Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Terrorist Financing

A House Foreign Relations subcommittee held a hearing on terrorist financing.  ISIS gets most of its $1 bn from confiscations, taxes and "hot oil," but the terror group  also gains funding from ransoms, donations and sales of looted antiquities.  ASOR/State Department Point Man Michael Danti rightly declined to to put a number  on the value of these looted antiquities, and noted that far more needs to be done by Lebanon, Turkey, Greece, Cyprus and Bulgaria, which are the main transit points to the EU.   Frankly, the last four have a special obligation to act given their own self-righteous stance when it comes to their own cultural patrimony.  But will the archaeological lobby hold their feet to the fire?

1 comment:

Wayne G. Sayles said...

Kudos to Michael Danti for not jumping on the Band Wagon and mindlessly blaming American private collectors for all the evils of the world. Most American dealers and collectors that I know, and that is more than a few, are perplexed by the insipid claims of even the major media that obviously have no basis in fact. The U.S. market has certainly not seen any measurable rise in artifacts from Syria. If anything, the opposite is true. Because of international sensitivity, the traditional market for objects from this region is shrinking and many dealers shy away from it. Typically, those things seen on the market today are items from old and well known collections. In the rare instances where looted material has been interdicted, it has been really minor material. Except for a few exponents of the prevailing archaeogical view, Customs and federal law enforcement agencies have generally acted reasonably and appropriately in their investigations, seizures and criminal prosecutions. I really don't see how the U.S. Collector can be villainized with any justification. That trend seems to me more of an ideological crusade than legitimate news.