Thursday, 5 March 2020

The Unacceptable Face of Antiquities Trade Activities: IAPN and Global Heritage Lobbying

There is, I am told, a wholly responsible and licit antiquities trade out there.... but it is nowhere to be seen where I am looking. What is more, we see lobbyists and trade associations connected with the global antiquities trade actively opposing ongoing measures intended to clean up the market and introduce standards of transparency and licit dealings. The intensity of these efforts  should give us all pause for thought.

Katie A. Paul (AnthroPaulicy) has been looking at some of the antiquities trade's recent lobbying of US government. It does not present a very edifying picture. If you go through 'open secrets', it turns out that Peter Tompa's lobbying money from the Intl Association of Professional Numismatists was dwindling big time around 2016. So he gets the "Global Heritage Alliance" founded in 2017 with him as 'executive director' and, well, whaddyaknow, has a cash flow again:

Grubby little earner
As she notes:
In 2019, @global_her spent $67,000 lobbying against policies meant to keep stolen and conflict antiquities our of the US market. While it’s small potatoes for lobbying on the hill. It’s still more than the average salary of an archaeologist in every state. In 2018, the group spent thousands to actually lobby against cultural property protection MOUs while it also openly attacked non profits like ATHARProject (which is not funded and comprised of volunteers) for merely participating in the open public comments session.
In 2018, @global_her spent $9k to lobby against the Algerian, Bulgarian, and Honduran MOUs,
[up to] $5k to lobby against the MOU with Libya - a country in conflict,
in 2019, $9k to lobby against Jordan MOU.
In 2019, $10k to lobby against the Morocco, Yemen, Tunisia, and Turkey MOUs
One must wonder - is attacking archaeologists, activists, and non profits part of what this organization and its lobbyist Mr. Tompa are being paid to do?
She ends:
This just goes to show that these days you don’t have to actually sell conflict antiquities to make money from them

This antiquities market lobbyist is making thousands fighting against the MOUs that are meant to stop the flow of these stolen artifacts to the US.
The Global Heritage Alliance is not very 'global', it is six 'entitled' Amerikan males: Peter K. Tompa (' Executive Director'), Arthur Houghton ('President'), Robert Gallegos (Treasurer), John Molloy (Secretary), Matthew C Polk (none of the above), Dr. Gary Vikan (none of the above). Tompa is based in DC, Houghton Rhode Island, while most of the rest are Baltimore-connected. Their logo looks like a dead decaying chicken.

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