Divining sticks that consist essentially of an antenna not even attached to a radio (which might make it slihgtly useful for listening to music and stuff), and costing between 16 and 60 THOUSAND DOLLARS each, are being used as the main technology for detecting bombs at check points staffed by the Iraqi army.
The US Army has told the Iraqi army that this does not work, but they don’t care.
“I don’t believe there’s a magic wand that can detect explosives,” said Maj. Gen. Richard J. Rowe Jr., who oversees Iraqi police training for the American military. “If there was, we would all be using it. I have no confidence that these work.”
The recent really big bombing (with 155 killed) involved a truck bomb that got past at least one check point that used the ADE 651 (that’s the name of the fancy Ouija board thingie).
The Iraqis seem to really think it works.
“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.
These devices are made by ATSC, located in the UK. Their total take on this deal is going to be over 80 million dollars. Some of the Iraqis are kinda pissed off because some of the magic wands have been purchaced for $60,000 while equally effective magic wands were available for cloer to $18,000.
The James Randi foundation has issued a specific challenge regarding these devices: Prove they work, you get a million bucks. The challenge:
This Foundation will give you our million-dollar prize upon the successful testing of the ADE651® device. Such test can be performed by anyone, anywhere, under your conditions, by you or by any appointed person or persons, in direct satisfaction of any or all of the provisions laid out above by you.
So far, no payoff. Not even an attempt to collect.
Mean while, security in Iraq, where truck and car bombs have become a major tool used to carry out acts of carnage, is based primarily on the magic wand.
American Army: Leave now. Your work here is done.
Thanks Virgil Samms for the tip.