Alternative Archaeology

HOBBY LOBBY FINED FOR IMPORTING STOLEN ARTIFACTS

This week has been such an unusually fruitful week for articles being shared that, today, Saturday, I am still combing through them to decide on what to schedule for blogs this coming week! So I want to thank everyone once again for sharing so many good finds, making the choice of what to blog about more difficult and, in a way, more fun. Some of these articles I have in fact archived for next week, as I may yet blog about them.

But this story had to be at the top of the list. Indeed, when I saw it, there was no doubt in my mind that it was at the top of the "final cuts" folder. So many people found various versions of it that I knew there was something in the aether and that this story would require some attention. So I present some of those various versions that people found for your consideration, before I get to my high octane speculation about the story, with a thank you to all of you who shared these articles and who are following the story:

Hobby Lobby to pay $3 million fine, forfeit smuggled ancient artifacts

Hobby Lobby will pay $3 million, forfeit ancient items smuggled from Iraq

Justice Department sues Hobby Lobby over thousands of looted Iraqi artifacts it bought

Let's begin with the last of these articles, which indicates that Israel and the United Arab Emirates were involved in the deal. What is unclear, of course, is whether the individuals and organizations that functioned as components of the deal were simply located in these countries, or whether they were actually members of their governments. For reasons I'll get to in the high octane speculation, I suspect the latter.

Turning to the second article, we see a picture of a cuneiform tablet from the New York Times, with the caption "Pictured is a cuneiform tablet, one of several artifacts smuggled from Iraq by owners of Hobby Lobby." Then we read:

Prosecutors said in the complaint that Hobby Lobby, whose evangelical Christian owners have long maintained an interest in the biblical Middle East, began in 2009 to assemble a collection of cultural artifacts from the Fertile Crescent. The company went so far as to send its president and an antiquities consultant to the United Arab Emirates to inspect a large number of rare cuneiform tablets — traditional clay slabs with wedge-shaped writing that originated in Mesopotamia thousands of years ago.

In 2010, as a deal for the tablets was being struck, an expert on cultural property law who had been hired by Hobby Lobby warned company executives that the artifacts might have been looted from historical sites in Iraq and that a failing to determine their heritage could break the law.

Despite these words of caution, the prosecutors said, Hobby Lobby bought more than 5,500 artifacts — the tablets and clay talismans and so-called cylinder seals — from an unnamed dealer for $1.6 million in December 2010.

Now, this really captured my attention, not for what it is saying, but rather, for what it seems to be carefully avoiding saying, namely, that these cuneiform tablets and cylinder seals might be some of the missing loot from the Baghdad Museum Looting, about which I have written in my books and blogged about. I have always been suspicious of the whole events for several reasons, and it's worth recalling those reasons: (1) People dressed in American uniforms were seen by others going into the museum and removing things. Whether they were actually American soldiers or merely people dressed in American uniforms is a moot point. I have suspected the latter, and that the looting was a false flag, because (2) the story of the looting and people dressed in American uniforms was broken - as far as I am aware - by Germany's Der Spiegel magazine, a point which puts a rather funny light on the whole event, for as I have pointed out numerous times, the French and Germans had several archaeological teams in Iraq at the behest of Saddam Hussein's government, digging up the Iraqi desert. These teams would have kept field catalogues of their discoveries, including brief notes about the contents of any cuneiform tablets they unearthed. Of course, when the US and UK and its "allies" went into Iraq during operation Desert Storm, the French and Germans were advised to remove their archaeological teams. The unwritten part of this story is that the German intelligence, the BND (Bundesnachrichtendienst) maintained a presence in the country, and hence, in my speculations previously advanced, would have been capable of mounting a looting of the Museum with personnel in American uniforms. (3) When the Museum looting was studied, experts came to the conclusion that it was an "inside job" since the looters apparently were interested in specific things and knew exactly where to go to get them, in spite of the fact that many items had not, apparently, been entered into the Museum catalogue.

(4) Then came the U.S.-led recovery operation led by Marine Colonel Bagdonovich, which, in terms of the art works recovered, was quite successful. But as I mentioned at the time, something disturbed me, and this was the fact that the missing cuneiform tablets had seemed to drop completely out of the story, while the world's newspapers concentrated on supplying us with pictures of dazzling and beautiful ancient Mesopotamian art works that had been recovered. Faced with golden crowns and jewelry, thousands of dusty brown clay tablets really weren't very sensational, and I suspected then, and still do now, that that was the whole point: the really important loot was the tablets, not the art works.

The tablets, in other words, had dropped right off the radar, until a few years later, several thousands apparently turned up in Spain, causing a rumpus between Madrid and Baghdad, because Madrid did not want to return them. I say apparently turned up in Spain, because, like so often in these stories, we are never presented with the chain of evidence concerning these tablets to document the claim that they were, indeed, recently looted.  And so it is here: we're supposed to believe that Hobby Lobby was the final step in a chain of custody from Iraq, to Israel and the Emirates, to the USA. But in order to establish this, it would seem to me that one would have to have an itemized inventory of what was on the tablets, or a photo record of each one, and then establish that the specific tablets in question were in the possession of each of the alleged participants.   So the question remains open: were these tablets part of the original Baghdad Museum Looting haul (or any associated looting activity at that time?) and what is on said tablets that would make Hobby Lobby want to buy them (and then, sell some of them)?

All this brings me to my high octane speculation of the day, for in the first article we read that this may not have been a "simple mistake" on Hobby Lobby's part:

Ancient cuneiform tablets and clay bullae from modern-day Iraq were smuggled into the United States through the United Arab Emirates and Israel, JOD officials said. With Hobby Lobby’s consent they were falsely labeled as “ceramics” and “samples” and illegally shipped to Hobby Lobby stores and two corporate offices, according to the DOJ.

Cuneiform is an ancient system of writing on clay tablets that was used in Mesopotamia, according to the DOJ, and clay bullae are balls of clay on which seals have been imprinted.

“In 2009, Hobby Lobby began acquiring a variety of historical Bibles and other artifacts. Developing a collection of historically and religiously important books and artifacts about the Bible is consistent with the company’s mission and passion for the Bible,” said a Hobby Lobby statement. (Emphasis added)

We are told that the haul was not simply cuneiform tablets, but cylinder seals and so on, and that all this interest was because of Hobby Lobby's interest in the bible. Cylinder seals were used in Mesopotamia as a way of sealing documents; they would be equivalent to today's corporate seals, or monarchial or hierarchical seals of a king, nobleman, or bishop, and thus they are rather important from a legal point of view. They could, potentially, be seals that once belonged to Mesopotamian dynasties (and I'll let the reader run wild with speculation on that possibility... I don't think I need to say any more). What interests me rather is the allegation that these items were intentionally mislabeled, and therefore that the intention was to smuggle them into this country. That implies, to my speculative mind, a further intention to possibly remove more "intriguing" or perhaps even "offending" tablets from public view and scrutiny, while benefiting a narrow circle of insiders studying the contents of these objects. And what better way to do it than through corporate cutouts. I've even entertained the notion that the real reason Saddam Hussein was hung was that he may already have been briefed on the possible "sensational contents" of some of the things being dug up in his country's deserts, and that he simply had to be permanently silenced. After all, it was he who invited those archaeological teams to Iraq in the first place.

And, as always, we're still waiting for these media to report on the contents of these tablets, or at least, direct us to links where we may view each and every one, and to sites where - if any translations have been made - we can read what's on them. I suspect if that were to happen, we'd be reading a lot of ordinary business transactions, a bit like reading someone's checkbook register. The "juicy" stuff has probably been carefully removed from public view... and perhaps found its way into a corporate vault somewhere between Baghdad and here.

The sad bottom line is, that the looting of antiquities from Iraq is a story that just keeps on giving.

See you on the flip side...

14 thoughts on “HOBBY LOBBY FINED FOR IMPORTING STOLEN ARTIFACTS”

  1. That pesky Baghdad Battery that was making “archeologists” uncomfortable with it’s refusal to rest quaintly inside their ridiculous narrative on our earth-human history is another artifact that is missing from that looting. Even wikipedia completely glosses over where the item is currently located.

    Back on track, David Green is just an eccentric and rich christian fundamentalist. He saw an oppurtunity to get his hands on some ancient goodies and took it. Then House Bauer, the feifdom in Tel Aviv, went after the artifacts. I doubt those old, northern iraqis playing at being Israelites liked the idea of a christian outside of their little gang appropriating their national treasures.

    After all, the machinations of House Bauer include the Syria land-grab. This will connect Israel with their other covertly-owned property: Iraq (since 1991). Their ancient homeland. They consider these relics to be their property.

    Vornigold
    itrasheverything.com

  2. There appears to be a great deal of “follow the money” potential to this story and I’m gathering a lot of information in that regard. Let me know if it would be helpful to your efforts.

  3. This is the evangelical equivalent of smuggling rhino horns. I’m sure all the good stuff ended up elsewhere and these tablets and seals do not hold any revelations. And as for the content of the good stuff, I seriously doubt there is anything there that would impact the world in any event, apart from the off chance of finding a new fragment of the doings of the Sumerian gods.

    1. Dang it! My thumb hit ‘report comment’ on this android hand-held.

      Anyways, I agree. The problem didn’t arise for Green because of what’s on/in the artifacts. Green got nailed because of who owns the artifacts.

  4. Personal feelings aside.. (somewhere along the same lines of disgust and despair as the spanish burning aztec codex’s… this is OUR history you greedy SOB..) ok.. so personal feelings displayed on a public forum… but this article shows a good summary of the Babylonian looting..
    http://www.culturekiosque.com/art/news/baghdadmuseum.html

    I really recommend reading this – it puts the ‘artworks found’ into context, they found the stuff that was randomly looted.
    I’d like to quote 2 paragraphs that are really important..
    “The third category, the third dynamic at play here are the over 10,000 pieces from the basement storage room. It is simply inconceivable that this area was found, breached and entered, or that the unmarked keys were found by anyone who did not have an intimate, insider’s knowledge of the museum and its storage practices in general, and of that corner of the basement and the contents of those specific, unmarked, nondescript cabinets in particular.”
    ******************************
    “INCONCEIVABLE” – They knew what they were going for, where it was and even though they were in non descrpit wooden crates, they were bee lined in on and taken.. As far as I’m concerned, Dr F has hit it on the nose. The War in Irak, was never about 911, or ‘WMD’ or little vials of white powder.. eh Mr Powell??
    The towers came down for a circus stunt to get the American Army into Baghdad.
    *******************************
    “Turning to the 10,000 smaller cylinder seals and pieces of jewelry stolen from the basement, this requires a different approach. Because these items are not necessarily and immediately recognizable as contraband or evidence of criminality, the first goal must be the education of the international, national and local law enforcement authorities in the identification of these artifacts”
    *******************************

    But this story didnt just break today – the tiles have actually been under investigation since 2011… And the Greens.. (Evangelical little angels) well.. read this article and you’ll see : http://www.thedailybeast.com/exclusive-feds-investigate-hobby-lobby-boss-for-illicit-artifacts

    “If someone looking to bring antiquities into the U.S. knows that the artifacts should never have left their country of origin, or lack proper provenance, the only way to get them through customs is to lie: about the country of origin, about the country of export, about the value, about the identity.”

    “What’s more, however, in the summer of 2010, Patty Gerstenblith, a law professor at DePaul University working in the area of cultural heritage, met privately with the Greens in order to explain to them precisely these issues: how to do due diligence with regard to provenance and how to watch out for legal complications with regard to antiquities sales.”

    So.. Mr Green knew EXACTLY what he was doing.. and EXACTLY what he needed to do to get the tablets PAST CUSTOMS… which is to say – lie about the value of the goods and try to mis-identify them to get them through the informal entry process. And just to make sure, they consulted a professor of law…

    “Ohh.. but I didnt know.. it was a logistical error… ” (THOU shalt not Lie! ROFL – two faced snidey hypocritical piece of … )

    Ok, so they got about 5000 cylinder seals, etc in 2011..the looting took place in April 2003.. So at the very very very very very very very very very very very very least… … …. Mr Green should be charged with financing international terrorism… at the very least.. (he should have gone through the Clinton Fondation to pay IS IS, they’d have even provided international logistic through NATO and the US army… no pesky customs when dealing with human (and organ.. and drug.. and archeological artifacts.. lets not put it past them…) trafficking via Dyncorp and the CIA.. sorry – Im ranting…
    But I think that the juicy stuff got sucked up by the Army, and the really good stuff would not have been sold and shipped through customs.. ‘They’ (dont know who, just they..) wouldnt have allowed it and dont have to depend on civilian logistics.. So I think that maaaaaaybe.. these cylinders could be from the storage rooms and not the seals from the basement.. which would have been taken by the US Army.. and those ones would not have been for sale.

    But definately one question that needs to be asked… This Green guy wants BIBLES for his museum… Excentric millionaire or not.. It makes no sense for him to buy cuneform tablets where they are just listing how many sheep were brought to the temple, etc.. What religious texts were written on these tablets..

    1. I dont know if Saddam Hussein found a UFO.. or maybe dug up a Vimana in a sumerian tomb.. but here it looks (to me..) like the TR-3B in action in Irak..

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p211nI2yMH4
      (at 1:05 round about, camera pans up and you see the tell-tale 3 lights in triangular formation)

      Well. I suspect enormously.. that some kind of Alien or at least paleo ancient (:)) technology was discovered in Irak and shipped back to Fort Bragg..

  5. Much of the ‘recovered’ material may not be from the Baghdad museum. After the second Gulf War concluded, essentially ALL the government protection of archeological sites was withdrawn. Looters have been having a field day (pun) since then. Various observers report blatant stripping of important sites, especially ones identified and partially-uncovered by archeologists. (As Joseph indicated, there could even be a case made for dark-side archeologists saying ‘go to Pit B, look to the left, and bring that object here’ to various local parties.) Sad.

    The big question in my mind is: what do ‘evangelical Christians’ have to do with Baghdad, et al? That area is far away and far removed in time from any Biblical action (except the captivity phase). Something is ‘rotten in Denmark’ here…

  6. Robert Barricklow

    From the get go I suspected cut outs being used in this purposed removing of “our” history from those pesky public eyes. In fact, this burning of the library of Alexandria syndrome, is replete throughout “our” history. As if its been an ancient mission imprinted into/onto the DNA of Dark Forces aligned against humanity’s spiritual being.

  7. marcos toledo

    Just wondering how Hobby Lobby is going to talk their way out of being fronts for who ever they are really serving. They make wonderful fallguys for the real PBTT who are orchestrating this heist more of our collective true history disappearing down the memory into the vaults of the PTSB.

  8. Someone must have pictures of these tablets somewhere….

    There must be pictures that tourists have taken of the tablets from the museum, I know most of them wouldn’t have been on display but even still there’s gotta be some accidental intel somewhere!

    1. Well Katie I’m sure that Mr HobbyLobby has had photos, videos and translations made! In Italy, when important stolen treasures are recovered, the police put them on display and publish photos and descriptions. The question is, will the US authorities be doing this now? Or would this violate “Babylonian copyright laws”?

      1. or be “unavailable due to it’s content” like I am finding at archive.org in my judaic studies. books written by judaics and hardly un-nice. too many juicy details I suspect. I love Juicy, left high and dry.

  9. Bottom line: important history lost again for us mundanes and will be replaced by social engineering memes put out by our beloved psychopaths.

    I wonder if some cylinder sealed things contain documents referring to the depravity of some cultures of ancient times. Full of ancient rituals even today’s magicians could not dream up and simply drool over.

  10. The story of the Mesopotamian treasures just won’t go away. In this case however there is official legal action involved. I’m not sure what the rules are but the documents regarding this should be made public immediately. Or am I being a little optimistic? Oh and by the way the billionaire hobby-king has had these “Biblical” items in his possession for a number of years, time to do a lot of things with them, and after paying a fine of five hundred for each item will (presumably) be handing them over – but just where they will end up is not clear.

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