Sunday, October 24, 2010

Wikileaks Provides Evidence Linking Illicit Iraqi Antiquities to Weapons Sales

More proof, on top of what Matthew Bogdanos has reported, that looted antiquities were part of the revenue stream for the same folks that were/are supplying weapons to insurgents in Iraq:

(FRIENDLY ACTION) RAID RPT : ___ INJ/DAM

2007-12-07 00:00:00

A FORCE FROM THE NATIONAL SECURITY ALONG WITH A FORCE FROM THE CRIMINAL ___ ONE OF THE HOUSES AFTER RECEIVING SOME TIPS THAT THEIR IS SOME ILLEGAL ___ ( SELLING WEAPONS AND ANTIQUES) THE HOUSE LOCATED AT ___ KUT - BAGHDAD ___ ROAD THEY ALSO FOUND A , ___ ,FOUR MORTAR , AND TWO GRENADES FOR ATTACKS.THEY ALSO CAPTURED ___ SUSPECTS.

5 comments:

Wayne G. Sayles said...

This is really lame. I'm disappointed that a person of your stature would resort to something this petty to "prove" a nebulous point.

Larry Rothfield said...

I'm confused at your comment, Wayne. Are you saying this is not further evidence of what Bogdanos has also asserted? Or that it is inadequate evidence to prove that illicit antiquities were being smuggled or sold by the same folks who also selling mortars and grenades "for attack"? How much evidence do you require? Or, if you accept that this report shows that illicit antiquities were being trafficked by the same people who were supplying mortars and grenades to be used very likely to attack American soldiers, is that simply a "petty" concern for you?

To me, what this report shows is that if the US military had wanted to, it could have either a) stopped looting of sites, which would have cut down on a revenue source for criminals who were also supplying weaponry to the insurgents, and/or b) used antiquities to track and then take down the smuggling network, which would have also meant taking down at least some of those involved in supplying weaponry to insurgents. But we didn't do either of these things.

rahixenbaugh said...

Absurd and Illogical:
Iraq has a billion dollar oil industry, as does Iran and Saudi Arabia. This is where terrorism's funding originates - in our own gas tanks. Not in cuneiform tablets that rarely sell for more than a few hundred dollars a piece. Mesopotamian artifacts have become virtually unsellable to a collecting community that is acutely aware of provenance after the debacle of the Iraq Museum. People don't want to buy stolen property, its a bad investment. The myth of the diabolical collector paying millions of dollars for cuneiform tablets is just that. If cartons of socks were found in an Iraqi insurgent's safe house would we assume that they were the source of terrorist funding as well. Lazy research fashioned around a preconcieved narrative - again.

Larry Rothfield said...

No one is saying that antiquities are the sole or even the major source of funding for terrorism. That would be absurd. But it is clear that they are *a* source for revenue -- these are not socks but items that are worth more because they are rare and someone is interested in buying them. It may well be the case that American and British collectors have stopped buying unprovenanced Mesopotamian artifacts, but if there weren't a market for them somewhere the guys caught with the mortars for sale would not have been moving antiquities. It would be absurd and illogical to think otherwise.

rahixenbaugh said...

OK, 'a' source. So a less misleading title for this post could have been, "Amid tens of thousands of files, only a single very tenuous link between antiquities and weapons could be found, suggesting antiquities account for miniscule fraction of weapon sale funding." But that would be the opposite of what you are trying to prove.