Monday, February 22, 2010

Response to CAARI VP Ellen Herscher

This is what I posted to the Museum Security List. A similar note was sent to David Gill, but has yet to be published:

Dear Ms. Herscher and Museum Security List-Serve: Ms. Herscher misses the point about CAARI's lobbying and the excavation permits issued to CAARI affiliated archaeologists. My original post simply stated, "Additional FOIA information has revealed that the Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute (CAARI) was involved in behind-the-scenes lobbying on behalf of the Cypriot Department of Antiquities, the Cypriot government body that issues excavation permits that allow CAARI affiliated archaeologists to excavate on the Island."

Although Ms. Herscher may deny it, ACCG's Complaint speaks for itself. Look at paragraphs 45 (CAARI facilitates meeting for Cypriot Antiquities head with State Department Cultural Heritage Center officials), 53 (CAARI-associated archaeologist confers behind-the- scenes with State Depatment officials about restrictions on coins before Cyprus makes request), 72 (CAARI members invited to MOU signing ceremony), and 77 (CAARI President brags about his group's efforts to Cypriot media). The reader can decide for themselves whether this suggests "behind-the-scenes lobbying" or not. I should also note that Ms. Herscher has previously claimed that CAARI does not "lobby" at all.

The Complaint can be reviewed here:

Peter Tompa

original message: Ellen Herscher of CAARI writes, Once again the ACCG has made false claims about the role of the Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute in the U.S. government's decision to enter into a bilateral agreement with Cyprus. CAARI's Director and several trustees publicly submitted statements insupport of the agreement. This position is in accordance with CAARI's Code of Ethics, which states that the organization "is dedicated tothe protection and preservation of archaeological sites in Cyprus andthe information they contain." There was no "behind-the-scenes lobbying" involved. Secondly, "CAARI-affiliation" has nothing to do with the granting ofexcavation permits in Cyprus. Permits are the sole responsibility ofthe Department of Antiquities of the Republic of Cyprus. It is unfortunate that the ACCG continues to publish these erroneous statements, despite the fact that CAARI has responded and refuted them in the past.

Ellen Herscher
Vice President, CAARI

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