Were the GT200 devices of any use?

As readers will be able to see BP has been very critical of the GT200 devices, but am trying to wonder why many officials are defending the devices particularly low-level members of the police and the military – this is even in off-the-record statements. Now, the kickback aspect and not wanting to get your cut in future deals or face trouble for already completed deals is certainly one reason, but it can’t explain every defence of the device. BP can think of a few reasons:

1. It acts a lie detector device. The Nation:

Meanwhile, residents in the South wonder if officials believe the device is a lie detector, because they always use it when trying to prove if any suspects – held over suspicions of having made or planted bombs – had contact with explosive substances.

BP: Now, of course, the device does not work. However, until recently, some may have had suspicions, but did your average insurgent or someone stopped know it didn’t work. BP can imagine the scenario where the device is used, it detects someone with some other form of contraband in a bag and the security official says “give up as the substance detector has given a positive reading so you are guilty”. Some may give in to this and confess.Ask anyone who works in law enforcement, there are plenty of stupid criminals out there. A perfect example is illustrated by Bunk of The Wire‘s interrogation trick of using a photocopier as a lie detector device – watch clip here to see the hilarity of the situation.

2. It confirms the gut feeling/hunch. Chulalongkorn science professor Jessada has stated the antenna of the G200 and other devices moves in accordance with slight movements of the operator. Now, imagine you as a security official as you are looking up and down people you get a gut feeling that person x is suspicious. To go and pick x out makes it seem personal. Now, if you have the GT200 device and the GT200 device points to x, well the security official can just say they are following what the machine says so can search and/or detain the person.

3. The device provides peace of mind for security officials. Working in a place where there are regular attacks against security officials and many of your colleagues are killed can make for a stressful life. However, having the GT200 device which can detect bombs and speeding bullets well can bring piece of mind. Surely, you are safe now as long you patrol with your GT200 device which is protecting you from all harm?

BP:All 3 is that they rely on everyone believing the device works. If people know the GT200 doesn’t work, you can’t trick someone into confessing etc. Similarly, they can’t make it appear as anything more than a hunch/gut feeling and use the machine as justification for a a search/detention. Finally, will you still have piece of mind knowing that instead of buying you bullet-proof vests the army/police shelled out hundreds of millions on worthless pieces of black plastic devices and laminated cards?

To paraphrase someone infamous, it is necessary to maintain the lie because if the truth comes out, that will be more devastating. Hence, the need to maintain the facade and deny it all.