March 3, 2016

This Story Never Gets Old

An excerpt from, "Iraq’s Interior Minister on Why His Country Is Impotent Against Isis" by Patrick Cockburn, The Unz Review, March 2, 2016:
He admitted that the Iraqi public did not trust the police because of their failure to stop the bombers and the high level of corruption, which was pervasive in the system.

He cited, as an example of this, the infamous case of 1,500 fake bomb detectors, which were bought for £52m by the interior ministry in 2008 and 2009, even though they were a patent fraud – consisting only of a metal aerial that supposedly detected explosives, attached to an empty plastic casing. Although the British businessmen who sold the useless devices were given lengthy prison sentences last year, the detectors known as the ADE-651 are still used extensively in Iraq. Reliance on them, rather than a physical search of vehicles, makes it easier for bombers to pass through checkpoints and slaughter large numbers of civilians.

Mr Ghabban used the example of fake bomb detector to underline the saturation levels of corruption among Iraqi government officials, which damages security, and to explain why nothing is done about it. He says: “The equipment cost the Iraqi government about $50,000 for each item, but the real cost to the manufacturers was only between $40 and $50.”

He assumes that much of the difference was pocketed by a large number of officials in Baghdad who were bribed to sign off on the deal, so today they have every reason to prevent an investigation of the scam. The fraudulent “magic wands” were still being used by security men to check individuals for explosives outside the Shia holy shrines in Karbala last week.