13 Real Heists from Around the World

From Gadling.com:

D.B. Cooper is one of America’s most notorious hijackers, one that is still at large after 35 years of being on the run. On November 24, 1971 — the day before Thanksgiving — “Dan Cooper” hijacked Northwest Orient Airlines flight 305 with a briefcase “bomb.” He handed a flight attendant a note saying “I have a bomb in my briefcase. I will use it if necessary. I want you to sit next to me. You are being hijacked.” With that, the flight attendant alerted the pilot who then relayed details of the situation to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The pilot was instructed by radio control to comply with Cooper’s requests: four parachutes and USD $200,000. Why four parachutes? Allegedly he requested the extra three for the pilot, co-pilot, and flight attendant as a way to insure they were not fake. Passengers were dropped off at the Seattle-Tacoma airport, in exchange for the parachutes and cash. Loot in hand, Cooper instructed the pilot to take to the skies again, this time headed for Mexico. Not even the trailing F-106 fighter jet saw D.B. Cooper as he jumped out of the slow-moving plane; it’s believed that he landed safely somewhere near Ariel, Washington. The Wikipedia entry on D.B. Cooper has a massive amount of information — everything from possible suspects to pop cultural reference.

In Iraq’s four-year looting frenzy, the allies have become the vandals

From The Guardian:

Yesterday Hussaini reported to the British Museum on his struggles to protect his work in a state of anarchy. It was a heart breaking presentation. Under Saddam you were likely to be tortured and shot if you let someone steal an antiquity; in today’s Iraq you are likely to be tortured and shot if you don’t. The tragic fate of the national museum in Baghdad in April 2003 was as if federal troops had invaded New York city, sacked the police and told the criminal community that the Metropolitan was at their disposal. The local tank commander was told specifically not to protect the museum for a full two weeks after the invasion. Even the Nazis protected the Louvre.

When I visited the museum six months later, its then director, Donny George, proudly showed me the best he was making of a bad job. He was about to reopen, albeit with half his most important objects stolen. The pro-war lobby had stopped pretending that the looting was nothing to do with the Americans, who were shamefacedly helping retrieve stolen objects under the dynamic US colonel, Michael Bogdanos (author of a book on the subject). The vigorous Italian cultural envoy to the coalition, Mario Bondioli-Osio, was giving generously for restoration….

Today the picture is transformed. Donny George fled for his life last August after death threats. The national museum is not open but shut. Nor is it just shut. Its doors are bricked up, it is surrounded by concrete walls and its exhibits are sandbagged. Even the staff cannot get inside. There is no prospect of reopening…

Hussaini confirmed a report two years ago by John Curtis, of the British Museum, on America’s conversion of Nebuchadnezzar’s great city of Babylon into the hanging gardens of Halliburton. This meant a 150-hectare camp for 2,000 troops. In the process the 2,500-year-old brick pavement to the Ishtar Gate was smashed by tanks and the gate itself damaged. The archaeology-rich subsoil was bulldozed to fill sandbags, and large areas covered in compacted gravel for helipads and car parks. Babylon is being rendered archaeologically barren.