Monday, June 26, 2006

Iraq - BBC spreads looting myth

The vaunted BBC, with it's multi-million pounds and thousands of jornalists, repeats a myth surrounding the bogus story of looting of the antiquities at the Iraq National Museum. And they repeat the lie that American troops stood by and did nothing. Here's what Lisa Jardine writes on the BBC's website.

Following the invasion of Iraq, the world watched in horror as the National Museum in Baghdad - left vulnerable and unguarded - was ransacked by looters, who removed any artefact that could be carried away, and destroyed or damaged many more in situ.

American troops posted to protect the nearby Oil Ministry and its documents - judged crucial for the functioning of Iraq's oil industry - did nothing.

What is now Iraq was once the cradle of civilisation. The astonishing remains of its ancient peoples are an important part of our western civilisation. Amid the disorder of war they became the West's responsibility. How could we have failed to protect Iraq's unique and precious cultural heritage?

Well Lisa, how could the "world watch" something that didn't happen? How could US soldiers stand by and do nothing about something that wasn't happening? How could looters remove things that weren't there?

Here's what the Telegraph (UK) reports on this bogus story.

Officials at the National Museum of Iraq have blamed shoddy reporting amid the "fog of war" for creating the impression that the majority of the institution's 170,000 items were looted in the aftermath of the fall of Baghdad.

A carefully prepared storage plan, used in the Iran-Iraq war and the first Gulf war, ensured that tens of thousands of pieces were saved, they said. They now believe that the number of items taken was in the low thousands, and possibly hundreds.

"Reporters came in and saw empty shelves and reached the conclusion that all was gone. But before the war we evacuated all of the small pieces and emptied the show cases except for fragile or heavy material that was difficult to move." Some pieces were hidden in the vaults of the central bank and others at secret locations, he added.

How about a retraction and an apology Lisa?

Ironically, I stumbled upon this report when reading this BBC report about blogs and announcing the BBC's new "Editors" blog. The report says this:

If you believe the hype, blogs are as significant as the invention of the printing press for their ability to change the way the world will be seen. If on the other hand you believe the counter-hype, blogs are a self-indulgence which pander to dull people's misguided beliefs that they have something interesting to say.

You mean like documenting the BBC's bias?

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