Special guest speaker Louis Intres will present the program, "The Looting of Baghdad: Implications for Conservation of Man's Heritage."
Intres' interest in this matter began with the looting of the Natural Museum of Baghdad in 2003. America led a coalition of over 20 countries into the city of Baghdad to depose Saddam Hussein.
We therefore became the target of significant international criticism when, within the first four days of the insurgency, over 25,000 treasures were stolen from the Museum and it was nearly totally destroyed.
Many of these artifacts were among the most valuable and oldest of their type of artifact known to man. Many of them directly relate to the development of the genius of mankind.
Officials are still trying to search them out and return them.
Most have already been destroyed or melted down for their gold and other minerals. Likely, most of them may never be recovered.
From the main topic of this looting incident, Intres will speak to present issues of smuggling and black market sales of artifacts today.
Intres earned his bachelor's degrees in history and business administration from the University of Central Arkansas, Conway, AR, in 1970; Master's Degrees in History and Heritage Studies, Arkansas State University, Jonesboro, in 2007; and has completed all classes and practicum required at the Ph. D. Level.
He is presently writing his dissertation as the last requirement for receiving his Ph. D. in Heritage Studies at Arkansas State University, Jonesboro.
His research has received the attention of several government agencies and in 2009, he was honored as the INTERPOL Visiting Scholar where he did research in international black market sales and smuggling issues at the U. S. Central Bureau Office of INTERPOL in Washington, D. C.
Since then, he has been doing research in the Middle East, living with the Bedouins in the southern desert of Jordan.
Locals and Bedouins are the first level of the looting of archaeological sites and significant grave robbing. Items looted in Middle Eastern countries amount to over $3 billion annually and often help to fund insurgent terrorists and other international crimes.
He has met with and interviewed looters, thieves, smugglers and corrupt officials.
He has also interviewed the leading archaeologists in Jordan and Egypt while working with them and their government officials on the mitigation of the theft of their national treasures. Today there are only about a dozen individuals in the United States who work full time on stopping the smuggling of ancient antiquities into America, one of the largest markets in which to sell these artifacts.
Contact Spring River Gem and Mineral Club President Paul Grindol at 1-870-257-5623 for information.