photo: Eddy van Wessel


Thursday, August 4, 2016

Banning the magic wand is not enough, heads must roll

Finally, the device that caused thousands of deaths in Iraq has been banned from the streets.

As Prime Minister Haider Abadi finally bans the device that Iraqi guards were using at checkpoints and was supposed to detect explosives, it will end up where it should have been long before: in the garbage.

The tragedy is that all of Iraq has known for years that the device, the ADE-651, which is shorthand for Advanced Detection Equipment, and that is internationally and cynically known as the ‘magic wand’, does not work.

British businessman James McCormick was convicted in Britain for fraud last year, after he sold for as much as $85 million of the devices to Iraq, receiving around $8,000 per piece, and now is serving a ten-year jail service.

Yet in 1996 the American security agency FBI had already ruled that the empty box with a short antenna was fake, and after a British Home Office scientist tested it in 2001, he issued a strong warning against its use.

But to no avail, as the BBC recently uncovered, that for years the device has been sold by different fraudsters for different purposes – to find golf balls, to find drugs, to detect explosives, and most recently even to detect HIV and hepatitis – and all are equally bogus. 
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