Harvard Law alumni directory lists Scaramucci as dead

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Anthony Scaramucci is having a bad week. He was fired as President Donald Trump’s communications director – and listed as dead in Harvard Law School’s alumni directory.

The directory mailed to alumni this week had an asterisk next to Scaramucci’s name, indicating he had died, the Washington Post and CBS News reported on Monday. The 53-year-old New York financier is a 1989 graduate of the Ivy League law school.

News of the mistake came out on same day that Trump fired Scaramucci as White House communications director over an obscenity-laced interview with The New Yorker magazine, sources familiar with the decision said. Scaramucci had been in the job just over a week.

Harvard Law School acknowledged the directory error in a statement and apologized to Scaramucci.

“The error will be corrected in subsequent editions,” the school said. It gave no explanation of how the mistake occurred.

The directory is published every five years and is available only to alumni, CBS said.

Scaramucci did not respond to an emailed request for comment.

Reporting by Ian Simpson

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Fan Blamed For Chicago Cubs' Loss Gets His Own World Series Ring

On Monday the Chicago Cubs gave a 2016 World Series championship ring to Steve Bartman, a fan blamed for a team loss in 2003.

AP

hide caption

toggle caption

AP

A year after the Chicago Cubs won their first World Series title in more than a century, a long-suffering fan is getting another reward.

Steve Bartman was handed a personalized 2016 World Series ring, after being blamed for costing the team the title 13 years earlier.

It began with a simple gesture, perhaps an instinctive one on Oct. 14, 2003. The Cubs were ahead, 3-0, in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series against the Marlins in the eighth inning. A foul ball headed Bartman’s way. He — and other fans — reached out for it, but it was Bartman who deflected it from the outstretched mitt of left fielder Moises Alou.

Watch the move in the video below.

YouTube

The Marlins wound up scoring eight runs in the remainder of the inning. They won the game, then the series.

The umpire determined it was fair game on Bartman’s part because he didn’t reach beyond the stands. It would have counted as interference if he had extended his arm out over the field, which would have resulted in the ball being declared dead, according to major league rules.

No one can say how things would have gone if Bartman hadn’t touched the ball. But angry Cubs fans didn’t care. Bartman had to be hidden inside the stadium after some started hurling abuse at him. Then he had to wear a disguise before being escorted out of Wrigley Field, reportsThe New York Times.

He stayed out of the public eye for the next 14 years. A friend and spokesman told CNN in 2016 that Bartman had been offered book proposals and hefty sums for a commercial, but he turned them all down. And he continued to receive threats, according his spokesman.

On Monday, Barton came to the office of Cubs owner Tom Ricketts to receive the ring, reports WGN-TV.

“We hope this provides closure on an unfortunate chapter of the story that has perpetuated throughout our quest to win a long-awaited World Series,” the team said in a statement. “While no gesture can fully lift the public burden he has endured for more than a decade, we felt it was important Steve knows he has been and continues to be fully embraced by this organization.”

If Steve Bartman is happy about this and feels satisfied, and gets closure, then it’s all good by me. https://t.co/zAx4S7fLZ5

— Brett Taylor (@BleacherNation) July 31, 2017

And now Bartman has spoken out. “Although I do not consider myself worthy of such an honor, I am deeply moved and sincerely grateful to receive an official Chicago Cubs 2016 World Series Championship ring,” he said in a statement. “I am fully aware of the historical significance and appreciate the symbolism the ring represents on multiple levels.”

Bartman did nothing wrong, and NEVER exploited his infamy. Cheers to him. Now leave him alone, forever https://t.co/oAhataLtD7

— JustNotSports (@JustNotSports) July 31, 2017

The reaction on Twitter appeared to be mostly positive, with fans applauding the move.

“I am happy to be reunited with the Cubs family and positively moving forward with my life,” Bartman said.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

HBO Says It Was Hacked, Some Programming Stolen

Hackers claim to have stolen information related to HBO’s Game of Thrones, allegedly including written material from an upcoming episode. HBO has confirmed a hack occurred, but not what information was acquired. Here, Samwell Tarly (John Bradley) sits with some written material of his own.

Helen Sloan/courtesy of HBO

hide caption

toggle caption

Helen Sloan/courtesy of HBO

HBO says it has been hacked, and that the perpetrators have acquired some programming.

The premium cable channel won’t confirm what materials were acquired in the cyber breach. But the alleged perpetrators claim to have acquired text related to the popular — and famously spoiler-plagued — Game of Thrones.

Entertainment Weeklybroke the story:

“Hackers claimed to have obtained 1.5 terabytes of data from the company. So far, an upcoming episode of Ballers and Room 104 have apparently been put online. There is also written material that’s allegedly from next week’s fourth episode of Game of Thrones. More is promised to be ‘coming soon.’ “

It’s not clear if the hackers do actually have any Game of Thrones material, EW says.

NPR’s Eric Deggans reports:

” HBO is so secretive about spoilers involving its hit series Game of Thrones, journalists weren’t even given advance copies of new episodes before the new season began July 16.

“Now HBO has acknowledged that a ‘cyber incident’ resulted in stolen proprietary information, including some programming. … HBO says it is working with law enforcement and cybersecurity firms to investigate the breach.”

HBO has had material prematurely leaked online — including screeners, clips from overseas distributors and a Game of Thrones trailer, EW writes. But none of those incidents involved hacking.

“Hacking Hollywood can have significant repercussions,” The Associated Press notes. “Sony struggled in the aftermath of its huge hack in 2014, which leaked employee emails as well as films.”

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Tech Incubator Faces Challenges Of Tackling Sexual Harassment Among Investors

Influential tech incubator, Y Combinator, has been trying to tackle the problem of sexual harassment among venture capitalists.

Gary Waters/Ikon Images/Getty Images

hide caption

toggle caption

Gary Waters/Ikon Images/Getty Images

To an outsider, the actions might have looked swift and decisive: Within weeks of being accused of sexual harassment in the press, two high-profile venture capital investors issued public apologies and resigned.

But inSilicon Valley, female entrepreneurs were asking: What took so long? There were venture capitalists around Silicon Valley who knew these guys were “creeps” — or at least that’s how one of the VCs who resigned described himself. But the industry turned a blind eye.

For a few years now, Y Combinator has been trying to face the problem of sexual harassment in the VC community head-on. The organization is one of Silicon Valley’s most prestigious accelerators, which runs essentially bootcamps for entrepreneurs starting up tech companies. It also introduces entrepreneurs to VCs, or the money men who invest in startups. (And yes, they are mostly men.)

Every year, Y Combinator sends out a form to the startup founders it works with, encouraging them to report sexual harassment. But when news of the tactic got out recently, it stirred some controversy and illustrated the potential landmines of trying to keep VCs in check.

“It’s a balancing act,” explains Sam Altman, Y Combinator’s president. He addressed the subject briefly on the sidelines of another interview.

Altman says they started sending out the questionnaire in 2014, when a startup founder reported that she had been sexually harassed. “And we just said, ‘We don’t want this, we have no tolerance for this. But we need people’s help — we obviously don’t see every interaction, so tell us,'” he says.

When Y Combinator receives a claim of sexual harassment, the organization evaluates its credibility, starting with interviews of both parties. If Y Combinator determines the claim to be credible, it keeps that information confidential but does not invite the accused VC back to its prestigious showcase event called Demo Day. This is where Y Combinator-backed companies present to a roomful of investors. Airbnb, Reddit and DropBox are three examples of Demo Day success stories.

Being in the room is “something most investors would like to have access to,” Altman says.

Critics have argued that in addition to facing the usual issues of fairness and verification when investigating such sensitive claims, Y Combinator’s blacklisting approach risks creating a climate where male VCs simply won’t meet with women entrepreneurs. The argument is that investors will be afraid of being falsely accused.

“Burying your head in the sand by not asking is the worst possible thing investors could be doing,” says Joelle Emerson, a former women’s right’s attorney who now runs Paradigm, a diversity consulting firm in San Francisco.

Emerson says Y Combinator is trying to hack a solution to a particularly challenging problem. Entrepreneurs and VCs have a significant power dynamic like that between managers and employees: Startups need money from VCs to succeed. But unlike the manager-employee relationship, the investor and the startup founder are not technically co-workers.

“If you’re an employee (and) you’re harassed at your workplace by a manager, there are very clear steps to follow,” Emerson says. “To be clear HR doesn’t always handle these things well but there’s a clear system in place in most organizations.” No such system exists for reports about VCs.

More importantly, Emerson says state and federal laws are pretty clear when it comes to addressing sexual harassment in the workplace, but “when you’re outside the employer-employee context, it’s a gray area from a legal standpoint because there are no laws directly governing the relationship.”

Altman says it’s this gray area that Y Combinator is trying to navigate.

“In the same way companies have HR departments and have a place to report inappropriate behavior,” Altman says, “the people in our program need a place to report inappropriate behavior and I don’t think that should be a controversial thing.”

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

What's Keeping Asian-American Lawyers From Ascending The Legal Ranks?

While the number of Asian-Americans lawyers and law students increased greatly in recent decades, there are still few Asian-American lawyers in top positions in the legal field.

Tawatdchai Muelae/Getty Images/iStockphoto

hide caption

toggle caption

Tawatdchai Muelae/Getty Images/iStockphoto

In 1872, 13-year-old Hong Yen Chang came to the U.S. to be groomed as a diplomat. He earned degrees from Yale University and Columbia University’s law school, and passed the bar exam.

He became the first Chinese-American lawyer in the U.S. in 1888, when he was admitted to the New York bar. But not all states were as welcoming. When Chang applied for a California law license in 1892, the state’s Supreme Court denied his application citing bar association rules, which precluded non-citizens from joining. Chang was unable to become a citizen because of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.

More than a century later, Chang’s descendants petitioned for their relative to be granted posthumous bar admission and brought the case before the California Supreme Court.

In 2015, the California Supreme Court reversed the ruling. “Even if we cannot undo history, we can acknowledge it and, in doing so, accord a full measure of recognition to Chang’s path-breaking efforts to become the first lawyer of Chinese descent in the United States,” the judges wrote in their decision.

“That case got me thinking about the fact that Asian-Americans have been formally excluded from the legal profession as Chang was, and of course, [with] all the informal barriers,” says California Supreme Court justice Goodwin Liu, who reviewed the case. He said he realized he hadn’t seen a comprehensive study of how Asian-Americans came into the legal profession — so he took it upon himself to lead one.

In the study, Liu shows that though Asian-Americans are the fastest-growing minority group in the legal field, there’s still a stark lack of Asian-American lawyers in top positions in this country.

In 2015, 10 percent of graduates at the top-30 law schools were Asian-American, according to the study. Yet they only comprised about 6 percent of federal law clerks and 4 percent of state law clerks. Compare that to white students, and you’ll see a striking contrast: 58 percent of students from top-30 schools were white, but still landed 82 percent of all federal clerkships and 80 percent of all state clerkships.

Liu and his co-researchers also found that while Asian-Americans comprise 5 percent of lawyers in the U.S. and 7 percent of law students, only 3 percent of federal judges are Asian-American, and three out of 94 U.S. Attorneys last year were Asian-American.

The study noted that some obstacles Asian-Americans face include a lack of access to mentors, as well as stereotypes of Asians as being unable to assimilate or socially awkward.

“Whereas Asian Americans are regarded as having the ‘hard skills’ required for lawyerly competence, they are regarded as lacking many important ‘soft skills,’ ” the researchers wrote.

The study also pointed out that there’s a dearth of Asian-American lawyers in public service roles:

“It is notable that few Asian Americans appear motivated to pursue law in order to gain a pathway into government or politics. … Greater penetration into these public leadership roles is critical if the increasing number of Asian American attorneys is to translate into increasing influence of Asian Americans in the legal profession and throughout society. A major challenge is to encourage Asian American lawyers to pursue public service roles and to eliminate barriers for those who do.”

When asked to break out the data further by ethnicity, Xiaonan Hu, one of the researchers, told NPR that she noticed Filipino-American and Indian-American respondents were more likely to say they enrolled in law school to work in government or politics than, say, Japanese-American or Korean-American respondents. Two percent of respondents who were Japanese-American and 3 percent of Korean-Americans ranked the entry into government or politics as a top motivator for going to law school, compared to 11 percent of Filipino-Americans and 5 percent of Indian-Americans.

So what could account for this?

“It doesn’t seem like it’s as much about those groups [being] MORE interested in government and politics, but less averse to it,” Karthick Ramakrishnan, a professor of political science at the University of California, Riverside, wrote in an email.

“For Filipino Americans, many of them made advancements in government and local politics in California and Hawaii, where they have large populations and there were relatively long-standing Filipino communities,” Ramakrishnan, who also runs the project AAPI DATA, said.

“Indian Americans, by comparison, are much more recently arrived in the United States (with their population booming in the last 2 decades). That normally would mean that we would not expect them to be involved in politics. But, past research indicates that prior experience with democracy and high English proficiency tend to mean greater political participation.”

And while there are rampant structural issues that need to be addressed, Chris Kang, former National Director of the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, said that emphasizing role models can sometimes be powerful.

When Kang was working with the Obama administration as Pres. Obama’s Deputy Counsel, he helped appoint federal judges. Kang said he and his team tried to highlight each new justice’s ethnicity and gender.

“It wasn’t just, ‘the first Asian-American judge in the district,’ but we really went and highlighted ‘the first Vietnamese-American, the first Filipino-American,’ ” Kang told NPR.

“If there’s someone of your particular ethnicity — or an Asian-American woman, [where there’s] only been two to the federal bench before — seeing now a dozen of them starts to make a difference,” Kang said, “and you start to think as you’re going into law school or you’re a lawyer considering what’s next for you, that a judgeship might be possible.”

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Watchdog Group Files Complaint Over Google Tracking In-Person Purchases

Google CEO Sundar Pichai delivers the keynote address at the Google I/O 2017 Conference at Shoreline Amphitheater on May 17 in Mountain View, Calif. Google’s new tool for tracking how online ads connect to in-person sales has been criticized by a privacy watchdog group.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

hide caption

toggle caption

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A privacy watchdog group has filed a complaint with the FTC over Google’s system for tracking purchases Internet users make in person, at physical store locations.

Google announced the new service — a way for advertisers to measure the effectiveness of an online ad campaign — in May. It combines Google’s search and app records with credit card purchase data acquired from third-party sources. “We invested in building industry-leading privacy protections before launching this solution,” the company tells NPR in a statement. “All data is encrypted and aggregated.”

The Electronic Privacy Information Center is concerned that Google’s methods, the details of which are not public, may not sufficiently safeguard users’ privacy. The center, also known as EPIC, is asking the Federal Trade Commission to investigate.

“Google claims that they don’t know who the users are, that they are being de-identified,” says Marc Rotenberg, the president of EPIC. “We want the FTC to take a closer look.”

‘Store Sales Measurement’

Google is both a search behemoth and an online advertising powerhouse, and it takes advantage of its vast collection of data to create detailed ad metrics. For several years, the company has been using location data on phones to track store visits — for example, to see how many people clicked on a PetSmart ad and then visited their local PetSmart.

But the new system goes further, and looks at actual purchases, by relying on in-store credit card transactions. Google says it doesn’t have access to that data directly. However, the company has “third-party partnerships” that “capture approximately 70% of credit and debit card transactions in the United States,” Google said in May.

That data gets cross-referenced with information Google already has, to connect user accounts to in-person purchases. Aggregated data showing the relationship between Google ads and purchases is then delivered to advertisers.

Google has provided few specifics about how this process works, but the company says that it can’t identify “particular individuals” and doesn’t know what products a person purchased. The Washington Postreported on the tool in May:

“Google executives say they are using complex, patent-pending mathematical formulas to protect the privacy of consumers … The mathematical formulas convert people’s names and other purchase information, including the time stamp, location, and the amount of the purchase, into anonymous strings of numbers. The formulas make it impossible for Google to know the identity of the real-world shoppers, and for the retailers to know the identities of Google’s users, said company executives, who called the process ‘double-blind’ encryption.”

Rotenberg says that Google has never identified who its third-party partners are, “what data is acquired or what steps they are taking to de-identify that data.” Without those details, he says, there’s good reason to be skeptical of the company’s claims of anonymity.

He points to examples like Snapchat, the app that said that photos posted on its platform would disappear forever. EPIC challenged that claim in an FTC complaint. The FTC agreed that Snapchat was being misleading, and the company eventually settled the charges.

Rotenberg says that if Google’s anonymizing practices are as robust as they say, that likely alleviate EPIC’s privacy concerns. But without an independent investigation, he says, it’s impossible to evaluate Google’s claims that the process is fully anonymous.

EPIC also complains that the opt-out process is “opaque and misleading,” with most users not realizing that they’d need to opt out of such a system.

Google tells NPR that users have “robust controls” over their data, and can opt out of purchase tracking by removing permission for Google to use their “Web and App activity.” (To do so, visit “My Activity” in your Google account, select “Activity Controls” and de-select “Web and App activity.”)

Google tells NPE the store sales measurement product is currently in beta in the United States but the company has provided no details.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

In Wake Of 'Sham Election,' U.S. Sanctions Venezuelan President Maduro

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro celebrates the results of Sunday’s referendum to elect members of his constituent assembly. For this “fundamental assault on the freedoms of the Venezuelan people,” the U.S. Treasury announced sanctions on Maduro on Monday.

Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/Getty Images

hide caption

toggle caption

Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/Getty Images

Just one day after a nationwide vote to consolidate Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s hold on power, the U.S. Treasury Department has leveled a new round of sanctions against the regime — this time against Maduro himself.

“All assets of Nicolas Maduro subject to U.S. jurisdiction are frozen,” the department announced in a statement Monday, “and U.S. persons are prohibited from dealing with him.”

The move, which marks only the fourth time the U.S. has imposed economic sanctions on a sitting head of state, follows a referendum called by Maduro to elect the delegates tasked with rewriting Venezuela’s constitution. The constituent assembly elected in Sunday’s vote will have the power to dissolve the National Assembly, which is dominated by opposition politicians.

“The way that the election was set up ensured that this would be a body that is packed with supporters of Maduro and the ruling Socialist Party,” NPR’s Philip Reeves explained on Morning Edition.

Maduro’s “recent actions, culminating in yesterday’s outrageous seizure of absolute power through the sham election of the national constituent assembly, represent a very serious blow to democracy in our hemisphere,” National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said at a White House briefing Monday. “Maduro is not just a bad leader. He is now a dictator.”

Venezuela has been riven by unrest since the country’s Supreme Court, which is packed with Maduro supporters, attempted to dissolve the legislature in late March — and quickly reversed itself just days later after international backlash. In the months that followed, more than 120 people have died in clashes between Maduro’s security forces and protesters, who have demanded the resumption of indefinitely delayed elections.

At least 10 people were killed around the country on Sunday alone.

Monday’s sanctions are not the first leveled by the U.S. against Maduro’s government. Last week, the U.S. targeted 13 current or former officials — but Maduro remained defiant, publicly honoring each of the officials slapped with what he called the “imperialist sanctions.”

At the briefing Monday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin would not comment on whether Maduro has any assets in the U.S. Still, he did note that “all options are on the table” going forward.

“Our objective is not to do anything that hurts the people of Venezuela,” he said, “but let me just say, we will continue to monitor all of our specific options.”

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Israeli Authorities Arrest Antiquities Dealers In Connection With Hobby Lobby Scandal

Hobby Lobby agreed earlier this month to a forfeiture of smuggled artifacts.

Holly Hildreth /Moment Editorial/Getty Images

hide caption

toggle caption

Holly Hildreth /Moment Editorial/Getty Images

At 3:30 a.m. on Sunday, Israeli police say, authorities arrested five Palestinian antiquities dealers in Jerusalem and confiscated items dating back thousands of years from their homes and shops: papyrus fragments from the Egyptian Book of the Dead, the bust of an Etruscan woman, a fresco from Pompeii depicting swimming fish. They also seized more modern objects — two black luxury Audi vehicles — and more than $200,000 in cash.

NPR has learned the reason for the early Sunday morning arrests: Israel’s Antiquities Authority says the dealers were involved in sales of antiquities — including items that U.S. authorities determined were smuggled — to Hobby Lobby, the national U.S. arts and crafts chain.

The arrests could have a chilling effect on Jerusalem’s storied antiquities market, making it harder for pilgrims, tourists and high-end collectors to legally own a piece of history from the land of the Bible.

Police say the dealers’ total antiquities sales to Hobby Lobby president Steve Green took place from 2010 to 2014 and added up to some $20 million.

Cuneiform tablets that likely originated in Iraq were smuggled into the U.S. and shipped to Hobby Lobby. The labels on the packages “falsely described cuneiform tablets as tile ‘samples,'” according to the Justice Department.

United States Department of Justice

hide caption

toggle caption

United States Department of Justice

On Sunday, Israeli police and tax authorities issued a statement saying the dealers provided fictitious invoices for the sales and an American allegedly used the invoices to receive large-scale tax breaks — and paid dealers kickbacks in return. They declined to name the American.

But later in the day, in a court hearing, Israeli police said the arrested Jerusalem antiquities dealers are suspected of tax evasion for failing to report the $20 million in earnings to Israel’s tax authority — and are also suspected of money laundering for an alleged scheme in which fictitious receipts and invoices were issued for antiquities sold to Green.

A spokesperson for the Hobby Lobby and lawyers for the dealers have not yet responded to NPR’s request for comment. The United States Attorney’s Office in the Department of Justice declined comment.

Israel is the only country in the Middle East that has a legal antiquities trade for export, allowing the sale of items not deemed to be exceedingly rare — like 2,000-year-old coins from the time of Jesus, ancient oil lamps and Roman glass vessels.

Authorities arrested five Palestinian antiquities dealers in Jerusalem and confiscated more than $200,000 in cash as well as items dating back thousands of years.

Israel Police

hide caption

toggle caption

Israel Police

But Israel’s Antiquities Authority has been tightening its regulation of licensed antiquities sellers in recent years to prevent trafficking of looted objects, and Sunday’s arrests appear to up the ante.

“This looks to me like the beginning of the end of the legal business in Israel,” said David Hendin, a biblical coin expert and vice president of the American Numismatic Society. “It’s the biggest step yet in the shutting down of what’s left of the legal trade.”

The arrested dealers, Palestinian residents of Jerusalem, come from some of the most important pillars of Jerusalem’s antiquities market. The suspects, according to a court document, include a scion of the Baidun family, a dominant figure in the market trading in ancient artifacts for some 80 years. Other suspects are from the Hroub and Barakat families, also giants in the local market.

The arrests send a clear message to Israel’s antiquities dealers, who are licensed by the government, that they will be closely monitored, Hendin says. The message from the authorities, he says, amounts to this: “We’re not only going after you for the antiquities. We are watching your checkbooks. We are going to go after you guys, where you work and where you live.”

Papyrus fragments confiscated from Palestinian antiquities dealers.

Israel Police

hide caption

toggle caption

Israel Police

Earlier this month, the owners of Hobby Lobby, based in Oklahoma City, agreed to pay $3 million and forfeit thousands of ancient artifacts from Iraq that U.S. prosecutors say were smuggled out of the Middle East and intentionally mislabeled when imported to the U.S.

The Hobby Lobby owners, the Green family, are devout Christians and some of the world’s largest collectors of biblical antiquities. Much of their collection is expected to be displayed this fall when they expect to open their Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C.

According to U.S. law enforcement, in July 2010, Hobby Lobby president Steve Green inspected more than 5,548 artifacts for sale in the United Arab Emirates. Three antiquities dealers — two identified as Israeli, the other from the United Arab Emirates — were present as Green looked at tablets with ancient Mesopotamian writing, clay seal imprints and other items.

One Israeli dealer provided a statement to Green saying the dealer’s father legally acquired the artifacts in the late 1960s. An expert warned Hobby Lobby against the purchase of artifacts likely from Iraq, saying that hundreds of thousands of artifacts have been looted from Iraq since the 1990s.

But through its president, Green, Hobby Lobby proceeded to purchase the items for $1.6 million. U.S. officials say there were false invoices and false labels provided when the items were shipped to the U.S. in order to avoid Customs scrutiny. After its settlement with U.S. authorities, the Green family acknowledged in a statement that it “should have exercised more oversight.”

With Sunday’s arrests, Israeli authorities are shining a spotlight on the murky Middle Eastern antiquities trade, which the Hobby Lobby owners have depended on for their collections.

Last year, the Antiquities Authority says, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security contacted Israeli authorities and provided them with information on Hobby Lobby’s purchase of antiquities from Israeli-licensed dealers, including evidence of money transfers.

One of the objects seized during Sunday’s arrest of antiquities dealers in Jerusalem. Israel’s Antiquities Authority has been tightening its regulation of licensed antiquities sellers in recent years to prevent trafficking of looted objects, and the arrests appear to up the ante.

Israel Police

hide caption

toggle caption

Israel Police

“It lit a red light,” said Eitan Klein of the Antiquities Authority.

Most of the suspect antiquities were shipped to the U.S. from the United Arab Emirates. But in September 2011, a dealer in Jerusalem shipped 1,000 clay seal imprints, called bullae, to the U.S.

Klein said items had been shipped legally from Dubai to Israel in 2011, and therefore the dealers did not break Israeli law at the time when they shipped the objects to the U.S.

In 2012, Israel passed a stricter law on antiquities exports. Until then, Israeli law essentially sanctioned the sanitizing of looted items. Dealers were known to take advantage of a legal loophole to import antiquities from Dubai, considered a main hub of Middle Eastern antiquities.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)