Category Archives: Uncategorized

USCBS Board Member Testifies in The House

gerstenblith_pattySecretary of U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield, Patty Gerstenblith, testifies before the U.S. House Financial Services Committee’s Task
Force to Investigate Terrorism Financing

 

 


Testimony of Dr. Patty Gerstenblith
On Behalf of Herself and the U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield

“Preventing Cultural Genocide: Countering the Plunder and Sale of Priceless Cultural Antiquities by ISIS”

Task Force to Investigate Terrorism Financing U.S. House Financial Services Committee
April 19, 2016

Chairman Fitzpatrick and Ranking Member Lynch: Thank you for the opportunity to present this testimony and to address the Members of the Task Force to Investigate Terrorism Financing on the subject of “Preventing Cultural Genocide: Countering the Plunder and Sale of Priceless Cultural Antiquities by ISIS”. I am submitting this testimony both in my personal capacity1 and on behalf of the United States Committee of the Blue Shield (USCBS).2 The United States Committee of the Blue Shield was formed in 2006. The name, Blue Shield, comes from the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, which specifies a blue shield as the symbol for marking protected cultural property and is the cultural equivalent of the Red Cross. Among the current activities of the USCBS is the creation of “no-strike” lists or inventories of cultural sites (including historic and religious structures, archaeological sites and repositories such as museums, archives and libraries) in parts of the world where the United States is engaged in armed conflict. Through working with the Department of Defense, USCBS helps the United States fulfill its obligations to protect cultural heritage during armed conflict.

See her full testimony here »

 

BILL TO HALT ISIS ANTIQUITIES LOOTING ADVANCES IN SENATE

Engel Legislation Would Crack Down on Terrorist Financing, Protect Syria’s Fragile History

WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today welcomed approval of his legislation, the Protect and Preserve International Cultural Property Act (H.R.1493), by the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.  Representative Engel’s bill would help curb funding for ISIS by cracking down on the trafficking of artifacts looted from cultural sites in Syria.

“ISIS is pocketing millions of dollars by trafficking irreplaceable artifacts on the black market.  Whatever they can’t loot, they’re destroying in an effort to wipe away history,” said Rep. Engel. “My legislation would make it harder for ISIS to peddle looted antiquities as a funding source, and I applaud my Senate colleagues on the Foreign Relations Committee for moving this measure forward.  Today’s action is a great example of what we can accomplish when we put our heads together and work in a bipartisan way to advance American interests abroad.”

Representative Engel’s legislation unanimously passed the House on June 1, 2015. The bill would impose new import restrictions on cultural artifacts removed from Syria. Similar restrictions were enacted in 2004 with respect to Iraqi antiquities. The legislation would provide exceptions to allow artifacts to enter the United States for protection and restoration. Restrictions would remain in effect until the crisis in Syria is resolved and America is able to work with a future Syrian government to protect cultural property from trafficking under a bilateral agreement, in accordance with America’s national interests.

The bill also calls on the President to establish a new interagency body to enhance cooperation among the government agencies already working on cultural preservation and improves Congressional oversight of this issue.

The bill has the support of the Society for American Archaeology, the American Alliance of Museums, the Getty Trust Syrian American Council, the American Anthropological Association, the American Schools of Oriental Research, the Antiquities Coalition, the Archaeological Institute of America, the International Council of Museums, the Association of Art Museum Directors, the Lawyers’ Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation, Preservation Action, the Society for Historical Archaeology, the U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield, the U.S. National Committee of the International Council on Monuments and Sites, and others.

 

Grassley praised committee passage of HR 1493 bill

New Committee Passes Bill Restricting ISIS’ Ability to Profit from Antiquities Sales

politicalnews.me Jan 29, 2016 – Committee Passes Bill Restricting ISIS’ Ability to Profit from Antiquities Sales

WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley praised unanimous committee passage of a bill substantially similar to a bill he co-sponsored to restrict the ability of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) to profit from the sale of looted antiquities.

“We need to destroy ISIS rather than support its funding,” Grassley said. “This bill will help by restricting the import of items to the United States. It’s a small but important step in hampering the ability of ISIS terrorists to profit from the sale of looted antiquities.”

The Committee on Foreign Relations passed a measure that gives the federal government the authority to impose import restrictions on Syrian antiquities, waiving the provisions of current law that require a request from the country of origin. The bill is similar to the Protect and Preserve International Cultural Property Act that Grassley and Sens. Bob Casey and David Perdue introduced last year. The committee-passed bill is based on a partner bill passed by the House of Representatives.

Grassley’s statement submitted to the committee record follows here.


Statement of Senator Charles E. Grassley
Protect and Preserve International Cultural Property Act
Business Meeting of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
January 28, 2016

Chairman Corker, Ranking Member Cardin, Members of the Committee:

I’d like to thank this Committee for taking up the “Protect and Preserve International Cultural Property Act.” This bill is critically important to ensure that the Administration has the authority to impose import restrictions on antiquities from Syria, which is a key source of funding for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

I joined Senator Casey and Senator Perdue to introduce a Senate companion to the House bill that would place trade restrictions against the importation of looted archeological and ethnological materials. It’s a similar measure to one that I won enactment of in 2003 when Iraq’s antiquities were being looted.

The brutal and barbaric acts carried out by ISIS are beyond comprehension. The senseless and inhumane brutality these individuals carried out against innocents is truly shocking and disgraceful. ISIS has executed thousands, including women and children. Many more have been kidnapped, enslaved, abused and raped.

ISIS is also destroying and selling the archeological heritage that has survived for thousands of years. It’s reprehensible that there are people engaged in a black market to buy these artifacts, thereby underwriting this brutal Islamist militant group.

The chaos and disorder in Syria and Iraq have opened the door to opportunists who wish to enrich themselves in dealing with stolen and looted antiquities. The least we can do, here in Congress, is shut down the U.S. market for these artifacts. Americans should not be underwriting brutality.

We need to put an end to the destruction and looting of irreplaceable artifacts and historical records like those from the Mosul Museum, Nineveh, and Nimrud. These objects are a material record of humanity.

We need to destroy ISIS rather than support its funding. This bill will help by restricting the import of items to the United States. It’s a small but important step in hampering the ability of ISIS terrorists to profit from the sale of looted antiquities.

I strongly support this bill and encourage members of this committee to support it as well. Thank you.

Antiquities Bill HR 1493 passed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee

H.R. 1493 Substitute Amendment, the Protect and Preserve International Cultural Property Act, was passed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on January 28th.

It now moves to the floor of the Senate and the House for consideration.

View Amended text as PDF »

The U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield is mentioned as a consulting organization.

Background:  The Protect and Preserve International Cultural Property Act was reintroduced on March 19, 2015 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.

 


Amended text of HR 1493 as it passed
the Senate Foreign Relations Committee

January 28, 2016

 


MRW16052 S.L.C.

AMENDMENT NO.llll Calendar No.lll

Purpose: In the nature of a substitute.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES—114th Cong., 2d Sess.

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.

Referred to the Committee on llllllllll and

ordered to be printed

Ordered to lie on the table and to be printed

AMENDMENT IN THE NATURE OF A SUBSTITUTE intended

to be proposed by lllllll

Viz:

1 Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the fol2

lowing:

3 SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

4 This Act may be cited as the ‘‘Protect and Preserve

5 International Cultural Property Act’’.

6 SEC. 2. SENSE OF CONGRESS.

7 It is the sense of Congress that the President should

8 establish an interagency coordinating committee to coordi9

nate and advance the efforts of the executive branch to

10 protect and preserve international cultural property at risk

2

MRW16052 S.L.C.

1 from political instability, armed conflict, or natural or

2 other disasters. Such committee should—

3 (1) be chaired by a Department of State em4

ployee of Assistant Secretary rank or higher, concur5

rent with that employee’s other duties;

6 (2) include representatives of the Smithsonian

7 Institution and Federal agencies with responsibility

8 for the preservation and protection of international

9 cultural property;

10 (3) consult with governmental and nongovern11

mental organizations, including the United States

12 Committee of the Blue Shield, museums, educational

13 institutions, and research institutions on efforts to

14 protect and preserve international cultural property;

15 (4) coordinate and advance core United States

16 interests in—

17 (A) protecting and preserving international

18 cultural property;

19 (B) preventing and disrupting looting and

20 illegal trade and trafficking in international cul21

tural property, particularly exchanges that pro22

vide revenue to terrorist and criminal organiza23

tions;

24 (C) protecting sites of cultural and archae25

ological significance; and

3

MRW16052 S.L.C.

1 (D) providing for the lawful exchange of

2 international cultural property.

3 SEC. 3. EMERGENCY PROTECTION FOR SYRIAN CULTURAL

4 PROPERTY.

5 (a) IN GENERAL.—The President shall exercise the

6 authority of the President under section 304 of the Con7

vention on Cultural Property Implementation Act (19

8 U.S.C. 2603) to impose import restrictions set forth in

9 section 307 of that Act (19 U.S.C. 2606) with respect to

10 any archaeological or ethnological material of Syria—

11 (1) not later than 90 days after the date of the

12 enactment of this Act;

13 (2) without regard to whether Syria is a State

14 Party (as defined in section 302 of that Act (19

15 U.S.C. 2601)); and

16 (3) notwithstanding—

17 (A) the requirement of subsection (b) of

18 section 304 of that Act (19 U.S.C. 2603(b))

19 that an emergency condition (as defined in sub20

section (a) of that section) applies; and

21 (B) the limitations under subsection (c) of

22 that section.

23 (b) ANNUAL DETERMINATION REGARDING CERTIFI24

CATION.—

25 (1) DETERMINATION.—

4

MRW16052 S.L.C.

1 (A) IN GENERAL.—The President shall,

2 not less often than annually, determine whether

3 at least 1 of the conditions specified in subpara4

graph (B) is met, and shall notify the appro5

priate congressional committees of such deter6

mination.

7 (B) CONDITIONS.—The conditions referred

8 to in subparagraph (A) are the following:

9 (i) The Government of Syria is in10

capable, at the time a determination under

11 such subparagraph is made, of fulfilling

12 the requirements to request an agreement

13 under section 303 of the Convention on

14 Cultural Property Implementation Act (19

15 U.S.C. 2602).

16 (ii) It would be against the United

17 States national interest to enter into such

18 an agreement.

19 (2) TERMINATION OF RESTRICTIONS.—

20 (A) IN GENERAL.—Except as provided in

21 subparagraph (B), the import restrictions re22

ferred to in subsection (a) shall terminate on

23 the date that is 5 years after the date on which

24 the President determines that neither of the

5

MRW16052 S.L.C.

1 conditions specified in paragraph (1)(B) are

2 met.

3 (B) REQUEST FOR TERMINATION.—If

4 Syria requests to enter into an agreement with

5 the United States pursuant to section 303 of

6 the Convention on Cultural Property Implemen7

tation Act (19 U.S.C. 2602) on or after the

8 date on which the President determines that

9 neither of the conditions specified in paragraph

10 (1)(B) are met, the import restrictions referred

11 to in subsection (a) shall terminate on the ear12

lier of—

13 (i) the date that is 3 years after the

14 date on which Syria makes such a request;

15 or

16 (ii) the date on which the United

17 States and Syria enter into such an agree18

ment.

19 (c) WAIVER.—

20 (1) IN GENERAL.—The President may waive

21 the import restrictions referred to in subsection (a)

22 for specified archaeological and ethnological material

23 of Syria if the President certifies to the appropriate

24 congressional committees that the conditions de25

scribed in paragraph (2) are met.

6

MRW16052 S.L.C.

1 (2) CONDITIONS.—The conditions referred to in

2 paragraph (1) are the following:

3 (A)(i) The owner or lawful custodian of the

4 specified archaeological or ethnological material

5 of Syria has requested that such material be

6 temporarily located in the United States for

7 protection purposes; or

8 (ii) if no owner or lawful custodian can

9 reasonably be identified, the President deter10

mines that, for purposes of protecting and pre11

serving such material, the material should be

12 temporarily located in the United States.

13 (B) Such material shall be returned to the

14 owner or lawful custodian when requested by

15 such owner or lawful custodian.

16 (C) There is no credible evidence that

17 granting a waiver under this subsection will

18 contribute to illegal trafficking in archaeological

19 or ethnological material of Syria or financing of

20 criminal or terrorist activities.

21 (3) ACTION.—If the President grants a waiver

22 under this subsection, the specified archaeological or

23 ethnological material of Syria that is the subject of

24 such waiver shall be placed in the temporary custody

25 of the United States Government or in the tem7

MRW16052 S.L.C.

1 porary custody of a cultural or educational institu2

tion within the United States for the purpose of pro3

tection, restoration, conservation, study, or exhi4

bition, without profit.

5 (4) IMMUNITY FROM SEIZURE.—Any archae6

ological or ethnological material that enters the

7 United States pursuant to a waiver granted under

8 this section shall have immunity from seizure under

9 Public Law 89–259 (22 U.S.C. 2459). All provisions

10 of Public Law 89–259 shall apply to such material

11 as if immunity from seizure had been granted under

12 that Public Law.

13 (d) DEFINITIONS.—In this section:

14 (1) APPROPRIATE CONGRESSIONAL COMMIT15

TEES.—The term ‘‘appropriate congressional com16

mittees’’ means—

17 (A) the Committee on Foreign Relations

18 and the Committee on Finance of the Senate;

19 and

20 (B) the Committee on Foreign Affairs and

21 the Committee on Ways and Means of the

22 House of Representatives.

23 (2) ARCHAEOLOGICAL OR ETHNOLOGICAL MA24

TERIAL OF SYRIA.—The term ‘‘archaeological or eth25

nological material of Syria’’ means cultural property

8

MRW16052 S.L.C.

1 (as defined in section 302 of the Convention on Cul2

tural Property Implementation Act (19 U.S.C.

3 2601)) that is unlawfully removed from Syria on or

4 after March 15, 2011.

5 SEC. 4. REPORT.

6 Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment

7 of this Act, and annually thereafter for the next 6 years,

8 the President shall submit to the appropriate congres9

sional committees a report on the efforts of the executive

10 branch, during the 12-month period preceding the submis11

sion of the report, to protect and preserve international

12 cultural property, including—

13 (1) whether an interagency coordinating com14

mittee as described in section 2 has been established

15 and, if such a committee has been established, a de16

scription of the activities undertaken by such com17

mittee, including a list of the entities participating

18 in such activities;

19 (2) a description of measures undertaken pur20

suant to relevant statutes, including—

21 (A) actions to implement and enforce sec22

tion 3 of this Act and section 3002 of the

23 Emergency Protection for Iraqi Cultural Antiq24

uities Act of 2004 (Public Law 108–429; 118

25 Stat. 2599), including measures to dismantle

9

MRW16052 S.L.C.

1 international networks that traffic illegally in

2 cultural property;

3 (B) a description of any requests for a

4 waiver under section 3(c) of this Act and, for

5 each such request, whether a waiver was grant6

ed;

7 (C) a list of the statutes and regulations

8 employed in criminal, civil, and civil forfeiture

9 actions to prevent illegal trade and trafficking

10 in cultural property; and

11 (D) actions undertaken to ensure the con12

sistent and effective application of law in cases

13 relating to illegal trade and trafficking in cul14

tural property; and

15 (3) actions undertaken in fulfillment of inter16

national agreements on cultural property protection,

17 including the Convention for the Protection of Cul18

tural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, done

19 at The Hague May 14, 1954.

USCBS to Co-Sponsor Event about Heritage Destruction in Syria and Iraq

Click on the photo to see the details of the event.

Click on the photo to see the details of the event.

“Death of History: Witnessing Heritage Destruction in Syria and Iraq”

Please RSVP to the Penn Cultural Heritage Center of the University of Pennsylvania Museum.
EMAIL »

Brought to you by the Penn Cultural Heritage Center of the University of Pennsylvania Museum, the Smithsonian Institution, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield

In coordination with Senator Bob Casey, Senator David Perdue, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Edward Royce, and House Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Eliot Engel

October 28, 2015 from Noon – 1:30 pm in the Kennedy Caucus Room, Russell Senate Office Building

The Islamic State, or ISIS, continues to wreak havoc throughout Iraq and Syria, laying a path of death and destruction in its efforts to create a homogeneous caliphate under its brutal rule. To finance this campaign of violence and bloodshed, ISIS is looting the region’s cultural antiquities and peddling them on the black market. Whatever ISIS terrorists can not remove, they destroy in an effort to wipe out any trace of culture that differs from their view, resulting  in an irreversible loss of cultural heritage for current and future generations. ISIS has destroyed priceless artifacts in Mosul, bulldozed Mesopotamian ruins in the 3,000 year old city of Nimrud, and beheaded a renowned 83-year-old Syrian scholar. 

The ancient cities now facing destruction at the hands of ISIS are considered by many to be the birthplace of modern civilization.  How can we ensure these treasures are not trafficked to finance terrorism? What does this cultural heritage represent to the region and the world? And how can the U.S. and other partners work to preserve it?

Please join us for a special exhibition showcasing the sites and artifacts at risk of destruction in Iraq and Syria, followed by a panel discussion of pending legislation and other efforts to preserve cultural heritage in the face of ISIS.

Featuring distinguished panelists:

•  Richard Kurin, Under Secretary for History, Art, and Culture, Smithsonian Institution
•  Brian I. Daniels, Director of Research and Program, Penn Cultural Heritage Center,  University of Pennsylvania Museum
•  Patty Gerstenblith, Distinguished Research Professor at DePaul University College of Law and Secretary of the U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield
•  Salam al-Kuntar, Fellow, Penn Cultural Heritage Center,  University of Pennsylvania Museum  

Please RSVP to the Penn Cultural Heritage Center of the University of Pennsylvania Museum.
EMAIL »

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.

House bill calls for emergency import restrictions on Syrian cultural property

H.R.5703 — Protect and Preserve International Cultural Property Act (Introduced in House – IH)

HR 5703 IH

113th CONGRESS
2d Session
H. R. 5703

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

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

November 13, 2014

Mr. ENGEL (for himself and Mr. SMITH of New Jersey) 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 of destruction 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’ has the meaning given in Article 1(a)-1(c) of 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)).

SEC. 3. FINDINGS AND STATEMENT OF POLICY.

(a) Findings- Congress finds the following:

(1) 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.
(2) International cultural property has been lost, damaged, or destroyed due to political instability, armed conflict, natural disasters, and other threats.
(3) In Egypt, recent political instability has led to the ransacking of its museums, resulting in the destruction of countless ancient artifacts that will forever leave gaps in humanity’s record of the ancient Egyptian civilization.
(4) In Iraq, after the fall of Saddam Hussein, thieves looted the Iraq Museum in Baghdad, resulting in the loss of approximately 15,000 items. These included ancient amulets, sculptures, ivories, and cylinder seals. Many of these items remain unrecovered.
(5) In Syria, the ongoing civil war has resulted in the shelling of medieval cities, damage
to five UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and the looting of museums and archaeological
sites. Archaeological and historic sites and artifacts in Syria date back more than six
millennia and include some of the earliest examples of writing.
(6) In Iraq and Syria, the militant group ISIS/ISIL has destroyed 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 illicitly trafficked to help fund ISIS/ISIL’s militant
operations.
(7) 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.
(8) In Afghanistan, the Taliban decreed that the Bamiyan Buddhas, ancient statues carved into a cliff side in central Afghanistan, were to be destroyed. In 2001 the Taliban carried out their threat and destroyed the statues, leading to worldwide condemnation.
(9) In Cambodia, following the Khmer Rouge’s seizure of power in 1975 the Khmer
Rouge systematically destroyed many of Cambodia’s Buddhist temples, desecrated
statues, and destroyed Buddhist literature. The Khmer Rouge also destroyed mosques and nearly every Catholic church existing in the country.
(10) In China, during the Cultural Revolution much of China’s antiques were destroyed,
including a large portion of old Beijing. Chinese authorities are now attempting to rebuild portions of China’s lost architectural heritage.
(11) In Haiti, the 2010 earthquake destroyed art, artifacts, and archives important to the people of Haiti, and partially destroyed the 17th century Haitian city of Jacmel.
(12) The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami not only affected eleven countries, causing massive loss of life, but also damaged or destroyed libraries, archives, and UNESCO 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.
(13) The destruction of these and other cultural properties represents an irreparable loss of humanity’s common cultural heritage and is therefore a loss for all Americans.
(14) The United States Armed Forces have played important roles in preserving and
protecting cultural property. On June 23, 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt
established the American Commission for the Protection and Salvage of Artistic and
Historic Monuments in War Areas to provide expert advice to the military on the
protection of cultural property. The Commission formed Monuments, Fine Arts, and
Archives (MFAA) teams which became part of the Civil Affairs Division of Military
Government Section of the Allied armies. The individuals serving in the MFAA were
known as the `Monuments Men’ and have been credited with securing, cataloguing, and returning hundreds of thousands works of art stolen by the Nazis during World War II.
(15) 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, 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 destruction due to
political instability, armed conflict, or natural or other disasters;
(2) protect international cultural property pursuant to its obligations under the 1954
Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and customary international law in all conflicts to which the United States is a party;
(3) prevent, in accordance with existing laws, importation of cultural property pillaged,
looted, or stolen 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 the trafficking in stolen or looted cultural property.

SEC. 4. WHITE HOUSE COORDINATOR FOR INTERNATIONAL
CULTURAL PROPERTY PROTECTION.

The President shall appoint a White House Coordinator for International Cultural Property
Protection. The Coordinator shall—

(1) coordinate and promote efforts to address international cultural property protection activities that involve multiple Federal agencies, including diplomatic activities, military activities, law enforcement activities, import restrictions, and the work of the Cultural Antiquities Task Force established pursuant to the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2004 (Public Law 108-199);
(2) submit to the appropriate congressional committees an annual report on interagency efforts to protect international cultural property based on information required under section 5 of this Act;
(3) provide policy recommendations, if necessary;
(4) resolve interagency differences in a timely, efficient, and effective manner; and
(5) work and consult with domestic and international actors such as foreign governments, nongovernmental organizations, museums, educational institutions, research institutions, and the U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield on efforts to promote and protect international cultural property.

SEC. 5. INFORMATION ON ACTIVITIES TO PROTECT
INTERNATIONAL CULTURAL PROPERTY.

(a) Information on Activities of the Department of State To Protect International Cultural
Property- The Secretary of State shall submit to the White House Coordinator for International Cultural Property Protection information on efforts of the Department of State to protect international cultural property, including–

(1) activities undertaken pursuant to the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, 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; and

(2) actions the Department has taken to protect international cultural property pursuant to other cultural property protection statutes, international agreements, or policies.

(b) Information on Activities of USAID To Protect International Cultural Property- The
Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) shall submit to the White House Coordinator for International Cultural Property Protection information on efforts of 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 of destruction due to political unrest, armed conflict, natural or other disasters, and USAID development programs.
(c) Information on Activities of the Department of Defense To Protect International Cultural
Property- The Secretary of Defense shall submit to the White House Coordinator for International Cultural Property Protection information on efforts of 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, other cultural protection statutes, and international agreements, including–

(1) 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
(2) actions the Department has taken to protect international cultural property, including actions to avoid damage to cultural property through construction activities abroad.

(d) Information on Activities of the Department of Justice To Protect International Cultural
Property- The Attorney General, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, shall submit to the White House Coordinator for International Cultural Property Protection information on efforts of the Department of Justice to protect both international cultural property and international cultural property located in, or attempted to be imported into, the United States, including activities undertaken pursuant to statutes and international agreements. Such information shall include the–

(1) 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
(2) actions the Department has taken in order to ensure the consistent and effective application of law in cases relating to both international cultural property and international cultural property located in, or attempted to be imported into, the United States.

SEC. 6. AUTHORIZATION FOR FEDERAL AGENCIES TO ENGAGE IN INTERNATIONAL CULTURAL PROPERTY PROTECTION ACTIVITIES WITH THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION.

(a) In General- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Department of State, the
Department of Defense, USAID, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of
Justice, the Department of the Interior, the National Archives, the National Science Foundation, and any other agency that is involved in international cultural property protection activities are 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.
(b) Salaries and Expenses- The Federal agencies or departments specified in subsection (a) are authorized to pay the salaries and expenses of personnel from the Smithsonian Institution to assist such agencies or departments in their international cultural property protection activities, including in support of military or diplomatic missions and law enforcement efforts.

SEC. 7. GRANTMAKING AUTHORIZATION FOR THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR INTERNATIONAL CULTURAL PROPERTY PROTECTION ACTIVITIES.

The Secretary of State is authorized to make grants to private individuals or organizations for the purposes of international cultural property protection activities in areas at risk of destruction due to political instability, armed conflict, or natural or other disasters.

SEC. 8. EMERGENCY PROTECTION FOR SYRIAN CULTURAL PROPERTY.

(a) Presidential Determination- Notwithstanding subsection (b) of section 304 of the Convention on the 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 as if Syria were a State Party to such Convention, except that subsection (c) of such section 304 shall not apply. Such import restrictions shall take effect not later than 60 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 August 18, 2011; and
(2) the term `State Party’ has the meaning given such term in section 302 of the Convention on the Cultural Property Implementation Act (19 U.S.C. 2601).

Announcements

Culture under threat

American University of Rome
15-21 May
Conference on the 1954 Hague Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and celebrating it’s 60th Anniversary.
A joint meeting of the American University of Rome, nav shield Blue Shield, the World Archaeological Congress and Newcastle University.

Program details may be found at http://www.aur.edu/gradschool/graduate-programs/sustainable-cultural-heritage/culture-threat-future-1954-hague-convention/

Disaster and Risk Management – ICCROM’s new website!

International Centre for the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) continues to develop its actions in the field of risk management.  ICCROM plays an active role in coordinating the efforts of the international heritage community, in promoting data collection and exchange, and in ensuring that local experience and needs are taken into consideration within the international strategy.  Visit ICCROM’s new website at http://www.iccrom.org/

ICOM-US Announces 2007 International Service Citation

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 16, 2007) – Today, at its 101st Annual Meeting in Chicago, the American Association of Museums (AAM) and the U.S. Committee of the International Council of Museums (ICOM-US) honored Ms. Corine Wegener, President, U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield with the 2007 ICOM-US International Service Citation. The citation strives to honor individuals who have made a commitment to advance the cause of museum-based international relations.

Cori Wegener is assistant curator, Architecture, Design, Decorative Arts, Craft, and Sculpture at The Minneapolis Institute of Arts and is also a major (retired) in the U.S. Army Reserve. Stationed in Baghdad from May 2003 to March 2004, she worked as the Arts, Monuments and Archives Officer for the 352nd Civil Affairs Command, served as the military liaison to the Iraqi Ministry of Culture, and assisted the staff of the Iraq National Museum in their recovery efforts.

After returning to the United States, Wegener looked for ways to prevent the military-civilian disconnect she witnessed in Iraq from recurring. In response, she established the U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield, an American branch of an international committee set up in 1996 to respond to armed conflicts that may threaten cultural property.

In a 2007 Museum News article, “Lost: The Battle to Save Iraq’s Antiquities,” Wegener said, “We are offering training for [Army] Civil Affairs units on how to give first aid to cultural property–how to recognize what is art and how to deal with it in an emergency situation and do the best to stabilize the situation until they can get a professional. The hope is that in the future, it will also be easier to deploy cultural heritage professionals in areas where sites are threatened.”

The U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield coordinates with the U.S. military, U.S. government, and other cultural property organizations to protect cultural property worldwide during armed conflict. It also works to provide advice and assistance to U.S. cultural organizations in emergency planning for situations involving armed conflict.

“We are honored to present Cori with the ICOM-US service citation this year,” said Dr. Nina Archabal, vice chair of ICOM-US and director of the Minnesota Historical Society. “She has demonstrated outstanding leadership, courage and commitment to the international museum community.”

The ICOM-US citation is only presented in years when a person, museum or other organization is identified whose work has promoted international relations and has had significant impact in the museum field. Cori is only the third recipient of the award.

For more information about the U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield, visit www.uscbs.org .
Additional award information, including a list of past citation honorees, is available online athttp://www.aam-us.org/museumresources/icom/icomaward.cfm. Nomination materials will be available in late May.

About ICOM-US
ICOM-US, the U.S. National Committee of the International Council of Museums (ICOM), provides the framework through which US citizens participate ICOM’s world-wide network. ICOM-US members are museum professionals who are committed to learning from and sharing knowledge with colleagues from abroad. ICOM-US members forge ties with colleagues from around the world while bringing global perspectives to their own museums and the communities they serve. For more information, visit http://www.aam-us.org/museumresources/icom/.

About the American Association of Museums
The American Association of Museums (AAM) has been bringing museums together since 1906, helping to develop standards and best practices, gathering and sharing knowledge, and providing advocacy on issues of concern to the entire museum community. With more than 15,000 individual, 3,000 institutional, and 300 corporate members, AAM is dedicated to ensuring that museums remain a vital part of the American landscape, connecting people with the greatest achievements of the human experience, past, present and future. For more information, visit www.aam-us.org.