Forged art funds terror

LONDON (Reuters) – Militants in Iraq and the Middle East are selling forged art works on auction Web site eBay and in antique markets in the UK to help fund terrorism, police said on Wednesday.

The extent of the scam was not clear but the items, purportedly Iraqi or heirlooms from the region, could each sell for up to a couple of thousand pounds, according to London police’s Arts and Antiques Unit.

“Archaeological stuff is being exported by the ton-load from Middle Eastern countries and (the money) is going back into the Middle East area and some will inevitably end up in the hands of terrorists,” Detective Constable Ian Lawson told reporters.

“We know for a fact there is a terrorism link.”

In the aftermath of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, thousands of treasures were looted from the country and smuggled out to collectors across the world.

Immediately following the fall of Baghdad news reports included wide spread looting of Iraq’s rich historical treasures. Though some looting did occur most of Iraq’s priceless tresures were stored away in safe keeping and many others were later recovered.  Though I am sure many artifacts were looted and smuggled out of the country, it was not as rampant nor as widespread as the reuters article suggests.  Here is an Audio Link

The main point of the story though is pointing out another means that terrorists use to finance their operations. Terror groups have used a variety of schemes to fund their operations, including drug trafficing, & charity schemes.

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