Attention on a small British technology company that claims to manufacture paramagnetic explosives detection devices. Reports suggest the devices do not work.
International attention on a small British technology company that claims to manufacture paramagnetic explosives detection devices was building today amidst New York Times and blogosphere reports on Ministry of Truth as to the marked lack of efficacy of the devices.
The Iraqi government has so far bought 800 of the devices from ATSC (UK) Ltd for $32 million in 2008 and ordered an unknown amount subsequently for some $53 million. The Iraqi Ministry of Interior Inspector General has now begun an investigation into the no-bid contract with ATSC for devices bought at up to $60,000 a piece as opposed to an alternative market price of $18,5000.
Major General Richard J. Rowe Jr., in charge of US/Iraqi police training efforts told the New York Times:
“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.”
The New York Times also notes that, “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.”
Responding to company claims of a UK government endorsement, Quentin Davis MP, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Minsitry of Defence said:
“UKTI DSO will be asking the company not to use the 1999 report to promote their product. They will also request that any reference to MOD or UKTI endorsement in their literature and on their website be removed.”
As the Ministry of Truth blog noted earlier today in its reporting of the story:
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“unlike other junk science frauds, such a vocal lie detectors and perpetual motion machines, this is a fraud that has serious consequences … it doesn’t detect bombs and Iraqis are going to continue to die in attacks that might well have been prevented has their security forces invested in trained explosives sniffer dogs, which do work very well, while companies in the UK and Germany continue to rack up the profits from selling fancy-looking but utterly useless dowsing rods.”