ICE returns artifacts to Iraq

Uploaded by wwwICEgov on 20.07.2011

[Samir Sumaida'ie, Iraqi Ambassador to the US] Iraq has endured a great deal.
But on days like this, we rekindle hope
as we reconstruct our country and we reconstruct our heritage.
Iraq lost more than 15,000 artifacts out of its museum.
Many of them are extremely important.
To date, I believe we have retrieved more than half of the items that were looted
Thanks for the hard work and great cooperation
that we have received from American authorities
[Nat sound] Kumar Kibble, very nice to meet you.
Who have been vigilant and very responsive.
[Deputy Director Kumar Kibble, ICE] Today we are officially returning a number of valuables to Iraq,
some of which are on display today.
Large, colorful paintings,
Two AK-47 assault rifles hidden behind medical equipment.
A necklace that had been sold at Christie's Auction House in London
from Southern Mesopotamia.
It dates back to approximately 2500 years BCE.
Today's repatriation ceremony is a direct result of the fine work
of these Special Agents.
HSI Special Agents discovered that valuable Iraqi silver sterling pieces were for sale via the Internet.
Among them were a 138-piece Christofle silverware place setting
and a 22-piece Noritake china tea service.
Iraqi antiquities that were available on Craigslist:
Using an undercover email account, HSI Special Agents contacted the seller,
who was a member of the U.S. Army.
The agents met him at his home,
he took the agents to his garage, and showed them a marble slab
from Saddam Hussein's Baghdad palace.
Pilfering and trading in a country's ethnic and cultural heritage treasures,
either during a time of peace, or upheaval, are major transgressions
that ICE, in coordination with a host of domestic and international partners,
work to detect and stop.
And it's always gratifying for us to return lost or stolen treasures to their rightful owners.
[Ambassador] This means a lot to Iraq.
It means a lot to every Iraqi.
It makes them feel that if they just continue to endure a little longer
then there is hope, and that the future years will be much better than the past years.