Antiquities Bust Highlights Trafficking of Cultural Heritage

Low risk and high profits…

From Interpol in part:

Every June and December, we highlight the most wanted works of art through a poster that is distributed to countries.

50b_WOA-poster

The Soufan Center:

Police in Italy recently broke up a major international antiquities trafficking ring, seizing more than 3,500 ancient artifacts and arresting 21 people across multiple locations, in late May. The 21 detained suspects – 30 more remain at large – face charges that include criminal conspiracy, theft, and the illegal export of goods, according to a special unit dedicated to combatting the illicit trafficking of cultural property. The investigation by the Comando Carabinieri Tutela Patrimonio Culturale, also known as the Carabinieri “Art Squad,” began last fall and uncovered several sites in southern Italy associated with the trafficking ring, including illegal dig sites and operational bases. During raids on the locations, police found ancient ceramics, jewelry, miniatures, and hundreds of bronze, gold, and silver coins dating from the 4th century B.C. to the 3rd century A.D. According to the police, the items have “inestimable historical, artistic, and commercial value.” Authorities also recovered excavation tools as well as documentation of illicit transactions in Italy and abroad. The criminal operation involved illicit actors at almost every stage of the process, including grave diggers, “fencers” (individuals who knowingly buy the stolen art to resell for a profit), and exporters (who facilitate sales of illegally sourced relics to auction houses and buyers abroad). Italy has taken a leading role on the issue of cultural heritage trafficking in the United Nations and more broadly.

The operation, which has been heralded by the Carabinieri and Italy’s Minister of Culture as a resounding success, starkly displays not only the vulnerability of ancient Italian artifacts to traffickers, but also the financial incentives that drive illicit actors to exploit cultural heritage more broadly. The estimated worth of the transnational trade in cultural heritage trafficking ranges from several hundred million to billions of dollars annually, according to the U.S. Congressional Research Service. Confidentiality, challenges in documenting provenance, the use of intermediaries, and inconsistent due diligence practices all contribute to the illegal trade. Moreover, archaeological sites and artifacts in countries with armed conflict, such as Iraq and Syria, are particularly vulnerable to trafficking and exploitation, as the chaos of war can enable illicit actors, including terrorists, to illegally obtain, circumvent due diligence practices, and, ultimately, profit from the sale of antiquities abroad. Islamic State’s exploitation of cultural heritage has helped finance the group’s activities and strengthened its ties with transnational organized crime. In response to this threat, the UN Security Council unanimously voted to adopt Resolution 2347 in 2017, warning that any trade involving ISIS, Al Nusra Front, or Al-Qaeda affiliates could cons­­­titute financial support for sanctioned entities.

Beyond the financial incentive, illicit actors have targeted and exploited cultural heritage to further their agendas – either by validating their narratives or providing financial gain – and to marginalize and stigmatize communities. The 2001 destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas by the Taliban, the 2014 destruction of the Sukur cultural landscape in Nigeria by Boko Haram, Islamic State’s destruction of historical and cultural sites and works of art in Palmyra, Syria, and the destruction of mausoleums in Timbuktu, Mali, by Ansar Dine and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Mahgreb all exemplify how terrorist groups target cultural heritage to strengthen their narratives. In doing so, these groups may seek to destroy a community’s collective cultural identity by targeting sites that the attackers might deem idolatrous to validate their own narrative, or they may target sites that are an integral part of the cultural or religious life of the community to subjugate their victims. Under the Rome Statute, these actions constitute war crimes. They have been prosecuted as such by the International Criminal Court. In 2016­­, a case was brought against a member of Ansar Dine for intentionally directing attack against religious and historic buildings in Timbuktu. In post-conflict contexts, the destruction of cultural heritage can hinder post-conflict recovery and peacebuilding efforts.

Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine highlights the role that state actors can play in the destruction of cultural heritage, and how the tactic can be used to obliterate a community’s collective identity. As of May 31, 2023, the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) had verified that over 250 sites in Ukraine had been damaged, with over 150 partially or totally destroyed, since the beginning of the invasion. These sites include religious sites, museums, monuments, libraries, and an archive. A 2022 New York Times investigation previously identified 339 cultural sites that sustained substantial damage, both as collateral damage and as a result of intentional targeting by Russian soldiers or pro-Russian separatists. Ukraine’s minister of culture, Oleksandr Tkachenko, told reporters last fall that almost 40 museums in Ukraine have been looted of artifacts by Russian soldiers. One of the looted items, a 1,500-year-old tiara dating back to the rule of Attila the Hun, is one of the world’s rarest and most valuable artifacts. By targeting cultural heritage in the conflict, Moscow appears to be intentionally working to eliminate Ukrainian cultural identity. According to the UN Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, Alexandra Xanthaki, the invasion’s aim has been not merely the capture of territory, but “a gradual destruction of a whole cultural life.” She also said that “one of the justifications of the war is that Ukrainians don’t have a distinct cultural identity.” Particularly since the lead-up to the war and in the year since, Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly called Ukrainian nationhood and culture a fiction, claiming the country is rightful Russian territory that was improperly given statehood during the Soviet era. Russian state media has published propaganda calling for Ukraine’s total elimination. The role of state actors in the destruction of cultural heritage further complicates protection efforts, as states have often facilitated prevention, advocacy, documentation, and transitional justice efforts, and, as UN Security Council Resolution 2347 stresses, have the primary responsibility to protect their cultural heritage.

 

Seniors are Forced to Skip Medications

Primer:

Just yesterday from Yahoo News –>

As cancer drug shortages grow, both doctors and patients say their hands are tied

The there is Axios publishing this in part just a few weeks ago:

Shortages of cancer drugs and other life-saving medications are reaching their worst point in a decade, forcing physicians to develop workarounds and the Biden administration to mount an all-of-government response.

Why it matters: The shortfalls are surfacing deeply entrenched problems in America’s drug supply chain, particularly around commonly-used generic drugs. A recent House hearing examined a “race to the bottom” in price that chills investment in manufacturing and can leave just one or two companies actively producing a drug in shortage.

***

The Biden White House and all the Democrats continue to sell us the false notion that their work to control medical costs and inflation is working. You know, the cost of prescription drugs are controlled and coming down but only insulin is mentioned. Furthermore drug companies are in fact suing the Biden administration over mandates and illegal control(s) of medications.

Meanwhile, the health of Americans across the country is suffering and so far none of the presidential candidates are discussing the fact that the ‘Affordable Healthcare Act’ is not affordable at all and in fact the system is collapsing including Medicare providers bailing out. But read on and consider the consequences.

FNC: A new study found that more seniors are being forced to delay or skip medications as they battle rising prices and rampant inflation at the pharmacy.

The JAMA Network out of Vanderbilt released a study indicating approximately one in five Americans 65 years of age and older modified their prescription routine to make it more cost-effective.

Some delayed their medications, skipping them altogether, and some patients even resorted to taking another individual’s medication, the study found.

“This is a big deal, and it has a lot to do with the fact that as people get over 65, they’re on a fixed income… and with inflation, they may not be able to afford the co-payment that they may have or even with a reduction or some kind of discount card, they may not be able to afford it,” Dr. Marc Siegel, a Fox News medical contributor, said during “America’s Newsroom” on Monday.

“And the problem is that the formularies are very restricted now. And so what was really interesting about this study out of JAMA Network Open out of Vanderbilt was actually when they were asked, they said if our physician would only guide us, if we could only get guidance to alternative medicines, we would go ahead and take it,” he continued. “That was 80 to 90% of the seniors that were surveyed said that because doctors have restricted time, they may not know the answer and the generic alternatives may not be available also because they may be short.”

Amid surging prices, Americans have also been battling shortages of certain drugs. A March 2023 Senate report previously indicated the “triple threat” of COVID-19, influenza and RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) caused a spike in patients seeking medication in the winter of 2022.

The massive shortages stemmed from individuals and providers “panic-buying” more medications than they needed amid fear and confusion, according to the report from the Milken Center for Public Health in Washington, D.C.

“Not only that, and this is another piece of the seniors’ problem,” Siegel said. “The intermediary is sucking up the profit here. You got the pharmacy benefit managers that are in the middle of it negotiating with generics from offshore and even in the United States and saying, here’s the price. As long as I get my profit, we’ll get it across and we’ll get it into the hands of the people who need it the most. But the problem is that the generic companies shut down if they’re not guaranteed that they got a buyer.”

Siegel continued by emphasizing the massive drug shortage, noting that the American Society for Health Care Pharmacists claims there are more than 300 medications affected.

He detailed the shortages as detrimental, accounting for the “life-saving” nature of many of the prescriptions.

“We’re talking about chemotherapy, we’re talking about antibiotics, we’re talking about heart drugs. We’re talking about intravenous medications,” Siegel said. “These are crucial life-saving drugs. We’re relying on generics. They’re not made here in the United States.”

“There are supply chain issues and they’re not available. A huge public health crisis,” he stressed.

 

 

SPLC adds Parental Rights Groups to Their List of Hate

The Southern Poverty Law Center has no shame and these tactics have been going on since the Obama administration. The mainstream media takes queues from the SPLC as does social media such as Facebook but worse, the Department of Justice does too. Democrats certainly celebrate all things Southern Poverty Law Center:

Prominent Democratic legislators congratulated the Southern Poverty Law Center on its 50th anniversary on Thursday, without once mentioning the leftist organization’s 2019 scandal involving claims of sexual harassment, racial discrimination and a deceptive fundraising scheme based on “hate” labeling. They also did not mention the attempted terrorist attack at the Family Research Council in 2012, in which a shooter used the SPLC’s “hate map” to target a conservative Christian nonprofit.

Sens. Jon Ossoff, D-Ga., Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., and Cory Booker, D-N.J., along with Reps. Judy Chu, D-Calif., Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., and Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., joined with former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams in congratulating the SPLC on its anniversary. They appeared in a video streaming event to commemorate the anniversary.

“Congratulations to the Southern Poverty Law Center on your 50th anniversary, 50 years of defending the rights of the vulnerable, of speaking up for the marginalized, of protecting the disadvantaged,” Abrams said. “We appreciate everything you’ve done.” More here.

***

…with liberty and justice for all…. according to the SPLC not so much…

From the Daily Signal:

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which brands mainstream conservative and Christian organizations as “hate groups,” placing them on a map with chapters of the Ku Klux Klan, added a slew of parental rights organizations to that “hate map” for 2022 and labeled them “antigovernment groups.”

“Schools, especially, have been on the receiving end of ramped-up and coordinated hard-right attacks, frequently through the guise of ‘parents’ rights’ groups,” the SPLC’s “Year in Hate and Extremism” report claims.

“These groups were, in part, spurred by the right-wing backlash to COVID-19 public safety measures in schools,” the SPLC report says. “But they have grown into an anti-student inclusion movement that targets any inclusive curriculum that contains discussions of race, discrimination and LGBTQ identities.”

“At the forefront of this mobilization is Moms for Liberty, a Florida-based group with vast connections to the GOP that this year the SPLC designated as an extremist group,” the report notes. “They can be spotted at school board meetings across the country wearing shirts and carrying signs that declare, ‘We do NOT CO-PARENT with the GOVERNMENT.’”

The SPLC report does not once mention the Left’s aggressive promotion of sexualized material for children in schools and at other venues. It does not mention the “Drag Queen Story Hour” movement or the fact that many of the books which parents demand removed from school libraries include pornographic content. It does not mention how many on the Left champion the idea that children should be able to identify with a gender opposite their biological sex, hide that identity from their parents, and even obtain life-altering drugs without parental consent. Instead, it acts as though the parental rights movement emerged in a vacuum, or worse, is motivated by hatred.

The SPLC long has demonized conservative Christian groups such as Alliance Defending Freedom as “anti-LGBT hate groups,” national security groups such as the Center for Security Policy as “anti-Muslim hate groups,” and immigration groups such as the Center for Immigration Studies as “anti-immigrant hate groups.”

The SPLC’s 2022 report—released Tuesday—includes a new designation: the “antigovernment movement.”

A red map of the United States plotting organizations branded

“Hate and antigovernment groups make up the extreme edge of America’s hard right, an inherently antidemocratic movement that rejects pluralism and equity,” the SPLC report states. “The movement instead strives to build a society dominated by hierarchy, where people whom far rightists deem lesser or threatening—women, Black and Brown people, LGBTQ people, non-Christians and others—are socially and politically subjugated. The hard right has the advantage of building on already existing structural white supremacy, as well as its persistent and regular manifestations in everyday life and in politics.”

The SPLC report includes 523 “hate groups” and 702 “antigovernment extremist groups,” for a total of 1,225 organizations.

The list of “hate groups” names numerous parental rights organizations, including 230 chapters of Moms for Liberty, No Left Turn in Education (based in Gladwyne, Pennsylvania), 12 chapters of Parental Rights in Education, and many state-based chapters of Parents Involved in Education.

Virginia, the state in which Glenn Youngkin won a gubernatorial election by running on parental involvement in education, includes many such groups. Parents Against Critical Race Theory in Ashburn; Parents Defending Education in Arlington; Virginia Moms for America; and Virginia Parents Involved in Education all appear on the SPLC’s new list of “antigovernment extremist groups.”

Militia organizations such as III Percenters also appear in the same SPLC category, as do many chapters of Eagle Forum, a conservative women’s group headquarted in Alton, Illinois.

The SPLC revealed a focus on parental rights groups in April, when the organization’s Maya Henson Carey compared parental rights advocates to the “Uptown Klans” of white Southerners trying to maintain segregation after the Supreme Court’s landmark 1954 ruling in Brown v. Board of Education.

Writing in “State of Black America,” an annual report from the National Urban League, Carey warned that “groups like Moms for Liberty, Parents Defending Education, and Parents Against CRT work diligently with politicians, right-wing celebrities, and extremist groups to spread their messages of hate, lobbying for anti-CRT and anti-LGBTQ legislation and making sweeping changes by influencing school boards to fire superintendents, constrain diverse curricula and ban books.”

Notably, the SPLC kept many organizations on its “hate group” list, including Alliance Defending Freedom, the Family Research Council, and the Foundation for American Immigration Reform.

As I explain in my book, “Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center,” the SPLC’s accusation against the Family Research Council inspired a terrorist attack in 2012. A shooter targeted the council’s Washington, D.C., office, using the “hate map.” He intended to kill everyone in the building, but a brave security guard prevented him. The shooter is currently serving a 25-year prison sentence.

The SPLC also kept the Dustin Inman Society on the list. The society’s founder and president, D.A. King, filed a defamation lawsuit against the SPLC, specifically challenging its “hate group” accusation. His lawsuit became the first such lawsuit to reach the discovery stage earlier this year. D. James Kennedy Ministries, a Christian nonprofit that previously sued the SPLC for defamation and appealed all the way to the Supreme Court, also remains on the list.

The SPLC has faced numerous scandals and hits to its credibility. In 2019, it fired its co-founder, Morris Dees, amid accusations of racial discrimination and sexual harassment tracing back decades. Amid that scandal, a former employee came forward as having been “part of the con.” He wrote that the SPLC’s hate accusations are a “highly profitable scam.”

Parental rights groups slammed the SPLC attack in comments to The Daily Signal.

Parents Defending Education President Nicole Neily called the SPLC attacks “as malicious as they are ridiculous.”

“At PDE, we have fought alongside parents of every background to end government-sponsored segregation programs, because no student should be treated differently because of his or her skin color or ethnicity,” Neily told The Daily Signal. “SPLC and its designations are as malicious as they are ridiculous. No partisan PR stunt from a dishonest scam group like SPLC will impede our important work for America’s students.”

“Two-thirds of Americans think the public education system is on the wrong track today,” Moms for Liberty Co-Founders Tiffany Justice and Tina Descovich told The Daily Signal. “That is why our organization is devoted to empowering parents to be a part of their child’s public school education.”

“That is our fundamental goal, which began just two years ago when teacher’s unions locked students out of schools during the pandemic,” Justice and Descovich added. “Empowering parents continues to be our mission today and that has fueled our organization’s growth – like wildfire to now 45 states in the country.”

“Name-calling parents who want to be a part of their child’s education as ‘hate groups’ or ‘bigoted’ just further exposes what this battle is all about: Who fundamentally gets to decide what is taught to our kids in school – parents or government employees? We believe that parental rights do not stop at the classroom door and no amount of hate from groups like this is going to stop that,” they concluded.

 

 

 

The Durham Report has Several Omissions However

The first glaring omission is the media. Outside of Fox News and a minute or so with Jake Tapper, nothing was mentioned by the legacy media including print media. One has to wonder if the Clinton Foundation or the Brookings Institute actually paid key media to advocate the whole operation from it’s inception. Will there ever be an apology or retraction not just to Donald Trump but to those whose lives were turned upside down including General Flynn, Paul Manafort, Michael Cavuto and countless others. Furthermore, every person in this country suffered through years of the hoax …..THE BIGGEST LIE of all in our history. We are a divided country, never to be restored as proven by the rebuttals of Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok and Hillary herself.

To be sure, while all sources including the Durham report having Hillary ‘approving’ the Clinton plan, you can bet she did not concoct it from the start….she merely approved it. So, the Durham report leaves out the real genesis of the hoax. Consider those that Durham did not interview in his investigation, Hillary, Comey, Strzok, Lisa Page, Susan Rice, McCabe, John Podesta and many others that were likely the players of the whole plan from the start. Did Durham obtain the various types of communcation from those people or others such as Barack Obama, Loretta Lynch, Joe Biden, Susan Rice, Adam Schiff, Eric Swalwell or Harry Reid? Nah…

What about Stafan Halper or Joseph Misfud? What about Robert Mueller and his team and their alleged documents?

Meanwhile, everyone one of those people should have their security clearances stripped. Every willing accomplice should be forced to pay at least the legal fees of those victims of this hoax such as Carter Page. Let the civil suits begin.

Now on to the 7th floor of the FBI. It has not been reformed at all as Director Christopher Wray has stated given those ‘missteps’ he referred to. Consider the investigations going on now including the Hunter laptop and the targets of churches and parents trying to sustain a good education for their children in public schools.

The names mentioned above gave little if any consideration to the permanent damage to the country as all of them were self-serving to advocate for Hillary to be president. Sadly, would her presidency actually be any different than Biden’s presidency? No.

The reputation of our country has forever been tarnished globally. Consider that media across the globe has reported on all these travesties and scandals for years and years. China, Russia, Brazil, Iran and others have postured and planned for a post America world while we figure out still what happened, the consequences and if there is a restoration in the near term.

There are corrupt leaders across the globe and corrupt countries as well, is there anything now that separates us as a nation from that? Yes, only decent and informed American citizens that get in the game and commit to break the American oligarchs of which there are many.

While the Durham report is 300 plus pages, of which you can read here, it is prudent to at least skim the report for context and details that support the assertions above.

This report will likely have zero legal consequences but it will further explain the width and depth of the deep state of which continues to hardly be understood by voters.

Do we really understand the war against the deep state?

 

 

Context and Receipts for the First Release of the Biden Crime Family

If you missed the press conference held by the House Oversight Committee on the investigation into the Biden crime family, no worries, below is a summary.

Enjoy the preliminary primer for context…

Several months ago, I did a little research and found the following:

  • Hudson West LLC is a Delaware company created in 2016 and the registered agent is Corporation Service Company, a common template service for establishing obscure corporations. Hudson West was/is a joint venture operation between Hunter Biden and an un-named Chinese company to sell natural gas to China. Other Chinese officials included in the Hudson West operation include Gong Wendong and Ye Jiamming.
  • An interesting audio with admissions from the Hunter laptop speaking of the China spy chief. The founder of CEFC is Ye Jiamming and in 2018, he was named in a corruption case and disappeared. Another head of CEFC was Chi Ping Patrick Ho. In March of 2017, CEFC announced a very large p;artnership throught the Securities and Exchange Commission with the Cowan Group. There was a filing with the Committee for Foreign Investments in the United States however it was withdrawn later in the year possibly due to the Patrick Ho, as in 2019 was sentenced to 3 years in prison for bribery in two countries, Chad and Uganda.
  • The FBI issued subpoenas for the Hunter laptop in connection with a money-laundering scheme where the investigative FBI agent Joshua Wilson signed the subpoenas. Case ID is 272D-BA-3065729. (Note 272 is the Bureau’s classification for money-laundering on a transnational basis. BA indicates the case was opened in the Baltimore FBI office.
  • Owasco OC and Owasco LLC was yet another company which had associated bank accounts established by Hunter. The name Owasco is for a home in New York where the Biden family used to spend their summers. No paycheck for the intern working at Owasco unless she had sex with Hunter?

Okay…read on…get comfortable, this is long and great investigative work so far.

The financial records also reveal how the Bidens used complicated transactions to hide payments from foreign nationals, including CCP-linked associates, and provide clear indications of influence peddling schemes during then-Vice President Biden’s tenure.

“The Bidens intentionally sought to hide, confuse, and conceal their influence peddling schemes, but bank records don’t lie. The Bidens made millions from foreign nationals providing what seems to be no services other than access and influence. From the thousands of records we’ve obtained so far, we know the Biden family set up over a dozen companies when Joe Biden was vice president. The Bidens engaged in many intentionally complicated financial transactions to hide these payments and avoid scrutiny. In at least one instance, the Bidens’ CCP-linked associates took steps to conceal the source of the payment to the Bidens.

“The Bidens’ foreign entanglements are breathtaking and raise serious questions about why foreign actors targeted the Biden family, what they expected in return, and whether our national security is threatened. We will continue to pursue additional bank records to follow the money trail and inform legislative solutions to prevent this type of corruption. Americans deserve answers, transparency, and accountability,” said Chairman Comer.

  • The Complicated Web of Biden Family and Associates’ Companies:  Biden family members and business associates created a web of over 20 companies—most were limited liability companies formed after Joe Biden became Vice President.
  • The Biden Family Received Millions of Dollars from Foreign Sources:  Bank records show the Biden family, their business associates, and their companies received over $10 million from foreign nationals’ and their related companies. The Committee has identified payments to Biden family members from foreign companies while he served as Vice President and after he left public office.
  • The Biden Family Used Business Associates’ Companies to Receive Foreign Funds:  Despite creating many companies after Vice President Biden took office, the Biden family used business associates’ companies to receive millions of dollars from foreign companies.
  • Attempts to Conceal Large Financial Transactions:  After foreign companies sent money to business associates’ companies, the Biden family received incremental payments over time to different bank accounts. These complicated financial transactions appear to be meant to conceal the source of the funds and reduce the conspicuousness of the total amounts made into the Biden bank accounts.
  • Chinese Nationals Hid the Source of the Money:Chinese nationals and companies with significant ties to Chinese intelligence and the Chinese Communist Party hid the source of the funds paid out to the Bidens by layering domestic limited liability companies. The Biden family and associates’ activities in coordination with Chinese nationals and their corporate entities appear to be an attempt to engage in financial deception. Multiple Biden family members received money from the Chinese after it passed through an associate’s account. Additionally, Hunter Biden received money directly into his company’s account from a Chinese-controlled entity.
  • Biden Family and Associates’ Activities in Romania Indicate Influence Peddling Scheme:  The Biden family and associates’ activities in Romania bear clear indicia of a scheme to peddle influence from 2015 to 2017. While Vice President Biden lectured Romania on corruption and ethics, the Bidens received over a million dollars from a company controlled by a Romanian individual accused of corruption, Gabriel Popoviciu, through a Biden family associate.
  • Bank records from just a few banks and many more to come, scroll the list and payouts.
  • Then one must question the former FBI Director, Louis Freeh as he donated $100,000 to the Biden family Trust. Was there some other favor attached to that donation? Yup…to be part of business deals.