Selling Fake Bomb Detectors Lands UK Businessman In Jail

Back in April we brought you the story of James McCormick, who was found guilty in a British court of selling fake bomb detectors to several nations, including Iraq. When I was traveling in Iraq I saw his useless products, based on a novelty golf ball detector, being used at checkpoints everywhere. McCormick endangered the lives of countless people, including myself, and I’m glad to report that he’s now serving ten years in jail.

Well, not totally glad. A life sentence would be far more appropriate, but corrupt businessmen so rarely end up behind bars I’ll take what I can get.

Now another UK businessman has been sent to jail for peddling fake bomb detectors.

Gary Bolton, 47, of Chatham, Kent, has been sentenced to seven years in prison for selling what he claimed were sophisticated electronic devices. In fact, they were simply little plastic boxes with handles and antennae. The prosecution proved that Bolton knew they didn’t work yet his company Global Technical Ltd. sold them for thousands of dollars apiece to numerous security and law enforcement agencies in half a dozen countries, including Mexico and Thailand. Bolton also claimed they could detect drugs, cash, tobacco and ivory.

It appears Bolton may have been inspired by the success of McCormick’s bogus device, as one of them was found in Bolton’s home.

Who’s up for a good, old-fashioned tarring and feathering?

BBC simulates Northwest Flight 253 bomb – plane survives

The BBC enlisted the help of an explosives expert and a pilot with structural engineering and air accident experience, to determine the kind of damage the would-be Northwest 253 bomber would have caused.

On their site, you can see a video clip of the immense explosion, and the stresses caused to the outside of the plane. Thankfully, the experts concluded that the blast would not have destroyed the Boeing 747, and that the plane would have been able to land safely.

That isn’t to say that the explosion would have been a horrible thing to experience – the force of the blast would have killed the bomber and his seatmate, ruptured eardrums of many passengers, and blown body parts throughout the plane. The smoke, heat and noise would have made the whole thing quite traumatic.

Check out the BBC article for the video clip of this explosion, and an explanation of the kind of damage caused. The results of this test will be shared with governments and aviation experts around the world.

(As a commenter points out, the NW253 bomb was on an Airbus A330, not a Boeing 747)

Fake bomb threat leads to probation

Mark Randall Rayborn will be on probation for the next four years. He was accused of telling an off-duty Northwest Airlines pilot that he had five pounds of explosives in his carry-on.

The plane was pulling back from the gate at Denver International Airport last year when Rayborn broke the news to the man sitting next to him while grabbing his bag. As a result of this episode, the flight was delayed for four hours while bomb-sniffing dogs searched the plane. All 140 passengers were screened again.

The 56-year-old gump responsible for making air travel even more difficult will celebrate his 60th birthday with the thought that he’s repaid his debt to society. Somehow, it doesn’t seem like enough.

Drunk Man Tries to Hijack Turkish Airlines Flight

A man on a Turkish Airlines flight from the resort town of Antalya, Turkey to the Russian city of St. Petersburg threatened to blow up the plane unless it was diverted. The man, who appeared to be drunk, approached a flight attendant and handed her a note to give to the pilot: “I have a bomb. If you don’t take me in (the cockpit) I will blow it up,” As he stumbled toward the front of the plane, he was overpowered by passengers. No explosives were found despite his insistence that there was a bomb strapped on his body. He appeared so inebriated that passengers did not take him seriously.

Turkish journalists have reported that the man was an Uzbek national, but his identity and true nationality have not yet been confirmed. After he was subdued, the plane continued on to its destination, though Turkish Airlines officials briefly considered setting it down immediately as a precaution. There were 167 passengers on board the aircraft, an Airbus A-320.


What other trouble is up in the skies?

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Novelty Item Causes Evacuation of JetBlue Terminal at JFK

A suspicious devices that caused security personnel to order the evacuation of JetBlue’s terminal at Kennedy Airport turned out to be a pair of replica hand grenades that were meant to be used as paper weights. The novelty items were found in a man’s luggage during a security scan. Few flights were delayed because the evacuation happened during a slow time of day (7:50am ET). The whole thing amounted to little more than a 25-minute hiccup in JetBlue‘s schedule.

Security was extra tight because the UN General Assembly is currently in session. Was their heightened state of alert enough to set the events in motion or should people making the shame-on-you sign at the paperweight man? Most passengers seem to err on the side of caution when it comes to shaving kits, liquids and nail clippers. Therefore, it’s surprising that someone would bring something that so closely resembled at weapon into the airport. Why not opt for FedEx or the good old USPS when moving replicas of explosive devices from one place to another?