CIBJO says diamond industry ‘vindicated’ by 9/11 commission report

There is no evidence that the al Qaeda terrorist network used diamonds to fund its activities prior to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, according to a highly publicized report released Thursday by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks.

In the document titled , The 9/11 Commission Report, the independent, bipartisan commission assigned by Congress and President Bush to prepare a full and complete account of the circumstances surrounding the terrorist attacks, including preparedness for and the immediate response to the attacks, said that “we have seen no persuasive evidence that al Qaeda funded itself by trading in African conflict diamonds.”

These were welcomed words to Gaetano Cavalieri, president of CIBJO, The World Jewellery Confederation.

“Given the fact that there have been number of news reports in the media suggesting that al Qaeda was using conflict diamonds to finance its activities and to launder money, such a declaration by a body that has spent months studying such issues is very welcome indeed,” Cavalieri said, who is also a member of the executive board of the World Diamond Council, which is charged with managing the international jewellery and gemstone sector’s campaign against conflict diamonds. “These charges besmirched the reputation of the products we sell. The commission’s report has, I believe, vindicated the diamond in this respect.”

The commission tackled the questions raised about al Qaeda and conflict diamonds on page 188 of its 585-page report. The full text of its report pertaining to the alleged use of diamonds to finance al Qaeda terrorist activities is as follows:

“Al Qaeda has been alleged to have used a variety of illegitimate means, particularly drug trafficking and conflict diamonds, to finance itself,” it stated. “While the drug trade was a source of income for the Taliban, it did not serve the same purpose for al Qaeda, and there is no reliable evidence that Bin Ladin was involved in or made his money through drug trafficking. Similarly, we have seen no persuasive evidence that al Qaeda funded itself by trading in African conflict diamonds.”