COMMENT - The bank that started De Beers, started Standard Chartered Bank, and financed Cecil John Rhodes, was NM Rothschild & Sons in London, at the time headed by Baron Nathaniel Mayer Rothschild and aided by his brother Leopold de Rothschild.
Sir Evelyn, Baron de Rothschild, who headed the family bank until recently, is on the board of directors of The Economist Group, whose The Economist Magazine funded Mugabe And The White African.
Through the World Diamond Council (see affiliated businesses here), De Beers also created the "Blood Diamonds" initiative, the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme, for which there was also an accompanying movie starring Leonardo Dicaprio and Djimon Hounsou, directed by Edward Zwick (Glory, Courage Under Fire, and The Siege, which predicted 9/11 type events 3 years before they happened).
Interestingly, the Oppenheimer family who were the face of Anglo-American De Beers during colonialism and apartheid, have now left the diamond mining business and De Beers. Forced out by Cynthia Carroll of Anglo-American, who herself is now out of Anglo-American.
And to top it off, Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the neoliberal MDC, was a former employee of Anglo-American De Beers, and according to his biographer Sarah Huddleston, "Morgan loves the mining industry because he was a miner and was given his start in life by Anglo American." ("UPDATE 1-Implats surrender boosts Zimbabwe ZANU-PF for poll", Reuters)
Zimbabwe's diamonds belong to the people of Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe and De Beers' decline
by Tafadzwa Musarara
OBERT Mpofu has become the first and only African mines minister to take De Beers head on, and successfully inflict collateral damage on the century-old world diamond cartel leader.
Mpofu has forced the Oppenheimer dynasty to make a hasty exit from the conglomerate which they had ruled as their own family fiefdom for more than 70 years.
This is a big feat for a mines minister of a third world country to fight a worldwide establishment with a foundation deeply rooted in the Scramble for Africa. Founded in 1888 by Cecil John Rhodes, De Beers’s diverse business operations include diamond extracting, trading, cutting and polishing, jewellery manufacturing and retail.
The former diamond-mining giant has a record of providing massive material and financial assistance to former repressive colonial regimes in countries where it operated, including Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. De Beers grew phenomenally during the apartheid era when it bought several businesses that were closing in protest against the repressive political system in South Africa. This has resulted in De Beers owning at least 40% of major entities listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. During apartheid, De Beers crafted all statutes and policies on diamond trade in South Africa and benefitted from black cheap labour.
But in Zimbabwe, after decades of looting, De Beers is well and truly in retreat, soon to be a footnote in history.
“De Beers stole our diamonds,” bellowed Mpofu during his address to the Dubai Diamond Conference last month.
“We had De Beers in Zimbabwe exploring in Marange for 15 years. They exported 100,000 metric tonnes of diamond ore to South Africa for what they claimed was to carry out laboratory tests. No results of that exercise were revealed to the government of Zimbabwe as required by law. Soon after their departure, it took villagers living in the same particular area few days to start mining diamonds.”
And speaking to members of African Diamond Producers in Jerusalem on the sidelines of the 2010 Kimberly Plenary, Mpofu said: “Fellow Africans, our problems getting KP certification [to export diamonds] have serious underlying currencies.
“Apart from our bilateral arguments with Britain, we see that De Beers is behind the funding of this hostile civic society. We have a history with De Beers.”
Mpofu had to contend with and defeat the De Beers machinery which could not fathom that for the first time in its century-old cartel, it had failed to lay its dirty hands on the world biggest and most lucrative diamond find.
The KP-supervised diamond sales of 2009 and 2011 impacted negatively on De Beers’ share price leading to the ousting of its chairman, Nick Oppenheimer, as other shareholders felt he had failed to stop Mpofu’s growing popularity in KP and the massive diamond sales from Marange which were now deflating world diamond prices.
Oppenheimer’s imperial management style failed to conquer the Marange find as the Zimbabwe phenomenon triggered the emergence of new entrants, mainly from India, who could not enter the diamond industry previously due to De Beers’ imposed restrictive measures.
The movie Blood Diamonds tremendously exposed De Beers’ dealing in diamonds mined from rebel-controlled areas. However, the threat made by Mpofu to take De Beers has worsened its integrity woes.
The battle for the Marange diamonds Kimberly Process (KP) certification had serious invisible forces at play, which informed the resistance and the demonisation of these mining operations. The quantum of financial resources deployed by De Beers to civic society organisations to carry “oversight” on Marange is the highest given in the history of the KP.
Mpofu’s three-year fight for the KP certification of these mines and re-instatement of his country as a full KP member did not only re-shape the jurisprudence of this diamond trade controlling body but put Zimbabwe on the international map.
A recent report, South Africa’s De Beers: The most unethical corporation,
[Take or leave their religious opinion for what it is, but their description of De Beers business practices is pretty accurate, and reflected in for instance the BBC documentary The Diamond Empire, of 1994. - MrK]
authored by the St Antoninus Institute, a Catholic business think tank, described De Beers as the most manipulative corporation in the world. The report adds: “DeBeers is guilty of more than all that. It is an integral part of the old-boy network instituted by the British and encompassing different US operations and interests for the purpose of controlling international governments and populations for the good and in the interest of a number of corporations, especially banks.
“The American version of this international network is called the Council of Foreign Relations (CFR). Anyone drawing attention to the dark side of the objectives of this outfit is branded and derided as giving credence to the ‘conspiracy theory’.
“DeBeers supports CFR and its other international version as they are means to protect the integrity of its cartel. The other major members of CFR, the banks, support the group because it allows them to introduce their people in all different types of governments and political parties so that these government will never consider commandeering or nationalising the assets of the banks (bankers are paranoid about collaterals but how do you enforce a collateral against a sovereign government?).
“Through CFR, De Beers undermines the political process of several countries, including the US.”
The fall of De Beers in Zimbabwe and the continued fight by Mpofu brings relief to many other African countries who could not stop the Wild West behaviour in their areas of jurisdiction.
Since the discovery of diamonds in the Kalahari desert in 1969 by De Beers, the Bushman – the indigenes of this area – have never known any peace as they face displacement any time. It is expected, therefore, that Batswana activists are going to ride on Mpofu’s victory as they now realise that zizi harina nyanga.
Tafadzwa Musarara is the chairman of Resource Exploitation Watch
Great article. Regardless of any political affiliation, any attempt to bring down the dominance of the big boy monopolists of the global diamond industry is good. The commodity has been known to be as common as muck in the world. True prices would be far below their artificially propped up prices if true market forces in the hands of ordinary people were allowed to exist. This artificial value inspires greed. It inspires unscrupulous measures to secure the wealth. It inspires oppression murder and war. It sidelines the poor who occupy the very land that bears the diamonds and it induces a model of "success" that people aspire to in which the successful are horrid control freaks who would go to any length, even allow an entire nation to slip into abject poverty, if that is what it took to protect the diamond wealth. It also inspires corruption in the governments of nations that have diamond bearing ore. I still feel that Zimbabwe needs to flood the world with diamonds, outside the Kimberly process, bring down world prices and shut down the evil that has haunted southern Africa for so long.
Excellent story Tafadzwa. I saw a similar story about how a small but brave country called Zimbabwe was leading the way to African control of lucrative African resources in a New York publication a few years ago. The article quickly squashed as racist by the more powerful media. However it made me proud to be a Zimbo. We know who we are, we know what was given to us by God and we do not chicken out of a righteous fight against anyone. God bless OUR Zimbabwe.
Cde Kid Marongorongo
Interesting piece. Tafadzwa, I know you are Zanu Pf but you are excellent in supporting your arguments.
the war in mozambiwue ended when de-beers under tiny roland ordered MNR to stop the war, meaning they/debeers were not going to supply weapons anymore!!