McCormick’s Bomb Dowsing Scam

28 Apr

James McCormickThe story of James McCormick, who was convicted for fraud, and his ADE devices exemplifies why cranks selling homeopathic remedies (via SGU #406) and advocating against vaccination are dangerous.

BBC Two’s Newsnight programme conducted an investigation into the devices sold by McCormick’s company, resulting in a UK government ban on their sale in Iraq and Afghanistan in January 2010.

It found that senior Iraqi officials knew the devices did not work and it alleged some had received bribes to ensure they were purchased.

Iraq spent more than $40m (£26.2m) on 6,000 devices between 2008 and 2010, the programme said.

General Jihad al-Jabiri, the head of the Baghdad bomb squad, is currently serving a jail term for corruption, along with two other Iraqi officials.

One senior Iraqi official told the BBC that the useless devices had created a false sense of security – and that no punishment would make up for the blood that had been shed as a result.

BBC Newsnight also spoke to Haneen Alwan, an Iraqi woman who needed 59 operations after she was injured in a bomb blast in January 2009. She was two months pregnant at the time and lost her child.

She told the programme: “When people passed through checkpoints using these devices, they thought they would be safe, but they are useless. The man who sold them has no conscience. He is morally bankrupt. How could he sell them just for money and destroy other people’s lives?”

The fake bomb detectors were based on a $20 golf ball finder, pictured between two examples of McCormick’s fake devices

Meanwhile, Avon and Somerset Constabulary’s Det Insp Ed Heath told the BBC the devices had been used at numerous checkpoints in Iraq.

He said: “It is clear that both civilians and armed forces personnel were put at significant risk in relying upon this equipment.

It’s also just another example of how the Iraq War was just boondoggle from top to bottom. Anyone who has lived through the debacle should be skeptical of any administration’s claim, that a foreign adventure is worth the risks and deaths.

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