Tuesday, 17 February 2015

"Numbers R Us"

The dealers' principal weapon is a straw man
The cultural property lawyers of the American Committee for Cultural Policy have produced a tendentious text "Media Alert: Poor Data on Syria Triggers Widespread Disinformation Campaign" intending to show that we do not, really, need to do anything to hinder the no-questions-asked market in dugup antiquities (or at least not in their back yard). To do this they employ all sorts of verbal tricks. Here's one:
The destruction of numerous monuments and sites by ISIS is linked in many reports to a massive, 8-10 billion dollar trade in looted antiquities for which no documentation exists. 
They then write reams demolishing these figures from the "many reports". Their wording "Many reports" suggests that Googling any combination of that basic statement should produce "many" reports saying this, instead of - in effect -  just one article published by the self-proclaimed CCP. Can we have the lnks to these "many" other reports?

As I have said, the people best placed to put a value on all areas of the dugup antiquities market are those involved in it. Somehow though the dealers do not seem to want to help get the facts right, just dismiss it when others try to cut through the smokescereens they throw up.  Robert Jenrick was wrong when he said we can work with these people and trust them to do the right thing. Trust has to be earnt.

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