Wednesday, November 02, 2011

A Body of Evidence

Posts from US collectors (and a few coin dealers such as myself) protesting the expected inclusion of ancient coins in the forthcoming Memorandum of Understanding whose details have unquestionably already been negotiated with Bulgaria, are definitely well worth reading. These comments all (including my own probably futile attempt to bring a modest dose of reason and fairness to an inherently irrational and unfair process) express genuinely sincere, individually composed opinions.

There is no robosigning in any of this public pro-collecting commentary, no easy and unthinking adding of one's name to a carefully composed and organizationally drafted petition. Instead we here confront a body of sincere, deeply felt and individually composed evidence attesting to the reaction of US coin collectors outraged by the unreasonable and unfair manner in which the US State Department maladministers the 1983 CCPIA implementing US accession to the 1970 UNESCO Convention.

This impressive body of evidence ought to give every State Department official, and every other elected or appointed official in the Obama administration who is in any way involved with US cultural heritage policy, reason for serious reflection as to how US citizens perceive the actions of unelected bureaucrats entrusted with the administration of US cultural heritage policy.

Such a reason for reflection of course does not imply that anyone in the present administration can be expected to devote any attention to this situation. We have long ago seen that no one in the Executive branch of government has paid any significant attention to such issues at any point during the past fifty years. Instead the rights and interests of US collectors interested in minor antiquities such as ancient coins have always been viewed as insignificant compared to transient considerations that motivate the State Department to enter into bilateral agreements with foreign governments.

The inescapable conclusion many tens of thousands of US collectors of minor antiquities such as ancient coins now confront is that they cannot trust their government, nor expect just treatment regarding their interest in collecting minor antiquities. This is a disgraceful and reprehensible state of affairs that demands corrective action.

Unless State Department maladministration of the 1983 CCPIA is significantly reformed, so that its provisions will once again be administered in the fair, evenhanded and judicious manner that was clearly the legislative intent of Congress, I can see no alternative to a long-term legislative campaign to repeal US accession to the 1970 UNESCO Convention.

We have recently seen the clearest possible evidence that UNESCO is an organization inherently opposed to and relentlessly working to undermine essential principles and aspects of US foreign policy, notably US support for the continued existence of Israel and a secure Jewish homeland within the historical borders of ancient Palestine.

It is now inescapably clear that UNESCO has become a dangerous threat to important US foreign policy interests, and that the 1970 UNESCO Convention is an agreement being inappropriately exploited for transient diplomatic purposes inimical to the rights and longstanding legitimate interests of large numbers of US citizens.

It is time to send a clear and unmistakeable message to the UN and to all who seek to use that pernicious organization as a tool for promoting corrosive anti-American goals. The United States should now permanently withdraw from UNESCO, in the process denouncing and repealing US accession to all UNESCO conventions, particularly the unjustly and unfairly administered 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Cultural Property.


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