Iraqi soldiers use magic wands to detect explosives - US military say its a dangerous hoax - Update: Iraq still using them

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Iraqi soldiers use magic wands to detect explosives - US military say its a dangerous hoax - Update: Iraq still using them

Iraq's security forces have been relying on a device to detect bombs and weapons that the United States military and technical experts say is useless. The wands are claimed to detect explosives, weapons, and people. However the US military see it as a giant dangerous hoax that has cost the Iraqi military, and ultimately the US forces over 80 million dollars. Its no joke.

However there may be a thread of sanity in this story, if the military really don't want the responsibility of finding weapons and the conflict it will produce, using this will give individual soldiers an excuse that they have done their job and its not their fault if they fail to find anything. As the general notes below, its the easiest way to equip checkpoints, if it doesn't work that's secondary to actually being able to say you have done your job.

The sensor device, known as the ADE 651, from $16,500 to $60,000 each. Iraq has bought more than 1,500 of the devices.

The small hand-held wand, with a telescopic antenna on a swivel, is being used at hundreds of checkpoints in Iraq. But the device works “on the same principle as a Ouija board” — the power of suggestion — said a retired United States Air Force officer, Lt. Col. Hal Bidlack, who described the wand as nothing more than an explosives divining rod.

Still, the Iraqi government has purchased more than 1,500 of the devices, known as the ADE 651, at costs from $16,500 to $60,000 each. Nearly every police checkpoint, and many Iraqi military checkpoints, have one of the devices, which are now normally used in place of physical inspections of vehicles.

With violence dropping in the past two years, Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki has taken down blast walls along dozens of streets, and he contends that Iraqis will safeguard the nation as American troops leave.

But the recent bombings of government buildings here have underscored how precarious Iraq remains, especially with the coming parliamentary elections and the violence expected to accompany them.

The suicide bombers who managed to get two tons of explosives into downtown Baghdad on Oct. 25, killing 155 people and destroying three ministries, had to pass at least one checkpoint where the ADE 651 is typically deployed, judging from surveillance videos released by Baghdad’s provincial governor.

The American military does not use the devices.
... Quote:
I don’t believe there’s a magic wand that can detect explosives. If there was, we would all be using it. I have no confidence that these work.
said Maj. Gen. Richard J. Rowe Jr., who oversees Iraqi police training for the American military.

The Iraqis, however, believe passionately in them. “Whether it’s magic or scientific, what I care about is it detects bombs,” said Maj. Gen. Jehad al-Jabiri, head of the Ministry of the Interior’s General Directorate for Combating Explosives.

Dale Murray, head of the National Explosive Engineering Sciences Security Center at Sandia Labs, which does testing for the Department of Defense, said the center had “tested several devices in this category, and none have ever performed better than random chance.”

The Justice Department has warned against buying a variety of products that claim to detect explosives at a distance with a portable device. Normal remote explosives detection machinery, often employed in airports, weighs tons and costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. The ADE 651’s clients are mostly in developing countries; no major country’s military or police force is a customer, according to the manufacturer.

“I don’t care about Sandia or the Department of Justice or any of them,” General Jabiri said. “I know more about this issue than the Americans do. In fact, I know more about bombs than anyone in the world.”

He attributed the decrease in bombings in Baghdad since 2007 to the use of the wands at checkpoints. American military officials credit the surge in American forces, as well as the Awakening movement, in which Iraqi insurgents turned against Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, for the decrease.

Aqeel al-Turaihi, the inspector general for the Ministry of the Interior, reported that the ministry bought 800 of the devices from a company called ATSC (UK) Ltd. for $32 million in 2008, and an unspecified larger quantity for $53 million. Mr. Turaihi said Iraqi officials paid up to $60,000 apiece, when the wands could be purchased for as little as $18,500. He said he had begun an investigation into the no-bid contracts with ATSC.

Jim McCormick, the head of ATSC, based in London, did not return calls for comment.

The Baghdad Operations Command announced Tuesday that it had purchased an additional 100 detection devices, but General Rowe said five to eight bomb-sniffing dogs could be purchased for $60,000, with provable results.

Checking cars with dogs, however, is a slow process, whereas the wands take only a few seconds per vehicle. “Can you imagine dogs at all 400 checkpoints in Baghdad?” General Jabiri said. “The city would be a zoo.”

Speed is not the only issue. Colonel Bidlack said, “When they say they are selling you something that will save your son or daughter on a patrol, they’ve crossed an insupportable line into moral depravity.”

Last year, the James Randi Educational Foundation, an organization seeking to debunk claims of the paranormal, publicly offered ATSC $1 million if it could pass a scientific test proving that the device could detect explosives. Mr. Randi said no one from the company had taken up the offer.

ATSC’s promotional material claims that its device can find guns, ammunition, drugs, truffles, human bodies and even contraband ivory at distances up to a kilometer, underground, through walls, underwater or even from airplanes three miles high. The device works on “electrostatic magnetic ion attraction,” ATSC says.

To detect materials, the operator puts an array of plastic-coated cardboard cards with bar codes into a holder connected to the wand by a cable. “It would be laughable,” Colonel Bidlack said, “except someone down the street from you is counting on this to keep bombs off the streets.”

Proponents of the wand often argue that errors stem from the human operator, who they say must be rested, with a steady pulse and body temperature, before using the device.

Then the operator must walk in place a few moments to “charge” the device, since it has no battery or other power source, and walk with the wand at right angles to the body. If there are explosives or drugs to the operator’s left, the wand is supposed to swivel to the operator’s left and point at them.

If, as often happens, no explosives or weapons are found, the police may blame a false positive on other things found in the car, like perfume, air fresheners or gold fillings in the driver’s teeth.

On Tuesday, a guard and a driver for The New York Times, both licensed to carry firearms, drove through nine police checkpoints that were using the device. None of the checkpoint guards detected the two AK-47 rifles and ammunition inside the vehicle.

During an interview on Tuesday, General Jabiri challenged a Times reporter to test the ADE 651, placing a grenade and a machine pistol in plain view in his office. Despite two attempts, the wand did not detect the weapons when used by the reporter but did so each time it was used by a policeman.

“You need more training,” the general said.

Website of fake magic wand

Video of magic wand training

magic-wand.jpg - 21.84kb
By netchicken: posted on 5-11-2009

Looks like the people who made the 'bomb wands' are going to be done for fraud. However the Iraqi's involved in buying these stupid fakes and the resulting deaths caused by bomb attacks in Iraq should also be on trial.

The boss of a British company that has sold million of dollars worth of “bomb detectors” to Iraq’s security forces has been arrested on suspicion of fraud.

Jim McCormick, 53, the managing director of ATSC which is based in a former dairy in Sparkford, Somerset, has been questioned by detectives from Avon and Somerset Police after a complaint that he misrepresented the devices.

In November, Mr McCormick, a former Merseyside police officer, told The Times that his devices, which consist of little more than a telescopic antenna on a molded plastic handle, are able to detect explosives in the same way as a dowsing rod finds water.

Thousands of the devices are in use at military and police check points across Baghdad where they are used to search vehicles and pedestrians for explosives. In recent months hundreds of people have died after car bombers were able to penetrate the security cordon supposed to protect the centre of the Iraqi capital.

Colin Port, the Somerset and Avon Police Chief Constable, personally ordered the investigation. A force spokesman said in a statement: “We are conducting a criminal investigation, and as part of that, a 53-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of fraud by misrepresentation. That man has been released on bail pending further inquiries.

“The force became aware of the existence of a piece of equipment around which there were many concerns, and in the interests of public safety, launched its investigation.

“It was reported to the Chief Constable Colin Port, through his role as the Association of Chief Police Officers’ lead on international development. He is chair of the International Police Assistance Board.

“Given the obvious sensitivities around this matter, the fact that an arrest has been made, and in order to preserve the integrity of the investigation, we cannot discuss it any further at this time.” The Iraqi Government has spent a total of $85 million (£52.7 million) buying 1,500 of the bomb detectors from ATSC.

Mr McCormick told The Times that his company sold the device known as the ADE-651 for $8,000 each, a total of £12 million. The balance went on training and on middlemen. He admitted that despite his claim to have invented the detector, the precise principle on which it works was still unexplained.

The American magician and sceptic James Randi has condemned the bomb detectors as a “blatant fraud” and challenged Mr McCormick to prove that the ADE-651 really can find explosives, with the offer of $1 million if he succeeds. The challenge has not been taken up. Senior US military sources have also expressed doubts that it could ever work.

The Times tested the flimsy device which has no electronic components and no working parts and was unable to detect a paper bag containing fireworks from a few feet away. ATSC’s sales literature claims the device can detect minute quantities of explosives at up to one kilometre, or three kilometres from the air.

Mr McCormick told The Times that his device was being criticised because of its crude appearance.

He added: “We have been dealing with doubters for ten years. One of the problems we have is that the machine does look a little primitive. We are working on a new model that has flashing lights.”

A police source said: “We are satisfied the bomb detectors don’t work.”
By netchicken: posted on 24-1-2010

After spending $20 million on a con, Thailand is finally realizing they have been had.

A bomb scanner sold to dozens of countries around the world has been shown to be useless at detecting explosives, the Thai government said, raising the possibility that thousands of lives have been lost to bomb attacks because of ineffective screenings.

The Thai government announced Tuesday that the GT200 failed rigorous tests carried out by scientists and the army in Thailand, after concerns were raised that the device was an elaborate hoax.

"We've done a double-blind test where the equipment was only successful in discovering in 20 percent of the cases, when just a random choice would give you 25 percent -- so there's no statistical significance to having the equipment," Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva told CNN.

The device's manufacturer, Britain-based Global Technical, disputed the tests' results.

Thailand has spent more than $20 million for about 700 of the devices, which are supposed to indicate the presence of explosives. Thailand also has paid for the manufacturer's eight days of training for device operators.

After the test results, the Thai government said it was looking into the possibility of legal action against Global Technical.

The Thai army has been using GT200 for six years in the country's troubled south, where insurgents have been waging a years-long secessionist movement, and where bomb attacks occur weekly.

The device also has been sold to Thailand's forensic scientists, navy, air force, narcotics control board and police.

Global Technical said in an e-mail it was "surprised and disappointed by the reported outcome of tests carried out by the Thai government."

It said the results were "completely at odds with other tests carried out by independent bodies" and with "the experience of the large number of users of this product all over the world.

"We shall not be commenting further until we have seen the report and have had the opportunity to study it and, in particular, to understand the testing methodology employed."

Global Technical and its Thai distributor, Avia Satcom, both declined CNN's request for an interview.

The company's Web site says the device has been sold to 30 countries around the world. Some of the countries thought to have purchased the units are the Philippines, Mexico and Kenya.

The British government has banned a similar device, the AED651, made by British firm ATSC, from being exported.

The managing director of ATSC, Jim McCormick, has been arrested and questioned by police, who alleged "suspicion of fraud." The company declined to comment, citing ongoing legal action.

The AED651 has been sold in Iraq and Afghanistan, although the Iraqi army has stopped using it.

Both the AED651 and the GT200 use technology that some scientists dismiss as little more than a car antenna mounted on a plastic box that is designed to act much the way a dowsing rod is used to find water.

"I can see no mechanism of a detecting nature whatsoever, except for the brain of the person who is holding it," said Sidney Alford, an explosives engineer.

"There is no electronic [component]," he said. "I would expect there to be some sort of electronic device if a person had told me this works. I would expect to see electronic components here."
By netchicken: posted on 18-2-2010

Iraq is STILL using the fake bomb detecting wands!

A bomb-detector long exposed as useless continues to be used by the Iraqi Army and police at hundreds of checkpoints in Baghdad as their chief method of finding out if vehicles contain explosives and weapons.

The continuing reliance of the Iraqi security forces on the instrument may explain how al Qaeda has succeeded in sending vehicles packed with explosives undetected into Baghdad, where they have killed and wounded several thousand people over the past year.

The bomb-detectors, known as "sonars" to Iraqis, are hand-held devices with a "wand" that is supposed to twitch if there are explosives or weapons present. It is meant to work on the same principle as water-divining rods and has no power source, relying instead on the static electricity generated by the movement of the person holding it.

The British and American governments, numerous independent experts and repeated tests have shown that the ADE-651, manufactured by the ATSC company in the UK, does not work. Jim McCormick, the managing director of ATSC, was arrested on suspicion of fraud in January, and the British Government banned the export of the ADE-651.

At the same time, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki ordered an investigation into how the bomb-detectors had been bought at a cost of US$85 million by the Iraqi security forces in 2008 and 2009. Yesterday, ATSC was not answering the phone number given on its website.

Despite the well-attested uselessness of the bomb-detector, senior Iraqi security officials have said they are confident about its effectiveness and the Interior Ministry has never withdrawn it. A government spokesman said only some of the "sonars" were fake and these had been removed from service.

The normal procedure in Baghdad is for a policeman or soldier at a checkpoint to walk beside a vehicle holding the device. If it twitches, he tells the occupants of the vehicle that he suspects them of carrying explosives or weapons. When it turns out that these are not present, as is almost invariably the case, it is explained that the "sonar" has been misled by the presence of perfume or platinum fillings in teeth.

Many Iraqi policemen have ceased to believe that the ADE-651 works. Police Captain Hussein Ali says: "Time and again we have found it is useless." He said that when he and his men first received the instrument early last year, they believed they finally had the means of finding concealed explosives and weapons.

"We were told it was very modern and would free people from the fear of terrorism. Now we are embarrassed by it."

The use of the bomb-detectors inevitably makes it easier for al Qaeda to send its vehicle bombs through checkpoints. So many innocent vehicles are stopped that there is a permanent traffic jam in Baghdad during rush hour. Most people in the city are also doubtful about the effectiveness of the devices.
By netchicken: posted on 15-6-2010

I found ADE 651 manufacturer’s website where you can read more about this "miraculous" device :)
By dorus: posted on 5-11-2010

Wow, good find Dorus!

It just looks so legit - 650 meters detection range! You don't even have to get out of your vehicle for that.

... Quote:
The ADE (Advanced Detection Equipment), is a revolutionary tool in the effective detection and location of Narcotics (drugs), Explosives, and specific substances at long-range distances.

The first tests we conducted showed an indicative detection range of approximately 650 metres and hence, the first version was called; ADE650. However, over the years, the ADE developed and its current model, (ADE 651, 680) has more enhanced features making it a more useable and more effective device.
By netchicken: posted on 5-11-2010

ADE 651 website

Here is ADE 651 website. What do you say about that?
By ernst.filibert: posted on 4-2-2011

Fraud needs to be carefully wrapped up in pseudo science to make over $100 million from the gullible.
By netchicken: posted on 4-2-2011

ADE651 website

Belive or not they had a site dedicated to ADE 651!

I have readed almost all their sciencific explination and understand nothing. Is there someoane who can explain what is that? Is this possible?
By dorus: posted on 18-2-2011

... Quote:

Belive or not they had a site dedicated to ADE 651!

I have readed almost all their sciencific explination and understand nothing. Is there someoane who can explain what is that? Is this possible?

this informations are really confusing
By dorus: posted on 30-5-2011

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