With regard to the reports of Islamic State-looted antiquities on eBay, which Paul Barford and I have reviewed, there has been a predictable (and predicted) development.
I’ve been contacted privately by Michael E. Bierman, Esq. (@plague_gremlin) – the attorney of the antiquities dealer whose coins have been used as illustrations of those reports. I’ve had independent confirmation of his identity and actions in this case. He has asked me not to use his client’s name (yet), which makes sense, in order for him not to be in any way associated with those reports. He has issued this public statement:
The stories are absolutely false and defamatory. My client has proof of lawful purchase and ownership, which I have examined and confirmed myself. The coins have been in the United States longer than the “ISIS” construct has existed. Any allegations that he has any connection with ISIS, terrorism, smuggling, money laundering, treason, or unlawful possession or sale of anything are patently false. In addition, the nearest modern city to what was once Apamea, has never been held or occupied by ISIS. Complete tripe and yellow journalism all the way around. Finally, no one had permission to reproduce his photos. We are in the beginnings of actively initiating multiple libel actions.
Since our contact, he has also stated: ‘The Times has libeled my client and will pay for it.’