Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Symposium on the 30th Anniversary of the Cultural Property Implementation Act
by Peter Tompa 

The New York City Bar and the American Society of International Law are sponsoring a symposium on the 30th Anniversary of the CPIA on Tuesday, October 22, 2013, 6:30 PM- 9:00 PM.  To register, click here.

City Bar Member Price : Free
ASIL Member Price : Free
Non Member Price : $15.00

Where: New York City Bar
42 West 44th Street
New York, NY 10036

Passed by Congress in 1983, the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act (Public Law No. 97-446, 96 Stat. 2350, 19 U.S.C. §2601 et seq.)(the “CPIA”) was the result of ten years of lobbying and legislative drafting and compromise by U.S. government agencies, dealers, museums, collectors, academics and source countries. This panel will explore the history of the CPIA, its implementation over the past thirty years and new ideas about improving the CPIA in the future. A Q&A to follow.
Introduction: JOSH LIPSMAN, Chair, Cultural Property Subcommittee
Moderator: MICHAEL McCULLOUGH, Chair, International Trade Subcommittee and Managing Partner, Michael McCullough LLC
Speakers: ARTHUR A. HOUGHTON, Former State Department Official and two-term member of the Cultural Property Advisory Committee; LAWRENCE MUSHINSKE, Former U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office and National Import Specialist for Art and Antiques; PETER K. TOMPA, Attorney, Bailey & Ehrenberg; JONATHAN ILLARI, Associate General Counsel, Bonhams; LEILA AMINEDDOLEH, Executive Director, Lawyers’ Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation and Adjunct Professor, St. John’s University School of Law
Sponsored by: Committee on Art Law, Dean Nicyper, Chair
Co-sponsored by: Cultural Heritage and the Arts Interest Group, American Society of International Law (ASIL), Irina Tarsis, Chair


The tridecennial of the CCPIA is an occasion tha positively cries out for a thoughtful and unbiased review of what has transpired during those thirty years, in comparison with what Congress expected when administration of this law was entrusted to the State Depargment under the guidance and direction of Maria Kouroupas.

It is far past time that such a review should take place. Achaeologist Kouroupas and her hand-picked minions have become notorious for pursuing an anticollecting, antitrade and essentially antiAmerican agenda, whereby the lawful rights of individual American citizens interested in collecting antiquities are automatically and without compunction subordinated to any and every claim made by a foreign government, however slender the supporting evidence may be.

It is far past time for the US government to adopt a legal perspective that factual truth must be the basis for analyzing and adjudicating the requests for import restrictions submitted by foreign governments, and that (for example) a claim submitted by a foreign government such of that of the Republic of Cyprus must not receive any more consideration than the lawful rights of one individual US antiquties collector or law-abiding US antiquities dealer.


Sunday, September 29, 2013

ACCG Test Case Forfeiture Trial Developments

ACCG Files Amended Answer
by Peter Tompa

The ACCG has filed an Amended Answer and Pro Forma Response to the government's motion to strike defenses set forth in its initial answer to the government's forfeiture complaint.  The exhibits to the amended answer are available on the Court's PACER database.   The amended answer reiterates that the focus of this case is whether the government can meet its burden to show the coins at issue were "first discovered in" and "subject to the export control" of China or Cyprus.  Based on information secured from former CPAC members and FOIA, it would seem not.


 >> The amended answer reiterates that the focus of this case is whether the government can meet its burden to show the coins at issue were "first discovered in" and "subject to the export control" of China or Cyprus.  Based on information secured from former CPAC members and FOIA, it would seem not.

This doctrine of "presumptive origin" is one of the two key issues at stake in this trial, the other being State Department maladministration of the CPAC process and failure to comply with reporting and transparancy obligations mandated by the 1983 CCPIA.

In this observer's opinion, the factual basis for the ACCG's case is very strong.

To date the Government has relied almost exclusively upon procedural and jurisdictional arguments in contesting ACCG's efforts to force a trial of the State Department's conduct in collaboratively negotiating MOUs with foreign governments, rather than impartially examining and reporting upon requests drafted without USS assistance, as Congress had clearly intended the CPAC process to regulate.

Now that a trial upon factual issues appears to be imminent, there are grounds for optimism that the excesses of the Kouroupas regime can finally be dealt with in a  rational manner.


Mr. Barford's Provenance

ACCG Run by Story-Telling Clowns
by Paul Barford


I would have thought it recognisable by most normal people to be a rather risky task to attempt to write a biography (and psychological profile) of someone you have never met and have not the faintest idea of what he did where, when, with whom, why and in what order. But that is basically what the ACCG's Dave Welsh has just done, making it all up as he goes in his latest  ad hominem "Ancient Coins" commentary There is very little in this entire ill-researched text which is true, apart from my name being Paul Barford. Most of the disparate pieces of information Welsh hangs on that name are false or misrepresented.  Really, really pathetic.




Yes, there is something pathetic in all this, and it certainly is not my account of Mr. Barford and his brief career as an archaeologist during the 1980s, and how he came to become a document translator and language consultant in Warsaw,

Mr, Barford apparently believes that it is possible for him to rail at collectors, dealers and detectorists in  unpleasantly sarcastic, denigrating and confrontational terms, ceaselessly berating them for not conforming to his own personal concepts of collecting, dealing and detecting ethics. without anyone consequently making a searching and critical enquiry regarding what his actual academic and archaeological qualifications are. He apparently believes that this brief statement which appears in his blog:

"British archaeologist living and working in Warsaw Poland. Since the early 1990s a primary interest has been research on artefact hunting and collecting and the market in portable antiquities in the international context."

suffices to establish him as a renowned expert whose statements of opinion must be accepted as gospel because he is, don't you know, an ARCHAEOLOGIST.

So far as I, or anyone else interested in his actual qualifications can determine, he failed to matriculate from the Institute of Archaeology in London, then worked for a few years in a junior position doing fieldwork in the UK. In 1986 he moved to Poland, where he became first an assistant lecturer at the Institute of Archaeology, University of Warsaw, and later was appointed as an Inspector of Ancient Monuments in the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland.

In 1989 Poland was shaken by the victory of the Solidarity movement, and a non-Communist government was sworn into office on 13 September 1989. It immediately adopted radical economic policies which transformed Poland into a functioning market economy over the course of the next year. By 1990 Lech Walesa had been inaugurated as President and the communist Polish United Workers' Party dissolved itself to re-emerge as the Social Democracy of the Republic of Poland.

Thereafter, there is no evidence that Mr. Barford has been gainfully employed in any position related to archaeology. In the absence of any published account of the departure of Mr. Barford from his position as Inspector of Ancient Monuments, it is reasonable to assume that this departure took place late in 1989 or at some time during 1990.

Since these positions did not involve archaeological fieldwork to any significant extent, it is fair to say the Mr. Barford has not actually practised as an archaeologist for more than twenty-five years, after a brief and undistinguished fieldwork career. Yet he presents himself as an expert on the subject, whose opinions should be accepted by the public as definitive, even by those whom he berates.

No sensible person would consider following the "professional" advice of a doctor, lawyer, accountant or engineer who had only worked in his profession for a few years, without earning any particular distinction, and had left that profession twenty-five years ago.

In December 2010, bemused by the irrationality and audacity of these apparently unsubstantiated pretensions, I posted in this blog the following:

"The Unprovenanced Archaeologist"


"Mr. Barford has had much to say about the iniquity of offering artifacts for sale or acquiring them, without disclosure of their provenance. He is, however, freely voicing what are clearly intended to be taken as the opinions of an expert, without adequately disclosing his own claim to be considered an expert. It is time for Mr. Barford to disclose HIS provenance."

Why has Mr. Barford not followed the example of others who present themselves to the public as experts, in publishing a detailed and factual curriculum vitae?

I have done so myself, and so have Wayne Sayles, Peter Tompa, Arthur Houghton and many other leading numismatists who have at one time or another been the subject of diatribes in Barford's blog.

If Mr. Barford does not like to have his credentials called into question and speculated upon, the simple and obvious solution is to publish them.