Interpol and FBI agents who have been brought in to investigate believe the most valuable pieces were stolen to order, and are already on their way to Europe, America or Japan. "The vaults where the best pieces are kept, were opened with keys," says McGuire Gibson, the president of the American Association for Research in Baghdad. "Looters coming in off the streets, don't usually have keys, do they? It appears to have been a deliberate, planned action. My feeling is that it was organised abroad."
Witnesses have spoken of seeing well-dressed men with walkie-talkies at the scene, and of artefacts being transported away in orderly convoys of vans rather than over the heads of the crowd. "We already have reports of exhibits being offered for sale in Switzerland and Japan," says Karl-Heinz Kind, Interpol's specialist officer for art and antiquity trafficking. "Even in a war zone, even with the country practically sealed off, these things can move with incredible speed."
Sunday, April 20, 2003
More on the looting of the Baghdad museum.
Posted by Betsy Newmark at 8:26 PM