Monday, 23 October 2017

The Suspicious 'Global Heritage Alliance'

 GHA intoxicated
chicken logo
At the recent CPAC sitting we learnt, among other things, that Peter Tompa now represents the 'Global Heritage Alliance' ('an advocacy organization representing the interests of collectors, the museums and the trade in cultural artifacts'). The trouble is, it is not entirely clear what that name actually references. It seems to have no webpage, but there is a recently-created twitter feed. The logo apparently represents a drugged chicken and a passed-out rat. It was one of six organizations that joined to file amicus briefs in support of the Ancient Coin Collectors' Guild illegal coin import stunt. Gary Vikan submitted a letter of opposition to the Libya MOU hearing as head of this organization in July. The GHA is in some way in some way linked with Peter Tompa's employer Bailey and Ehrenburg in Washington [see also here] and the DLM group ( The DLM Group 2020 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW - Suite 250 ). The organization's Executive Director is stated to be Peter Tompa. The secretive organization seems to share some officers with other interested bodies, for example Matthew Polk (trustee of the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore)  is also a board member of the Committee for Cultural Policy and a co-founder of the Global Heritage Alliance  ('organizations dedicated to formulation of cultural property policies which serve both the need for preservation and the public interest').  Gary Vikan, (former Director of the Walters Art Museum )  is the CCP's President and another GHA board member. As I asked before: 
Who are these people and what does an organization with such a hackneyed name represent? Is it really global in its membership, or is it another case of US neo-imperialistic attempts to impose an alt-right version of 'American values' on the rest of the world? 
It is hard to escape the conclusion that, like the sock puppets used in England by metal detectorists, creating many virtual organizations with a small group of people and their mates as the pretend leader of a different one creates illusion of larger community on their side of the table - when in fact it is an admission that they have very little support in society as a whole for the nineteenth century attitudes they represent.

UPDATE 26th October 2017
Although the website was registered on 19th September 2017 (hosted in Inglewood a suburb of Los Angeles) the Global Heritage Alliance website has only just gone online: The address is given as  1015 18th Street, NW Suite 204 Washington, DC 20036 which just happens to be....Contact Us | Bailey & Ehrenberg - Benefits and Employment Law Firm... the same one that promotes the Cultural Property Observer blog.  And this is the reason why we need not dwell at all on the 'policy priorities' it sets out. Peter Tompa seems to be a man of limited imagination, and apparently incapable of coming up with anything new. So these postulates are all the same old tired crap that Tompa stubbornly repeatedly churns out - with the same tired old arguments and the same old verbal deception (look at his use of adjectives). Nothing much worth paying attention to, and as likely to have as much of a hearing as any of this other tubthumping.

One thing is of note, however. An organization that has pretence to be a "global" alliance in fact in every one of the policy points explicitly and repeatedly refers to the USA, USA, USA as is there were no other country in the world with as proud a heritage as the land of the blue intoxicted chicken... and no other nation which should lay claim to that coveted 'global heritage'.

Vignette: What US antiquities dealers want? 

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