We have often supported our friends in Thailand in exposing the danger presented to both the lives and civil rights of the citizens there by these bogus detection rods. The GT200, ADE651, Alpha 6, Sniffex, HEDD1, H3 Tec, MOLE, PSD-22, Quadro Tracker, and any other similar device is a product that only risk lives and steals money from the buyers. All of these products have been challenged by Mr. Randi to win 1 million US dollars if they can show they work. The maker of the device does not even have to prove it. Any of the customers who bought one in Iraq, Thailand, Mexico, Estonia, Bulgaria, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, or dozens of other countries can also claim the million dollar prize if they can prove the device can actually find explosives, drugs, money, gold, weapons, or anything else.
Below is an article posted on the site of Mr. Randi's educational foundation, JREF. We hope he does not mind us reprinting it here.
RECEIVED FROM A THAI CORRESPONDENT
Written by James Randi
Thursday, 04 February 2010 13:23
We received this from a reader who is concerned about the use of the so-called electronic dowsing rods in his country, Thailand…
My name is Tuang Cheevatadavirut. I'm a freshly graduated student in MBA/MSIS (Master of Science in Information Systems) at Iowa State University. I saw your blog comment on the arrest of James McCormick, so I’d like to tell you about GT200 use in Thailand. This is a device similar to the ADE 651, Quadro Tracker, M.O.L.E., HEDD1, Sniffex (Plus), Alpha 6, PSD-22, and H3Tec, etc. I want to give you all the possible names of the device, given that government agencies in many countries – Pakistan, Iraq, UK, Mexico, Dubai, Kenya, Tanzania, Philippines, Lebanon, Jordan, China, Afghanistan, and possibly India – have been employing this kind of bogus device. Not only does it put innocent citizens at risk, but also the security forces’ personnel, be it militia men or police.
Randi: Tuang, there are many more than the eight you list, believe me. These fake devices are on sale all over the world, and those who sell them are doing very well, I can assure you!
These days there are many insurgencies that occur in southern Thailand daily. Innocent citizens as well as security forces’ personnel are losing their lives. To counter such incidents, many government agencies have ordered the GT200. Even though in the past weeks there have been claims that the device is bogus, the Thai Central Forensic Science Institute, the Provincial Electricity Authority and military agencies such as the Royal Thai Army, the Royal Thai Air Force's Directorate of Armaments, the Naval Ordnance Department, and the Royal Thai Navy, have defended their use and the effectiveness of such devices.
Concerned by the use of this bogus device, Dr. Jetsada Denduangboripan, a representative of the Thai science community, has been in the forefront of debunking such devices with the help of Meirion Jones from the BBC's Newsnight program. Jones has debunked this kind of device, specifically the ADE-651, as used in Iraq and Afghanistan. Fortunately, the Thai media seem to take interest in this subject. There are many talk shows inviting Dr. Jetsada as well as government personnel who support the use of GT200, to appear. Furthermore, Dr. Jetsada has mocked such devices by making a JD300, JD being his initials, at a cost of less than $5. You can see this [Bottom of Article]
Randi: Start watching this video at 2:21 and you’ll see just how naïve the soldiers are in demonstrating such a device. At 2:32 you see that they have only one object – identified in advance as an explosive! – and they merely show that the freely-swiveling rod will point at it! If they’d had 10 boxes, one of which contained an explosive, and had been asked to determine in which box that was, they’d have obtained 10% success…! You’ll see Dr. Jetsada using a wrench, a hinge, and a rod to show how easily the thing can be exposed.
The government representatives have opposed to termination of the use of such device saying that even though the device might not be working 100% – depending on the operator’s health and faith in the said device – it does help to keep the security forces’ morale high. In my opinion, the dependence on the operator basically means “if it does not work, blame the operator, not the device.” The representatives say that working without the device would make the security forces feel vulnerable. It looks like the device is not only just a tool, but also a sacred talisman, a very pricey talisman. It is, as the price of the bogus device sold to Thailand is $27,000 while the complete set, the device plus 21 “sensor cards,” is as much as $36,000. In addition, the figures show that so far the Thai authority has bought 535 GT200s or about $19,260,000 worth. Well, Iraq has bought many of ADE-651 devices that costs them $85 million. I guess we are not in as bad a situation as they are.
Even though the government representatives admitted that the device has no electronic parts inside and is less than reliable, Dr. Pornthip Rojanasunand, a notable and respectful pathologist as well as the director of the Central Institute of Forensic Science, Ministry of Justice, insists that the device works 100%. False positives or false negatives are at work here. Both the representatives and Dr. Pornthip keep on employing the device to initially scout an area, a vehicle, or a potential suspect followed by the use of Smith Sabre 4000, Fido Explosives Detector, or both.
Randi: Again, we offer our million-dollar prize to the Director if he can make the device – or any other dowsing device – work. Why is he not in touch with us, I wonder…? I’m willing to jump over to Thailand to conduct such a test, but no one has asked me… Back to Tuang:
The following is from Wikipedia: The Thai press has condemned the GT200 for having "given wrong readings on several occasions and even failed to detect explosive materials, resulting in the loss of life." However, Thailand's Democratic Party Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban has asserted that the GT200 actually works and that it is not necessary to establish a committee to study its effectiveness. [The] Deputy Prime Minister has tried to reassure MPs that the GT200 is not like the ADE651: "We use a different brand," he said.
Randi: Here is yet again another qualified – and confident – applicant for the million dollars! Why is our phone so silent…?
This, even though there are news reports of the military saying that the procurement of such a device “would be halted” if the device is proven to be ineffective. So far there has been no scientific investigation into such a device by the military. A double blind test would be nice. Thai PM Abhisit previously said that to counter the problem of operator’s health condition, the government agency will buy a different brand that requires a battery.
Well, the most recent update says that the PM has been in touch with Dr. Jetsada and now says that the credibility of BBC news is reliable. So the PM will bring this issue into his cabinet meeting. His earlier announcement of procuring a battery version was based only on a short report sent to him and he didn’t check on more info beforehand. That’s good news. I’m crossing my fingers.
Well, I’m writing this to you as the device could create false assumption that could harm innocents as well as the security forces employing such devices around the world. Selling such a bogus tool for detecting bombs at a steep price is unjust and appalling. In addition, Thai Veteran Day is this Wednesday, February 3rd, and I thought that if you could post a comment on this issue, not specifically to Thailand, but for all countries around the world before this Wednesday, that’d be awesome! I do appreciate your time going over this email.
Randi: Well, Tuang, I regret that we were unable to get this item up in time, but it may well reach a number of persons in authority who may react correctly to T’s comments…
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Some of our regular readers might recognize the JD300 as quite similar to the AT200 detector designed by Andres Tonini of the Lonjho blog. Andres has done an outstanding job at exposing the dangerous reliance by Mexican authorities on the GT200 in their fight violent drug lords. Once again, these devices risk lives and civil rights. Andres has also worked with the Thai bloggers covering this issue, showing the truly international effort on the internet to expose these scams. Personally, I think I can make an even more cost effective detector, so I should create the LL400 Super Detector!
Andres also found this great photo from the Pantip forum in Thailand that has done so much to expose the scam in their country.