November 23, 2006

 

Iraqcrisis digest, Vol 1 #744 - 1 msg

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Date: Nov 23, 2006 12:00 PM
Subject: Iraqcrisis digest, Vol 1 #744 - 1 msg
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Today's Topics:

1. Forged Iraq art used to fund terrorism -UK police (Gerstenblith, Patty)

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Forged Iraq art used to fund terrorism -UK police
22 Nov 2006 16:12:00 GMT
Source: Reuters

More LONDON, Nov 22 (Reuters) - Criminal gangs in Iraq and the Middle =
East
are selling forged art works on auction Web site eBay and in antique =
markets
in Britain to help fund terrorism, British police said on Wednesday.

The extent of the scam was not clear but the items, purportedly Iraqi or
heirlooms from the region, could each sell for up to a couple of =
thousand
pounds (dollars), according to London police's Arts and Antiques Unit.

"Archaeological stuff is being exported by the ton-load from Middle =
Eastern
countries and (the money) is going back into the Middle East area and =
some
will inevitably end up in the hands of terrorists," Detective Constable =
Ian
Lawson told reporters.

"We know for a fact there is a terrorism link."

"There's a trend where items are faked in Iraq and brought into the UK," =
he
said.

The goods were then sold to tourists or minor collectors.

In the aftermath of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, thousands of
treasures were looted from the country and smuggled out to collectors =
across
the world.

Lawson said criminals had got round subsequent bans on the sale of any =
item
taken out of Iraq after 1990 by labelling artworks as "Mesopotamian".

Lawson, speaking at an exhibition of faked and forged artwork seized by =
his
London unit, held up as an example a "Mesopotamian" cone supposedly =
dating
from 2,100 to 1,800 BC.

"We have reason to believe the funds are going back into Iraq possibly =
to
fund terrorism or insurgents there," Lawson said, although he added =
there
had been no prosecutions so far.

Article posted by
Patty Gerstenblith
Professor, DePaul University
College of Law

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