Author and activist Terry Crawford-Browne's Eye on the Money, published in 2007, was primarily an account of the international banking sanctions campaign against apartheid during the 1980s, but it also dealt with the early stages of the now well-documented South African arms deal scandal. Eye on the Diamonds provides updated information on the uncovering of the scandal. Its purpose is to keep the arms deal saga and the venality of the war business in public focus.
In 2008 Crawford-Browne was asked to lead a public interest application to the South African Constitutional Court after huge volumes of evidence confirmed how BAE and other arms companies paid massive bribes to politically well-connected members of the African National Congress – the so-called ‘black diamonds’ – to secure their contracts. His application forced President Jacob Zuma’s reluctant appointment in October 2011 of a judicial commission of inquiry to investigate the scandal.
Eye on the Diamonds’ focus on diamonds links the colonial and apartheid histories of South Africa with the close histories of Israel and Palestine. It demonstrates how De Beers, the South African originated company which dominated the diamond cartel for more than a century, is fast losing control to far more ruthless Israeli players.
Crawford-Browne suggests that the diamond trade, which is critical to the twenty-first century war business, makes every diamond a ‘blood diamond’. Blood diamonds provide the ultimate money laundering opportunity for organised crime, while the Israeli war business thwarts efforts at peaceful resolution of conflict.
Israel itself has become a ‘promised land’ for organised crime where assassinations, money laundering and other criminal activities are justified in the ‘national interest’. Crawford-Browne shows in this well-researched and hardhitting book that the international war business and the corruption it unleashes is completely out of control.
Eye on the Diamonds is published by Penguin Books South Africa