Wikileaks say Mugabe gaining from “blood” diamonds

We publish courtesy of National Jeweler

Washington, D.C. — Confidential U.S. government documents recently leaked through controversial news source WikiLeaks show that U.S. diplomats suspected Zimbabwe’s president, his family and top associates were profiting from the sale of “blood” diamonds from the nation’s controversial Marange fields.

According to cables released by WikiLeaks and reported by United Press International (UPI), sources in Zimbabwe told the United States that Gideon Gono, head of Zimbabwe’s central bank, made thousands of dollars a month selling diamonds from Marange and funneled the money to Robert Mugabe, his wife, his sister and top members of the Zanu-PF party. Diamond panners in the area were attacked with dogs and gunned down from helicopters, with a 2008 cable released by WikiLeaks titled, “Regime Elites Looting Deadly Diamond Fields.”

A cable also stated that, “In a country filled with corrupt schemes, the diamond business in Zimbabwe is one of the dirtiest.”

Trade in rough diamonds from the Marange fields technically remains suspended as the Zimbabwean government and members of the Kimberley Process (KP), the body charged with stemming the flow of “blood” or “conflict” diamonds into the industry, try to hammer out an agreement for trade from the area to resume.

Australian Julian Assange launched WikiLeaks, a non-profit media organization, in 2007. Since late November, the site has been publishing thousands of confidential U.S. diplomatic cables that have embarrassed U.S. officials and led to a government crackdown on the site.

Site founder Assange is in police custody in Britain after Sweden issued a warrant for his arrest in connection with sex crimes in that country. He has denied the allegations.

On Monday, Reuters reported that Assange’s former deputy, Daniel Domscheit-Berg, was starting another WikiLeaks rival site called OpenLeaks.org. The site is not yet operational.

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