tv Politics and Public Policy Today CSPAN April 22, 2016 11:00am-1:01pm EDT
we lease with the department of defense. 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 1,000 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. thereby 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 deduction. 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 mined from the ground as new commodities, they
are the perfect vehicle for moving funds and value around the world. and supporting illegal 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. technologies that would tag objects would be similarly ineffective. 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, we also know that for propaganda purposes, isil destroys on a large and public stage and movable structures. ancient temples churches and shrines. 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 exploited 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 can see he purchases a license to allow him to use heavy machinery. the mucheachinery is being used take out chunks. 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 raqqah. 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 she 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. they are on sale in syria. 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 heritage outside regime controlled areas and outside its -- the reach of its government institutions. it falls on nonstate actors to try to do something. 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're just civilians. we do get some help from 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. i'll be happy to answer that during questions. >> 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. for the record. i'll focus on two points. 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 intersection 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. 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.
in art industry. 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. it stems from the role ass t th leading -- 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, combined with a lack of record keeping for transactions. all of 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 these become locations to store works indefinitely thatathat adds to obfuscation. 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 freeports, 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 independently reported and organized pieces of information 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, to 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. shindell 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 luxemborg. 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 saddam 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. he came to meet with me in my office back beginning of 2015. 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. we've heard a lot of testimony which is important about 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. when it gets to the good faith market, everything's out of
control. a means that anchors the information every step of the way. would shut down the problem. >> i'm sure you're keeping up with current events. 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 that are implicated in that, the real problem is one doesn't know because of the lack of transparency. 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 presented to six banks around the world in the last six days. 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 curated 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 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. thank you very much. >> 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 laundering 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'sapp. and just going back to mr. shindell's question about the chain of custody on these
artifacts, what's coming out of syria and iraq, and the source of origin, that whole issue, is there a way for us to i know their marketing and selling these antiquities in many cases what'sapp, the social media platform. is there anyway for us to interdict 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. to be acted upon in a meaningful way. 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 back. >> 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 book burning and 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. babylonian, 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 spokesmen 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.
palmyra would be a case in point. 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. gerstenblith. i know how much you've worked on this over the years, we have the bill that has been introduced. 1493. 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 tunisia, and we saw the 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 carthgenian 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 ability 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 them as a method to cloak the transactions related to antiquities. are we seeing multiple transactions taking place in the dark that make it more difficult
to track 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 zones, 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 rapidity 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 challenging 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 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. oor made the available to researchers. 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 algorithms spread 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 assets to provide a response back to the current financial institution, that would 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 then have the information -- >> everybody has access to the 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 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. stated. it was long overdue and i was proud to support the effort. my first question, you said the first major benefits of monuments men effort is noncombatants in europe were grateful to allied forces for not only liberating them but preserving 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 middle east objects today. >> thank you for your remarks. you and all your colleagues to support the legislation. it was quite an honor. yes, i believe the united states would be looked on favorably by nations of goodwill throughout
the world. evidence is ir refutable. look 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 be. raises responsibility what's the responsibility of united states or any force when they are in another nation. the plan to take care of the assets 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 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 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. >> are we doing as much as a nation, 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 -- modern day monuments men, people with blue shield and into harm's way without force protection. it worked in world war ii because we had 3 million troops in europe. troops on the ground we can't do anything 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 of the panel about steps we can take going forward. there two realities about collectors that are inarguable, 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 going back to nazi looted art. but works of art that were stolen from the museum from mr. lynch's part of the world and objects stolen from churches in italy and all over the world. these things don't get stolen unless there is something to buy them. they don't get stored unless -- in these tax-free zones unless someone things eventually the spotlight will move away and there will be collectors that will buy them. if we have a process to register works of art -- perhaps there should be a threshold there, where there's a clean bill of sale. your work of art, whatever it is, a small object or painting is known, there is no concern
about it being something smuggled, it's going to be a disincentive for people with money to be out there buying these things, where is your piece of paper? i don't want to buy this unless it's cleared. is it a challenge for us? it's work, but 100 to 200 monuments in the face of a war that claimed 65 million lives, found and returned 5 million objects. i'm not really interested in hearing someone tell me all the difficulties, why something can't be done today when we can read a credit card from space. the technology is there. the question, is the will there. the process of the diminution or sale of looted antiquities and this kind of increased reporting bring transparency. who is against transparency? if we bring that in, we will not only cut down on trafficking or
sources for organized crime or isis, other terrorist organization, but the internal revenue service will be getting more of the revenue that it's due, which is going to take a burden off taxpayers that are having to carry people that are trying to duck the system. it's going to return pieces of art to the places they were stolen. there's no downside to this. it's a matter of the will. >> that you for your testimony. you sound like a guy from snu. i yield my time back. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank the ranking member for your work on this topic and i was at the ceremony for the congressional gold medal. it was touching to see some of the remaining monuments men out there. it was touching. i want to talk about motivation here. isn't isis, other motivations,
these cultural items really an issue of trying to establish cultural superiority. isn't that what drives them? when you look back at your experience and world war ii, didn't hitler want to have cultural superiority, capture the art and possessing it? >> it's a significant factor. you look back over the 20th century and we do a study of history, the genocides that end up happening in world war ii, jews were not incarcerated and murdered immediately 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 bosn bosnia-herzegovina and have seen this in mali and the destruction in timbuktu by people purporting 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 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 the cathedrals to paintings and drawings and statues was extraordinary. and a 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 to 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 genocide in the middle east. it's a great tragedy and one i think our administration has been behind the curve on now for multiple years. and others in europe and russia as well. i'm also interested in 1493. i mean why limit this -- dr. gerstenblith -- 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. potentially? 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. why are we therefore institutionalizing their control of icons. they may sell them themselves, right? >> i'm not sure how we're institutionalizing or helping the regime. those objects would be unsellable in the united states. if they were seized and forfeited at the border, maybe that's what you're thinking of. >> they would go back to syria, would they not? >> no. first of all, title gets 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 all at risk at this point in time, and any number of 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 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, now, i, the importer, have to show it left syria before march 2011. that helps law enforcement significantly and does not impose a huge burden on the importer or industry, because showing where it was four or five years ago shouldn't really be that difficult, if it really was out 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 be receiving funding, prevent those coming into the united states now and in 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 since the second world war. united nations, scientific and cultural education director considers the islamic states destruction of cultural heritage sites in iraq and syria to be an international war crime. the global financial integrity group conservatively averaged and aggregated existing figures to estimate the value of the
illicit trade of cultural property may range between 3.4 and 6.3 billion annually. so mr. edsel, my question to you, and following up mr. hill's lines of question, in reading 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 antiquity sites, they are only taking about 1% off the top and that most of the profits from this illicit trade of antiquities is coming to inure the benefit of the 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 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 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 monuments 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. as hammond pointed out. we have all sorts of weapons, nonmilitary weapons that we are not using that i should say are evolving. this use of aerial photography to see developments on the ground, as patty talked about, and others are really pioneering the use of 3d technology to do imagery of these nonmovable objects so if they are damaged or destroyed, they can be rebuilt. people are thinking about these things. this is a positive step. >> to dr. gerstenblith, you mentioned in your testimony the way 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 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. >> gentleman from maine is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman, i appreciate it. >> thank you all 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 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. >> 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 ceded that opportunity away once isis gained control of these areas. to ask what we should do about palmyra, that's the wrong question. what we should be doing is thinking about what are we going to do about where they are going
next, whether it's 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 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, we're 5% of the people of the united states. we're trying to figure out how to get along with 5% of the people in the world. the currency that connects people around the world are 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 do ambassadorial work and build up 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
roosevelt and eisenhower will do more than all the foreign aid we're giving away, in my opinion. >> do you think that isis as is spreading 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 archaeological sites in their territory and libya. 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 archeological site, 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 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. >> mr. edsel, do you think that purchases -- purchasers of this artwork, this antiquities, piece in america, are they aware -- let me rephrase 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 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. correct. so everyone who is 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 analogy 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 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 that are trying to eradicate 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 from monetizing around that. >> thank you very much, appreciate it. >> gentleman from ohio recognized for five minutes. >> thank you. a lot of great questions have been asked and i'd like to follow on to some of those questions. i have a question for mr. fun --
fanus fanusie, 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 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. 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 and ice, you already 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 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 -- you know, ban importation of certain syrian antiquities. what are the -- from the 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 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 part of homeland security, the customs and border protection and 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. and so there are in fact several steps that could be taken. 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 lawsuits, criminal prosecutions and the like. >> are there any ports today that have more expertise than others and report that's more active? >> new york, of course, 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 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 coming in from central and south america, houston and santa fe, west coast, things from asia to san francisco, l.a. so then sometimes people route through ports that don't have a lot of antiquities.
a group of chinese antiquities were picked up in alaska, which makes sense they don't have the expertise and aren't accustomed to it. i think we could concentrate and therefore build in the u.s. attorneys office to have experts at main justice to take on these 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 the southern district of new york. i also think that both federal 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 in appropriate 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'm going ask the staff to put up that slide, the original slide, which was, i think, after. you went through in your opening statement what we were looking at. in a moment, i'll ask you in more detail if you can explain that slide in more detail what we're looking at -- >> this is the second one. >> this is the after slide. >> right. >> first i want to ask mr. fanusie a real quick question. the fbi issued a warning back in 2015 that 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 any -- >> your opinion as to the okay stack else are -- obstacles are 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.
>> 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. >> dr. gerstenblith, in your testimony you 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 instance, the syria import restrictions if they go into effect under 1493 is not a criminal provision, only a forfeiture. 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 law enforcement to determine whether it's legal or illegal. for criminal prosecution they have to prove 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 done is to encourage undercover investigations. some authority and finance for that. 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? >> looking at that slide, could you go into a little more detail as to what we're looking at? and then i'll ask mr. edsel a question, in response to the 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 bce. to the left of it are excavated areas, the lines that you see. 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 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 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 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 pet -- pittenger 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 the international, what would you do to prevent the utilization of antiquities in the market. please begin and 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 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 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, this issue should be raised more, so the public has a sense. we've all viewed "raiders of the lost ark" and "monuments 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 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. i think in terms of market transparency, one thing we haven't talked about, when objects are donated to u.s. institutions, cultural snug
institutions and the donner receives a tax deduction, at the moment, there are under irs rules, whatever the museum may do is one thing. i'm not discounting what they do. 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, provenance 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, isis already collected its money so everything else is academic 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. patty's example, how do we know when artifact coming through is real, fake, the object someone says they are referring to, and 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 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 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. that he very much. extremely helpful. we really appreciate you coming we'd like to thank the witness for their testimony today and found the testimony 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 the witnesses to respond as promptly as you are able. without objection this hearing is adjourned. thank you. >> thank you.
some undocumented immigrants children in the council legally. the supreme court releases audio of the oral argument today and you can hear it tonight on c-span starting at 8:00 eastern. well, saturday april 23rd is the 400th anniversary of william shakespeare's death. on that day, the library in washington, d.c., which has the largesse collection of shakespeare documents and memorabilia in the world, will be hosting an event commemorating his life and impact, on literature, language, politics and our history. book tv will be covering that event live. it begins at noon eastern time. afterwards we'll have a live, nationwide call-in with shakespeare scholars so you can join in the information as well.
henry folger was the president of the standard oil company and a shakespeare buff. so he and his wife spent many years and many dollars collecting shakespeare artifacts, documents, memorabilia. it's the world's largest collection of shakespeare-related documents. so join us saturday april 23rd. we'll be live beginning at noon from the folger library for 400 years of shakespeare. >> arizona senator john mccain chairs the armed services committee. >> the hearing will come to order. we're here to receive testimony on research, diagnosis and
treatment of posttraumatic stress and traumatic brain injury in the department of defense and department of veterans affairs. the committee meets this afternoon to receive testimony from department of defense and department of veterans affairs on research, diagnosis and treatment of posttraumatic stress and traumatic brain injury. this is an important hearing. we must do everything we can to help servicemen and women and veterans suffering from pts and tbi. we're fortunate to have a distinguished panel of witnesses joining us today. captain walter greenhalgh. director for national intrepid center of excellence at walter reed national medical center. captain colston, director of center for excellence for psychological health and traumatic brain injury. dr. amy street, national center
for posttraumatic stress, department of veterans affairs. posttraumatic stress and traumatic brain injury have been called signature wounds of the 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, through september 2015, there are over 339,000 tbi cases diagnosed with most of these being mild tbi. diagnosed in garrison locations. with the significant impacts that both pts and tbi made on our service members and veterans, it's vitally important we better understand through well developed medical research the causes of pts and tbi and develop appropriate measures to treat and eventually prevent.
while dod have made signature research investments to learn more about pts and tbi leading to mainly advancements in treatments, more work must be done on prevention. today we have witnesses to give us an overview of promising treatments and therapies and technologies that may be available in the near future. finally, tell us what the subcommittee can do to help your department provide better care for servicemen and women and veterans who suffer from pts and tbi. >> thank you so much, chairman, for your leadership. i'm so grateful i get to serve on the subcommittee with you. it's extremely meaningful work that we do. i want to welcome our witnesses, thank you for your service and thank you for the focus you have on the state of research diagnosis and treatment for
posttraumatic stred disorder -- stred disorder and traumatic brain injury. i'm pleased we have witnesses here both from the dod and department of veterans affairs. i look forward to learning how each agency responds to research treating these conditions and different approaches to do this. although they are recognized as signature wounds from our recent conflict in iraq and afghanistan, we know these conditions are more than just war injuries. we know ptsd is triggered by a traumatic event that can be combat related but all too frequently the trigger event can be military sexual assault. while we continue the efforts to rid the military of this scourge, we must provide world-class treatment to the survivors. i'm particularly interested in learning more about caused by sexual assault. i would like to know if ptsd presents itself differently in
male survivors versus female and how treatment for ptsd. and in diagnosing and treating, the interaction between the two and ongoing research to improve diagnosis and treatment of these conditions. over the years our understanding of ptsd and tbi has grown substantially. however, there remains much more to be learned. furthermore, we need to ensure those who suffer from ptsd and tbi related to military service have access to a health care system able to meet their physical and mental health care needs. our service members and retirees deserve the highest quality care. thank you each to witnesses for the time and effort you put into this important issue. thank you. >> thank you for the compliment. senator guild it's been a pleasure working with you and your staff. captain? >> good afternoon. thank you all
for the opportunity to discuss the department of defense's efforts to prevent and diagnose and treat tbi. it's associated health. as the director for nico at the walter reed national military center in bethesda, i lead a team of exceptional professionals whose mission is to improve the life of patients and families impacted by tbi and psychological issues. through the generosity of the american people and intrepid fallen heroes if you said, nico opened 2010 on the walter reed bethesda campus followed by five of the nine slights to be built on military installations around the country. together we've created a tbi care network, important component of the military health system tbi pathway of care as managed by the defense and brain injury center. this past year they transitioned to the walter reed national military center command structure becoming a director within the flagship of military medicine
and uniform services university of the health sciences, also on bethesda campus. this approach to our work leveraging the expertise and resources of walter reed's outpatient programs and in patient consultation service, and uniformed service university research capabilities allows us to serve our unique patient population in a seamless fashion using the portfolio available on america's academic health campus in bethesda. an important part of the federal tbi continuum of care and tbi research miss i guess the tbi research mission. the military care center in collaboration with partners including veterans administration and national institutes of health and uniform services university and other federal academic and private institutions continue to push the boundaries of innovation with cutting edge translational research. one signature collaborative project is the congressionally mandated longitudinal 15 year study to categorize service
members and caregivers affected by tbi. and 1,000 service members affected by tbr thus far evaluated clinically. collecting over 40,000 imaging and clinical data points for study per patient. in addition to high tech research, actively engaged in clinical research on high touch aspeblgts of our program, national endowment of therapeutics arts program and k-9 assisted authority. by tracking long an short-term outcomes of the programs, we are also able to rapidly assess and accelerate discovery more effectively using every taxpayer dollar by putting research and findings immediately to use with our patients. a greatful to represent the men and women working at niko, as well as patients we're honored to serve. i look forward to answering questions today. thank you. >> chairman graham and members of the subcommittee, thank you for the support of our nation's service members, veterans and their families.
i'm pleased to share d.o.d.'s efforts to foster research for ptsd and other psychological health conditions and tbi and co-morbidity and pain disorders and suicide. last year over a quarter of our service members were treated for these conditions. allow me to discuss how we evolved to support the need. we reduce barriers to care including stieg na, expanded arkansas by tripling the sides of infrastructure, we improved continuum of care and improved our system's ability to treat the sickest patients, we developed a comprehensive research portfolio to study. ptsd, tbi and suicide. d.o.d. partners with other government agencies and private sector in research, the center is national research plan, brings the department of health and human services and department of education, improving our understanding of tbi and ptsd. there are challenges. one challenge is ascertaining why ptsd, tbi, depression and
substance use, chronic pain present together. longitudinal research efforts like the 15-year study on tbi will aid our understanding just as the framing ham study helped cardiovascular disease. ptsd treatment has a wide evidence base, supporting the use of therapy and medicines ir respective of trauma, be it developmental or sexual or from the ravages of war. we nonetheless face challenges in how to best support our structural system to support interventions. health systems research is imperative and answering mandates from congress and 13 and 15 agency goals and d.o.d.'s cost analysis and program evaluation office and my center, defense centers of excellence for psychological health and tbi is halfway through a five-year effort to evaluate programs for effectiveness. including outcomes and fiscal granularity. cooperation with academia and
federally funded research centers aids in the effort leading to analysis based on results. with your continued support, i'm confident our discoveries will bear fruit in the years ahead and look forward to answering your questions. >> good afternoon, chairman graham, ranking member gillibrand. as member of the subcommittee as a researcher whose work is focused on military sexual trauma and psychologist with the department of veterans affairs who works with veterans who experienced mst, i'm grateful to speak about the research related and the diagnosis and treatment of conditions with a particular focus on traumatic stress disorder and honored to be seatwide my colleagues representing the department of defense. research indicates experiences of sexual harassment during military service are far too common. data from the 2014 rand military workplace study indicated 1% of servicemen and 5% of servicewomen were sexually assaulted in the past year.
the majority of these assaults occurred in military settings. or were perpetrated by military personnel. experiences that constitute sexual harassment are more common, 22% of service women experiencing sexual harassment in the last year. my own research demonstrates that experiences of sexual harassment and assault are common among troops in support of military operations in afghanistan and iraq raising the possibility that service members may have been exposed to put mel types of stress in the countries. mst is an experience, not a diagnosis and service members and veterans will vary in their reactions. our men and women in uniform are remarkably resilient after being exposed to traumatic events. but sadly, many will go on to face long-term difficulties with mental health after mst. it's strongly associated with a range of mental health conditions but has a particularly strong association with ptsd. research data from veteran samples indicates that experiences of mst are a strong predictor of mst as compared to
other military stressors, including exposure to combat. in my clinical experience, veterans who experience mst often experience feelings of betrayal, either by perpetrators they believe to be comrades in arms or the military system they believe should have protected them. mst survivors may struggle to integrate the victim i had irt with the value they place on their own strength or self-sufficiency as former or current service members. others felt they had to leave military service prematurely make experience grief or anger or in their view inadequate action taken by their leadership to protect them from such harm. many still think only service women experience mst but servicemen do, too. although rates of sexual assault are lower among milt men than women, in absolute numbers more servicemen and women experience sexual assault in the last year. sexual trauma among men has
lagged behind behind women but data suggests the mental consequences may be more significant for male veterans than female veterans. fortunately recovery is possible after experiences of mst. vha has services with counsel and care and services to assist eligible veterans in these efforts, recognizing many survivors do not disclose experiences unless asked directly. it's policy that all veterans receiving health care be screened for experiences of mst. veterans who disicose experiences are offered a referral for mental health services and va care necessary to overcome the psychological trauma provided free of charge. a veteran's eligibility is entirely operate from the entitlement for the same conditions. every va medical center provides mst related counseling and services and coordinators are available at every va medical center to assist veterans in
accessing these services. brain health and head trauma transcend impacting all americans. bob mcdonald is participating in va's ground breaking two-day event focused on brain health. this first annual public/private partnership event is convening the most influential, sports, defense supports industry, private sector, federal government, veterans and communities partners to identify and advance solutions for mild traumatic brain injury and post traumatic stress disorder. it will also serve as a show case for many of the advancements for brain health for veterans, the military, and the american public. mr. chairman, i appreciate the opportunity to appear before you today. i'm prepared to answer any questions you or the committee may have. >> thank you all very much. i'll start and excellent -- if someone is a victim of sexual assault in the military, can they get a disability rating because of the pts?
>> so, disability rating would be provided for ptsd. because military sexual trauma is the experience and not the diagnosis, it would be the diagnosis related to the experience. in this case ptsd that the disability rating would come from, and yes, they can. >> if someone has been assaulted and get ptsd, they qualify. >> that's right. they would go through the same process that a veteran who experienced ptsd related to combat, that same disability assessment process. >> kevin, what's the process we use when people return from the battle theater in terms of evaluating them to make sure we're catching things they may have experienced? >> yes, sir, if we're talking about traumatic brain injury, for example, it actually doesn't start after they leave the battle field. it starts on the battlefield with not necessarily symptom related evaluations and screening but event related. if a service member is involved in a ied within 50 meters of an
ied blast or rollover accident, it's not up to necessarily the medical leadership to say they need to get screened. the line leadership, battle buddy will ensure that person is screened on the battlefield or at the local forward medical unit. so that's when the screening does begin. certainly, if somebody falls through that crack, or is not involved in a significant injury or event, when they return from the battlefield, there's immediate post deployment health risk assessments that are performed. a cycle of three are performed within shortly after return and 90 days later. >> how old is this system? >> excuse me? >> how old is this system? that you just described? >> i deployed four years ago and it was in effect several years before that. it's been modified i think -- >> you think it's working? >> i think it's as good as it can be right now because we are
basically not waiting for the patients to come to us with symptoms, we're basically asking them about symptoms that maybe others wouldn't necessarily associate with a traumatic brain injury. >> when it comes to prevention, i'm sure there are all kinds of technical things we're trying to do to protect the brain and ied attack. when it comes to pts, what kind of preventive measures are we employing? >> with regards to the psychological health, that prevention begins long before they deploy and has to do with training and knowing their algorithms. you don't want to overtrain people. when they're in training, train like you fight, but you want them to have adequate rest to allow brain rest as well. sort of -- >> are we teaching people what to watch out for in their buddies? >> absolutely. from the psychological health perspective and traumatic brain
injury perspective as well. there's a lot of training that goes on before they deploy. depending on how long a service member is in theater, there's mandatory screening that occurs if they're there for more than six months, even if they're not involved in any sort of specific events. >> do you feel you have adequate resources to do your job? >> well, sir, we would always love to have more. but i think that especially with a drawdown in commitments overseas, we're finding that the resources aren't necessarily needed for the active returning off the battle field service members as much as they were three or four years ago. it's more for the long-term commitment that we have to these service members, some of whom were injured years ago, understanding it's not a patch them up and send them back out to the real world. some of these people suffer for years and along withory va colleagues, this is long-term commitment. that's where the nature of the type of support we need changes. >> do you think the handoff is
working? >> i think it's working better than it ever has, sir. >> do you agree with that? >> i do. >> captain, you said 25% of the force has been treated for what? >> yes, sir, so one of the things we actually do in transition, where when we do handoffs from dod to va, we look at who's been treated in the last year. it's at about 20% for psychological health conditions and then for other conditions such as substance use disorders, pain disorders and depression, that takes it over 25%. we have a large cohort of treated people right now, sir. >> from a d.o.d. perspective, this is a problem? >> absolutely, it's one we devoted a lot of resources to and we have really made a number of turnarounds for. >> well, just to stay within time here, do you see any promising therapies in the future. hyper baric oxygen treatment, i've heard a lot about that. a program in myrtle beach.
could you tell me about that treatment and what you see coming in the future? >> i think the treatment, we have done about seven studies on that right now. none of them failed to show any effect beyond a placebo effect. but we have all kinds of innovative strategies and we also have a number of a-level evidence based strategies for ptsd. they'll include biomarkers, neuroimaging and better ascertainment of the disease states of ptsd and the other things that run with it. >> you'll have your say and you can write us a report about it. senator gillibrand. >> thank you, mr. chairman. victims and experts have stated that the response to military sexual trauma is more similar to that of incest and other forms of sexual assault. how many survivors of mst go on to develop ptsd and for
mst survivor whose develop ptsd, how do they present differently from those with ptsd stemming from other traumatic events? doctor. >> we know that experiences of sexual assault during experiences of sexual assault during military service are one of the strongest predictors of ptsd. it's the type of event associated with symptoms among both women and men, even more strongly for men than for women. the symptoms look quite similar than the symptoms of ptsd related to other forms of traumatic stress. although survivors of mst may report certain kinds of issues more frequently than other types of trauma survivors, so for example, issues around intimacy and sexuality, issues around interpersonal relationships and boundaries, certainly issues
around trust, self-blame, those issues come up more frequently when working with sexual trauma survivors. >> in the last report 62% of the people who reported that they were sexually assaulted were retaliated against, some form of retaliation. how does the experience of not being believed or being retaliated against affect ptsd symptoms? >> it worsens it. i've done research indicating that a victim's experiences in reporting in the system and how they feel about that experience, if they feel positively about it, if they feel like they were believed, that's a strong predictor above and beyond the traumatic experience of how they're doing years later in terms of ptsd and depression symptoms. >> last december there was a study completed by the va researchers that was published in the american journal of preventative medicine on the link between military trauma and death by suicide. it found it was a significant risk factor for suicide among men and women. even controlling for other
psychiatric disorders. what implications do these findings have for screening ptsd and then to captain colston, how do these findings inform screenings and treatment of service members and what kind of outreach do you encourage survivors of mst to seek care? >> we do, as i mentioned, screen every veteran for experiences of mst in the va which that study would suggest is particularly important. unlike other types of traumatic events, their risk associated with mst for suicide doesn't run fully through ptsd or depression. it exists separate from that which is why it's so important that we screen specifically for experiences of military sexual trauma so that those patients could be followed up in terms of suicide risk directly. >> captain? >> yes, ma'am, i'd agree with dr. street. the suicide risk is increased from sexual assault aside from ptsd. ptsd itself is not necessarily a robust risk factor for suicide. it does have a hazard ratio that suggests that it's associated