Cultural Heritage News

  • 27 Apr 2016 1:07 PM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    House sends bill to Obama limiting ISIS profits from cultural destruction

    By Cristina Marcos  

    The House sent legislation to President Obama’s desk on Tuesday that would help prevent the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) from profiting from damaged or stolen cultural artifacts.

    The measure, which cleared easily by voice vote, would restrict U.S. imports on archaeological material from Syria since the start of its civil war. The U.S. already has a similar prohibition for Iraq.

    However, the bill allows exemptions for temporarily moving specific cultural objects to the U.S. for protection. 

    http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/house/277759-house-sends-bill-to-obama-limiting-isis-profits-from-cultural

  • 21 Apr 2016 8:04 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Islamic State Committing ‘Cultural Genocide’ by Selling Priceless Antiques to Westerners

    by Edwin Mora20 Apr 201656

    20 Apr, 2016 20 Apr, 2016

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Expert witnesses, while testifying before a House panel about the unprecedented level of looting and destruction of priceless antiques by jihadist groups across the Middle East, identified collectors from Europe and the United States as top buyers of ancient artifacts illegally sold by the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL/IS).

    On Tuesday, the experts testified before the House Financial Services Committee’s Task Force to Investigate Terrorism Financing during a hearing titled “Preventing Cultural Genocide: Countering the Plunder and Sale of Priceless Cultural Antiquities by ISIS.”

    The Islamic State is committing “cultural genocide” as it plunders and sells ancient artifacts to fund its terrorist activities, the lawmakers learned from the experts.

    Looting perpetrated by ISIS is occurring on an “unprecedented scale” and is serving as a significant source of funding for the group, the United Nations has warned.

    http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2016/04/20/islamic-state-committing-cultural-genocide-selling-priceless-antiques-westerners/

  • 21 Apr 2016 8:00 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    US largest market for antiquities looted by ISIS

    The Islamic State group, also known as ISIS or ISIL, funds its operations via the sale of antiquities among other means.

    By Washington Desk -

    April 19, 2016

    WASHINGTON (Talk Media News)  – The United States is the largest market for the Islamic State militant group’s illicit trade in plundered antiquities, according to Patty Gerstenblith, a professor at DePaul University College of Law.

    The sale of antiquities and other cultural artifacts stolen from museums, private collections and archaeological sites in Iraq and Syria have raised the need for long- and short-term solutions with tracking information of objects that come in and leave the country, she said before the House Financial Services Committee, Terrorism Financing Task Force on Tuesday. 

    http://www.talkmedianews.com/us-news/2016/04/19/us-largest-market-looting-antiquities-isis/

  • 18 Apr 2016 8:47 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Restoring Our Cultural Heritage In Syria —The Debate Over Why, How, When, By Whom,
    In What Order, & Who Pays? Intensifies!

    By Franklin Lamb

    16 April, 2016
    Countercurrents.org

    “It was a place to connect to your history, to your identity and to tell others, who were not from Aleppo or Syria: “This is where we are from. This is who we are.” This is where you come to encounter your roots. It was a place that existed forever, a place we thought would exist long after we were gone. But we were wrong.” (Amal Hanano, Lessons from the Minaret, 2013)

    For the past two months, since the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee amended legislative proposal H.R. 1493, known as the Protect and Preserve International Cultural Property Act , the key bill has picked up stream on Capitol Hill with bi-partisan support. This week (4/13/2016), the full senate passed the measure by unanimous consent. This important legislation, which is expected to become law in the coming weeks, given its strong support also on the House side of Congress, calls for emergency import restrictions on at-risk Syrian cultural property within 90 days of President Obama’s signature. Rather than establishing a rather controversial cultural heritage czar called for in an earlier version, H.R. 1493 now calls for an inter-agency executive committee to protect international cultural property. 

    http://www.countercurrents.org/lamb160416.htm
  • 18 Apr 2016 8:39 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Tomb raiding ringleader gets death penalty

    2016-04-15 08:37Global Times Editor: Li Yan

    China on Thursday sentenced the head of the country's most prolific tomb raiding gang to death with a two-year reprieve, a rare severe punishment which analysts hope will serve as a warning to the unbridled tomb raiding industry in China.

    Ringleader Yao Yuzhong, from Chifeng in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, was found guilty of several offenses including tomb raiding, looting and selling stolen antiquities. His gang was highly organized, and would source fund, explore, loot and trade relics, said the Chaoyang City Intermediate People's Court of Northeast China's Liaoning Province on Thursday. 

    http://www.ecns.cn/2016/04-15/206782.shtml

  • 18 Apr 2016 8:36 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Belgium eliminates federal taskforce to fight trafficking in cultural property

    Interior minister says art and antiquities crime is ‘not considered a priority’

    by Victoria Stapley-Brown  |  15 April 2016

    As reported by the public broadcaster of Belgium’s French community rtbf, the Belgian government has quietly decided to eliminate the federal police unit dedicated to fighting illegal trafficking of cultural property, part of the central directorate against serious and organised crime. This has been seen as an alarming move by many in the preservation world, given the current international attention to Syrian antiquities trafficking and questions over security in the country. 

    http://theartnewspaper.com/news/news/belgium-eliminates-federal-taskforce-to-fight-trafficking-in-cultural-property/

  • 14 Apr 2016 2:18 PM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Senate Votes to Ban Imports of Syrian Art and Antiquities

    By STEVEN LEE MYERSAPRIL 13, 2016

    WASHINGTON — The Senate voted on Wednesday to ban the import of virtually all ancient art and artifacts from Syria to discourage the looting and trafficking of illicit objects by the Islamic State and other armed groups.

    The Senate voted by unanimous consent, reflecting broad bipartisan support, but it did so after months of delay and debate over the legislation, which the House of Representatives passed last year. The bill’s provisions would fulfill commitments the United States supported at the United Nations Security Council more than a year ago to try to choke off the trade of so-called blood antiquities that the Islamic State, the Nusra Front, Al Qaeda and other groups use to help finance their military operations in Syria and Iraq

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/14/world/middleeast/senate-votes-to-ban-imports-of-syrian-art-and-antiquities.html#

  • 14 Apr 2016 2:16 PM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    CultureUnderThreat Task Force Unveils Recommendations to Combat Antiquities Trafficking, Cultural Cleansing

    Apr 13, 2016

    WASHINGTON, DC, April 13, 2016—Today the Antiquities Coalition, Asia Society, and Middle East Institute released #CultureUnderThreat: Recommendations for the U.S. Government, a series of steps for confronting growing threats to our cultural heritage and global security. Cultural racketeering – the global trade in looted antiquities – is a multibillion-dollar industry that funds organized crime and terrorists like Daesh (also known as ISIS). Cultural cleansing – the systematic destruction of a targeted group and its heritage – has been used by Daesh, al Nusra, and other terrorist organizations to terrorize populations under their control. 

    http://asiasociety.org/media/our-news/cultureunderthreat-task-force-unveils-recommendations-combat-antiquities-trafficking-

  • 06 Apr 2016 4:49 PM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    Islamic State nets up to $200 million a year from antiquities: Russia

    UNITED NATIONS | By Louis Charbonneau

     

    UNITED NATIONS Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq are netting between $150 million and $200 million per year from illicit trade in plundered antiquities, Russia's ambassador to the United Nations said in a letter released on Wednesday

    Around 100,000 cultural objects of global importance, including 4,500 archaeological sites, nine of which are included in the World Heritage List of ... UNESCO, are under the control of the Islamic State ... in Syria and Iraq," Ambassador Vitaly Churkin wrote in a letter to the U.N. Security Council.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-antiquities-russia-idUSKCN0X32HK 

  • 06 Apr 2016 11:55 AM | Gary Nurkin (Administrator)

    U.S. Attorney Announces Return To Mongolia Of Looted Dinosaur Fossils

    Alioramus Skull, Nest of Eggs and Various Skeletons Among Fossils Being Repatriated

    This afternoon, Robert L. Capers, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, will host a repatriation ceremony at which the United States will return to Mongolia the fossilized remains of six species of dinosaur.  The fossils were unlawfully removed from Mongolia and seized by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents in New York and Utah. 

    The largest of these fossils, an Alioramus skull, was forfeited to the United States as a result of a civil forfeiture action handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.  The other fossils being returned at today’s ceremony were administratively forfeited by ICE and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).   HSI Executive Associate Director of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Peter T. Edge and Mongolia’s Ambassador to the United States Altangerel Bulgaa will sign the ceremonial certificates transferring ownership of the fossils from the United States to Mongolia.  Mongolian paleontologist Dr. Bolortsetseg Minjin, and Director of the Institute for the Study of Mongolian Dinosaurs, will participate in the ceremony as a representative of the Mongolian Ministry of Education, Culture and Sciences. 

    https://www.justice.gov/usao-edny/pr/us-attorney-announces-return-mongolia-looted-dinosaur-fossils

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