Not Available for Download

Collecting Cultural Intelligence: The Tactical Value of Cultural Property

International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, Vol. 24, No. 2, pp. 217-238, 2011

Posted: 6 Jul 2011  

Erik Nemeth

Cultural Security; RAND Corporation

Abstract

The tightening interrelation of cultural property and international security - cultural security - creates a need for the collection and analysis of specialized intelligence. “Cultural intelligence” enables assessments of the tactical and strategic significance of antiquities, fine art, and cultural heritage sites to national and regional security. This paper defines a framework for the collection of cultural intelligence as a fundamental asset in countering threats to cultural security. Looting of antiquities as a tactic in campaigns of cultural cleansing, trafficking in antiquities as a source of funding for insurgents, and targeting of historic structures and religious monuments in political violence represent distinct threats to regional security. A critical initial step in countering the threats includes marshalling appropriate sources of information. Publications that report on the art market and cultural property globally and players in the antiquities trade offer opportunities as sources of cultural intelligence. Ultimately, the development of tactical and strategic cultural intelligence can reveal trafficking networks and assess risks to cultural heritage sites. As a starting point, this paper identifies viable sources of cultural intelligence. Conflicts in Afghanistan (2001) and Iraq (2003) provide examples in retrospect, while volatility in Mali presents an opportunity in the context of an emerging security risk. In conclusion, the paper speculates on the applications of cultural intelligence in regional security.

Keywords: national intelligence, security services, intelligence collection, cultural property, antiquities, trafficking

Suggested Citation

Nemeth, Erik, Collecting Cultural Intelligence: The Tactical Value of Cultural Property. International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, Vol. 24, No. 2, pp. 217-238, 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1877509

Erik Nemeth (Contact Author)

Cultural Security ( email )

Santa Monica, CA
United States

HOME PAGE: http://culturalsecurity.net

RAND Corporation ( email )

1776 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.rand.org/about/people/n/nemeth_erik.html

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
388