by Peter Tompa
Morris Khouli, a New York antiquities and coin dealer, has plead guilty to smuggling and false statements to federal law enforcement. See http://www.justice.gov/usao/nye/pr/2012/2012apr18c.html.
Hopefully, the Court will not sentence Mr. Khouli to anywhere near the 20 year maximum for the offenses. Any such penalty would be very harsh for the conduct alleged in the indictment.
One must also question a system where a small businessman can potentially be sentenced to 20 years for falsifying import documents, but which ignores credible allegations that State Department Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Employees misled Congress in an official report about CPAC's true recommendations concerning the controversial 2007 decision to impose import restrictions on coins.
And even worse, it is likely that some of the same employees who pressed for the prosecution of Mr. Khouli, also had something to do with any false declarations to Congress.
Mr. Khoulik has sinned, and now heritage preservation zealots are lining up to cast stones upon him. Let us remember what Jesus Christ said regarding stoning sinners: "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone."
As Peter Tompa notes, many of those preparing to cast stones have grave misdeeds upon their own consciences which if they were capable of objective moral reasoning, would deter them from vengefully casting their missiles of hate.
There is however one type of person who is never deterred or influenced by conscience: the ideological zealot, to whom the end always justifies the means and in whose mind a "noble" cause such as heritage preservation is infinitely more important than the crass commercial interests of this New York antiquities and coin dealer whom now they seek to imprison for twenty years.
In their eyes, a merciless example must be made in this case to deter other crass commercial interests from even considering to evade the import restrictions these zealots have imposed, in their quest to strangle private collecting of antiquities by bureaucratic fiat.
I agree that a merciless example must be made in this case. The subject(s) however should not be Mr. Knoulik but the staff of the State Department's Cultural Heritage Center led by "Stealth Fighter" Maria Kouroupas who, in her obsessive campaign to destroy the antiquities trade has broken and bent many more laws than Al Capone ever did.
The Cultural Heritage Center should immediately be abolished, and the President should himself decide the disposition of all requests for import restrictions until the flaws in the 1983 CCPIA which have so unscrupulously been exploited by Kouroupas and her gang have been rectified.
Do you think President Obama will now do what so obviously needs to be done here? If he does not, then it's time for the voters to make a change.