It's Magic!

Iraq Swears by Bomb Detector U.S. Sees as Useless – New York Times — It slices! its dices! It detects truffles from three miles away! How much would you pay for this amazing device?

Despite major bombings that have rattled the nation, and fears of rising violence as American troops withdraw, 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.
[…]
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.
[…]
“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.
[…]
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.

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.




  1. The DON says:

    Sounds just like the “What is your mothers maiden name?” question.

    My mothers maiden name is a matter of public record, and therefore not any kind of security. While we are at it, please turn your laptop on, so that as soon as I see a windows logo, I can say move on, knowing full well that the 4 minute boot up shutdown process is not something you want to interrupt with a power down.

  2. ray says:

    Jesus cripes. I’m pretty sure ATSC has some kind of ties with terrorism. Buying useless devices for the highest price possible is just funding terrorists. The whole place is corrupted, we are just delaying the inevitable.

  3. The DON says:

    I seem to recall at the end of the 80’s that the US government used to buy 6 or 8 mm nuts for $10,000 each. The money is needed, buy maybe they want to hide what it is really being spent on

  4. JimR says:

    ….electrostatic magnetic ion attraction ?? … hmmmm … I think I found a place to sell my “neuron e-wave positronic reverse osmosis mohammadator” for detecting suicide bombers up to 12 miles away.

  5. AdmFubar says:

    #3 but they were “right wing nuts”

    this reminds me of a python sketch..

  6. Ah_Yea says:

    “no one from the company had taken up the offer”

    Why should they? They are selling 1500 at between $$16,500 to $60,000 each.

    This comes out to $24,500,000 at a minimum!

  7. chuck says:

    If you use the device to check a vehicle that doesn’t have any guns or bombs in it, and the device doesn’t detect anything — that is clear proof that it works.

  8. Dallas says:

    It might be preventing explosives from getting past the checkpoint if terrorists think it works.

    Sort of like the TSA.

  9. Uncle Dave says:

    #1: Your mother’s maiden name, your city of birth and other other kinds of ‘secret’ questions is a perfectly safe way of protecting access if you use a fake name, city, etc. It’s not like they check. Make up something and always use it in those situations.

    I use (for a number of things) a fake name I made up in a story I once wrote that nobody ever read. Impossible to guess, look up or whatever.

  10. Mr. Fusion says:

    #9, Uncle Dave,

    Let’s see;

    You’re really Harvey Dembrowski, you were born on 123 Mainstreet in Anytown, Mystate, USA. Your birthdate is April 01, 1950 (or 1960 or 1970 depending upon the woman you’re trying to pick up)

    Your parents names are Dad and Mom and you attended High School Secondary. Your first pet was a gold fish named Fluffy (who incidentally died when pedro took him for a walk).

    Your stint in the Army resulted in a Silver Star, two Bronze Stars, six Purple Hearts, and a secret Congressional Medal of Honor for a secret mission you can’t discuss.

    You took your current job to keep busy after selling your start-up for several tens of millions, which are tied up in the courts at the moment for some reason you don’t like to get into.

    Yes, government agents are looking for you, but not for unpaid parking tickets. That is a ruse to get you to do another secret mission for them.

    OK, so how many did I miss? 😉

  11. Mr. Fusion says:

    I get the feeling this is going to blow up in some Iraqi’s face some day.

  12. yanikinwaoz says:

    Perhaps it works as a placebo.

    If the terrorist think it works, then it works. If one is pointed at a bomb laden car, the terrorist driver might freak out thinking they are busted.

  13. pfkad says:

    #10, Fusion: I don’t know about Uncle Dave, but you nailed me! Amazing!

  14. Dirk Thundernuts says:

    It looks like a procto-scope.

  15. Rick Cain says:

    I’m not surprised if we are hiring psychics too.

  16. Eina says:

    More suckers?

    The Malaysian Customs bought a very similar system as this a few years back – just seems to have been repackaged since then. Great newspaper stories about how they could detect drugs at 200m and all sorts of other impossible rubbish. They were called out on it & the whole topic mysteriously died soon after.

    “Alpha Six” was the name back then. A product that looked exactly the same was the “Quadro Tracker”

    Here are some links:
    http://dapmalaysia.org/all-archive/English/2003/july03/lks/lks2486.htm
    http://sniffexquestions.blogspot.com/2009/06/why-do-thai-tv-stations-not-warn-police.html

  17. Rick Cain says:

    Let me guess, made by Bose and Monster Cable.

  18. chris says:

    This was on Bruce Schneier’s blog ages ago. The scary bit is that there are tons of equally useless security stuff done, at great expense, buy our own government.


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