Skip to main content

Operation Baklava: Washington Lobbyist Detects Conspiracy

Once again the Washington lobbyist for the International Association of Professional Numismatists (IAPN), Peter Tompa, has raised issues about my comment on the proposed MOU between Greece and the US. Tompa asks: "Gill should disclose any funding sources for his releases and any contacts he might have with the Greek government that may have influenced his decision to issue this press release."

It is not the first time that the Washington lobbyist has detected some conspiracy: remember Operation Tartuffo? Perhaps he imagines me sitting in some kaphenion in the western Peloponnese and being presented with brown envelopes filled with Euros.

Or could there be some simpler explanation?

John Hooker claims to know (source uncited!) that I pay "a rate of $400 per 400 words for [my] frequent PR Newswire releases". More than a year on Hooker has not provided a shred of evidence to support his claim.

Tompa has also used Hooker's baseless insinuation to note, "we might just suspect that you are merely acting as an undisclosed agent of influence for some nationalistic, repatriation seeking foreign government, like that of Greece".

Readers should choose now: a tartuffo or baklava. But you are advised, for the sake of your digestion, not to go for both.

Image
Key team member of Operation Baklava photographed in the mountains of the western Peloponnese. © David Gill.


Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know

Comments

FlaviusSextus said…
The lobbyist's desperate tactics are his attempts to distract from the fact that he is himself financially supported by those who profit from unethical and detrimental trade practices and want to maintain it. Shame on YOU, Mr. Tompa.

Popular posts from this blog

Marble bull's head from the temple of Eshmun

Excavations at the temple of Eshmun in Lebanon recovered a marble bull's head. It is now suggested that it was this head, apparently first published in 1967, that was placed on loan to New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art (Tom Mashberg, "Met Museum Turns Over Another Relic With Disputed Past to Prosecutors", New York Times August 1, 2017 ). The head is reported to have been handed over to the Manhattan district attorney after a request was received from the Lebanese authorities.

It is suggested that the head may have been looted from an archaeological storage area at Byblos in the 1980s during the Lebanese civil war. Mashberg has rehearsed the recent collecting history:
The owners of the bull’s head, Lynda and William Beierwaltes of Colorado, say they have clear title to the item and have sued Manhattan prosecutors for its return.  The Beierwaltes bought the head from a dealer in London in 1996 for more than $1 million and then sold it to another collector, Michael …

Sardinian warrior from "old Swiss collection"

One of the Sardinian bronzes of a warrior was seized from an as yet unnamed Manahattan gallery. It appears to be the one that passed through the Royal-Athena Gallery: Art of the Ancient World 23 (2012) no. 71. The collecting history for that warrior suggests that it was acquired in 1990 from a private collection in Geneva.

Other clues suggested that the warrior has resided in a New York private collection.

The identity of the private collection in Geneva will no doubt be telling.

The warrior also features in this news story: Jennifer Peltz, "Looted statues, pottery returned to Italy after probe in NYC", ABC News May 25 2017.

Attic amphora handed back to Italians

The research of Dr Christos Tsirogiannis has led to the return of an Attic red-figured amphora, attributed to the Harrow painter, to Italy (Tom Mashberg, "Stolen Etruscan Vessel to Be Returned to Italy", New York Times March 16, 2017).

The amphora is known to have passed through the hands of Swiss-based dealer Gianfranco Becchina in 1993, and then through a New York gallery around 2000 (although its movements between those dates are as yet undisclosed).

During the ceremony, Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., the District Attorney stated:
“When looters overrun historic sites, mine sacred spaces for prized relics, and peddle stolen property for top dollar, they do so with the implicit endorsement of all those who knowingly trade in stolen antiquities” More research clearly needs to be conducted on how material handled by Becchina passed into the North American market and into the hands of private and public collectors.