At around 3AM this morning, not far from this intersection on a dark Hamra street, I noticed a uniformed policeman in the shadows, holding a bomb-detecting device.
About as disconcerting as this random night search was the device this lone officer (darak) was using. He was walking slowly past the cars pointing the good old ADE radio antennae, which has been proved to be a fake worldwide.
Despite the UK court’s conviction of their creator, one James McCormick–who made a cool $70 million off the bogus sales– the devices are still widely used in Lebanon, as seen in this photo that recently appeared in the Daily Star.
In fact, just in the last few weeks I have seen them used at one of Lebanon’s most famous (and expensive) hotels as well as by police at very high level government offices. Companies and security organizations in Lebanon, including the UN, actually paid over $10,000 a piece for the devices.
When informed about the scandal, a Lebanese police officer using the device at a government checkpoint was at first surprised, but then a senior one chimed in saying “a French expert” had tested Lebanese devices and “some” work.
But I digress. What’s going on in Hamra at night? And why are we still using defunct devices instead of bomb-sniffing dogs?