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  1. #1
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    Export ban for useless 'bomb detector'

    Export ban for useless 'bomb detector'



    Reporter Caroline Hawley takes the central component of the device to the Cambridge Computer Laboratory to be tested by Dr Markus Kuhn

    By Caroline Hawley and Meirion Jones
    BBC Newsnight


    The UK government has announced a ban on the export to Iraq and Afghanistan of some so-called "bomb detectors".
    It follows an investigation by the BBC's Newsnight programme which found that one type of "detector" made by a British company cannot work.
    The Iraqi government has spent $85m on the ADE-651 and there are concerns that they have failed to stop bomb attacks that have killed hundreds of people.
    The ban on the ADE-651 and other similar devices starts next week.
    There is nothing to program in these cards. There is no memory. There is no microcontroller. There is no way any form of information can be stored


    Dr Markus Kuhn

    Sidney Alford, a leading explosives expert who advises all branches of the military, told Newsnight the sale of the ADE-651 was "absolutely immoral".
    "It could result in people being killed in the dozens, if not hundreds," he said.
    Questions were raised over the ADE-651, following three recent co-ordinated waves of bombings in Baghdad.
    Thirty-nine-year-old Aqeel Yousif Yaqoub was caught in a bomb at Iraq's Justice Ministry last October.
    The blast left him with injuries to his face and limbs, and damaged his take-away falafel store.
    "If they were effective," he asked, "how did the suicide car bomb reach this area?"
    And an attack in December killed over 120 people, prompting Iraqis to ask how the bombs could have got through the city's security.
    Attention is increasingly focusing on the ADE-651, the hand-held detector now used at most checkpoints in Baghdad.
    'Glorified dowsing rod'
    Iraq has bought thousands of the detectors for a total of $85m (52m).
    The device is sold by Jim McCormick, based at offices in rural Somerset, UK.
    The ADE-651 is in use at most checkpoints in Baghdad

    The ADE-651 detector has never been shown to work in a scientific test.
    There are no batteries and it consists of a swivelling aerial mounted to a hinge on a hand-grip. Critics have likened it to a glorified dowsing rod.
    Mr McCormick told the BBC in a previous interview that "the theory behind dowsing and the theory behind how we actually detect explosives is very similar".
    He says that the key to it is the black box connected to the aerial into which you put "programmed substance detection cards", each "designed to tune into" the frequency of a particular explosive or other substance named on the card.
    He claims that in ideal conditions you can detect explosives from a range of up to 1km.
    The training manual for the device says it can even, with the right card, detect elephants, humans and 100 dollar bills.
    Anti-theft tag inside
    Claims of such almost magical technical abilities would almost be comic, if the potential consequences were not so serious.
    Sometimes when I drive through checkpoints, the device moves simply because I have medications in my handbag. Sometimes it doesn't - even when I have the same handbag


    Umm Muhammad, retired Iraqi schoolteacher

    Newsnight obtained a set of cards for the ADE-651 and took them to Cambridge University's Computer Laboratory where Dr Markus Kuhn dissected a card supposed to detect TNT.
    It contained nothing but the type of anti-theft tag used to prevent stealing in high street stores.
    Dr Kuhn said it was "impossible" that it could detect anything at all and that the card had "absolutely nothing to do with the detection of TNT".
    "There is nothing to program in these cards. There is no memory. There is no microcontroller. There is no way any form of information can be stored," he added.
    High price
    The tags which are supposed to be the heart of such an expensive system cost around two to three pence.
    "These are the cheapest bit of electronics that you can get that look vaguely electronic and are sufficiently flat to fit inside a card," Dr Kuhn told Newsnight.
    The ADE-651 has been sold to a range of Middle Eastern countries and as far afield as Bangkok for eye-watering prices.
    The device is sold by Jim McCormick, based at offices in Somerset

    Iraq paid around $40,000 for each device.
    No Western government uses them.
    The promotional material for the ADE-651 claims it is powered only by the user's static electricity.
    Iraqis themselves are sceptical about the device.
    "They don't work properly," Umm Muhammad, a retired schoolteacher said. "Sometimes when I drive through checkpoints, the device moves simply because I have medications in my handbag. Sometimes it doesn't - even when I have the same handbag."
    The BBC has learned that following the December bombings, the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has ordered an investigation into the bomb detectors, expected to report any day now.
    FBI warnings
    Concern over the use of dowsing rods to detect bombs was first raised by American sceptic, James Randi.
    Mr Randi has confirmed to the BBC that he is still offering Mr McCormick $1m if he can prove that the ADE-651 works.
    In 1995, the Sandia national labs and the FBI raised the alarm over a dowsing rod device called the Quadro Tracker which they described as "a fraud" and the FBI warned: "All agencies should immediately cease using the device."
    In 1999, the FBI put out another alert: "Warning. Do not use bogus explosives detection devices."
    There have been three recent co-ordinated waves of bombings

    In 2002, a test by Sandia labs in the US found that a similar dowsing rod device, called the Mole detector, did not work and performed "no better than a random selection process".
    They concluded that it did not work and that it looked "nearly identical" to the Quadro Tracker.
    Last month, a senior Iraqi officer involved in bomb-prevention defended the ADE-651.
    Major General Jehad al-Jabiri, who appeared at a press conference with Mr McCormick following the December explosions, said he did not "care about Sandia" and knew more about bombs than the Americans:
    "Whether it's magic or scientific, what I care about is it detects bombs," he said.
    And policemen manning checkpoints in Baghdad have told the BBC that you need to be relaxed to use the ADE-651 and that it does not work properly if the user is stressed or has a high heart rate.
    In other words, the message which has got through to the frontlines is - if it does not work, blame the operator not the device.
    Mr McCormick declined our request to interview him for this report, but late last year he told the BBC that he has been selling products like the ADE-651 for over a decade and that he has sold 6,000 of them to around 20 countries.
    They are in use everywhere from Thailand to Pakistan and Lebanon.
    "For a British company to be selling a piece of technology that is useless when it's meant to be saving lives is abhorrent," Lou McGrath, chief executive of the charity, Mines Advisory Group, told Newsnight.
    Watch Caroline Hawley's full report on Newsnight on Friday 22 January 2010 at 10.30pm then afterwards on the BBC iPlayer and Newsnight website.




    Can't find the original thread about the "Magic" ' all singing all dancing' explosives and drug detectors that they had bought for the checkpoint onto Phuket island, but the model and the company location sound horribly familiar !!!



  2. #2

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    I think the BBC should build 2 identical rooms, one filled with explosives set to go off in 5 minutes, and one with fake explosives, Mr McCormick then has 2 minutes to decide which room he will spend the next 5 minutes locked in, and yes, of course he can use his bomb detecting equipment

  3. #3
    disturbance in the Turnip baldrick's Avatar
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    I wonder if this mccormick realises that he cannot do a runner to a third world country as he has probably sold his dodgy detectors to them.

    the tards who purchased these devices should also be held responsible for their incompetence.

  4. #4
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    Maybe it is a Homeopathic bomb detector.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by crippen View Post
    Maybe it is a Homeopathic bomb detector.
    More like a F*ckinpathetic bomb detector

  6. #6
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    I'm sure the ministers buying it know its garbage but the kickbacks they are getting from Jim McCormick must be huge.

  7. #7
    Thailand Expat AntRobertson's Avatar
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    This is utterly bizarre! Tragic too, if it has cost lives.

  8. #8
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    'Bomb detector' maker Jim McCormick arrested


    Jim McCormick sells the hand-held detectors from his offices in Somerset

    The director of a company which sold a bomb-detecting device to 20 countries, including Iraq, has been arrested.
    ATSC's Jim McCormick, 53, was detained on Friday on suspicion of fraud by misrepresentation, Avon and Somerset police said. He has since been bailed.
    It comes after a BBC investigation alleged the ADE-651 did not work.
    Earlier, the British government announced a ban on the export of the device to Iraq and Afghanistan, where British forces are serving.
    Anti-theft tag
    Mr McCormick has said the device, sold from offices in rural Somerset, used special electronic cards slotted into it to detect explosives.
    But a BBC Newsnight investigation reported that a computer laboratory said the card it examined contained only a tag used by shops to prevent theft.
    There are concerns the detectors have failed to stop bomb attacks which have killed hundreds of people.
    The ADE-651 is in use at most checkpoints in Baghdad

    The device consists of a swivelling aerial mounted to a hinge on a hand-grip. It does not operate by battery, instead promotional material says it is powered only by the user's static electricity.
    The ADE-651 has been sold to a range of Middle Eastern countries and as far afield as Bangkok.
    The Iraqi government has spent US$85m (52m) on the hand-held detectors, now used at most checkpoints in Baghdad.
    It is understood Iraq paid about US$40,000 for each device. No Western government uses them.
    The BBC has learned the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has ordered an investigation into the bomb detectors, expected to report shortly.
    The government ban, brought in by Business Secretary Lord Mandelson, starts next week.

  9. #9
    Hansum Man! panama hat's Avatar
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    I wonder if he can be charged and extradited to some of the places he has exported the product to . . .

    I'm sure the countries affected will promise a fair trial, as fair as his sales were . . . fair is fair

  10. #10
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    Newsnight report on the fake bomb detection device



  11. #11
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    ^^ Thailand ! A fair trial I am sure. Wonder how much the kick-backs were???

  12. #12
    The Pikey Hunter
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    I wonder if he kept evidence of any kickbacks paid.... That could prove embarressing

    http://teakdoor.com.asianmarble.com/...echnology.html

  13. #13
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    unbelievable, obviously bought for the commissions

    typical British tard, selling something that doesn't work, no wonder the UK is fucked and has no industry left

  14. #14
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    It is understood Iraq paid about US$40,000 for each device.
    The ADE-651 detector has never been shown to work in a scientific test.
    The training manual for the device says it can even, with the right card, detect elephants, humans and 100 dollar bills.
    *snigger*

  15. #15
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    ^ So if there's an elephant hiding in the boot of a car, it will detect it then?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by ItsRobsLife
    The training manual for the device says it can even, with the right card, detect elephants, humans and 100 dollar bills.


    Quote Originally Posted by ItsRobsLife
    *snigger*
    Snigger indeed - the Thais obviously did not buy the elephant detection module judging by the number that I have brought Phuket airport as hand baggage !

    They only got the 100$ detecting module for use to register future tea money contributors !!!i



  17. #17
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    I am astounded, the regulations this scumbag has gone through to get his product through. The so called experts who are aware of its usless distribution.

  18. #18
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    The ADE-651 is still in use at checkpoints in Baghdad

    Some Iraqi officials are insisting that a controversial bomb detection device works, despite a BBC inquiry in which experts said the item was useless.
    Britain has banned exports of the ADE-651 and the director of the company selling them was arrested and bailed.
    But the device is still being used at checkpoints all over Baghdad.
    Interior Minister Jawad al-Bolani, whose department bought $85m of the devices, said the ADE-651 had detected 16,000 bombs, including 700 car bombs.
    "The thing is, the instrument is being operated by a user," he said.
    "Not all those who use the instrument are fully trained, the user needs to be alert and adept at using it."
    There are allegations that failure of the ADE-651 may have been a factor allowing suicide truck bombs to pass through checkpoints on three occasions last year, leading to hundreds of deaths.
    Iraqi investigations
    Jim McCormick, director of Somerset-based ATSC, which sold the device, says it uses special electronic cards slotted into it to detect explosives.
    We conducted several tests on them, and found them successful


    General Jihad al-Jabiri
    Interior ministry

    But a BBC Newsnight investigation reported that a computer laboratory said the card it examined contained only a tag used by shops to prevent theft.
    Several investigations into the use of the device are under way in Iraq.
    One has been ordered by Prime Minister Nouri Maliki, whose office has been told not to comment until the results are known.
    The Security and Defence Committee of the Iraqi parliament is also looking into the affair, and it will be discussed in the full chamber.
    'Rival companies'
    But the interior ministry is still standing by the device.
    Jawad al-Bolani said on Friday: "There are a lot of companies working on the development of these sort of instruments and Iraq is now considered a market area for companies producing such devices.
    "It is a business, the business of security. And there are other rival companies trying to belittle the efficiency of these instruments the government is buying."
    General Jihad al-Jabiri, head of the ministry's counter-explosives department, told BBC Arabic TV that the ministry had sent 14 officers to Beirut for training by the company that produces these devices.
    "We conducted several tests on them, and found them successful," the general said.
    "In addition, we have a series of achievements officially documented by the Baghdad operations centre, from all the provinces, which establish that these devices detected thousands of bombs, booby-trapped houses and car bombs, and we've noticed a reduction of bombing activities to less than 10 per cent of what it was."
    However, the ministry's inspectorate told the BBC's Jim Muir, in Baghdad, that it was carrying out its own investigation into suspicions that corruption was involved in the deal to import the devices.
    'Absolutely immoral'
    Newsnight obtained a set of cards for the ADE-651 and took them to Cambridge University's Computer Laboratory where Dr Markus Kuhn dissected a card supposed to detect TNT.
    Jim McCormick was arrested on suspicion of fraud, and later bailed

    It contained nothing but the type of anti-theft tag used to prevent stealing in high street stores.
    Dr Kuhn said it was "impossible" that it could detect anything at all and that the card had "absolutely nothing to do with the detection of TNT".
    Sidney Alford, a leading explosives expert who advises all branches of the military, told the BBC programme the sale of the ADE-651 was "absolutely immoral".
    "It could result in people being killed in the dozens, if not hundreds," he said.
    Meanwhile, the Associated Press news agency reported that in June 2009, the US military distributed a study using laboratory testing and X-ray analysis that found the ADE-651 ineffective.
    "The examination resulted in a determination that there was no possible means by which the ADE-651 could detect explosives and therefore was determined to be totally ineffective and fraudulent," Major Joe Scrocca, a US military spokesman in Baghdad, told AP in an e-mail.
    'Refused to tell secret'
    Mr McCormick, 53, was detained on Friday on suspicion of fraud by misrepresentation, British police said. He has since been bailed.
    Another explanation for the current controversy came from a senior Iraqi interior ministry official, Assistant Deputy Minister General Tareq al-Asl, interviewed by the newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat.
    "The reason the director of the company was arrested was not because the device doesn't work, but because he refused to divulge the secret of how it works to the British authorities, and the Americans before them," the general was quoted as saying.
    "I have tested it in practice and it works effectively and 100% reliably."

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