Poachers and Gamekeepers ...

I get slightly fed up sometimes of the obsessive propaganda of a couple of so-called archaeologists / cultural property bloggers.

They flipped when I pointed out that their hero Donny George had a mixed history as a 'saviour' of cultural property. He did a great job trying to get looted Iraqi items returned, but let's not forget that was it under his watch that Baghdad Museum was looted on three separate occasions both before and after the American forces arrived in the city. He was also the man in charge of looting the museums and collections of Kuwait under Saddam Hussein.

I also mentioned that Michel van Rijn might be adored by those same bloggers because van Rijn claims to be a crusader against looting - but ... actually has a rather murky past, and his web site had some outlandish claims. Attempts by courts to force it to close because of libel failed, as he simply moved it to another server. He was arrested in January 2005 in Switzerland "for alleged blackmail". Although van Rijn no longer has a web site, he is still dipping his fingers in looting issues. A few journalists and law enforcement personnel have said he claims to have proof X or Y looted the Sevso Treasure / Baghdad Museum / insert other ... and that one academic or another gave him the proof.

So it's nice to see that
Illicit Cultural Property: Did Marion True Ever Catch a Looter or Dealer?

Michel van Rijn was convicted of forgery (he was responsible for the 'Avar Treasure') and very much involved in smuggling Byzantine mosaics out of Cyprus - see the court case here. To top it all, points out that Marion True, the bĂȘte noire of those opposed to collecting, helped get the Kanakaria mosaics returned to Cyprus ...

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