On the 1st of December, „Georgia and the world" published an article titled "American soldiers stole about 130 thousand ancient artifacts from Iraq”. The introduction indicates that American soldiers were engaged in vandalism and looting in Iraq. The stated source is a Russian newspaper «Arguments and Facts», which in turn directs us to the "Свободная пресса” (Free Press) portal. The latter link contains an article published on the 18th september, 2003: „ American soldiers robbed 130 000 ancient artifacts". The article states that the Stringer International Bureau of Investigation experts presented details of the US Army to the «Arguments and Facts» newspaper during Iraq’s occupation –details referring to the destruction of a heritage, coming from the ancient civilization of Mesopotamia. The publication claims, that Americans began the execution of their plans from the National Museum of Iraq.
Myth Detector offers content that is based on the results of a special investigation team, created by US representatives of various federal agencies (CIA, FBI, US Customs and Immigration Service, US Bureau of Diplomatic Security) regarding the looting of the National Museum. The investigation was led by Col. Matthew Bogdanos. The latter inspection revealed that American soldiers aren’t related to the Baghdad museum robbery.
As for the "Stringer International Bureau of Investigation”, on which the Russian media leans on, its web resources are no longer functional on the internet; however, an extended research doesn’t lead us to an International Investigation Organisaiton, but steers us towards the Russian newspaper "Top Secret” instead.
Robbery of the Baghdad Museum: results of the investigation
In March of 2003, a coalition of international forces, led by the USA, launched the military operation "Iraqi Freedom”, against Dictator Saddam Hussein and his regime. On the 5th April 2003, parts of the US Army entered the capital of Iraq, Baghdad. The heavy fighting that took place in the city created a suitable environment for looting. Indeed, one of the main targets for the raiders had become the National Museum of Iraq. On the 8th of April, the employees of the museum evacuated the building, since its location was of great significance from a tactical point of view, turning it into one of the main fighting sites of the Iraqi government forces. The administration staff wasn’t able to return to the museum territory until the 12th April.
Fact #1. US forces were located away from the museum territory during its looting.
Inspection revealed that the robbery occurred from 11:00 a.m of 8th April, until noon of 12th. This was the only time period when the museum was neither protected by the US forces, nor by its staff. On the 8th of April, the Units of the US forces were located 24 000 m away north-west from the museum. The first time the US forces entered the territory was on 16th April, at 10:00 a.m. Prior to this, the closest American soldiers had come to the museum grounds was on 9th April, 800 km away from the west. At that moment, units of the Iraqi army had already penetrated and settled on the museum territory, opening fire on the US forces from there.
Fact #2. The National Museum of Iraq was robbed by three different groups, instead of one. The latter groups were mainly made up of professionals, as well as marauders.
Fact #3. Contrary to the belief diffused by the media, the robbery resulted in the disappearance of 14 000 items, not 170 000.
The primal source of the data was Nedhal Amin, declared by the media as the deputy director at the National Museum. His assertion about the disappearance of 170 000 items was additionally picked up and used by the international media (Reuters, BBC, Daily Telegraph (London), Voice of America). However in reality, Nedhal Amin wasn’t even an employee in the museum, let alone its deputy director. Indeed, the museum staff stated that part of the national treasure was handed to Saddam Hussein’s government, before April of 2003. Moreover, part of the artifacts were stored in a special hiding place by the museum staff itself.
Fact #4.The US military forces wouldn’t have been able to defend the Iraqi National Museum in the time frame of 8-12th April, since:
- Iraqi armed forces had opened fire from the building of the Museum. A counter attack from the US forces would have only compromised the Museum, resulting in potential casualties.
- Had the American forces penetrated the territory, despite the risk of losing lives, they would have been obligated to open fire on unarmed marauders, which is unimaginable, as the US Army operates within international war laws and regulations, which prohibit them from firing at unarmed citizens, even when these individuals are committing illegal acts.
Restitution of Lost Treasure
Thanks to the efforts made by the US investigation group, 5 359 items out of 13 856 lost were returned to the Museum. The investigation team collaborated with US Armed Forces, Interpol, Scotland Yard, as well as the US, Jordan and Quwait Customs, Italian Carabinieri, the British Museum staff, and Iraqi citizens.
Chart 1. Restitution of lost treasure based on January 2005 data
Who are the "Stringer International Bureau of Investigation” experts?
In a "Свободная пресса” (Free Press) article, the main source of the Iraqi National Museum looting is invoked to be the "Stringer International Bureau of Investigation” experts. The link ru.fbii.org which is a transfer to the organization’s website is not functional.
As a result of the research done on the archives of the Bureau’s website, the organization’s main mission is to fight against the USA:
The "Stringer International Bureau of Investigation” unites independent intellectuals, politologists and journalists –everyone, who wishes to bring truth to the people, about the mighty and dark empire –the United States of America.
ru.fbii.org was publishing articles in Spanish, Russian and English. Its domain FBII.ORG was created in 2010. It is registered in the Netherlands by some Augustin Torres. For its part, when indicating the domain fbii.org, Google search engine displays the website www.sovsekretno.ru, created in 1989 for the "Совершенно секретно” (Top Secret) newspaper. According to their website, the newspaper is published in the following cities: Almaty, Kiev, Riga, Tartu, Khabarovsk and Tbilisi. FBII.ORG is cited as one of the authors of "Совершенно секретно”
he material is created based on the United States Investigation Group’s chief, Col. Matthew Bogdanos’ publication "Casualties of War: Truth and the Iraq Museum”, which was issued in the 109th edition of American journal of archeology. See the full publication on the JSTOR electronic library forum.
Prepared by Dali Kurdadze