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Friday, April 4, 2014

Hope He Didn't Have Any Gibsons...

#1 Blogdaughter sends in this rather odd story...

FBI seizes trove of cultural artifacts at 91-year-old Indiana man's home
FBI agents seized thousands of artifacts Wednesday from a 91-year-old man’s private collection at his home in rural central Indiana and says it will return the items that were wrongfully in his possession

Donald Miller, from Waldorn, amassed the collection over eight decades, the FBI said. The items include artifacts from Native Americans, Russia, China, and other nations.
What's odd about this? Well, for starters, there's this:
"The cultural value of these artifacts is immeasurable," FBI Special Agent Robert Jones said at a news conference. He refused to disclose details of any of the individual items taken from Miller's property.
I'd feel a lot less icky about the whole process if a) the government hadn't shown a propensity for using 20,000 pound hydraulic presses to kill flies when it comes to dealing with antiques and such; and b) they had listed a couple of items that Mr. Miller stole or possessed without proper permits/whatever. Where they didn't, it strikes me that this is probably a giant fishing expedition.

This guy had a huge private collection of odd items, and the FBI swoops in and takes it all without telling why? Sounds to me like they're going to cart everything off and spend the next year or so rifling through it, looking for anything they can charge Mr. Miller with. Also, I'm not exactly filled with confidence over this:
Some items were acquired improperly, but Miller, who traveled extensively, obtained others legally or before laws affecting them were on the books, Jones said. Federal authorities will attempt to repatriate items with their rightful owners, he said.
So, if he's got ivory, or some exotic wood, or perhaps something that used to be legal to import/acquire/etc., how much do you want to bet they put the onus on Miller to prove he had it prior to the ban/etc.? Wouldn't surprise me in the least to find out that he had ivory, or Guatemalan rain forest wood, or some other item that is regulated out the gills now but not 60 years ago.

I'm curious to know how the FBI knew that he had these items. Was it someone Miller let into his home? Someone with a grudge? The FBI doesn't out of the blue decide to bring a bunch of trucks to some eccentric dude's house in Indiana if they don't think they're going to score something important. It's fishy as hell, IMHO, that they didn't give some pretext, flimsy or no, for the raid.

Then again, it stopped being about justice a long time ago, didn't it?

That is all.

11 comments:

threecollie said...

But, but, if he bought them...and paid for them...isn't HE the rightful owner? Not in America I guess

libertyman said...

And the government would NEVER take your guns, right?

Ted said...

Great. .... I know people who have pre ban Ivory items and various artifacts purchased on overseas trips . paperwork??? There was no paperwork..... or what ever scraps of paper there were have been long ago lost / misplaced. If asked , I just say they are all worthless reproductions.

Old NFO said...

Not anymore... Retroactive laws... sigh

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

I wonder which government flunky he pissed off?

The worst part is that even if he wins in court he'll be out thousands in attorney fees, and will probably never get some of those items back.

Geodkyt said...

Yup, the onus is on the owner to prove the "contraband" is grandfathered and thus exempt -- just like NFA firearms.

Bob said...

Wonder if he has Sen. Elizabeth Warren's (D-MA) Indian birth certificate?

Anonymous said...

I wonder if they plan on raiding the Smithsonian next week? As I recall there were lots of items looted from their home countries?

Gerry

Wally said...

Ti libertyman - there was a case of the government taking guns that were of historical significance... to a foreign country.

Complete farce, really. But it's been done and I'm acquainted with at least one such unwilling repatriator.

Anonymous said...

My bet is he was negotiating with a museum to take his collection after he died, but someone at the museum decided they could negotiate better with the feds.

Will said...

One of the tenets of Communism, only the "state" owns anything, all else is only on loan, with permission.

He'll get nothing back before he dies, and his family? HA! probably get a bill for the costs, and nothing else.