MAC’s flabber is rarely gasted but the latest edition of the BBC’s Newnight programme got close to doing that. Not only is the UK government still permitting the export of fraudulent, non-functioning explosives and drugs detectors which are promoted for use in ports but lent the name of the Royal Engineers to sell them.
Upfront, here’s how to detect a fraudulent bomb detector: it will have a telescopic radio aerial on a swivel.
If you see something answering that description in your travels alert MAC.
Hundreds of people in Iraq and several in Thailand are believed to have been killed because the devices cannot detect explosives.
The devices cost £11 to make, around $15 and then they are sold for £15,000 each, about $21,000.
The retired Colonel who sells them admits he wouldn’t use them in a life or death situation, perhaps not quite understanding what a bomb detector is actually supposed to do.
The British government has refused to ban the export of the devices except to Iraq and Afghanistan because of competition in the fraud industry from other countries.
Here’s a press release from the BBC about the latest Newsnight programme: