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The official presidential cultural advisors were cut out in January at the White House by Bush's hastily assembled rump outfit of wheeler dealers, suddenly pressing for relaxed regulations on importing of antiquities. Today, in the Washington Post : http://tinyurl.com/9r8x Bush Cultural Advisers Quit Over Iraq Museum Theft Reuters Thursday, April 17, 2003; 1:43 PM WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The head of a U.S. presidential panel on cultural property has resigned in protest at the failure of U.S. forces to prevent the wholesale looting of priceless treasures from Baghdad's antiquities museum. "It didn't have to happen," Martin Sullivan said of the objects that were destroyed or stolen from the Iraqi National Museum in a wave of looting that erupted as U.S.-led forces ended President Saddam Hussein's rule last week. Sullivan, who chaired the President's Advisory Committee on Cultural Property for eight years, said he wrote a letter of resignation to the White House this week in part to make a statement but also because "you can't speak freely" as a special government-appointed employee. The president appoints the 11-member advisory committee. Another panel member, Gary Vikan, also plans to resign because of the looting of the museum. "Our priorities had a big gap," Sullivan told Reuters on Thursday. "In a pre-emptive war that's the kind of thing you should have planned for." The National Museum held rare artifacts documenting the early civilizations of ancient Mesopotamia, and leading archeologists were meeting in Paris on Thursday to seek ways to rescue Iraq's cultural heritage. Earlier this week, antiquities experts said they had been given assurances from U.S. military planners that Iraq's historic artifacts and sites would be protected by occupying forces. U.S. archeological organizations and the U.N.'s cultural agency UNESCO said they had provided U.S. officials with information about Iraq's cultural heritage and archeological sites months before the war began. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has rejected charges the U.S. military was to blame for failing to prevent the looting, noting the country has offered rewards for the return of artifacts and information on their whereabouts. "Looting is an unfortunate thing. Human beings are not perfect," Rumsfeld said, earlier this month. "To the extent it happens in a war zone, it's difficult to stop." The Advisory Committee on Cultural Property convenes when a country requests U.S. assistance under the 1970 UNESCO Convention on international protection of cultural objects. _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk