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tv   [untitled]    December 27, 2021 9:00am-9:30am AST

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[000:00:00;00] ah, al jazeera, with every oh no, i'm fully battery boy. doha, with the headlines on al jazeera somali as president has ordered the prime minister, suspension saying he plans to open a corruption investigation against him. as in why made up to life are my jo and mom at hussein. rob lee have been accusing each other of holding up ongoing parliamentary elections from i to has also suspended the commander of the marine forces. south africa is beginning 7 days of mourning for nobel peace prize. laurie at desmond tutu, was died at the age of 90, a series of events being planned to mark his passing, including
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a safe funeral on january 1st. gillian war freeport, from cape town. as news broke of the death of their beloved bishop desmond tutu tributes poured in from across south africa and around the world. his legacy will be his love for all people. oh, i don't know whether have you come across his writings. he has always said that god is not god of christie's. god is god off or people. so his main legacy is his love for all gods people. and he believes that everyone is created in the image and he used to it, it would. beautiful image of god and of terry. that was so personally in my own ministry. yeah. he loved people. america's former president and 1st ever black leader, brock obama called to to a mentor,
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friend and moral compass. pope francis express in gratitude for his service to the gospel and queen elizabeth remembering his warmth and humour, the elders, a group co founded by desmond to to express their devastation. president sir, over, i'm opposed. calling the archbishop, a patriot, who gave meaning to the biblical saying that faith without works is dead to, to continuously challenge the status quo on issues like race, homosexuality, and religious doctrine. he also never stop fighting for the people of his country, which he dubbed the rainbow nation at the city saint george's cathedral known as the people's cathedral and powerful symbol of south african democracy. locals laid flowers as they bid farewell. friends, family and faith leaders flocked to his cape town home to mourn the loss of their loved one. this has been a long journey and we have all being praying that his makeup takes him
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because he is given as 90 years of his life. and he was, are very frail in the end. and so we, as the family really make peace with the fact that we shoot lit, we cannot expect it man was given so much of his life to be there for his daughter. speaking of the hope she has for a future generation of leaders, the young people who are leading of the movement to save our planet in this country . the young people who was speaking out against economic injustice, the young people who are speaking out about access to education. i see i see those leaders as the country prepares to say good bye to this visionary leader and moral force. those closes to him will pay their respects in both the
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tribal closer and christian traditions. join wolfe al jazeera cape town, south africa. in avenues a hospital in australia has once again apologize for errors with coven 19 tests, another 995 people have been told there. negative results were in fact wrong. that's on top of 400 wrongly detected cases on sunday. testing sites are overwhelmed and made a spike in cases. in brazil, rescue teams are trying to reach people trapped in by a state. after 2 dams burst it follows weeks of heavy rains. official say the area received 5 times the average rainfall for december. these really government has approved a plan to double the number of jewish settlers in the occupied golden heights. the cabinet has endorsed a $300000000.00 planned for the settlement. israel annexed the golan heights in 1991 from syria. a move not recognized by the international community. those are the headlines. next,
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it's the bottom line. i me, i am steve clements and i have a question. how did the united states become the world's biggest black market for stolen artifacts from ancient civilizations? let's get to the bottom line. ah, well, if you're in the market for a coffin from the time of pharaoh's in egypt or gold from the empire, you've come to the right place. the united states is one of the world's main places for cultural racketeering, which is the illicit trade in ancient art and artifacts. the antiquity straight is a multi $1000000000.00 industry and it takes place around the world. in all fairness, the united states isn't alone. the problem runs from germany to england, to china, the middle east and beyond. just last month, france returned 26 works of art to benny, which had been demanding the return since 1892. that's about 130 years ago when french colonial soldiers basically stole them and brought them home. that sort of
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thing is taking place now all over the world, especially in the arab world. buyers and sellers are taking advantage of lax regulations, making deals on statues from yemen or clay from the babylonians all the time. so how does the trade happen and what's being done to stop it? today we're talking to deborah layer, the founder of the antiquities coalition, which focuses on protecting cultural heritage around the world. an awesome professor of middle east history and anthropology and shiny state university and ohio, and currently a visiting professor at katara university professor. all awesome is the co director of the antiquities trafficking and heritage anthropology research project. it's really great to have you both here. i've always been interested in this subject as we saw. essentially, the looting happen in the instability from the arab spring. and after the words that have happened in the middle east, you begin seeing things on facebook and e bay that you clearly knew who were looted
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from places. and we saw this going on. so armor kind of tell us about the smuggling route, how to artifacts get out of these places that we know which this is our cultural past, our history. how do they find themselves into the homes of billionaires or into museum collections from, from the area of the world where you are in right now? right, well the 1st thing to say here is that looting of artifacts from, you know, tombs in places, archaeological side cetera, is as old as humanity itself. as long as people have been bearing the dead with goodies, someone's been coming up behind them, digging them up, and then taking them and trying to make a profit from them. so this is not a new phenomenon. this is not specific to a certain time or place or space that said often and as we see in times of conflict in times of instability. and, you know, obviously the region since 2011 has been going through a multiple,
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a, you know, difficulties was conflicts, et cetera. we see an increase in this kind of looting and trafficking in antiquities and cultural heritage. and places like syria, libya and yemen, eval and eval suffered extremely of course iraq. we all know what happened to the museum baghdad. all of these places get looted and these are manifestations of basically the inability and loss of control by law enforcement agencies and the institutions that are intended to protect a cultural heritage, sites and monuments. and usually the looting is done either by organized trafficking, gangs, et cetera. which is one way this is done, but also we mustn't forget that in many cases it's just average people everyday people who just want to make ends meet and we refer to these as subsistence looters . and between the 2 of them, you end up with a lot of stuff flooding the market will armor. we also saw this from isis. we saw
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this from terror groups. we saw isis, which was out either destroying. ah, you know, big a cultural relics, you know, buildings and sites of worship. but taking these antiquities to also help fuel itself. tell us about that. this will certainly em, we'd appreciate that groups like isis and isis is not exclusive in this. basically see cultural heritage as a resource and they exploit this resource in number of different ways effectively in the case of isis. and they may looted what they can sell and what they could not sell because he was too big or immovable. they then destroyed in this, these very public set of manner displays i referred to these as cultural heritage atrocities. and these was specifically designed to demonstrate the able devices to act with impunity. and the impotence of the international community unlocked communities to prevent them from doing that. so essentially,
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isis exploited cultural heritage as a resource in missing with a but exploit and mineral wealth or a cotton harvest or, or any other if you know, and material or something that can use to enrich themselves and to fund their activities. and, and of course, the other big game changer in all of this was the expansion of the internet and social media platforms. which kind of really acted as a game changer from around 20132014 onwards opening up the market in ways that we could not imagine before. well, thank you. deborah layer, you felt found the antiquities coalition because you were disturbed by what you saw in the practice, the racketeering. the looting of these are incredibly priceless artifacts from arc really it's our collective pass. it's all of our collect a pass from ancient civilization and whatnot. and i'm just interested in what the ecosystem is and, and, and how, when you sort of look at it today and,
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and what are the parts of this ecosystem that you feel we can, you know, make an impact on? well, one of the things that we're very appreciative is that the political will, is growing in recognition that this is a serious crime and it's a global crime. an, as honor rightly pointed out, some of the, you know, looting has been going on as long as there have been very treasure. but with the advent of sophisticated technologies like the internet, with express mail, with these online auction houses. now you make this looting essentially in the market for a global and so you can tap into that and the conventions that we have the international laws that we have pre date in many times. this new technology, the, the main one from you. now sco dates from 1970. so we need to create a new updated legal structure that reflects the modern so what's the limit of that unesco framework? what's wrong with it that it's not capturing this did these digital platforms,
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so it doesn't give the ability to even address e commerce, for example, it doesn't give you now sco the ability in many ways to be proactive in its nature . in times of conflict to go in and create for example, a blue helmets for culture and the italians took the lead and trying to do that through the united nations and recognition at this crisis with support from jordan and iraq. but we still have a ways to go for the international community in particular unesco to be proactive. what we do have, which i think it's very encouraging, is the g 20 under italy's leadership actually took up the issue this year. and they are looking at how we can address through the major markets which tend to be the demand countries creating the infrastructure, whether it's through our crime squads in the police, through being creative and how we would use for example, anti money laundering laws and other capabilities raising awareness amongst dealers, collectors auction houses to offer the sellers of these items to raise awareness,
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to make sure that it's being seen as a serious crime. what you know, what fasting things. i've been reading about awesome group and i'm fascinated because it sounds like you have league of facebook watchers. you've got a great report out on, on facebook, and i myself, have seen the artifacts on facebook and on a um, e bay. and. and so when you look at the digital platforms, the visuals of these things help broaden the market, but they also help you know, those that are watching kind of see what you're doing. tell us about this golden sarcophagus at the met. well, that's what to you rightly point out. i mean it's now become this global platform, right? it used to be, in the old days, you'd walk into a manhattan show room, they would only be able to have an inventory of a few items. you would see what you were getting, you would make the purchase. now you can take a look at it online. and in the case of the med, they actually it is a very famous photo. if this is our mass horn to museum of better policy, big man, the big met,
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an a simple google search would have identified that on of the stamp that was on his full size golden sarcophagus from egypt. that it was actually a fake provenance. just a simple google search is what was needed and it was bought from europe. it had been looted from egypt after 2011 beautiful piece that has since been repatriated back to egypt. and it was a photo with kim carr dash and standing in front of it. absolutely. and the met ball zillions of people saw it. right. of course. yeah, i find that fasting. and in just another one, you know, i find this fascinating that some of the worst culprits in this are in the united states. michael steinhart, a 1000000000 are very famous in the hedge fund industry. i had a 180 or more looted items. what's the story there and donated to that to the met, also a piece that had to be returned and to many other major museums. and steinhart is just one example of many, and this is part of
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a global network that we need to start to address. starting from the supply countries, and we know in some cases with the breakdown and civil society, people are looking for how they can survive. we understand. but at these international gangs that start to get involved in the mid level people, the distributors and some days in cases and with syria and iraq. for example, when the worst of alluding was going on in the time of the crisis, much of the antiquities were coming across the turkish border. and as police were looking to stop them, one day they would be seizing antiquities and humans. another day it was antiquities and nuclear materials. so the distribution networks tend to be the same with just a variety of products. it then gets to a middle man where it's specialized, and these specialists then start to work with experts. whether it's in the case recently of southeast asian art, somebody out of thailand was acting as a middle man for the career ruse when they needed some money for the civil war.
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they would sell a few diluted antiquities from cambodia. he worked with a professor here in the u. s. and a very well known and well respected dealer and manhattan who's just plead guilty to 3 felony crimes for her complicit work in selling the southeast asian antiquity . wow, so this corruption, even in the finest salons, amr, i'm, i'm really interested in how for our audience we process what is, what are the kinds of appropriate artifacts that are in museums? you know, i've been to the museum of art and philadelphia, or the museums of natural history, and we see mummies and sarcophagus. we see the elgin marbles in london. we see, you know, lot of elements of our collective history in these great museums in the world. howard those different than what you're trying to stop today, or is it all part of the, you know, the same, you know, the same process of,
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you know, looting? well, i mean, technically, and, and i say technically any item in a museum today, or whether it's the metropolitan museum, whether it's the loop in paris, whether it's the british museum, philadelphia, or any of these other museums that you mentioned. technically any, i think that doesn't originate in that country or from that country has at some point been looted. now, the question of legality is another matter altogether, because obviously, you know, whilst the original owners of these artifacts would want to claim them back. and we know that there are numerous countries in the case of the island in marbles. for example, the grease has been demanding their return for many, many, many years. but the $970.00 unesco convention, which i believe debra mentioned earlier on, is kind of the, you know,
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the watershed point where it was decided with the assembly convention than any item that happened to already be out of its country of origin irrespective of how it got ad m as long as that happened, often one thing before, 1970. then it take that it gets grandfather dean. so everything we work on and we work on today is focused on artifact objects. items that are looted or supposed to have originated outside or come outside, often 970 and to make this kind of little clearer, imagine and if you remember, there was a case in 2019. and when chris sees where showing that the head from when a student comes to and it was a huge, huge discussion and debate and any egyptians were claiming that this was looted and it needed to be returned. and the, you know, and christie's were saying no, no, no, and this is, this is legal. we can sell it than the original owner,
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the owners who are in the tank. i'm with a guy, you know, in a town town saying none of that we can hold onto this. what was incredible for us is no one was disputing. he was looted neither the gibbons nor the owners nor chris . nobody was saying that and this was not lose it. everybody agreed, it was looted and that's what for me was incredible. what the argument was about was it was it before 970 you were up to 970 so it's ok for me looted as those is looted before 1970 and he thought okay, of and i think that's part of the problem that we have now, there are many ways to address this, i think, and there are ways that are already sort of, you know, he in play. one way is to, for example, suggest that, you know, one country might put these objects that are already in, say, the lube or in the matter elsewhere on a long term loan or permanent loan. but the original ownership would be rich given back to the country of origin. there are ways of making this right without just
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emptying out a lot of museums. but there needs to be a recognition that there was a fundamental wrong done in the 1st place for all these objects. and items were taken out where it just sounds like, you know, so interesting that the early crimes are somehow more legitimate now than these others. but deborah, you know, i, i am interested in, in the approach of how do you basically drain the swamp of, of the financial ecosystem where these products find buyers than there is a market place out there. and if you succeed, if your coalition succeeds over time, do you worry that those items then become so hot, so toxic to own and worthless in a way actually of negative value given the fact that they were deluded that they'll be destroyed. i'm wondering what the tension is for because i'm reading and you know, again and in some of what armor has put out there, that some of the looting is taken from some of these war sites and held for a decade before they find their way to market so if,
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if you succeed in draining that, that financial success for those that are looting, do you worry that those artifacts will be destroyed? i don't see that, that's really a big risk. and what we're trying to do, what we're trying to do is just make it more difficult. and it's not like say with some of the fine pieces of ivory that we saw mass destruction down of ivory. what we are trying to do is to one make it so that if people would be willing to return them to make sure that there's a recognition that these things are looted and you should be aware when you're buying. and that's, that's part of the issue. and the chinese have a great saying scare the chicken to kill the monkeys. i mean, sorry, the other way till the ticket to scare the monkeys. and to go after and make one big example. in the case of michael stein hard in the fact that they've gone and banned him from life or collecting that sends a very strong signal to the collecting community in new york that they need to be
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aware of what they are doing. one of the other things that we have really focused on to is creating a legal basis for the ability to engage in the legal trade. so for example, with egypt, egypt has now negotiated a cultural memorandum of understanding with the united states. and the basis is the 1970 convention. but what they have agreed with us is that certain types of their antiquities now cannot be exported to the united states and less the person purchasing them has an import permit. and in this case, it shifts the burden of proof. so in the case of the met, for example, before this agreement, the met would have to prove that the, i'm sorry, eat it, would have to prove that the item was looted now, then that has to prove that the item is legitimate, coming in. interesting. now just just for you, go back to amr, but i'm interested in this museum of the bible here in washington. dc basically set
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up and established by stephen green, who also with the hobby lobby hobby lobby, had a decision against it, also for trading and artifacts which, you know, looted, artifacts and, and had to return many of these. how did the museum of the bible get on the wrong side of this racket? i think in the case of the hobby lobby issue and the museum of the bible, it was perhaps over enthusiasm. and they were going out and dealing with the dealers and others who were providing them with very bad advice. they had gotten legal advice, saying not to go ahead with some of these purchases from one of the top cultural property lawyers. and they still went ahead with an anyway and they've had, they've been fined $3000000.00. they had to return a lot of the items that they had. but they also donated a number of their collection to the museum of the bible. so the museum of the bible
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has now brought in experts to go through all of their collection. they found that every one of the dead sea scrolls that they had purchased actually were fake. which is one of the other issues in the market here. you never really know if you're buying something that's been looted or potentially fake and they've had to return a number of their items, including a tablet that they've had to return to iraq on. one of the things that i talked about earlier is this antiquities trapping, trafficking, and heritage anthropology research project. you, you and your colleagues are essentially watching social media and i'd like our audience to know where are these items showing up in social media? you did a project on facebook, is facebook cooperating, or they turning a blind eye to this trafficking that's going on? what are some of the other platforms where you see essentially the, the, the market for stolen and looted antiquities. right,
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so and my colleague, katie pool and myself and kitty actually used to work with them at deborah, at the antiquities coalition when we 1st met. and so we started looking at social media because we noticed from around 2013 onwards as social media and as faith was becoming extremely popular in as say, areas like the men at region, the middle east that in and it's almost specifically those conflict sounds like syria like libya like yemen, and we noticed that these artifacts and when you were being looted, where some nissan show up, i'm on social media on facebook. and as we dug in more and more into that, and really katie gets the biggest share of the credit here for doing this. and we noticed that there were these groups that were forming and part of the algorithm of how facebook works essentially encourages people to join groups invites you
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introduce. so once it notices once the other than us is that your interest in something, it then kind of opens up more and more to it. so what happened then is that if you think of it this way, the same and tools, the same, the same set of feet right on facebook that you and i might use to share a photo of ourselves or to hire what we did this morning, or who we met with becomes the perfect to kid for it would be trafficker or looter to basically put there. where's that and most critically here is it became the great equalizer because it removed the most single important bottleneck. that is when the something, when that item comes out of the ground and then how do you bring it out? how do you show it to potential buyers and will critically buyers who pay real money. the fact that that, that bottleneck, that intermediaries that gone, because then you can take the site and put it on, on online and basically on, in these groups. and suddenly everybody can see, it was a huge,
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huge game changer we'd track right now was 300, right? 30 groups on facebook and in excess of 2500000 people right now hold them obviously active, but they're, they're in these groups of m. m. and that's it in ya credible change. of course facebook do not. you know, help us. they don't work. they did their knowledge even that they had a problem until very recently, when we finally got them lost right in 2020 at to change the yeah, the dryer, i'm a, we're right at the and i british, i appreciate that. thank you. let me just ask deborah real quick and our last 30 seconds here. and what else do you need to change by way of law? just 30 seconds. us law international law. what else would help you in your cause? well, one of the things is for countries to extend the on laws for money laundering to include the trade and antiquities to include the art and antiquities market, which is the largest unregulated or self regulated market in the world today. a
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fasting will deborah layer, founder of the antiquities coalition and armor, all awesome professor of middle east history and anthropology. thank you so much for being with us. did a fascinating conversation? i've been wanting to have this conversation for a year. oh, very glad we've done it. now thank you so much. thank you. thank you. so what's the bottom line? stealing and trafficking in other people's cultural past and treasures is a huge, multi 1000000000 dollar industry. western museums and private collections are just chalk, full of antiquities, taken during wars and occupations, and other acts of imperialism and colonialism. individuals were the original looters and now they are criminal syndicates and they use big social media platforms like facebook and ebay to sell these prices. items that in case our history, buyers her out there, fueling this criminal racket. and we all of us. that means you that means me are the victims. as my guest said to day, we need more awareness of this. and only networks of those who care can protect our history culture and past i care and you should to and that's the bottom line.
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ah. on counting the cost beyond the tourism, the world's richest men making a drab to control access to the trillion dollar space industry. all cows, the new coal. why rich stations of emitted agriculture from climate change and how flouring cost lives in iraq? counting the calls on al jazeera i with,
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[000:00:00;00] with lou lou again, i'm fully battery boy with the headlines on al jazeera somali as president has ordered the prime minister, suspension saying he plans to open a corruption investigation against him. present why made up to life are my jo ann mohammed who st globally have been accusing each other of holding up ongoing


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