Tuesday, 23 February 2010

A misleading Washington lobbyist?

I note that a Washington lobbyist responded to my latest PR Newswire release, "Do Coin Collectors Care About the Archaeology of Cyprus", by writing:
Archaeologist David Gill has issued another misleading press release about the ACCG's test case related to import restrictions on "coins of Cypriot type."
I wrote: "Earlier in February 2010 a Washington law-firm acting for the Ancient Coin Collectors Guild filed an action against (among others) the US Department of State and the US Customs and Border Protection." I hope the lobbyist will have observed that somebody from his Washington law-firm has filed an action on behalf of the Ancient Coin Collectors Guild (ACCG).

So to my next paragraph: "The government of Cyprus had urged the US State Department to sign a MOU in order to restrict the movement of archaeological material from the island to the US." There is a MOU in place.

So to paragraph three: "A Brussels-based numismatic trade organization was one of three bodies, along with the ACCG, to initiate a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) court-action against the US State Department." I have commented on the FOIA case before.

Leaving aside the lobbyist's "another" (which press release(s) did he have in mind?), there is a suggestion that the following items are unconnected:
  • a test case over the seizure of coins from Cyprus (and China) at Baltimore - to which the lobbyist's name appears in the filed action
  • a FOIA action that cited the following, "The State Department recently imposed unprecedented import restrictions on ancient coins from Cyprus—requiring importers of even a single common coin of “Cypriot type” to provide unfair, unworkable and unnecessary documentation."
  • an appeal against the FOIA decision that "seeks to overturn Judge Richard J. Leon's November 20th decision to uphold the State Department's (DOS) repression of information about the process by which import restrictions were placed on common collectable coins of Cypriot and Chinese types."
  • the raising of coins at last year's consideration of the CPAC review of Article II of the MOU with Italy that related to "the Imposition of Import Restrictions on Archaeological Material Representing the Pre-Classical, Classical and Imperial Roman Periods of Italy".
  • the "project" by the Cultural Property Research Institute to "study" "unprovenanced ancient objects in US private hands" - and the same lobbyist is the legal officer for the CPRI.
Or did I raise inconvenient issues that would draw thoughtful collectors along a path different to the one that had been waymarked for them by a lobbyist retained by a commercial European-based numismatic organisation?

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