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Natsios Young Architects

17 June 2010

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By Anonymous

The Kimberly Process (KP) designed to thwart the sale and circulation of diamonds sourced from civilian conflicts with horrific humanitarian consequences is due to meet on 23 June 2010 in Israel [9] to consider putting in place certification for industrial and gem diamond from the Marange-Chiadzwa field in Zimbabwe [5].

Credible research and reports from humanitarian organisations, academics and NGOs indicate wide scale, systematic human rights abuses including random killings, precautionary murder, malicious wounding, torture, forced population removals, mass dispossession and inhumane exploitation by the Zimbabwean military (ZNA), Police (ZRP) and intelligence agencies most notably the Central Intelligence Organization (ZCIO). [2][8][12][16]. All are in reality organs exclusively loyal to the Zimbabwean president and his party in power since independence from Britain in 1980.

The turmoil of Zimbabwean politics complicates the affair where a 'Unity Government' between Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU(pf) and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has divided ministries between the two camps after a controversial election in April 2008. [3][8]Former South African president, Thabo Mbeki, in the thrall of his Zimbabwean counterpart, brokered the Global Political Agreement just before loosing office when own ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), booted him out. He now works on the Darfur crisis, Sudan for an American NGO.

The current Mines Minister, Obert Mpofu is from ZANU (pf) and his deputy a MDC patron going by the sobriquet 'dazzle me'. on account of his willingness to receive consideration for licenses to prospect and process resources such as emerald, gold, tin (stannic ore) and diamond amongst others [10]. Mpofu, of the minority Ndebele tribe is held in some esteem by Mugabe of the majority Shona tribe for being supposedly able to deliver a voting constituency in Matabeleland North in the Ndebele heartland. Mpofu is central to the parallel economy run by Mugabe and ZANU(pf) in funding covert ZCIO operations, the Presidential Guard and the ZANU(pf) party apparatus ahead of national elections next year [14].

Gold holds the disadvantage of its weight to value ratio unlike diamond, which being a form of carbon, is easily moveable when concealed on human beings across international borders - hence it being the preferred mode of moving wealth for operational purposes by exceptional regimes and violent extremists.

While rampant inflation of six million percent in 2008 effectively reduced the local Zimbabwean dollar to a joke [3]; the needs of these repressive arms of the Mugabe state apparatus had to seek operational funding anew from two principle mining resources: gold amalgam and gem diamond [4]. As much as forty percent of the ZCIO budget is believed to be focused on its operations and missions across South Africa where it consistently outclasses its technologically advanced 'sister services' the South African Secret Service (SASS) concerned with foreign operations and the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) with domestic operations.

The new MDC finance minister, Tendai Biti, dropped the Zimbabwean dollar in 2009 for the American dollar in order to stem inflation. ZANU(pf) secured to itself the ministries with control of the pivotal levers of state: defence, policing, domestic administration and the intelligence organs. The MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangarai, given the post of Prime Minsiter, under the baleful influence of his 'American, political mother guru' Melinda Ferris, opted for performance ministries such as the economy, finances, and social services. Ferris is a close associate, fund raiser and campaigner of Libby Dole, wife of Republican Bob Dole, who lost her US Senate seat in North Carolina during the Obama electoral surge in 2008. MDC supporters find Ferris to have been a 'huge disaster' and have balked at referring to her, as instructed, as 'Mother Zimbabwe'. Ferris continues to try and have the Obama administration unconditionally lift the limited measures taken by the USA, Britain and Australia against Mugabe and his party seniors (ban on travel and banking) - without success, hardly surprising given the conservative US Republican agenda for Zimbabwe through her and Morgan Tsvangarai.

Before the Marange alluvial depositions in the Odzi river valley were made subject to mass, informal mining, by locals call Gwejas on a formally pegged and utilized claim held by African Consolidated Resources (ACR), a British firm run by Brian Bloch (Israeli- Rhodesian) and Andrew Cranswick ( Southern Rhodesian), Zimbabwe's sole diamond mine that paid royalties and taxes to Harare's coffers was Morewa Mine, owned by Rio Tinto [3][8][16]. Clandestine takings of gem diamond off Morewa between 2006 and 2009 and used by ZANU (pf) Political Bureau, ZCIO, ZRP and some ZNA (Presidential Guard) ended once Rio Tinto started to monitor its work force with X-ray scans, body searches and the erection of electronic barriers and cameras around the sorting rooms and washed ore tables. The ZANU (pf) focus then moved to Marange-Chiadzwa.

The first step was to 'lawfully' dispossess ACR of its claim [1][5]. A series of arrests and oscillating court decisions saw Cranswick detained, diamond seized (part of the KP tranche to now be discussed in Israel) and him forced to leave for Britain. Bloch who better plays an ingratiating role within ZANU(pf) than the headstrong Cranswick, continues to have presence in Harare, though no longer on-site in Marange. The ZNA moved onto Marange with ZCIO and ZRP support with the attendant human rights abuses in 2006 and the construction of an all-weather runway for heavy-lift aircraft disproportionate to mining needs[8][14].

The one impasse beyond ZANU (pf) control was the KP certification process [5][12]. Marange-Chiadzwa diamond could not be moved across formal mechanisms sufficiently fast enough to meet the funding drive of the parallel economy. Industrial stones were stockpiled while some of the gem, and more realiseable, were immediately fed into Islamic circles in Mozambique [4] through Mutare, Chimoio, Beira, the UAE [7], Pakistan (Karachi), southern Lebanon [4] and India (Mumbai). Mugabe and Mpofu felt NGOs, with the Mutare-based Center for Research & Development [12] in particular, were targeting their funding conduits and started targeting them in turn for 'indirect action' and sidelining. The MDC with Morgan Tsvangarai and Melinda Ferris decided to not hold an opinion.

Meanwhile an ANC military veteran (MK) and former exile intelligence officer NAT/DIS(ANC) Abbey Chikane was selected to look into the KP process specifically on the Marange stockpile and future mining [1]. Mpofu bridled at the delays [11] and hinted the Morewa source would be shut down if the KP certification was not extended to Marange. At the beginning of April 2010 Mpofu had to explain why some of the Marange diamond was already finding its way to the middle east in violation of KP [13]. European and American security officials feared Taliban and Al Qaeda funders were now beneficiaries. However, the more obvious increase in covert activity was ZCIO operations across South Africa with the new Marange sales in Dubai [4][7].

A shift in the South African position seemed evident in February this year when the Director General of Foreign Affairs, George Nene, in an internal report urged the KP certification be granted to Marange diamond as a matter of policy. Nene and Chikane are familiar to each other in MK Veterans and confidants. NGOs were convinced that ZANU (pf) had brought off ANC office bearers yet again.

Another MK Veteran, misidentified by Chikane in a later expose within the official Second KP Report on Marange [1], the basis of the upcoming deliberations in Israel, as 'Pule Mmutle' arranged a meeting in late April with Cranswick who wanted an audience with Chikane to explain ACR's legal claims [1]. Mutle, without taking any side on the ACR dispute, was said by persons in the South African Presidency to have had personal concerns over a friend hardly being mindful of his own position and forgetting himself in a delicate matter as a former 'movement cadre'. ZCIO who have a partial audio record of this meeting (standoff microphoning), presumably after tracking Cranswick's movements when in South Africa, were astounded reportedly to hear Chikane declare to Cranswick he was a British MI6 agent based on briefings they had given him in Harare months before. Cranswick is said to have shrugged off the accusation as an absurdity and being 'highly agitated in general throughout'. Chikane compounded ZCIO consternation by revealing more to Cranswick during which a second meeting with Cranswick was arranged before he left for Harare. ZCIO failed to record this meeting and were keen to 'interact' with Chikane when he arrived in the Zimbabwean capital. There Chikane later claimed his briefcase was broken into and the contents appeared in the Harare Herald newspaper, a notorious ZANU (pf) mouthpiece. There Chikane claimed the Cranswick meeting was an ambush[1] among other matters [1][6a][6b].

The gratuitous Mmutle reference appeared in the Herald article and more ominously the name of a CDR director, Farai Muguwu, who had given Chikane a government security document indicating human rights abuses and killings at Marange [15]. This report pulled the carpet from under the central arguement of Chikane's KP Certification recommendation that no humanitarian issues were at risk at Marange and hence certification ought to go ahead. Chikane later admitted in a Voice of America interview [6a][6b] having given the Muguwu document to ZCIO but denies, despite the Muguwu's assertions to the contrary, the identity of the provender. Muguwu has since been arrested, currently in detention presumably under torture. The veracity of the document's contents was acknowledged as 'authentic' by Chikane in the VOA recording [6a][6b].

H'aretz newspaper (Israel) and the South African weekly, Mail & Guardian through writer Jason Moyo, then reran the Herald expose after ZCIO pushed for coverage in order to bolster Chikane's position. This reportedly caused in turn a 'strident low-key blast' by Mmutle to the editor of the Mail & Guardian according to journalists in its Johannesburg offices last Tuesday 15 June with threat of referral to the Press Ombudsman in Pretoria. Mmutle is widely respected across ANC structures as a loyal combatant against apartheid and unluckily for Chikane, his integrity is regarded as unimpeachable by the senior security and political leadership. The same integrity acceptance for Muguwu obtains among the United Nations Organisation staffers, foreign embassies and NGOs in Harare now incensed at his arrest and suffering, and who are set against Chikane's advice to view his actions on Muguwu "in a legal context". To compound it all, Chikane had to endure a tele-conference on Monday 14 June with KP representatives, now alerted, who stated his recommendations on Marange will not necessarily now be accepted without rigorous questioning in Israel on 23 June.

1. Kimberly Process (KP) on Zimbabwean Diamond (2nd report)(14 June 2010) (PDF, 979KB)

2. Africa Canada report: Diamonds & Clubs (released London,14June 2010) (PDF, 1MB)

3. United Nations Development Report on Zimbabwean Diamond (2009) (PDF, 1.1MB)

4. Center for Development & Research(Mutare) report on panning and smuggling diamond Zimbabwe-Mozambique (PDF, 102KB)

5. Zimbabwean Ministry inventories Marange diamond (March 2009) (PDF, 4.4MB)

6a.Text VOA interview Abbey Chikane (Tuesday 8 June 2010) (PDF, 27KB)

6b.Voice (MP3) VOA interview Abbey Chikane (Tuesday 8 June 2010) (MP3, 807KB)

7. Marange diamond exporters/importers to Dubai (Zimbabwean Ministry Mines 2010) (XLS, 34KB)

8. Global Witness Report imploring Marange diamond not be KP approved (June 2010) (PDF, 1.4MB)

9. Israeli Ministry warning on Marange diamond (6 May 2010) (PDF, 246KB) 

10.Emerald scam to move Marange Diamond - Diamond Intelligence Brief (12 may 2010) (PDF, 740KB)

11.Zimbabwe Ministry (Obert Mpofu) impatience at KP certification delay (20 April 2010) (PDF, 1.5MB)

12. Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights on diamond in Chiadzwa (2009) (PDF, 268KB)

13. Zimbabwean Ministry (Mpofu) damage-limitation on covert Marange supply (28 April 2010) (PDF, 1.1MB)

14. University Researcher's notes on Marange Diamond for European Union NGOs (5 August 2010) (PDF, 45KB)

15. Muguwu leaked Zim Joint Operations Command (JOC) report Marange (7 May 2010) (PDF, 643KB)

16. Heart of the Matter (Partnership Canada Africa) Diamond overview (2010) (PDF, 713KB)