Mr. C.D.M. spotted this story on China's Xinhua news agency site, and I want to talk about it for today's high octane speculation:
This is, by now, a familiar pattern, or rather, interpretation of events: terrorist groups traffic in illegal artifacts as a means of funding their operations, and behind such groups, one has state actors: France, the USA, and so on:
The Syrian Foreign Ministry on Monday condemned what it called the "illegal excavations" in historic sites in northern Syria by the United States, France and Turkey, state news agency SANA reported.
The excavations are being carried out in the northern cities of Manbij and Afrin in Aleppo Province as well as in ancient sites in the northern cities of Idlib, Hasakah and Raqqa.
The ministry said it has information that the illegal excavation work has been increased in the areas where the aforementioned forces have a presence and a clout over local militia groups.
The pattern is as old as western imperialism itself: the Middle East has been plundered by a kind of "archeology imperialism" by France (think of Napoleon Bonaparte's expedition to Egypt, occasion of the discovery of the Rosetta Stone and its deciphering by Champollion), Prussia-Germany (think of the Prussian Academy's drawings of the actual entrance to the Great Pyramid and its strange markings or glyphs, or Von Schliemann's discovery of Troy. Von Schliemann, it might be added, challenged the assumptions of the day that Troy was a fiction invented by Homer, but rather that it actually existed, and used clues in Homer to find it.). Or, more recently, think of the Baghdad Museum looting, and the alleged recovery of its artifacts, a story which never seems to mention the still-unaccounted for cuneiform tablets, or the recent story of Hobby Lobby trying to acquire some tablets under highly questionable circumstances. I'm on record both on this website and in a few of my books as advancing the theory that the Baghdad Museum looting was more than a bit suspicious. I've even entertained the idea that the G.W. Bush administration's argument that Saddam Hussein was developing weapons of mass destruction, when none were subsequently forthcoming from the American invasion of that country, may have been a bit of very clever misdirection: the USA may have been looking for weapons of mass destruction, but didn't find any of the conventional chemical, atomic, or biological variety, which is what most people think when they encounter the phrase or recall the story. But ancient weapons of mass destruction, or information about them, is off most people's radar. But that is, indeed, one of the agendas that I think is at work, perhaps to discover the ancient Tablets of Destinies referred to in Mesopotamian texts in contexts that suggest some sort of weapon of mass destruction was at work. I have entertained that a similar agenda is covertly at work behind the space program, with probes to the Moon, Mars, and most recently, the curiously named asteroid Bennu (which is also, I might add, a curiously shaped asteroid which intriguing "stuff" on its surface).
So, it should come as no surprise, if this covert "imperial archeology" game is indeed at work, that Syria would enter the picture, and how better than to conduct such an agenda than under the cover of terrorist groups trading in artifacts to fund their operations? It's a useful "cut-out" and cover story for such an agenda. So is it going on in Syria?
Well, consider this. In a remarkable little book The Sumerian Controversy: A Special Report: The Elite Power Structure behind the Latest Discovery Near Ur, Dr. Heather Lynn recounts the strange power structure behind the excavations near Tell Khaiber in southern Iraq, a power structure that included an oil company in Texas(!) (p. 23), with connections to the widely known accounting firm Price Waterhouse and Lorne Thyssen of the German Thyssen family (p. 25), which of course had connections to Prescott Bush, whose son GHW was a Texas oilman, and whose own son, G.W., launched the Iraq invasion. Among some of the tablets found at the site, some allegedly contained information about Babylonian bloodlines. (p. 36). Oh and did I mention that the oil company in question also had a significant block bought by... the Russians. You just can't make this stuff up.
So do I suspect that a similar network might be at work in Syria to explore and "recover" artifacts?
Yes I do.
See you on the flip side...