An Iraqi policeman uses a hand-held bomb detector in Baghdad, on May 5, 2011
An Iraqi policeman uses a hand-held bomb detector in Baghdad, on May 5, 2011. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has insisted that some of the fake bomb detectors Iraq bought are actually functional, despite overwhelming evidence that none of them work. © Ali al-Saadi - AFP/File
An Iraqi policeman uses a hand-held bomb detector in Baghdad, on May 5, 2011
AFP
Last updated: May 20, 2013

Iraqi prime minister insists some fake bomb detectors work

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki insisted on Monday that some of the fake bomb detectors Iraq bought are actually functional, despite overwhelming evidence that none of them work.

"The best device in the world does not detect (explosives) more than 60 percent (of the time)... and results we obtained indicate that these devices detect from 20 to 50 percent" of the time, Maliki told a news conference.

"Some of the devices were real and were detecting" explosives, while others were not, he said, adding that security forces are in any case to start relying more on police dogs because they are better able to detect explosives.

Maliki also said earlier this month that the government took the necessary steps regarding the devices "a long time ago," despite the fact that they are still in widespread use in Iraq, putting lives at risk.

None of the hand-held "detectors," which are made of black plastic with a pistol-style grip and a small silver antenna that allegedly points out various materials including explosives, will reveal anything, except by chance.

The devices were purchased from businessman James McCormick, who has been sentenced to 10 years in jail by a judge in Britain for fraud over the sale of the devices to countries including Iraq.

Britain's Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said that "tests have shown that the technology used in the ADE 651 and similar devices is not suitable for bomb detection."

And Iraqi interior ministry inspector general Aqil al-Turaihi said that "American forces presented reports that this device is not effective," while oil ministry and ministry of science and technology studies also showed that the detectors did not work.

"I believe that this device contributed, whether intentionally or unintentionally... to the shedding of Iraqi blood," Turaihi said.

Relying on bomb detectors that do not work is an especially grave issue in Iraq, where violence is a major problem and bombings by militants are common, killing more than 200 people in each of the first five months of this year.

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