How'd you like to be "protected" by checkpoints where your military and police - paid to protect you with your tax money - use bomb detectors that have been proven NOT TO WORK? Example: you're rolling through Baghdad in your convoy. You're kinda scared. You approach a checkpoint. Driver stops. Dudes in uniform, Iraqi military hopefully, walk around your car. Some dude starts walking kinda funny and walks in a straight line past your car while holding a plastic handle with an antenna sticking straight out in front. The antenna wobbles, but the "operator" says it was his fault, he took a wrong step. Driver starts your car back up and you roll out of the checkpoint. The multiple artillery shells (cheap, easy to come by) with some detonators attached to a simple electric switch under the driver's seat in the car behind you roll on through the checkpoint right behind you, destined for a hotel area or a market place or any place with lots of people like a Sunni/Shiite mosque after Friday prayers.
Yeah, I wouldn't like that either.
Iraq. $85 million plus some kickbacks no doubt.
James Randi is offering $1 million to anyone that can make these things work in a double blind test. He's safe with his money. A dowsing rod on a stick. A plastic handle with an unstable antenna-like thing sticking out of it won't detect any explosives this side of a fantasy novel.
Only way you can detect them is with dogs, mirrors, flashlights, very expensive air-sniffing chemistry machines (think the thing you see in an airport terminal for x-raying luggage - but twice as big and ten times more expensive) or somewhat less expensive but less all-encompassing chemical wipes - you wipe the strip on a piece of luggage and then put the strip in a solution, shake it and wait - or a series of chemical tests. Think a pH-checking test for water - but way more complex and expensive.
Seems like the Royal Engineers got bamboozled for a bit. Hey, you're not alone. The US military bought some to test them out (they buy stuff all the time just to see if it might possibly be of use). They didn't work. The manufacturers will of course tout the "bought by US military" thing and not report the "hey guys these things don't work" part. ***holes.
Oops. Wrong link. Another anti-fraud blog about the scams.
Right link: http://www.novinite.com/view_news.php?id=124620
Yuri Markov, a Bulgarian engineer, has allegedly invented a useless 'bomb detector', which has been subsequently marketed. File photo