My thanks to a regular reader here, Ms. P.H., for sharing this article, for it's a subject near and dear to my heart: the looting of antiquities and the suppression of information contained in some of them. Readers familiar with my various books will be aware that I have maintained that the Baghdad Museum looting during the last Western invasion of Iraq is more than suspicious on a number of accounts. Most people who have studied the matter are agreed that it was an inside job, myself included. Where I part company with most other people is that unlike them I do not necessarily think that it is an inevitable conclusion that the looting was done by members of the last military alliance - i.e., by "covert teams" of intelligence operatives of the USA or the UK.
Indeed, I have argued at times that France or Germany could be equal culprits, given the teams of French and German archaeologists and Assyriologists assisting the regime of Saddam Hussein in uncovering and cataloging ancient Iraqi sites.
But howsoever one parses the looting itself, it is the aftermath that has intrigued me even more, for as I have also pointed out, the efforts of US Marine Col. Bogdanovich to recover and restore some of the looted items appears - to this researcher anyway - to be a successful effort that was turned into a cover story to mask the non-return of certain items. What do I mean by this?
Simply this: when one attempts to research the whole sorry episode of the Baghdad Museum looting, one quickly discovers an odd discrepancy, for the items returned to the museum are largely objets d'arte, and not cuneiform tablets. Indeed, we don';t really know if any tablets were looted, but my suspicion has always been that they were, and that these items have not been returned. Indeed, a few years ago I blogged about the Iraqi government's attempts to recovered some eighty-thousand plus cuneiform tablets form the government of Spain that had been stolen from Iraq . Spain did not steal them, but was not moving too quickly to restore them, and no one seemed to be asking the essential questions: how did the tablets get to Spain in the first place? Why wasn't Spain returning them? And what was on the tablets?
I have advanced the high octane speculation that recovery of ancient knowledge may have been one of the objectives of the Anglo-American incursion into Iraq, and that perhaps as an added bonus or parallel objective, that the French and German archaeologists and Assyriologists were essentially told by the invaders that it would be a good idea for them to get out and go home...
I remain almost alone in maintaining this scenario, though there are a few others, and all of us have at one time or another been ridiculed for entertaining such an admittedly radical hypothesis.
Except, now, there's this bit of news:
What is noteworthy about this article is contained in its opening paragraph: thousands of cuneiform tablets are leaving Iraq. Doubtless some of this is via a black market, but black markets and antiquities smuggling - particularly on such a scale - implies something disturbing, at least, to my bystander's mind: it requires organization, money, and contacts, such as only intelligence services are likely to provide. Which raises in its roundabout way once again just why such a program would be of interest to them.
There is a second question raised, and it is also the obvious one: how do we know that all these looted tablets are indeed ending up in places where they might be translated? There is not a shred of proof for what I am about to suggest, but I suggest it nonetheless: any such network as can organize the international looting and distribution of such antiquities will probably vett such tablets for their basic content... and withhold any deemed to contain important information. And there are, of course, indications that there are such hidden influences and players at work... but no one wants to talk about those within academia, and few even in the alternative research community are aware of it. It is, perhaps, the story that is best told elsewhere. But the questions remain: who is orchestrating this massive cultural theft? Where are the tablets going? and most of all, why is it being done?
See you on the flip side...