Device mADE in Britain bombs in Iraq

The much-heralded ADE651 device recently exported to Iraq by bomb-detection manufacturers ATSC has come under fire today from Iraqi officials, who believe that just under half the units are defective.

The units, which were exported last year, work via the use of a piece of special “magic paper”, which is loaded into the top of the large, pistol-like device. When the device is pointed at a suitcase – or a person – a word forms across the blank piece of paper to indicate whether there is “No Danger”, “Slight Danger” or “Incredible Danger!!!”. Unfortunately, several units did not display any wording, leaving many officials scratching their heads. Others missed the “D” off “Danger”, meaning customs officers were unable to make arrests, because harbouring anger, however deep-rooted, is not classed as a criminal offence in Iraq.

An Iraq government spokesman, Ali al-Dabbagh, told reporters yesterday: “Nearly half of these devices are a joke. The magic paper is very fiddly to use and there are no instructions on how to best fit it into the slot. Even when you manage to get the paper in, it is very flimsy and tends to shift about too much for the readings to register. It is annoying, as the special paper is highly expensive to replace and we end up having to order thousands of sheets from the UK, as ATSC are the only company which sell it.

“The other thing we can’t stand is that it is ridiculously heavy, for what it actually is. I’m aware it’s a potentially life-saving device, but come on! It’s like a slab of lead, for Christ’s sake. It often requires 2 or 3 officials to hold it up, which apart from looking stupid also wastes a lot of man-hours. As a customer, we would expect better than this – we’d send them all back, but we’re not sure we could afford the postage, so instead we have decided to sue ATSC.”

Speaking from his caravan yesterday, ATSC director Jim McCormick defended the device, saying: “Listen, right, Al-Dabbagh can’t be using the things properly, that’s most likely what it is. I don’t know what they’re doing with them over there, but I do know that all the ADE651’s were working perfectly well before we shipped them out to Iraq. For all we know they could be putting the magic paper in back-to-front or upside-down, or not holding it level. If they’re doing either of those things, then the spirits won’t be able to mark the paper and the device won’t perform properly. That’s not our fault, that’s user error. There’s a dedicated support number they can call for that kind of thing. Besides, we’re just the manufacturer – if they’ve got a complaint about the units they need to take them to their nearest arms dealer. Oh, that’s over here, is it? Fuck…”

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