January 22, 2010

There should be a special hell for this scam artist

Filed under: Britain, Middle East, Technology — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 09:36

A report from the BBC on a “bomb detection device” widely sold in the Middle East, which does nothing at all:

A BBC Newsnight investigation has found that a so-called “bomb detector”, thousands of which have been sold to Iraq, cannot possibly work.

Leading explosives expert Sidney Alford told Newsnight the sale of the ADE-651 was “absolutely immoral”.

“This type of equipment does not work,” he said. “I wouldn’t mind betting that lives have been lost as a consequence.”

Questions have been raised over the ADE-651, following three recent co-ordinated waves of bombings in Baghdad.

It sounds like the ADE-651 is a combination of tech-look crap and new age marketing crap:

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 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.

And if that’s not enough whiff of flim-flam for you, how about this claim?

The training manual for the device says it can even, with the right card, detect elephants, humans and 100 dollar bills.

Update: The Guardian reports that the managing director of the firm has been arrested today.


  1. The procurement department that didn’t read the manual or technical specs should also be reprimanded.

    Comment by Kathleen — January 22, 2010 @ 12:23

  2. True. I guess I’m just more outraged that the firm is knowingly selling a product that cannot possibly do what it claims to do, especially as the ignorant will assume that they are safer for using the device. It’s certainly possible that blame should be evenly split between the scammers and their accomplices in Iraq.

    Comment by Nicholas — January 22, 2010 @ 12:41

  3. […] reported on the BBC program Newsnight, a bogus bomb detector has been selling briskly in Iraq (link here). The lead scammer has been arrested […]

    Pingback by British law enforcement moves on bomb detector scam « Quotulatiousness — January 22, 2010 @ 16:05

  4. I find it funny that anyone thinks this scam device went through any sort of ‘procurement department’, this was a done deal with bribery and curruption.

    Comment by Techowiz — January 23, 2010 @ 12:55

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