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Fwd: Re: [casi] Cultural Rape and Smashing Pumpkins

>From: "Bert Gedin" <>
>Subject: Re: [casi] Cultural Rape and Smashing Pumpkins
>Date: Mon, 14 Apr 2003 19:51:27 +0000
>Dear Dirk & List,
>Your friend's letter makes fascinating observations on the weird behaviour
>of museum plunderers. Motivations may vary, with the individual thiefs
>involved. Goering, "art lover" supreme, comes to mind.
>In the Crimean war, the town of Kertch was raided, by marauding armies, in
>1855. Here a comtempory account: "..A large museum, full of antiquities,
>connected with early Greek times, was ruthlessly despoiled, and its
>contents scattered and broken;..." In Baghdad, much of the thefts seems
>like kleptomania - many of the stolen items would be of no use whatsoever,
>to their new "owners". That, however, would be of little consolation to the
>robbed victims.
>Bert Gedin.
>om: "Dirk Adriaensens" <>
>>To: <>
>>Subject: [casi] Cultural Rape and Smashing Pumpkins
>>Date: Mon, 14 Apr 2003 18:35:09 +0200
>>[ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ]
>>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.
>>  Mel
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