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[casi] Cultural Rape and Smashing Pumpkins

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Dear list,
I received a reaction of someone in the art-sector that I happen to know. What he writes about the 
looting of the archeological museum in baghdad is quite interesting.
Hope this information is helpful.

On the Bagdad Museum,

    I have great suspicions about this. People representing the museum had visited Washington 
recently ( it was reported) as they were very concerned about the museum. They were given assurance 
 at some high level that the museum would not be bombed and would be protected.

    During W.W.II this was a practice followed by the American military who had special units of 
people who were actually fine art historians, always officers and a squad of troops.  Except in the 
Civil War nothing like this has ever happened before in Am. military history. I am positive that 
commanders are trained in this very standard procedure.

    There has already been some official on CNN who has implied that they suspected the artifacts 
were on their way to Israel.  My having been around the art world for 40 years and having to always 
be aware of transactions of stolen art there are some things I know. ( I also attended a very 
expensive seminar on Art Law which dealt with stolen art)

       The collection of ancient artifacts is an extremely specialized area and one of very wealthy 
collectors. Sometimes things are stolen and are just held in very private locked rooms of these 
collectors. This type of collector who will pay any amount of money for a prestige of knowing they 
now own it. They are really very kinky people.

       Many of them and  there are probably fewer then 50 in the world, like to remain anonymous. 
My former asst. went to work for an ancient art collector and her very well paid job was to  bid 
for items of ancient art at Sotheby's and the now defunct Parke-Bernet in NYC. I was always amazed 
how well paid she was. At any given time there is but a small amount of legally acquired ancient 
art in the public market. There is a great demand by these 50 wealthy collectors to aquire  even 
legal items. This is because items held by the museum in Bagdad would never ever be expected to 
reach the art markets.

There are two possibilities,maybe another I havent thought of. This is what I think happened.
       1. It was a major screw-up by our military ,which is a distinct possibility.If it  was, it 
was the first since the Civil War.
       The way an art thief would plan is as follows.

       2. Someone made a deal with those that plan the war. Paul Wolfowitz , Richard Perle and 
Donald Rumsfeld  are the planners, The first two are both
Jews who have close contacts in Israel.

       3. Very wealthy Israeli/Arab collectors formed a syndicate and paid Wolfowitz and/or Perle 
to ignore a precedent of military history which was to
protect the cultural artifacts of Bagdad. This was the finest collection of Mesopotanian artefacts 
in the world.

       4. I think that much of the stuff went out in trucks . After the rare and prized pieces were 
removed, a previously hired Iraqi (thug) working in
conjunction for the synidicate lead a groups of looters much as a college kid leads a panty raid.

       They began with trashing the statues and pottery which the thieves have left behind and a 
chaos of piles of broken pottery on the floors. How can anyone know what was smashed and what is 
just missing ?

       One museum display case that held ancient gold jewelry was broken and its contents stripped. 
Who would know what happened to it.

       Anyway that's what I think happened.  I am also sure that we will hear much more about this.


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