tv Hearing on Protecting Middle East Cultural Antiquities from ISIS CSPAN April 20, 2016 8:45pm-10:54pm EDT
partners of mine. did any of them ever invite me to play golf at their fancy country clubs or invite me to their clubs. and it just goes on and on. >> and his lips with quivering. that is one of the few times in all of those three and a half plus years that i was so close to him that he was a very well-contained, disciplined man. very disciplined. and he knew how to keep this in. but he rerupted when he was talking to don and saying, not a -- and he hated them for it. >> former nixon deputy assistant butterfield and bob woodward reflect on the former president's personality and policies from watergate to vietnam. for the complete american history tv weekend schedule go to c-span.org. it's been reported that the extremist group isis has been looting and selling antiquities
and artifacts and other cultural materials in the middle east. we'll hear from the author of the book the monuments men. he was part of a panel testifying at a house financial services task force which is investigating terrorism financing. the task force will come to order. the title of today's task force hearing is: preventing cultural jenno sid, countering the plunder and sale of priceless abtsic witnesses by isis. without objection, the chair is authorized to declare recess at any time and all members will have five days to submit materials to the chair for inclusion into the record. without objection, members of the full committee not members of the task force may participate in today's hearing for the purpose of making an
opening statement and questioning the witnesses. the chair now recognizes himself for three minutes for an opening statement. i want to thank for joining us today for the eighth hearing of the house financial services committee task force to investigate terrorism financing. and i would like to thank chairman hencer ling and waters and my colleagues for their unwavering support as we continue to investigate the threat of terror finance. since it has surfaced, isis is different than many terror organizations in the ability to self-finance due to the diversified revenue streams, pulling in funds from ransoms to oil production. one of the discussed methods is the exploitation of art and antiquities from syria and iraq. while not as lucrative as oil or extortion, iraqi officials believe that isis could be generated $100 million from the sale and trafficking of antiquities alone. recent events have attributed
this illicit practice exclusively to isis but make no mistake the plunder of art has been ready illy utilized by transnational groups operating around the world. it is estimated that the profit of the traffic and sale of the cultural properties may range between 3.4 and $6.3 billion annually. this crime has and will continue to be a global problem which requires a coordinated international effort to combat. furthermore, this issue hits close to home. the fbi has credible reports that u.s. persons have been offered cultural property that has appeared to have been removed from syria. the united states must do its part in curbing the demand for the cultural and artistic possesses by taking -- pieces by taking another look at customer due diligence and improving coordination with our international partners. this is a revenue stream exploited by illicit actors around the world and it cannot continue unabated.
i believe that today's hearing with this expert panel of witnesses will help illustrate the scale and severity of this issue as well as offer measures to best combat and diminish this despicable practice. at this time i would like to recognize this task force ranking member, my colleague and mr. lynch from massachusetts for four minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i also want to thank chairman hencer ling and ranking member waters and vice chairman pittinger for holding today's hearing and would you like to welcome and thank our distinguished panel of experts this morning for helping our task force with this important work. today's hearing will focus on how the united states can counter the plunder and sale of priceless culture antiquities by the islamic state and others. other relevant themes of today's hearing, while focused on the antiquities, are analogous throughout our task force hearings, especially those concerns related to trade-based
money laundering. to cut off the flow of financing to terrorist organizations, we need better information sharing on all fronts and this includes improvements in information sharing between government agencies, between agencies, between countries and the private sector. we also need to be able to attract the true owners of property. whether that is an ancient artifact or a high rise apartment building. we need to cut off trade routes that terrorist organizations use to funnel elicit goods. the same strategyies we need to combat isis in a previous hearing on trade based money laundering, this committee discussed the routes isis used.d
isis is using similar routes to smuggle antiquities out of its territory. in addition, he knows that lebanon is being used to smuggle antiquities and other illicit commodities. there is low risk of being caught. we need to do a better job policing these routes so isis can no longer smuggle antiquities out of the territory it holds. as lawrence shindell and dr. patty mentioned in their prepared remarks as well about isis's ability to profit is a system of trade based money laundering in the art based industry. we need to bring together rules of transparency, so antiquities
trafficking is no longer profitable for terrorist organizations. as dr. gerstenblith suggests, we should require export declarations for antiquities worth more than $10,000. and also consider a tariff on imports of these items. i look forward to hearing the testimony of our witnesses so we can further examine this issue in detail and i yield back the balance of my time. >> i recognize the vice chairman of the task force. >> thank you for your dedication and hard work. i would like to thank ranking member lynch, ranking member waters and as well as our professional staff joe pinneder for assembling an esteemed group of witnesses. we have gained important insight into the threats facing our nation. how they are funded and many obstacles we faced to iner is accepting these funds.
i had the opportunity to travel to south america to witness the firsthand problems they face with regard to elicit financing operations. and the emerging presence of hezbollah. while the problems are great, i was inspired by the dedicated officials of columbia, panama and paraguay. we must continue working with these countryies to make sure they do not become overrun with criminal organizations. the world's most dominant and terror organization. according to our government's national security strategy. it is the objective of the united states to degrade and defeat isis. while this administration's overall strategy remains questionable. both parties can agree preventing the flow of dollars.
with this herring, congress is signaling the combating of isis' financing whether it be extortion, trade based money laundering or in this case, antiquities sales. thank you for holding this important hearing on such a pertinent issue. and i yield back. >> i now recognize the gentle lady from arizona. >> terrorism is an undeniable threat to our country's security and stability. terrorist networks develop new ways to finance their deadly operations and threaten america. the islamic state is one of the world's most violent, dangerous able well financed groups. within the past year, amid greater pressure on its financial resources. is has ratcheted up the sale of antiquities. i generated millions of dollars
from antiquities. funds are raised from direct looting and requiring permits for criminal smugglers who operate in is control territory. the impact of these actions goes beyond the function of terrorism. anything outside of its perverse and disgusting vision of islam must be destroyed. the loss of these historical treasures is a tragedy. to keep our country safe, we must be one step ahead of is, cutting off its funding and stop stopping its efforts. i yield back. >> we now welcome our witnesses. mr. robert edsall is our first witness today. he's the author of "the monuments men," "nazi thieves," "saving italy" he's co producer
of the rape of europa. most famously, academy award winner "the monuments men." raised in dallas texas mr. edsall graduated from southern methodist university. he's been awarded the texas medal of arts award, the president's call to service award. presented by the dallas museum. in 2014, he was presented with the records of achievement award which recognizes an individual who has fostered the identity of the united states through original records. he serves as trustee of the national world war ii museum. director of analysis at the center of sanctions and illicit finance at the foundation for defense of democracies.
ya ya spent seven years as an economic and counter terrorism analyst in the cia, where he briefed white house level policy makers, u.s. military personnel and federal law enforcement, after government service, ya ya worked in a small consulting firm where he led a team of analysts working on a multibillion dollar recovery effort. he operated his own consulting practice, trading firms, specializing in strategic analysis and business do diligen diligence. he received a ba in economics from uc berkeley. dr. patsy gerstenblith is a distinguished research professor at due paul university and director of its center for art, museum and cultural heritage law. she's founding president of the lawyer's committee for cultural
heritage and senior adviser to the aba's art and cultural heritage committee. she was appointed by president obama to serve as the chair of the president's cultural property advisory committee in the u.s. department of state. previously she was editor in chief of the international journal of cultural property. she received her bachelor's from bryn mawr college. jd from northwestern university. dr. allasam is an associate professor at shawnee state university. an associate professor of history and anthropology in ohio, he was educated in the u.k., reading archaeology at the university of college london, and graduated with a doctoral degree in 1991. he was the director of scientific and conservation laboratories. taught at the university of
damascus until 2006 he was visiting assistant professor at bringham young university. he serves on the executive committee of the day after project. mr. shindell is chairman of the new york headquarter ed -- arri is the world leader in nonproperty assets for multiple sectors. he regularly advises and speaks on the legal title risks inherent in the global art and collectibles market. mr. shindell holds a bachelor's from the university of madison. the witnesses will now be recognized for five minutes each to give an oral presentation of
your written remarks. with that objection. the witnesses written statements will be made part of the following record. once each of the witnesses have finished presenting their testimony. the members of the task force will have five minutes within which to ask questions each. on the table there are three lights, one green, one yellow, one red. red means your time is up. the microphone is sense fish. we ask the witnesses to make sure that you are speaking directly into it. with that, mr. edsall, you're recognized for five minutes. thank you, sir. >> i'd like to extend my thanks to the members and staff of the task force for including me. evidence that isis has sanctioned the lewding and sale of antiquities to generate revenue for terrorism is a game changer, it compels us to think
about the ownership of art, the responsibility of the art trade and collectors and the role of the federal government differently than ever before. we cannot say we weren't warned. as recently as 1991, an important adviser to general eisenhower's staff, urged all those willing to listen, planners for future hostilities tend to think in terms of the last conflict. any consideration of the different ways in which the first and second world wars were fought. if this generation wishes to leave to its children the cultural treasures it's enjoyed, such courage should be encouraged. events in iraq in 2003 and most recently syria, have painfully demonstrated he was right. the monuments men saw firsthand
the destruction of cherished religious treasures is the starter gun that proceeds again side in the human suffering that follows. it proved true in nazi germany, in al qaeda controlled areas of afghanistan and now in isis administered portions of syria and iraq. ignoring this early warning sign denies our nation the chance to act. we can only react. organizations that are charged with preserving our cultural heritage are relegated to bearing witness to its destruction. steps we as a nation have taken to protect our homeland have not kept pace with developments in the art world, nowhere near. the global explosion of wealth these past 20 years is creating more buyers with greater resources chasing prized objects.
consider that a painting by picasso that sold for less than $200,000 in 1956 recently sold for 180 million. a sculpt sure for 140 million. a drawing by rapheal for 50 million. the sums are staggering and yet regulatory authorities have n not -- this creates a weakness that isis and others, tax cheats, those in possession of lewded paintings can exploit. the very profitability of art and antiques, sometimes their relatively small size facilitate s movement. just last week, the panama papers revealed a nazi lewded painting by modigliani was among
thousands of works of art stored in special tax zones known as freeports. this art nether world provides privacy for the honest, the lack of transparency cloaks tax thieves and those converting cultural treasures to cash to fund terrorism. the art trade is a largely self-regulated antiquated business model. until the advent of the internet in the late 1990s, few in the art world paid attention to prov nens, a fancy word for who owned something in the past, unless it enhanced the value of the object. looted art traded hands, some of it openly, although there has been improvement and the scrutiny of objects sold at public auction. there remains a high degree of willful ignorance by some collectors eager to add to their collections. worse still is their lack of knowledge about the history of
what they already own. some don't want to know. who can be against infusing the opaque system of the art world with increased transparency. tax cheats, those who possess stolen works of art. smugglers, terrorism networks, privacy alone cannot be an argument for doing knock when the stakes for the common good are so high. in closing, the policy of the western allies and the work of the moth amounts men establish the high bar for cultural treasures. it was a source of pride for general eisenhower who said, it is our privilege to pass on the coming centuries, treasuries of past ages. what will be our legacy. >> you're now recognized for five minutes. >> members of the task force. on behalf of the foundation for defense of democracies, thank you for the opportunity to
testify. >> before delving into the issue of islamic state an tech witties, it's important to collar phi the groups actions. one of isis' aims is to win over locals who may be on the fence to submitting to jihadist rule. although exactly how much isis earns from looting artifacts is unknown. this appears to be part of isis' economic strategy. not just for funding the group itself, but for creating ways to bring funds to its population. isis has been dubbed the world's richest terrorism army,s legal antiquities trade gives the group significant strategic advantage against existing counter finance efforts.
history enthusiasts and art aficionados in the united states and europe. representatives of the societies which isis has pledged to destroy. this poses several challenges to policy makers, there may be opportunities for us as well. isis has access to roughly 5,000 sites and probably has earned several millions of dollars from antiquities trafficking. some of the looting appears to be conducted by economically devastated environment where isis taxes and confiscates other earnings and possessions. this illegal trade of artifacts generally doesn't risk provoking outside military attacks. it's not likely that the excavation sites are going to be bombed or provoking local rebellion. the pipelines that move antiquities to market turkey and lebanon are the best documented
among these. these pipelines are well known for other illicit commodities, but less understood in the context of antiquities. greece and bulgaria is a known path for migrants and probably plays a role in selling antiquities. transactions are proven difficult to track through traditional customs enforcement and financial intelligence the challenges are great. the following are some recommendations that may help some policy makers make a trade. even a handful of strategic terror designations imposed on the worst offenders would likely have a chilling effect on sellers and buyers, given the financial risks and fines associated with sanctions. to making antiquities an looting
law enforcement priority. it's unclear who in the u.s. government is responsible for countering antiquities trafficking. the u.s. government must designate a lead organization and provide adequate authorization and resources. three, incorporating cultural property crime awareness into the intelligence community and u.s. special forces training. threat finances already emphasize importance taught at the joint special operations university, such courses do not appear to highlight antiquities. antiquities trafficking should be included in future course work. expanding registries of art and antiquities. they're commonplace, new technologies make it possible for art and artifacts to be tagged and tracked in realtime. over time, by tagging a large number of objects with unique identifiers, a better chain of
custody could be created. these recommendations are just a few of the steps that will undoubtedly be a long complex and multifaceted battle. law enforcement and intelligence battles should pay close attention. not just because they need to know precisely how much money isis brings in, what is born is the trade itself reveals something about islamic state's infrastructure, it's links with partners and middlemen. all of this is critical to understanding how the u.s. and its allies may defeat the group. thank you. >> chairman fitzpatrick, ranking member lynch, and members of the task force. thank you for this opportunity to speak with you. as was mentioned, i surfaced the chair. i am speaking to you today in my personal capacity and on behalf of the u.s. committee of the
blue shield. blue shield is the cultural equivalent of the red cross, and is used to mark protected cultural sites. the creation of no strike lists. we liasse with the department of defense to protect cultural heritage during armed conflict. syria and northern iraq are rich in historic remains stretching over many millennia. this is where the king ruled at the beginning of the second millennia -- and where the hebrew profit jonah preached repentance 1 thorks years later. historic remains represent the greeks, romans, business an teens and many faiths including judaism, christianity and islam. minority groups as well. syria is home to six world
heritage sites. when an archeological site is looted. the artifacts are destroyed. there by permanently preventing us from fully understanding and reconstructing our past. unfortunately, the looting of archeological sites is big business, often carried out on an organized and industrialized scale. many of these sites are unknown before they are looted. cultural objects move from source, transit and destination countries. different legal systems create obstacles to objects and prosecution of crimes. and they allow the laundering of title to these artifacts. the united states is a single largest market for art in the world. with 43% of market share. because of the availability of the charitable tax detuks. the ability to import works of art and because of artistic
preference, the united states is the largest market for antiquities, particularly those from the mediterranean and middle east. antiquities have no established value. and no documented history. they can be mine ed from the ground as new commodities, they are the perfect vehicle for moving funds and value around the world. and supporting illegal activi activities. purchase of drugs and weapons, organized crime and terrorism. because of the unknown nature of recently looted antiquities are for the most part useless for the antiquities trade. both isil and the assad regime are participating in looting and realizing income from the sale of antiquities. studies of satellite images reveal historic patterns of looting preconflict. in this image of the site of
mari, which is located in eastern syria and fell under isil control in the summer of 2014, preconflict you can see some looters, but not many. in the fall of 2014, i hope you can see the large numbers of looters pits, many of which the red circles around them, but there are additional ones as well 37 we know that isil earns income at several points -- we also know that for propaganda purposes, isil destroys on a large and public stage and movable structures. they also destroy artifacts that are documented in museum collections and are too well known to sell or too large to move. away from public view it orchestrates the looting of antiquities, taxing smugglers or taxing their sale. you will hear more about this. yet there are steps that the united states can take and
impose little cost to american citizens. these are steps we can take here in the united states. that would also direct the economic reward to isil. returning to the house next week i hope. will be hr 1493. will impose import restrictions, illegally removed from syria after the beginning of the rebellion in march of 2011. take up hr 22-85. third, encourage law enforcement to refocus attention away from forfeiture, the criminal networks can be dismantled and higher level actors reached. foster greater transparency and accountability in the market. requiring documentation of ownership history upon sale or donation to charitable institutions. and finally, we should be looking prospectively toward places where isil is moving, such as libya, which is home to many archeological sites.
thank you for this opportunity to address the task force, i look forward to answering your questions. >> thank you, doctor. dr. allasam is recognized for five minutes. >> i'd like to begin by thanking the finance committee for inviting me to testify on an important subject. i will focus my remarks on three key points. when isis took over large areas of territory in 2014, it essentially took over a pre-existing situation of looting. isis did not start the looting, they just carried it on. more over, it actually institutionalized the process and intensified it to a great degree. in fact, what we can say is isis sees cultural heritage as a resource to be kploited like any other. we know this, because isis has a
dedicated department for the administration of the looting of antiquities. you can see this is one of the offices, and it's placed under the office of resources, which manages oil revenue, taxation and any other source of revenue isis cares to use. through this office, licenses like this one are issued to looters which allow the looters, gives them permission to go out and loot archeological sites. the purchase of a looting license is a source of revenue, as are extensions as you see in this case here. this looter having dug up the site, realized he needed an extension. so he purchases an extension. in the second image on the right you request see he purchases a
license to allow him to use heavy machinery. if you don't think that this is producing good material, here are some of the finds that came out of this one license site that was being looted. not only these pieces of pottery, but also, as can you see these bronze and metal items all dating -- all coming from a bronze age tomb complex. we also know that when isis licenses these sites, it also requires the looter to sell the items. if he fails to sell them, then isis will take them back and they will use their main auction in the city of raca. it operates on a regular basis, sometimes as often as three times a week, when necessary. these two items were looted from the city of palmyra just before
isis was forced to -- forced out of the city. and they were sold about three weeks ago, in the auction, i believe the asking price was $150,000. i cannot tell you -- i cannot confirm whether that was the price that was achieved, but that was the asking price. isis as he mentions -- it loots what it can sell, it destroys what it cannot they allow isis to demonstrate it's ability. it's a powerful propaganda tool. isis exploits it and uses it to great effect. >> also just to point out to you, it is not just isis that loots. loots was done by the regime this is when it was under regime
control. about to be exported to turkey by the dealer who has him he purchased him from an army officer one year before isis took control of the site. what can we do about this? 70% of syria's cultural hart season outside regime controlled areas and outside its -- the reach of its government institutions. it falls on nonstate actors to dry to do something the day after. we try to do what we can, we try to monitor the damage, the destruction. we try to monitor any activity that occurs from this. we do get some help from
organizati organizations like the state. the support is actually limited, and hardly addresses the scale of the catastrophe that we are facing. i would also touch upon the importance of why it is necessary to save this cultural heritage. i'm out of time. >> chairman fitzpatrick. thank you for inviting me to testify. i would like to thank the task force itself, including the weekly news clips, e-mail changes. i submitted my more detailed testimony. the problem of terrorism financing through conflict zone looting relates to the broader problem of money laundering in
the global art industry as representative lynch you accurately pointed out. the need is for improved aml compliance. with art and cultural objects which can only happen at the inintersection of the art and financial industries. if we remove the ability of terrorists to launder stolen and art and cultural objects. we loot these objects, cut off a key source of terrorism financing. and make great strides toward the cultural legacy. effective solutions are now within reach. switzerland, lux um burg and belgi belgium. bring transparency to global antiquities. they believe they have the ability to use the authority to
greater transparency to the art and antiquities market which i'll discuss in a moment. to detect and share information on patterns of behavior. these patterns have identified and signaled terrorism financing through looted art and cultural objects as well as trade based money laundering in the art industry generally. servicing the broad range of stakeholders from the financial markets lending against the asset class, capital markets investing in the asset class, in the nonprofit museum community as well as the trade. the problem is, of course, unregulated nature of the industry as you heard, transactions, all which obscures
official ownership. it prevents market participants from identifying patterns in illegal steams. patterns is the core of the aml enforcement and compliance. compounding the problem is the prevalence of freeports as you heard alluded to. which are tax free zones designed to serve as a weigh station in valid transactions so that the tax ultimately assigned is levied at the final destination of the object. in fact this needs to add to -- the financial action task force on money laundering identified this problem as early as 2010. to be sure good faith well intended responsible artists of freeport, seek better systemic means to close the gap between aml's compliance regulations and practical barriers to enforcing
them. simply put, attacking terrorism financing using cultural objects in art is impeded by the current inability to cross-reference inability reported to identify anomalies and suspicious activity. comptroller currency accommodated in march of 2015, the need is for more accurate and timely information. and the use of technology to close information gaps. we believe they have the authority to place our title insurance companies under the bsa for information sharing with safe harbor protection, t ignite the solution in the industry that would enable detecting effective patterns. lastly, i mentioned technology solutions which are now underway to address the accurate information, lack of accurate information, reliably linked to artistic and cultural objects.
currently to a nonprofit organization called the global center of innovation. standards based solutions, similar to nist, iso, to enable technologies, the equivalent of a nano scale vehicle identification number for artistic and cultural objects is now within reach to anchor objects so that this information can be generated in the industry and provide reliable information. thank you. >> thank you, mr. shin del and thank all the witnesses for their testimony today. we're going to move to the member's questions. i'm going to recognize the gentle lady from missouri. ann wagner who had previously served as ambassador to lux emboring. the gentle lady is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you. and i thank the chairman for his courtesy.
thank you all for appearing before the task force today to discuss key elements that terrorists abroad are using in order to obtain illicit financing. antiquities smuggling and the sale of cultural artifacts has been occurring since the the '80s and '90s under the regime of zam in order to avoid international sanctions. the islamic state is using it to raise financing to fuel their operations and expend terrorism worldwide. understanding the prominence of this activity and how it intersects with our financial institutions and markets is critical to cutting off this source of funding for terrorists and aiding in our efforts to eliminate isis. mr. shindell, it is great to see you again. we've been exploring this issue ever since, in your testimony,
you note that any money laundering and counter terrorism financing laws are limited when it comes to the trade of cultural property, because they are not explicitly covered in those laws standards. how can we best address money laundering through the art trade, sir? >> it really comes back to organizing the information. on the ground means to prevent the looting of the object specifically, once it leaves the ground and entering the trade, it's the lack of a systemic system to monitor what's happening to that object. and so between gaps in information, unreliability of information, because of the lack means to verify. an export document may be a forged document. what happens is, there's a specific strategy in many circles of the industry, to move
up the ladder from less important trade sources to more important ones. each step of the way creates a veneer of vulnerability. a means that anchors the information every step of the way. >> was there an issue with stolen art involved in the recent panama papers issued and can you briefly discuss the details of that? the panama situation highlights the black hole in the industry. while none of us knows more than what's been reported in the media so far. many objects, the real problem is. stolen objects may end up in tax driven facilities, anchored in
panama, which enables hiding that information. >> a uniformed system that could be a buy in to across the board is what is -- i'm assuming necessary in this space. you mentioned your company submitted a request in 2014 that our title industry be subject to bank secrecy act. can you explain why you made that request, sir? >> it's a means to create information sharing in the financial sector. let's suppose one of the large banks in the united states is offered a basket of art objects, whether cultural heritage objects or art as we might think about it, for a loan transaction for $50 million. right now, because of the lack of information sharing, that financial institution, would have no way of knowing whether
that was paid to six banks around the world, none of which is accurate, their lens is limited to the transaction that is in front of them. because of the title insurer's role, it becomes in effect the vortex to organize this information and take what would be fractured noise to any individual institution, and turn it into reliable cure rated privacy protected information that could be deployed back to then generate suspicious activity reports and so forth as the banks are trying -- >> the financial action task force recommended that financial institutions and the private sector should improve efforts to prevent suspicion transaction. what progress has been made and what additional steps.
i believe i've run out of time. can the private sector take to improve these efforts? >> i'd like to start by pointing out, the moment is not illegal or not necessarily clearly illegal to bring antiquities from syria into the united states. they've not been included in the ofacs sanctions and there's no general legal principle. >> that's a huge hole? >> yes. >> it would be plugged very soon. and that is not even a criminal provisi provision, that is only going to be something that leads to civil forfeiture. before we go to more advanced things, we need to do that. >> i yield back the remainder of none of my time that is left. and hope my colleagues will explore that further. >> ranking member of the task force, mr. lynch is recognized for fine minutes. >> following up on miss wagner's line of questioning, it might be profitable for us to look at the panama papers as well.
and some suggested legislation. i know in the past on the issue of terrorist financing, we have gone to jordan, to morocco, other places where we've asked their legislature and their leadership to adopt anti-money lawnsering or anti-terrorist financing legislation in those countries so we have a means of enforcement. i have a question. the committee regularly travels to iraq, we came back last week from anbar province, we spent some time, many of us, numerous times in southern turkey on the syrian border. and we've had an opportunity to meet with rebel groups, operating in syria against bashar al assad. a lot of those groups there,
including isil are using the social media platform what'sapm. and just going back to mr. shindell's question about the chain of custody on these artifacts, what's coming out of steer ya and iraq, and the source of origin, that whole issue, is there a way for us to interdikt -- i know their marketing and sell iing these antiquities in many cases what'sapp, the social media platform. is there anyway for us to interdikt that -- >> i'll say something, and then dr. al-azm i know -- >> go ahead, i know you -- >> let me say -- this is what we do on a daily basis.
we track these sales. we have people on the ground who actually meet with these dealers, i regularly have on my what'sapp i receive every day, dozens of these photos. the problem, however, is we received this information. what happens next, that's the big hole. and i agree with mr. shindell, we have no means of moving this information on. it's just information that gets backed up, and it goes down the rabbit hole and disappears never to be seen again. there's a complete breakdown in terms of how this information is used. i can collect a lot of -- i collect a lot of information every day. this was collected by people on the ground who are standing there photographing and then passing that information on to us. what happens to that information afterwards is really the big question.
>> there are three ingredients to make the solutions work. one is the means to anchor the objects so everyone knows this is the exact object we're talking about. two. to then anchor verified information to that exact object. so one knows the image actually belongs to the object that is moving in the market. and often there could be a disconnect around that. the third is a means to organize that information to identify the anomalies. in the technology world today, we speak of it in terms of predicted analytics, and other things that can say through information generated at a different time line, in a different part of the world, the object that just came up on what'sapp is an issue. those are the three ingredients. >> i'll just add, there's an opportunity there too. social media can be used to go
after criminals and to go after smugglers outside of antiquities. their actually are -- if what'sapp, ebay, facebook, as these platforms are being used to market the antiquities. the interdiction can come from law enforcement getting involved on those platforms -- >> we've had some issues with the encryption piece of that. that's probably why it's a platform of choice right now. and i probably should have said this in the beginning. thank you, thank each of you for your work on this issue. we have benefited greatly on your expertise. >> i yield five minutes to the chairman of the house committee on foreign affairs. mr. royce. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank you, and i want to thank mr. lynch as well. for your work on this issue.
i just returned from the middle east. where i was honored to speak at the iraq museum in baghdad, about the need to counter isis' trafficking of priceless antiquities. one of the great shocks when you're in that part of the world is to realize just as the third reich in germany tried to destroy so much history with the history of the german tribes, try to restart everything by destroying evidence that went before it, here you have isis and you have the taliban and groups like that that are united in their concept of just trying to destroy all evidence of a syrian civilization. babalonian, any christian examples of churches or art in that region. and i think the appalling aspect of it, when you consider that you see some of these isis
spokes men and other islamist spokes men talking about taking the pyramids down brick by brick, you begin to realize, when they talk about wiping out evidence of buddhist civilization, they mean it, they really are committed to this goal. at the same time, for the smaller antiquities that they can sell for the hard currency. they're not beyond engaging in that kind of criminal activity. i was going to ask dr. dr. gerstenblith. i know how much you've worked on this over the years, we have the bill that has been introduced. to try to address this, this is coming back from the senate this week, could you speak maybe about this concept of protecting and preserving cultural property through these -- through this kind of legislation? >> thank you, mr. royce, and
thank you for your leadership on hr 1493. as i mentioned before, currently there's no legal mechanism clearly in place, that would prohibit the import of antiquities from syria into the united states. i will say prospectively, that situation applies to libya where isil seems to be moving next. in order to prevent these objects from coming to the united states, but to convince the middlemen and dealers and looters along the way, that they will not be able to sell these things in the united states, it's important that they understand that the united states will not be a market for these looted objects, and only by cutting down on market demand can we convince those middlemen that they will earn less money or no money. and it works its way back the chain to the people on the ground. and in that way, if these objects are not sailable. the isil will earn less money
from the antiquities looting. >> we also were in north africa and tunisitunisia, and we saw t results of the attack there. this is isis now in libya, that comes over the border, and carries out attacks specifically against museums and, of course, in libya, they're destroying these cultural artifacts that date back to the carthoginian period. maybe i could ask, can you expand on why terrorists in criminal groups like isis are so attracted to antiquities smuggling as a means of getting that revenue, that hard currency? and can we approach this in the same way we did in the legislation that we had authors on blood diamonds. some methodology to try to shut down the ability to traffic in this? >> i think there are parallels,
nor the first part of your question, it's a unique strategic resource, right? if you look at isil's revenue they get. much of what they've gotten, they've gotten early on was from -- taking over the territory, and dispossessing the people that they took over. but antiquities provides this opportunity for them to consistently continue to get new resources, there's so many signs. have you almost -- not in a renewable resource, but a flowing resource of revenue, and you have willing partners or willing people who are there to loot. something they can do as someone said earlier, they institutionalized it. in terms of blood diamonds, i think the parallel is -- we have the abt to change the conversation to shift the perception in the public that you should understand how diamonds are -- where they were produced. i think we can learn from that approach.
also, with the blood diamonds issue, there were some concerns about credibility and accountability. we can learn from -- there are lessons learned from a ways that didn't work well enough. there are definitely some parallels. >> the bill will be coming back this week, we'll have a chance to vote on the bill that mr. engle and i authored. and i appreciate this forum to discuss the need for us to act quickly. thank you very much. >> we look forward to it, thank you for your leadership on that important issue. the gentleman from michigan is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you to the panel for a very interesting and important set of presentations. i wonder if i could ask mr. shindell if you would spend a minute or two expanding on your comments on freeports, the use of freeports as it relates to antiquities, the concern that i have is that it appears that --
first of all, the main question would be, to what extent would we be seeing to cloak the transactions related to antiquities. are we seeing multiple transactions taking place in the dark that make it more difficult to attract the chain of title. and what other difficulties do you see in terms of the way freeports may be used in the context of this question? >> within the category of freeports, there are also free scenes, and in our written testimony there are several thousand free zones around the world as well as art industry recognized freeports. they're all weigh stations if you will, and the movement of these assets. and, of course, most of the industry is using those facilities for correct and legitimate purposes. the problem is the nature of the industry and the repidity with which things move, make it
difficult for customs and border officials around the world to know whether the information that's being provided in the paperwork as works go in and leave is valid, it becomes a blanket that obscures accurate information which then drives money laundering in general, and the movement of cultural artifacts as well. i would estimate that the use of freeports right now is less for cultural artifacts than art in general, but it's also on the rise of people sort of listening to the beating drums in the industry, because they become changing and as a result, lack of clarity, that enables the movement of the asset. >> would you be able to suggest any potential changes that would mitigate against the use of freeports or other tax havens in order to execute transactions related to antiquities for
example, extending safe harbor protections to a broker's dealer or other individuals involved in these forms of transactions in order to provide information that could be helpful to law enforcement authorities? >> the real problem is, no one of those parties has enough information to associate it with anything else, so it becomes noise. and that's why we've been focusing so much in the state of university of new york's global initiative has been creating ways to organize that information. they're good pieces of a strategy, until you create a means to organize the information holistically, a very complex amount of information driven by the high mobility and international nature of the market becomes the ultimate obstacle that has to be overcome. >> i guess one last question directed to dr. gerstenblith,
what extent is satellite imagery available to those in academia in order to evaluate existing sites. sites that might be currently under the control of isis or others, sort of before and after. are you able to gain access to satellite imagery in order to make evaluations as to the extent of the work that's being done there? >> several groups, private groups, some in partnership with the state department, the american association of the advancement of science have had access to the satellite imagery. one question is however, there are some gaps. and we don't have the satellite imageries, they have not been made public. what the condition of palmyra was just before the offensive was taken over. it's been difficult to assess how much damage was done for the russians. and perhaps the assad regime as
they retook the site as opposed to what was done earlier by isil. the satellite images that have at least to some extent been made available, is important, people can't go in on the ground to find out what's happening. it's not a perfect tool, but it's the tool that we have accessible to us. from that, there is a group at the university of chicago that is working to actually quantify not only numbers of holes in the ground which there are many thousands and thousands, but also to determine based on excavation reports of those sites, how many objects are coming out. again by using ail golgorithms d out to come up with how many types of artifacts have been looted under isil control, and then an indepth market study over a large quantity of data to try to come up with a realistic
number of dollar figure of how much money are we talking about. >> thank you. i see my time has expired. thank you for holding this hearing. and for your really important testimony. with that, i yield back. >> the chair now recognizes the vice chairman of the task force for five minutes. >> thank you. what are the legal privacy laws that would impede us in our ability to deal with the art dealers, the financial institutions, auction houses, insurance companies, and transfer of information. and suspicious activity. what can we do in that regard. >> i don't think the problem is the current state of the privacy laws, but rather getting the core information to then provide what the industry would refer to as curated privacy protected information. so if we go back to the example
i used a minute ago of the bank loan scenario, where there is now a means to associate a series of transactions around the world that were the same sa assets to provide a response back to the current financial institution, that would then trigger the aml suspicious activity reporting regime and all the privacy issues around that with law enforcement. so what would then happen is the system would know there is suspicious activity around these particular objects that are being used potentially for some problem or another, whether it's money laundering or terrorist financing. and then the system we have in place would trigger under its existing rules and regulations. so i don't think we need a change in what's private or not but organize the information to provide curated
privacy-protected but effective information for intervening. >> thank you. so this deals mostly with just the transfer of information that would be compatible, that would have access to certain data? >> correct. from a high level. so you would know, the bank would know, for example, the objects are at risk. they would krthen have the information -- >> everybody has access ought same data. thank you. >> targeted sanctions. give me some insight how we would address that considering the middle men and private collectors. they don't have anything to do with isis. but how would we impose sanctions? >> i think sanctions could be imposed on the import. in other words, antiquities from syria should be listed on the sanctions list. ofap has been asked twice that i know of to do that and has so far refused to do so. if i could go back for just a moment to the last question also, there is a great deal of secrecy. buyers and -- the name of a
seller is never made public when sold through an auction house. there are agency and fiduciary agreements with the auction house. those names are not public. it would require a court order and a court process to get the name of a seller. the buyers frequently are also not made public. things are sold through the internet without names at all. so i think there's a huge amount of secrecy. maybe i'm look at it on a more micro scale than mr. shindell is. >> it's a real scale. >> but i think there's a lot that could be done that would require that kind of information. >> thank you. >> i would just add that most of the material coming out of the ground right now is not even making the market. it's just being sold, transacted between dealers, and it never sees the main market. so most of this is actually academic when it comes to material currently being looted. >> if you wish i could clarify the privacy item further. >> we'd like to know if it's necessary for it to be public
for law enforcement to be engaged in it. >> so as a title insurance company we function as the safe haven or safe harbor where the information that's kept secret marketwide is disclosed to us under confidentiality provisions because we need to have that transparency to do our job. and that information only becomes relevant if there in fact is a problem or suspicious activity and that becomes the information sharing element under the bsa, for example. so we would agree the industry in many respects operates for privacy reasons, many of which are legitimate, many of which are not. and that can be managed but it's not as though the industry from our standpoint -- >> thank you very, very much. talk to me some more about money
laundering and our trade and what can be done there to address that issue. >> i believe this is something like a bridge. militarily to take a bridge you have to take it from both ends. so obviously, there's the buying end or the demand end, but there's also the supply end. and i can really only speak to you on the supply side because that's the side i speak to and that's the side i work with. really the best thing we can do right now is to try and document as much as possible what is coming out of the ground. and that is really a huge task. and that is what we are focused on. our problem then is how do we then manage to pass this information on what mechanisms are available to us in terms of being able to share this information? and more importantly how that information is then used to pursue or retrieve at some point or even interject to prevent further transactions. >> thank you. my time has expired.
thank you. >> the gentleman from pennsylvania is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you panel for a very informative discussion. i'm wondering if dr. gerstenblith can answer this question or if not dr. gerstenblith perhaps another pant. can we have -- is there an estimate at all of the number of americans who may have purchased -- illicit artifacts or antiquities over the last ten years from the middle east? can we quantify that in any way? >> i think that would be very difficult partly because, again, with antiquities because they are unknown and undocumented, proving what is legal and what is illegal is extremely difficult. and so you have to go object by object and make a determination first of what is legal or
illegal. but i would certainly say -- are you including purchase in any way? >> we have estimates of the total value of the transactions. somehow we're getting those estimates. and so i'm kind of trying to get some of the data behind those estimates. you know -- >> i would only say the united states is the largest market for these kinds of antiquities. and my guess would be we're probably -- if you include everything for antiquities we're at least talking about tens of thousands of people. >> and the value for the american purchasers? >> do you have an answer to that? >> versus european. what's the bifurcation of -- >> of the art market overall the united states is 43%. england is the second. u.k. is the second at 22%. so we are double the next largest single market for art overall. and the dollar value of art, fine art, is much higher than the dollar value of antiquities. but the contours are probably
similar. and it's also a function of taste and tradition that the united states, that's what collectors collect, is mediterranean and middle eastern antiquities. but i think mr. fanusie wants to add to that. >> i wasn't sure if you wanted to touch on customs data, which doesn't specifically get at the question of who but, you know, it is possible, one of the things that we've done is look at changes in customs data around artifacts or antiques. but again, that data is for, you know, legal purchases or at least ostensibly legal purchases that have come in from elsewhere. but that's data just coming into the united states that might have transited through various countries. you can look at that data to get a sense of how the tide has risen with certain categories. certain categories of items in antiques. but again, that's the -- that's what we know, and that's what people say legitimately, what they're legitimately importing into the country. not for an individual
assessment. >> i imagine in the industry there is a separation in dpae z dealers. there are legitimate ones who are looking at whether these artifacts are provenanced and others. are there any obligations that a dealer has to know the seller, who the seller is? even though it's a private transaction, we may not know who the seller is, may not know who the buyer is. but is there any obligation on the part of the dealer who will be conducting the transaction to know who the seller is? >> there is no legal obligation on the part of the dealer to know who either the seller or the buyer is as long as the dealer is getting whatever finances they want to get out of the arrangement. and i would say even at the top end of the market, just in the past month, at christie's, top end public auction, several pieces were picked up by law enforcement that came from asia,
from southeast asia, and a couple of pieces were picked up that were classical antiquities. so even from the people that you would think would be doing the most provenance research, whether -- where the fault lies is another question perhaps. but clearly illegal antiquities surface even at the top end as well as all the way through the market. >> what can we be doing to prevent that from happening? >> well, i had several suggestions in my written comments, but i think we need better tracking of objects, both perhaps by tracking better what's coming into the country. certainly what's tracking -- there's no tracking of what's leaving the country. i think we could require that these kinds of documents be maintained and made available to law enforcement. >> right now law enforcement needs a search warrant before they can get information about who is selling what and what's the provenance information for that. there's a number of things about making this a high priority
overall. the number of antiquities that are packages that are searched coming into the country through customs is really minimal, and it depends on which port you're coming through. some don't know anything about antiquities trafficking. some like new york have so much that comes in that only if you declare something above a certain value will they even look at it. so overall this is just not considered a high priority by law enforcement, especially on the customs side i would say. and there's far too few prosecutions connected with illegal customs actions, violations of customs law. customs in general is happy if they can seize, forfeit, and repatriate something. they have a beautiful repatriation ceremony. it does nothing to stop the illegal trade. people are happy to give an object back. only if you have criminal -- the threat of criminal enforcement and the possibility of jail time will you perhaps really start to reach the market. >> my time's expired. yield back. >> the gentleman from texas, mr.
williams is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thanks to the panel. i first of all want to say hello to my good friend and fellow texan mr. edsel and state to all you here you are a texas treasure. we appreciate you. i was glad to see "the monuments men" received the congressional medal for their contributions to protecting artifacts in world war ii last year. your contribution cannot be overstated and personally i felt like it was long overdue and i was proud to support that effort. my question -- my first question is you have said that a major benefit of the monuments men effort was that non-combatants in europe were grateful to allied forces not only for liberating them but for preserving the cultural history of the continent. would you elaborate on that, and do you believe the same would be true if we were better able to save antiques and other cultural objects in the middle east today? >> thank you for your kind remarks, and thank you to you and all of your colleagues for the support of this legislation
to award the monuments men with the congressional gold medal. it was quite a moment. yes, i believe that the united states would be looked upon favorably by nations of good will throughout the world. and i think evidence is irrefutable because look at what happened in 2003 in the aftermath of the american-led invasion of iraq. not getting into the issue of whether we should or shouldn't have been there. but it raises the issue of what is the responsibility of the united states or any force when they're in a foreign country concerning the protection of cultural assets. and our failure to plan and take care of those assets caused enormous damage to the country's reputation around the world. i know from experience in interviewing monuments men during world war ii there was a great deal of skepticism because so much of the damage that took place in europe was a result of allied bombing and artillery to soften up landing beaches. but time and time again the people expressed appreciation
for the fact that you had to get rid of the bad guys, you had to get troops on the ground. and when they saw efforts to effect temporary repairs and then at the end of the war in a break with civilization return some of the 4 million objects, 4 million, that these 100 or 200 men and women without any technology, no computers, managed to get back to the countries from which they were taken. so i think there's no question, yes. >> are we doing enough as a nation? i think you've kind of touched on this. to safeguard the cultural heritage in these regions of the world. what more can we do? >> this is a great question, and it's a challenge of our time. it makes no sense for us to be sending modern-day monuments men, people with blue shield and patty's organization, which are doing great work, into harm's way without force protection. it worked in world war ii because we had 3 million troops in europe. but to say that because we can't put troops on the ground can he can't do anything is ridiculous. the united states is a leader in technology, and we're not using all the tools necessary to try and put an end to a lot of these things.
we've discussed and there have been some good questions here of the panel about steps that can be taken going forward. there are two realities about collectors that are inarguable. they love to show people what they've got. that's a problem if it's hot. they hate losing money. that's a problem if you demonetize illegally owned works of art. and i'm not talking just about objects that come from these war zones but going back to nazi-looted art. works of art that were stolen from the isabella stuart gardner museum from mr. lynch's part of the world. objects that are stolen from churches in italy all over the world. these things don't get stolen unless there's someone by them. they don't get stored in these tax-free zones unless someone thinks eventually the spotlight's going to move away and there will be collectors that can buy them. so if we have some process to register works of art, perhaps there should be a threshold
there where there's a clean bill of sale. you have this. your thing, your work of art, whatever it is, a small object, a painting is known. there's no chance -- there's no concern about it being something that was smuggled. it's going to be a disincentive for people out there with lots of money to be out there buying these things knowing that where is your piece of paper? i don't want to buy this thing unless it's been cleared. is it a huge challenge for us from a technology standpoint? sure. it's work. but 100 to 200 monuments officers in the face of a war that claimed 65 million lives, with no tools of technology, found and returned 5 million objects. so i'm not really interested in hearing someone tell me all the difficulties or why something can't be done today when we can read a credit card from space. so the technologies there, the question is is the will there. and in the process of addressing
the diminution or termination of sale of looted antiquities and in this kind of increased reporting bring transparency because who's against transparency, if we bring that into the arena we're not only going to be cutting down on trafficking and sources for organized crime for isis and other terrorist organizations but the internal revenue service is going to be getting more of the revenue that it's due, which is going to take a burden off of taxpayers that are having to carry the share of people that are trying to duck the system. it's going to return works of hart to the places from which they were stolen. there's no down side to doing this. it's just a matter of the will. >> thank you for your testimony. you sound like a guy from smu. i yield my time back, mr. chairman. >> the gentleman from arkansas mr. hill is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank the ranking member for your work on this important topic. mr. edsel, i was at the ceremony for the congressional gold medal, and it was touching. it was great to see some of the
remaining monuments men and their families there and it was really touching. i want to start out and talk about motivation here. isn't isis or other motivations in the destruction and marketing of these cultural items really an issue of trying to establish cultural superiority? isn't that what drives people when they do this sometimes? if you look back to your experience in looking at europe in world war ii, didn't hitler want to demonstrate cultural superiority in capturing all of this art and having it and possessing it? >> yes, it is a significant fact factor. there is no question that if you look over the 20th century, and we do a little bit of study of history here, the generocides tt end up happening, the holocaust during world war ii, jews weren't incarcerated and murdered immediately because there's a key component of the theft and destruction of these objects and that's the process
of humiliation. we're going to detain you. we're going to put you in concentration camps. but while you're alive, we're going to steal the things and destroy the things which define you as a civilization. and yeah, we're going to kill you later on but we're not going to do it yet. and we saw this in boss n bosnia-herzegovina. in mali. the destruction in timbuktu of islamic treasures by people who are purporting to be followers of islam. but these are treasured relics that defined that civilization, and the process begins by destroying them. and now we have -- it's not really a modern twist. i think when you look back over nazi germany, if you want to talk about institutionalizing the looting, the nazis wrote the book on it. the amount of resources that were dedicate d in an organized way. troops, trucks, planes, trains, to move around all of the cultural treasures of western
civilization from butterfly collections to the church bells in the cathedrals to paintings to drawings to statues was extraordinary and a distraction to the war. isis may not have quite those resources at this point in time or that degree of organization. but there's a strong incentive for them to do it. and i think certainly the things that are immovable are at great risk of being destroyed. we saw that in palmyra and bamiyan buddhas with al qaeda in 2001. we see it now evolving to things that can be sold. why destroy them when we can sell them and convert them to cash? >> i think this is a cultural genocide just like we're experiencing religious and human joanside in the middle east. it's a great tragedy and one that our administration has been behind the curveball now for multiple years and others in europe and russia as well.
i'm also interested in 1493. why limit this to syria? why don't we ban the importation of cultural treasures from other countries? how do we determine that these are recent versus something that has provenance and is out in the marketplace? aren't we hurting a legitimate antiquities trade? and finally, aren't we enabling the assad regime, which you have testified here today is just as destructive of these cultural treasures as isis ever was, and why are we therefore institutionalizing their control of these icons? they may sell them themselves, right? >> right. i'm not sure how institutionalizing or helping the assad regime, those objects would also be unsaleable in the united states. if they were seized and forfeited at the border, maybe that's what you're thinking. >> me go back to syria, do they not? >> they done go back -- first of all, title gets transferred to the united states government.
and then the u.s. government would decide when to return them. and i don't think that will happen as long as assad is in power. so who knows what government's going to emerge at the end of the day. but i would imagine this would be at a point when relations are normalized with whatever government is in syria. i don't see this as helping out the assad regime. and i agree that they're doing lots of bad things too. the normal -- what we call the normal -- there is a normal process in place under the convention on cultural property implementation act, why imposing import restrictions on cultural materials, from countries that ask for our assistance, u.s. assistance, that has to start with a request from the country. syria had not done that in the past. libya, tunisia, morocco, none of them have done that. they're all at risk at this point in time. and any other countries in the middle east that are at risk. so that is the reason why 1493 is needed to bypass primarily
just that requirement of a request. and 1493 is written so that at the point when relations are normalized between the united states and a syrian government in the future that government is expected to bring a request under the normal process. now, how this helps is it changes the burden of proof and what needs to be proven at the border. so if i show up at the border with an object that may have recently come from syria, once it matches what's called the designated list that the state department and homeland security promulgate, now i the importer have to show that it left syria before march of 2011. that helps law enforcement significantly but at the same time does not impose a huge burden on the importer or the industry because showing where it was just four or five years ago shouldn't really be that difficult. if it really was that difficult. so that documentation needs to be offered. there are a couple of other ways of showing documentation. but basically at that point the
object would be importable into the united states. so i think this presents the best of both worlds, an attempt to not overly burden the trade but at the same time to prevent those recently looted objects from which potentially both isil and the assad government may be receiving funding, prevent those from coming to the united states now and into the future. >> i yield back, mr. chairman. >> thank you. gentleman from kentucky mr. barr is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman and ranking member lynch. thanks for your leadership on this important hearing. there's nothing that to me is more disgraceful about what these terrorist organizations are doing than what we're hearing about here today. the international council of museums describes the situation as the largest-scale mass destruction of cultural heritage since the second world war. the united nations educational scientific and cultural organization director considers the islamic state's destruction of cultural heritage sites in
iraq and syria to be an international war crime. the global financial integrity group conservatively averaged anding aga ing aggregated exist that the trade of property may be between 3.4 and 6.3 billion annually. so mr. edsel my question to you and following mr. hill's line of questioning, in reading the statistics about the individual islamic state looters, one estimate is that the looters themselves, the islamic state fighters who are actually pillaging these historical and cultural antiquities sites, really they're only taking about 1% off the top and most of the properties from this illicit trade of antiquities is coming to inure to the benefit of the middle men who are engaged in
this. so my question is obviously this is some source of revenue for the islamic state. but is it more a matter of wiping out the cultural and religious artifacts that are inconsistent with the twisted ideology of these terrorist organizations, are they equal motives or is one predominant? >> it's a slippery slope trying to be an analyst for isis and what's going on inside their head. i think what we can say is that the -- if we can find a way to disincent by eliminating or reducing the revenue-making opportunities of stealing these things we at least are cutting down on one of the main reasons that it's happening. now, there's little we can do
about addressing the ideological motivations for stealing or destroying things. again, i emphasize, i have people all the time say why don't we have monuments men or why don't we have blue shield people there? it would be a suicide mission to send troops into harm's way without having force protection. but the world's changed, as monuments man mason hammond pointed out. and we have all sorts of weapons, non-military weapons that we are not using. i should say are evolving. this use of aerial photography to see developments on the ground, as patty talked about and really pioneering the use of 3-d technology to view imagery of these non-movable objects so that if they're damaged or destroyed they can be rebuilt. people are thinking about these things now. this is a positive step. >> so mr. fanusie and dr.
gerstenblith, you all both mentioned in your testimony potential ways to disrupt the illicit trade of antiquities, applying additional terror sanctions by the treasury office of foreign asset control against antiquities smugglers and buyers. also the royce-engle bill on yum port restrictions on syrian antiquities. what is the best approach to diminishing the demand for these looted antiquities? an all of the above approach? >> all of the above in the sense that we've made quite a few recommendations that, you know, can be used from different angst angles. i think when you talk about sanctions what we're trying to get at is, you know, there's a difference between the threat of prosecution and the threat of having your assets seized or the assets of people close to you. so sanctions being a bit of a
bold move provide potentially greater incentive. there's -- it's a tool that we use, and we can debate how effective it is but it's a tool we use. >> in our remaining time if i could just editorialize a little bit here, i appreciate the advocacy for sanctions. i agree with you. i support the royce legislation. but because the motivation is not entirely profit-driven and financing driven and because it's an evil toxic ideology we're talking about here, ultimately the only way we're going to be able to protect these antiquities is to take back the territory that these radical jihadists control. and ultimately that's going to have to happen in order for us to in the long run preserve and protect these sacred sites. with that i yield back. >> the gentleman mr. poliquin is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you very much for being here. mr. edsel, let me ask you if i
may, sir, as more and more pressure is put on isis, hopefully from the western world, to stop this horrible pillaging of our human history, do you think there's going to be -- there will be different avenues that these folks will use to loot and to sell the antiquities? >> different than what they're doing now? >> yes. can you look down the road and extrapolate for us here as more pressure is put on the combatants in this part of the world what their reaction will be when it comes to funding their terrorist activities using this source of funding. >> well, if we're successful in syria and iraq, i think -- i agree with patty. our focus shouldn't be on what to do now because we already
ceded that opportunity away once isis gained control of these areas. to ask what we should do about palmyra, has the wrong question. what we should be doing is thinking about what are we going to do about where they're going next? whether it's libya or some other area. they will go. they will take this same type operation. if there's oil revenue, i mean, i was in the oil and gas exploration business for 15 years. that's a simple fungible, immediately profitable way to generate revenue. but that doesn't mean that we -- because it's the majority of revenue that may go to isis that we shouldn't be concerned about these cultural treasures. in particular for this reason. we're 5% of the people in the world, the united states. we're trying to figure out how to get along with 95% of people in the world. the currency that connects people around the world are cultural treasures. sports, music, works of art. we don't necessarily look at the world that way now.
it's not wrong. we're just a much younger country. but if we want to curry favor and do ambassadorial work and building up the esteem of the united states in the eyes of the world, showing respect for cultural treasures of other countries, which is the hallmark policy of president roosevelt and general eisenhower during world war ii, will do more than all of the foreign aid we're giving away, in my opinion. >> do you think that isis as it spreads its ideology for example over to libya becoming much more active there, have you seen the same sort of illicit activity in that part of the middle east? >> not a question i am qualified to answer. but i know we have four people here that are. three for sure. >> doctor? >> we do know that they have taken control of several major archaeological sites in their territory in libya. we haven't -- there has been some anecdotal information. we don't have the satellite imagery yet of things being
looted and stolen from libya. if i could add quickly also, there's one big difference. if you have an oil, for instance, if you're getting revenue from oil, we can bomb it. the problem with an archaeological site is the last thing we want to do is bomb it. that's why we need to control it through the market. >> one other thing, let me just add quickly, you want to talk about the world going around, the areas that are of concern in libya are the very areas that the very first monuments men start work in 1943 in north africa. in leaptus magnum and other areas. we're right back to where we began some 70 years ago. >> mdo you think purchasers of this artwork, these antiquities, these pieces in america, are they aware -- let me rephrase that. do you know of illicit artifacts having been purchased by americans? >> of illicit artifacts, not
necessarily from this area, yes. from the area that we're talking about in a contemporary sense of antiquities, i don't have any personal knowledge, no. >> anybody else on the panel answer that question? what i'm specifically looking to find is when folks purchase this type of three-dimensional artwork here in america what's the probability of them knowing that in fact it has not been obtained through illegal activities? >> so i can comment on the good faith market. and clearly there's a good faith market and not a not good faith market like in any other sector. the good faith market is trying as hard as they can to avoid acquiring or selling or taking as gifts implicated assets. today. there have been different errors in the art world as the world has matured around these issues. there's no question at the same time that things fall through the cracks despite the good faith efforts. >> you're talking about good faith efforts of americans and
dealers here in -- >> in the european market as well. >> so everyone who's acting in good faith, the credible sectors of the market, are doing their best to ferret out problematic assets in an environment where the information is limited and often inaccurate. >> can you think of another way where we can avoid the heavy hand of the u.s. government getting involved to help in some way these folks make sure that their good faith effort is supported. >> so the analogy i would use, and i know you're hearing a constant theme in my comments because i really think it's the answer. if we look to the pharmaceutical industry, for example, which 20 years ago had enormous problems of adulterated drugs. still somewhat of a problem today but it's still far better than it was. and it wasn't until the entire supply and distribution chain, as we would use different words in the art world, came together and created systemic solutions
that enabled assuring the integrity of the object. here we have the same dynamic in certain ways. we have ideological motivations that are trying to eradicate identity. and i suppose at the same time they're saying, well, as long as we've torn it down instead of burning it or destroying it let's go sell it to get some money to further our terrorism, and that then takes it into the trade. and so a lot of the ideas are multidimensional and good ones on how do we -- boots on the ground, so to speak, or at the site prevent the ideological destruction and how do we create lots of different barriers that ultimately deincentivize everyone in the trade, in the sequence from monetizing around that asset? >> thank you very much. appreciate it. thank you, mr. chair. >> the gentleman from ohio mr. steinverse is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you. a lot of great questions have
already been asked. and i'd like to follow on to some of those questions. and i've got a question for mr. fanusie. you asked -- or you said in your statement that if we could make antiquities looting and property crime a national security priority, we could start to reform things and we could make it an intelligence and law enforcement priority. is that an executive action? is there a law that's required to make that happen? how could we make that happen quickly? >> well, one of the key things is where we put our resources to lead the effort. we already have institutions and agencies who are operating and dealing with this issue. but we should have probably greater resources toward some of those elements. so for example, state department is -- has a huge role in this. the issue of cultural diplomacy
is something that we could -- the institutions for cultural diplomacy we could leverage more. a lot of what we've talked about goes to public perception. so there's the potential for us to emphasize and highlight in our diplomacy this issue, the cultural issue, the cultural property issue. you know, if you think about -- someone mentioned earlier blood diamonds and you could also think about wildlife trafficking and the further industry, right? these are all -- these are industries where you can think about -- you have a cozy -- an animal or something people are very familiar with because they deal with them every day, diamonds. but we don't have that in the same sense with antiquities. so i think we really need to raise the level and the state has the potential to do that. i'd also say in dhs within customs, within i.c.e. you already have units which are dedicated to finding out if individuals coming into the country are involved in human rights abuses. so that's a structure we could
elevate for due diligence for people who may be dealing with maybe bringing antiquities into the country. so we have within our government i think a lot of the arteries that could do this. at the nsc, at the national security council, there's the opportunity there to have greater coordination. i know we've already spoken a little bit about the legislation, but as someone who's a former government person who's seen how the nsc operates, there's definitely opportunity there within that body to help coordinate some of these efforts. >> so we have talked a little bit with other members earlier about the legislation that is pending, that would ban importation of certain syrian antiquities. from the perspective of the panel what other legislative proposals -- you talked about pedigree earlier, for lack of a better word.
or, you know, getting the recent ownership of some antiquities and art trading. what other legislative proposals should be pursued if we're going to get at this problem? >> hr-2285 is already -- i think it's already been reported out of the homeland security committee. that would -- it's no new law, but it would streamline the way customs operates and would actually require the two parts of homeland security, the customs and border protection and the immigration and customs enforcement agencies to work together, which they don't do terribly well in this field at least. for instance, they have not rewritten the customs directive since 1990, which is out of date. so there are in fact several steps that could be taken. beyond 2285 but not legislatively, for example, the number of ports through which art antiquities could be imported could be restricted. so that the expertise would
develop amongst customs agents to recognize things and to know the laws. i'm the first to admit this is a very obscure and narrow area of the law. and the number of people who can be trained either as agents or among assistant united states attorneys should be limited. and we can concentrate the expertise and therefore have better outcomes of lawsuits, criminal prosecutions, and the like. >> is there any -- are there any ports today that have some more expertise than others? is there a port that's more active? >> well, new york of course is the most active. but because of that i have been told anecdotally, for example, that until you declare something is worth at least $250,000 they don't inspect it. so i would say -- there are a couple of other ports in particular. in the south there are a couple that mostly have things coming from central and south america. like houston, santa fe.
the west coast from asia come to san francisco, l.a. it tends to -- then sometimes people route things, though, through ports that don't have a lot of antiquities. for example, a group of chinese antiquities were picked up through alaska, where they probably don't have -- i mean geographically it makes sense, but they probably don't have the expertise and they're not accustomed to it. so i think we could concentrate and thereby build both in the u.s. attorney's offices to have trained experts at main justice who would take on these cases. we have a very effective fbi art crime team that could use more resources and higher priority. but i don't think we have that same level expertise within customs. and we don't have it within the u.s. attorney's offices other than probably the southern district of new york. i also think that both federal prosecutors and judges should understand that when there is a criminal conviction there is the possibility of jail time.
there is a special cultural heritage resource guideline, sentencing guideline that's been in place for 12 years. it's not used enough. so there's a lot that can be done with education, consolidation of resources, which will produce more effective law enforcement and better criminal sentencing outcome in appropriate circumstances. >> thank you. thank you, dr. gerstenblith. and thank you all for everything that you've worked for and testified for before today. i know my time has expired. i yield back my non-existent balance of time, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. stiefrz. and i'm going to yield myself for five minutes. i'm going to ask the staff to put up that slight, dr. gerstenblith, your original slide which was mauri. the aftermath. i'm going to ask you in a little more detail if you can explain that slide in some more detail what we're looking at. >> this is the second one. >> this is the second one. yeah. this is the after slide. first i want to ask mr. fanusie just a real quick question.
the fbi issued a warning back in 23015 that those who were involved in the trafficking of islamic state antiquities could be investigated and prosecuted under material support for terrorism provisions. could your knowledge has the fbi ever applied those types of charges? >> i haven't heard of anything since, not publicly. for antiquities coming out of -- i have not heard of anything. >> no prosecution or charges. how about investigations? any anecdotal evidence? >> i don't have anecdotal evidence except in the bulletin it says the fbi is aware people have been approached, buyers have been approached. i assume there should be investigations going on. but publicly i haven't seen any -- >> your opinion as to what the obstacles are to investigation. >> i'm sorry? >> the obstacles that prosecutors would have to investigation.
>> well, i mean, someone just mentioned the u.s. attorney's office. i think in general cultural property is not the most well-known topic for investigators. so even though the bureau does have a good team if you think about all of the agents all over the country and if not the world, cultural property is not something that's the most -- we don't have necessarily the most expertise in around -- in all of our offices with all of our agents. >> dr. gerstenblith, in your testimony you had mentioned when these artifacts are intercepted at, say, the southern border of the united states, that they're identified as some sort of asset forfeiture process that goes on, returned to their owners but no prosecution. i assume that that's because of lack of authority. >> well, in some cases the -- for instance, the syria import restrictions, if they go into effect under 1493, is not a
criminal provision. it's only a forfeiture. in a lot of cases that's correct. but i would say the biggest obstacle to criminal enforcement is that if this is my ancient syrian antiquity, by looking at it you cannot tell whether it is legal or illegal. that means that if i buy it -- first it's an obstacle to law enforcement to determine whether it's legal or illegal. but for criminal prosecution they have to prove whether i knew that it was legal or illegal. and that's very difficult to do. you can only do that so far as we know -- i mean, in the cases that we have either through undercover investigation or through somebody who flips. you know, my bookkeeper, whatever. then reports me. so i think one thing that could be done is to encourage undercover investigations that require some authority and some finance, you know, support for that. because it takes time to develop the personas and everything for the undercover investigations. so i think that's the biggest
problem. i would like to see more criminal options under import restrictions. one way of getting the criminal option is through the sanctions. because those would be criminal if you violate them. but the knowledge factor is still the problem. did you have another question for me? >> looking at that slide, can you just go into a little more detail exactly what we're looking at? then i'm going to ask mr. edsel because in response to a question mr. edsel, are we doing enough in the united states -- you want to go to the first slide? was the first slide easier? >> well, this one -- the second one shows the looting. this one does not show much in the way -- >> yeah. >> so the white structure is the palace of zimrilim from the early part of the 2nd'll millennium bce. and to the left of it are some excavated areas. some lines that you see. and then all of the pits around it are looter's pits. and some are marked with the red
circle but some are not. the ones marked with the red circle are only two or three months before the image was taken. this fell under isil control i think in the spring of 2014. this is about six months or so. so if you want to compare it we can go back to the first slide and we'll see the difference. dr. al azm could also add to that if you'd like. >> basically, the site of mari, there's a very well-known local village close by and they traditionally have always been the looters of that site long before any of the conflicts started. so obviously, when things went pear-shaped in syria, the -- and the area even before isis took over, when the regime was pulling back from the rural areas back into the cities, there was no longer any sort of oversight or scrutiny of what was going on at the site of mari as well as many other sites. it became a looter's haven.
and we know that in mari as well as dura ropas as well as several other sites sectors were being sold by the local let's say organized mafia, controlled by this one local village, to the highest bidder to come and loot the site. when isis took over, they came upon this pre-existing situation. they just said, right, now we're in charge, so you have to now work through us. so now we're the ones who issue the licenses, you can continue looting but now everything has to follow through us and we have to take our cut on every step of the process. and this has really been repeated on site after site after site after site. >> and this is a combat zone. does anybody want to protect without holding you to it what the next potential site would be of this kind of destruction or looting, combat or non-combat?
are there other sites we should be look at? >> are you thinking in syria or outside? >> the whole world. >> libya. without question. >> i would concur. we already know that it's happening. i've spoken to a libyan colleague of mine who works -- essentially does the same thing i do, and he says that they're already experiencing very similar pattern of behavior in libya. >> i think my time has expired. it may have been a request for a second round. do you have a second round? is there objection? without objection mr. pittenger's recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank each of you for being with us today. we have five minutes on my part, and i would really like to get your action points. what would you do if you were in our seat. what policy changes, legislation. you've mentioned some. what work with our international community. what would you do to prevent the utilization of antiquities in the market and plundering them
and the use by isis. mr. edsel, please begin. i'll give each of you a little less than a minute. >> we need more transparency. i think mr. shindell's comments about establishing standards for disclosure are absolutely correct. there's something horribly wrong from my perspective as a citizen coming back into the country with requirements to declare any cash or fungible currency $10,000 or less and yet we can ship works of art around the world out of the eye of the system. so i think there's a lot of work to be done in that area. i certainly think the art looting group at the fbi, customs i.c.e. needs more funding. they've got a very difficult situation. but we've got to get people that are collecting to understand there's a responsibility on their part to know what thooeds these objects are, where they're coming from and there's a consequence to willful ignorance. >> mr. fanusie. >> i'd like to echo the idea of giving our law enforcement more
tools to work with through the use of sanctions. that would again bring more authority. that would allow us to go after folks who were really involved and the worst offenders of this issue. then i would say this may be a bit outside of the box but we need to sort of bring a face to this issue. there should be more -- the coverage i think culturally in the state department, this issue should be raised more so that the public has a sense -- we all viewed "raiders of the lost ark." we all sort of have this -- "monuments men." the power of media of culture could play into this. so we should really leverage that. >> thank you very much. miss gerstenblith. >> in addition to everything i said already, a few other things, one on perhaps the micro scale, is to harmonize the tariff schedule and to require importers to declare more precisely what it is they're bringing into the country. and i can go into more detail on that if you should want to.
but i think in terms of market transparency, one thing we haven't talked about is that when objects are donated to u.s. institutions, cultural institutions and the donor receives a tax deduction, at the moment there is under the irs rules, whatever the museum may do is one thing. and i'm not discounting what museums themselves do and their requirements. but when the donation is reviewed by the irs art advisory panel it's reviewed only for the market value of the object and not for the provenance information and the title. and i think that that would be an important addition. >> thank you very much. dr. al azm. >> on the supply end i would say increase support to organizations that are on the ground in syria in the areas outside regime support to help prevent looting. remember that when an object leaves syria isis has already collected its money, so everything else is academic after that in terms of how isis makes its money.
on the demand end i would suggest maybe like when you buy a car there's a vin number on the car and there's a log book, you can't sell it without that. why can't we do the same for objects? it's very simple. just make sure you have that. and it is on the -- the onus is on the buyer and seller to make sure that information matches. you're not relieved or ab sovld of responsibility under the law currently as i understand it. >> thank you. and mr. shindell. >> there's a need for both short-term solutions and long-term solutions and many of the great ones that have been suggested are short-term focused, as they should be. the long-term issue goes back to what we keep saying, transparency and accurate information. patty's example, how do we know when the artifact, the bottle of water's coming through customs, is real, fake, the object, somebody says what they're referring to, and the information associated with the object is accurate. a clear way to intervene today is through the financial industry and sector because of
the intersection of these objects. vin numbers. it's a very complex issue for sensitive objects where the integrity must be in place for decades if not centuries but technology can do that today. and all of that then adds to the transparency that can make the specific intervention tactics meaningful. otherwise, we aren't achieving enough scale to solve the problem holistically. >> thank you. extremely helpful. we really appreciate your coming. >> with that we'd like to thank again our witnesses for their testimony today. we found the testimony of these action items to be extremely helpful to our work. without objection all members will have five legislative days within which to submit additional written questions to the chair, which will be forwarded to the witnesses. i would ask our witnesses to please respond as promptly as
the keystone state matters more. that's the headline at salon.com. and joining us on the phone is simon maloy, political writer. thank you very much for being with us. >> thank you for having me. >> you're calling it a weird delegate system. it really is a wild card for the republicans. 54 republican delegates selected next week that will not be bound to a single candidate. so explain. >> well, the pennsylvania republican primary is what they call a loophole primary. which is you'll have all the 54 -- there will be 17 delegates that will be bound to whoever wins the statewide popular vote and then 54 delegates whose names will appear on the actual
ballot with the candidate themselves. and there's going to be nothing on the ballot, no information whatsoever indicating whom these delegates might support, which candidate. it's a contest based largely on name recognition. so when voters go in, they're going to be picking delegates to go to the convention. and the delegates, they're not going to be bound to vote for any candidate in particular. they're not going to be bound by the results of the statewide vote or the vote in their district. they're going to go in and be able to choose who they want to vote for on the first vote, any vote. so it's a structure that's unlike anything else in any other state. >> clearly the candidates want to win the state. pennsylvania is an important primary. but how does donald trump, governor kasich, and senator cruz campaign? because at the end of the day it's the delegates that matter most. >> it is the delegates that matter most, and what matters -- what matters critically is
campaign organization, which to date has been the strength of senator cruz's campaign. you saw for the new york primary he was actually in pennsylvania to deliver his remarks as the results came in, and that's because the cruz team is putting a very strong focus on getting the delegates that they want elected in the pennsylvania loophole primary. they're thinking, at least they were telling reporters that regardless of what they think the popular vote comes down to in the state they could emerge from pennsylvania because of its unique system with a hefty chunk of delegates, something like half of the 54 delegates that rum for grabs that are on the ballot. for donald trump he's obviously less organizationally competent. his campaign, than the cruz team. for him what's going to matter most i think is putting up a
strong popular vote victory as he can. a lot of the delegates have pledged to -- not pledged but there have been surveys taken where they say they will support whoever wins, either the statewide popular vote or the vote within their district. and for trump that means putting up a strong margin statewide and in the districts as possible to make it difficult for these delegates when they arrive at the convention to either go back on that pledge or to support someone who didn't win their district or the state. >> and simon maloy as you point out in your story, 40 years ago in 1976, the last time there was a republican convention when the incumbent president gerald ford and his primary challenger former governor ronald reagan did not have the necessary delegates, the majority delegates ahead of the convention, so pennsylvania was a key player back then as well. >> it was indeed. one of -- sort of the last-ditch effort that ronald reagan made to try and snatch the nomination
away from gerald ford was to name senator richard schweiker, a moderate from pennsylvania, as his running mate on the assumption that having that hav pennsylvania politician on the ticket would convince a number of the delegates from that state who were on the fence or aligned with ford would reconsider to break their allegiance to the incoming president. this didn't end up happening and the pennsylvania delegation ended up staying with the president. but it was sort of this weird way to exploit the rules and this loophole nature of the primary system for reagan to try and sneak in at the very last second and win the nomination. it didn't work. but in 1980 actually when reagan was up against george w. bush for the nomination, their strategy, the reagan campaign strategy in pennsylvania was
explicitly to do what ted cruz is trying to do now, to focus on winning delegates to getting their delegates elected on the loophole ballot. and they actually came out with about 50 of the state's delegates even though they lost the popular vote to george h.w. bush. >> based on all of that, what role will these wild card delegates have has the convention moves to cleveland this july? >> well it's tough to say. the uncommitted delegates like the 54 from pennsylvania going in are going to be critically important to i think donald trump's chances of winning the nomination on the first ballot. it seems unlikely that he's going to be able to get to the 1237 pledge delegates needed to win on the first ballot at the convention. so he's going to have to convince unbound delegates, the 54 from pennsylvania and a handful from other states, like
north dakota and wyoming, he's going to have to convince them to stick with -- the get on the team trump and put him over the top. for his opponents, namely ted cruz, it's a question of keeping those delegates on cruz's side, for kasich the same thing. what they want to do is basically everything they can to keep the unbound delegates from joining with donald trump so that they can have a chance on subsequent ball lots after more delegates are released from their obligation to vote for trump on the first round so they is k have a chance to win the nomination later on. >> as you're writing your story, pennsylvania delegates could determine the gop nominee or throw everything into chaos. simon malloy, nang your fthank