Saturday, August 21, 2010

Diamonds and blood

Blood diamonds:

""On the subject of illegal gemstones, it is fair to say that Mr Reeves is uniquely well connected, even if many of his best contacts are now either dead, on the run, or in jail. The tall, quietly spoken 38-year-old is the brother-in-law, no less, of Charles Taylor, the Liberian dictator who gave Ms Campbell a gift of uncut diamonds in 1997, according to her recent testimony at his war crimes trial in the Hague. For four turbulent years, he was at the centre of the blood diamonds trade, acting as Taylor's personal envoy in his infamous arms-for-gems deals with the rebels in next door Sierra Leone, whose drug-crazed recruits raped, maimed and slaughtered their way through a war that claimed some 150,000 lives.

As such, he also knows about the appalling price in human misery that was paid so that "the chief", as his brother-in-law was known, could flatter pretty girls at parties. The gifts Taylor used to hand out to the likes of Ms Campbell were the proceeds of dozens of clandestine trips that Mr Reeves made into the Sierra Leone bush, where he would swap truckloads of weapons for tiny but highly valuable packages of stones, many from rebel-held mines being run as virtual slave camps.""""

Res ipsa loquitur

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