The UK government has announced a ban on the export to Iraq and Afghanistan of some so-called "bomb detectors".

It follows an investigation by the BBC's Newsnight programme which found that one type of "detector" made by a British company cannot work.

The Iraqi government has spent $85m on the ADE-651 and there are concerns that they have failed to stop bomb attacks that have killed hundreds of people.

The ban on the ADE-651 and other similar devices starts next week.

Sidney Alford, a leading explosives expert who advises all branches of the military, told Newsnight the sale of the ADE-651 was "absolutely immoral".

"It could result in people being killed in the dozens, if not hundreds," he said.

Questions were raised over the ADE-651, following three recent co-ordinated waves of bombings in Baghdad.

Thirty-nine-year-old Aqeel Yousif Yaqoub was caught in a bomb at Iraq's Justice Ministry last October.

The blast left him with injuries to his face and limbs, and damaged his take-away falafel store.

"If they were effective," he asked, "how did the suicide car bomb reach this area?"

And an attack in December killed over 120 people, prompting Iraqis to ask how the bombs could have got through the city's security.

Attention is increasingly focusing on the ADE-651, the hand-held detector now used at most checkpoints in Baghdad.


AD-651および同様の製品の輸出禁止は来週始まる。あらゆる軍事関連に助言を行う爆発物のエキスパートであるSidney AlfordはNewsnightに対して、「ADE-651を売るのは、まったく非倫理的だ」と述べた。

バグダッドにおける3回の爆弾攻撃の波に続いて、ADE-651への疑問が起きた。10月に、39歳のAqeel Yousif Yaqoubはイラク司法省での爆発に巻き込まれた。爆発により、彼は顔と手足を負傷し、自身が経営するテイクアウトのフェラフェル(中東の野菜コロッケ)屋を損傷した。「それ(ADE-651)が役に立つなら、自爆テロの自動車がこんなところまで入れたのか」と彼は言う。


[Caroline Hawley and Meirion Jones: "Export ban for useless 'bomb detector' " (2010/01/22) on BBC Newsnight]

'Glorified dowsing rod'(見せ掛けのダウジングロッド)

Iraq has bought thousands of the detectors for a total of $85m (£52m).

The device is sold by Jim McCormick, based at offices in rural Somerset, UK.

The ADE-651 detector has never been shown to work in a scientific test.

There are no batteries and it consists of a swivelling aerial mounted to a hinge on a hand-grip. Critics have likened it to a glorified dowsing rod.

イラクは数千台の検知器を合計8500万ドル(5200ポンド)購入した。この検知器は英国Rural Somersetにオフィスを持つJim McCormickが販売している。ADE-651検知器は科学的実験で機能することを示されたことがない。電池はなく、回転するアンテナがハンドグリップのヒンジ部分に取り付けられている。批判者たちは、見せ掛けのダウジングロッドになぞらえる。

Mr McCormick told the BBC in a previous interview that "the theory behind dowsing and the theory behind how we actually detect explosives is very similar".

He says that the key to it is the black box connected to the aerial into which you put "programmed substance detection cards", each "designed to tune into" the frequency of a particular explosive or other substance named on the card.

He claims that in ideal conditions you can detect explosives from a range of up to 1km.

The training manual for the device says it can even, with the right card, detect elephants, humans and 100 dollar bills.


Anti-theft tag inside(盗難防止タグ)

Claims of such almost magical technical abilities would almost be comic, if the potential consequences were not so serious.

Newsnight obtained a set of cards for the ADE-651 and took them to Cambridge University's Computer Laboratory where Dr Markus Kuhn dissected a card supposed to detect TNT.

It contained nothing but the type of anti-theft tag used to prevent stealing in high street stores.

Dr Kuhn said it was "impossible" that it could detect anything at all and that the card had "absolutely nothing to do with the detection of TNT".

"There is nothing to program in these cards. There is no memory. There is no microcontroller. There is no way any form of information can be stored," he added.

ほぼ魔法な機能の手法は、その帰結が重大なものでなければ、コミックだ。NewsnightはADE-651用カードセットを入手して、Cambridge UniversityのComputer Laboratoryに持って行き、Dr. Markus KuhnにTNTを検知すると称するカードを分析してもらった。それは盗難防止用に商店街で使われているタグの一種でしかなかった。Dr. Kuhnは「これでは、どんなものの検知できないし、このカードはTNT検知とはまったく何の関係もない。これらのカードにはプログラムできるものがない。メモリがない。マイクロコントローラもない。いかなる記憶保持もできない」という。

[Caroline Hawley and Meirion Jones: "Export ban for useless 'bomb detector' " (2010/01/22) on BBC Newsnight]

High price

The tags which are supposed to be the heart of such an expensive system cost around two to three pence.

"These are the cheapest bit of electronics that you can get that look vaguely electronic and are sufficiently flat to fit inside a card," Dr Kuhn told Newsnight.

The ADE-651 has been sold to a range of Middle Eastern countries and as far afield as Bangkok for eye-watering prices.

Iraq paid around $40,000 for each device.

No Western government uses them.

The promotional material for the ADE-651 claims it is powered only by the user's static electricity.

Iraqis themselves are sceptical about the device.

"They don't work properly," Umm Muhammad, a retired schoolteacher said. "Sometimes when I drive through checkpoints, the device moves simply because I have medications in my handbag. Sometimes it doesn't - even when I have the same handbag."

The BBC has learned that following the December bombings, the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has ordered an investigation into the bomb detectors, expected to report any day now.

ものすごく高いシステムの心臓部と見られるタグのコストは2〜3ペンスである。「これらは、なんとなく電子的で、カードに封入できるくらい平たい弟子部品で最も安価なものがだ。」とDr. KuhnはNewsnightに述べた。


イラク人自身も、この検知器には懐疑的だ。退職教師Umm Muhammadは「これらは正しく機能しない。検問所を通過したとき、ハンドバッグに薬が入っているだけで、アンテナが動くことがある。でも同じハンドバッグを持っていても動かないこともある。」と言う。

12月の爆弾テロ後、イラクの首相Nouri al-Malikiは、できる限り早くに報告するように、この爆発物検知器の調査を命じた。

[Caroline Hawley and Meirion Jones: "Export ban for useless 'bomb detector' " (2010/01/22) on BBC Newsnight]
FBI warnings

Concern over the use of dowsing rods to detect bombs was first raised by American sceptic, James Randi.

Mr Randi has confirmed to the BBC that he is still offering Mr McCormick $1m if he can prove that the ADE-651 works.

ダウジングロッドで爆発物を検知することに最初に懸念を表明したのは米国の懐疑論者James Randiだった。RandiはBBCに対して現在も、McCormickに対して、ADE-651が機能することが示せれば100万ドルを提供すると現在も提案していることを確認した。
ということで、James Randiも参戦中...

In 1995, the Sandia national labs and the FBI raised the alarm over a dowsing rod device called the Quadro Tracker which they described as "a fraud" and the FBI warned: "All agencies should immediately cease using the device."

In 1999, the FBI put out another alert: "Warning. Do not use bogus explosives detection devices."

In 2002, a test by Sandia labs in the US found that a similar dowsing rod device, called the Mole detector, did not work and performed "no better than a random selection process".

They concluded that it did not work and that it looked "nearly identical" to the Quadro Tracker.

1995年には、Sandia National LabとFBIがQuadro Trackerと呼ばれるダウンジングロッドについて警告を出した。その警告では、この製品を詐欺だと記述し、FBIは「あらゆる機関は、この装置をただちに使用中止すべきだ」との警告を出した。


2002年には、米国でSandia National LabがMole detectorと呼ばれる同様のダウジングロッドが機能せず、ランダム選択以上の機能を持たないことを示した。Sandia National Labはこの装置が機能せず、Quadro Trackerとほぼ同じもののようだと結論した。
Last month, a senior Iraqi officer involved in bomb-prevention defended the ADE-651.

Major General Jehad al-Jabiri, who appeared at a press conference with Mr McCormick following the December explosions, said he did not "care about Sandia" and knew more about bombs than the Americans:

"Whether it's magic or scientific, what I care about is it detects bombs," he said.

先月(2009/12)には、イラクの爆発物対策部門の高級士官がADE-651を擁護した。Jehad al-Jabiri少将は、12月の爆弾テロ事件後に、McCormickとともに記者会見に登場し、「Sandiaの結論は気にしない。私は米国人よりも爆弾のことをよく知っている」と述べた。「魔法であろうが価額であろうが、爆弾を検知できるかどうかが問題だ」と少将は述べた。

And policemen manning checkpoints in Baghdad have told the BBC that you need to be relaxed to use the ADE-651 and that it does not work properly if the user is stressed or has a high heart rate.

In other words, the message which has got through to the frontlines is - if it does not work, blame the operator not the device.


Mr McCormick declined our request to interview him for this report, but late last year he told the BBC that he has been selling products like the ADE-651 for over a decade and that he has sold 6,000 of them to around 20 countries.

They are in use everywhere from Thailand to Pakistan and Lebanon.



"For a British company to be selling a piece of technology that is useless when it's meant to be saving lives is abhorrent," Lou McGrath, chief executive of the charity, Mines Advisory Group, told Newsnight.

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