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Blood on the Stone

Greed, Corruption and War in the Global Diamond Trade

Ian Smillie
 

Blood on the Stone

A gripping account of the cartel, warlords, gun runners and shadowy traders who populated Africa's bloody diamond wars, and the faltering, decade-long effort to clean up an entire industry.

Imprint: Anthem Press
ISBN 9780857289636
August 2010 | 252 Pages | 216 x 140mm / 8.5 x 5.5
 
PRICE:  £16.99  /  $29.95  Buy from Amazon.co.uk  Buy from Amazon.com
 
 
9780857289636

About This Book

‘The book’s strengths are threefold. The first is that it explains the murky trade in rough diamonds in crisp, compelling prose. […] The second strength is that Smillie’s writing on Sierra Leone is excellent. It is one of the best summaries of that country’s civil war and how diamonds bankrolled the RUF. […] Third is that he offers memorable observations on the difficulties in launching the Kimberley Process.’ –‘No One’s Best Friend: A Canadian expert examines the devastation diamonds have wrought in four African countries’, book review by Blake Lambert in the ‘Literary Review of Canada’

'Smillie is one of the most well-known experts and advocates on blood diamonds. […] ‘Blood on the Stone’ marks another contribution to a growing body of literature on natural resource extraction purchases.' —Lee Berthiaume, ‘Embassy’ magazine book review

Very high-octane…by far the most interesting and illuminating account of the blood diamond campaign.' —Dr Lansana Gberie, author of 'A Dirty War in West Africa'

Africa's diamond wars took four million lives. They destroyed the lives of millions more and they crippled the economies of Angola, the Congo, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The biggest UN peacekeeping forces in the world—in Sierra Leone, Liberia, the Congo and Côte d’Ivoire―are the legacy of 'conflict' or 'blood diamonds'.

'Blood on the Stone' tells the story of how diamonds came to be so dangerous. It describes the history of the great diamond cartel and how it gradually lost control of the precious mineral, as country after country descended into anarchy and wars fuelled by diamonds. The book describes the diamond pipeline, from war-torn Africa to the glittering showrooms of Paris, London and New York. It describes the campaign that began in 1999 and which eventually forced the industry and more than 50 governments to create a global certification system known as the Kimberley Process, aimed at wringing blood diamonds out of the retail trade. This gripping account concludes with a sobering assessment of the certification system, which soon became hostage to political chicanery, mismanagement and vested interests. Too important to fail, the Kimberley Process has been hailed as a regulatory model for Africa's extractive minerals. Behind the scenes, however, it runs the risk of becoming an ineffectual talk shop, standing aside as criminals re-infest the diamond world.

Readership: An educated general readership interested in conflict diamonds, modern African history and the diamond trade; students and scholars of African history, conflict prevention, corporate social responsibility and the role of extractives in international development; NGOs with interests in Africa and campaigning; the diamond industry; governments concerned with similar issues; other extractive industries.

Author Information

Ian Smillie has lived and worked in Africa and Asia as a teacher, consultant, investigator and writer. For the past ten years his career has focused on blood diamonds, the wars they fuelled and a scheme designed to stop them. This has taken him from the jungles of West Africa to the backstreets of Antwerp and a war crimes tribunal in The Hague, where he was the first witness in the trial of Liberian warlord Charles Taylor. Smillie was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2003.

Table of Contents

Glossary; Preface; Prologue; 1. Of Judgement and Cunning Work: Dirty Diamonds; 2. The River of Big Returns: Geology and History; 3. De Beers: The Delicate Equipoise; 4. Strange Plumbing: The Diamond Pipeline; 5. Angola: Another Distracting Sideshow; 6. Liberia and the Love of Liberty; 7. Sierra Leone: Diamonds in the RUF; 8. President Mobutu’s Ghost; 9. Enter al Qaeda; 10. Boiling Frogs: Companies in Hot Water; 11. Ice Storm: The NGO Campaign; 12. Kimberley: A Hope In Hell; 13. Endgames; Epilogue; Bibliography