Wikileaks & Zimbabwe Blood Diamonds

Wikileaks, Zimbabwe & Blood Diamonds, Part II
by Richard W. Wise, G.G.

Wikileaks, if it has done nothing else, has directed a searingly
bright light on the hypocritical world of international relations in
general and the Kimberly Process in particular. For those who don’t
know about it, The Kimberly Process comes down to a series of
criteria, developed by the diamond industry, whereby a chain of
ownership is established to enable sellers to certify that the
diamond you are buying for your wife, to celebrate the birthday of
the Prince of Peace, was not obtained from a starving West African
miner at machete point. The process was initiated because of a storm
of press reports generated by /Global Witness, /another bunch of
whistle-blowing trouble makers who objected to people having their
arms and legs hacked in the pursuit of diamonds to fund bloody civil
conflicts in West Africa.

In August 2010 the Zimbabwe government auctioned 71 million in
Marange diamonds certified by The Kimberly Process. The Process as it
relates to current events in Zimbabwe has become something of a joke.
In June 2009, Ian Smillie, a conflict diamond expert, architect and
Director of The Kimberly Process resigned, stating: “when regulators
fail to regulate, the systems they were designed to protect
collapse.” In an interview with Bob Bates of /Jewelers Circular
Keystone/, Smillie has this to say about Zimbabwe:

*/"With Zimbabwe, the government of South Africa is really protective
of the Mugabe regime. But it isn’t just them. The Russians say this
is not a human rights organization. But what is it exactly supposed
to be? It’s there to protect people against conflict diamonds. Some
governments are placing their small regional political interests over
the interest of the diamond industries. Others in the region just
hope that people won’t care.

/**/Interview with Ian Smillie former
Director of The Kimberly Process:/* Source: Jewelers Circular
Keystone, 2009

Jennifer Connelly and Leonardo Di Caprio in a scene from the movie
Blood Diamonds. I have been to a lot of gem mines but I have never
run into Jennifer.

Jennifer Connelly and Leonardo Di Caprio in a scene from the movie
Blood Diamonds. I have been to a lot of gem mines but I have yet to
run into Jennifer.

According to cables originating from the American Embassy in
Zimbabwe, undocumented diamonds mined in Marange area are sold
directly to foreign buyers:

/*“Although Zimbabwe is a participant in the Kimberley process, the
diamonds from Chiadzwa are undocumented and therefore are not in
compliance with Kimberley, which requires loose uncut diamonds to be
certified.” * Source: Wikileaks /

This assertion is backed up by an article written by in 2008 by
Chenjerai Hove

l a celebrated Zimbabwean writer who was driven out of Zimbabwe in
2001 for criticizing President Robert Mugabe. /“Marange and Chiadzwa
are now international destinations. Israelis, Lebanese, Belgians,
Afrikaners, Japanese, Americans, Germans, national political
heavyweights and businessmen, all sorts of diamond gladiators who
sniff the air for wealth, have been seen visiting the once-neglected
Chiadzwa, Marange.” /Read the full article.

The leaked cables go on to state:

/“The highest quality diamonds are not sent to Dubai,but are
shipped to Belgium, Israel, or South Africa for cutting” /

It is important to that these quotations are taken from cables
classified by Ambassador McGee, a representative of the United
States government to assure that the they contained would
not be made public. Who was at risk here, which sources and who’s
assets? According to the leaked cables these assets include:

/“Cranswick said that RBZ Governor Gideon Gono, Grace Mugabe, wife
of President Robert Mugabe, VicePresident Joyce Mujuru, Mines and
Mining Development Minister Amos Midzi, General Constantine Chiwenga
and wife Jocelyn, CIO Director Happyton Bonyongwe, Manicaland
Governor Chris//Mushowe, and several white Zimbabweans, including
Greg Scott, and Hendrik O,Neill, are all involved in the /**/Marange
diamond trade.”/

Source: /Wikileaks/

Why were these cables classified? Was it Ambassador McGee’s
objective to protect the people named above or was it simply to avoid
embarrassing a senior attache’s wife who might choose to wear her
shiny new three carat diamond ring to an embassy cocktail party?

Grace Mugabe, wife of the President of Zimbabwe has filed a 10M
dollar libel suit. What’s that on your finger, Grace?

Grace Mugabe, wife of the President of Zimbabwe has filed a 10M
dollar libel suit. What’s that on your finger, Grace?

Yesterday it was reported that the wife of the president of
Zimbabwe, Grace Mugabe had filed a defamation suit

?_r=1&src=twrhp against the South African newspaper The Standard for
reproducing reports from Wikileaks.

Are Zimbabwe Blood Diamonds Identifiable?:

Unlike colored gemstone that are, for the most part, formed in the
earth’s crust and contain inclusions specific to the geographic
areas where they were formed, diamonds are formed in the mantle. For
the most part, it is not possible to separate diamonds by origin.
However, I have read several reports that seem to indicate that these
diamonds are easily identifiable, at least in the rough. The
following is quoted from - Diamond Industry Calls for Clampdown on Zimbabwe Smuggling

/“The source suspects that Marange diamonds were being filtered out
to most of the major diamond centers, including Israel, South Africa
and Belgium for larger stones, and India and Dubai for the smaller
goods. He described Marange diamonds as being unique in appearance
and therefore very recognizable “even to the layman.” They vary in
value from $5-per-carat industrial stones to $1,000-per-carat
gem-quality diamonds, he explained.”/

This source gives not details as to how Marange diamonds might be
identified by a layman, but according to one of our readers, Deepak,
a diamond dealer from India, Marange diamonds do show a distinctive
green tint (see Part I, Deepak 12/19 comments). Diamonds are color
graded by placing them table down in a white tray under special
lighting. Under these conditions, according the Deepak, Marange
stones will betray a slight greenish cast, we are not talking green
diamonds here, just a very slight tint, but distinctive enough to be
seen by an experienced grader.

The possibility that immediately comes to mind is that the green
tint is the result of natural radiation. Fancy green diamonds derive
their coloring from natural radiation. Is this the source of the
green tint in the stones from Zimbabwe? If so, these stones should be
easily detectable. It would seem that a U. S. Customs agent, armed
with a Geiger counter, or a more advanced instrument, might
significantly reduce the flow of blood diamonds into the U. S., the
world’s largest diamond market.

Wikileaks, Saint or Savior?

The U. S. Government is doing its best to demonize Wikileaks.
President Obama has taken a posture that has him, seemingly, talking
out of both sides of his mouth all at once. /“While I’m concerned
about the disclosure of sensitive from the battlefield
that could potentially jeopardize individuals or operations, the fact
is, these documents don’t reveal any issues that haven’t already
informed our public debate on Afghanistan…”/ Mr. Obama said." Well,
which is it? Wikileaks revelations are damaging our national security
or they are irrelevant? Clearly people are dying in Zimbabwe, about
five per week according to documents leaked.

Government sources are fond of using the term /collateral damage.
/It means innocent people died, but usually not our innocent people.
When, for example, a drone strike is called in on a suspected Al
Qaeda or Taliban gathering in Afghanistan, the civilians who are
killed as part of our efforts to suppress these two movements is
called unfortunate and ultimately dismissed as collateral damage. In
the case of Zimbabwe and its brutal exploitation of both its
resources and its people, the outing of those responsible is
necessary. If it is not done, many more will suffer and by some
accounts they have, at the rate of several per week. The question we
must ask is why the secrecy? Why were official U. S. Government
cables detailing these atrocities suppressed by classifying them?
What vital American interests are we protecting? De Beers, the
diamond industry, big business?

I believe that it is opacity that is the true cause of collateral
damage in this case and most others. President Obama came into
office with a promise of transparency. It appears that this is
another promise that will not be kept. When Wikileaks reveals the
names of American agents in the field, they are at risk. When our
government suppresses about blood diamonds in Zimbabwe,
people die. When we accept a public relations ploy such as The
Kimberly Process in place of a real certification, a few people get
rich and more people die. I think the real issue here is not
Wikileaks, it is transparency. If we had transparency, Wikileaks
would not only be irrelevant, it would not exist and there would be
no issue and a lot fewer deaths.

Richard W. Wise, G.G.