Thursday, August 24, 2017

New Times Ahead, Trade Controls a "Misguided Initiative"

Perhaps we are seeing a change and the fake news ideologues are losing ground (Wayne Sayles, "A sign of the times?" Ancient Coin Collecting, Sunday, August 20, 2017)?
"Over the past decade, collectors of ancient coins have been faced with constant pressure from left wing radicals of academia—particularly the archaeological community leadership and their sycophants. Among the ardent supporters of anti-collector groups are a small but well entrenched cadre of bureaucrats in Washington. The level of governmental infiltration by these cultural property nationalists—bent on eliminating or controlling international trade in cultural property—is in itself cause for some concern" [...] In recent years there has been a barrage of baseless claims in the liberal press stating boldly that the terrorist movements of the Middle East are being funded by huge revenues from the sale (mainly within the U.S.) of ancient artifacts looted in conflict areas either from theft or support of illegal excavation and exportation. Even avowed supporters of academic archaeology have debunked these wild claims, but they continue to proliferate in the media without justification or any basis in fact. It's the "Big Lie" in what some see as its finest hour. One element of that campaign was an Executive Branch program created during the Obama Administration ostensibly to interdict illegal trade and monetary transfers that aided terrorists. The project was called Operation Choke Point and one of its goals was to throttle trade that the administration considered suspect. In reality, the project became a tool for ideologues to exert pressure on legitimate business that they disagreed with philosophically. Ancient coin dealers were among that group targeted. Under pressure from governmental agencies, several banks cancelled longstanding business accounts with dealers in ancient coins—not due to any transgression nor illegal activity, but simply because they dealt in ancient coins.
Sayles continues: "Happily, we can now speak of Operation Chokepoint in the past tense. As of August 16, 2017 the Trump Administration has terminated that program and described it as a "misguided initiative". And comments:
|"Hopefully, this is a sign of the times and the present administration will also recognize the negative consequences of bureaucratic overreach at the State Department and U.S. Customs. They might start with implementation of the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act and guide the bureaucracy back to a position consistent with the law and not driven, as it has been, by misguided ideology".

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