Murphy's Law: Bribes, Bombs And Blind Faith


June 10, 2010:  Why are Iraqi police still using a bomb detector known to be a scam (it simply does not work.) Over four months ago, the Iraqi government agreed to investigate the purchase of $85 million worth of ADE 651 explosives detectors. Iraqi officials bought thousands of these hand held devices last year, for up to $60,000 each. But the British manufacturer is being prosecuted in Britain for fraud, when it was discovered there that the ADE 651 was a scam. The device contains useless components, and repeated tests showed that it could not detect anything. Apparently a large chunk of the money Iraq paid for the ADE 651 was kicked back to the Iraqi officials who approved the sale. The ADE 651 is very cheap to make, and the manufacturer made a huge profit even after paying the bribes.

No one in Iraq tested the ADE 651, they just took the government's word that the device worked, and it is still being used. But many Iraqi police have discovered that the ADE-651 is useless, and some government officials insist that only some of the ADE-651s do not work.

Two weeks after the Iraqi ADE-651 scandal became public, the Thailand government ordered the Thai Army to stop buying (for about $30,000 each) GT200 bomb detectors. Scientific tests of the devices (similar to the equally ineffective ADE 651 sold to Iraq) showed that they were useless. But apparently much of the sales price is kicked back to military procurement officials, as the devices cost less than $10 to manufacture. Army procurement officers insist they are innocent.

While the Thai police stopped using the GT200, Iraqi police continue to use it, and many insist that it does work. Police investigators back in Britain are still trying to find out where all the money the ADE-651 manufacturer got went. Very little went to manufacturing, and a lot of it apparently went for bribes.



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