Skip to main content

tv   Politics and Public Policy Today  CSPAN  April 21, 2016 1:31pm-3:32pm EDT

1:31 pm
antiquities are analogous to what we have seen 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 countries, and with the private sector. we also need to be able to track the true owners of property, whether that property is an ancient artifact or a high-rise apartment building. we need to cut off tride routes than organizations funnel illicit goods. thus, the same strategies can be used in a broader strategy to combat isis. in a previous hearing in trade based money laundering, they discussed the routes isis used to smuggle territory in and out.
1:32 pm
we learns many run through turkey and jordan and has prepared marks for today's hearing, it was indicated isis is using similar routes to smuggle antiquities out of its territory. in addition, he notes that lebanon as well as the balkan rot are being used to smuggle antiquities and other commodities. there's an ample opportunity for terrorists to exploit these routes with low risk of being caught. we need to do a better job policing these routes so that isis can no longer smuggle antiquities and other cond trabd out of the territory it controls. we must curtail the laundering of antiquities that make it out of the territory so they can't be integrated into legitimate markets. as was mentioned in prepared remarks as well, isis' ability to profit from the sale of antiquities is only possible because of a systematic problem of trade based money laundering
1:33 pm
in the art industry. we naed to bring together greater rules of transparency to this industry so that antiquities trafficking is no longer profitable for terrorist organizations, and as the doctor suggests, to better track art and antiquities that enter the united states, we should demand expo export licenses for art and consider a tariff on these items. i look forward to hearing the testimony from our witnesses so we can further examine this in greater detail and i yield back my time. >> i now recognize the vice chairman of the task force, mr. pittenger, for two minutes. >> thank you, for chairman, and thank you for your dedication and hard work on these important issues. i would like to thank ranking member lynch, ranking member waters and joe pinder for assembling an esteemed group of witnesses we have here today. over the last year, we have gained important insight into
1:34 pm
the threats facing our nation. how they're funding and the many obstacles we face to intercepting these funds. recently, i had the opportunity to travel to south america to witness first-hand the problems they face with regard to illicit financing operations and the emerging iran, hezbollah, and other financers. while the problems are great, i was inspired by the officials in argentina, colombia, who are tasked with combatting sophisticated criminal networks. we mous continue working with these countries and sharing our own resources and expertise to insure these countries do not become overrun by well financed criminal and terror organizations. today, we address isis financing through the antiquity sales. according to our government's national security strategy, it was the objective of the united states to degrade and defeat
1:35 pm
isis. while this administration's overall strategy remains questionable, both parties can agree that preventing the flow of dollars to fund isis and its caliphate must remain a top priority of our government. with this hearing, congress is signaling the importance of identifying and combatting each element of isis financing. whether it be extortion, cross-border cash smuggling, trade-based money laundering or in this case, antiquity sales. thank you, mr. chairman, for holding this important hearing on such a pertinent issue, and i yield back. >> now recognized the gentle lady from arizona for one minute. >> thank you, chairman and ranking member lynch. terrorism is an undeniable threat to our country's security and global security. terrorist networks constantly develop new ways to finance their deadly operations and threaten america. the islamic state is one of the world's most violent, dangerous, and well financed terrorist groups. within the past year, amid greater pressure on its other financial resources, i.s. has
1:36 pm
ratcheting up the extraxz and sale of antiquities to fund its violence. in 2015, they generated millions of dollars. they're raised through direct looting and imposing taxes and requiring permits for criminal smugglers who operate in i.s. controlled territory. the impact of the actions goes beyond the financing of terrorism. the destruction and sale of these antiquities is part of its world view that anyone outside of its view of islam must be destroyed. a lot of these historic treasures is a tragedy. we must be one step ahead, cutting off funding and stopping efforts. i appreciate hearing from the witnesses about addressing this threat and defeating i.s. i yield back. >> we now welcome our witnesses. mr. robert edsl is our first wednesday today. he's the author of several nonfiction books, including the
1:37 pm
mon monyument men, as well as saving italy, the race to rescue a nation's treasure. he's co-producer of the documentary film, the rape of eur europa, and for the preservation of art. most famously, academy award winner george clooney directed and stars in a film based on the monuments men. raised in dallas, texas, he graduated from st. mark's school of texas and southern methodist university. he's been awarded a texas medal of arts award, the president's call to service award, hope for humanity award presented by the dallas museum. in 2014, he was presented with the records of achievement award from the foundation for the national archives, which recognizes an individual whose work has fostered a broader national awareness of the history and identity of the united states through the use of original records. he serves as trustee of the national world war ii mew zyme in new orleans.
1:38 pm
mr. finnousi works at the foundation of defense for democracies. he spent seven years as an economic and counterterrorism analyze in the cia where he briefed white house policymakers, u.s. military personnel and federal law enforcement. after government service, he worked in a small consulting firm where he led a team of analysts working on a multi-billion dollar network. he operated his own training firm. he received an m.a. in international affairs from the columbia university's school of international affairs and a b.a. from uc berkeley. dr. patty is a distinguished professor at the depaul university school of law. patty is a distinguished research professor at depaul university and director of its center for art museum and
1:39 pm
cultural heritage law. she's founding president of the lawyers committee for cultural heritage preservation, a director of the u.s. committee of the blue shield, and senior adviser to the aba's art and cultural heritage law committee. in 2011, 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. the doctor received her bachelors from bryn mawr college, ph.d. in art history and anthropology from harvard university and jd from northwestern university. dr. elsaom is a professor at showny state university. he's a professor of history and anthropology in ohio. he was educated in the uk, reading archaeology at the university of college london and graduated with a doctoral degree in 1991.
1:40 pm
he was the director of scientific and conservation laboratories in syria. and taught at the university of damascus until 2006. from 2006 until 2009, he was visiting assistant professor at brigham young university. he's an active member of the syrian opposition and serves on the executive committee of the day after project. mr. shindell is chairman of the u.s. new york headquartered rs title insurance corporation, a division of the nasdaq traded argo group. an international insurance company. rs title insurance corporation is the world leader in securing legal ownership to nonreal estate property assets for multiple industry sectors. he regularly advises, speaks, and writes internationally on the legal title risks inherent in the global art and collectibles market for stakeholders and participants. he holds a bachelors from the university of wisconsin madison
1:41 pm
and a juris doctorate from emory university school of law. the witnesses will now be recognized for five minutes each to give an oral presentation of your written remarks. the written statements will be made part of the 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 question each. on your table, there are three lights. one green, one yellow, one red. yellow means you have one minute remaining. red means your time is up. the microphone is sensitive. we would ask the witnesses to make sure that you're please speaking directly into it. and with that, mr. edsell, you're recognized for five minutes. thank you, sir. can you turn the microphone on, please. >> i would like to extend my thanks to chairman fitzpatrick, ranking men lynches and members and staff of the task force for including me in these important deliberations. evidence that isis has
1:42 pm
sanctioned the lootding 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 can collectors and the role of the federal government differ t differentdifferen differently than ever before. we cannot say we weren't warned. as recently as 1981, the only monuments officer to see duty in italy and germany and an important adviser to general eisenhower's staff urged all those willing to listen, quote, planners for future hostilities tend to think in terms of the last conflict but any consideration of the different ways in which the first and second world wars were fought demonstrates the fallacy of such an approach. if this generation wishes to leave to its children the cultural treasures that it has enjoyed, such planning should be encouraged. hamann's warning went unheeded but as events in iraq in 2003
1:43 pm
and more recently in syria have painfully demonstrated, he was right. the monuments mensa first-hand the this is a starter gun that precedes genocide and the human suffering that follows. it proved true in nazi germany, in al qaeda controlled areas of afghanistan and mali, and now in isis-administered portions of syria and iraq. ignoring this early warning sign denies our nation to chance to act. we can only react. organizations that are charged with preserving our cultural heritage are instead relegated to bearing witness to its destruction. steps we as a nation have taken to protect our homeland following september 11th have not kept pace with developments in the art world, nowhere near. today, art is synonymous with money. the global explosion of wealth these past 20 years has created
1:44 pm
more buyers with greater resources chasing prized objects. prices have skyrocketed. consider that a painting by picasso that sold for less than $200,000 in 1956 recently sold for $180 million. a sculptural for $141 million. a drawing by rafael for $50 million. the sums are staggering and yet regulatory authorities have not created and apply the same level of control procedures in the art market as we have in other areas of commerce involving similar sums of money. this creates a weakness that isis and others, tax cheats, those in possession of looted paintings and objects and smugglers can exploit. the very profitability of art and antiques and sometimes their relatively small size fac facilitates movement. sometimes into hiding places out of view by tax authorities. and other victims of theft. for example, just last week, the panama papers leak revealed that
1:45 pm
a nazi looted painting worth upwards of $25 million was among thousands of works of art stored in special tax zones known as free ports. while this art nerthworld does provide privacy for the honest, the lack of transparency also cloaks tax cheats, thieves, and those aiding isis' business operation of converting cultural treasures to cash to fund terrorism. the art trade is a largely self-regulated antiquated business model operating in a digitized world. until the advent of the internet, few in the art world paid attention to providence, a fancy world for who owns something in the past unless it enhanced the value of the object. looted art traded hands, the sum of it openly, although there has been improvement in the scrutiny of objects sold at open auction,
1:46 pm
there has been willness ignorance by some collectors eager to add to their collections. worst 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. because privacy alone cannot be an argument for doing nothing when the stakes for the common good are so high. in closing, the policy of the western allies and the work of the monuments men established the high bar for the protection of cultural treasures during times of conflict. it was a source of pride for general eisenhower who said it is our privilege to pass on to the coming centuries treasures of past ages. what then will be our legacy? >> you're now recognizes for five minutes. >> thank you, good morning. chairman fitzpatrick, ranking
1:47 pm
member lynch, members of the task force, on behalf of the foundation for defense of democracies and its centers on sanctions and illicit finance, thank you for the opportunity to testify. before delving into the issue of islamic state antiquities trafficking, it's important to share how it fits into isis' overall economic goals. one way is to look add some of the strategies guiding the groups' actions. one of their aims is to win over local whoal who may be on the f. this approach gives context to the antiquities trade in isis territory. although exactly how much isis earns from looting ancient artifacts is difficult to assess, they encourage and facilitate the trait. this facilitation appears to be part of isis' economic strategy, not just for funding the group itself, but for creating ways to bring funds to its subjective population whose hearts and minds islamic state is trying to win. isis has been dubbed the world's richest terrorist army and the
1:48 pm
illegal antiquities trade is one way to get a strategic advantage over the counterterrorism efforts. the main buyers are 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 policymakers, but there may be opportunities for us as well. now, isis has access to roughly 5,000 archaeological sites and probably has earned several millions of dollars from antiquities trafficking, and some of the looting appears to be done by local populations where isis already taxes and confisk alts other earnings and possessions. the importance of the trait for isis lays not just in the funding but in the strategic and operational benefits. the illegal trade of artifacts generally doesn't risk provoking outside military attacks. it's not likely that the excavation sites are going to be
1:49 pm
bombed or provoking local rebellion. they then move antiquities to market in states bordering syria and iraq, turkey and lebanon are the best documented among these. european border states also play an important role. these pipelines are well known for other illicit commodities but less understood in the context of antiquities. the balkan route is a known route probably plays a role in an tick witty trafficking. the global trade is heart to stop. looted objects are hidden away for long periods. false documentation is routine, and transactions have proven difficult to track through customs enforcement and intelligence. challenges are great and necessitate new means to address them. one, imposing terrorism sanctions on artifacts smugglers and dealers, even a handful of strategic terror financing imposed on the worst offends
1:50 pm
would likely have a chilling effect on sellers and buyers giving the financial risk and fines associated with sanctions. two, making antiquities looting an intelligence and law enforcement priority. at present, intelligence and law enforcement priority. it's unclear who is even responsible for countering antiquities trafficking. reform can come about by declaring this issue and they must designate the lead organization and provide adequate authorization and resources. incorporating property crime awareness into the community and u.s. special forces training. threat finances all right emphasize in courses taught at the special operations university, but such courses do not appear. antiquities trafficking should be included. four, expanding registeries. new technologies make it
1:51 pm
possible for art and artifacts to be tag and tracked in realtime using dna markers. with unique identifiers, a better chain of custody can be created. these are a few steps that will undoubtedly be a long complex bablt. the officials should pay close attention from syria and iraq not because they need to know how much money isis brings in, but they reveal about the infrastructure and how the group is exploiting the pochulation. all is critical to understanding how the u.s. and allies my defeat the group. thank you. >> you are now recognized for five minutes. >> chairman fitz pats rick and members of the task force.
1:52 pm
thank you for the opportunity to speak with you. i am speaking to you today in my personal capacity and on behalf of the u.s. committee of the blue shield. that's the cultural equivalent of the red cross. there is the kreagsz of no sites list and we are with the department of defense to assist in fulfilling the ob occasions to protect cultural heritage. syria and northern iraq stretch over many mi lennia. this is where they ruled at the beginning of the second millennium and where jonah preached to the syrian 1,000 years later. they represent the cultures of the greeks, the romans, byzantines and periods as well as many fates including
1:53 pm
christianity, judaism and islam. syria is home to six sites and ten world heritage sites. when a site is looted, the relationship among the artifacts and other remains is destroyed. there by permanently preventing us from fully understanding and reconstructing our past. unfortunately the looting of sites is big business, often carried out on an industrialized skeal and response to market demand. many of the sites are unknown before they are looted. as objects move from source, transit and est nation, they create obstacles and prosecution of crimes. they allow the laundering of title to the artifacts. the united states is a single largest market for art in the world. with 43% of market share.
1:54 pm
because of the availability to import the art and artifacts and because of artistic preference, the united states is the largest ultimate market for antiquities for the ped trainian and the middle east. they have no established value and no documented history. they can be mined from the ground as new commodities and they are the perfect vehicle for moving funds around the world and support being activities like money laundering and purchase of drugs and weapons and organized crime and terrorism. because of the unknown nature of looted antiquities, databases of art and useless for regulating the antiquities trade and technologies that would tag would in my opinion be ineffective. both isil and the assad regime are participating in looting and
1:55 pm
come from the sale. the 12ds of satellite images of archaeological sites of looting. in this image which is located in the eastern part of syria and fell under isil control in the summer of 2014, preconflict, some looters pits, but not many. in the fall of 2014, you can see the large numbers with the red circles and additional ones as well. we know that isil earns income at several points of intersection with the channels to which they move. we also know that for propaganda purposes, they destroy on a large and public stage such as ancient temples, churches and shrines. they destroy artifacts that are documented in collections and too well-known to sell or large to move. away from public view it
1:56 pm
orchestrated the looting and taxes their sale. you will hear more about this from the doctor. there steps that the united states can take that impose cost and no prisk because they are steps that we can take that would reduce the reward to isil. first of all, returning to the house next week, i hope will be hr 1493 and impose restrictions on cultural materials removed from syria after the beginning of the rebel yon in march of 2011. take up hr 2285 to improve existing law. 30, encourage law enforcement to refocus away from forfeiture and towards criminal prosecutions so they can be dismantled and higher level reached. of the foster greater in the market upon sale or donation to
1:57 pm
charitable institutions. we should be looking towards plays where isil is moving such as libya, home to many sites. we need to develop a proactive rather than reactive way of dealing with looting and marketing. thank you for the opportunity to address this. >> the doctor is recognized for five minutes. >> i would like to begin by thanking the finance committee by inviting me to testify. i will focus on three key points when isis took over in 2014, it essentially took over a preexisting situation of looting. isis did not start, it just carried on. more over, it actually institutionalized the process and intensified it to a great
1:58 pm
degree. what we can say is isis sees cultural heritage as a resource to be exploited like any other. they have a dedicated department for the administration. you can see this is one of the offices in the city and it is placed with the office of resources that manages oil revenue and any other source that isis cares to use. through the office, licenses like this are issued to looters that gives them permission to loot archaeological sites. this looter having dug up the site. he purchases an extension and
1:59 pm
the second image on the right, you can see that he purchases an actual extension to his license and allow him to use heavy machinery. you can see it here being used to gouge chunks of earth out of the site. if you don't think this is producing good material, here are the finds that came out of this site being looted. not only the pottery, but these bronze and metal items all coming from a bronze age complex. we know that when isis licenses these sites, it then requires the looter to sell the items. if he fails to sell them, isis will take them back and use the main auction in the city. it operates on a regular basis
2:00 pm
sometimes as often as three times a week when necessary. these two were recently looted from the city just before isis was forced to be out of the city and sold in the auction and i believe the asking price was $150,000. i cannot confirm if that was the price, but that was the asking price. isis also destroys cultural heritage. it loots what it can sell and enjoys what it cannot. they end up being destroyed buz they allow isis to act and the immunity to do anything about it. isis exploits it and uses it to great effect. in terms of also just to point
2:01 pm
out, looting was done by the regime. they were looted from there, but it was under regime control and they are on sale in syria and about to be exported to turkey. he sandwiched them from an army officer one year before isis took control of the site. what can we do about this? efforts are being done to protect and 70% is outside the regime-controlled areas and outside the reach of the government institutions. it falls on non-state actors to local activists and curators to do something and they are like the day after. we tried to do what we can and monitor this damage and destruction and document any activity that fors related to this. at the end of the day, we are
2:02 pm
just civilians. we get help from organizations here and as does the coalition of others. this is limited and hardly addresses the scale of the catastrophe we are facing. i would touch about the importance of why it is necessary to save this heritage. i'm out of time and will be happy to answer that during questions. >> thank you for inviting me to testify. they have the nature of complex financing including the news clips and interest in stakeholders on the subject. i submitted the testimony for the record and saw focus on two
2:03 pm
points. one, the problem with terrorism financing through conflict zone looting of objects relates to the problem of money laundering and global art industry as representative lynch pointed out. the need is for improved compliance and connection with art and cultural objects as a class that can only happen at the intersection of the art and financial industries. if we remove the ability of terrorists to launder stolen and looted art and cultural objects, we remove the motive to loot the objects and cutoff a key source of terrorism financing and make great strides towards protecting important parts of the legacy. two, effective solutions are now within reach. they have been reviewing with the trade and regulators within the u.s., uk, luxembourg and belgium information-based technology and solutions to
2:04 pm
bring transparency to global art and antiquities transactions. they believe they have the ability to use the authority to bring greater transparency and information sharing to the art market through partnering approaches with the u.s. treasury which i will discuss in a moment. these patterns have identified and can signal terrorism as well as trait-based money laundering in the art industry generally. he lends on the issues and stems from the role as the letting title servicing the broad range of stakeholders lending against the class and capital markets and vesting in the asset class and the nonprofit museum community as well as the trait.
2:05 pm
the problem is the source of market nations which obscures legal status and ownership. the context prevents participants from identifying patterns in a legal steam when identifying patterns is the core of aml enforcement and compliance. compounding the problem as you heard alluded to which are tax-free zones designed to serve as a way station in the transactions so that the tax assigned is levied at the final destination of the object. these become locations to store works indefinitely that adds to the art industry. the task force identified this problem as early as 2010. to be sure, good faith and responsible operators of free ports and the market as a whole
2:06 pm
as well as regulators seek better systemic means to close the gap between aml's compliance regulations and practical barriers to enforcing them. simply put, financing using cultural objects and art is impeded by the current inability to cross reference piece of identification. the comptroller in march of 2015, the need is for more accurate and timely information and the use 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 to ignite this solution that enables effective patterns.
2:07 pm
i mentioned technology solutions that are under way to address the lack of accurate information and linked to artistic and cultural objects. currently at the state university of new york's campus through a nonprofit organization called the global story of innovation for standards-based solutions. they are to enable technologies and the equivalent of a nano scale vehicle identification number for artistic objects and cultural objects is now within reach to anchor objects so that the information can provide reliable information. thank you. >> thank all the witnesses for their testimony and we will move to the member questions. we will recognize ann ragner who
2:08 pm
served as an ambassador. the gentle lady is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you for your courtsy in letting me jump hate and thank you for appearing before the task force today to discuss the elements terrorists abroad are using to obtain elicit financing. the smuggling and the sale of artifacts has been occurring since the 80s and 90s. that's under the regime of saddam hussein. the islamic state is using it to fuel their operations and ex-pent terrorism worldwide. understanding the prominence and how it intersects is critical for the funding of terrorists and aiding in the efforts to eliminate isis. it is great to see you.
2:09 pm
he came to meet with us and we have been exploring this issue ever since. laundering and counter terrorism financing laws are limited when it comes to the trade because they are not covered in the law's standards. how can we address that through the art trade, sir? >> it comes back to organizing the information. we heard a lot of testimony about on the ground means to prevent the looting of the object, but the lack of a systemic system to monitor what's happening to that object. and so between gaps in information and unreliability and lack of means to verify and
2:10 pm
it may be a forged document. what happens is there is a traffic strategy in circles to move up from less important trade sources to more important and each step of the way creates a veneer of credibility so when they get to the good faith market, everything is out of control. they anchor information every step of the way and that shuts down the problem. was there an issue with stolen art in the recent panama papers issue? could you briefly discuss the details of that? >> the panama paper situation highlights what becomes the black hole in the industry because of lack of transparency. while none of us knows more than what has been reported in the media, many objects that are implicated in that, the real problem is one doesn't know
2:11 pm
because of the lack of transparency. so yes, stolen objects are anchored in panama that enables hiding that information. >> the uniformed system that all can be a part of and buy into across the board is what is i'm assuming necessary in this as. you mentioned briefly that your company submitted a request and i believe in 2014 that art title insurance be danked. can you explain why you made that request? >> it's a means to create in the financial sector let's suppose they are offered a basket of art objects as we might normally think of it for a loan
2:12 pm
transaction for $50 million. that financial institution would have no way of knowing whether that same basket of assets was propertied around the world in the last 30 days and none of which is accurate. their lens is limited to the transaction that is in front of them. because of a title ensurer's role which is the keystone to integrity and ownership, it's the vortex to organize this information and take what would be fractured noise to the institution and turn it into privacy protected to generate suspicious reports and so forth as the banks are trying. doctor, the task force in february of 2015 recommended that financial institutions and
2:13 pm
the private sector should improve efforts to prevent the transactions and what progress has been made and what additional steps? i believe i have run out of time. can they take to improve these efforts? >> it's not illegal to bring them from syria into the united states. they have not been include and there is no legal principal. >> that's a huge hole, yes. >> yeah. yes. that would be we hope plugged very soon. that is not even a criminal provision. that is something that is a forfeiture. before we go to more advanced things, we need to do that. >> thank you. i yield back the remainder of none of my time that is left. i hope they will explore that further. thank you. >> ranking member of the task
2:14 pm
force. >> on the line of the legislation and in the past on the issue of terrorist financing and we have gone to places where we asked the legislature and their leadership to the financing legislation so we do have a means of enforcement. the committee regularly travels to iraq and we spent time, many of us, numerous times in southern turkey on the sir nan
2:15 pm
border. we had an opportunity to mead with the groups operating in syria. a lot of those groups there including isil are using the the social media platform, what's app. going back to the question about the chain of custody on some of these artifacts and what's coming out of syria and iraq and the source of origin, is there a way for us to interdict? i know they are marketing and selling these and in many cases on what's app. that social media platform. is there any way for us to interdict that- >> may i say something?
2:16 pm
>> anybody who feels. >> go ahead. are this is what we do on a daily basis. we track these sales and we have people on the ground who actually meet with the dealers and i regularly have on my what's app dozens of photos. so the problem however is we receive this information and what happens next, we have no means of moving this information on to be acted upon in any meaningful way. it's just information that gets stacked up. then it goes down the rabbit hole and disappears. there is a break down in terms of how it is used. i collect information every day. they were standing there and photographing and passing the
2:17 pm
information on to us. what happens with that information after warts is the big kwechlt how it is used. par. >> there three ingredients to make it work. the means to anchor the objects so everyone knows this is the object we are talking about. two, to then anchor verified information to the object. one knows the image belongs to the object and the 30 is a means to organize that to organize them and we speak about it in terms of an lytics and other things that can say information generated at a different timeline in a different part of the world the object that came up on what's app is at issue.
2:18 pm
>> i will add there is an opportunity here too. as we know with law enforcement and social media, they can go after smugglers. if what's app and ebay are being used to market the antiquities, the interdiction can come from them getting involved on the platforms. >> we had issues with the encryption and that's a platform of choice right now. probably should have said this in the beginning, thank each of you for the work on this issue. we have ben gated greatly. thank you. i yield back. >> thank you. i now yield five minutes to the
2:19 pm
chairman of the house committee. i want to thank you for your work on this issue. i returned from the middle east where i was honored to speak on the priceless antiquities to realize just as the third reich in germany tried to destroy so much history with the book burning and the history tried to restart everything by destroying evidence before it, here you have isis and the taliban and groups like that. they are united in the concept of just trying to destroy all evidence of a syrian civilization and bab loanian and
2:20 pm
christian examples of art in that region. the appalling aspect of it with some of these isis spokes men taking the pyramids down brick by brick, you begin to realize when they talk about widening out evidence of buddhist civilization, they mean it and they are committed to this goal. at the same time for the smaller antiquities that they can sell for the hard currency, they are not beyond engaging in that activity. i was going ask the doctor, i know how much you have worked on this over the years. this is coming back from the
2:21 pm
senate and could you talk about this concept of protecting through this legislation? >> thank you for your leadership on hr 1493. there is no mechanism that would prohibit the imports from syria to the united states. that same situation applies to libya where isil seems to be moving next. in order to prevent the objects and perhaps to convince the little men and the dealers and the looters that they will not sell these things in the united states, it's important to understand they are not a market for the looted objects. we can convince the middle men that they will earn less or no
2:22 pm
money and it works back to the people on the ground. if the objects are not saleable, isil will earn less money from the looting. >> we are in north africa and tunisia. we saw the results of the attack there on the museum. isis comes over the border and carries out attacks specifically against mu teams and in libya also. they are destroying the artifacts that date back to the roman and helenic periods. maybe i can ask him, can you expand on why terrorists are so attracted as a means of getting that revenue. that hart purnsy and can we approach this in the same way as we did on the legislation that
2:23 pm
we authored and methodology to shut down the ability to traffic? >> yes. i think there parallels. it's a unique resource if you look at isil's revenue, much of what they have gotten was from taking over territory and dispossessing the people that they took over. they provide this tund for them to continue to get new resources. you have maybe not a renewable resource, but willing partners or people who were there to loot. that's something they can do as someone said earlier. in terms of blood diamonds, we have the ability to change the conversation to shift the
2:24 pm
perception that you should understand how diamonds are and where they were produced. we can learn from that, but with the issue, there were concerns about accountability and we can learn from that and lessons learned from ways that didn't work well enough. >> the bill will come back this week. i appreciate this forum to discuss the need for us to act quickly. >> thank you for your leadership. >> and thank you to the panel for a very interesting and important set of presentations. i wonder if you would spent a
2:25 pm
minute or two expanding on the use of free ports and the concern i have is that it appears that the main question would be to what extent are we seeing them used as a method to cloak the transactions related. are we seeing multiple transactions taking place that make it more difficult to track the chain of title and what other difficulties do you see in terms of the way they might be used in. >> in the categories, there free zos. there several thousand free zones around the world as well as recognized free ports and they are way stations, if you will and the movement of these assets and of course most of the industry is using those facilities for correct and
2:26 pm
legitimate purposes. the problem is the nature of the industry and the rapidity for which things move in the industry make it very difficult for customs and border officials around the world know whether the information that is being provided in the paperwork as works go in and leave is valid. it becomes a blanket that obscures information which then drives trade-based money laundering in general and the movement of cultural artifacts as well. i would estimate the use of free ports right now is less for cultural artifacts than art in general, but it's also on the rise as people sort of listen to the beating drums in the industry. they become challenging and as a result holds a lack of clarity that enables the movement of the asset. >> would you be able to suggest any potential changes that would
2:27 pm
mitigate the use of free ports or other tax havens in order to execute transactions related, for example, extending the taf r safe harbor protections and other individuals involved in these transactions that could be helpful. they associate it with anything else and it becomes noise. we have been focusing on the state university of new york's global initiative that has been creating ways to organize the information. it is driven by the high mobility andit thatture of the market becomes the ultimate
2:28 pm
obstacle that has to be overcome. >> one last question directed to the doctor and otherings may comment. the question is to what extent is the satellite imagery available to evaluate existing sites that might be currently under the control of isis or others, sort of before and after? are you able to make evacuations as to the extent of the work being done there? >> several groups and some in partnership with the state department and the advancement of science had access through the government to satellite imagery. one question is however there gaps. they have not been made public or available to researchers.
2:29 pm
what the condition was before the eventive has taken over. it has been difficult to assess 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 are important because people can't go in on the ground to find out what's happening. it's not perfect, but we have it accessible to us. there is a group at the university of chicago that is working to actually quantify not only numbers of holes in the ground that are many thousands and thousands and to determine based on excavation reports and how many objects are coming out by using algo rhythm over periods of time and large quantities of data to come up with what types of artifacts
2:30 pm
have been looted under isil control and indepth market study over a large data to come up with a realistic number of dollar figures of how much money we are talking about. >> thank you. i see my time expired and i thank you and ranking member for molding this hearing for the really important testimony. i yield back. >> they recognize the vice of the task force. >> what are the legal privacy laws that impede us from dealing with the art dealers and the institutions and the auction houses and companies and transfer of information and suspicious activity? what can we do in that regard? >> i don't think the problem is the privacy laws, but getting
2:31 pm
the core information to troefr as curated privacy-protected information. if we go back to the bank loan scenario where there was a means to associate a serious of transactions around the world that were the same assets to provide a response back to the current financial institution, that would then trigger the aml activity reporting regime and all the privacy issues around that. what would then happen is the system would know there is suspicious activity around these objects being used potentially for some problem or another whether it's money laundering or terrorist financing. the system would trigger under rules or regulations.
2:32 pm
i don't think we need a change in what's private or not, but organizing the information for privacy-protected and effective information for intervening. >> thank you. so this deals mostly with the transfer of information. that would be compatible and have the access to certain data? >> correct. from a high level. so you would know the bank would know the objects are at risk. they would then have the information. >> access to the same data. thank you. >> targeted sanctions. give us insight into how we would address that considering the little men and private directors. we don't have anything to do with isis. how would we impose sanctions? >> they could be imposed on the import and they should be listed on the sanctions list.
2:33 pm
they refused to do so. if i could go back for a moment to the last question also, there is a great deal of secrecy. the name of a seller is never made public when sold in an auction house. grar agreements from the in a minute names are not public to get the name of a seller. the buyers are not meat public. things are sold through the internet without names at all. i think there is a huge amount of secrecy. >> it's a real scale. >> there is a lot that could be done to require that information. >> thank you. >> i would add that most of the material is not making the market. it never sees the main market.
2:34 pm
>> i could clarify the privacy a bit further. parry would like to know if it's public for law enforcement to be engaged. >> as a title company, we function where the information is kept secret market-wise is disclosed to us under confidentiality provisions. we need that transparency to do our job. that only becomes relevant if there is a problem or activity that is the information sharing for the bsa. we would agree the industry operates for privacy reasons, many of which are legitimate and many are not.
2:35 pm
that can be managed, but it's not as though they are. >> talk to me about money laundering and what can be done to address that issue. >> i believe this is something like a bridge. militarily you have to take it from both ends. there is the buying end or the demand end, but also the supply end. i can only speak on the supply side. 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 a huge task. our problem then is how do we then manage to pass this on what mechanisms are available in terms of being able to share the information and how that information is used to pursue or
2:36 pm
retrieve and interject further transactio transactions. >> thank you, my time has expired. >> thank you, mr. chairman and panel for a very informative discussion. i wonder if the doctor can answer this question or not the doctor, but another panelist. is there an estimate at all of the number of americans who may have performed elicit artifacts or an tick wirtys from the middle east? can we quantify that? >> that would be difficult partly because again with antiquities because they are unknown, proving what is legal and illegal is extremely
2:37 pm
difficult. so you have to go object by object and make a determination first of what is legal or illegal. >> i would certainly say you are including the purchase. >> we have estimates of the total value of the transactions. we are getting the estimates and i'm trying to get the data behind that. >> i would only say the united states is the largest market for these antiquities. my guess if you conclude everything, you are at least talking about tens of thousands of people. >> and the value for the american purchasers? >> do you have an answer to that? >> the bifurcation. >> england is the second largest at 22%. we are double the next market
2:38 pm
for art overall and it's much higher than the dollar value of antiquities, but the contours are similar and also a function of safety and tradition that that's what collectors collect. mediterranean and middle eastern. >> i was not sure if you wanted to touch on customs data. it is possible one of the things that we have done is look at changes around artifacts or antiques, but again, that data is for legal purchases or purchases that have come in from elsewhere, but that's coming into the united states that might have transited through various countries. you can look at that to get a kens of how the tide has risen. categories of antiques.
2:39 pm
that's what we know and what people say. what they are importing into the country. not for an individual assessment. >> i imagine in the industry there is a separation in dealers. legitimate ones who are looking at whether these artifacts are in others. are there obligations dealer has to know who the seller was? it's a private transaction, but is there obligation on the part of the dealer who will be conducting the transaction? >> there is no legal obligation on the part of the dealer to know who either the seller or the buyer is as long as they get whatever finances they want out of the arrangement.
2:40 pm
just in the past month at the top end public auction, several pieces were picked up that came from asia and a couple of pieces that were classic alan tick witties. even the people you think would be doing the most research, whether where the fault line is is another question. clearly the antiquities service through the market. >> what can we do to prevent that from happening? >> i had several suggestions, but we need better tracking by tracking better what's coming into the country and i think we could wire that these documents be made available to law enforcement. they need a warrant before they
2:41 pm
can get information about who is selling what. there is a number of things about making this higher priority overall. the number of packages served coming into the country through customs is minimal and it depents on the port you are coming through. some have so much that comes in that only if you declare something above a certain valley will they look at it. this is just not considered a high priority. there is too little connected with illegal customs actions. customs are happy if they can seize are forfeit and repatriate something. it does nothing to stab the illegal trait. only if you have the threat of criminal enforcement and the
2:42 pm
possibility of jail time will you perhaps really start to reach the market. >> my time expired. i yield back. >> mr. williams is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you to the panel. i want to say hello to my good friend, a fellow texan. we appreciate you. now, i was glad to see that the monuments men receive for the medal for their contributions for the artifacts for world war ii, your contribution cannot be understated and was long overdue and i was proud to support that effort. my first question is you said that a major benefit was that they were grateful to allied forces not only for liberating them and preserving the continent. would you elaborate and do you believe the same would be true if we were better able to save
2:43 pm
in antiques and other objects in the mideast? >> thank you for your kind remarks and you and all of your colleagues for the support of the legislation to award the congressional gold medal. yes, i believe the united states would be looked upon favorably by in additions of good well throughout the world. i think the evidence is irrefutable. the aftermath of the american invasion and not getting into the issue, but it raises the issue of the responsibility of the united states or any force when they are in a foreign country concerning cultural assets and the failure to plan and take care caused enormous damage to the country's reputation around the world. i know from experience during world war ii, there was a great deal of skepticism that so much of the damage that took place in europe was the result of allied
2:44 pm
bombing and artillery to soften the beaches, but time and time again, the people expressed appreciation for the fact that you had to get rid of the bad guys and they saw the repairs and at the end of the war they returned some of the four million objects. four million. that these men or women without technology managed to get back to the countries from which they were taken. there is no question. >> you kind of touched on this to safeguard and what more can we do? >> it's a challenge that makes no sense for us to send people with blue shield and into harm's way without force protection. we had three million troops in europe. to say because we can't put
2:45 pm
troops on the ground is ridiculous. we are not using all the tools to try to put an end to a lot of these things. we discussed and there have been good questions about steps that can be taken going forward. there realities that they love to show people what they have got. that's a problem if it's hot. they hate losing money. that's a problem if you demonitize illegally owned works of art. i'm not talking about objects that come from these war zones, but works of art that were stolen from the museum from mr. lynch's part of the world and objects stolen from churches all over the world. these things don't get stolen unless there is something to buy them. they don't get stored unless
2:46 pm
something thinks a lot light will move away. if we have a process to register, there should be a threshold where there is a clean bill of sale. your work offard or whatever it is, a small object or painting is known. there is no chance or concern about it being something that was smuggled. it will be a disincentive for people buying these things knowing that where is your piece of paper. i don't want to buy it unless it is cleared. is it a challenge for us? it's work, but 100 to 200 monuments in the face that found and returned five million objectings. i'm not interested in hearing someone tell me the difficulties are why something can't be done
2:47 pm
when we can read a credit card from space. the technology is there. the progs of the determination of the sale of this increased reporting. who is against transparency? if we bring that in, we will not only cut down on trafficking or sources for organized crime or isis, but the internal revenue will be getting more than it's due having to carry the people trying to duck the system and return art to the place of where they were stolen. it's a matter of the will. you sound like a guy from snu. i yield my time back.
2:48 pm
>> thank the ranking member for your work on this topic and i was at the ceremony for the congressional gold medal and i was great to see the remaining monuments and their men and it was touching. i want to talk about motivation here. jnt isis or other motivation or the destruction or marketing of these cultural items really an issue of trying to establish interiority and what drivings people and looking at europe in world war ii, didn't he want to capture the art and having it and possess it? >> it's a significant factor. no question if you look over the 20th century and we do a study of history, the genocides that end up happening in world war
2:49 pm
ii, news were not incarcerated and murdered because there is a component with the theft of the objects and that's the process of humiliation. we are going to detain you. we are going to put you in concentration camps. while you are alive, we are going to steal the things and destroy the things that define you as a civilization. we are going kill you later on, but we are not going to do it yet. we saw this in bosnia and have seen this in mali and the destruction in timbuktu by people purr porting to be followers of islam. these are treasured relics that defined that civilization and the process begins by destroying them and it's not really a modern twist, but when you look over nazi germany, if you want to talk about institutionalizing the looting, the nazis wrote the book on it. the amount of resources that
2:50 pm
were dedicated 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 cathedrals to paintings and drawings and statues was extraordinary and distraction to the war. isis may not have quite the resources at some point in time or the degree of organization. but there's a strong incentive for them no do it. and i think certainly the things immoveable are at great risk to be destroyed. we saw that in palmyra and 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 like we're experiencing religious and human genoce in the middle east. it's a great tragedy and one i think our administration has been behind the curve on now for
2:51 pm
multiple years. and others in europe and russia as well. i'm also interested in 1493. i mean, why limit this to syria? for example, why don't we ban the importation of cultural treasures for other countries. how do we determine these are recent versus something that actually is out in the marketplace? aren't we hitting a legitimate antiquities trade. aren't we -- the saddam regime is just as destructive of these cultural treasures as isis ever was. why are we therefore institutionalizing their control of icons. they may sell them themselves, right? >> i'm not sure how we're helping the assad regime. those objects would be unsailable in the united states. if they were seized and
2:52 pm
forfeited at the border, maybe that's what you're thinking of. >> they do back to syria, do they not zpl sn. >> title against transferred to the united states government and the government would decide when to return them. i don't think that will happen as long as assad is in power. who knows what government is 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 are 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 from posing 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 and morocco, none of them had done that. they are at risk at some point
2:53 pm
in time and any number of countries 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 syrian government in the future, that government is expected to bring a request under the normal process. now, how this helps is that it changes the burden of proof and what needs to be proven at the border. 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, have to show it left syria before march of 2011. >> that helps law enforcement significantly and does not impose a huge burden on the industry because showing where it was just four or five years ago shouldn't really be that difficult if it really was out
2:54 pm
of the country before that point in time. 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. 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 assad government may receive funding and prevent them from coming to the united states now and into the future. >> yield back. >> 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 the 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
2:55 pm
second the second world war. cultural organization director considers the islamic state's destruction of cultural heritage sites to be an international war crime. the global financial integrity group conservative averaged an aggregated existing figures to estimate the value of the illicit trade of cultural property may range from 3.4 and 6.4 billion annually. my question to you and following mr. hill's line of questioning. in reading statistics about the individual islamic state looters, one estimate is that the islamic state fighters who are actually pillaging these historical and cultural antiquity sites, they are only taking about 1% off the top and that most of the profits from this illicit trade of antiquit
2:56 pm
antiquities is coming to the ben fist middlemen, who are engaged in this. 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? >> i'm sure 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 disinscent by eliminating or
2:57 pm
reducing the revenue making opportunities of stealing these things, we at least are cutting down on one of the main reasons it's happening. there's little we can do about addressing the idealogical motivations for stealing or destroying things. i emphasize -- i have people all the time say why don't we have monument's men or blue shield people there, it would be a suicide mission to send the troops into harm's way without having force protection. the world has changed. and nonmilitary weapons, we are not using that are -- i should say are evolving this use of aerial photography to see developments on the ground as others are really pioneering the use of. 3d technology to do imagery of these nonmoveable objects so if
2:58 pm
they are damaged or destroyed they can be rebuilt. this is a positive step. you all both mentioned in your testimony potential ways to disrupt the illicit trade of antiquities applying additional terrorist sanctions by the treasury office against antiquity smugglers and buyers and royce engle bill on import restrictions on syrian antiquities. what is the best approach to diminishing the demand for these looted antiquities and all of the above approach? >> i mean, i think all of the above in the sense that we've made quite a few recommendations that you know, can be used from different angles. i think when you talk about sanctions, i think what we're trying to get at is you know, there's a difference between the threat of prosecution and the threat of having assets seized
2:59 pm
or assets of people close to you. and so sanctions even though a bit of a bold move provide potentially greater incentive. there's -- it's a tool that we use and you can debate how effective it is. >> in my remaining time, if i could editorialize a little bit, i appreciate the advocacy of sanctions and i agree and 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 the sacred sites. with that i yield back.
3:00 pm
>> gentleman from maine is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you all very much for being here. 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 are doing now? >> yes, can you look down the road and extrapolate as more pressure is put on the combatants in this part of the world, what their reaction will be when it comes to funding the terrorist activities using this source of funding.
3:01 pm
>> if we're successful in syria and iraq, i agree with patty. our focus shouldn't be on what to do now because we already seeded that opportunity away once isis gained control of the areas. to ask what we should do about palmyra, that's the wrong question. what are we going to do about where they are going next, libya or some other area? they will go and take the same type of operation. if there's oil revenue, i was in the oil and gas exploration business, that's a simple 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 cultural treasure, we're 4 to 5%, trying to figure out how to get along with 95% of people in the world. the currency that connects people around the world are
3:02 pm
cultural treasures, sports and music and works of art. we don't necessarily look at the world that way. it's not wrong. we're a much younger country. if we want to curry favor and build up the esteem, the hall mark policy of roosevelt and eisenhower will do more than all of the foreign aid we're giving away in my opinion. >> do you think that isis as is it spreads its ideology, for example, now over to libya and becoming much more active there, have you seen this same sort of illicit activity in that part of the middle east? >> not a question i'm qualified to answer but i know we have four people that are and three for sure. >> we do know that they have taken control of several major
3:03 pm
arc logical sites and there have 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 archeological site, the last thing we want to do is bomb it. >> let me add quickly. you talk about the war going around. the areas of concern in libya are the very areas that the very first monuments men started work in 1943 in north africa and other areas. so we're right back to where we began 70 years ago. >> do you think that purchases -- purchaseers of this art work, this antiquities -- these pieces in america, are they aware -- let me rephrase
3:04 pm
that. do you know of illicit artifacts having been purchased by americans? >> of illicit artifact, not necessarily from in area, yes. from the area we're talking about in a contemporary sense of antiquities, i don't have 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 art work here in america, what's the probability of them knowing that in fact it is -- has not been obtained through illegal activities? >> i can comment on the good faith market and clearly there's a good faith market and 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. there have been different heirs as the world matured around the
3:05 pm
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 the european market as well. >> 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 u.s. government getting involved to help in some way these folks make sure that their good faith effort is supported? >> the anl gi i would use and i know you're hearing a constant theme of my comments because i think it's the answer. if we look to the pharmaceutical industry, which 20 years ago had enormous problems of adulterated drugs, still a problem today but far better than what it was. it wasn't until the entire
3:06 pm
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 idealogical motivations trying to ee rad cat identity. and i suppose at the same time they are saying as long as we have torn it down instead of burning it or destroying it, let's sell it to get money to further our terrorism. 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 idealogical destruction. and how do we create lots of different barriers that ultimately deincentivize everyone in the trade in the sequence -- >> thank you very much, appreciate it.
3:07 pm
>> gentleman from ohio recognized for five minutes. >> thank you. a lot of great questions have been asked and i'd like follow on to some of those questions. and i have a question. you said in your statement if we could make declaring antiquities a property crime and national security priority, we could really start to reform things and we need to make it an intelligence and law enforcement priority. how would we go about doing that? is that an executive action? do you think there's 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
3:08 pm
greater resources towards some of the elements. for example, state department has a huge roll in this. the issue of cultural diplomacy is something that we could -- that the institutions for cultural diplomacy, we could leverage more. a lot of what we've talked about goes to public perception. there's the potential for us to emphasize and highlight in our diplomacy this issue, the cultural issue and cultural property issue. if you think about someone mentioned earlier blood diamonds and you can think about wildlife trafficking and the fur industry, these are industries where there's -- you can think about -- you have a cozy animal or something people are familiar with because they deal with them every day, diamonds. we don't have that in the same sense with antiquities. i'd also say in dhs within customs and ice, you already
3:09 pm
have units which are dedicated to finding out if individuals coming into the country are involved in human rights abuses. that's a structure that we could elevate for due diligence for people who may be bringing antiquities into the country. we have within our government a lot of the arteries that could do this. at the nsc, national security council, there's an opportunity there to have greater coordination. i know we've spoken a little bit about the legislation, but in someone who's a former government person and seen how it 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 -- you know, ban importation of certain syrian antiquities. what are the -- from the
3:10 pm
perspective of the panel, what other legislative proposals. you talked about pedigree earlier for lack of a better word or getting the recent ownership of some antiquities in the art trading. what other 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 xur security, immigration and customs enforcement agencies to work together, which they don't do terribly well. for instance, they have not rewritten the customs directive since 1990. which is out of date. and so there are in fact several steps that could be taken.
3:11 pm
beyond 2285 but not legislatively, for example, the number of ports through which arts antiquities could be imported could be restricted so the expertise would develop among customs agents to recognize things and know the laws. i'm the first to admit, this is a very obscure and narrow area of the law. the number of people who can be trained either as agents or among assistant united states attorneys should be limited. we can concentrate the expertise and therefore have better outcomes of prosecutions and the like. >> are there any ports today that have more expertise than others and report that's more actsive? >> new york is the most active, but because of that, i have been told anecdotally until you declare something is worth at least $250,000, they don't expect it. so i would say -- there are a couple of other ports in
3:12 pm
particular, in the south, there are a couple that mostly have coming in from central and south america, houston and santa fe, san francisco, l.a. so then sometimes people roult through route things through ports that don't aantiquities. chinese picked up through africa, wre they don't have expertise and not accustomed to it. we can concentrate both in the u.s. attorney's offices to have trained experts at the main justice to take on cases, we have a very effective fbi art crime team that could use more resources and higher priority. i don't have that same level of expertise within customs and we don't have it within the u.s. attorney's offices other than this other district of new york. i also think that both federal
3:13 pm
prosecutors and judges should understand that when there is a criminal convention, there is the possibility of jail time. there's a special cultural heritage resource sentencing guideline in place for 12 years. it's not used enough. 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 inappropriate circumstances. >> thank you. thank you all for everything that you've worked for and testified for today. my time is expired. i yield back my nonexistent balance of time. >> i'll yield myself five minutes. i'll ask my staff to put up the original slide which was i think the after. you went through in your opening statement what we were looking at. i'll ask you in more detail if you can explain that slide in more detail what we're looking
3:14 pm
at -- >> this is the second one. >> this is the after slide. >> right. >> first i want to ask a real quick question, the fbi issued a warning back in 2015 those who were involved in the trafficking of islamic state antiquities could be investigated and prosecuted under material support for terrorism provisions. to your knowledge has the fbi ever applied those types of charges? >> i haven't heard of anything since, not publicly. for antiquities coming out -- i have not heard of anything. >> you haven't heard of prosecution or charges. how about investigations? any anecdotal evidence? >> i don't have anecdotal evidence except for in the bulletin it states that the fbi is aware that people have been approached. buyers have been approached. i would assume that there should be investigations going on. but publicly i haven't seen
3:15 pm
any -- >> your opinion as to the obstacles to investigation? >> i'm sorry? >> the obstacles that prosecutors would have to investigation? >> someone just mentioned the u.s. attorney's office, i think in general, their 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 -- all of the agents all over the country and if not the world, cultural property is not something that's probably the most -- we don't have necessarily the most expertise in around -- in all of our offices with all of the agents. >> in your testimony, you had mentioned when these artifacts are intercepted at the southern border of the united states, that they are identified as some sort of asset forfeiture process and no prosecution, i assume that's because of lack of authority? >> in some cases the -- for
3:16 pm
instance, the syria import restrictions if they go into effect under 1493 is not a criminal provision, only a forfeit tour. in a lot of cases that's correct. 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 of all it's an obstacle to determine whether it's legal or illegal. for criminal prosecution they have to determine whether i knew it was legal or illegal. that's very difficult to do. you can only do that so far as we know, in the cases that we have, either through undercover investigation or through somebody who flips. my bookkeeper, whatever then reports me. i think one thing that could be do
3:17 pm
done. it takes time to develop the personas for the undercover investigations. 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? >> can you go in moore detail what we're looking at and then i'll ask mr. edsol, in response to a question are we doing enough in the united states. >> want to go to the first slide? is that easier? >> this one shows -- the second one shows the looting. this one does not show much -- >> okay. >> the white structure is a palace from the early part of the second millennium and to the left are excavated areas and
3:18 pm
then all of the pits around it are looter's pits. some are marked with a red circle, some are not. the ones with the red circles were only in the two to three months before the image was taken. this fell under isil control 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 you'll see the difference. okay, now, the doctor could 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 the conflict started. obviously when things -- even before isis took over when the regime was pulling back from the rural areas back into the
3:19 pm
cities, there was no longer any sort of oversight or scrutiny what was going on at the site of mari as well as any other sites, it became a looter's haven. we know in mari and 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 preexisting situation. they just said, right, we're in charge, so you have to now work through us. we're the one who issue the the licenses and you can continue looting but everything has to follow through us. and we have to take our cut on every step of the process. and this is really been repeated in site after site after site. >> this is a combat zone. does anybody want to predict
3:20 pm
without holding you to it, what the potential next site would be of this type of destruction or looting, combat or noncombat? other sites that we should be looking at. >> are you thinking in syria or outside? >> the whole world. >> libya. without question. >> i would conquer. >> i've spoken to a libyan colleague of mine who works essentially does the same thing i do and he says they are already experiencing similar pattern of behavior in libya. >> my time is expired. there may have been a second round. is there objection? without objection, mr. pit inger is recognized for five minutes. >> thanks to each of you for being with us today. we have five minutes here on my part and i would like to get your action points. what you would do if you were in our seat, what policy changes legislation and what work with
3:21 pm
the international, what would you do to prevent the unitization of antiquities in the market. please begin even i'll give you each 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 currency, $10,000 or less and we can ship 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 needs more funding. they have a very, 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 these objects are and where they came
3:22 pm
from and there's a defense to willful ignorance. >> i would like to echo the idea of giving 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 are really involved and the worst offenders of this issue. then i would say this may be outside of the box but we need to bring a face to this issue, you know, there should be more coverage culturally and state department, so the public has a sense, right, we've all viewed raiders of the lost art and monument's men, this power of media of culture can play into this. we should leverage that. >> thank you very much. >> well, in addition to everything i've said already, a few other things, one on perhaps the microscale is to modify the
3:23 pm
terror schedule and require importers to declare what it is they are bringing in the country. i can go into more detail if you should want to. one thing we haven't talked about, when objects are donated to u.s. institutions and donor receives a tax deduction, at the moment, there are under irs rules, whatever the museum may do is one thing. 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 information and title. i think that would be an important addition. >> thank you very much. >> 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. when an object leaves syria,
3:24 pm
isis already collected its money so everything else is economic in terms of how isis makes its money. on the demand end, i would suggest when you buy a car there's a vin number on the car and you can't sell it without that. why can't we do the same for objects, it's simple, make sure you have that and it's on the buyer and seller to make sure that information matches. you're not relieved or absolved of responsibility under the law currently as i understand it. >> thank you very much. >> there's a need for short term solutions and long term solutions and many of the great ones suggested are short term focused as they should be. long-term issue goes back to what we keep saying transparency and accurate information.
3:25 pm
how do we know it's real fake or the information associated with the object is accurate? >> a clear way to intervene today through the financial industry and sector because of the intersection of money and these objects. technology solutions which can put -- 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 that adds to the transparency that can make the specific intervention tactics meaningful, otherwise, we aren't achieving enough scale to solve the problem holistically. we really appreciate you coming xgt. >> with that we would like to thank our witnesses for their testimony today and found the testimony to be extremely helpful to our work. without objection all members will have five legislative days
3:26 pm
within which to submit additional written questions to the chair which will be forwarded to the witnesses. i would ask the witnesses to respond as promptly as you are able. without objection this hearing is adjourned.
3:27 pm
president obama is in saudi arabia where he's been meeting with king salaman and other leaders. tomorrow he heads to london for a meeting with queen elizabeth
3:28 pm
followed by a meeting with david cameron. on saturday president obama has a meeting with british youth and on sunday he heads back to germany for a meeting with angela merkel. >> the supreme court on monday heard a case about the president's plan to halt deportations. for some undocumented immigrants with children who are in the country legally. you can hear it friday night on c-span at 8:00 p.m. eastern. >> saturday april 23rd is the 400th anniversary of william shares pooer's death. the library with the largest collection of shakespeare documents and memorabilia in the world will be hosting an event
3:29 pm
commemorating his life and impact on our language and politics and history. it begins at noon eastern time then we'll have a nationwide call in with shakespeare scholars to join in the conversation as well. henry folger was a shakespeare buff, he and his wife spent many years and many dollars collecting shares pooer artifacts and memorabilia. it's the largest collection of shakespeare related documents. we'll be live beginning at noon from the folger library for 400 years of shakespeare on book tv. >> the senate armed services committee yesterday held a hearing on research and treatment of traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress.
3:30 pm
john mccain chairs the armed services committee. >> the hearing will come to order, we're hear to receive testimony on diagnosis and treatment of post-traumatic stress and trauma mattic brain injury. the committee meets to hear testimony from the dense of defense and veterans of fares of treatment of post traumatic stress and brain injury. we must do everything we can to help servicemen and women and set vans suffering from tps and tbi. we're fortunate to have a distinguished panel of witnesses, walt ter greenhaass and united states navy, director
3:31 pm
for the national intrepid center for excellence at walter reed and michael kol ston, center of excellence for psychological help and brain injury. and dr. amy streak, deputy director of the women's health division for post-traumatic stress veterans of foreign apairs. post-traumatic suppress and brain injury have been called signature wounds of afghan and iraq conflict. since 2001, about 5% of the over 2.7 million service members deployed in support of the wars in afghanistan and iraq and diagnosed with pts. from 2000 there are 339,000 tbi cases diagnosed with most of these being mild tbi.

27 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on