Money Over Lives
The Explosive Detector Scams
The ‘antenna’ shaped dowsing rods are sold in Lebanon as explosive detectors. These devices were the topic of scandals in the international security field.
Today, these products have invaded the Lebanese and Middle Eastern markets under different names: Mole, , , Quadro Tracker, … etc.
How to Identify Them
Every time a brand was nailed down, a new one rose. For which reason I have a particular appreciation for the US National Institute for Justice report as it gives the public an easy method to detect whether the explosive detector is a scam:
“Many of these devices require no power to operate (most real technology requires power). Suspect any device that uses a swinging rod that is held nearly level, pivots freely and “indicates” the material being sought by pointing at it.
Any device that uses a pendulum that swings in different shaped paths to indicate its response should also arouse suspicion. Advertisements that feature several testimonials by “satisfied users,” and statements about pending tests by scientific and regulatory agencies (but have just not happened yet) may be indications that the device has not been proven to work.
Statements that the device must be held by a human to operate usually indicate dowsing devices. Statements that the device requires extensive training by the factory, the device is difficult to use, and not everyone can use the device, are often made to allow the manufacturer a way of blaming the operator for the device’s failure to work.”
International Reports Attest
The NIJ report on explosive detectors only features half a page about these products… and the title starts with “WARNING”.
Based on the US Navy and the US government related SANDIA laboratory reports, this equipment can’t even detect a highly relevant amount of explosives even if it were right next to it!
On the other hand, the United States Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal had a similar conclusion: “The handheld SNIFFEX explosives detector does not work.”
I was quite revolted reading this claim found on a Lebanese based company’s website (I refrain from mentioning its name for ethical purposes):
“The range of detection is around 50 meters with obstacles and up to 650 meters in outdoor parking lots, the unit can also detect explosives submerged in water or buried underground . Detection from a hovering helicopter is also possible.”
When will the time come for Lebanese authorities and companies to hold their share of responsibility and accountability in this matter?
Especially given that real explosive detectors do exist.
While the Syndicate of Safety and Security Professionals in Lebanon were clear in their stance against this product, and tried their best to put an end to it; the government took no action against it.
…and the public remains blatantly unaware regarding the dangers they face.
Youmna Zod is a blogger and LBC Blogs contributor. She received her Masters in Marketing at Grenoble Ecole de Management. She currently works at Zod Security . You can find her musing on marketing on her blog marketinginlebanon.com