Merchant of Death
Money, Guns, Planes, and the Man Who Makes War Possible

Blood from Stones

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The Diamond Smuggling Goes On
Russian authorities in Moscow's Domodedovo airport this week arrested a Russian national carried 2.5 kilograms (5.5 pounds) of diamonds strapped to his body, according to the Itar-Tass news agency. The unidentified man was traveling from Dubai. It was reported to be the largest confiscation of diamonds ever.

It is interesting that the diamonds come from Dubai, one of the most rapidly growing diamond cutting and sales centers in the world. In light of the ties between al Qaeda and diamonds in the past, this development should be closely watched.

Dubai is a center of the world gold trade and has one of the least regulated financial centers in the world. It is, according to its own literature, actively seeking to draw in diamond dealers from Africa.

This is the latest in a series of diamond and jewelry heists and smuggling actions that point to the value and ease of using the stones for criminal and/or terrorist activities.

On December 13, 2005, three Serbian nationals were indicted in
Belgrade on charges that they stole jewelry worth some $30 million. The three Serb nationals and a British national who
is the subject of an Interpol red notice, are accused of committing the major heist in the Ginza shopping district in March of that is year. The operation was carried out in broad daylight.

Diamonds are valuable as currency for numerous reasons. They are easy to transport, easy to sell and retain their value over time. They do not rot and do not need to be held in special conditions. Al Qaeda, as I have written about extensively, has a long history of using diamonds and pursuing diamond deals. It will be interesting to see if there is a real investigation into this latest batch of hot ice.

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