Our work is not over. While Jim McCormick may have been taken out of action by his arrest and the UK Government ban on the export of ADE651 devices last month, a similar dowsing device, the GT200 is still being sold. This is made and distributed by another British company, Global Technical whose director, Gary Bolton appears to be an old mate of Jim’s. Hmmm spooky coincidence?
Anyway, once again we have a device that claims to detect substances based on magnetic fields and again powered by the user’s own static electricity. The scientific explanation of how the device works on the company website is laughable and yet there are still many who are prepared to pay millions for these bogus scams. Following the Newsnight exposé last month, the Thai Government which has already bought the GT200 at around $36,000 apiece is evaluating it’s effectiveness this Sunday. Thailand currently has 500 dowsing devices in operation – that’s around $18m worth.
The test will take place at Thailand Science Park’s Sirindhorn Science Home and will involve 30 operators of the bomb detector, 30 members of the investigating committee and 10 independent observers, NECTEC (National Electronics and Computer Technology Centre) director Pansak Siriruchatapong said yesterday. The committee will place 20 grams of C4 explosive packed in a plastic box and hide it – as well as three empty boxes – in a building. Operators will then use the GT200 in an attempt to detect the box containing the explosive. However, these trials are being conducted in secret. The area is off-limits to the media and mobile broadcast vehicles will be kept at least 200 metres away to ensure the testing environment is not disturbed. Maybe they might distort the magnetic fields! I strongly doubt it. As you will remember, when the explosives expert Sidney Alford opened up the GT200 in the Newsnight exposé, it was nothing more than an empty box. You would think that NECTEC might just consider opening up a GT200 unit to see what’s inside. There again at 1,200,000 Bhat each which is more than 15 times the average yearly salary, one can understand their reluctance. Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban has tried to reassure MPs that the GT200 is not like the ADE651: “We use a different brand,” he said. However, as we already know, it’s still a dowsing rod attached to an empty box that works on the well-established ideomotor effect – that really needs rebranding as the “idiotmotor effect.”
The Exotic Dr. Porntip
So who is advising these governments to buy these devices? Well in the case of Thailand, it turns out that one of the main supporters of the GT200 is the fantastic and unbelievable Dr. Pornthip Rojanasunand or (“Dr. Porntip”). You could not make this lady up. She looks like an aging rock chick with skin-tight jeans and dyed-red spiked hair. She is also Thailand’s leading pathologist and played a major role in the 2004 Tsunami and more bizarrely the autopsy of David Carradine following his alledged autoerotic asphyxia. She deserves an entire TV show to herself (actually they already made one called (“Crime Scene Bangkok”) let alone a blog but I will save that until later.
Although Dr. Pornthip is Director of the Central Institute of Forensic Science, Ministry of Justice, in Bangkok and a highly trained scientist, she endorses the GT200. For example, in 2008 she apparently used the GT200 to prove that a crowd attacked and injured by police were not carrying explosives devices, but rather had been hurt by police tear gas grenades. Not sure how she managed this.
However, following the Newsnight exposé, Dr Porntip said “I do not feel embarrassed if the bomb detector is proven ineffective. Personally, I have never handled the device myself. But my people have used it and it is accurate every time. Long long time ago, people believed that the Earth is flat and anyone who said otherwise faced execution. Things which are not visible does not necessarily mean they do not exist.”
I await with great interest the outcome of Sunday’s trials though the findings are going to be kept secret until the Thai cabinet has had time to interpret them. Needless to say, I already know the result.
A scientific test on the controversial GT200 bomb detector was completed today. Results should be ready for analysis and conclusions today, or by tomorrow morning, in time for the Cabinet’s weekly meeting.
Tuesday 16th Feb 2010: Thai Government announce the results of the GT200 trials: no better than chance! There are scrapping plans to buy more and are looking into “irregularities” in the purchasing.