Monday, February 22, 2010

Today, a bomb went off in a market in Thailand. Two Thai soldiers were wounded. That market had been fully swept, before the explosion, with the GT200 "bomb detector" (pictured above). Sharon Weinburger, a contributor for AOL News described the aftermath:

Two soldiers were wounded in the bomb blast that went off in in Thailand's restive southern Pattani province, even though the area where the explosives were placed had just been searched using the GT200, the Bangkok Post reported today. "We have to explain to them that the detector's effectiveness has not been scientifically proven," Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said after the latest bombing, according to the newspaper.
Last week, we here at D&D reported on the Thai Government's test results on the GT200 "bomb detector". For those of you who missed it, here is the executive summary:

Global Technical, a British "security" company, has made millions selling their alleged bomb detection equipment to militaries across the globe, specifically to nations like Thailand and Mexico -- where thousands die in undetected, undeterred explosions. The device, which is essentially a metal body attached to a small thin tube with insertable "cards" claims to possess the ability to detect the presence of anything from narcotics to explosives. It contains no electrical components, or, really, moving parts. After years of deployment, the Thai Science and Technology Ministry decided to test its effectiveness.

They found that the...

...device is less likely to detect anything than simply guessing (20% vs. 25%). Or, as the Bangkok Post has stated:
It has been officially confirmed: the GT200 is a con, a fraud, a crime. The so-called bomb detector has become the most expensive dowsing rod ever - costing the hard-working Thai taxpayer some 800 million baht. Many must have become rich from this GT200 scam. Many others must have been killed, injured, disabled, or arrested because of its inaccuracies.
The BP has also reported that some soldiers have begun simply using chopsticks in lieu of the GT200, and are finding similar levels of success.

BUT -- In a stunning display of face-saving Military "Intelligence", the Thai Military has order troops in southern Thailand to continue using the devices, and held a press conference to laud the 'successes' of the device. Again, from the Bangkok Post:
Yet the military, the biggest buyer of the GT200 device, refuses to accept the facts for fear of losing face. Instead of immediately stopping its use to save lives, the military bigwigs have cold-heartedly ordered troops in the restive South to continue using the bogus device, even though tests conducted by the Science and Technology Ministry have proven beyond any doubt that the device is ineffective.

In a clear challenge to the government's test results, the military held a press conference yesterday to defend the "effectiveness" of the GT200 and quell rumours of corruption. Despite relating several anecdotes of the GT200's success on the ground, the press conference failed to convince. At best, those success stories only underscored the unacceptable 20% success rate of the device.

Stunning. Simply stunning. More on this soon, but if I were a Thai Muslim living in the war torn south, I would not feel that my government was particularly interested in my safety. Finally, from the Bangkok Post:


Jeremy said...

So let me get this straight. Last week the Thai governments own scientists issue a report saying that these bomb detection devises are completely bogus and yet here we are a week later and the Thai military is still using them to unsuccessfully sweep markets for bombs?! Did they not get the memo or what?

Jeff Schneider said...

Sigh -- unfortunately Jeremy, they not only got the memo, but they have
decided to attempt to debunk it. The military is refuting the findings of
the Government's Science and Tech people, and are pushing forward.
Yikes eh?
Jeffrey A. Schneider
The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy
MALD candidate, 2011

Matt Green said...

I wonder whether the GT200 or chopsticks are more effective when eating pad thai?

I'm sure, just like with chop sticks, any failure experienced can just be chalked up to "operator error". But this means good news for my new advanced surveillance and search equipment! -

Jeff Schneider said...

So true my friend ... Coorpunkrap!

diohuni said...

Latest BBC Newsnight investigation into fake explosive detectors here

diohuni said...

hi. Please sign our petition against the fake detectors. Please recruit two friends and get them to do the same and we can get a good number.


Or a potted history of the fraud:





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