many senior military officers of the Spanish Army you belong to. Between 2012 and 2013 you reported a 5-million euro budget gap within an inventory. Was it the drop of water that made the glass overflow?
Yes, it was one of the reasons. But probably the fact of finding out there is no militar justice, that it does not work or and it is not independent, ended up being the drop of water that made the glass overflow. The issue of corruption is progressively wearing off, and eventually what will remain is that we have outdated Armed Forces, a 20th-Century system and we have to upgrade it and bring it to 21st century.
Some people might wonder if you have any proof that show those budget-gaps in IT equipment (35%), weapons, food, petrol.
I made an inventory with several public officials all around Spain, Canary Islands inclusive. It is well researched. If we go to any barracks, we use a colored bar-code label. When it is green, the stuff has been legally purchased, and when it is yellow, illegally. Therefore, we found that there were goods that did not appear and other that had appeared. These facts are so serious. The fact that 4,5 million euros in IT stuff shows that we have a serious issue with accounting, I do not think that soldiers have given away that money. If that money can be stolen, what else cannot be done? One of the first things I found was that 60.000 euros were monthly paid to update a software that was not even installed.
Which pockets does that money go to?
This is exactly what a professional and serious audit should investigate in order to find out what has really occurred. I do want to think it is all about negligence.
“I found that 60.000 euros were monthly paid to update a software that was not even installed”
You dream of a democratic, regenerated and fair Armed Forces. What do you mean by that?
If we managed to separate the three pillars where the current system of Armed Forces is based on, and we provide soldiers with freedom of speech and right to demonstration, we would get to make it transparent. Military justice absolutely depends on the institution; Guardia Civil also depends on the Ministry of Defense, but it should depends on the Home Office, owing to the principle of separation of powers; regarding the third pillar, I require that the internal audits, done by military forces, which makes the monitoring so tough, must be carried out by an external organization. With threats, repression… it is nearly impossible that anything could come to the public eye from inside. Any kind of privilege, abuse, corruption is totally normalised and protected by those four pillars, silence and repressive law inclusive, that has made that 46 million Spaniards completely ignore what is happening. Eventually that causes impunity of military commands.
Spanish Army has his own legal framework. Who judges offenders?
The own soldiers, who do not pass an official exam to become a judge and it is a lifetime position. No, they are judges, but they might get a promotion in two years time to be legal consultants of a higher command. So how come do they prosecute an Army General who might be your boss in the near future? We do need military rooms in any usual territorial tribunal. Nowadays, we have military criminal courts: one territorial, who judges up to the position of Captain, and one central, from Commander upwards. High ranks up to General are protected to all extend. At the territorial court, most of the allegations made get through and at least are investigated, but in the central one, on the contrary. I reported those facts in both courts, and they are bound to fail. In one of the last trials, I told the judge everything had been happening with data and facts. I said: “I’ve got a hard disc, if required, with further information and I volunteer to interprete it. They closed the case, they did not ask me about the hard disc and they rejected the appeal my lawyer lodged. They alleged it was “incorrect misappropriation”.
On Sunday the official book presentation will be held at FNAC Shop in Callao (Madrid), along with Spanish Military Unified Association (AUME) (Asociación Unificada de Militares Españoles).
Yes, it is the biggest one. AMTM [Military Troops and Navy Military Association], OATM [Troops and Navy Supporting Organisation] will also attend the event. They are so bullied that nobody dares to get involved with the membership. Supporting the cause is important. The first edition of 3.000 copies were already sold to soldiers. On Sunday we will present the second edition with just little advertisement. But this book is already being boycotted, because Spanish Army fears that citizens out of the military domain know about it, and know what it is happening within Armed Forces.
Have you been threatened?
Nasty messages, coercion, my salary has been reduced. Some threats on Facebook. But what matters is the supporting people. I do know that my career in the Army is over. The countdown has already kicked off, and I will probably be imprisoned, charged of disloyalty and I will be discharged from the Army. But I feel free as I have never felt before.