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BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted

GUEST,Sad Guest 12 Apr 03 - 03:10 PM
CarolC 12 Apr 03 - 03:42 PM
Mark Cohen 12 Apr 03 - 04:24 PM
McGrath of Harlow 12 Apr 03 - 04:29 PM
mack/misophist 12 Apr 03 - 05:20 PM
catspaw49 12 Apr 03 - 05:42 PM
GUEST,Sad Guest 12 Apr 03 - 06:22 PM
artbrooks 12 Apr 03 - 06:53 PM
Rick Fielding 12 Apr 03 - 06:55 PM
Peter T. 12 Apr 03 - 08:22 PM
McGrath of Harlow 12 Apr 03 - 08:26 PM
Alba 12 Apr 03 - 09:57 PM
Rapparee 12 Apr 03 - 10:05 PM
bflat 12 Apr 03 - 10:17 PM
Bobert 12 Apr 03 - 10:42 PM
Stilly River Sage 12 Apr 03 - 11:29 PM
GUEST,Sad Guest 13 Apr 03 - 12:17 AM
CarolC 13 Apr 03 - 12:32 AM
Troll 13 Apr 03 - 12:57 AM
CarolC 13 Apr 03 - 01:13 AM
Barry Finn 13 Apr 03 - 05:36 AM
Sandra in Sydney 13 Apr 03 - 08:38 AM
Bobert 13 Apr 03 - 08:47 AM
McGrath of Harlow 13 Apr 03 - 10:16 AM
Little Hawk 13 Apr 03 - 11:00 AM
McGrath of Harlow 13 Apr 03 - 11:37 AM
GUEST,sorefingers 13 Apr 03 - 12:17 PM
Peter T. 13 Apr 03 - 12:28 PM
Forum Lurker 13 Apr 03 - 01:24 PM
SINSULL 13 Apr 03 - 01:34 PM
Peg 13 Apr 03 - 02:06 PM
Forum Lurker 13 Apr 03 - 02:20 PM
artbrooks 13 Apr 03 - 02:38 PM
Forum Lurker 13 Apr 03 - 02:52 PM
McGrath of Harlow 13 Apr 03 - 03:21 PM
Forum Lurker 13 Apr 03 - 03:49 PM
Penny S. 13 Apr 03 - 04:10 PM
GUEST 13 Apr 03 - 04:13 PM
GUEST,Murray on Saltspring 14 Apr 03 - 12:14 AM
Cluin 14 Apr 03 - 03:59 AM
Forum Lurker 14 Apr 03 - 09:00 AM
CarolC 14 Apr 03 - 09:00 AM
artbrooks 14 Apr 03 - 09:26 AM
artbrooks 14 Apr 03 - 09:31 AM
Peter T. 14 Apr 03 - 09:34 AM
GUEST,petr 14 Apr 03 - 12:40 PM
Grab 14 Apr 03 - 02:41 PM
McGrath of Harlow 14 Apr 03 - 02:41 PM
GUEST,Sad Guest 14 Apr 03 - 03:27 PM
Lepus Rex 15 Apr 03 - 02:03 AM
GUEST,pdc 15 Apr 03 - 02:16 AM
Peter T. 15 Apr 03 - 08:45 AM
Peter T. 15 Apr 03 - 09:04 AM
harvey andrews 15 Apr 03 - 02:41 PM
Ebbie 15 Apr 03 - 03:21 PM
harvey andrews 15 Apr 03 - 03:49 PM
GUEST 15 Apr 03 - 05:11 PM
Bobert 15 Apr 03 - 08:48 PM
CarolC 15 Apr 03 - 08:52 PM
JudyR 16 Apr 03 - 02:30 AM
harvey andrews 16 Apr 03 - 05:08 AM
McGrath of Harlow 16 Apr 03 - 08:49 AM
Peg 16 Apr 03 - 11:42 AM
harvey andrews 16 Apr 03 - 01:09 PM
McGrath of Harlow 16 Apr 03 - 01:29 PM
Peg 16 Apr 03 - 01:30 PM
Troll 16 Apr 03 - 02:57 PM
McGrath of Harlow 16 Apr 03 - 05:21 PM
harvey andrews 16 Apr 03 - 05:29 PM
artbrooks 16 Apr 03 - 05:41 PM
harvey andrews 16 Apr 03 - 05:53 PM
CarolC 16 Apr 03 - 05:58 PM
harvey andrews 16 Apr 03 - 06:03 PM
McGrath of Harlow 16 Apr 03 - 06:07 PM
Peter T. 16 Apr 03 - 08:00 PM
McGrath of Harlow 16 Apr 03 - 08:10 PM
Peg 17 Apr 03 - 02:52 AM
McGrath of Harlow 17 Apr 03 - 04:00 AM
McGrath of Harlow 17 Apr 03 - 04:57 AM
Bagpuss 17 Apr 03 - 05:31 AM
JenEllen 17 Apr 03 - 11:25 AM
Jim the Bart 17 Apr 03 - 12:21 PM
CarolC 17 Apr 03 - 12:37 PM
harvey andrews 17 Apr 03 - 01:14 PM
McGrath of Harlow 17 Apr 03 - 01:26 PM
CarolC 17 Apr 03 - 01:40 PM
GUEST, heric 17 Apr 03 - 01:54 PM
CarolC 17 Apr 03 - 01:57 PM
GUEST, heric 17 Apr 03 - 02:05 PM
CarolC 17 Apr 03 - 02:22 PM
McGrath of Harlow 17 Apr 03 - 02:23 PM
CarolC 17 Apr 03 - 02:26 PM
McGrath of Harlow 17 Apr 03 - 06:49 PM
Alba 17 Apr 03 - 07:10 PM
McGrath of Harlow 18 Apr 03 - 05:23 AM
GUEST, heric 18 Apr 03 - 12:16 PM
*daylia* 18 Apr 03 - 12:25 PM
GUEST, heric 18 Apr 03 - 12:27 PM
McGrath of Harlow 18 Apr 03 - 01:18 PM
GUEST 18 Apr 03 - 04:05 PM
CarolC 18 Apr 03 - 04:14 PM
McGrath of Harlow 18 Apr 03 - 04:24 PM
artbrooks 18 Apr 03 - 06:44 PM
GUEST, heric 18 Apr 03 - 06:59 PM
McGrath of Harlow 18 Apr 03 - 07:06 PM
artbrooks 18 Apr 03 - 07:34 PM
CarolC 18 Apr 03 - 11:08 PM
Metchosin 19 Apr 03 - 07:16 AM
artbrooks 19 Apr 03 - 07:23 AM
Metchosin 19 Apr 03 - 08:22 AM
McGrath of Harlow 19 Apr 03 - 09:22 AM
artbrooks 19 Apr 03 - 10:07 AM
McGrath of Harlow 19 Apr 03 - 02:51 PM
*daylia* 21 Apr 03 - 09:15 AM
artbrooks 21 Apr 03 - 05:46 PM
artbrooks 21 Apr 03 - 05:47 PM
McGrath of Harlow 21 Apr 03 - 06:56 PM
Peter T. 21 Apr 03 - 07:19 PM

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Subject: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: GUEST,Sad Guest
Date: 12 Apr 03 - 03:10 PM

As if the "celebrations" (the word the Bush administration is now apparently using to refer to the widespread looting and anarchy in "liberated" Iraq) which resulted in the hospitals being picked clean as a bone weren't bad enough, this news comes in today from The Guardian, on the priceless treasures taken from the Iraqi National Museum:


BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - The famed Iraq National Museum, home of extraordinary Babylonian, Sumerian and Assyrian collections and rare Islamic texts, sat empty Saturday - except for shattered glass display cases and cracked pottery bowls that littered the floor.

In an unchecked frenzy of cultural theft, looters who pillaged government buildings and businesses after the collapse of Saddam Hussein's regime also targeted the museum. Gone were irreplaceable archaeological treasures from the Cradle of Civilization.

Everything that could be carried out has disappeared from the museum - gold bowls and drinking cups, ritual masks worn in funerals, elaborately wrought headdresses, lyres studded with jewels - priceless craftsmanship from ancient Mesopotamia.

``This is the property of this nation and the treasure of 7,000 years of civilization. What does this country think it is doing?'' asked Ali Mahmoud, a museum employee, futility and frustration in his voice.

The rest of the story is here:

Guardian article

Iraqi Museum an Inside Job? (Click)


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: CarolC
Date: 12 Apr 03 - 03:42 PM

But on the bright side, the US and UK soldiers are doing an excellent job of guarding the Oil Ministry.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 12 Apr 03 - 04:24 PM

Is anybody really surprised? The veneer of "civilization" is really quite thin, and it depends on something called "civility" (surprisingly enough) in order to maintain its integrity. This may be the beginning of a long dark night for the world. Pray that I'm wrong.

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 12 Apr 03 - 04:29 PM

Looting Museums is bad enough - but looting hospitals, that is something else.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: mack/misophist
Date: 12 Apr 03 - 05:20 PM

Looting museums is destructive, greedy, contumacious, and anything else you can think of. However, given the experiences these people have had, looting hospitals is sad but perhaps prudent.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: catspaw49
Date: 12 Apr 03 - 05:42 PM

Not surprising at all........And as GW's conservative brethren are pointing out, it is often the result after a people have been shown some glimmer of freedom and people who are desperate to get out from under the oppressive system that has held them down. I'm a bit confused though............How does the Iraqi situation differ from looting in Watts or Detroit? As I recall most of these very same people attributed those riots to "out of control, vandalizing, n*****s." Must be all in the timing.............

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: GUEST,Sad Guest
Date: 12 Apr 03 - 06:22 PM

I disagree that this lawlessness was to be expected. I believe it is intentionally being allowed to occur by the US command, who for some reason, have chosen not to impose martial law in Baghdad, and instead are allowing the capital to be plundered. Here is an excerpt from today's Washington Post:

"The stealing was watched but not checked by U.S. forces. "We should discourage looting, but we're not going to stand between a crowd and a bunch of mattresses," Maj. Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of the 101st Airborne Division, told his senior officers.

Troops are to intervene directly only if Iraqis appear to be stealing weapons from any of the many arsenals found throughout the city."

I wouldn't think that 7,000 year old antiquities would qualify as being in the same league as "a bunch of mattresses" but that may well be the level of cultural indifference, ignorance, and outright hostility among the American military towards all things Iraqi.

CNN showed footage this afternoon of a protest by ragtag bunch of Baghdad civilians about the looting, halfheartedly chanting something along the lines of "Yankees Go Home" and a US soldier, getting right up in their faces, screaming at them "We came here to give you a--holes your f---ing freedom!"

Makes one proud to be an American, doesn't it?


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: artbrooks
Date: 12 Apr 03 - 06:53 PM

Well, Sad Guest, American troops could use the British alternative of shooting looters(BBC story here). Now, granted, these looters were robbing a bank, and they may have opened fire first, but combat soldiers are not police officers. The British soldiers reacted just as they were trained to do, and I expect the Americans would do the same. Have you watched the video of these people? A lot of them are carrying pistols and AK-47s. Is an old desk or a Sumerian statuette worth igniting a battle in the streets?

I suppose its too bad the Iraqis collapsed so fast, otherwise the "Coalition" would have had time to get their own police force organized. Its what?...four days since "the fall of Baghdad?" There is still fighting going on in the city. This isn't network television, when an entire show plays out in an hour. War sucks, and, as brother Rumsfeld said, "bad things happen." I hope that, a week from now, we are all as surprised at how fast order was restored as most of us are at the speed at which things have gone so far.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 12 Apr 03 - 06:55 PM

Sad Guest.....I read this in the paper this morning. I have no words to describe how I feel. Anger doesn't do one fucking bit of good...so I guess "sad" is it.

Rick


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: Peter T.
Date: 12 Apr 03 - 08:22 PM

I showed some of the images from Sumeria in a class on the War about two weeks ago, including some exquisite vases that are beyond priceless -- I talked about my hope that they hadn't been bombed, it never occurred to me that, after all the effort that had gone into protecting them -- let me be clear, the American military went out of their way to protect these sites, they had extensive consultations with experts in archaelogy -- that they would be looted and smashed. I cannot understand why the military on the ground weren't briefed on this -- some of the most valuable things in the whole country. As Rick said, it is beyond words how tragic this is. I pray that the most important ones were somehow hidden still further away, though it sounds really bad. We are talking about things 5,000 years old, and completely irreplaceable. yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 12 Apr 03 - 08:26 PM

I think the chances are the things stolen from the museums will end up in the hands of rich collectors in the West. I'd not be surprised if some of the thefts weren't done to order.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: Alba
Date: 12 Apr 03 - 09:57 PM

7,000 year old Artifacts...gone.....I have to agree with Rick ....no words..well quite a few angry ones but Ill refrain. Sad and bewildered as to WHY it was ALLOWED to happen. Unbelievable!


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: Rapparee
Date: 12 Apr 03 - 10:05 PM

Like McGrath, I think that many of these will end up in private collections. Such "collectors" should be treated as the criminals they are.

Any word on the Iraqi libraries?


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: bflat
Date: 12 Apr 03 - 10:17 PM

The responsibility for the loss of these national treasures lies with the persons who had no regard for their heritage demonstrated by the reckless looting of the national museum, flies in the face of the retherotic about a great, proud culture. The Iraqis people must look inward for these acts of desecration. This was not an action taken as one might think of the spoils of war, as the reporting goes. Place the shame on the looters.

Ellen


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: Bobert
Date: 12 Apr 03 - 10:42 PM

Well danged, they was just a buch of old vases and artsy stuff. Who needs that crap anyway, except a bunch of Volvo drivin commies? Whah matters is profits, profits, profits! How many time are we going to have to review this material? This ain't you grand-daddies Oldsmobile? Get with it. It's profit, profit, profit. Screw the art. Probably done by some homo, anyway!

Now repect afetr me: Profit, profit, profit!

Well done!

Hope we don't *have * to have this discussion again...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 12 Apr 03 - 11:29 PM

PeterT, one can always hope that the stuff was taken by indivuduals who hope to preserve and one day return it. But not likely. Maybe it all drifted down toward Kuwait, tit for tat for the stuff liberated when Saddam invaded there?

The black market will move this stuff, because it was cataloged and documented in such a way that if anyone attempts to sell anything in the open marketplace without the proper provenance they won't be able to.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: GUEST,Sad Guest
Date: 13 Apr 03 - 12:17 AM

From Reuters, via the Common Dreams website:

Published on Saturday, April 12, 2003 by Reuters
Looters Ransack Baghdad's Antiquities Museum
by Hassan Hafidh

BAGHDAD - Looters have sacked Baghdad's antiquities museum, plundering treasures dating back thousands of years to the dawn of civilization in Mesopotamia, museum staff said on Saturday.

They blamed U.S. troops for not protecting the treasures.


An Iraqi civilian walks through the vault of the National Museum in Baghdad, Iraq Saturday April 12, 2003. Looters opened the museum vault, went on a rampage breaking ancient artifacts stored there by museum authorities before the war started.

Surveying the littered glass wreckage of display cases and pottery shards at the Iraqi National Museum on Saturday, deputy director Nabhal Amin wept and told Reuters: "They have looted or destroyed 170,000 items of antiquity dating back thousands of years...They were worth billions of dollars."

She blamed U.S. troops, who have controlled Baghdad since the collapse of President Saddam Hussein's rule on Wednesday, for failing to heed appeals from museum staff to protect it from looters who moved in to the building on Friday.

"The Americans were supposed to protect the museum. If they had just one tank and two soldiers nothing like this would have happened," she said. "I hold the American troops responsible for what happened to this museum."


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: CarolC
Date: 13 Apr 03 - 12:32 AM

The Iraqis people must look inward for these acts of desecration. This was not an action taken as one might think of the spoils of war, as the reporting goes. Place the shame on the looters.

Should all people in the US and UK be judged on the same level as our most criminal elements? Just what do you think would happen in the US and UK if all forms of law enforcement were destroyed and not replaced with any kind of order? I'd say exactly the same thing as happened to the Iraqi National Museum.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: Troll
Date: 13 Apr 03 - 12:57 AM

Civilized behavior is a thin veneer covering the Barbarian that lurks in all of us. Read "Lord of the Flies".

troll


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: CarolC
Date: 13 Apr 03 - 01:13 AM

I think a better way for me to ask that question in my last post would be this: Just what do you think would happen in the US and UK if all forms of law enforcement were destroyed and not replaced with any kind of order, and the rest of us were left completely at the mercy of the criminals in our society? I'd say exactly the same thing as happened to Baghdad and the Iraqi National Museum.

Don't forget. There was looting in NYC after the 9/11 disaster, too. And there is always looting after major natural disasters such as hurricanes in the US as well.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: Barry Finn
Date: 13 Apr 03 - 05:36 AM

It was the military's scared duty as an invading force to protect Musuems, water & food supplies, hospitals, schools, places of worship & the like. The 1st tall order of an invader who wants to continue to hold a nation within it's grip & change the spirit of it's people is to go 1st for it's history, culture, language & religion. After that suject them to diseases that they are unable to ward off without the proper medical supplies (American Indians, Hawaiians, Black Americans, etc). Really show them the meaning of thirst & hunger (not just 12 yrs of sanctions) & to finish off the coup manipulate their educational system. So far we've done a fine job for starters. Where will we go from here (not home I'd wager). No need to worry about protecting the oil fields that's a whole different can of worms, the oil fields belongs to US & we need to protect our own interests above all else. Barry


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 13 Apr 03 - 08:38 AM

Having recently read a magnificant book about archaeological treasures & seen once again pictures of the head-dresses & the Ram & the other Sumerian pieces, I can only hope they are going on the blackmarket & not being melted down as other treasures have been in the (recent &) distant past.

Another futile war - uncounted people dead, & the living still suffering - loss of family members, friends, homes, water, food, utilities, health care & also culture.

sandra


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: Bobert
Date: 13 Apr 03 - 08:47 AM

CarolC;

Well, danged, we know exactly what would havppen if the US had no law enforcement and it's civilized structure collapsed. It would be Bubba against the world. Yeah, people fear what they don't understand, so Bubba and Billy Bob would dirve their pickup trucks into D.C., beak into the galleries, but rather than steal the art, they would destroy it. Why? Because it represents something intellectual and unfortunately the US has done a ver nice job of creating an *under* class of people who are no more than borderline civilized and ready to defend themselves against what they perceive to be the master, ahhh, in this case, anyone who is a tad more enlightened. Whereever I go I see angry rednecks and have often wordered where they all come from. This certainly is a population of dumbed down epsilons...

But with a nation so armed with sophisticated weaponry, it sure as heck would be a mess...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 13 Apr 03 - 10:16 AM

On to Teheran and Damascus...


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: Little Hawk
Date: 13 Apr 03 - 11:00 AM

Yes, troll, but the angel who "lurks in all of us" has built our civilizations and every beautiful and useful thing we have. I put my faith in the angel. I always thought "Lord of the Flies" was an overstated case (although well written).

The normal condition of most people at most times is to be peaceful and helpful to one another. Add massive material inequality, poverty, and greed for money to that, however, and problems can and will arise...as you will discover if you walk around in ghettos at night, sporting a big wad of cash.

People don't react well to economic oppression.

- LH


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 13 Apr 03 - 11:37 AM

And there are some people who don't react too well to an opportunity to make a quick buck either, regardless of what it costs other people.

The Mail on Sunday - which is about as rightwing a paper as we have in England (and very pro-American)- has a lead story on its front page today drawing attention to the fact that, while the hospitals were being looted without any interference, there was a massive US Army presence protecting the office premises of the oil business. Priorities...


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: GUEST,sorefingers
Date: 13 Apr 03 - 12:17 PM

Sure - lets move on Damascus and Tehran...

Funny thing about the destruction/looting of Museum contents, there now is no PUBLIC record predating those held in Israel of certain ALLEGED facts which jusify the colonization - theft more like - of large areas of Palestine.

Second interesting aside, Mr Soros and his endless wealth are somehow connected to a lost train from WW2 somewhere in ummm let me see... Romania - very instructive here docha think?, should the next great movement of errr wealth to be in Turkey? Somewhere around Anatolia perhaps?

Sleep light who love truth and justice for today the jesusnazis are Rome.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: Peter T.
Date: 13 Apr 03 - 12:28 PM

I would say that Lord of the Flies understates -- but then I went to a boy's school. yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: Forum Lurker
Date: 13 Apr 03 - 01:24 PM

My objection to Lord of the Flies is that it implies that the violence only comes from a loss of rationality. In my experience, without law enforcement there would be murders, robbery, rape, etc. not only out of irrational impulses, but the same motivators that currently operate on us. Worried about competition? Kill them off. Want something someone else has? Take it from them. It's perfectly rational, if short-sighted, and can't be explained away as regression. We are no different from those kids, or from our ancestors at any point in the last hundred thousand years, except for our societal constructs. Take them away, and chaos will always result.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: SINSULL
Date: 13 Apr 03 - 01:34 PM

And maybe some of these people are just plain scared of the chaos and famine to come. A little gold, something to trade for food... The officials at the Museum claim that at least some of the looters knew exactly what to take and where to find it. Some items had been hidden away in vaults when the war broke out. These were among the first to go. It is likely that museum employees planned these thefts. So yes - it is likely that there was some theft to order. It is also likely that some items will be hidden away in private collections and never see the light of day again.

Tragic. Almost as tragic as the loss of hundreds of civilians in the bombing.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: Peg
Date: 13 Apr 03 - 02:06 PM

It does seem to me that the US and UK troops could have exercised some more forethought in protecting these irreplaceable treasures...as as been pointed out, looting always happens in such circumstances and had been going on in Baghdad for days, albeit with TVs, computers and sofas, not priceless art objects. Putting a small armed detail atthe museum to guard against looting would have been so easy as to seem effortless. Of course some blame lies with the looters; but what the hell did everyone think would happen??? Americans given the same opportunity would steal everything possible. No one looting VCRs during the L.A. riots actually needed one...

If we had an invasion on our home soil in a major city (let's say, Boston) and the foreign military was, for whatever reason, not sufficiently running the game (maybe they are only here to grab military secrets from MIT and retroviruses from Harvard Med), and freestyle martial law took over, I do not doubt for a moment that a whole lotta yahoos with guns would be in the streets looting for all they could get, including antiquities from the MFA, guitars from the Hard Rock Cafe, diamonds from Shreve, Crump & Lowe, and lobsters from the fishing boats.

I think one reason the whole Survivalist movement is so strong in certain parts of this country is that, perversely enough, these paranoid sorts understand that when the apocalypse comes, it truly wil be every man for himself. So in order to prevent anyone breaking into their bomb shelters or stealing their food, they need a big stockpile of weapons. The more, the bigger, the better. An AK-47 fends off some asswipe with a 9mm just fine...get away from my Cheerios, punk!

And I do mean every *man* for himself: one thing likely to occur that no one likes to think about is the relegation of women to the status of chattel. Whoever has the gun, gets the girl.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: Forum Lurker
Date: 13 Apr 03 - 02:20 PM

Peg-Women can have guns, too. In a truly anarchic system, EVERYONE is chattel unless they can defend themselves.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: artbrooks
Date: 13 Apr 03 - 02:38 PM

Huumm...is the statuary from the Parthenon that Lord Elgin allegedly bought from a Turk still in the British Museum? Lord Byron said "Dull is the eye that will not weep to see Thy walls defaced, thy mouldering shrines removed By British hands." (Childe Harold)

And of the four Egyptian obelisks outside that country, in Paris, Rome, London and New York, only the latter two were actually given to its present owners by an Egyptian head of state. The others were hauled off by Napoleon and Caligula. The Iraqi looters are obviously in excellent company.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: Forum Lurker
Date: 13 Apr 03 - 02:52 PM

artbrooks-The Elgin Marbles are still in the British Museum. I think the difference is that when a "civilized" nation takes priceless art from an "uncivilized" nation, it's for the historical record or the "superior appreciation of the cultured elites". When someone takes priceless art to melt it down, then it's barbaric.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 13 Apr 03 - 03:21 PM

Iraq is a "civilised" nation. They pretty well invented civilisation.

And from what I have seen the looting seems to have been every bit as typical of an advanced civilisation as the looting we've seen on TV in American cities over the years.

As in this kind of situation you've got two things going on at once - desperate people trying to get basic stuff they need, such as food, and would-be entrepreneurs seizing the opportunity to rip off anything and everything they they can get hold of.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: Forum Lurker
Date: 13 Apr 03 - 03:49 PM

McGrath-That was why I used quotes.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: Penny S.
Date: 13 Apr 03 - 04:10 PM

I remember that in one of the Brixton riots, people were driving in from the leafy suburbs to loot. Electrical goods, mainly. Direct information from witnesses. It doesn't need to be a major break down of society. And it only needs a few.

Penny


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Apr 03 - 04:13 PM

So, are rioting sports fans mostly an Anglo and American thing, then? When people riot, loot, and destroy property for shits and giggles after a sports match, as we saw in the US AGAIN last night after the NCAA hockey tournament ended, and sports fans of both the winners and losers took to the streets?

And then there is the Halloween rioting and looting and destruction of property.

So the difference between the Iraqis and Anglo and American sports fans who see rioting as a form of entertainment attached to sports is...?


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: GUEST,Murray on Saltspring
Date: 14 Apr 03 - 12:14 AM

Has anyone actually asked the rude question, "Why the hell don't you troops do something about this?" of the fellows in charge? Who gave the orders not to interfere? Why did no-one have the initiative to prevent all that? Someone must have answers. As it is, I am saddened but not really surprised. And the military (U.S. and U.K.) should not be surprised either; this sort of thing happens in chaotic times - so they should have been ready with their orders & strategies, to save and protect, mind you, not stand by impotently. I lay most of the blame directly on the military command.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: Cluin
Date: 14 Apr 03 - 03:59 AM

Wasn't it some mouldy old Roman who asserted that civilization was only three meals away from anarchy? It would happen here too.

Artbrooks is right. Combat soldiers are not policemen. Protecting the museum was not their concern; winning the war was. A lot of antiquities were destroyed in Germany too during the Allied saturation bombing there during WWII.

This is just one more tragedy on top of a greater and greater pile of them. I hope all those bored people who had their shit in a knot looking forward to this thing to break up the monotony will be satisfied now.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: Forum Lurker
Date: 14 Apr 03 - 09:00 AM

My question is, where the hell are the MP's? Someone must have realized you would need some force to manage the checkpoints at least, even if they somehow failed to predict any of the looting, but it's all being done by soldiers trained for combat, not law enforcement.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: CarolC
Date: 14 Apr 03 - 09:00 AM

Murray, they were too busy guarding the Oil Ministry. I saw on the news that they were guarding it and that it hadn't been looted at all.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: artbrooks
Date: 14 Apr 03 - 09:26 AM

The standard organizational structure for an Army division includes a company of MPs, about 120-150 people at full strength. The missions that they are primarily trained for are command post security, POW collection and security and traffic control...there are a lot of vehicles in a division.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: artbrooks
Date: 14 Apr 03 - 09:31 AM

{...sorry...hit the wrong button...} These 120 people are mostly tasked out to the combat brigades to do these jobs. What's needed to guard the buildings in Baghdad are security guards, and (IMHO) the Iraqis who were doing this before should be perfectly capable of going back to work.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: Peter T.
Date: 14 Apr 03 - 09:34 AM

There is nothing there to secure. It appears the National Library was torched as well. yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: GUEST,petr
Date: 14 Apr 03 - 12:40 PM

Its definitely a loss, although efforts are being made to recover the material, and specialists are being asked to help in repairing the materials. I heard that after looting in one of the southern cities in Iraq the local Imam forbad anyone who had looted from attending prayer service until they brought any looted goods into the mosque.
and people started to return them, (just like they did after the LA riots).
petr


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: Grab
Date: 14 Apr 03 - 02:41 PM

Murray (and others):

There's a simple reason why the troops don't do anything about it: THEY'RE NOT FUCKING STUPID!!!

It's certainly a loss, granted. But it's not so great a loss that:-
(a) it's worth civilians getting shot by soldiers,
(b) it's worth soldiers getting shot by other civilians armed with AK-47s,
(c) it's worth destroying what little fragile trust the Iraqis have for the coalition soldiers by killing civilians,
(d) it's more important to guard than places which are important in getting the country's infrastructure going again.

From the news reports I've been reading, the Iraqis are not sure whether the US/UK armies are invaders or liberators. Now suppose you have martial law on the streets, civilians getting shot (and there've already been several cases of cars getting shot up that refused to stop) - how does that strike you? Sounds like Palestine or Ireland under an army of occupation to me. And at that point, the US/UK effort in Iraq will be precisely dead.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 14 Apr 03 - 02:41 PM

It's more than just a question of bringing things back.

Seven thousand years of history has been systematically trashed. Here is a Guardian page with a bunch of pictures showing what has happened. Inside the remains of the Iraqi Museum of Archaeology

"Although most of the museum has been destroyed and its holdings looted, it is now guarded at gunpoint"

And what's going to be happening in the country's historical sites, such as Ur, the first city in the world?


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: GUEST,Sad Guest
Date: 14 Apr 03 - 03:27 PM

I disagree that guarding the National Museum wasn't worth a few lives. I feel very strongly that invading Iraq was important enough, including finding plenty of protection for the Oil Ministry, was important enough to risk both American and Iraqi lives, then so were some of the world's most precious artifacts from the Cradle of Civilization, much of which were thousands of years old.

The oil, on the other hand, is just being wasted and burned, and will be gone in 50 or so years time anyway.

In fact, I'd much rather see those antiquities preserved and protected, than the paperwork at the Oil Ministry to make Halliburton's job of looting Iraq's oil fields easier.

Any day of the week.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: Lepus Rex
Date: 15 Apr 03 - 02:03 AM

Probably a good week to shop in the bazaars... :(

But I'm in a weird "cup half full" mood today, so I'll point out one "good" thing: Iraqi antiquities were for hundreds of years pilfered by the British and others for their museums. Thanks, for once, imperialists! :)

---Lepus Rex


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: GUEST,pdc
Date: 15 Apr 03 - 02:16 AM

I think that the military's failure to guard the cultural treasures of Iran -- particularly given that the Pentagon had been warned by experts of the danger -- has done a lot to anger the Iraqi people even more. The NYT reported US soldiers waving treasure-carrying people through their checkpoints. And today some people in Baghdad were staging anti-American protests because of the looting.

I wonder if the military were advised by the Pentagon to watch out for cultural destruction -- perhaps the chain of command faltered somewhere. Or perhaps, in fact, nobody gave a damn.

Everywhere except the oil ministry -- hospitals, schools, libraries, universities, clinics.

But not the oil ministry.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: Peter T.
Date: 15 Apr 03 - 08:45 AM

Sorry to keep on with this, but it is reported that the great Inanna vase is missing -- I don't have a picture -- but it is among the greatest works of art. This was one of the ones I was most worried about. Damn.

yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: Peter T.
Date: 15 Apr 03 - 09:04 AM

This is a lousy off colour picture of the Warka vase, 3,500 B.C., it is about 1 metre high, and is in translucent green alabaster. It depicts the whole of the Sumerian world giving ritual thanks to the goddess Inanna. The bottom of the vase represents the reed marshes and the water world out of which all life comes, and works its way up in a spiral to the realm of the gods. Sorry I couldn't find a better picture. I hope someone stole it, and didn't smash it, maybe it can be recovered.here.yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: harvey andrews
Date: 15 Apr 03 - 02:41 PM

The poor and ill educated throughout history have looted art, destroyed history and burnt books. But the word "barbarian" here is for the people who started the war pre-emptively having been warned of the dangers to the cultural heritage and then didn't give a damn, didn't care a damn,and never will give a damn.The administration never told the men in the field to guard the museum and the library, they told them to guard the oil ministry!
Barbarians defend money, not culture and they've done it again.All good and caring and intelligent Americans will, I'm sure, feel that this is one of the blackest stains on their nation's history.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: Ebbie
Date: 15 Apr 03 - 03:21 PM

And a blot on the UK's history too perhaps?


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: harvey andrews
Date: 15 Apr 03 - 03:49 PM

The war? yes. We don't know what the British would have done had they taken Baghdad. We have enough stains from our own colonial past when we were the cops of the world.It's all there to learn from, but barbarians don't read, they allow the libraries to burn.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Apr 03 - 05:11 PM

Well, considering that this is Britain's third invasion of Iraq in less than one hundred years, to "liberate" the Iraqis, I'd say Britain has plenty of blood on it's hands, not to mention priceless artifacts looted in previous "liberations" of the country stored away in the British Museum.

At what point do we start talking about the rape and looting of other cultures by the Anglo American axis of power? Oh, I forgot. Talking about imperial ambitions isn't considered to be PC anymore by the right wing extremists responsible for this debacle.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: Bobert
Date: 15 Apr 03 - 08:48 PM

Well, not to seem too paranoid here, but the Bush Sr. taught his boys well to engage in class warfare.

Look around at the dumbed down epsilon class of Budwiser, NASCAR and Country Music folk and these are the folk that eat up this class warfare stuff. Okay, let review the connections intellectual (intellegence)= liberal= homosexual= pastsy= protestor= un-American= commie= ____________________=___________________....

So, even though much effort was made in in preparation to saqve oil wells to keep Billy Bob's Chevy 4WD pickup in fuel, there was apparently no such plan in place for the art? Why? And the tougher question, when the Bush administration has micro-managed, why they have given the *green light* to this story, when they have effectively hept their heels on the throats of so many stories covering the *Human* pain. Yeah, that's the larger question here?

Or is it? You get Rumsfeld doing his part to promore the class warfare thing my minimalizing and laughing about "vases" being hauled off. See, this plays real well into the minds of Bubba NASCAR Sixpack, who I have heard just today parroting Rumsfelds backhand at art/artist/intelectuals/etc./etc. See, this is a clear example of the Bush adminstration's stategy to not only dumb down the masses but also turn the dumber ones against folks with, ahhh, a *fu*ckin'*!!! mind, thank you.

"Fu*ckin'" minds are the Bush administartion's biggest concern. They are so afarid that enough people won't fall into thier little class warfare trap to keep them in power. But I'm not going to go as far as to say that their aren't Bush supporters who have the abilitiy to reason but I will say that if Bush looses his subclass of Epsilons, his done! And so he will continue to make decisions to pit the enlightened against the not so. And Rumsfelf will continue making jokes about the work of artists.

That's what we have. It's tough arguing with the approach. Politically it will keep him and his chums in office but the long range dangers for America are purdy danged scarey as *intollerance* becomes the new cornerstone of America...

End of rant... But just think about it, folks...


Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: CarolC
Date: 15 Apr 03 - 08:52 PM

Makes sense to me, Bobert.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: JudyR
Date: 16 Apr 03 - 02:30 AM

Intolerance as the new cornerstone of America...well-said. I have to engage with a bunch of yahoos daily, who rant on about we are making to much of a bunch of "cracked pots."

The callousness about the loss of this treasure is one of the most sickening things about this administration, among many sickening things.

Thanks for all your links. I'll contribute one myself, from Tuesday's paper, by columnist Robert Scheer.

http://www.workingforchange.com/article.cfm?ItemID=14840


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: harvey andrews
Date: 16 Apr 03 - 05:08 AM

According to "The Independent" newspaper A British minister told Parliament that British troops have been, and are, guarding the Basra museum.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 Apr 03 - 08:49 AM

True enough the British looted most places they went pretty systematically. The upside of that this paradoxiaclly makes possibleis the kind of thing reported in this story today: "The British Museum has announced a taskforce of conservators and curators, funded by an anonymous private donor, to go to the rescue of Iraq's ravaged museums."

The major tragedy in all this isn't so much the big monuments and treasures, it's the records preserved and recovered over generations of painstaking archeology, for example the tablets which provided a record of all kinds of things in the vanished past.

I suppose what this shows is that, when it comes to being imperialists, the Americans aren't very good at the skills involved. I just hope they don't get too practiced at this kind of thing.

Here's a story which sums up the whole thing pretty well: "'The collection lies in ruins, objects from a long, rich past in smithereens'"

"This is a tragedy with echoes of past catastrophes: the Mongol sack of Baghdad in 1258, and the fifth-century destruction of the library of Alexandria. For the loss is not just Iraq's but ours, too."


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: Peg
Date: 16 Apr 03 - 11:42 AM

McGrath of harlow wrote:

"I suppose what this shows is that, when it comes to being imperialists, the Americans aren't very good at the skills involved. I just hope they don't get too practiced at this kind of thing."

--this is confusing to me; sounds like you're saying it's the "Americans'" lack of "skill" which caused this; but then you're saying you don't want them to get any better at it?

Pity the British troops didn't step in and show they how it's done...


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: harvey andrews
Date: 16 Apr 03 - 01:09 PM

--this is confusing to me; sounds like you're saying it's the "Americans'" lack of "skill" which caused this; but then you're saying you don't want them to get any better at it?

Back to the "irony" thread Peg!!!
The British were not in Baghdad because the Americans wouldn't let them. Basra was the British zone alloted.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 Apr 03 - 01:29 PM

Well I wqsn't actually being ironic. What I mean is, the way you get skilled at such things is through trial and error and practice, and I'd rather the Americans backed away from the notion of establishing Imperial American Earth.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: Peg
Date: 16 Apr 03 - 01:30 PM

--this is confusing to me; sounds like you're saying it's the "Americans'" lack of "skill" which caused this; but then you're saying you don't want them to get any better at it?

Back to the "irony" thread Peg!!!
--what, exactly, was ironic about McGrath's statement? And ironic in what way? Are you saying that Americans ARE good at imperialistic actions? or that their actions in Baghdad, in imperialistic terms, were successful?
I found it confusing (or perhaps just awkwardly worded); he seems to be pitting two incompatible ideas against one another.
And why are you speaking for him?


The British were not in Baghdad because the Americans wouldn't let them. Basra was the British zone alloted.
--what do you mean by "the Americans wouldn't let them?" Which Americans? soldiers? officers? politicians? And what does "wouldn't let them" mean, anyway? How was this preventive action carried out exactly?

I just want a straightforward answer, if it's not too much trouble. Please just don't tell me I don't understand because I don't get the irony...explain what you mean, so that I *can* understand it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: Troll
Date: 16 Apr 03 - 02:57 PM

You forgot about the destruction of the Aztec writings by the Conquistadores, the Sack of Rome by Alaric the Goth, or the destruction of Solomans Temple.

troll


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 Apr 03 - 05:21 PM

??? I can't see the relevance of that Troll. Who does "you" refer to?

I don't think anyone had actually set out to list all the precedents to what happened in to the Baghdad Myseum and the Iraq National Library.

As Harvey said: "Barbarians don't read, they allow the libraries to burn."


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: harvey andrews
Date: 16 Apr 03 - 05:29 PM

Peg, sorry, I didn't wish to cast aspersions on your understanding. The British weren't allowed because it was America's war. America wanted its flag over the capital. Why else was the flag that flew over the Pentagon on 11 sept ready to drape over the statue pulled down before the readied cameras?
The British are incidental to Bush's regime plan.They're the little boy who tags on to the bully for the kudos.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: artbrooks
Date: 16 Apr 03 - 05:41 PM

According to all of the reports I've seen, the flag that was placed on the statue was the personal property of a 19-year-old Burmese-American Marine. It was taken off immediately and replaced with an Iraqi one.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: harvey andrews
Date: 16 Apr 03 - 05:53 PM

In the UK it was reported as I stated.
Also, today I read that American media have not published or shown photos of the boy who's lost both his arms. Is this true?


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: CarolC
Date: 16 Apr 03 - 05:58 PM

Also, today I read that American media have not published or shown photos of the boy who's lost both his arms. Is this true?

No. The US is being very self-congratulatory via the media here, about how much effort we're putting into getting that boy to a better hospital. But we didn't hear anything in our news about him until after the story about him appeared in the British media.

Re: the flags... they didn't drape the Iraqi flag over the statue's face the way they did with the US flag. They hung it around the statue's neck like a necktie. I saw the footage of it on TV.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: harvey andrews
Date: 16 Apr 03 - 06:03 PM

Thanks Carol.. goes to show.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 Apr 03 - 06:07 PM

And maybe those reports are true, and maybe they aren't. And maybe there were two rival spin doctors involved, one of them looking for a picture for the US public, and one more concerned about the people in the street, and watching from the non-US world.

I see from The Independent today that it is believed that the Ananna Vase, which Peter T was especially worried about, was stolen to order. Which at least means that it has a chance of having survived intact.

But for the shattered clay tablets with their writing, and the manuscripts and books burnt in the National Library, there is no hope.

Paradoxically, the fact that the invaders made great play about avoiding targetting these buildings, and did not do target them, probably made things worse. It meant that national treasures and archives and that were not removed to a safer place, as normally happens in wartime.

There was in fact a lot of concern expressed in advance, by academics and others around the world, about the possibility of damage to heritage sites. However the idea that the national museum and library would be left completely unguarded by the people responsible for security in the city - that doesn't seem to have been something that anybody thought necessary to warn against.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: Peter T.
Date: 16 Apr 03 - 08:00 PM

McGrath, where was that -- do you have the Web reference? yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 Apr 03 - 08:10 PM

Well, the story just states it as a fcat, rather than giving any information, and it is by the Arts Correspondent, who would probably be writing in London, and it doesn't even name thevase - but the picture that appeared with it was definitely the right one.

Anyway - here is the story - Baghdad museum's greatest treasures 'stolen to order'


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: Peg
Date: 17 Apr 03 - 02:52 AM

harvey;
you didn't really answer my questions. Not with any factual information, anyway, which is what I was looking for.
What proof do you have that British soldiers were somehow prevented from being in Baghdad because of the Americans?


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 17 Apr 03 - 04:00 AM

Given the number of cases of soldiers being killed by "friendly fire" anyway it would have been a bit daft have a unit turn up in a place where they weren't supposed to be - and the British sector in the war was Basra not Baghdad. Just as it would have been if an Amrican unit had turned up in Baghdad to defend some building there.

Looking after security is most definitely part of the job of the people capturing a city, not of their allies who are tied up in another part of the country.

All part of the "rules of engagement."

Noone is criticising the ordinary soldiers for what happened. Some people at higher level made a terrible mistake.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 17 Apr 03 - 04:57 AM

Given the number of cases of soldiers being killed by "friendly fire" anyway it would have been a bit daft have a unit turn up in a place where they weren't supposed to be - and the British sector in the war was Basra not Baghdad. Just as it would have been if an Amrican unit had turned up in Basra to defend some building there.

Looking after security is most definitely part of the job of the people capturing a city, not of their allies who are tied up in another part of the country.

All part of the "rules of engagement."

Noone is criticising the ordinary soldiers for what happened. Some people at higher level made a terrible mistake. Very likely they would have been civilians.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: Bagpuss
Date: 17 Apr 03 - 05:31 AM

Peg - re the irony thing. Perhaps McGrath was trying to say that imperialism is bad whether you are good or bad at it. The US is trying to do it, but doing it badly. They could get better at it if they had practice, but that would also be a bad thing...


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: JenEllen
Date: 17 Apr 03 - 11:25 AM

Frankly, if there were spare soldiers sitting around, I'd rather them be at the zoo saving lives than at a museum saving 'things'.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: Jim the Bart
Date: 17 Apr 03 - 12:21 PM

The administration has made it clear that it is the Pentagon that is running the show, and soldiers know the peril of trying to act as policemen. It is obvious that the need to protect Iraq's treasures was not part of the pre-war planning on the part of the Department of State. What I can't help but wonder is what the situation in "liberated" Iraq would have been like if the administration hadn't been slowed in its rush to war by the anti-war crowd? What kind of plan would there have been if they hadn't bothered to go through the motions of going back to the UN, and trying to get some allies, and selling the war to the networks, and get contracts out to all those US corporations and other statesmanship stuff?

What good is preserving our cultural heritage anyway? What good has it done us? Thousands of years of culture led Iraq to Saddam Hussein and his bunch of thugs. And we've got George W., following Ole Bubba, George I and Ron the Actor. . .Why do barbarians stand around when the libraries burn? Because all reading does is make a real man weak. . .


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: CarolC
Date: 17 Apr 03 - 12:37 PM

Why do barbarians stand around when the libraries burn? Because all reading does is make a real man weak. . .

That's intended as irony, right?


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: harvey andrews
Date: 17 Apr 03 - 01:14 PM

" Real proud to be a weak reading man!!"
"Proud to be a weak real reading man!"
"Proud to be a real weak reading man!"

Whatever...it doesn't sing well, but I'm happy to wear the badge. Where do I sew it?


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 17 Apr 03 - 01:26 PM

Anyway, it's one way of achieving immortaloity. People will remember this in a thousand years, long after they've
forgotten what this war was all about. "Top of the world, Ma!"

In Afghanistan it was the Taliban achieved a similar distinction, when they destroyed the giant Buddhas.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: CarolC
Date: 17 Apr 03 - 01:40 PM

That's true, McGrath. If the rest of civilization doesn't get destroyed first, historians for generations will be remembering Donald "Rummy" Rumsfled as being the man responsible for the destruction of the great museums and libraries of Iraq.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: GUEST, heric
Date: 17 Apr 03 - 01:54 PM

No, MGOH and Carol, the apparent failure to guard the anitquities from looters during a predictable civil unrest, as bizarre as this still seems, is hardly similar to calculated, intentional destruction of religious antiquities in defiance of world outcry.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: CarolC
Date: 17 Apr 03 - 01:57 PM

I don't know about that, heric. But time will tell, eh?


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: GUEST, heric
Date: 17 Apr 03 - 02:05 PM

Too cryptic for analysis. Are you proposing a conspiracy theory involving intentional calculations by George Bush?


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: CarolC
Date: 17 Apr 03 - 02:22 PM

Who me?

;-)

I suppose I'm less inclined to believe the "bumbling" excuse than any number of other possible explanations.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 17 Apr 03 - 02:23 PM

That kind of distinction isn't going to be remembered, heric. It'll all be down to the Great Satan, who'll be a combination of Bush and Saddam, and it'll only be pedants who try to point out that they weren't actually the same man.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: CarolC
Date: 17 Apr 03 - 02:26 PM

But even if it was "bumbling", I guess that means that Rumsfeld will be remembered by generations of historians as the man who was too stupid to take the advice (and desperate pleas) of people who warned the US government that this would happen, thus making him the man responsible for the destruction of the great museums and libraries of Iraq.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 17 Apr 03 - 06:49 PM

Hostorians, yes. But outside academic circles, I doubt if Rumsfeld's name as such will stick around too long. Who remembers Foster Dulles now? I think this is one of those times when it'll be the monkey who is is remembered rather than the organ grinder, and that'll mean Bush.

Or perhaps just "the barbarian invasion of 2003." After all, what was the name of the commander who burnt the Alexandria Library all those centuries ago?


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: Alba
Date: 17 Apr 03 - 07:10 PM

Today the FBI announced that they are now going to help recover the Artifacts!   As the State dept. was told about the Museum and it's importance before the War started, by many Historians, sounds a bit like locking the stable door after the horse has bolted.
This situation should never have happened.
Seemingly a group of European Art dealers have heard of some of the items in their circles already.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Apr 03 - 05:23 AM

Bush's cultural aides quit over sack of Baghdad's treasures.

From which piece comes this quote:

Historians and art experts meeting in Paris yesterday under the auspices of the UN cultural agency Unesco said the looting may have been organised, possibly from abroad. Those removing the items had the keys to open museum vaults, they said.

"It looks as if part of the theft was a very, very deliberate, planned action," said McGuire Gibson, an Iraqi specialist at the University of Chicago. "It really looks like a very professional job... They were able to obtain keys from somewhere for the vaults and were able to take out the very important, the very best material. I have a suspicion it was organized outside the country. In fact I'm pretty sure it was."

Mr Gibson said he had already heard unconfirmed reports of looted items being offered for sale outside Iraq.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: GUEST, heric
Date: 18 Apr 03 - 12:16 PM

I heard this yesterday as well. I am probably out of step with most of you in thinking this *decreases* apparent U.S. culpability? (US blame arising out of a failure to guard against predictable looting by "mere" civilians flooding in from the street.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: *daylia*
Date: 18 Apr 03 - 12:25 PM

I saw the CBC report about the UNESCO emergency meeting re Iraq's stolen treasures last night, McGrath. Click here for two articles re UNESCO's analysis and recommendations - unfortunately just a bit late, IMO.

I still can't understand why the museum, which had been closed for 10 years prior to April 2000 to protect it from the ravages of the first Gulf War, was not closed again in recent months. Surely enough warning had been given that an even worse attack was coming! (See these articles I linked to in this recent thread.)

IMO the failure to close the museum and remove/protect Iraq's cultural treasures before the coalition attack was no simple oversight, but a very strong indication that the theft and destruction was planned, possibly even with Saddam's compliance.

Then again, I have developed quite the suspicious mind of late ...

daylia


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: GUEST, heric
Date: 18 Apr 03 - 12:27 PM

Let me be clear. I don't mean that the sophisticated aspects of the theft absolve or excuse the US failure to guard against the loss. I just mean that the issues addressed in the Guardian article, i.e., sophisticated aspects to the thefts does not, to me, make the US look even worse on this issue. Failure to guard against the obvious warrants blame; failure to guard against sophisticated theft is less blameworhty.

(Neither, I hope, do you interpret and therefore reference this Guardian article for demonstrating sophisticated malfeasance by the US.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Apr 03 - 01:18 PM

If they'd put some kind of security in place, but the clever professionals employed by the millionaire collectors had fooled them, that might be some kind of excuse. But since there doesn't appear to have been any attempt by the occupying army to protect the buildings in question or their contents, it doesn't really make any difference whatsoever. "I know I didn't bother to shut my front door, but you can't blame me for the burgalry - the burglar could very likely have been able to pick the lock anyway."

"Sophisticated malfeasance"? I imagine that would be if there was a suggestion that it was a put up job by people high up in the army to obtain the loot, with them arranging not to have guards on the doors, and trashing the place as a cover up. I know that kind of thing is a standard plot in Hollywood caper movies, where it's all presented as a jolly game, but I'm inclined to doubt if anything as sophisticated as that is involved.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Apr 03 - 04:05 PM

The military were not sent into Iraq to be social workers or policemen. Only targets of military significance were protected. Namely the oil ministry (the main source of future income for Iraq) was one, and the oilfields and service facilities. Hospitals and museums etc are now being assisted. The threat of suicide bombers could place such facilities at risk of attack if US servicmen guarded them, and this was one factor that contributed to the difficulty of providing security.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: CarolC
Date: 18 Apr 03 - 04:14 PM

The British forces were up to the job. They successfully guarded the museum(s) in their sector. Are they more capable than the US forces or something, or do they just have better leadership?


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Apr 03 - 04:24 PM

Being "social workers and policemen" - ie taking on responsibility for civil society as necessary - is part of the job of an army when it occupies another country. It's a legal requirement under the Geneva Conventions.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: artbrooks
Date: 18 Apr 03 - 06:44 PM

Not that I think that the "occupying power" doesn't have some responsibilities for maintaining order, but could somebody tell me which Article in which Geneva Convention states that it has the responsibility to guard museums and to provide social work services? I looked and couldn't find it. The Geneva Conventions (there are 4 plus 2 Additions) are here.

What the applicable treaty (which is the Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, 1954) says is as follows: Art. 5. 1. Any High Contracting Party in occupation of the whole or part of the territory of another High Contracting Party shall as far as possible support the competent national authorities of the occupied country in safeguarding and preserving its cultural property. Iraq did not sign this, the US and UK did.

It might, BTW, be interesting to take a look at the international treaties which Iraq has signed, here.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: GUEST, heric
Date: 18 Apr 03 - 06:59 PM

Wow that's quite a site Mr. Brooks.

Here's one: Each High Contracting Party undertakes to prevent the exportation, from a territory occupied by it during an armed conflict, of cultural property as defined in Article 1 of the Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, signed at The Hague on 14 May 1954.
(Protocol para. 1)

See, also:

Resolution I

The Conference expresses the hope that the competent organs of the United Nations should decide, in the event of military action being taken in implementation of the Charter, to ensure application of the provisions of the Convention by the armed forces taking part in such action.

See, also Resolution II, hoping that each signatory will have qualified specialists on this issue in place for advisement.

http://www.icrc.org/ihl.nsf/b0d5f4c1f4b8102041256739003e6366/6fa17d44aaba6394c12563cd0051d062?OpenDocument


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Apr 03 - 07:06 PM

Here is a page by Amnesty about the duties of occupying powers in this context - Iraq - Responsibilities of the occupying powers.

While the Fourth Geneva Convention is part of the legal framework, there is a lot more to it than that. What I said was oversimplified.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: artbrooks
Date: 18 Apr 03 - 07:34 PM

Thank you, heric...it seems as if that may apply. International treaties should be examined with caution, since they really only apply to nations that have signed them. BTW, it seems that museum staffers and the museum director have some disagreements regarding what may have been taken and what removed elsewhere for safekeeping...article here.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: CarolC
Date: 18 Apr 03 - 11:08 PM

they really only apply to nations that have signed them

This means that they apply to the behavior of those who signed them. So if the US signed the treaty, it is bound by it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: Metchosin
Date: 19 Apr 03 - 07:16 AM

I was looking for more information regarding the Geneva Convention when I stumbled upon this chilling tidbit. Apparently US forces are in contact with military lawyers during combat, to determine what can and cannot done when engaging the enemy. According to their interpretation the following was just fine with them:

"Col. Borch has written several books, including his 2001 'Judge Advocates in Combat,' in which he reported that, during the 1991 Gulf war, Army Gen. Tommy Franks radioed a ranking military legal officer to ask whether burying the enemy alive in his own trenches was permitted under the Law of War." Gen. Franks told the judge advocate general that troops were using bulldozers and he could "stop it now" if it was a war crime. But, Col. Borch wrote, the general was assured that it was lawful and was advised to mark sites so the Red Cross could retrieve bodies."
Washington Times Article

I guess smothering them to death might be considered easier and cheaper than blowing them to bits and it certainly was a quick solution regarding dealing with Chapter II, Articles 17 and 18 of the Geneva Convention, but for some reason it made my skin crawl. Perhaps because it seems to contravene an even earlier document:

Laws and Customs of War on Land (Hague IV); October 18, 1907
SECTION II
HOSTILITIES
CHAPTER I
Means of Injuring the Enemy,
Sieges, and bombardments
Article 23

TO DECLARE THAT NO QUARTER WILL BE GIVEN

Interesting too, speaking of the Geneva Convention, that Army Col. Frederick L. Borch III is the top contender to lead the prosecution staff, regarding the POWs at Guantanamo Bay.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: artbrooks
Date: 19 Apr 03 - 07:23 AM

And the point would be that this is somehow worse than the "traditional" way of getting enemy troops out of bunkers-the flamethrower? War sucks.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: Metchosin
Date: 19 Apr 03 - 08:22 AM

artbrooks, no doubt there, but there does seem to be this mistaken belief that the armed forces of western societies are somehow more civilized and adhere to the tenets of international laws.

The point being, that to declare no quarter given is a no-no under international law; whether one carries out the total slaughter with a flame thrower or a bulldozer is of little distinction to me. Although I did notice you referred to "getting enemy troops out of bunkers" However, there must have been some question in Frank's mind to request a clarification regarding the legality of using bulldozers to bury the "enemy" alive or else why bother asking.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 19 Apr 03 - 09:22 AM

Presumably the idea of General Franks was to cover his back and pass on the legal responsibility. Sort of pre-emptive variant on "I was only obeying orders". A man with a clear idea of how to rise in the system and keep out iof trouble - and it worked for him.

"Chilling" is indeed the word.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: artbrooks
Date: 19 Apr 03 - 10:07 AM

Commanders have staffs. The purpose of a staff member is to provide advise. The commander retains full responsibility for the consequences of following that advise, good or bad.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 19 Apr 03 - 02:51 PM

Including the consequences of the times where he has delegated the decision-making, and hasn't gone into the fine details. That's how it should be - except it doesn't seem to work that way. When something goes wrong, the buck stops down at a pretty junior level.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: *daylia*
Date: 21 Apr 03 - 09:15 AM

I found this article quite thought-provoking. Apparently the ACCP (American Council for Cultural Antiquities), a coalition of art lawyers and antiquities dealers whose members include "collectors and lawyers with chequered histories in collecting valuable artefacts, including alleged exhibitions of Nazi loot," secured a meeting with the US Defense and State Department back in January. This group had been working since 2001 to ease legal restrictions on the removal of Iraqi artifacts from the country after a coalition victory.

"The ACCP's agenda is to encourage the collecting of antiquities through weakening the laws of archaeologically-rich nations and eliminating national ownership of antiquities to allow for easier export ... The ACCP has caused deep unease among archaeologists since its creation in 2001."

More information at this Sunday Herald article.

daylia


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: artbrooks
Date: 21 Apr 03 - 05:46 PM

That statement has been disavoued by the organization's President.
The rumour that the US is planning to "liberalise" Iraq's tough laws on the export of antiquities, widely reported in the international press, derived from a meeting in Washington on 24 January between the American Council for Cultural Policy (a privately funded association of collectors and lawyers) and Pentagon and State Department officials.

The council's treasurer, William Pearlstein, was later quoted in the US magazine Science as describing Iraq's laws as "retentionist", and he wanted to see "some objects certified for export."

American Council for Cultural Policy president Ashton Hawkins told The Art Newspaper that what Mr Pearlstein had done was to voice his personal opinion after the meeting, and that this, did not represent council policy. He insisted that "there had been no discussion of Iraqi law" at the Washington meeting.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: artbrooks
Date: 21 Apr 03 - 05:47 PM

Sorry...meant to add, the link is here, along with some other interesting information.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 21 Apr 03 - 06:56 PM

It's not "just" the museum in Baghdad - here is an article from Monday's Daily Telegraph (a decidedly Conservative paper, I point out in case Doug is reading the thread),about what has happened in Babylon - Looters strip Babylon palace

Here's a poignant quote: Iraqi museum managers and archaeologists had moved many of the cherished heirlooms of Babylon into the vaults of Baghdad's National Museum to protect them, only to see them looted the day US marines stormed the capital.


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Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi National Museum Looted
From: Peter T.
Date: 21 Apr 03 - 07:19 PM

This week's Spectator, not exactly a left wing magazine, has another very unsettling article about the ACCP -- they actually got to meet the President, big money people. yours, Peter T.


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