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The Diamond Trade

It is Ed Zwick who, in his truly arresting movie "Blood Diamond," has put the diamond trade in Africa in our sites and in the sites of the media. The bloody civil war in Sierra Leone in which the film is, so to speak, rooted may have ended. But diamond mining remains a treacherous vocation and, as a story by Lydia Polgreen in Sunday's New York Times reports, rates of compensation to miners and the national governments are literally pennies. The diamond industry has recently set up its own monitoring and enforcement agency about standards of work and commerce. Still, if the Times dispatch is correct, as I suspect it is, the diamonds you buy are not really clean. "Diamonds are forever." And so is the stench around them.

By the way just Google for "diamond trade" and "Africa," and you'll read horrendous tales that are true.

And, while you're at it, read the Middle East Intelligence Report of June-July 2004, for information about the tie-in between Hezbollah and Lebanese in Sierre Leone.