Blood diamonds coming in through Canberra’s embassies?

johnboy 25 November 2010 9

The Age is picking up the travails of Zimbabwe’s ambassador in Canberra, Jacqueline Zwambila.

But while the allegations of chastising staff by stripping were racy there’s a darker side:

Mrs Zwambila was posted to Australia as ambassador in February after the Movement for Democratic Change party of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai last year struck a power-sharing deal with Mr Mugabe.

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But in a sign the agreement is under strain, the pro-MDC Zimbabwe Mail yesterday hit back, claiming Mrs Zwambila was set up after discovering diplomatic bags were being used to smuggle blood diamonds into Australia.

One wonders what else is coming into town this way from poorer countries?


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9 Responses to Blood diamonds coming in through Canberra’s embassies?
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georgesgenitals georgesgenitals 6:42 pm 25 Nov 10

I’m not sure why we’re worried about blood diamonds when a huge range of products manufactured for Australian consumption in other countries have terrible conditions for workers, and yet we buy on regardless.

Waiting For Godot Waiting For Godot 5:45 pm 25 Nov 10

Skidbladnir said :

I’m fine with keeping the bags.
Everyone knows they’re outside the law, everyone knows not to look inside. Its the perfect channel for introducing uncertainty to situations.
Having everything be above-board would make the game incredibly boring.

I remember when I was at a Canberra gym in the early 1980s. A young guy started at the gym who had just come from the US and was working at the embassy. Within six months or so he was absolutely massive. You didn’t have to be from ASDA to work out what he was bringing in in the diplomatic bags.

Skidbladnir Skidbladnir 4:26 pm 25 Nov 10

I’m fine with keeping the bags.
Everyone knows they’re outside the law, everyone knows not to look inside. Its the perfect channel for introducing uncertainty to situations.
Having everything be above-board would make the game incredibly boring.

ChaseMe ChaseMe 4:03 pm 25 Nov 10

‘Diplomatic bags have also been used to smuggle drugs, weapons, and other contraband materials. Indeed Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, recently murdered in Dubai, reportedly made good use of diplomatic bags to transport weapons to the Palestinians. In the modern era, where almost all communications are sent by machine, presumably securely for sensitive materials, the only purpose of the diplomatic bag can be to transport illegal or untaxed goods. While we are looking at diplomatic relations, let’s also push to get rid of this outdated and unnecessary privilege.’
http://crimeandevidence.wordpress.com/2010/03/23/the-problem-with-diplomatic-immunity/

Skidbladnir Skidbladnir 3:13 pm 25 Nov 10

dtc said :

What is surprising is that some poor countries bother to even have an embassy here.

Really?
In the official sense:
If we engage in trade at any level, or if the country with the local mission is receiving aid from us, its almost mandatory that we have the option to cut the recipient country off from aid at the source once the diplomatic situation becomes intolerable.

In the unofficial:
How can corrupt regimes smuggle blood diamonds into a first world economy and pass them off as Kimberley Process if they can’t get any into a first world Kimberley Process signatory, without fostering bureaucratic corruption in the host country (instead of just the commercial and corporate kind)?

p1 p1 3:12 pm 25 Nov 10

Makes sense to me. Diplomatic bags have all that status, would be a shame not to use it. Diamonds being somewhat inert doing even have the risk of accidentally being sniffed out if they walk past a dog.

Unless the dogs can detect the blood?

dtc dtc 2:44 pm 25 Nov 10

Foreign postings to Australia are quite variable. Some countries provide their diplomats large salaries (some of the European countries provide, in effect, an allowance for making people live in such an uncultured country), fancy houses and dont require a great deal of work beyond dinners and tennis matches.

Others pay their diplomats more or less the standard salary for their country, which might be $20 or $30k, no support staff and poor housing. So if there is illegal use of the diplomatic bag, its not really surprising.

What is surprising is that some poor countries bother to even have an embassy here.

p1 p1 12:26 pm 25 Nov 10

One has to wonder, if setting up and ambassador on some charge, why you would choose such an odd accusation?

Why not just accuse her of theft?

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