It appears that the Iraqi government cannot accept its mistakes. After two studies by the U.S. and British militaries showing that the devices did not work, the maker of the detectors convicted of fraud, and the Interior Ministry general that bought the equipment given prison time, the Iraqi military is still talking about the ADE 651s as if they can find bombs.
On February 17, 2016 the head of the Baghdad Operations Command General Abdul Amir al-Shammari told Al-Sumaria TV that the fake bomb detectors were effective. He told the station that they found bombs 30-40% of the time. Not only that but he went on to say that they would continue to be used at checkpoints until the government either bought more modern equipment or received bomb sniffing dogs. The general’s claim was ridiculous, but tragic as well. Several times the ADE-651s have been proven to be fakes. British businessman Jim McCormick developed them using a golf ball detector. They only cost $20 to make but were sold for $7,000 a piece to Iraq starting in 2007. They have no working parts inside of them, and no power source. Operators are told to walk in circles to generate static electricity that is supposed to make the ADE’s work. Hearing that alone should raise red flags about the devices. That was why McCormick paid out millions in bribes to General Jihad al-Jabiri the head of the Interior Ministry’s anti-Explosives Department and other senior officials at the Ministry. In January Jabiri was given four years in prison for taking money from McCormick. None of that seem to stop General Shammari however.
From the minute that Iraq bought the 651s it was told that they did not work. Baghdad ignored those warnings because of the rampant corruption within the government. To acknowledge that the devices didn’t work would lead to questions about why so much was spent on them, and that in turn would implicate top officials. All of the ruling parties take part in these types of corrupt deals and if one group was singled out for investigation and prosecution, then all of them could be open to the same. Instead, they ignored the wrong doing, even after General Jabiri was convicted, and continue to act as if none of this happened. That’s the reason why the ADEs are still being used. The tragedy is that thousands of people have probably been killed and wounded by insurgent bombs because of those fake detectors and the authorities don’t even show a bit of shame that this will continue with their continued deployment.
Alsumaria, “Commander of Baghdad Operations: 30-40% success rate at detecting explosives,” 2/17/16