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Re: [casi] Cultural Rape and Smashing Pumpkins

In response to your comments re the looting of antiquities at the Iraq
Museum and destruction of manuscripts at the Saddam Library.>

Re 1. I think that the U.S. failure to guard the Museum and Library is
culpable.  It is sheer negligence at best but suggests no.2

I was approached already in 1992/1993 by a well-known collector of
antiquities  in London (who subsequently was required to return some
panels from Nineveh to the Iraqi government) who asked me whether i would
'clean out the basement of the Iraq Museum for him'.  Needless to say, I
did not take up his (highly lucrative) offer.

I think that looting plans would have been made from without Iraq, long
before the bombing began.  In the opinion of Scotland Yard, with whom I
subsequently investigated some illegal antiquities which  a Jordanian
woman attempted to send to Britain (1994/1995), the business of illegal
antiquities is linked to Mafia activities and also often to drug cartels.
There must be contacts within the country who would simply wait until the
time was right.  Maybe they have waited for years ... to seize this most
lucrative opportunity.  With the break-down of law and order and no border
controls, truck-loads of material would be taken away.

I do not think that the main thrust of the looting  of antiquities has
been by ordinary individuals.  After all, unlike sofas and chandeliers,
these are not practical household items. The sales market would also be
very restricted - unless they are counting on soldiers buying souvenirs.
Should this happen, I believe that the CO's or whoever should confiscate
such items.  But then U.S. could not be bothered to protect the
Museum/Library in the first place ...

Hoping that this might shed some light onto this tragic situation.

Erica C.D. Hunter
> 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.
Affiliated Lecturer in Aramaic   Visiting Lecturer in Eastern Christianity
Faculty of Oriental Studies      Dept. of the Study of Religions
University of Cambridge          School of Oriental and African Studies
Copyright 2002 Dr. Erica C.D. Hunter

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