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Briefing Congressional Staff

February 12, 2016

On February 12, 2016 Antiquities Coalition chairman and founder Deborah Lehr and chief of staff Katie A. Paul presented the #CultureUnderThreat Map to Congressional staff on the Hill.  The map shows not only the extent of cultural crimes but also the intensity.

The discussion explored on how cultural heritage is used by Daesh and other violent extremist organizations as a means of growing their campaigns of terror and expanding their networks. Learn how Daesh finances its terror through looted relics, generates propaganda through performative destruction and expands its influence through the manipulation of media and market interest in cultural heritage.

In addition to oil, these “blood antiquities” are a major source of funding for Daesh alongside kidnapping and extortion. In addition to the psychological value of cultural cleansing to subjugate captive people, sales of illicit antiquities provide financial incentive to plunder historic sites and consolidate the caliphate’s brutal hold. Other militants groups, and organized criminal syndicates, also reap rich rewards from antiquities trafficking.

Lehr and Paul discussed the bipartisan steps Congress is taking to curb funding by cracking down on the trafficking of artifacts looted from sites in Syria.