Stop the looting in Iraq

[quote]And since this thread is about looting:

U.S.: $1 billion taken from Iraq bank [/quote]
Your point being? This hardly qualifies as looting and happened before the invasion.

Liberation, American-style:

General Tommy Franks is threatened with a Belgian war crimes trial alleging US troops failed to prevent looting in Iraq. BBC News Online uncovers evidence suggesting his soldiers even egged on some looters.

Studies at Nasiriya’s Technical Institute are on hold. With the city struggling to find its feet after the war, college is the last thing on people’s mind …

Ali Thowani, 27, a pharmacist and former student of the institute, also tried reasoning with the Americans in English.

“I spoke to the Americans and they refused to protect the institution. ‘We’re not police and that’s not our job,’ they said.”

More worrying still are the accounts of two eyewitnesses who claim to have seen the Americans encouraging the looters.

Troops ‘waved’ looters on

Rasool Abdul-Husayn , an unemployed school teacher, says he saw one American signalling the crowd to move in, with a repeated wave of the arm. Another eyewitness, Kareem Khattar, who works in a bread shop across the road from the college, saw the same thing.

“I saw with my own eyes the Americans signal the people to move in and the looters started clapping,” says Mr Khattar.

Air conditioners proved popular with looters
“The Americans waved bye-bye and the looters were clapping. They started looting quickly and when one man came out with an air conditioner an American said to him ‘Good, very good’.”

Before the war, Nasiriya’s technical institute had 2,500 students and taught community health, mechanical and electrical engineering and computing, among other subjects.

Every bit of hard work that went into building up the college, which opened in the early 1980s, was swiftly destroyed. About 100 air conditioning units and 100 computers were stolen. Rooms were torched; the science laboratories wrecked; the main lecture hall looks like a hurricane has passed through it.

A campus wrecked

In the old administrative block, ring binders lie on the floor, next to shards of broken glass, buckled filing cabinets and broken plant pots. Everything, even the light switches, was taken or destroyed, and it is the same in every one of the campus buildings.

In a statement to BBC News Online, Centcom, the United States Central Command in Doha, Qatar, refused to accept responsibility for the event.

The institute stands empty
"The fact that the looting is happening in Nasiriya is a sad event. However, coalition forces are not a police force. Coalition forces have no orders to protect universities. They have orders to protect places of interest such as hospitals, museums and banks.

"Iraqis need to protect their own cities; coalition forces will help the Iraqi people police themselves. For example, in Al Kut - where people are cooperating with coalition forces - they have stood up a city police force. The coalition has even provided arms for the local police force. Iraqis will run Iraq and they will govern themselves. "

It seems plain to me that the US allowing the looting to take place is no coincidence.

At the lower grunt level, I could believe that some of them would sincerely encourage the looting, but not as looting, but as justice. Perhaps if they saw how ordinary citizenry were living deprived under Saddam, I could see soldiers being sympathetic. On top of that, they don’t have orders otherwise.

Which brings me to my next point. Why weren’t there orders?
To be fair, perhaps the military doesn’t want to devote its “limited resources” to defending a school here a musuem there when there is no “strategic” ie cash, practical value that say, the communications center and oil ministry possess.
The more cynical view is that the US wants a severely weakened Iraq. It wants to see as much of it destroyed. That way, it can bring in more contracts from the US to “rebuild” the country. Or they are just plain insensitive or ignorant how this policy could be a PR nightmare.
And not to rag on just the US, hell the British are there too. haven’t heard about them on this issue either way. Which surprises me since the Brits are famous for looting art treasures and taking them home back in the day. you’d think instead of allowing others to loot art, the brits would just take them home for “safekeeping” (which is actually plausible…you think those elgin marbles would have lasted this long in Greece?)

Looted Iraqi Antiquities For Sale In Taiwan!

Through my extensive contacts with corrupt, art hating officials in the US government and military, I am able to offer (for the FIRST TIME!), one of a kind antiquities and art works from Iraq.

The 6,000 year old “Mask of Hedra” (only $250,000US). Note the mysterious cuniform inscription.

The 3,000 year old solid ivory “Throne of Nebuchadnezzar” (buy now and receive “The Hairbrush of Ishtar”, “The Razor of Occam” and “The Toothbrush of Frank” all for the low, low price of $1,000,000US).

The silver encrusted 4,200 year old “Scepter of Kuul”. At only $175,000US, it truly is a “steal”!

And FINALLY, straight from Saddam Hussein’s private bedroom in one of his 73 palaces, a solid gold air conditioner! Yes, own a piece of history! This air conditioner includes chemical/nuclear/biological filters good for all WMD. And for only $75,000US, I’ll throw in the remote.

Give me a call at 1-800-555-LOOTERSRUS and make an appointment for a private viewing. Cash only.

That’s my Air-Con, give it back!

Blueface: That was hysterical and just the kind of humor that is needed to remind us to celebrate that the Iraqi Information Minister LIVES!!! Hope to see him coming to a cable channel “near you.”

It would be great to see justice done and the likes of Tommy franks sent down for war crimes:

US troops ‘encouraged’ Iraqi looters

[quote]In a statement to BBC News Online, Centcom, the United States Central Command in Doha, Qatar, refused to accept responsibility for the event.
"The fact that the looting is happening in Nasiriya is a sad event. However, coalition forces are not a police force. Coalition forces have no orders to protect universities. They have orders to protect places of interest such as hospitals, museums and banks. [/quote]

It’s very ironic to me that Centcom included the protection of musuems in its statement after all that’s happened. :imp:

Not being police is no excuse. This seems to me a deliberate policy.

Good one, Blueface! (Hairbrush of Ishtar :laughing:)

“We are in an assessment phase right now.”, … 11,00.html

new development; most of treasure recovered.

Glad to hear much of the treasure was allegedly recovered. But I’m afraid this looting incident won’t turn out so well.

Barrels Looted at Nuclear Site Raise Fears for Iraqi Villagers

TUWAITHA, Iraq, June 7

Well, well, well… … 94,00.html

Lost from the Baghdad museum: truth

David Aaronovitch
Tuesday June 10, 2003
The Guardian

When, back in mid-April, the news first arrived of the looting at the Iraqi National Museum in Baghdad, words hardly failed anyone. No fewer than 170,000 items had, it was universally reported, been stolen or destroyed, representing a large proportion of Iraq’s tangible culture. And it had all happened as some US troops stood by and watched, and others had guarded the oil ministry.
Professors wrote articles. Professor Michalowski of Michigan argued that this was “a tragedy that has no parallel in world history; it is as if the Uffizi, the Louvre, or all the museums of Washington DC had been wiped out in one fell swoop”. Professor Zinab Bahrani from Columbia University claimed that, “By April 12 the entire museum had been looted,” and added, “Blame must be placed with the Bush administration for a catastrophic destruction of culture unparalleled in modern history.” From Edinburgh Professor Trevor Watkins lamented that, “The loss of Iraq’s cultural heritage will go down in history - like the burning of the Library at Alexandria - and Britain and the US will be to blame.” Others used phrases such as cultural genocide and compared the US in particular to the Mongol invaders of 13th-century Iraq.

Back in Baghdad there was anger. On April 14, Dr Donny George, the museum’s director of research, was distraught. The museum had housed the leading collection of the continuous history of mankind, “And it’s gone, and it’s lost. If Marines had started [protecting the museum] before, none of this would have happened. It’s too late. It’s no use. It’s no use.”

A few weeks later - in London to address a meeting at the British Museum - George was interviewed for this newspaper by Neal Ascherson. George, said Ascherson, did not throw blame around, but did remark that most of the looters responsible for the damage were not educated.

On June 1, George was reported in the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag as reiterating that witnesses had seen US soldiers enter the museum on April 9, stay inside two hours and leave with some objects. When asked whether he believed that the US military and international art thieves had been acting in concert, George replied that a year earlier, at a meeting in a London restaurant, someone (unnamed) had told him that he couldn’t wait till he could go inside the National Museum with US soldiers and give it a good pillage - ie, yes.

So, there’s the picture: 100,000-plus priceless items looted either under the very noses of the Yanks, or by the Yanks themselves. And the only problem with it is that it’s nonsense. It isn’t true. It’s made up. It’s bollocks.

Not all of it, of course. There was some looting and damage to a small number of galleries and storerooms, and that is grievous enough. But over the past six weeks it has gradually become clear that most of the objects which had been on display in the museum galleries were removed before the war. Some of the most valuable went into bank vaults, where they were discovered last week. Eight thousand more have been found in 179 boxes hidden “in a secret vault”. And several of the larger and most remarked items seem to have been spirited away long before the Americans arrived in Baghdad.

George is now quoted as saying that that items lost could represent “a small percentage” of the collection and blamed shoddy reporting for the exaggeration.

“There was a mistake,” he said. “Someone asked us what is the number of pieces in the whole collection. We said over 170,000, and they took that as the number lost. Reporters came in and saw empty shelves and reached the conclusion that all was gone. But before the war we evacuated all of the small pieces and emptied the showcases except for fragile or heavy material that was difficult to move.”

This indictment of world journalism has caused some surprise to those who listened to George and others speak at the British Museum meeting. One art historian, Dr Tom Flynn, now speaks of his “great bewilderment”. “Donny George himself had ample opportunity to clarify to the best of [his] knowledge the extent of the looting and the likely number of missing objects,” says Flynn. “Is it not a little strange that quite so many journalists went away with the wrong impression, while Mr George made little or not attempt to clarify the context of the figure of 170,000 which he repeated with such regularity and gusto before, during, and after that meeting.” To Flynn it is also odd that George didn’t seem to know that pieces had been taken into hiding or evacuated. “There is a queasy subtext here if you bother to seek it out,” he suggests.

On Sunday night, in a remarkable programme on BBC2, the architectural historian Dan Cruikshank both sought and found. Cruikshank had been to the museum in Baghdad, had inspected the collection, the storerooms, the outbuildings, and had interviewed people who had been present around the time of the looting, including George and some US troops. And Cruikshank was present when, for the first time, US personnel along with Iraqi museum staff broke into the storerooms.

One, which had clearly been used as a sniper point by Ba’ath forces, had also been looted of its best items, although they had been stacked in a far corner. The room had been opened with a key. Another storeroom looked as though the looters had just departed with broken artefacts all over the floor. But this, Cruikshank learned, was the way it had been left by the museum staff. No wonder, he told the viewers - the staff hadn’t wanted anyone inside this room. Overall, he concluded, most of the serious looting “was an inside job”.

Cruikshank also tackled George directly on events leading up to the looting. The Americans had said that the museum was a substantial point of Iraqi resistance, and this explained their reticence in occupying it. Not true, said George, a few militia-men had fired from the grounds and that was all. This, as Cruikshank heavily implied, was a lie. Not only were there firing positions in the grounds, but at the back of the museum there was a room that seemed to have been used as a military command post. And it was hardly credible that senior staff at the museum would not have known that. Cruikshank’s closing thought was to wonder whether the museum’s senior staff - all Ba’ath party appointees - could safely be left in post.

Furious, I conclude two things from all this. The first is the credulousness of many western academics and others who cannot conceive that a plausible and intelligent fellow-professional might have been an apparatchiks of a fascist regime and a propagandist for his own past. The second is that - these days - you cannot say anything too bad about the Yanks and not be believed.


Save my scroll wheel. Can’t we just have the bold bits and a link
(or simply, heck, link to where I posted the same link
3 days ago
:wink: )


Save my scroll wheel. Can’t we just have the bold bits and a link
(or simply, heck, link to where I posted the same link
3 days ago
:wink: )[/quote]

Sorry. I tend to post the whole articles because so often links disappear.

Here’s the latest from CNN in the ever changing tally on looted art.

Original estimates that 170,000 pieces had been looted from the museum in the chaos after the war were widely exaggerated.

“From the public galleries themselves there were 42 pieces that were stolen - ten of those have been fortunately recovered so we have 32 … display-quality pieces that remain missing,” according to U.S. Col. Matthew Bogdanos.

Another 10,000 items – most of them tiny and some of them fragments – are missing as well.

The U.S.-led coalition established an amnesty program in the hopes people would return items.

Long article in today’s WSJ. A highlight:

[quote=“Roger Atwood, ARTNews reporter, as reprinted in the WSJ 07/17/2003”]During a week in May in Baghdad, I interviewed about 30 people concerning the looting: Iraqi museum officials, the U.S. troops accused of failing to protect the museum, members of the U.S. team investigating the thefts, foreign archeologists who led international protests against the U.S. role, and more than a dozen people who lived in the neighborhood and who witnessed the looting and the combat that preceded it.

The most striking fact to emerge from discussions with those living or working around the museum is that, in the days before and during the looting, they saw the museum being turned into a major military defensive position by Iraqi forces.

In plain violation of the Hague Convention of 1954, Iraqi fighters occupied the museum complex and used it as a combat position for at least three days after museum staff had fled. Neighborhood residents corroborated the charges made by American forces that the Americans had come under attack from inside the museum grounds and that fighting in the area was heavy. Even as they criticized the Americans for not protecting their national treasures, Iraqi witnesses to the looting said that Saddam Hussein’s forces had turned the museum into a small arsenal.

Gosh Mapodofu:

You mean the Americans did not try to do anything bad?! (Like with hundreds of imbedded cameramen) and that the situation was as the Americans originally said and not like it was reported.

Where are these journalists getting their credentials? Is the new reporting style to talk about whatever is most inflammatory without “Checking the Facts?” Then again, since most of these ace reporters do not speak Arabic, I guess that might have something to do with the need for visual shots of disturbances rather than nuanced reporting about what’s going on in the country.

Wonder how long it takes before this big “lie about wmd” is similarly disproved though don’t expect any news stations to talk about that. To date, none of them have come forward with any mea culpas regarding the totally shipshod reporting done on the looting of the museum in the first place. Jeeezzuuuz Christ!

You know if this keeps up, I am going to have to start getting my news from the same sources Rascal does…You know “Internet sites” and news reports picked up by the fillings in my teeth. Hey, Rascal, can you give me a hand constructing one of those aluminum foil hats. I want to improve my reception while screening out the brainwashing that I am getting from that CIA satellite orbiting over my apartment building. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Bush is evil. America is bad. There were no weapons of mass destruction. Must bring Saddam back. Oh nevermind, guess it’s working.

Unfortunately, it really isn’t the “new reporting style”. The tradition of crappy journalism goes back many generations. Look what they did to the DC-10, not to mention to Douglas Aircraft. Oh, and “Remember the Maine”.

Looks like we may be seeing the back of one of the BBC reporters who insistently claimed that Blair “sexed” up his weapons reports. Apparently the reporter and editor sexed up their version of the news. When will all of this end?!

Bush evil. Saddam good. Bush evil. Saddam good. US bad. Cuba good. North Korea misunderstood, defenseless, pushed to the wall. Saddam good. Sharon bad. Qaddafi good. Wahabbis misunderstood. Jews bad. Israel terrorists. Wow these hats work great Rascal and I LOVE reading I have learned so many fascinating new things. Did you know that the United States is responsible for ALL the pollution in the world in addition to the POVERTY in Africa? Wow, there was a war back in 1523 but the US was responsible for that too. Amazing. I just love and can you believe how the press is dominated by conservative interests (take the BBC) for example, which has rushed to proclaim the invasion of Iraq to be a good thing at every turn (oh it didn’t) aahhhhhh no wonder this reporter is under the gun. He knows the truth and the corporate interests are AFRAID so they are trying to remove his INDEPENDENT voice to keep the debate shifted on DEFENDING the HOMELAND.