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WSJ's Middle East Real Time blog
May 9, 2013 8:47 PM   Subscribe

Since the end of March, the Wall Street Journal's new Middle East Real Time blog has written about Turkey's "unstoppable" export boom in soap operas, Saudi Arabia's "life after jihad" rehab program, the persistence of obviously fraudulent bomb detectors across Iraq, YouTube branding discussions among Syrian rebel factions, a rising media star Sunni cleric in Lebanon, a post-revolutionary Cairo arts festival, and attempts to overcome conservative objections and change the Saudi Thursday-Friday weekend to match the rest of the business world. Previous non-paywalled WSJ Real Time blogs include Korea, China, Canada, India, Brussels, Emerging Europe, Japan.
posted by mediareport (16 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wow, cool stuff. Thanks for sharing!
posted by lazaruslong at 9:00 PM on May 9, 2013


Search Results for Benghazi:

"Your search - Benghazi - did not match any articles in this blog."

Very suspicious . . .
posted by RoseyD at 9:11 PM on May 9, 2013


Well done, mediareport. Thank you.
posted by clockzero at 9:57 PM on May 9, 2013


"Your search - Benghazi - did not match any articles in this blog."

Libya isn't in the middle east.
posted by empath at 10:09 PM on May 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also, why would it be suspicious?
posted by Authorized User at 10:35 PM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Libya isn't in the middle east.

Neither is Cairo.

Facts just not adding up. Questions not getting answered.

Very strange . . .
posted by RoseyD at 12:31 AM on May 10, 2013


RoseyD, I hope you're satirizing Benghazi conspiracy nuts, because otherwise... erm. Yeah.

Anyway. This blog is awesome. TURKISH SOAP OPERAS! LA possibly investing in a possible Turkish Hollywood? Tollywood? Seriously I'm just thrilled to be introduced to this guy here.
posted by suburbanbeatnik at 1:03 AM on May 10, 2013


Also, why would it be suspicious?

It's obvious that the Murdoch-owned WSJ is carrying water for the Obama administration. Wake up people.
posted by empath at 1:12 AM on May 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


SHEEPLE! You forgot to add 'sheeple,' empath!
posted by suburbanbeatnik at 1:33 AM on May 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


James McCormick guilty of selling fake bomb detectors: "A millionaire businessman who sold fake bomb detectors to countries including Iraq and Georgia, knowing they did not work, has been convicted of fraud."
posted by marienbad at 5:20 AM on May 10, 2013


Yeah, that's what makes it so weird McCormick's ridiculous "bomb detectors" are still being seriously deployed in Iraq. Maybe it's some useful kind of bluffer's game that security forces can use to smoke out "suspicious" behavior from folks who don't know the devices are a fraud? That's the only thing I can think that makes sense of this response:

When asked why security forces still use such obviously fake gizmos, a spokesman for Iraq’s Ministry of Interior, Brigadier General Sa’ad Ma’an, said the ADEs have a proven, if imperfect, track record.

“Our practical experience on the ground proved that this device is working and it helped us discover explosive materials and weapons,” he said. “So I’m not saying that the device is working 100%, but it helped us a lot.”

By way of an example, Brig. Gen. Ma’an said officers were able to identify and stop an explosives-laden car on Saturday. Security forces will continue to use the device until “we have a better and more efficient” alternative, he said.

posted by mediareport at 6:08 AM on May 10, 2013


?
posted by RoseyD at 6:58 AM on May 10, 2013


Those bomb detectors aren't just fake, they are so OUTRAGEOUSLY fake that it boggles the mind they were ever even freaking purchased. The military supposedly vetted these things for a year and a half, and it was a complete systemic failure of basic science literacy.

Read these two paragraphs and see if your head explodes. I know it makes me want to slap the shit outta the chain of command.

The ADE 651 consists of a swivelling antenna mounted via a hinge to a plastic handgrip. It requires no battery or other power source; its manufacturer claimed that it is powered solely by the user's static electricity. To use the device, the operator must walk for a few moments to "charge" it before holding it at right angles to the body. After a substance-specific "programmed substance detection card" is inserted, the device is supposed to swivel in the user's hand to point its antenna in the direction of the target substance. The cards are claimed to be designed to "tune into" the "frequency" of a particular explosive or other substance named on the card.

According to Husam Muhammad, an Iraqi police officer and user of the ADE 651, using the device properly is more of an art than a science: "If we are tense, the device doesn't work correctly. I start slow, and relax my body, and I try to clear my mind."

The cards were supposedly "programmed" or "activated" by being placed in a jar for a week along with a sample of the target substance to absorb the substance's "vapours". Initially, McCormick reportedly used his own blood to "program" the cards for detecting human tissue, but eventually gave up even the pretence of "programming" them when demand for the devices was at its peak.

The promotional material issued by ATSC claimed that the ADE 651 could detect items including guns, ammunition, drugs, truffles, human bodies, contraband ivory and bank notes at distances of up to 1 kilometre (0.62 mi), underground, through walls, underwater or even from aeroplanes at an altitude of up to 5 kilometres (3.1 mi). The device is said to work on the principle of "electrostatic magnetic ion attraction". According to the promotional material, "by programming the detection cards to specifically target a particular substance, (through the proprietary process of electrostatic matching of the ionic charge and structure of the substance), the ADE651 could “by-pass” all known attempts to conceal the target substance. It has been claimed to penetrate lead, other metals, concrete, and other matter (including hiding in the body) used in attempts to block the attraction."

Prosec, a Lebanese reseller of the ADE 651, claimed on its website that the device "works on nuclear quadrupole resonance (NQR) or nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR)."

McCormick told the BBC in 2010 that "the theory behind dowsing and the theory behind how we actually detect explosives is very similar."



When I heard that we were duped by fake detectors, I was surprised. When I heard we were duped by a fraud of this incredibly obvious and hubristic nature, I was gobsmacked. I mean, just wow.
posted by lazaruslong at 9:27 AM on May 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


RoseyD, if you have an actual point to make, please use your words. Mystery meat links in a single punctuation mark don't really make a lot of sense.
posted by lazaruslong at 9:28 AM on May 10, 2013


FYI guys, we began discussing the magic wand bomb detectors last week in this thread that is still open.
posted by ceribus peribus at 11:50 AM on May 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Missed that, ceribus, thanks.
posted by mediareport at 1:40 PM on May 10, 2013


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