Friday, December 18, 2015

But Who Will Hold US Government Officials into Account?

The US State Department and US Customs have held a ceremony to repatriate to the Chinese Government artifacts and a fossil forfeited from American citizens because of misrepresentations on customs documentation.  In each case, the small businessmen who made the misrepresentations also suffered criminal penalties.

But what about gross exaggerations concerning the value of ISIS antiquities made to the US Congress and the American public?

Is it just that small businessmen lose their property and suffer criminal convictions for misrepresentations on customs documentation while government officials can exaggerate values of stolen antiquities with impunity in order to justify new government regulations?


Ed Snible said...

There is a $5 million prize for disrupting the ISIS antiquities trade. According to a New York Times article by Ben Taub, a single invoice for $161,000 was 64% of the entire ISIS antiquities trade for six months (64% is the fraction of the 80% Taub mentions after accounting for the second largest, $40,000, invoice).

If Taub is right, a single individual could "disrupt" ISIS' piece of the antiquities market merely by non-payment for a single invoice. Could not this individual then go to the US State Department, ask for the Reward for Justice, be denied, and then have legal standing to discover how the government arrived at the figures used to deny paying the reward?

John H said...

Hello Peter:

All the best to you and your family for a happy Christmas and I hope a prosperous New Year. Good luck and good health.


John Howland

Cultural Property Observer said...

Thanks John. To you and your family too! (As well as all the other readers of this blog.)