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Tag: artifacts

Tensions Mount As Militia Paves Roads, Removes Surveillance at Oregon Wildlife Refuge

Burns, Oregon

Burns, Oregon

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Tensions continued as the militia group that took over an Oregon wildlife refuge paved new roads and removed fences and security cameras.

Armed militia members scaled ladders Friday to remove cameras, which they referred to as a symbol of “mass surveillance,” militia spokesman LaVoy Finicum said during a news briefing, the New York Daily News reports. 

Now the Burns Paiute Tribe is afraid that the militia may have destroyed artifacts and desecrated ancient burial grounds.

The headquarters near Burns, Oregon, contains thousands of relics.

“We have no idea whether the militants have disturbed the Tribe’s artifacts or gained access to otherwise confidential information,” wrote tribe chairperson Charlotte Rodrique in a letter to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regional director Robyn Thorson.

Other Stories of Interest

Indiana Man Dies Year After FBI Seized Incredible Collection of Exotic Artifacts

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An Indiana man who amassed an incredible collection of exotic artifacts and became the subject of an FBI probe last year has died.

Don Miller, 91, died Sunday, nearly a year after the FBI seized thousands of artifacts from all over the world, The Indy Star reports. 

The case has been shrouded in mystery since, and no charges or lawsuits were ever filed against Miller.

Even now, the FBI is declining to discuss the case.

But experts say his death could result in a headache for those sorting out which of the artifacts were legally acquired.

“Even just figuring out which ones are illegally possessed in the United States is an enormous task when he’s purchased them over so many years, so you can see why this is such a difficult problem to solve,” said David B. Smith, a Virginia-based attorney with a background in asset forfeiture.

“Without his help, it’s just going to be enormously difficult to figure out which ones he legitimately purchased, which are legal and which ones aren’t,” Smith said. “It’s a huge problem.”

 

FBI Raids Rural Indiana Home Where Man Collected Thousands of Rare Artifacts

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The FBI raided the property of a 91-year-old man in rural central Indiana where he stored thousands of artifacts from Native Americans, China, Russia and other countries.

Fox News reports that the massive collection by Donald Miller spanned eight decades and also included items from Australia, Haiti, New Guinea and Peru.

“The cultural value of these artifacts is immeasurable,” Jones said while refusing to divulge details of any of the items taken from Miller’s property.

Miller said he obtained the items legally and traveled to each country to get them.

“I have been in 200 countries collecting artifacts,” he said.

It wasn’t clear whether he faces charges.

FBI Returns Stolen Ancient Artifacts to Iraqis

Some of the artifacts returned/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Terracotta plaques and other ancient artifacts stolen in Iraq by defense contractors in 2004 were returned Thursday by the FBI to the Iraqi government in a ceremony at the Iraqi Cultural Center in Washington.

The FBI said it seized the invaluable items during a 2006 investigation.

The items included two pottery dishes, four vases, an oil lamp, three small statues, and the seven terracotta relief plaques, the FBI said. They ranged in age from 2,500 to 4,000 years old—from the Old Babylonian period to the Neo-Assyrian or Neo-Babylon periods.

“These artifacts are truly invaluable,” said Ron Hosko, special agent in charge of the Criminal Division in the Washington Field Office. “The FBI is pleased to be able to return them to their rightful owner.”

The FBI said the artifacts—some small enough to be held in the palm of a hand — were seized during a public corruption investigation conducted by the FBI’s International Contract Corruption Task Force, a multi-agency task force tasked with stop fraud and corruption related to U.S. reconstruction efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere overseas.

The FBI said the artifacts were stolen by Department of Defense contractors who were traveling through the Babylon region of Iraq.

Investigators discovered that contractors collected the items and used them as gifts and bribes or sold them to other contractors who then smuggled them into the United States, the FBI said. Two of the contractors were sentenced to prison for their roles in the fraud scheme.

“Working abroad does not entitle anyone to remove historic artifacts and treat them as mementos for illegal sale,” Hosko said.

Homeland’s Napolitano Plans to Add More Agency Agents to Afghanistan

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced over the weekend that her agency plans to add up to 54 agents in the coming year to Afghanistan to compliment the current lot of 25, the Washington Post reported.

The announcement came during Napolitano’s two-day visit to Afghanistan. The added agents will help to border control and train Afghan officials in anti-smuggling techniques, the Post reported.

The country has been hurt by the smuggling of cash, drugs, gems, historic artifacts and timber out of Afghanistan, the Post reported.

To read more click here.

Napolitano’s Trip to Afghanistan