Worried about Iraqis writing their own history? Then let’s violate international law, again

Posted on June 22, 2010 by


Military-controlled Information Access, Academic Imperialism, and the Cultural Cleansing of Iraq

On three previous occasions I raised the issue of the illegality of seizing Iraqi documents, relocating them to the U.S., and then controlling access to them for the purpose especially of Pentagon-funded academic researchers–see: “Minerva Research Initiative Violates International Law and Iraqi Sovereignty,” and “Minerva Project and Looted Iraqi Documents,” and “What are the Pentagon’s Minerva Researchers Doing?“.

Given news over the past two years since I started writing about this, and the U.S. ratifying the 1954 Hague Convention, plus the promised return of the documents (having made digital copies), and further reading of the legal principles established for the protection of written records during an occupation, it seemed that some further analysis was needed.

Illegality and the Supreme Crime: the Starting Point

The starting point of this case is, of course, the U.S. invasion of Iraq, an unprovoked act of aggression that had no support in international law, which violated the U.N. Charter, and failed to win the support of the U.N. Security Council. Who says the invasion of Iraq was illegal?

First, we have the admissions from the U.S. and the U.K., namely from Richard Perle and Jack Straw themselves. Richard Perle, one of the notorious “neocons,” a key member of the Bush’s Defense Policy Board which advised Donald Rumsfled, told an audience in London back in November 2003: “I think in this case international law stood in the way of doing the right thing” (source). From early on, he conceded that the war was illegal. He added, “international law…would have required us to leave Saddam Hussein alone” and that there was “no practical mechanism consistent with the rules of the UN for dealing with Saddam Hussein” (source). In a “secret and personal” letter from Jack Straw (the U.K. Foreign Secretary in 2002) to Prime Minister Tony Blair, he “warned the prime minister that the case for military action in Iraq was of dubious legality“; Straw also stated that “regime change per se is no justification for military action” and “the weight of legal advice here is that a fresh [UN] mandate may well be required” (source). It is important that they both concede this point, because it means that at the highest levels there was recognition of the fact that the U.S. and U.K. had committed the “supreme crime” as outlined in Nuremberg (more below). Any actions committed as part of this supreme crime, thus come under its shadow.

Second, Kofi Annan, then U.N. Secretary general, in an interview broadcast by the BBC World Service Interview Program, declared explicitly that the U.S.-led invasion violated the UN charter and hence international law: “I have indicated [the war against Iraq] was not in conformity with the UN Charter,” and, “from our point of view, from the charter point of view, it was illegal” (source).

Third, the greatest mass of international legal opinion also supported Annan’s view. The International Commission of Jurists on 18 March 2003 expressed its “deep dismay that a small number of states are poised to launch an outright illegal invasion of Iraq, which amounts to a war of aggression. The United States, the United Kingdom and Spain have signalled their intent to use force in Iraq in spite of the absence of a Security Council Resolution. There is no other plausible legal basis for this attack. In the absence of such Security Council authorisation, no country may use force against another country, except in self-defence against an armed attack” (source).

Fourth, agencies and agents within some of the states that took part in the invasion, have confirmed both international legal opinion, and what Perle and Straw rightly conceded. This year, an official inquiry in The Netherlands, “in a damning series of findings on the decision of the Dutch government to support Tony Blair and George Bush in the strategy of regime change in Iraq, the inquiry found the action had ‘no basis in international law’” (source). Willibrord Davids, a Dutch supreme court judge, said U.N. resolutions in the 1990s prior to the 2003 invasion have no authority for the invasion. In the 551-page report (scroll to page 517 for the English version), the inquiry stated: “The Dutch government lent its political support to a war whose purpose was not consistent with Dutch government policy. The military action had no sound mandate in international law” (source). In the U.K., Lord Bingham, a former Lord Chief Justice, explained that the British decision to invade Iraq along with the U.S. was “fundamentally flawed” in terms of its legality (source). Also in the U.K., in a minute dated 18 March 2003 from Elizabeth Wilmshurst (Deputy Legal Adviser) to Michael Wood (The Legal Adviser), copied to the Private Secretary, the Private Secretary to the Permanent Under-Secretary, Alan Charlton (Director Personnel) and Andrew Patrick (Press Office), Wilmshurst stated: “I regret that I cannot agree that it is lawful to use force against Iraq without a second Security Council resolution I cannot in conscience go along with advice – within the Office or to the public or Parliament – which asserts the legitimacy of military action without such a resolution, particularly since an unlawful use of force on such a scale amounts to the crime of aggression; nor can I agree with such action in circumstances which are so detrimental to the international order and the rule of law”–Wilmshurst resigned in March 2003 because she did not believe the war with Iraq was legal (source).

The 2003 aggression against Iraq was not just any violation of international law, it was specifically a crime.

The Nürnberg (Nuremberg) Tribunal condemned a war of aggression in the strongest terms: “To initiate a war of aggression…is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.” It held individuals accountable for “crimes against peace”, defined as the “planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances, or participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the foregoing.” The U.N. General Assembly unanimously affirmed the Nürnberg principles in 1946, and it affirmed the principle of individual accountability for such crimes (source).

U.S.-led Occupation and the 1907 Hague Convention

The U.S. invasion was followed by what was/is an occupation, formally described as such under international law, and though the U.S. was not a signatory to the Hague Convention of 1954 at the time, it was a signatory to the Hague Convention of 1907: “Convention (IV) respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land and its annex: Regulations concerning the Laws and Customs of War on Land.” In our debates about the Minerva Research Initiative, the Pentagon program for funding academic research using seized Iraqi documents, we have so far focused only on the 1954 Convention, which became relevant only in the last two years.

The U.N. Security Council in 2003 formally recognized the U.S. and the U.K. as occupying powers. The UNSC resolution expressly recognizes the status of the two occupying powers in its preamble where it in states that, “Noting the letter of 8 May 2003 from the Permanent Representatives of the United States of America and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to the President of the Security Council (S/2003/538) and recognizing the specific authorities, responsibilities, and obligations under applicable international law of these states as occupying powers under unified command (the ‘Authority’),” and the Security Council resolution affirmed that the 1907 Hague Convention was in force: in paragraph 5 the Security Council, “Calls upon all concerned to comply fully with their obligations under international law including in particular the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the Hague Regulations of 1907” (source). So there is agreement, from the U.S. and U.K., to respect the Hague Convention of 1907.

So what do the 1907 Hague regulations stipulate?

SECTION III
MILITARY AUTHORITY OVER THE TERRITORY OF THE HOSTILE STATE

  • Art. 43. The authority of the legitimate power having in fact passed into the hands of the occupant, the latter shall take all the measures in his power to restore, and ensure, as far as possible, public order and safety, while respecting, unless absolutely prevented, the laws in force in the country.
  • Art. 46. Family honour and rights, the lives of persons, and private property, as well as religious convictions and practice, must be respected.
    Private property cannot be confiscated.
  • Art. 47. Pillage is formally forbidden.
  • Art. 56. The property of municipalities, that of institutions dedicated to religion, charity and education, the arts and sciences, even when State property, shall be treated as private property.

The Minerva Research Initiative, the Hoover Institution, the Conflict Records Research Center: Adding to Illegality, Promoting Colonialism in Research, Dismissing Iraqi Sovereignty

Saad Eskander, director of the Iraqi National Library and Archives

In “Minerva Research Initiative: Searching for the Truth or Denying the Iraqis the Rights to Know the Truth?,” Saad Eskander, the Director of the Iraq National Library and Archives, raises several very pertinent, very critical, issues concerning the highly problematic nature of the “Iraqi Perspectives Project,” one of the five component research areas that make up the Pentagon’s Minerva grant program. Eskander speaks of the records that were “illegally seized by its [the U.S.'] military and intelligence agencies” Eskander, who in fact supported the U.S. invasion (see his interview with Charlie Rose below, which also addresses the same issues of the seized records), said that the Pentagon’s Minerva program continues a pattern of U.S. “violation of international conventions on the safeguarding of cultural heritage of occupied territories, and goes against the principles of rule of law, self-determination, and human rights that are supposed to govern the so-called Free World.” He adds: “Records are fundamental for the construction of any nation’s collective historical memory. This is why the protection of documentary heritage has been enshrined in international legislation, notably the 1954 Hague Convention.” This also raises the issue of academic and political colonialism, of who gets to write the history of the conquered and the occupied, an issue that more hopeful types might not have expected to surface again as late as now. That the records were seized without Iraqi consent or knowledge, is also pointedly raised by Eskander, who blames U.S. forces for some of the looting: “The Americans were themselves involved in the lootings. We all know that tens of millions of the seized Iraq records were shipped to the U.S.” During the reign of the U.S. occupation government, the Coalition Provisional Authority, Eskander notes that “U.S. military and U.S. State Department officials encouraged and even helped others to loot and then to ship abroad Iraqi records, notably the Iraqi Memory Foundation (IMF).” The IMF is “essentially a private American initiative, whose activities unequivocally violate current Iraqi archival legislations (No. 111 of 1969 and No. 70 of 1983).” In order to better dismiss Iraqi concerns, “the IMF does not recognize Iraq’s national government or its sovereignty. And this is ironic, given the fact that the ‘New Iraq’ is considered to be a close ally of America!” exclaims Eskander. These acts of seizure, looting, and what can only be described as pillage (with the full weight of the term implied under international law), means that “the Pentagon is practically and overtly usurping our duty of collecting, preserving and facilitating access to Iraqi records for all people, who may and should use them for research and other legitimate purposes”. The coloniality of the situation is inescapable: “Providing access to sanctioned U.S. universities, U.S. research centers and U.S. scholars is gross discrimination against the undeniable owners of the seized records, the Iraqi People, who are the main subject of the records“. For Iraqis, “this is an undeniable cultural imperialism, which is not really different from the colonists’ looting and smuggling of ancient artifacts of colonized peoples during the last two centuries.”

U.S. Occupation and the 1954 Hague Convention

On 25 September 2008, the U.S. Senate finally voted to become party to the 1954 Hague Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, a convention that the U.S. itself helped to draft but failed to ratify for half a century (source), a fact that seemingly went entirely unreported by major news media. However, now that the Convention has acquired force, and becomes part of the corpus of U.S. domestic laws as well, the obligations of the U.S. are indisputable.

The Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (1954) sets out the following principles and regulations for the handling of cultural property.

First, what is “cultural property” and hows does it relate to this case?

In Chapter 1, Article 1, the 1954 Hague Convention includes in its definition of cultural property, “(a) movable or immovable property of great importance to the cultural heritage of every people, such as monuments of architecture, art or history, whether religious or secular; archaeological sites; groups of buildings which, as a whole, are of historical or artistic interest; works of art; manuscripts, books and other objects of artistic, historical or archaeological interest” and “(b) buildings whose main and effective purpose is to preserve or exhibit the movable cultural property defined in sub-paragraph (a) such as museums, large libraries and depositories of archives.”

In Chapter 1, Article 4, the Convention includes the following regulations: “3. The High Contracting Parties further undertake to prohibit, prevent and, if necessary, put a stop to any form of theft, pillage or misappropriation of, and any acts of vandalism directed against, cultural property. They shall refrain from requisitioning movable cultural property situated in the territory of another High Contracting Party.” In addition, while the Convention ambiguously refers to “military necessity” (not defined) as a possible waiver of the obligations set out in Article 4/1 (not quoted here), it is clearly not a blanket waiver of the entire Convention. Indeed, in Article 4, the final point states: “5. No High Contracting Party may evade the obligations incumbent upon it under the present Article, in respect of another High Contracting Party, by reason of the fact that the latter has not applied the measures of safeguard referred to in Article 3.” That means that the argument that the Iraqis had failed to establish adequate measures for protecting their own property, does not free the U.S. from its obligations.

In Chapter 1, Article 5, under the heading of “Occupation,” the Convention requires that “1. Any High Contracting Party in occupation of the whole or part of the territory of another High Contracting Party shall as far as possible support the competent national authorities of the occupied country in safeguarding and preserving its cultural property.” However, “2. Should it prove necessary to take measures to preserve cultural property situated in occupied territory and damaged by military operations, and should the competent national authorities be unable to take such measures, the Occupying Power shall, as far as possible, and in close co-operation with such authorities, take the most necessary measures of preservation.” Again, the U.S. did neither–it did not cooperate with local authorities, and taking the most necessary measures of preservation certainly does not imply airlifting all of the archives to another country, and making access available only to select academics funded by the Pentagon, or those in allied think tanks.

Under the heading of “Military Measures” in Chapter 1, Article 7, the Convention states: “1. The High Contracting Parties undertake to introduce in time of peace into their military regulations or instructions such provisions as may ensure observance of the present Convention, and to foster in the members of their armed forces a spirit of respect for the culture and cultural property of all peoples” and “2. The High Contracting Parties undertake to plan or establish in peacetime, within their armed forces, services or specialist personnel whose purpose will be to secure respect for cultural property and to co-operate with the civilian authorities responsible for safeguarding it.” Clearly the U.S. had done neither with respect to Iraqi archives, and had indeed ignored the demands for the return of the documents, by those same civilian authorities responsible for safeguarding the records, most notably, Saad Eskander, the Director of the Iraq National Library and Archives, and several Iraqi government ministers.

Over the past 20 years, several meetings and conferences of state representatives party to the Convention have met to solicit and discuss legal opinions and proposals for tightening the “military necessity” provisions of the Convention, for both defining it, delimiting its use, or even eliminating it entirely from the Convention (source). This is important because the U.S. cannot simply ignore evolving legal opinion. “Military necessity” is very much up in the air.

Minerva’s “Iraqi Perspectives Project” after the 1954 Hague Convention

On the specifics of international law, Eskander very rightly notes that the established principles “do not provide for the shipment of the seized records to the occupiers’ Capital or for making all or parts of these records accessible for propaganda and politically-motivated research purposes”. Eskander is aware that the U.S. was not a signatory to the 1954 Hague Convention, until 2008– “After signing the 1954 Hague Convention recently,” he says–and thus it had no force over American actions (that is why we spoke of the 1907 Hague Convention, which was in force, but ignored). Eskander argues “the U.S. now has clear obligations to protect and to return all current and non-current records of the occupied Iraq”. That is in fact the case, and the U.S. government has not disputed his interpretation.

Indeed, not only has the U.S. government not disputed the illegality of the seizure of the records, it has promised some small ex post facto recompense. That is not a gift, but rather a plain recognition of the obligations the U.S. has undertaken with respect to international law.

The U.S. State Department has not challenged Iraq’s claims (the Pentagon has, however), as we should note (source). It is also the fact that Eskander is not alone in making his requests for the return of the seized documents. In fact, it was a “high-level Iraqi delegation led by Deputy Culture Minister Taher al-Humoud” that met with U.S. State Department officials this May to press for the return of records held in the U.S., and specifically records pertaining to Iraq’s Jewish minority (source). Not all of the records are even in the U.S.: some are held at a U.S. military base in Qatar (source). The U.S. took the documents and then dispersed them to several corners, no doubt helping to make the seized documents much harder to find and reclaim.

Again, the U.S. State Department has not only not challenged Iraq’s claims, it has finally agreed to them. Shortly after meeting with the delegation above, it was announced in Baghdad by Vice-Minister of Culture Taher Hamoud: “We have reached an agreement after negotiations with the State Department and the Pentagon for the repatriation of Jewish archives and millions of documents that have been made taken following the events of 2003″. Hamoud added that “these documents have been released from the Hoover Institution (at the University of Stanford), the State Department and National Archives”. According to Hamoud, “48,000 containers filled with millions of records and Jews archives were transported to the United States” (source1, source2).

There has also been support for Iraqi demands to return all documents, from within relevant bodies in the U.S. In February of 2008, the central council of the American Library Association passed a resolution that called for millions of stolen Iraqi documents now in the United States to be returned to the Iraq National Library and Archives. The resolution stated that the documents “represent Iraqi social memory” and that the ALA “condemns the confiscation of documents…by the United States and British forces and strongly advocates the immediate return of all documents.” We are also told that this resolution garnered support from professionals around the world (source). Indeed, the Society of American Archivists and the Association of Canadian Archivists have supported Eskander’s claim against the U.S. government and the Iraq Memory Foundation, issuing a joint statement condemning the foundation’s gathering of the documents as “an act of pillage, which is specifically forbidden by the 1907 Hague Convention” (source).

In Light of the Crime: A Look at Some of the Criminals

To initiate a war of aggression…is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”–Nuremberg Tribunal

“Harvard University pulled back from a proposal to store the documents fearing, apparently, that it might break international law by doing so.” (source)

One of the most troubling characters in this story is Kanan Makiya of the “Iraq Memory Foundation,” a group set up by Iraqi expatriates in the U.S. Makiya claims he received permission from the Coalition Provisional Authority–the colonial government that ruled Iraq– to move the records to his parents’ home in Baghdad (source). The first step therefore was to remove to private possession what was the property of the state and people of Iraq. The Iraq Memory Foundation then began to interfere with the documents, setting about to scan and organize them (source), and we do not know what might have been done to records that the politically motivated Makiya might have found troubling to his preferred narrative of Iraq’s political history. He was under no one’s supervision. In 2005, the IMF claims it reached an agreement with the U.S. military–again Iraqi authorities are absent–to ship the documents to the U.S. (even though the U.S. had, and has, numerous large and heavily protected bases within Iraq). The U.S. government was also to make for itself a digital copy of the collection, without seeking the permission of Iraqis (source). Saad Eskander cited “Iraqi laws passed in 1963 and 1983, as well as international law (both The Hague and Geneva Conventions regard documents as part of a nation’s cultural heritage), to bolster his assertion that the Iraq Memory Foundation’s possession of the documents is illegal” (source). Eskander is right, and the Hague Convention of 1907 (Art. 43 above) firmly stipulates that existing local laws governing the use of records must be upheld by an occupying power–except that this occupying power premised its whole operation on a complete denial of any laws.

As Eskander rightly noted, Makiya “is not under the supervision of the Iraqi state. He just represents himself. He cannot decide alone where to store them,” speaking about the Baath records, “They are our documents—the documents of the Iraqi people” (source).

One of the institutions that was among the targets of Eskander’s complaints was a think tank, the Hoover Institution, housed on the campus of Stanford University. This has been discussed in the previous articles I mentioned at the outset. The interesting thing about the Hoover Institution is that it has arrogated to itself the right to decide when Iraq deserves to have the documents again, deeming itself the most important authority on the security situation in Iraq. This is in spite of the 1954 Hague Convention to which the U.S. is now a party, which  does not permit any party, let alone a private one, to decide that because one party’s conditions for protecting documents is bad, that therefore another party can just simply take everything back to its home country. That is a wild misinterpretation at best, and particularly glaring in Hoover’s case, in light of the many generals and public officials who have told all of us, repeatedly, that “the surge worked,” and that Iraq is now peaceful and sovereign. Who is the Hoover Institution to say otherwise?

The Hoover Institution has records consisting of more than seven million documents that once belonged to Iraq’s Baath Party and security forces. The documents came to Hoover via the Iraq Memory Foundation (IMF), another of Eskander’s targets for legitimate criticism. Indeed, neither Hoover nor the IMF–what an appropriate acronym–are the only villains in this story. Eskander has also asked for the return of Iraqi documents kept by the National Archives in Washington, which took Iraq’s Jewish archive, and to the Pentagon and the CIA, which took other Iraqi records (source). Each of these has usurped the right to dictate who should see the records, which is purely an Iraqi decision to be made. In terms of Hoover and others, this is decidedly an act of colonialism.

Jessica Huckabey, the acting director of the Conflict Records Research Center (CRRC) at the National Defense University is another of the characters in another institution that has taken the same colonialist posture, in determining who should get access to Iraqi records, and for the most part, they are to be American academics. Mark Stout, a friend of Huckabey’s, is one of the academics that has exploited this situation having used the records, and he writes lustily: “I can tell you that for those scholars interested in modern Iraq, terrorism, or modern military history, there is a goldmine here.  Reputations to be made.  Dissertations to be written….” If anyone misses the air of exploitation and self-serving greed around the colonizer, then one needs to start inhaling. Don’t hold your breath if you expect American elites, and the opportunists among them, to act with due regard for the rights of other human beings, instead opting to hunt and capture trophies to display for their personal aggrandizement. Reputations to be made, certainly. But what kind of reputation?

Stout‘s concern for the law and morality is nil–he emphasizes: “The originals were ‘seized’ as provided for under international law and are held by the U.S. Government.” He is wrong on all counts, as we see from reading what is provided for by international law, by any and all of them that established the principles for the U.S. to follow, and which it flouted. Stout even doubts the act of seizure, placing snark quotes around the word “seized,” as if the act could have been anything else, like a temporary donation perhaps. As we also know, unless the Hoover Institution is a branch of the U.S. government, the documents are not all held by the U.S. Government, as Stout wrongly asserts.

“As provided for under international law.” Elsewhere, in an argument with Hugh Gusterson, Stout again insists, saying “In fact, there is specific provision for this in international law.” But he does not actually point to any international law, nor any article in one. He points to an opinion piece, and even that mostly contradicts his assertions. Trudy Peterson, at any rate, is not The Hague. When one wishes to make use of legal provisions to support one’s argument, then it is incumbent on you to demonstrate that your assertions are correct, by exact and specific reference to those provisions. Saad Eskander did, and that is why he is right, and the U.S. ultimately has conceded the argument. What the Hague Conventions of 1907 and 1954 most decidedly never did is to err on the side of occupying powers and their “rights” nor did they invite readers to lessen the rights of the occupied to their cultural property. Any argument that suggests otherwise, would then have the unenviable task of explaining why such conventions even exist.

Speaking of Trudy Peterson, she is a “a former acting archivist of the United States under President Bill Clinton and an international archival consultant” (source). In fact, she supports the basis of Eskander’s argument: “Ms. Peterson believes the National Library and Archive should be the ultimate home of the documents, and she stands by the recommendations of the International Council on Archives, a professional group, which state that ‘the alienation of public archives can … only occur through a legislative act of the state'” (source). Where Peterson clearly is in error is in saying to a reporter that “the violence and insecurity in Baghdad may be good reasons to keep the records out of Iraq for now” (source). There is no provision under international law for doing so. She also conflates Baghdad with all of Iraq. Like the people at the Hoover Institution–namely, Richard Sousa, the director of Hoover’s library and archives, and Abbas Milani, the director of Iranian studies and an Iranian exile–Peterson takes a view opposite that of Gen. David Petraeus–“the surge worked”–John McCain–“the surge worked”–and various high officials in both the Bush and Obama regimes that claim Iraq is a better place, including Vice President Joseph Biden who claims Iraq is a success story (source). At any rate, this is besides the point: Chapter 1, Article 5 of the 1954 Hague Convention says that Peterson, Sousa, and Milani are all wrong–security conditions are no excuse for an occupying power to remove cultural property to the occupier’s home country.

Trudy Peterson’s and others’ supercilious remarks that Iraq is not ready to get back its property, have been the justified targets of heavy criticism from Jeffery Spurr, Islamic and Middle East Specialist at Harvard University’s Fine Arts Library, who observed: “That the newly-designated temporary custodian should be a private institution, and that notable bastion of conservative views, the Hoover Institution, should come as no surprise given that Mr. Makiya has perforce become a fellow traveler of the Neo-cons since he made common cause with the Bush Administration in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. That such an institution in far-off California should consider itself the proper site for these documents as opposed to the national archives of Iraq is the height of arrogance.” He added, in criticism of the Gravois article in The Chronicle of Higher Education that I also sourced for this essay, that it appears to “privilege the self-serving arguments of Kanan Makiya and his colleagues, and employs quotations from Dr. Trudy Huskamp Peterson, a prominent expert on archives and international law relating to archives, in such a way as to support the plausibility of the refusal to return the originals to their proper custodian, the Iraq National Archive, and its Director General, Dr. Eskander” (source).

Stout’s defense of the CRRC is that it only houses digital copies. How did it get them? Who makes the decisions of who gets to access the “goldmine”? Were any Iraqi civilian authorities, and any Iraqi laws, consulted before making what is clearly a unilateral decision based on illegal possession? How is copyright protected? How are documents relating to the recent past, and the identities of individuals, protected? If there were any legitimacy to Stout’s argument, would he not have been able to cite the numerous Iraqi scholars and Iraqi national agencies that support his view? How many scholars from Iraq have had access to those same digital copies? Can he name even one? Or this is just another one-sided American perspective, expressing muted jingoism and cheering colonial capture with gusto?

Sources (ordered by date of publication, earliest to latest):

  1. Convention (IV) respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land and its annex: Regulations concerning the Laws and Customs of War on Land,” The Hague, 18 October 1907.
  2. Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict,” The Hague, 14 May 1954.
  3. The 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and the notion of military necessity,” Jan Hladik, International Review of the Red Cross, 30 September 1999.
  4. Crimes within the Court’s Jurisdiction,” International Criminal Court/United Nations Department of Public Information, May 1998.
  5. Iraq – ICJ Deplores Moves Toward a War of Aggression on Iraq,” International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), 18 March 2003.
  6. ‘Preventive War’ and International Law After Iraq,” Duncan E. J. Currie LL.B. (Hons.) LL.M., GlobeLaw: Iraq, 22 May 2003.
  7. War critics astonished as US hawk admits invasion was illegal,” Oliver Burkeman and Julian Borger, The Guardian (UK), 20 November 2003.
  8. Iraq: Annan Calls U.S.-Led Invasion Violation Of UN Charter,” Charles Recknagel, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 16 September 2004.
  9. Wilmshurst resignation letter,” BBC, 24 March, 2005.
  10. Disputed Iraqi Archives Find a Home at the Hoover Institution,” John Gravois, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 23 January 2008.
  11. Librarians and archivists demand US return of stolen Iraqi documents,” Sandy English, World Socialist Website, 01 March 2008.
  12. Iraqi Files in U.S.: Plunder or Rescue?” Hugh Eakin, The New York Times, 01 July 2008.
  13. Minerva Project and Looted Iraqi Documents,” Maximilian Forte, Zero Anthropology, 26 July 2008.
  14. US Senate Ratifies Agreement to Protect Cultural Resources,” American Anthropological Association, September 2008.
  15. Minerva Research Initiative: Searching for the Truth or Denying the Iraqis the Rights to Know the Truth?” Saad Eskander, The Minerva Controversy, October 2008.
  16. Minerva Research Initiative Violates International Law and Iraqi Sovereignty,” Maximilian Forte, Zero Anthropology, 31 October 2008.
  17. Iraq war ‘violated rule of law’,” BBC, 18 November 2008.
  18. What are the Pentagon’s Minerva Researchers Doing?“, Maximilian Forte, Zero Anthropology, 12 June 2009.
  19. Iraq launches bid to recover Saddam-era documents,” Aseel Kami, Reuters, 15 July 2009.
  20. RAPPORT COMMISSIE VAN ONDERZOEK BESLUITVORMING IRAK,” Amsterdam, The Netherlands, January 2010.
  21. Iraq invasion violated international law, Dutch inquiry finds: Investigation into the Netherlands’ support for 2003 war finds military action was not justified under UN resolutions,” Afua Hirsch, The Guardian (UK), 12 January 2010.
  22. Captured Documents: Military Historians and Terrorism Scholars vs. Anthropologists?” Mark Stout, On War and Words, 15 January 2010.
  23. Revealed: Jack Straw’s secret warning to Tony Blair on Iraq,” Michael Smith, The Sunday Times, 17 January 2010.
  24. Captured Documents, Historians, Anthropologists, etc. (Part II),” Mark Stout, On War and Words, 18 January 2010.
  25. Captured Documents, Historians, Anthropologists, etc. (Part III),” Mark Stout, On War and Words, 18 January 2010.
  26. Iraq’s battle is one for the books,” Matti Friedman, Josef Federman, Randy Herschaft, The Washington Times, 20 January 2010.
  27. Iraq Demands Jewish Artifacts Be Returned,” Virtual Jerusalem, 04 May 2010.
  28. Iraq: Agreement with the United States to recover Jewish archives,” Ennahar Online, 14 May 2010.
  29. US agrees to return Iraq records,” Anne Barker, ABC News, 14 May 2010.
  30. Iraq asks U.S. to return millions of archive documents,” Aseel Kami, Reuters, 19 May 2010.
  31. Iraq asks Hoover to return records,” Devin Banerjee, The Stanford Daily, 25 May 2010.
  32. Captured Iraqi and Terrorist Records Now Available,” Mark Stout, On War and Words, 27 May 2010.
  33. ‘Cultural cleansing’ of Iraq?” David Tresillian, Al-Ahram, 03-09 June 2010.
  34. The United Nations, International Law, and the War in Iraq,” Rachel S. Taylor, World Press Review, no date.

Click here to see Saad Eskander interviewed on the Charlie Rose Show

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