Kirk Goes After Artifacts Plundered By ISIS

By Nick Gale, WLS-AM News

(CHICAGO) U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL.), chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on National Security and International Trade and Finance, held an ad-hoc hearing Monday to discuss ISIS and the funding of terrorism through the black market antiquities trade.

ISIS makes approximately $100 million annually from the illegal sale of looted cultural artifacts, the Iraqi government reports. To combat this issue, Kirk introduced the Terrorism Art and Antiquity Revenue Prevention Act of 2016 (TAAR Act), which prevents ISIS-stolen antiquities from being trafficked into the U.S., giving ISIS less money to fuel terrorism.

“Without reform, Americans could unknowingly fund ISIS through the purchase of cultural artifacts,” Kirk said. “This legislation will create a lasting barrier to ISIS’s antiquity trade in the U.S. and ensure the federal government has the necessary tools to combat ISIS’s vital antiquity revenue stream.”

NBC News reports that antiquity plundering fuels a $7 billion black market, and some of that money lands in the pockets of terrorists.

In August, GAO disclosed there have been eighteen FBI cases opened related to ISIS antiquities in seven cities across the country, including Chicago.

In 2015, Congress passed the Protect and Preserve International Cultural Property Act (Public Law 114-151), which gave the President authority to create an import ban on all Syrian archeological or ethnological material. However, Kirk says further action is needed to make the bans enforceable and ensure antiquities do not indirectly fund ISIS.

@ 2016 WLS-AM News