H.R. 1493 Full Text. Just released!

H.R.1493 full text
[Congressional Bills 114th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[H.R. 1493 Introduced in House (IH)]

114th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                H. R. 1493

To protect and preserve international cultural property at risk due to 
 political instability, armed conflict, or natural or other disasters, 
                        and for other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                             March 19, 2015

  Mr. Engel (for himself, Mr. Smith of New Jersey, Mr. Royce, and Mr. 
   Keating) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the 
Committee on Foreign Affairs, and in addition to the Committees on Ways 
   and Means, Armed Services, and the Judiciary, for a period to be 
subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration 
  of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee 
                               concerned

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
To protect and preserve international cultural property at risk due to 
 political instability, armed conflict, or natural or other disasters, 
                        and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Protect and Preserve International 
Cultural Property Act''.

SEC. 2. DEFINITION.

    In this Act:
            (1) Appropriate congressional committees.--The term 
        ``appropriate congressional committees'' means the Committee on 
        Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives and the 
        Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate.
            (2) Cultural property.--The term ``cultural property'' 
        includes property covered under--
                    (A) the Hague Convention for the Protection of 
                Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, 
                concluded at The Hague on May 14, 1954 (Treaty Doc. 
                106-1(A));
                    (B) Article 1 of the Convention Concerning the 
                Protection of the World's Cultural and Natural 
                Heritage, adopted by UNESCO on November 23, 1972 
                (commonly referred to as the ``1972 Convention''); or
                    (C) Article 1 of the Convention on the Means of 
                Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export, 
                and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, adopted 
                by UNESCO on November 14, 1970 (commonly referred to as 
                the ``1970 UNESCO Convention'').

SEC. 3. FINDINGS AND STATEMENT OF POLICY.

    (a) Findings.--Congress finds the following:
            (1) Over the years, international cultural property has 
        been looted, trafficked, lost, damaged, or destroyed due to 
        political instability, armed conflict, natural disasters, and 
        other threats.
            (2) During China's Cultural Revolution, many antiques were 
        destroyed, including a large portion of old Beijing, and 
        Chinese authorities are now attempting to rebuild portions of 
        China's lost architectural heritage.
            (3) In 1975, the Khmer Rouge, after seizing power in 
        Cambodia, systematically destroyed mosques and nearly every 
        Catholic church in the country, along with many Buddhist 
        temples, statues, and Buddhist literature.
            (4) In 2001, the Taliban destroyed the Bamiyan Buddhas, 
        ancient statues carved into a cliffside in central Afghanistan, 
        leading to worldwide condemnation.
            (5) After the fall of Saddam Hussein, thieves looted the 
        Iraq Museum in Baghdad, resulting in the loss of approximately 
        15,000 items, including ancient amulets, sculptures, ivories, 
        and cylinder seals. Many of these items remain unrecovered.
            (6) The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami not only 
        affected 11 countries, causing massive loss of life, but also 
        damaged or destroyed libraries, archives, and World Heritage 
        Sites such as the Mahabalipuram in India, the Sun Temple of 
        Koranak on the Bay of Bengal, and the Old Town of Galle and its 
        fortifications in Sri Lanka.
            (7) In Haiti, the 2010 earthquake destroyed art, artifacts, 
        and archives, and partially destroyed the 17th century Haitian 
        city of Jacmel.
            (8) In Mali, the Al-Qaeda affiliated terrorist group Ansar 
        Dine destroyed tombs and shrines in the ancient city of 
        Timbuktu--a major center for trade, scholarship, and Islam in 
        the 15th and 16th centuries--and threatened collections of 
        ancient manuscripts.
            (9) In Egypt, recent political instability has led to the 
        ransacking of museums, resulting in the destruction of 
        countless ancient artifacts that will forever leave gaps in 
        humanity's record of the ancient Egyptian civilization.
            (10) In Syria, the ongoing civil war has resulted in the 
        shelling of medieval cities, damage to five World Heritage 
        Sites, and the looting of museums containing artifacts that 
        date back more than six millennia and include some of the 
        earliest examples of writing.
            (11) In Iraq and Syria, the militant group ISIL has 
        destroyed numerous cultural sites and artifacts, such as the 
        Tomb of Jonah in July 2014, in an effort to eradicate ethnic 
        and religious minorities from contested territories. 
        Concurrently, cultural antiquities that escape demolition are 
        looted and trafficked to help fund ISIL's militant operations.
            (12) On February 12, 2015, the United Nations Security 
        Council unanimously adopted resolution 2199 (2015), which 
        ``[r]eaffirms its decision in paragraph 7 of resolution 1483 
        (2003) and decides that all Member States shall take 
        appropriate steps to prevent the trade in Iraqi and Syrian 
        cultural property and other items of archaeological, 
        historical, cultural, rare scientific, and religious importance 
        illegally removed from Iraq since 6 August 1990 and from Syria 
        since 15 March 2011, including by prohibiting cross-border 
        trade in such items, thereby allowing for their eventual safe 
        return to the Iraqi and Syrian people.''.
            (13) United Nations Security Council resolution 2199 (2015) 
        also warns that ISIL and other extremist groups are trafficking 
        cultural heritage items from Iraq and Syria to fund their 
        recruitment efforts and carry out terrorist attacks.
            (14) Cultural property represents an irreparable loss of 
        humanity's common cultural heritage and is therefore a loss for 
        all Americans.
            (15) Protecting international cultural property is a vital 
        part of United States cultural diplomacy, showing the respect 
        of the United States for other cultures and the common heritage 
        of humanity.
            (16) The United States Armed Forces have played important 
        roles in preserving and protecting cultural property. In 1943, 
        President Franklin D. Roosevelt established a commission to 
        advise the United States military on the protection of cultural 
        property. The commission formed teams of individuals known as 
        the ``Monuments Men'' who are credited with securing, 
        cataloguing, and returning hundreds of thousands of works of 
        art stolen by the Nazis during World War II.
            (17) The Department of State, in response to the Convention 
        on Cultural Property Implementation Act, noted that ``the 
        legislation is important to our foreign relations, including 
        our international cultural relations. The expanding worldwide 
        trade in objects of archaeological and ethnological interest 
        has led to wholesale depredations in some countries, resulting 
        in the mutilation of ceremonial centers and archaeological 
        complexes of ancient civilizations and the removal of stone 
        sculptures and reliefs.''. The Department further noted that 
        ``[t]he United States considers that on grounds of principle, 
        good foreign relations, and concern for the preservation of the 
        cultural heritage of mankind, it should render assistance in 
        these situations.''.
            (18) The U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield was founded in 
        2006 to support the implementation of the 1954 Hague Convention 
        for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed 
        Conflict and to coordinate with the United States military, 
        other branches of the United States Government, and other 
        cultural heritage nongovernmental organizations in preserving 
        international cultural property threatened by political 
        instability, armed conflict, or natural or other disasters.
    (b) Statement of Policy.--It shall be the policy of the United 
States to--
            (1) protect and preserve international cultural property at 
        risk of looting, trafficking, and destruction due to political 
        instability, armed conflict, or natural or other disasters;
            (2) protect international cultural property pursuant to its 
        obligations under international treaties to which the United 
        States is a party;
            (3) prevent, in accordance with existing laws, importation 
        of cultural property pillaged, looted, stolen, or trafficked at 
        all times, including during political instability, armed 
        conflict, or natural or other disasters; and
            (4) ensure that existing laws and regulations, including 
        import restrictions imposed through the Office of Foreign Asset 
        Control (OFAC) of the Department of the Treasury, are fully 
        implemented to prevent trafficking in stolen or looted cultural 
        property.

SEC. 4. UNITED STATES COORDINATOR FOR INTERNATIONAL CULTURAL PROPERTY 
              PROTECTION.

    The Secretary of State shall designate a Department of State 
employee at the Assistant Secretary level or above to serve 
concurrently as the United States Coordinator for International 
Cultural Property Protection. The Coordinator shall--
            (1) coordinate and promote efforts to protect international 
        cultural property, especially activities that involve multiple 
        Federal agencies;
            (2) act as Chair of the Coordinating Committee on 
        International Cultural Property Protection established under 
        section 5;
            (3) resolve interagency differences;
            (4) develop strategies to reduce illegal trade and 
        trafficking in international cultural property in the United 
        States and abroad, including by reducing consumer demand for 
        such trade;
            (5) support activities to assist countries that are the 
        principle sources of trafficked cultural property to protect 
        cultural heritage sites and to prevent cultural property 
        looting and theft;
            (6) work with and consult domestic and international actors 
        such as foreign governments, intergovernmental organizations, 
        nongovernmental organizations, museums, educational 
        institutions, and research institutions to protect 
        international cultural property; and
            (7) submit to the appropriate congressional committees the 
        annual report required under section 6.

SEC. 5. COORDINATING COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL CULTURAL PROPERTY 
              PROTECTION.

    (a) Establishment.--There is established a Coordinating Committee 
on International Cultural Property Protection (in this section referred 
to as the ``Committee'').
    (b) Functions.--The full Committee shall meet not less often than 
annually to coordinate and inform Federal efforts to protect 
international cultural property and to facilitate the work of the 
United States Coordinator for International Cultural Property 
Protection designated under section 4.
    (c) Membership.--The Committee shall be composed of the United 
States Coordinator for International Cultural Property Protection, who 
shall act as Chair, and representatives of the following:
            (1) The Department of State.
            (2) The Department of Defense.
            (3) The Department of Homeland Security, including U.S. 
        Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border 
        Protection.
            (4) The Department of the Interior.
            (5) The Department of Justice, including the Federal Bureau 
        of Investigation.
            (6) The United States Agency for International Development.
            (7) The Smithsonian Institution.
            (8) The U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield.
            (9) Such other entities as the Chair determines 
        appropriate.
    (d) Subcommittees.--The Committee may include such subcommittees 
and taskforces as the Chair determines appropriate. Such subcommittees 
or taskforces may be comprised of a subset of the Committee members or 
of such other members as the Chair determines appropriate. At the 
discretion of the Chair, the provisions of the Federal Advisory 
Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.) and section 552b of title 5 of the United 
States Code (relating to open meetings) shall not apply to activities 
of such subcommittees or taskforces.
    (e) Consultation.--The Committee shall consult with governmental 
and nongovernmental organizations, including museums, educational 
institutions, and research institutions on efforts to promote and 
protect international cultural property.

SEC. 6. REPORTS ON ACTIVITIES TO PROTECT INTERNATIONAL CULTURAL 
              PROPERTY.

    The Secretary of State, acting through the United States 
Coordinator for International Cultural Property Protection, and in 
consultation with the Administrator of the United States Agency for 
International Development, the Secretary of Defense, the Attorney 
General, and the Secretary of Homeland Security, as appropriate, shall 
annually submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report 
that includes information on activities of--
            (1) the United States Coordinator and the Coordinating 
        Committee on International Cultural Property Protection to 
        protect international cultural property;
            (2) the Department of State to protect international 
        cultural property, including activities undertaken pursuant to 
        the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in 
        the Event of Armed Conflict, and other statutes, international 
        agreements, and policies, including--
                    (A) procedures the Department has instituted to 
                protect international cultural property at risk of 
                destruction due to political instability, armed 
                conflict, or natural or other disasters; and
                    (B) actions the Department has taken to protect 
                international cultural property in conflicts to which 
                the United States is a party;
            (3) the United States Agency for International Development 
        (USAID) to protect international cultural property, including 
        activities and coordination with other Federal agencies, 
        international organizations, and nongovernmental organizations 
        regarding the protection of international cultural property at 
        risk due to political unrest, armed conflict, natural or other 
        disasters, and USAID development programs;
            (4) the Department of Defense to protect international 
        cultural property, including activities undertaken pursuant to 
        the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in 
        the Event of Armed Conflict and other cultural property 
        protection statutes and international agreements, including--
                    (A) directives, policies, and regulations the 
                Department has instituted to protect international 
                cultural property at risk of destruction due to 
                political instability, armed conflict, or natural or 
                other disasters; and
                    (B) actions the Department has taken to avoid 
                damage to cultural property through construction 
                activities abroad; and
            (5) the Department of Homeland Security and the Department 
        of Justice, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, to 
        protect both international cultural property abroad and 
        international cultural property located in, or attempted to be 
        imported into, the United States, including activities 
        undertaken pursuant to statutes and international agreements, 
        including--
                    (A) statutes and regulations the Department has 
                employed in criminal, civil, and civil forfeiture 
                actions to prevent and interdict trafficking in stolen 
                and smuggled cultural property, including 
                investigations into transnational organized crime and 
                smuggling networks; and
                    (B) actions the Department has taken in order to 
                ensure the consistent and effective application of law 
                in cases relating to both international cultural 
                property abroad and international cultural property 
                located in, or attempted to be imported into, the 
                United States.

SEC. 7. AUTHORIZATION FOR FEDERAL AGENCIES TO ENGAGE IN INTERNATIONAL 
              CULTURAL PROPERTY PROTECTION ACTIVITIES WITH THE 
              SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION.

    Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any agency that is 
involved in international cultural property protection activities is 
authorized to enter into agreements or memoranda of understanding with 
the Smithsonian Institution to temporarily engage personnel from the 
Smithsonian Institution for the purposes of furthering such 
international cultural property protection activities.

SEC. 8. EMERGENCY PROTECTION FOR SYRIAN CULTURAL PROPERTY.

    (a) Presidential Determination.--Notwithstanding subsection (b) of 
section 304 of the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act 
(19 U.S.C. 2603) (relating to a Presidential determination that an 
emergency condition applies with respect to any archaeological or 
ethnological material of any State Party to the Convention), the 
President shall apply the import restrictions referred to in such 
section 304 with respect to any archaeological or ethnological material 
of Syria, except that subsection (c) of such section 304 shall not 
apply. Such import restrictions shall take effect not later than 120 
days after the date of the enactment of this Act.
    (b) Definitions.--In this section--
            (1) the term ``archaeological or ethnological material of 
        Syria'' means cultural property of Syria and other items of 
        archaeological, historical, cultural, rare scientific, or 
        religious importance unlawfully removed from Syria on or after 
        March 15, 2011; and
            (2) the term ``State Party'' has the meaning given such 
        term in section 302 of the Convention on Cultural Property 
        Implementation Act (19 U.S.C. 2601).

See it at congress.gov »

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Reintroduced! International Cultural Property Act

The Protect and Preserve International Cultural Property Act was reintroduced on March 19 by Congressman Eliot Engel as H.R. 1493. The goal of this legislation is to protect and preserve international cultural property at risk due to political instability, armed conflict, or natural or other disasters, and for other purposes.

UNESCO Director General condemns destruction of Nimrud in Iraq

UNESCO Press Release No. 2015-17

Nimrud, Iraq

Paris, 6 March – “I condemn in the strongest possible manner the destruction of the archaeological site of Nimrud site in Iraq. This is yet another attack against the Iraqi people, reminding us that nothing is safe from the cultural cleansing underway in the country: it targets human lives, minorities, and is marked by the systematic destruction of humanity’s ancient heritage,” said UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova.

“We cannot remain silent. The deliberate destruction of cultural heritage constitutes a war crime. I call on all political and religious leaders in the region to stand up and remind everyone that there is absolutely no political or religious justification for the destruction of humanity’s cultural heritage

“I call on all of those who can, especially youth, in Iraq and elsewhere, to do everything possible to protect this heritage, to claim it as their own, and as the heritage of the whole of humanity.

“I appeal also to all cultural institutions, museums, journalists, professors, and scientists to share and explain the importance of this heritage and the Mesopotamian civilization. We must respond to this criminal chaos that destroys culture with more culture.

“I have alerted the president of the Security Council as well as the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. The entire international community must join its efforts, in solidarity with the government and people of Iraq, to put an end to this catastrophe.

Likewise, UNESCO is determined to do whatever is needed to document and protect the heritage of Iraq and lead the fight against the illicit traffic of cultural artefacts, which directly contributes to the financing of terrorism. At stake is the survival of the Iraqi culture and society”

The city of Nimrud (Kahlka), was founded more than 3,300 years ago. It was one of the capitals of the Assyrian empire. Its frescos and works are celebrated around the world and revered in literature and sacred texts. The Iraqi government has confirmed that the site was attacked by armed extremists using bulldozers on the 5th of March.

ISIL torches Iraqi history in Mosul

ALJAZEERAH OPINION

Many Iraqis evoke popular saying about the loss of non-human objects: ‘May the books be a sacrifice for the people.’

| Arts & Culture, Human Rights, Middle East, Iraq

Books rescued from Mosul are displayed at the Dominican Priory in Qaraqosh, Iraq [AP]Books rescued from Mosul are displayed at the Dominican Priory in Qaraqosh, Iraq [AP]

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Marcia Lynx Qualey
Marcia Lynx Qualey writes about Arabic literature and literary translation for a number of publications. She blogs daily at www.arablit.org.

 

 

Last Saturday, news began to spread that the Mosul Central Library had likely been bombed. It was followed on Thursday by video that showed the methodical destruction of the Mosul Museum and news that bookshops on Al-Nujaifi Street in downtown Mosul may have been burned.

Although the apparent library bombing took place a week ago, it’s still unclear exactly what happened in Iraq’s second-largest city. That’s because Mosul has been largely cut off from the rest of the world since the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) took control of the area in June. Instead of reliable news reports, we have brief phone calls, amateur ISIL documentaries, camera photos of burning books, and intermittent tweets that both illuminate and confuse what’s going on.

Iraqi archaeologist discusses ISIL’s destruction of antiquities

It is difficult to say how many people have been tortured, killed, or forced to flee their Mosul homes in the last six months. At the same time, UNESCO estimates that ISIL-controlled areas are undergoing a massive cultural destruction, which may be “one of the most devastating acts of destruction of library collections in human history”.

Improvised incendiary devices

According to mostly anonymous reports coming out of Mosul, last Saturday, improvised incendiary devices were placed around the city’s central library. Elaph news reported that city residents asked ISIL fighters to reconsider, but bombs were set off, igniting fires that destroyed an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 books and manuscripts.

Novelist Mahmoud Saeed, a native of Mosul who now lives in Chicago, said he reached a friend who said the central library had not yet been destroyed, although many smaller libraries and bookshops certainly had been.

The Mosul Central Library, founded in 1921, came to be known as one of the richest libraries in Iraq, second only to the central library in Baghdad. If it has been destroyed, Saeed said: “It will be a great loss to the people of Mosul, but also to the Iraqi people as a whole.”

The Mosul library, Saeed said, is what “made me a writer. It was located in the most beautiful place at that time, in the 40s and 50s, on the right bank of the Tigris, near the King Ghazi iron bridge. The building overlooked the river”.

The public library didn’t just hold government-owned books. Wealthy families also kept personal books in special rooms, and these privately owned books were accessible to all city residents who wanted to read.

This meant, Saeed said, that the Mosul library was a particularly special place. Some of the family-sponsored rooms contained books that were otherwise banned in Iraq.

“For example, any books about communism, socialism, or sex were forbidden from trade in Iraq. But the [family-sponsored] reservoirs contained a lot of these books.”

The Mosul library is what made me a writer. It was located in the most beautiful place at that time, in the 40s and 50s, on the right bank of the Tigris, near the King Ghazi iron bridge. The building overlooked the river.Mahmoud Saeed, Iraqi novelist

Among the library’s irreplaceable holdings were 18th-century manuscripts, books from the Ottoman era, early 20th century Iraqi newspapers, as well as antique items such as astrolabes.

Book collection in danger

The Central Library doesn’t have the only book collection in danger. Over the past weeks, several other libraries have reportedly been destroyed in the nearby Anbar province. Elaph news site quoted a member of the Board of Anbar province, Adel al-Fahdawi, who estimated that, during a single week in February, ISIL had wrecked more than 100,000 books. Other sources had ISIL removing manuscripts from monasteries, piling them up, and burning them.

Nor are books the only target in this cultural warfare. An ISIL-produced video, posted to Twitter on Thursday, shows fighters taking sledgehammers to ancient statues at the Mosul Museum. The amateur, documentary-like film even has a commentator who explains that the prophet orders us to destroy idols.

The video also showed a brief shot of burning books.

The University of Mosul, meanwhile, has been undergoing a slower destruction. Over the last several months, large parts of the university have been shut down, taken over, and turned into barracks and storage for fighters. At least one of the libraries remained intact, although a source said squatters have moved onto the campus with their farm animals. She feared that books and furniture might be used as firewood.

‘Books were only paper’

Poet and publisher Faiza Sultan, who graduated from the University of Mosul in 1994, said that the university’s central library had one of the best collections in the region.

“I spent five years visiting this library on a daily basis,” she said. “It was my sanctuary.”

Nonetheless, Baghdadi poet Sabreen Kadm said that some Mosulis have welcomed ISIL. After the US invasion in 2003, sectarian divisions were heightened and fostered. During former prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki’s rule, Sunnis were repressed, and some were happy to see ISIL fighters enter the Nineveh governorate.

Kadm watched the images of the burning books in Mosul on her computer, but like many Iraqis, was less moved by them than by images of human loss.

In the end, Kadm said, books were only paper, and “they have killed the people in very horrible ways”.

Iraqi poet Dunya Mikhail, now living in Detroit, said many Iraqis had been evoking a popular saying about the loss of non-human objects: “May the books be a sacrifice for the people.”

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.

Source: Al Jazeera

Historians Pore Over ISIS Video of Smashed Statues for Clues to What’s Been Lost

The New York Times – MIDDLE EAST – FEB. 26, 2015

Confronted with the latest video news release from Islamic State militants in Iraq, which shows jihadists taking sledgehammers and electric drills to ancient statuary in the city of Mosul, historians and archaeologists spent much of Thursday studying the footage for clues as to what, exactly, had been lost.

The smashing of the antiquities, described as “idols” by a spokesman for the Islamic State in a video report titled “The Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice #1 — Nineveh Province,” seemed to echo the destruction of the Great Buddhas of Bamiyan by the Afghan Taliban in 2001. And it outraged Iraqi opponents of the Sunni Muslim extremists.

ISIS Onslaught Engulfs Assyrian Christians as Militants Destroy Ancient Art

Lynda Albertson, the chief executive of the Association for Research into Crimes Against Art, pointed out that some of the footage matches images of the museum’s galleries included in a 2009 Unesco report. She said that the museum “specializes in antiquities from the Assyrian empire, which flourished within the provincial borders of present-day Province of Nineveh,” but “also houses a significant collection of sculptures and other stone relics from Hatra — the capital of the first Arab Kingdom.”

An image of the inside of the Mosul Museum included in a Unesco report on its condition in 2009. CreditUnesco

A screenshot from video posted online by Islamic State militants on Thursday, showing the destruction of statues inside a gallery of the Mosul Museum.

Christopher Jones, a doctoral student in ancient Near Eastern history at Columbia University who blogs about the threat to cultural heritage posed by the Islamic State, suggested that most of the originals destroyed inside the museum appeared to be from ancient Hatra.

Most of the destroyed statues seem to be from Hatra. Most of the Assyrian relief sculptures in the museum are replicas.

— Christopher Jones (@cwjones89) Feb. 26, 2015

Eleanor Robson, a professor of ancient Near Eastern history with the British Institute for the Study of Iraq, said the destruction was filmed at two sites: inside the Mosul Museum — which was looted in 2003, after the American-led invasion of Iraq — and at the Nergal Gate, an entryway to the capital of the Assyrian Empire, Nineveh, guarded by a pair of colossal human-headed, winged bulls.

Video released by Islamic State militants on Thursday showed ancient statues of two winged bulls with human heads before they were defaced.

The militants’ video lingered on a description of the gate, which explained that the entrance was dedicated to Nergal, the Sumerian god of plague and the underworld in ancient Mesopotamia. The association of the winged bulls with this pre-Islamic god was offered by the spokesman for the fundamentalist militants as a justification for their destruction.

Ms. Robson said in a BBC radio interview that the video evidence showed that “artifacts from two different ancient cities as well as modern replicas” were destroyed at the museum. “What we’ve got at the beginning of the video are standing statues of people who lived in the desert city Hatra in Iraq in the second century B.C. to the third century A.D.,” she said.

As those statues are smashed in the video, Ms. Robson noted, “you can see in them iron rods which archaeologists have used to piece them together from ancient fragments.”

The winged bulls, she added, date to the early seventh century B.C., “so they have stood there for nearly 3,000 years welcoming people into the city, and ISIS have now taken sledgehammers to them.”

@holland_tom @matthewteller Three is us have watched & rewatched: more originals than I first thought :( #wishfulthinking

— Eleanor Robson (@Eleanor_Robson) Feb. 26, 2015

A similar winged bull is in the British Museum in London.

Samuel Andrew Hardy, a specialist in the trade in illicit antiquities who teaches at the American University of Rome, explained on his blog that one of the one of the exhibits shown in pieces on the Museum floor, a statue of the seventh-century-B.C. Assyrian king Sargon, was a reproduction of the original. “The Assyrian reliefs (carved panels),” he added, “were plaster cast replicas of pieces that are in the British Museum.”

Mr. Hardy also suggested that, even though the new video showed the destruction of pre-Islamic artifacts, Islamic State militants had previously taken part in “the illicit trade in antiquities,” despite their professed horror of “idols.”

“Obviously, they are destroying some things that they could sell,” Mr. Hardy wrote, “but they are also selling some things that, according to their perversion of Islamic law, they ‘should’ destroy.”

The video of the winged bull, he added, highlighted “that it was too massive for them to sneak it out of the country to an unscrupulous private collector in the West.”

Read original article here

Looted Iraqi Museum in Baghdad reopens 12 years on

BBC News – Middle East
28 February 2015 Last updated at 08:24 ET

Iraq’s national museum has officially reopened in Baghdad, 12 years after it was closed in the aftermath of the US-led invasion. Many of the antiquities looted during the war have now been recovered and restored.

The museum’s opening was brought forward in response to an Islamic State (IS) video showing statues being destroyed in Mosul.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has vowed to punish those responsible.

“Those barbaric, criminal terrorists are trying to destroy the heritage of mankind and Iraq’s civilization,” Mr Abadi said while attending the museum’s opening.

“We will chase them in order to make them pay for every drop of blood shed in Iraq and for the destruction of Iraq’s civilization.”

A man looks at ancient Assyrian human-headed winged bull statues at the Iraqi National Museum in Baghdad
Some of the museum’s items were impossible to loot during the Iraq war
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi (C) attends the reopening ceremony of Iraq's national museum on February 28, 2015
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi officially opened the museum
A statue dating back to the 8th Century BC is displayed at the entrance of Iraq's national museum during its official reopening on February 28, 2015
This piece dates to the 8th Century BC – others in the museum are far older
An ancient artefact on display at the Iraqi Museum
The Mesopotamians developed writing long before other civilizations
Artefacts coming from the Mosul area on display at the Iraqi Museum
About 15,000 pieces were looted during the Iraq war, with one-third recovered

 

The world heritage body Unesco has called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss how to protect Iraq’s cultural heritage.

The Iraqi Deputy Tourism and Antiquities Minister, Qais Hussein Rashid, told AFP the actions of IS had spurred them into opening.

“The events in Mosul led us to speed up our work and we wanted to open it today as a response to what the gangs of Daesh did,” he said, using an Arabic acronym for IS.

The Iraq Museum estimates that some 15,000 items were taken in the chaos that followed the toppling of Saddam Hussein. Almost one-third have been recovered.

The collection covers 7,000 years of history, with Mesopotamia – as Iraq was called for much of human history – considered the cradle of civilization.

Modern reality in Iraq is more violent. The areas in and around Baghdad continue to see daily violence, with at least 25 people killed in two separate attacks north of the capital on Saturday.

 

Unanimously Adopting Resolution 2199 (2015)

Breaking News: UNSC Resolution 2199 Protects Syrian Cultural Heritage

12 FEBRUARY 2015
SC/11775

Unanimously Adopting Resolution 2199 (2015), Security Council Condemns Trade with Al-Qaida Associated Groups, Threatens Further Targeted Sanctions

7379th Meeting (AM)

The Security Council this morning underlined the obligations of Member States to take steps to prevent terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria from benefiting from trade in oil, antiquities and hostages, and from receiving donations.

Unanimously adopting resolution 2199 (2015) under the binding Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the Council condemned any trade with the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as Daesh), the Al-Nusrah Front and other entities designated to be associated with Al-Qaida under resolutions 1267 (1999) and 1989 (2011), threatening possible further listings for targeted sanctions under those resolutions.

It affirmed that the direct and indirect trade in oil and refined oil products, modular refineries and related materials was subject to the requirement of resolution 2161 (2014) that countries ensure that their nationals and those in their territories not make assets or economic resources available to ISIL and related terrorist groups.

Condemning the destruction of cultural heritage in Iraq and Syria, particularly by ISIL and the Al-Nusrah Front, it decided that all Member States should take steps, in cooperation with Interpol, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and other international organizations, to prevent the trade in items of cultural, scientific and religious importance illegally removed from either country during periods of conflict.

Expressing its determination to end hostage-taking by the terrorist groups, it said that the provisions of resolution 2161 (2014) also banned the payment of ransom to such groups, regardless of how or by whom the ransom is paid.  It reiterated its call on Member States to help secure the safe release of hostages without payments or political concessions.  It further emphasized the importance of all Member States in preventing their nationals and others in their territories from making donations to the terrorists.

Finally, it urged States to prevent the terrorist groups from gaining access to international financial institutions and reaffirmed States’ obligations to prevent the groups from acquiring arms and related materiel, along with its call to enhance coordination at the national, regional and international level for that purpose.

It called upon Member States to report within 120 days to the Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee on their compliance with the resolution, calling for the United Nations counter-terrorism bodies to also track progress on implementation.

Speaking after the adoption, the representatives of the Russian Federation, United States, United Kingdom, Jordan and China welcomed the action.  The Russian representative, Vitaly I. Churkin, thanked the other members of the Security Council for their constructive collaboration on the text, calling it an important step on suppressing the terrorist threat in the Middle East, the effect of which was felt far beyond the region.

The representative of the United States, Samantha Power, agreed that the resolution showed the joint international commitment on countering terrorism and, in particular, defeating ISIL.  She said that because of actions of the coalition against ISIL, securing resources had become harder for it and the resolution would help cut off further sources of funds and help end the ongoing brutality of the group.  She regretted, however, that the Council had not dealt with a major factor that led to the rise ISIL, the cruelty of the Assad regime.

The representative of the United Kingdom, Mark Lyall Grant, said he looked forward to working on the full and effective implementation of the resolution, and France’s representative, François Delattre, said that the recent attacks on his country made it even more resolute to fight the scourge of terrorism.

Jordan’s representative, Mahmoud Daifallah Mahmoud Hmoud, said that all the tools of international law must be used to fight terrorism, pledging his country would remain one of the leaders in the battle following the martyrdom of its pilot.  Finally, the representative of China, Liu Jieyi, emphasized the importance of avoiding double standards in fighting terrorism and avoiding a linkage with any religion or ethnic group.  He called for cooperation on cutting off terrorists’ ability to utilize the Internet for their activities.

The meeting opened at 10:05 a.m. and closed at 10:23 a.m.

Resolution

The full text of resolution 2199 (2015) reads as follows:

The Security Council,

Reaffirming its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations,

Reaffirming that terrorism in all forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security and that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable regardless of their motivations, whenever and by whomsoever committed,

Reaffirming the need to combat by all means, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and international law, including applicable international human rights, refugee, and humanitarian law, threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts, stressing in this regard the important role the United Nations plays in leading and coordinating this effort,

Emphasizing that sanctions are an important tool under the Charter of the United Nations in the maintenance and restoration of international peace and security including countering terrorism, and underlining the importance of prompt and effective implementation of relevant resolutions, in particular Security Council resolutions 1267 (1999) and 1989 (2011) as key instruments in the fight against terrorism,

Recalling its Resolutions 1267 (1999), 1989 (2011), 2161 (2014), 2170 (2014), and 2178 (2014) and its Presidential Statements of 28 July 2014 and 19 November 2014, including its stated intention to consider additional measures to disrupt oil trade by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as Daesh), Al-Nusrah Front (ANF) and all other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with Al-Qaida, as a source of terrorism financing,

Recognizing the importance of the role that financial sanctions play in disrupting ISIL, ANF and all other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with Al-Qaida, and emphasizing also the need for a comprehensive approach to fully disrupt ISIL and ANF that integrates multilateral strategies with national action by Member States,

Reaffirming the independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of the Republic of Iraq and the Syrian Arab Republic, and reaffirming further the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations,

Reaffirming also that terrorism cannot and should not be associated with any religion, nationality, or civilization,

Stressing that terrorism can only be defeated by a sustained and comprehensive approach involving the active participation and collaboration of all States, and international and regional organizations to impede, impair, isolate and incapacitate the terrorist threat,

Expressing, in this regard, its deep appreciation for Arab League Resolution 7804 (September 7, 2014), the Paris Statement (September 15, 2014), the FATF statement on countering the financing of ISIL (October 24, 2014) and the Manama declaration on countering terrorist finance (November 9, 2014),

Reaffirming its resolution 1373 (2001) and in particular its decisions that all States shall prevent and suppress the financing of terrorist acts and refrain from providing any form of support, active or passive, to entities or persons involved in terrorist acts, including by suppressing recruitment of members of terrorist groups and eliminating the supply of weapons to terrorists,

Recognizing the significant need to build capacities of Member States to counter terrorism and terrorist finance,

Reiterating its deep concern that oilfields and their related infrastructure, as well as other infrastructure such as dams and power plants, controlled by ISIL, ANF and potentially other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with Al-Qaida, are generating a significant portion of the groups’ income, alongside extortion, private foreign donations, kidnap ransoms and stolen money from the territory they control, which support their recruitment efforts and strengthen their operational capability to organize and carry out terrorist attacks,

Condemning in the strongest terms abductions of women and children, expressing outrage at their exploitation and abuse, including rape, sexual abuse, forced marriage, committed by ISIL, ANF, and other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with Al-Qaida, and encouraging all state and non-state actors with evidence to bring it to the attention of the Council, along with any information that human trafficking may support the perpetrators financially,

Reaffirming the obligation of Member States to freeze without delay funds and other financial assets or economic resources of persons who commit, or attempt to commit, terrorist acts or participate in or facilitate the commission of terrorist acts; of entities owned or controlled directly or indirectly by such persons; and of persons and entities acting on behalf of, or at the direction of such persons and entities, including funds derived or generated from property owned or controlled directly or indirectly by such persons and associated persons and entities,

Expressing its concern that economic resources such as oil, oil products, modular refineries and related material, other natural resources including precious metals such as gold, silver, and copper, diamonds, and any other assets are made available to ISIL, ANF, and other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with Al-Qaida, and noting that direct or indirect trade with ISIL and ANF in such materials could constitute a violation of the obligations imposed by resolution 2161 (2014),

Reminding all States of their obligation to ensure that any person who participates in the financing, planning, preparation or perpetration of terrorist acts or in supporting terrorist acts is brought to justice,

Reaffirming its decision 2133 (2014) and noting again that ransom payments to terrorist groups are one of the sources of income which supports their recruitment efforts, strengthens their operational capability to organize and carry out terrorist attacks, and incentivizes future incidents of kidnapping for ransom,

Expressing concern at the increased use, in a globalized society, by terrorists and their supporters, of new information and communications technologies, in particular the Internet, to facilitate terrorist acts, as well as their use to incite, recruit, fund or plan terrorist acts,

Expressing grave concern at the increased incidents of kidnapping and hostage-murdering committed by ISIL, and condemning those heinous and cowardly murders which demonstrate that terrorism is a scourge impacting all of humanity and people from all regions and religions or belief,

Welcoming the report on ANF and ISIL from the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team, published on November 14, 2014, and taking note of its recommendations,

Noting with concern the continued threat posed to international peace and security by ISIL, ANF and all other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with Al-Qaida, and reaffirming its resolve to address all aspects of that threat,

Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,

Oil Trade

“1.   Condemns any engagement in direct or indirect trade, in particular of oil and oil products, and modular refineries and related material, with ISIL, ANF and any other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities designated as associated with Al-Qaida by the Committee pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999) and 1989 (2011), and reiterates that such engagement would constitute support for such individuals, groups, undertakings and entities and may lead to further listings by the Committee;

“2.   Reaffirms that States are required by resolution 2161 (2014) to ensure that their nationals and those in their territory not make assets or economic resources, directly or indirectly, available to ISIL, ANF and all other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with Al-Qaida, and notes that this obligation applies to the direct and indirect trade in oil and refined oil products, modular refineries and related material;

“3.   Reaffirms that States are required by resolution 2161 (2014) to freeze without delay the funds and other financial assets or economic resources of ISIL, ANF, and other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with Al-Qaida, including funds derived from property owned or controlled directly or indirectly, by them or by persons acting on their behalf or at their direction;

“4.   Reaffirms that States are required by resolution 2161 (2014) to ensure that no funds, other financial assets or economic resources are made available, directly or indirectly, by their nationals or by persons within their territory for the benefit of ISIL, ANF, and other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with Al-Qaida;

“5.   Recalls that funds and other financial assets or economic resources made available to or for the benefit of listed individuals or entities are not always held directly by them, and recalls in addition that in identifying such funds and benefits, States should be alert to the possibility that property owned or controlled indirectly by the listed party may not be immediately visible;

“6.   Confirms that economic resources include oil, oil products, modular refineries and related material, other natural resources, and any other assets which are not funds but which potentially may be used to obtain funds, goods or services;

“7.   Emphasizes therefore that States are required by UN Security Council resolution 2161 (2014) to freeze without delay funds, other financial assets and economic resources of ISIL, ANF, and other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with Al-Qaida, including oil, oil products, modular refineries and related material and other natural resources owned or controlled by them, or persons acting on their behalf or at their direction, as well as any funds or negotiable benefit arising from such economic resources;

“8.   Recognizes the need to take measures to prevent and suppress the financing of terrorism, individual terrorists, and terrorist organizations, including from the proceeds of organized crime, inter alia, the illicit production and trafficking of drugs and their chemical precursors, and the importance of continued international cooperation to that aim;

“9.   Emphasizes that States are required to ensure that their nationals and persons in their territory not make available, directly or indirectly, any funds, other financial assets or economic resources, including oil, oil products, modular refineries and related material and other natural resources that are identified as directed to, collected for, or otherwise for the benefit of ISIL, ANF, and other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with Al-Qaida, as well as any funds or negotiable benefit arising from such economic resources;

“10.  Expresses concern that vehicles, including aircraft, cars and trucks and oil tankers, departing from or going to areas of Syria and Iraq where ISIL, ANF or any other groups, undertakings and entities associated with Al-Qaida operate, could be used to transfer oil and oil products, modular refineries and related material, cash, and other valuable items including natural resources such as precious metals and minerals like gold, silver, copper and diamonds, as well as grain, livestock, machinery, electronics, and cigarettes by or on behalf of such entities for sale on international markets, for barter for arms, or for use in other ways that would result in violations of the asset freeze or arms embargo in paragraph 1 of resolution 2161 (2014) and encouragesMember States to take appropriate steps in accordance with international law to prevent and disrupt activity that would result in violations of the asset freeze or targeted arms embargo in paragraph 1 of resolution 2161 (2014);

“11.  Reaffirms that all States shall ensure that any person who participates in the financing, planning, preparation or perpetration of terrorist acts or in supporting terrorist acts is brought to justice and ensure that such terrorist acts are established as serious criminal offenses in domestic laws and regulations and that the punishment duly reflects the seriousness of such terrorist acts, and emphasizes that such support may be provided through trade in oil and refined oil products, modular refineries and related material with ISIL, ANF and all other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with Al-Qaida;

“12.  Decides that Member States shall inform the 1267/1989 Committee within 30 days of the interdiction in their territory of any oil, oil products, modular refineries, and related material being transferred to or from ISIL or ANF, and calls upon Member States to report to the Committee the outcome of proceedings brought against individuals and entities as a result of such activity;

“13.  Encourages the submission of listing requests to the Committee by Member States of individuals and entities engaged in oil trade-related activities with ISIL, ANF and all other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with Al-Qaida and directs the 1267/1989 Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee to immediately consider designations of individuals and entities engaged in oil trade-related activities with ISIL, the ANF and all other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with Al-Qaida;

“14.  Calls upon Member States to improve international, regional, and subregional cooperation, including through increased sharing of information for the purpose of identifying smuggling routes used by ISIL and ANF, and for Member States to consider provision of technical assistance and capacity building to assist other Member States to counter smuggling of oil and oil products, and modular refineries and related material, by ISIL, ANF and any other individual, group, undertaking or entity associated with Al-Qaida;

Cultural Heritage

“15.  Condemns the destruction of cultural heritage in Iraq and Syria particularly by ISIL and ANF, whether such destruction is incidental or deliberate, including targeted destruction of religious sites and objects;

“16.  Notes with concern that ISIL, ANF and other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with Al-Qaida, are generating income from engaging directly or indirectly in the looting and smuggling of cultural heritage items from archaeological sites, museums, libraries, archives, and other sites in Iraq and Syria, which is being used to support their recruitment efforts and strengthen their operational capability to organize and carry out terrorist attacks;

“17.  Reaffirms its decision in paragraph 7 of resolution 1483 (2003) and decides that all Member States shall take appropriate steps to prevent the trade in Iraqi and Syrian cultural property and other items of archaeological, historical, cultural, rare scientific, and religious importance illegally removed from Iraq since 6 August 1990 and from Syria since 15 March 2011, including by prohibiting cross-border trade in such items, thereby allowing for their eventual safe return to the Iraqi and Syrian people and calls upon the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, Interpol, and other international organizations, as appropriate, to assist in the implementation of this paragraph;

Kidnapping for Ransom and External Donations

“18.  Reaffirms its condemnation of incidents of kidnapping and hostage-taking committed by ISIL, ANF and all other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with Al-Qaida for any purpose, including with the aim of raising funds or gaining political concessions and expresses its determination to prevent kidnapping and hostage-taking committed by terrorist groups and to secure the safe release of hostages without ransom payments or political concessions, in accordance with applicable international law;

“19.  Reaffirms that the requirements of paragraph 1(a) of resolution 2161 (2014) apply to the payment of ransoms to individuals, groups, undertakings or entities on the Al-Qaida Sanctions List, regardless of how or by whom the ransom is paid, emphasizes that this obligation applies to ISIL and ANF, and calls upon all Member States to encourage private sector partners to adopt or to follow relevant guidelines and good practices for preventing and responding to terrorist kidnappings without paying ransom;

“20.  Reiterates its call upon all Member States to prevent terrorists from benefiting directly or indirectly from ransom payments or from political concessions and to secure the safe release of hostages, and reaffirms the need for all Member States to cooperate closely during incidents of kidnapping and hostage-taking committed by terrorist groups;

“21.  Expresses its grave concern of reports that external donations continue to make their way to ISIL, ANF and other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with Al-Qaida, and recalls the importance of all Member States complying with their obligation to ensure that their nationals and persons within their territory do not make donations to individuals and entities designated by the Committee or those acting on behalf of or at the direction of designated entities;

“22.  Stresses that donations from individuals and entities have played a role in developing and sustaining ISIL and ANF, and that Member States have an obligation to ensure that such support is not made available to those terrorist groups and other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with Al-Qaida by their nationals and persons within their territory, and urges Member States to address this directly through enhanced vigilance of the international financial system and by working with their non-profit and charitable organizations to ensure financial flows through charitable giving are not diverted to ISIL, ANF or any other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with Al-Qaida;

Banking

“23.  Urges Member States to take steps to ensure that financial institutions within their territory prevent ISIL, ANF or other individuals, groups, undertakings or entities associated with Al-Qaida from accessing the international financial system;

Arms and related materiel

“24.  Reaffirms its decision that States shall prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale, or transfer to ISIL, ANF and all other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with Al-Qaida from their territories or by their nationals outside their territories, or using their flag vessels or aircraft, of arms and related materiel of all types including weapons and ammunition, military vehicles and equipment, paramilitary equipment, and spare parts for the aforementioned, and technical advice, assistance or training related to military activities, as well as its calls for States to find ways of intensifying and accelerating the exchange of operational information regarding traffic in arms, and to enhance coordination of efforts on national, subregional, regional and international levels;

“25.  Expresses concern at the proliferation of all arms and related materiel of all types, in particular man-portable surface-to-air missiles, to ISIL, ANF and all other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with Al-Qaida, and its potential impact on regional and international peace and security and impeding efforts to combat terrorism in some cases;

“26.  Reminds Member States of their obligation pursuant to paragraph 1 (c) of resolution 2161 (2014), to prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer of arms and related materiel of all types to listed individuals and entities, including ISIL and ANF;

“27.  Calls upon all States to consider appropriate measures to prevent the transfer of all arms and related materiel of all types, in particular man-portable surface-to-air missiles, if there is a reasonable suspicion that such arms and related materiel would be obtained by ISIL, the ANF or other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with Al-Qaida;

Asset Freeze

“28.  Reaffirms that the requirements in paragraph 1 (a) of Security Council resolution 2161 apply to financial and economic resources of every kind, including but not limited to those used for the provision of Internet hosting or related services, used for the support of Al-Qaida and other individuals, groups, undertakings or entities included on the Al-Qaida Sanctions List;

Reporting

“29.  Calls upon Member States to report to the Committee within 120 days on the measures they have taken to comply with the measures imposed in this resolution;

“30.  Requests the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team, in close cooperation with other United Nations counter-terrorism bodies to conduct an assessment of the impact of these new measures and to report to the Committee established pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999) and 1989 (2011) within 150 days, and thereafter to incorporate reporting on the impact of these new measures into their reports to the Committee in order to track progress on implementation, identify unintended consequences and unexpected challenges, and to help facilitate further adjustments as required, and further requests the Committee established pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999) and 1989 (2011) to update the Security Council on the implementation of this resolution as part of its regular oral reports to the Council on the state of the overall work of the Committee and the Monitoring Team;

“31.  Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”

For information media. Not an official record.

Breaking News: Resolution 2199 bans trade in cultural materials illegally removed from Syria

The UN Security Council just adopted resolution 2199 which, among other things, calls for a ban on trade in cultural materials illegally removed from Syria after March 15, 2011.

UN Targets Islamic State Revenue From Oil, Artifacts, Ransom (Bloomberg)

Security Council approves resolution targeting sources of financing for ISIL

12 February 2015 – Urging global cooperation “to impair, isolate and incapacitate” terrorist threats, the United Nations Security Council today approved measures targeting sources of funding for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Al-Nusrah Front (ANF), condemning those buying oil from the groups, banning all trade in looted antiquities from Iraq and Syria, and calling on States to end ransom payments.

Unanimously adopting a Russian-led resolution, the Council reiterated its deep concern that oilfields, as well as other infrastructure such as dams and power plants, controlled by ISIL, ANF and other Al-Qaida-associated groups, “are generating a significant portion of the groups’ income, alongside extortion, private foreign donations, kidnap ransoms and stolen money from the territory they control.”

As such, the Council, acting under Chapter VII of the UN Charter – which authorizes the use of force – condemned any engagement in direct or indirect trade, in particular of oil and oil products, and modular refineries, with ISIL, ANF and Al-Qaida affiliates, and reiterated that “such engagement would constitute support for such individuals, groups, undertakings and entities and may lead to further listings” by the relevant Sanctions Committee.

Today’s resolution, which bolsters the Council’s previous measures to cut off financing for ISIL and its affiliates, reaffirms the existing obligations of Member States to “freeze without delay” funds and other financial assets or economic resources of persons who commit, or attempt to commit, terrorist acts.

Coming in the wake of a spate of particularly vicious killings, including the beheading of a Japanese journalist and the immolation of a Jordanian pilot by ISIL in the past two weeks, the Council’s resolution reaffirms its condemnation of kidnapping and hostage-taking committed by the groups, further strongly condemns abduction of women and children, and expresses “outrage at their exploitation and abuse, including rape, sexual abuse, forced marriage.”

The resolution also condemns the destruction and smuggling of cultural heritage in Iraq and Syria by ISIS and ANF, “whether such destruction is incidental or deliberate, including targeted destruction of religious sites and objects.” It also notes with concern that the groups are generating income from engaging directly or indirectly in the looting and smuggling of cultural heritage items.

Against that backdrop, the Council decided “that all Member States shall take appropriate steps to prevent the trade in Iraqi and Syrian cultural property and other items of…historical, cultural, rare scientific and religious importance illegally removed from Iraq since 6 August 1990 and from Syria since 15 March 2011.” Encouraging steps to ensure such items are returned to their homelands, the Council called on the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Interpol, and other international organizations to assist in such efforts.

The resolution goes on to reaffirm that payment of ransoms to individuals, groups, undertakings or entities on the Al-Qaida Sanctions List, regardless of how or by whom the ransom is paid is considered a violation of international legal obligations. It calls upon all UN Member States to encourage private sector partners to adopt or to follow relevant guidelines and good practices for preventing and responding to terrorist kidnappings without paying ransom. Gravely concerned at the role of external donations in developing and sustaining ISIS and ANF, the Council urges States to take steps to ensure that financial institutions within their territory prevent these groups from accessing the international financial system.


News Tracker: past stories on this issue

UN envoy and Syrian President discuss political solution to conflict, Aleppo fighting ‘freeze’

New Memorandum of Understanding between USCBS and the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA)

Nancy Wilkie, President of the U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield, and Andrew Moore, President of the Archaeological Institute of America, President of the Archaeological Institute of America

Nancy Wilkie, President of the U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield, and Andrew Moore, President of the Archaeological Institute of America

 

On January 8, 2015 Nancy Wilkie, President of the U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield, and Andrew Moore, President of the Archaeological Institute of America signed an MOU linking the two organizations in their efforts to protect and preserve cultural sites, monuments and objects from harm during armed conflict. The MOU was signed during a meeting of the AIA Governing Board during its Annual Meeting in New Orleans.

Among the terms of the MOU are an agreement on the part of both organizations to work collaboratively to assist entities responsible for the protection of cultural sites, monuments and repositories in the case of armed conflict and natural disaster; to carry out programs for training military personnel in the law of armed conflict as it pertains to the protection of tangible cultural heritage; and to compile information concerning tangible cultural heritage located in conflict and disaster zones.

USCBS Board Member helps unearth Paul Revere Time Capsule

Centuries-old time capsule discovered during construction

The Huffington Post  | By
Posted: Updated:
time capsule paul revere
USCBS Board Member, Pamela Hatchfield, holding recently uncovered time capsule.

A chance discovery by a group of repairmen in Boston has led to the unearthing of a centuries-old time capsule, believed to have been buried there in the 1790s by Paul Revere and Samuel Adams.

The antique time capsule, which had been placed in a cornerstone of the Massachusetts State House, was discovered this week when workers who had been repairing a water leak at the building stumbled upon it, CNN reports.

Museum of Fine Arts conservator Pamela Hatchfield was promptly called in for her expertise, and on Thursday, after about seven hours of painstaking, backbreaking work, she — with the help of several workers — successfully extricated the almost cigar box-sized container from its burial place.

“I feel happy and relieved and excited,” Hatchfield told the Associated Press after the time capsule’s successful removal, “and really interested to see what’s in this box.”

time capsule

Massachusetts officials work to remove the time capsule from the cornerstone on Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014.

The time capsule is believed to have first been buried at the State House in 1795 by revolutionary war hero Paul Revere and Samuel Adams, who was the governor of Massachusetts at the time. It’s thought to be one of the oldest time capsules in the United States.

According to the Boston Globe, the antique container was unearthed once before, in 1855, when emergency repairs to the foundation reportedly led to its temporary removal. However, it hasn’t seen the light of day since.

As for what treasures the capsule may contain, Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin told CNN the box is known to house “a Paul Revere plate, papers, and coins from the 1600s,” among other artifacts. The condition of the container’s contents, however, remains unknown.

Galvin said that the capsule will be X-rayed and examined by experts, and its contents will likely be revealed to the public next week.

“Hopefully there will be no damage and we will be able to observe the artifacts that trace us back to the history not only just of this building, but of our Commonwealth and our country,” he told the Globe.

See article here »

More:

http://www.history.com/news/time-capsule-buried-by-paul-revere-and-sam-adams-discovered-in-boston

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/12/12/1795-time-capsule-buried-by-sam-adams-paul-revere-unearthed-in-boston-so-whats-inside/

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/paul-revere-time-capsule