Babylon, home of King Nebuchadnezzar, the Tower of Babel and the Hanging Gardens, is now a camp for 2,500 multinational troops.
The partly restored ancient city has been closed to visitors after Iraqi archaeologists found American Marines had bulldozed a 100 square metre [0.1 hectare] plot of land, above the buried remains of ancient homes, to create a helicopter landing-pad
Ancient kingdom cities destroyed by looting and military campaign
By Talek Harris
Wednesday, July 7, 2004
BABYLON â€” The last remains of some of mankind's earliest cities have virtually disappeared through unprecedented looting triggered by the US-led invasion of Iraq, experts said.
Lawlessness and instability have accelerated a process that started in the 1990s but has now reached critical levels, with dozens of archaeological sites plundered to extinction in the past year.
And the presence of US-led troops in one of the world's most glorious ancient capitals has not helped either.
The ancient people of Iraq, often described as the cradle of civilisation, are credited with inventing the wheel, writing and mathematics and developing a culture and history which has resonated through the ages.
"It's one of the major, major tragedies around the world. We have basically lost most of the ancient cities of Sumer," said Chicago-based professor McGuire Gibson, referring to one of man's earliest civilisations which dates back to around 3,000 BC.
"There's a culture of looting which has never been on this scale before â€” it's totally unprecedented. In this last year we have lost more sites than ever before."
Gibson, who has been visiting Iraq since the 1960s, said an Istanbul conference on the destruction last month was "shocked" by aerial photographs showing the desecration of sites in the months after the invasion.
"Everybody is shocked at what happened. They couldn't believe the pictures we were showing of the damage to the sites," he said, adding that "dozens" of sites had been lost.
"These are capitals of early kingdoms. It's an incredible loss," Gibson said.
Chiara Dezzi Bardeschi, an Iraq cultural expert with the United Nations Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), said the situation had reached a crisis point.
"After the recent war the condition of sites is really critical," she said.
"It wasn't something that was completely new but the dimensions of this process are completely unexpected."
The war has also had a direct impact on some areas.
Babylon, home of King Nebuchadnezzar, the Tower of Babel and the Hanging Gardens, is now a camp for 2,500 multinational troops.
The partly restored ancient city has been closed to visitors after Iraqi archaeologists found American Marines had bulldozed a 100 square metre [0.1 hectare] plot of land, above the buried remains of ancient homes, to create a helicopter landing-pad.
"You can see mounds of earth on both sides [of the landing pad] and I think it's very big damage," said Lukasz Oledzki, a resident architect employed by Polish troops now based at Babylon.
"You can see ancient pottery and bricks on both sides. I know they destroyed something from the sixth or seventh century BC."
The damage revelations have hastened the troops' withdrawal from the site, due by the end of the year, but Gibson rejected their argument that they were protecting Babylon from looters.
"It's like Vietnam â€” you have to destroy it to protect it," the professor said.
"Having an army sit right on an archaeological site is absurd. They should never have been allowed to do that."
He said Babylon's problems were just a small part of a country-wide pattern of destruction accentuated by the war and fed mainly by European dealers working with middlemen in Baghdad, Amman and Kuwait.
"I'm told that the world market is depressed because there's so much Iraqi stuff on the market," he said.
UNESCO's Bardeschi said Iraq's unrivalled cultural legacy had been hard hit by the war, with the national museum losing about 15,000 items in three days of looting in April 2003.
The organisation was spending $500,000 documenting what had already been lost and restore museums and libraries, listing Iraq as a top priority, she said.
A Clash oif Civilizations ? American Hate of History ? or Long Time Preserved Hate of the Ancient Jews ?
The Abu Ghraib images have all the hallmarks of contemporary porn. I received some horrific photographs by email yesterday. Purporting to be from Iraq, they depicted the sexual abuse of women by US servicemen.
I received some horrific photographs by email yesterday. Purporting to be from Iraq, they depicted the sexual abuse of women by US servicemen. On some, chadors were hitched up over the women's heads. On others, the women were naked while they were raped by groups of men. It is impossible to tell whether the photographs are real - those images we know have been seen by American senators - or faked. They make you sick to your stomach. And they look strangely familiar - like the XXX films in hotel rooms, like those "live rape!" emails sent to internet users, like porn.
If the photographs are genuine, they are the visual evidence of the sexual abuse of Iraqi women - abuse which we already know is common, with or without these grotesque images. We know that such images exist, because a US government report confirmed it. And we know that Iraqi women are being raped throughout the country, because both Amal Kadham Swadi, the Iraqi lawyer, and the US's own internal inquiry say that abuse is systemic and widespread. We also know this because all wars feature the abuse of women as a byproduct, or as a weapon. The ancient Greeks considered rape socially acceptable; the Crusaders raped their way to Constantinople; the English invaders raped Scottish women on Culloden Moor. The first world war, the second world war, Bosnia, Bangladesh, Vietnam - where the gangrape and murder of a peasant woman by US soldiers was photographed in stages by one if its participants.
But even if the pictures are mocked up, it makes you wonder where the images came from. Some woman, somewhere, had to be raped, or make it look like she was being raped. The poses, the large numbers of men to one woman, the violence - they have all the hallmarks of contemporary porn. Indeed, there is suspicion that the photos are part of a gruesome new trend - the manufacture of films showing the rape of women dressed as Iraqis by men dressed as US servicemen.
There's a difference, of course, between the making of pornography for money and the photographing of pornographic poses as war trophies: the consent of the woman involved. But to the consumer of these images, there's no way of knowing if there's been consent or not. They look the same.
Modern porn has become increasingly savage. "You're seeing more of these videos of women getting dragged on their faces, and spit on, and having their heads dunked in the toilet," says even pro-porn campaigner Nina Hartley. At the same time, the multibillion-dollar porn film industry, bigger than Hollywood, is widely seen as acceptable; just this week, EastEnders actor Nigel Harman told Heat magazine: "I have always wanted to make porn, I think the industry is very underrated." It is aggressively mainstream.
Nevertheless, right now the American pornography industry is in shock. Not only has the military stolen its thunder, with ritual sexual humiliations of its own performed for the camera, but also three performers have tested positively for HIV, which means that no porn films will be made for 60 days, until all actors are tested. So, in an intriguing quirk of timing, while the making of porn itself is halted, pornography is still being generated - by US soldiers recreating the images many will have seen at home.
Lara Roxx is 18, and arrived in California's San Fernando Valley, the capital of the US porn industry, only days before she contracted HIV. She had moved down from Canada with the aim of making quick money. She was infected while being penetrated anally by two men, simultaneously, neither of whom was wearing a condom. This act is the vogue in pornography today: condoms are rarely used, and the double penetration of a single orifice, whatever the physical consequences or limitations, is seen as hot.
Porn directors are devastated by the news of Roxx's infection. David Brett, CEO of Passion Pictures, told the industry's website, AVN: "I would be mortified if anyone got sick in connection with one of my projects. I have to sleep at night... I would never earn my living at the expense of some other human being's health and safety." So now there is some discussion of compulsory condoms. But there is no discussion of how "healthy" and "safe" it is to brutalise teenagers in the name of entertainment.
Roxx's interview with AVN itself shows the fluidity of "consent" in these matters. "I told [my manager] I wasn't interested in anal at all, and I was a little freaky about the no-condom thing too," she said. On arriving at the film shoot, she was pressured into performing the "double anal" scene by the director, Marc Anthony. She says: "So I get there and Marc Anthony tells me it's a DA, which stands for double anal. And I'm like, 'What? I've never done a double anal'. And he was like, 'Well, that's what we need. It's either that or nothing'. And that's how they do it... I think that sucks, because he knew double anal was dangerous." Later, she says, she was in pain and could not sit down.
It is hard not to see links between the culturally unacceptable behaviour of the soldiers in Abu Ghraib and the culturally accepted actions of what happens in porn. Of course there is a gulf between them, and it is insulting to suggest that all porn actors are in the same situation as Iraqis, confined and brutalised in terrifying conditions. And yet, the images in both are the same.** The pornographic culture has clearly influenced the soldiers; at the very least, in their exhibitionism, their enthusiasm to photograph their handiwork. And the victims in both don't have feelings: to the abusers, they didn't in Abu Ghraib; to the punter they don't in pornography. Both point to just how degraded sex has become in western culture. Porn hasn't even pretended to show loving sex for decades; in films and TV most sex is violent, joyless. The Abu Ghraib torturers are merely acting out their culture: the sexual humiliation of the weak. So Charles Graner and his colleagues can humiliate Iraqi prisoners because the prisoners are dirt; they can humiliate women, forcing them to bare their bodies and raping them, because that way they can show their power.
The annihilation of Lynndie England, while her superior Graner, clearly in control and already with a history of violence against women, was left alone, fits this story too. They are both repulsive, torturers; but she has been vilified for her involvement, while his is passed off with a shrug. Some women in the military - if they are not themselves being raped by male soldiers (in February, US soldiers were accused of raping more than 112 colleagues in Iraq and Afghanistan) - seem to have to prove that they are one of the guys by sexually humiliating the only people less important than they are: Iraqi prisoners, of whatever sex. It's a chilling lesson, that women can be sexual sadists just as well as men. Just give them the right conditions - and someone weaker to kick. It's proof that sexual aggression is not really about sex or gender, but about power: the powerful humiliating the powerless.
The real images of sexual abuse of Iraqi women, if they are ever released, will at once appear on pornographic websites. They will be used for sexual gratification. People are already joking that England (though not Graner) can have a nice little future career for herself in porn. Of course we are horrified by these images. But we should be horrified too by their familiarity, and how much they tell us about our own societies.
Terrorist mastermind Zarqawi has announced his name but hidden his face. The CIA has said it is indeed Zarqawi, but he appears to be reading his own speech from a paper.
The person holding the knife -- allegedly Zarqawi -- has a Black hood at the video's beginning, but there is an edit (the camera time signatures change) and the knifeholder is then wearing a WHITE hood (and no bulletproof vest).
You'll also find the following oddities in the heavily edited video, which was heavily edited, presumably in a lab or on a pc:
So, if we are to assume the timestamps of the two (?) cameras are accurate, this means Berg was beheaded at 13:47:49 (1:47) but at 2:44, nearly an hour later, he is sitting with his head intact.
Zarqawi has also been reported to have an artificial leg; this is definitely not apparent in the video. Nor is his Jordanian accent, according to experts. Also note the gold ring on the "sinister" (toilet-using) hand -- a definite no-no for muslims.
Then there's US consulate Beth A. Payne's emails to Berg's family saying their son was in "US military custody" for 13 days:
April 1, 1:26 a.m. (To Michael Berg, Berg's father)
I have confirmed that your son, Nick, is being detained by the U.S. military in Mosul. He is safe. He was picked up approximately one week ago. We will try to obtain additional information regarding his detention and a contact person you can communicate with directly.
April 1, 5:23 a.m. (To Suzanne Berg, Berg's mother)
I have been able to confirm that your son is being detained by the U.S. military. I am attempting to identify a person with the U.S. military or FBI here in Iraq who you can contact directly with your questions.
And, according to CNN, Berg himself had contacted a friend -- Chilean reporter Hugo Infante -- saying he was in US custody:
The US Administration denies this, saying he was in Mosul Iraqi police custody, BUT "...police chief Maj. Gen. Mohammed Khair al-Barhawi in Mosul insisted his department had never arrested Berg and said he had no knowledge of the case. ''The Iraqi police never arrested the slain American,'' al-Barhawi told reporters. ''Take it from me ... that such reports are baseless.''
And of course there are the American orange prisoner jumpsuit and white plastic chair and yellow walls which appear in the video -- exactly as they do at Abu Ghraib, the now-notorious site of the American torture of Iraqi POWs:
Next, the hosting website was reported to be in Malaysia, but was discovered to actually located in London:
Says Jackblood.com, which ran a trace:
"...www.al-asnar.net and www.al-asnar.biz have apparently been disabled by 'authorities.' ...the publishers for these sites are located in London, England and Nurnberg, Denmark.
"The addresses began to disappear from the internet listings as we reported this development on The Power Hour Radio Show. Apparently, "Big Brother"; had been listening to the show and didn't like the news at all. The location of the publishers for al-ansar.net appears to be at an Arab Press Building, which appears to be shared by different Arab newspublications. The name of the organization is the Arab Press House. Thebuilding is apparently the headquarters for news magazines such as, AlJamilla, Sayidaty, and Al Majallah among others.
The London address is the following:
Arab Press House
Abdel Rahman al-Rashed
184 High Holborn, WCIV78P, London
tel. 020 78318181
The other address is located in Nurnberg, Denmark. It apparently belongs to a man named Omar AbuOmar. His email address is:firstname.lastname@example.org .
The complete mailing address is the following:
New Dream St. 33
Nurnberg, Denmark, 42114
...these same websites (www.al-asnar.net and www.al-asnar.biz) were the ones that posted the latest Bin Laden audio recording, weeks ago. Despite knowing the website addresses, and potentially the addresses of their respective publishers, the CIA, the FBI, and the Department of Homeland Security did not make any apparent efforts to monitor the websites for uploaded files or internet traffic. Therefore, no arrests were made."
Next, the AK-47 carried by one of the men is a "Gilal" -- an Israeli weapon that improves on the AK- 47. Feyadeen and other insurgents almost universally use AK-47s. The man in the left of the video is standing in the American military stance known as "parade rest", and several of the apparent terrorists are wearing white tennis shoes ad bulletproof vests.
At frame 13:46:27, there is an edit and a person with a white ear and a green cap is seen entering from the right. Then the video is re-edited.
Matt Drudge reports that "The statement in the video was signed off with Zarqawi's name and dated 11 May" , but Berg's body was reported found on May 10th -- the day before the video was apparently made!
Pay attention. This one is definitely a setup.
More details here:
Project : Jubail Industrial City, Saudi Arabia ( started in 1976- and still going on)
Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu
Project management, conceptual engineering, and construction management services
A. We do not discriminate against companies from any nation, except those nations designated as embargoed by the U.S. Government or restricted by related laws or regulations, or on the U.S. Government list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons or related lists. Therefore, it is possible that companies from non-coalition countries may be awarded subcontracts.
YES, The are racists, they know it, and they are very proud of it, they call it patriotism and nationalism, actually it is racism, criminality, inhumanity, and greed, lots of greed, too.
Moreover, Bechtel is the grand force behind the famous Kuwaiti fires :