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Government Gazette

Six years after US-UK invasion:

Iraq remains a country robbed of its precious heritage

Most countries in the world were against this war, but they couldn’t speak out their minds due to political, economic and other reasons. There were passionate pleas from political and religious leaders, including the then Pope, against the war. Political activists, intellectuals and men and women from all walks of life, from Sydney, Melbourne and Jakarta to London, Paris. Berlin, Rome and cities all over the US, came out in their thousands in the shivering cold to demonstrate their opposition to the war.

Six years after the United States led invasion Iraq remains a country robbed of its very valuable heritage carefully preserved over several centuries and all valuable documents to ensure the smooth functioning of a society burnt and destroyed.

Yet former President George Bush dispatched his troops to invade Iraq. One of the first things the invading troops did was to plunder its precious heritage when its national museums and archives were robbed of their priceless relics and documents.

Under this well-organised cultural crime, described as “the worst cultural catastrophe of all time”, US soldiers stood by and watched, as invaluable historic artefacts were openly robbed from the Iraqi National Museum in Baghdad. Earlier US troops did nothing to stop the pillaging of Babylon, the cradle of civilisation regarded as one of the seven wonders of the world, when looters removed precious items for more than two weeks. A pattern of looting began everywhere the day the US troops entered the area.

Archaeologist and Guide, Ahmed Al Ibrahim stated that “looters entered on the same day when the US troops arrived. Museum authorities and archaeologists transferred many of their cherished heirlooms of Babylon into the vaults of Baghdad’s National Museum for safety but, there too, these items were looted systematically the day US troops entered the city”.

Within weeks around 170,000 items, including the Warqa Vase of 3500 BC, the bull’s head of Ur and the squatting Akkadian King of 2300BC, were missing. Lamenting over this pillage, British MP Boris Johnson, also the editor of The Spectator, cried his heart out when he said, “it fills me with rage to think that at least some of the spoils of Iraq’s National Museum will, in all likelihood, end up as the bibelots in the brownstone of some bankers in New York”.

How can the US accuse the people of looting because Dr. Irving Finkle of the Ancient Near East Department of the British Museum pointed out that “at least four of the looted objects were so vast - such as a larger-than-life sculpture of an Assyrian king - that it would have taken a fork-lift to move them”?

The question is who robbed them? Within days it became clear that American journalists and certainly invading troops were involved in this shameful robbery. Just to cite few examples, America’s Fox News Channel fired Benjamin Johnson who was caught smuggling twelve paintings and undeclared Iraqi bounds while Boston Herald reporter Jules Crittenden tried to smuggle a painting and a wall ornament. Subsequently most of these precious items end up in America and Israel with black marketers thriving on the rape of the world’s oldest civilisation. In yet another well-planned cultural crime against humanity, Bush’s cruise missiles, bunker busters and other weapons of mass destruction also destroyed Iraq’s legal system overnight when valuable documents such as birth certificates, land titles, criminal records, marriage certificates, business agreements, school records, vehicle registrations and even drivers’ licenses were used by US troops as campfire fodder.

Cultural crime and destruction had been systematic, and the US Army’s Judge Advocate General (JAG) Captain Joe Fitzgerald said they would assist in establishing the court system on a Kosovo style model - under its policy of first destroy and then build by American companies with Iraqi money . But six years later today the legal system remains in shamble in Iraq where law and order not only collapsed but almost disappeared as the gangs trained, armed and financed by America were allowed to take the law into their hands.



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