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Naomi – the blood diamonds in Ireland aren't "dirty-looking pebbles"

category national | rights, freedoms and repression | opinion/analysis author Tuesday August 10, 2010 22:51author by Sean Clinton Report this post to the editors

- they'll look just like these

Both the print and broadcast media have given a lot of coverage to the saga of Naomi Campbell’s encounter with blood diamonds, allegedly given to her by the former Liberian ruler and accused war criminal Charles Taylor. The controversy surrounds what Campbell described as a few “dirty looking pebbles” she received in the middle of the night while attending a dinner party hosted by former South African President, Nelson Mandela.

50% of all gem-quality diamonds are crafted in Israel but you can't identify them.
50% of all gem-quality diamonds are crafted in Israel but you can't identify them.

The diamond industry has tried to convince the world that the trade in blood diamonds was largely eliminated following the introduction of the Kimberley Process system of self-regulation in 2003. However, as evidenced by the recent failure of KP members to ban diamond exports from Zimbabwe where Global Witness has documented gross human rights abuses, the KP is unable and unwilling to prevent vast quantities of diamonds that fund human rights abuses from entering the market. Vested interests ensure that the KP definition of a blood diamond is tightly ring-fenced and only applies to “rough diamonds used by rebels” thereby allowing their blood diamonds to slip under its radar and be sold to unsuspecting consumers as KP-compliant and “conflict free” diamonds.

The KP is little more than a massive PR exercise - a smoke and mirrors illusion. Its backers focus public attention on a tiny segment of the blood diamond trade thereby distracting attention from the much larger trade in diamonds that fund war crimes and crimes against humanity by rogue states such as Israel and Zimbabwe.

Israel was recently found guilty of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity by the UN and is presently under investigation for the murder of nine unarmed civilians on the flotilla bringing humanitarian aid to Gaza. It is the world’s No.1 exporter of diamonds with exports valued at nearly $20 billion in 2008 accounting for over 30% of its total exports. Approximately fifty percent of all gem-quality diamonds are crafted in Israel. Despite this, jewellers tell customers their diamonds are “conflict free”. The reality is vastly different. The shredded bodies of Palestinian children and blood-soaked hospital floors in Gaza are potent examples of the end use of the diamond revenues accruing to the Zionist regime.

Consumers are being conned and the mainstream media is failing to expose the cover up. The Retail Jewellers of Ireland have so far remained silent about the largely-clandestine trade in Israeli blood diamonds. Many jewellery shops have over €1,000,000 worth of diamonds on display. On average, that will include €500,000 worth of Israeli blood diamond. Most consumers are completely unaware of this and presently have no way of distinguishing a diamond crafted in Israel from a diamond crafted in a country that respects human rights.

The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign has called on jewellers to demand a review of the KP so all diamonds that fund human rights abuses are banned and for all diamonds to be laser inscribed so consumers have the right to know where they were crafted and the right to choose an Israel-free diamond. Until this happens consumers should boycott all diamonds that are not hallmarked as otherwise they run a high risk of buying an Israeli blood diamond thereby helping to fund the sort of human rights abuses that have earned Israel its pariah status and landed Charles Taylor in the dock in The Hague.

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Wonder how much white phospohorous these few would pay for?
Wonder how much white phospohorous these few would pay for?

author by Sean Clintonpublication date Wed Aug 11, 2010 10:06Report this post to the editors

The Israeli economy is heavily dependent on its burgeoning cut and polished diamond exports. Despite the fact that diamonds are Israel's No.1 export commodity, Israeli leaders rarely make any reference to its diamond industry when extolling the virtues of the Israeli economy.

That is for a good reason.

No one making such an expensive and life long investment wants to have images of war crimes and mutilated children associated with the special purchase which the diamond industry wants us to believe are objects of desire, romance and purity. As the gaping hole in the Kimberley Process that facilitates the trade in Israeli blood diamonds become more apparent, it is increasing difficult for consumers to believe that fairytale.

Israel's diamond exports vastly exceed the value of all its other export commodities
Israel's diamond exports vastly exceed the value of all its other export commodities

author by Mike Novackpublication date Wed Aug 11, 2010 12:54Report this post to the editors

Do you imagine that raw diamonds with minerals from the matrix in which they were found still on their surface look like diamonds after they are cut and polished? Dirty looking pebbles would not be a bad description.

You may (or may not) have seen crystals of semi precious stones sticking out of matrix, say while hiking. Yes of course, that end of the garnet, tormaline, etc. sticking out of the granite or whatever looks clean. That's because thousands of years or erosion have removed the softer matrix material from what sticks out. But if you took your rock hammer and broke that crystal free, the back side would have lots of material attached, be "dirty".

In processing the diamonds the "gemologists" would first remove that "crud" and lightly polish to give a clear view of the interior from all angles so how best to cut could be determined. At that stage would resemble nice clean pebbles, mostly clear except for all the flaws. It's only after final cutting and polishing that what you see is a faceted diamond. And that's only becuase diamonds are usually cut "faceted". If they just polished it round (and unflawed piece) would look like a clear glass bead.

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Wed Aug 11, 2010 15:36Report this post to the editors

Ta for the gemological gems. I dont think too many are under the impression that gemstones emerge from the depts of the earth cut, polished and mounted in platiunum on a velvet background. And I would imagine Ms Campbell is a cute enough girl to know what she was being slipped.
But surely the issue is the political one of how we monitor and police trade in these highly valuable and mobile pebbles that have a history of slavery, brutality, apartheid and other dazzling delights to their eternal( they are forever,after all) credit. I dont think they arrive in our jewellers trays as anything that might be mistakenly taken to have originated in a Palestinian kid's slingshot at his neighbourhood drone.

author by Sean Clintonpublication date Wed Aug 11, 2010 17:56Report this post to the editors

"Zimbabwe began selling diamonds worth more than £1 billion mined from an area where soldiers are accused of killing 200 people, raping women and forcing children into hard labour.

Heavily armed police and soldiers guarded top security vaults built at the main Harare airport, where several private jets brought buyers from Israel, India, Lebanon and Russia."

Wonder how long before Zimbabwe's blood diamonds, crafted in Israel appear in our shop windows? They will all be "conflict free" of course. But they wont blood free.

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author by Uri Klein - Israeli Anarchists Against the Wallpublication date Wed Aug 11, 2010 22:32Report this post to the editors

Can't you do better than the above bizarre offering - you're giving hasbara a bad name.?

author by Mike Novackpublication date Thu Aug 12, 2010 14:03Report this post to the editors

What did THIS story have to do with Israel?

This was about some raw stones slipped to somebody by Taylor (direct from source country). And all I was commenting on was the silliness of automatic doubt because the recipient described them as "dirty pebbles". Yes of course presumably knew what they really were but only because of from whom. I doubt you or I would necessarily be able to recognize diamonds in their raw state by appearance.

For some reason you imagine that I am just as fixated on Israel as you appear to be. Yes of course I am partisan on the other side than you (about Israel) but idiotic to consider what I posted "ineffective defending Israel" since wasn't saying ANYTHING about Israel. I suppose if I chimed in about the destruction of the "ring forts" you'd call that "ineffective hasbara" too.

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Thu Aug 12, 2010 19:49Report this post to the editors

just trying to keep focussed. If you check the top of the page I think you'll find the topic is polished and cut stones and their trajectory from the hole of Kimberly and other vampire feedlots to the market showcase. Israel is part of the thread. I think the point is that you were wandering off point, and possibly not unintentionally given your admitted interest.
Chime away about the ring forts or whatever you fancy. I looked up hasbara again on wiki. Edifying. The word is out and that little tray of gemology seems to get more ineffective by the day. The lies wear thin.

author by Sean Ogpublication date Thu Aug 12, 2010 23:49Report this post to the editors

Those lad and lassies at IPSC are really great
What will happen when the Israeli State implodes under IPSC pressure ?
Is there anyone else out there who needs dealing with or will the Second Comming be at hand ?

author by oliver moorepublication date Fri Aug 13, 2010 02:10Report this post to the editors

"[Israel] is the world’s No.1 exporter of diamonds with exports valued at nearly $20 billion in 2008 accounting for over 30% of its total exports. Approximately fifty percent of all gem-quality diamonds are crafted in Israel. Despite this, jewellers tell customers their diamonds are “conflict free”."

That's in the title of the feature. It's a basic and interesting point. Likewise with the diagram. People need to know this stuff. If the post-rough diamond trade is trou Israel to this extent, people might start to listen and begin [pushing for BDS in a more significant way.

Yes it will take time to weed out the cut diamonds from others - however an easy way would be to cut them all out til they differentiate. Then u'd soon see a separation.

Appelby in Dublin, for example, cut their own, and seem to know where they come from.

See below for more

(Feature by Oliver Moore)

Supermodel Naomi Campbell today gave evidence in an international war crimes trail in the Hague, over an alleged 'blood diamond'.

The trial is of former Liberian President Charles Taylor. Prosecutors want to query Campbell about whether Taylor gave her a rough, or uncut, diamond as a gift in 1997, at a celebrity-packed reception held in South Africa by the then-President Nelson Mandela.

Taylor's Prosecutors contend Campbell's testimony will provide material evidence on Taylor's possession or otherwise of rough diamonds. Taylor, for his part, claims that he never possessed rough diamonds.

Taylor is accused of supporting rebels in Sierra Leone's 1991-2002 civil war, and of controlling the rough diamond trade to do so.

The civil war in Sierra Leone was notorious for the mutilations caused by the rebels, which often consisted of hacking off the hands or feet of victims.

According to the UN, rough diamonds are considered conflict or blood diamonds if they are used for the purpose of fueling war, in particular rebel insurgency that contravenes International Law:

“Conflict diamonds are diamonds that originate from areas controlled by forces or factions opposed to legitimate and internationally recognized governments, and are used to fund military action in opposition to those governments, or in contravention of the decisions of the Security Council.”

But when it comes to diamonds and conflict, is the distinction between governments and rebels always completely clear cut? John Moore was a humanitarian aid worker in Angola in 2000-2001. He points out that while the Angolan government was internationally recognised, Angola was “amongst the most land-mined countries in the world”, and that the government used these as a weapon in the civil war. Landmines, by their nature, are indiscriminate.

“The government also controlled the massive diamond mine and highly militarised strategic towns of Saurimo, in the Lunda Sul region of Angola on Congolese border.” No doubt, controlling a resource like this helped the government win the civil war.

He also points out that the Angolan president, Edwardo Do Santos “was reputedly the 2nd wealthiest man in Africa at the time”.

Conflict in both Angola and Sierra Leone was in fact instrumental in introducing the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme in 2003, a government level certification scheme designed to control and regulate the diamond industry.

According to the World Diamond Council, which represents over 50 diamond industry organisations, under the Kimberly Process (KP) “rough diamonds are sealed in tamper-resistant containers and accompanied by forgery resistant, conflict free certificates with unique serial numbers each time they cross an international border.”

They claim that “considerably less than 1% of diamonds are conflict diamonds, reduced from approximately 4% before the establishment of the Kimberley Process.”

The Kimberly Process Certification Scheme applies to the export of rough/uncut diamonds from the 75 countries that participate in the scheme.

According to Seamus Fahy of Voltaire diamonds “Any company or person exporting uncut diamonds from these countries requires a Kimberly Process Certificate. This is issued by government bodies in each country. This certificate proves that the diamonds identified on the certificate have been ethically sourced in the country of origin.”
He goes on “These uncut diamonds are then sold to cutting centres worldwide - mostly India, Antwerp and Israel. Then large wholesalers buy these cut diamonds and get them independently certified. The largest independent certification body is the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), there are several others.”

Once diamonds move past the rough/uncut stage, they become untraceable, which is why the Kimberly Process is so important.

Customers are often told about the Kimberly Process when they decide on diamonds. It has, however, its critics.

According to the Conflict Free Diamond Council: “Although the Kimberley Process was established with good intentions, it is not effective enough to stop the trade in conflict or blood diamonds. The loopholes and lack of enforcement has led to an influx of illicit diamonds in the Kimberley Process.”

Two of the NGO's most involved in the fight against Conflict Diamonds have been Global Witness and Partnership Africa Canada.

In a 2008 report by Global Witness Annie Dunnebacke points out that “Conflict diamonds from Côte d'Ivoire are still being mined, smuggled into legitimate markets and sold to consumers on the high street, despite UN sanctions”...“the Kimberley Process' failure to address this problem in five years of existence is a serious indictment of the scheme's effectiveness.”

The report points to concerns in Zimbabwe, which have come to a head again in recent weeks. Zimbabwe's military has been accused of violently seizing control of the Marange fields in the eastern part of the country where the diamonds are being mined.

Dubai has been cited as a source for a cash-based trade in these diamonds: insiders cite cash transactions as being very unusual for diamond transactions post 9/11.

All of this is familiar territory to Gerry Appleby of Appleby, the Dublin-based Jewellery company.

According to Gerry Appleby: “At the Marange fields, there was a diamond rush, and 200,000 or so people descended on the region. The mine was found by and English based company, but then taken over by Mugabwe illegally; he sent it troops and helicopter gunships, and in 3 days killed 250. That cleared the site for him.”

“We don't deal in conflict diamonds,” he tells me, “we source from Canada and Russia: we also buy uncut diamonds and cut them ourselves”.

Canada has the strictest regulations of any country in the world on diamonds, pioneering stronger ethical standards.

He also points out that diamonds do contribute to the prosperity of countries, citing Botswana and South African as places where they have genuinely helped with development.

Gerry Appleby tells me that one of the founders of the Kimberly Process, Ian Smillie spoke to him in February after resigning in frustration.

“I feel that I can no longer in good faith contribute to a pretense that failure is success, or to the kind of debates we have been reduced to”, Smillie's farewell latter to the Kimberly Process stated.

It went on: “I thought in 2003 that we had created something significant. In fact we did, but we have let it slip away from us”. He pointed to failures with “smuggling and fraud in Brazil, and issues of even greater importance in Côte d'Ivoire/Ghana, Guyana, Venezuela, Zimbabwe and now Guinea and Lebanon.”

He referred to the KP effectively condoning diamond smuggling in Venezuela, and human rights abuses in alluvial diamond smuggling.

With diamonds, revenue can be channeled for positive purposes in well run countries. But even beyond the direct issue of conflict, there are also serious concerns over health and safety of workers, child labour, and environment resources with diamonds. So the question remains: are there ever completely ethical diamonds?

Related Link:
author by Frank Adam - private citizenpublication date Tue Aug 17, 2010 21:30Report this post to the editors

Israel was amongst the first to sign up to the Kimberley Process.

If things have gone wrong in Africa because there is not a relatively uncorrupt govenment in that whole trouble ridden continent then it is hardly pertinent to blame Israel.

On your own figures the conflict diamonds are now cut to 1% of total and on your figures the Israeli share of the world crafted diamonds is 50% so the non-Kimberleys can not exceed 2% of Israeli production at outside.

You have - as ever - made weighty rhetoric out of sloppy dialectic confusing the problems of Africa with your desire to visit vexation on Israel and feel good because you can not do good positively.

Do consider that there are more then diamonds available for jewelry and if the diamond market drops under the boycott of the, immense, Irish market then no doubt the blood stone market and Third World child labour in rubies and other raw African, Indian and Chinese precious stones will expand.

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Tue Aug 17, 2010 23:18Report this post to the editors

breaking news is that you have just passed your leaving cert maths exam for that comment.Even though 1% of a grand is 50% of a score.
You wouldn't, by any chance, from that vast store of gemological info, have the current figures for trade in rubies about you.No doubt you ' were among the first to sign up' to access. Would you say the Gazans control the ruby trade?

author by Frank Adam - private citizen publication date Wed Aug 18, 2010 15:53Report this post to the editors

The Gazans command enough UN and other charity to live better than most of the poor miners who actually dig for gems in Africa.

Gaza could of course live even better if they controled their SF type romantics of violence who pursue vindictive vexatiousness with Israel into negative return on their capital, their lives, and their time or anything else.

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Wed Aug 18, 2010 17:14Report this post to the editors

are of course kept poor by the rich bastards that control their lives and the trade. Have a look at the top of the page for details.

author by Frank Adam - private citizenpublication date Sun Aug 22, 2010 21:10Report this post to the editors

OK then; how would you change the economy as political arithmetic is now called to mask the political import? Marx's Manifesto was about the sovereignty of the workforce in any enterprise and the people who did well at that were the coop movement in UK, the kibbutz & Histadrut, and the Basques at Mondragon, but the Palestine Arabs copied a bit and did not get anywhere because one of the big problems of Arab society is its Whiggery in both great and small families.

As a society they trust individuals but not institutions which is one reason that they have stayed behind in great resentments of disgust while those other new polities that set out at the same post colonial moment like S. Korea have surged ahead and if any country is resuming its former position and role it is the Chinese.

How will you feed and employ the poor miners and Chinese sweatshop workers curently clothing the World?

For your ideological purity of the first water of whiter than white diamonds you are willing to pay the Palestine "refugees" and the PA fascists aid when you could have twisted their arms by [threatening to] refuse the poison of unconditional aid into a reasonable settlement decades back? or even now?

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Sun Aug 22, 2010 21:32Report this post to the editors

Too many additions to your facts on the ground.
Subtract the hasbara squared and multiply by predatory expansion.
We see your sums.
They add up to ethnic cleansing and contempt for the weak you have dispossessed.
And a recidivist contempt for international law that shows the hollowness of any pretense at democratic credit.

author by Frank Adam - private citizenpublication date Sat Aug 28, 2010 21:05Report this post to the editors

Africa is a mess despite its resources and sixty years after the end of colonial administration the causes can only be laid at the doors of the Africans' states.

The same goes for the Arab World "From the Ocean to the Gulf" in the Arab phrase. Palestine is two cents in the €uro of that which in part explains its exiguous condition - but they are still the richest poor in the world and the most spoiled "poor" being top of the foreign aid league.

Ever tried to agitate for Arab petrodollar aid to build infrastructure instead of mosques in Gaza, Hebron and Nablus?

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Sat Aug 28, 2010 22:59Report this post to the editors

for much the same reason the rest of the planet is in a deepening mess.
Because the petrodollar or Dimonadollar or diamond or dronedollar or real-estatedollar is higher on your account sheet than any mosque, church, temple, synagogue or public market or gathering-place other than the one that feeds your face in the corporate trough.
build fucking infrastructure?
With the cement impounded in Zion, is it?

author by Geologist.publication date Sun Aug 29, 2010 11:18Report this post to the editors

Diamonds don't look like much when they come out of the ground.
"Dirty pebbles" is an accurate description.

When they are cleaned and cut and polished they gleam like no other thing on earth.
(They gleam like diamonds.)

Natural diamond is coal,pure carbon,crushed at least 300 miles beneath the surface of the Earth.

Diamond is the hardest known substance on earth.

The drills now reaching to rescue the trapped Chilean miners are tipped by diamonds.

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Sun Aug 29, 2010 12:06Report this post to the editors

Zionist hasbara has been tested at CERN in the propaganda colloidoscope, by bombardment with a concentrated beam of intelligence mixed with straight information, and its intransigence and impermeability proven out of this world altogether.

The flotillas now preparing to penetrate the siege of Gaza and its collective punishment are made of sterner stuff however.
It is rumoured they can even cut through geologists.

author by jump the sharkpublication date Sun Sep 05, 2010 13:48Report this post to the editors

bet the likes of your kind,didnt even KNOW THE INTERNET EXISTED PRE 1900'S UR A FUCKING LEECH LECCH!

author by James Bond.publication date Sun Sep 05, 2010 13:58Report this post to the editors

Bling works.

My drinks are "shaken not stirred".

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