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U.S. forces encouraged ransacking according to eyewitness

"Are you saying that it was US troops who initiated the plundering?'

"Absolutely. The lack of jubilant scenes meant that the American troops needed pictures of Iraqis who in different ways demonstrated hatred for Saddam's regime."
"USA encouraged ransacking"

This is a translation of an article from April 11 from Dagens Nyheter, Sweden's largest newspaper, based in Stockholm. The article was written by Ole Rothenborg and translated by Joe Valasek. Khaled Bayomi, has taught and researched on Middle Eastern conflicts for ten years at the University of Lund where he is also working on his doctorate. He has given his permission for this interview to be widely disseminated.



Khaled Bayomi looks surprised when the American officer on TV complains that they don't have the resources to stop the plundering in Baghdad. "I happened to be right there just as the American troops encouraged people to begin the plundering."

Khaled Bayomi traveled from Europe to Baghdad to be a human shield and arrived on the same day that the war began. About this he can tell many stories but the most interesting is certainly his eyewitness account of the wave of plundering.

"I had gone to see some friends who live near a dilapidated area just past Haifa Avenue on the west bank of the Tigris. It was the 8th of April and the fighting was so intense that I was unable to return to the other side of the river. In the afternoon it became perfectly quiet and four American tanks took places on the edge of the slum area. The soldiers shot two Sudanese guards who stood at their posts outside a local administration building on the other side of Haifa Avenue. Then they blasted apart the doors to the building and from the tanks came eager calls in Arabic encouraging people to come close to them. "

"The entire morning, everyone who had tried to cross the road had been shot. But in the strange silence after all the shooting, people gradually became curious. After 45 minutes, the first Baghdad citizens dared to come out. Arab interpreters in the tanks told the people to go and take what they wanted in the building."

"The word spread quickly and the building was ransacked. I was standing only 300 yards from there when the guards were murdered. Afterwards the tank crushed the entrance to the Justice Department, which was in a neighboring building, and the plundering continued there".

"I stood in a large crowd and watched this together with them. They did not partake in the plundering but dared not to interfere. Many had tears of shame in their eyes. The next morning the plundering spread to the Modern Museum, which lies a quarter mile farther north. There were also two crowds there, one that plundered and one with watched with disgust."

"Are you saying that it was US troops who initiated the plundering?'

"Absolutely. The lack of jubilant scenes meant that the American troops needed pictures of Iraqis who in different ways demonstrated hatred for Saddam's regime."

"The people pulled down a large statue of Saddam?"

"Did they? It was an American tank that did that, right beside the hotel where all the journalists stay. Until lunchtime on April 9, I did not see one destroyed Saddam portrait. If people had wanted to pull down statues they could have taken down some of the small ones without any help from American tanks. If it had been a political upheaval, the people would have pulled down statues first and then plundered."

"Isn't it good that Saddam is gone?"

"He's not gone. He has broken his army down into very small groups. That's why there hasn't been a large battle. About the official state, you could say that Saddam dissolved that already in 1992 and he's built a parallel tribal structure that is totally decisive in Iraq. When the US began the war, Saddam abandoned the state completely and now depends on the tribal structure. That was why he abandoned the large cities without a fight."

"Now the US is compelled to do everything themselves because there's no political body within the country which will challenge the existing structure. The two who came in from outside the country were annihilated at once. (The reference here is to General Nazar al-Khazraji, who returned from Denmark and the Shiite Muslim leader, Abdul Majid al-Khoei.) They were cut to pieces with swords and knives by a furious crowd in Najaf because they were thought to be American puppets. According to the Danish newspaper BT, al-Khazraji was brought from Denmark to Iraq by the CIA."

"Now we have an occupying power in place in Iraq that has not said how long it intends to remain, has not given any plan for civilian rule and no date for general elections. Enormous chaos is now to be expected."
Can you please site your source 12.Apr.2003 16:01

Jasmine_flower

Very interesting article. I'd like to read more from the same source but I don't know where to find it. Could you please give a link for the webpage?

Thanks. Peace.

Good Luck... 12.Apr.2003 16:24

Trilox Woodsman

"Could you please give a link for the webpage?"

Don't count on it, 99% of everything here is socialist propaganda...

Nice try 12.Apr.2003 16:34

can't buy this

There are some very flagrant errors in this story.

Khaled Bayomi is not "working on his doctorate" at the University of Lund in Sweden. Bayomi, an Egyptian by the way, has had his Doctorate in History for many years. Further, he is the head of the Peace and Conflict Research Institute of Lund University.

If Dr. Bayomi freely gave this supposed interview to the Swedish press, why is it necessary to give his "permission" for the interview to be "widely disseminated"? He surely knew that by giving such an interview to the press, it would indeed be deseminated by the newspaper. I have searched for this "news story" and can find no mention of it or any other reference to it.

I had the opportunity to watch the unfolding of the Saddam Statue story. The trek from the river to the scene of the disassemby of the statue was brodcast live via satellite by the embedded journalist and proceeded immediately after crossing the river. The statue was some distance from the river. It took some time before any Iraqi civilians arrived and there was no firing of any weapons.

The cited article is completely at odds with the many foreign journalists that were at the scene and have reported ad nauseum the events that took place from the fire fight that raged at the bridge, the progress of the Marines to the area of the statue and the incidents which occurred there.

US tanks do not carry interpeters as part of their crews. It was quite apparent in the live coverage that the Marines could not communicate with the Iraqi civilians unless the civilians spoke English.

Perhaps you would be so kind as to provide a cite for this article.

Beware of propaganda posts 12.Apr.2003 16:52

nimn

Many stories like this have begun appearing at the various indy sites likely by trolls to discredit us.

Another story has begun to be circulated:

"12 Apr 2003"

"Iraqi scientists accused U.S. forces of torturing professors by poking their eyes out, and breaking limbs carried out by U.S. occupation forces also occupation forces are encouraging looting of universities to the extent of transporting looters to the universities and scientific institutions."

No link is provided.

Cultural Genocide 12.Apr.2003 17:47

jest thinkin'

After WWI, the winning nations put Germany through a sort of ritual of debasement, a national humiliation, quite possibly in a conscious attempt to destroy Germany's national pride (as well as their economic structures), to weaken and subvert them as a military power. This worked for a while but, as we know, ended up creating the conditions that helped Hitler rise.

Whether or not US troops actually initiated the looting, the fact that they are not discouraging it, and the somewhat gloating comments of Rumsfeld and others, proves a kind of complicity in it. And it may be for more than just the photo ops. The destruction of the modern nation of Iraq, all its national records, its cultural heritage going back 4000 years -- the Baghdad museum was looted of ancient artifacts -- is a kind of cultural genocide. It may be much like the Versailles treaty in effect, though less formal in method. A ritual humiliation that is intended to destroy a people. If so, I wonder if it will end up working out in a similar way.

here's the link 12.Apr.2003 19:17

goodluckreadingswedish,tho


New pieces of ART for the NEO-CON Republicans 12.Apr.2003 19:28

Orwells's long lost cousin

The plundering of Iraq's national museum provides an opportunity for the wealthy Republicans of this country to purchase new pieces of art for their palaces here in the US. I would bet some pieces are on FedEx and UPS planes as I type this, with delivery Monday morning. Nothing would satisfy the neo-con (or is it just con as in con artists) plutocrats more than displaying the spoils of war in their living rooms.

Now the Leftists Worry about Law & Order 12.Apr.2003 21:58

^WW^

Pretty convenient eh?

And the guy who posted about the Republicans and their "palaces" -- it may surprise him to learn that not all Republicans are wealthy and not all wealthy folks are Republicans. Some are even Democrats!