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De Beers Diamonds - From Founding Apartheid In South Africa To Bankrolling Apartheid In Palestine
11 February 2020
De Beers diamond empire was founded by a genocidal white supremacist called Cecil Rhodes, and was built on the blood of black African indentured slave labour. De Beers blood diamonds founded apartheid in South Africa and today bankrolls apartheid in Palestine.
DE BEERS LAID THE FOUNDATIONS OF APARTHEID IN SOUTH AFRICA
After diamonds were discovered in South Africa in the late 19th century, Cecil Rhodes with funding from the Rothschilds formed De Beers Consolidated Mines. Black Africans, traditionally farmers, didn't wan to work in De Beers diamond mines. The mines were death traps with no regards to safety - over 5,000 Africans were killed every year in the mines. In a single fire at a De Beers mine in 1888, over 200 miners were killed because no fire extinguishers were kept, and the escape shaft was kept closed. To force black Africans into the mines De Beers needed political leverage so De Beers boss Rhodes entered politics, becoming a member of the Cape Parliament and later the Prime Minister of the Cape Colony. He pushed through racist laws to help force black Africans into indentured slavery in his diamond mines. These laws later formed the basis of apartheid in South Africa.
In 1887 he told the House of Assembly in Cape Town: “The native is to be treated as a child and denied the franchise. We must adopt a system of despotism in our relations with the barbarians of South Africa.” His Franchise and Ballot Act 1892 effectively eliminated black African voting rights, and his Glen Grey Act 1894 legalised the enforced segregation of black Africans in to tiny "reserves". A “poll tax” was imposed on every African male and a “hut tax” to be paid for each hut in the black community. In this way black Africans were made bankrupt and primed for slave labour in De Beers diamond mines.
De Beers Kimberley Mine
DE BEERS SLAVE CAMPS
De Beers created 'Closed Labour Compounds' which were in effect concentration camps for forced black slave labour to work in the diamond mines.
Africans were imprisoned behind high walls with barbed wire, forced to work a gruelling 14 hours each day, until their contract ended. Rhodes had legalised torture of blacks, and made it illegal for blacks to leave their jobs.
De Beers paranoia over theft of diamonds meant black workers at the end of the contract would be striped naked and caged for a week in solitary confinement. Their hands were forcefully bound into giant hard leather fingerless gloves, which prevent them from using their hands, and forced them to eat like a four footed animal. They would be forced to undergo degrading body cavity searches, even their teeth were examined for stolen diamonds, and they would be forced to swallow laxatives; and if they had swallowed some precious stone; the gloves prevent the possibility of their handling it to swallow it again. For a full week they had to endure this dehumanizing trauma.
Tens of thousands of Africans died in these camps, as a direct result of forced labour, inadequate shelter, negligible food supply and nonexistent medical attention. With so many dying, the demand for labour at De Beer's mines outpaced supply, so De Beers' sought the help of a Portuguese slave trader, Joao Albasini, to supply Africans from as far away as the Mozambican coast, some 1600km away. When this still wasn't enough De Beers Mining Company signed an agreement with the state to establish private prisons were inmates could be used as mine labour - an early example of prison industrial complex.
The Master and Servants Act, with Rhodes amendments, introduced torture of black labourers and made it a crime for blacks to leave their jobs. These along with the Pass Laws prevented black workers from escaping their slavery in De Beers diamond mines. Within the mines, the blacks were excluded from skilled jobs by the Mines and Works Act, which enforced a "colour bar" stipulating that skilled trades in the mines were only open to whites.
Despite these laws, black mine-workers resisted, in 1920, 70,000 African mine-workers downed their tools. Police were called in to break the strike - they fired on the workers injuring 35. In 1946, 76,000 black miners went on strike. Again, police stepped in to crush the strike. They drove the strikers into underground shafts killing 12 and injuring 1,200.
These racist laws for exploiting black Africans in De Beers diamond mines, were codified into laws for implementation right across South Africa, and later formed the basis of apartheid in South Africa.
De Beers compound
De Beers Kimberley Mine
Rhodes 'colossus' spanning from South Africa to Egypt
DE BEERS EXPANDING APARTHEID ACROSS AFRICA
Rhodes believed it was his "duty to take" Africa for the white "Anglo-Saxon" master race which he called "the best,the most human, most honorable race the world possesses" - an ideology that drove him to not only steal approximately one million miles of South African land, but to facilitate the deaths of hundreds of thousands of black South Africans.
He proudly proclaimed his forced segregation laws, which restricted the 70% indigenous black African population into just 7.3% of their land, as "a Bill for Africa" - a blueprint to implement right across Africa from the the South African Cape to Cairo in Egypt, as the mechanism to legalise the plunger of indigenous land and resources right across the African continent. To achieve this he would require money and an army. Rhodes was granted a Royal Charter from the British Empire which allowed him to form a mercenary army and plunder and steal as he pleased. When Rhodes saw the magnificent citadels of Zimbabwe he couldn't accept they were the product of a black civilization, and thought they must be the "white" biblical land of Sheba and must be abundant in diamonds. He plundered the site of its riches. But that wasn't enough - he wanted the diamond resources that lay under the ground for his De Beers diamond empire. De Beers financed a private mercenary army to invade and occupy what is today Zimbabwe and Zambia, resulting in the slaughter of 60,000 Africans. Rhodes named these stolen lands after himself - Southern and Northern Rhodesia.
Whilst De Beers "Bill for Africa" didn't make it to Cairo, Zionist colonists used it as a blueprint to consolidate their occupation of Palestine and turn it into a zionist supremacist apartheid state with the surviving indigenous Palestinians rounded up into what is today less than 9% of their land.
De Beers Mines
DE BEERS - A PILLAR OF APARTHEID
When Rhodes died in 1902, De Beers controlled 90% of the world's diamond production. De Beers (now part of Anglo-American) was apartheid South Africa's largest and most powerful company. It was a central pillar of apartheid. Apartheid prime minister John Vorster, described De Beers, and other corporate support, as “bricks in the walls of the regime’s continued existence.” At a time when other multinationals were divesting from South Africa under pressure from the anti-apartheid movement, Anglo-American was stabilising the apartheid economy by investing in apartheid, by buying up holdings of foreign multinationals that were reducing exposure in South Africa. Anglo American's chairman, Gavin W. H. Relly, boasted that the company played a "stabilizing" role in the wake of multinational corporate disinvestment, by bailing out the apartheid regime.
Barclays Bank had been a pillar of the apartheid regime, helping prop up the regime with loans, including financing the apartheid defense budget. But even Barclays in 1986, after 61 years in South Africa, succumbed to the pressure of the anti-apartheid movement and decided to pull out. It was Anglo-American that came to the apartheid regimes rescue by purchasing a controlling interest in Barclays National Bank operations in South Africa to become South Africa's largest banking concern.
Similarly Anglo-American bailed out the apartheid regime when Ford, Chrysler and so many other South African operations pulled out. In the end Anglo-American controlled 85 percent of the companies quoted on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, and about 60 percent of the exchange's total value.
Despite the mammoth profits De Beers raked in - with revues often larger than a fifth of the GDP of the whole country, it continued to pay a starvation salary to its black workers. During a speech in May 1972, De Beer's new owner Harry Oppenheimer, one of the wealthiest men in the world, defended the low wages of migrant workers in his mines with the feeble argument that although we can pay much higher wages, such higher wages would put the Afrikaner mining companies out of business. This was hardly surprising as Harry Oppenheimer was an ardent believer in the apartheid system, in his approved biography he proclaimed that he "had never subscribed to the view that apartheid was morally wrong. In his view it was at root an honest attempt to cope with overwhelming racial problems." For him, black Africans by their very existence were a racial problem, and apartheid was the solution.
De Beers Mine, Kimberley
DE BEERS - EXPLOITATION OF AFRICANS CONTINUES AFTER APARTHEID
After the end of apartheid in1994 it was thought that De Beers (Anglo-American) would be called to account for its crimes. The ANC charter had specifically promised nationalisation of the countries resources for the benefit of its people, this included diamonds. But this didn't happen, and De Beers survived untouched because of its stranglehold on the economy - it controlled 85% of the companies on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, the newly elected ANC government could not risk economic collapse by upsetting De Beers.
De Beers paid no export taxes on diamonds for 13 years after the end of apartheid - apparently it claimed it has special exemption granted by the collapsing apartheid regime, which it demanded the first elected government of South Africa must respect. As evidence De Beers cited a smudged, unsigned document generated under the apartheid regime, just prior to the first democratic elections, that allegedly provided the company with an export tax exemption for 13 years!
Further, De Beers did not pay any royalties on mining diamonds until 2010, when the watered down Mineral and Petroleum Resource Royalty Act was finally passed. Botswana and Namibia, both major diamond-producing states, have royalty rates fixed at 10 percent. South Africa's royalty rate was also set to 10% in the draft of the act, but after pressure from De Beers the government was forced to drastically reduce the rate to the lowest in Africa, and in 2011 De Beers only paid 1.1 percent royalties from diamonds. Although apartheid had ended, De Beers was still exploiting black Africans.
South Africa's first apartheid Prime Minister Daniel F Malan enjoying a cup of tea with apartheid Israel's first Prime Minister Ben Gurion
Blood diamonds are diamonds that fund human rights violations. De Beers diamond empire was clearly founded on, and run on, blood diamonds. The human rights violations their blood diamonds are bankrolling is not limited to Africa, today De Beers is bankrolling apartheid in Palestine.
Protest outside De Beers in London, Dec 2019
DE BEERS BANKROLLS APARTHEID IN PALESTINE
De Beers, with a 90% global monopoly on diamond production at the time, helped kickstart apartheid Israel's diamond industry by supplying $100 million worth of rough diamonds to the fledgling apartheid settler colony, for cutting and polishing. In the early years, Israel, with no foreign currency reserves, was nearly bankrupt. Its two exports were (with De Beers help) cut diamonds and stolen Palestinian Jaffa oranges. De Beers blood diamonds helped sustain Israel's apartheid regime from its inception till today, funding its war crimes against the indigenous people of Palestine. Today diamonds are Israel's number one industry by far - last year, in 2018, it's net export of diamonds was worth $7.8 billion. Diamonds account for nearly a quarter of Israel’s total manufacturing export.
Israeli economist Shir Hever testified at the Russell Tribunal in November 2010 that “Overall the Israeli diamond industry contributes about $1 billion annually to the Israeli military and security industries … every time somebody buys a diamond that was exported from Israel some of that money ends up in the Israeli military”.
ISRAELI DIAMOND BOURSE COMPLICIT IN SLAUGHTER OF CHILDREN
In 2014, 521 children were slaughtered by Israel whilst they took shelter in UN schools and in their homes. At the time the Israeli Diamond Bourse boasted of sending truck loads of military equipment to help this slaughter of children.
De Beers sells around 90% of its rough diamonds to a few select partners known as Sightholders. Nearly 20% of those Sightholders are part of the Israeli Diamond Bourse. This figure does not include Israeli diamond companies outside Israel like Diacore (formally called Steinmetz Diamond Group), a close De Beers partner, who had 'adopted' Israel's notorious Givati Brigade of the Israeli army during Operation Cast Lead in 2009. The Givati Brigade stands accused of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity by the United Nations Human Rights Council.
The Givati Brigade is responsible for the massacre of the Samouni family in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead . On 4th January 2009 the Givati Brigade rounded up 100 members of the Samouni family and ordered them into the house of Wa'el Samouni. The house was then bombed, and rescue services were prevented from approaching for four days, with ambulances being fired on. When rescue workers were finally allowed access, they found buried beneath the rubble, starving traumatised children sheltering under the corpses of their parents and siblings. The Givati had massacred 29 family members and in case anyone mistook their intent they left a message on one of the remaining walls of the house, daubed in Hebrew it read "The only good Arab is a dead Arab".
De Beers partner, Steinmetz, on its foundation’s website boasted of "adopting" a unit of the Givati brigade, of "fostering close relationships with the commanders and their soldiers", of "buying equipment " for them specifically during Operation Cast Lead, that is, during their slaughter of the Samouni family.
Protest outside De Beers in London, Dec 2019
FLAWED KIMBERLEY PROCESS
The Kimberley Process was supposed to prevent the trade in diamonds that fund human rights violations. But the Kimberley Process's narrow definition of a “conflict diamond” as "rough diamonds used by rebel movements to finance wars against legitimate governments" excludes most blood diamonds. Under the Kimberley Process's narrow definition of "conflict diamond" even diamonds produced out of Cecil Rhodes black African slave camps would be regarded as conflict-free! It also excludes Israel's cut and polished diamond industry that is seeped in Palestinian blood.
Jewellers exploit this anomaly, and deceitfully claim diamonds crafted in Israel are conflict free despite the UN Human Rights Council having found Israel guilty of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity.
The Kimberley Process needs urgent revision as at the moment it’s simply used to white wash Israeli blood diamonds and present them falsely as "conflict-free" and "ethical".
Shmuel Schnitzer (right),
president of the Israel Diamond Exchange
with Israeli President Shimon Peres (centre),
December 30, 2013
ISRAEL SABOTAGED THE KIMBERLEY PROCESS
In October 2015 at the AGM of the World Diamond Council in Moscow, there was a draft proposal to empower the Kimberley Process by widening the definition of conflict diamonds "to include countries who flout human rights laws not just in mining areas but also in diamond trading centers". The institutes of the World Diamond Council had already confirmed the change in definition, before the President of the Israel Diamond Exchange, Shmuel Schnitzer, personally intervened to put a stop to it saying "it could be disastrous for Israel". The already agreed change in the definition of a conflict diamond was binned to shield Israel's blood diamond trade.
Diamonds that fund war crimes are not conflict-free and are not ethical. De Beers, architect of apartheid in south Africa, is today underpinning apartheid in Palestine through its blood diamonds.
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