Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Boris the Looter

So Boris has been Boris-like and it's now caught up with him. Indeed the quote from Boris shows that well he is still Boris.

In case you have missed it not since Pete Burn's gorilla fur coat was remanding in custody during celebrity big brother has an inanimate object raised so much police attention and headline. Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, was until yesterday in possession of Tariq Aziz's cigar case.

Boris claimed the circumstances of how the then Spectator Editor came to have possession of this Iraqi cultural property as so "morally ambiguous that [he] cannot quite think of it as theft", then hangs himself by his own petard with this quote.

"As I stared at the remains of his home, I saw utter destruction - surely the looters had left nothing of value?"

"And there, just by my toe, protruding from beneath a piece of dusty plywood, was the cigar case. Actually, it was only the bottom half of a cigar case, in thick red leather and coarsely stitched.

"But I immediately saw its importance. If this was the cigar case of Tariq Aziz, think of the scenes it had witnessed."

I'm sorry Boris the fact that the looters didn't take it doesn't make it therefore yours to take and possess for 5 years. In fact by so doing aren't you just a looter yourself? Admittedly a rather posh one with foppish hair and a media/political career but a looter none the less. Also if as you said you immediately saw it's importance why didn't you hand it over to the appropriate authority in 2003 rather than wait until 2008?

However Boris should be thankful that Saddam is no longer in charge in Iraq the penalty for looting there in his time was the death penalty. Even under the Iraq (UN Sanctions) Order 2003 it clearly shows him to be in the wrong. For Dick Whittington the streets of London were paved with gold for the current Mayor of London Baghdad was paved with cigar boxes.


Tristan said...

I'm told he has a letter from Tariq Aziz giving him the cigar case - in which case there is no case...

This does seem like people grubbing around trying to damage him (he doesn't need the help).

I'm sure Ken would have been ranting and railing about the waste of police time and money.

Stephen Glenn said...

Wow you're quick this afternoon Tristan only just posted this.

Yeah I read that he susequently recieved such a letter from Tariq who must have at the time been in jail facing what he knew was a potential death penalty. However, under the Order in question:

(1) The importation or exportation of any item of illegally removed Iraqi cultural property is prohibited.

(2) Any person who holds or controls any item of illegally removed Iraqi cultural property must cause the transfer of that item to a constable. Any person who fails to do so shall be guilty of an offence under this Order, unless he proves that he did not know and had no reason to suppose that the item in question was illegally removed Iraqi cultural property.

(4) "Illegally removed Iraqi cultural property" means Iraqi cultural property and any other item of archaeological, historical, cultural, rare scientific or religious importance illegally removed from any location in Iraq since 6th August 1990. It is immaterial whether the removal was illegal under the law of a part of the United Kingdom or of any other country or territory.

Boris himslef admits that he thought the looters would have taken anthing of value, and that he realised the importance (historical and cultural) of this item when he found it. Thirteen years after the date in the order refers to. I somehow think the letter was an afterthought after he'd thought though the issue on his return to the UK. Very Boris-esque or is that Jim hacker-esque.

The fact that the order says that the holder 'must cause the transfer of that item to a constable' which didn't happen for 5 years is a little after the fact.

Jeff said...

Stephen, good effort trying to make 4 points out of 3 in your comment there.

You Lib Dems would stoop to anything ;-)

I have nothing substantive to add, just that I found it a highly amusing post, particularly the ending.

Stephen Glenn said...

Sorry for the confusion Jeff I was merely quoted sub-clauses 1,2 and 4 on the export of Clutural artifacts from Iraq from the Iraq (UN Sanctions) Order 2003 not making 4 points out of 3. I didn't think sub clause 3 applied in this case.

I would propably have made it clearer if I wasn't due on a conference call minutes after posting my response. ;)

Jeff said...

Bah, no, fair play to you there Stephen. My ignorance is now out there for all to see....!

Stephen Glenn said...

It was either that or my mathematical awareness being questioned. Which seeing my profession isn't the ideal scenario. ;)


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