The IAPN and PNG dealers' associations in their official recommendation to the CPAC postulate (not for the first time) that the US should not pay any attention to documentation of legal export of collectable (saleable) antiquities which they handle until the source countries subject to pillage do not invest huge resources into monitoring all possible sites for such items. By making such demands they hope to stave off scrutiny of their end of the market. The supreme idiocy of such a position is revealed the moment you ask to what degree the Americans, wishing to impose such a regime on other sovereign nations, have put such measures into effect. In the article by Cristina Corbin ('Spoils of War: Black market robust for military artifacts stolen from public displays', Fox News June 04, 2016) we read of a whole series of cases where US authorities are leaving vulnerable material in and on unguarded sites where it is being stolen:
The most egregious example of war collectible theft, say law enforcement, is the desecrating and looting of soldiers' graves. Such was the case in Burke County, Ga., in 2013, when two men allegedly raided the graves of five Confederate soldiers inside the Old Church Cemetery in search of heirlooms. Antique brokers say these historic war relics can sell for a hefty price: An officer’s sword from the Civil War is valued between $20,000 and $30,000, while uniforms and medals can go for $500 to several thousand dollars.another shocking case of what IAPN and PNG dealers would postulate as US institutional neglect:
In 2011, copper thieves struck Abraham Lincoln's burial site in Springfield, Ill., stealing a 3-foot-long sword from a statue atop the tomb. A guard used to be stationed at the tomb overnight, but the position was cut over budget problems.If a rich country like America cannot protect its own heritage by "guarding vulnerable sites", how on earth do they imagine other poorer countries can find the resources to do what they cannot afford to do? The problem is however the greedy collectors of the richer nation (like those who buy the material discussed in the cited article), exploiting the economic differential to give looters and smugglers the incentive to act that are to blame, Collectors are the real looters, selfishly pillaging the world's historical record to fill their own pockets. Battling the market in illcit antiquities has to begin with the attitudes of the consumers, the dealers and collectors who benefit from looting.