The plot of "Die Another Day" starts and ends with Bond handling diamonds, now MI6 details the backstory on the conflict stones...

"Die Another Day" Backstory - Conflict Diamonds
10th July 2003

Planting an agent in the guise of a diamond smuggling weapons trader seemed a straight forward assignment as far as MI6 was concerned, until James Bond "killed" the target - Colonel Moon. Diamonds are the global currency for illegal trades, especially for the kind of weapons Moon was trading. Bond impersonated Mr Van Beert during the deal, no doubt a tongue in cheek reference to De Beers - the world's biggest diamond trader.

The backstory of "Die Another Day" utilises the current conflict diamond crisis in Africa, where they are are smuggled and illicitly sold in order to fund rebel groups engaged in civil war and human rights abuses in the countries such as Sierra Leone, Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In Sierra Leone - the country identified in the film - rebel forces that control most of the country's diamond mines use the income from conflict diamonds to buy weapons and sustain their army - an army infamous for a long list of atrocities: rape, the conscription of child soldiers, and the systematic mutilation of thousands.

Above: Uncut diamonds

Raoul: "Ah yes, from the Graves Corporation in Iceland. That's his laser signature. A man called Gustav Graves discovered diamonds there a year or so ago."
Bond: "Yet they're identical to conflict diamonds. What an amazing coincidence."

After Colonel Moon completes his transformation into Gustav Graves (whilst Bond was held captive in North Korea), he "discovers" diamonds in Iceland. A seemingly endless supply keeps the villain stocked with everything he needs, including the space satellite "Icarus", which uses the stones to reflect sunlight. Of course, the mine is fake and it is simply a front for Colonel Moon to launder his diamonds through a reputable business and reap the rewards.

Bond: "I think it's a front for laundering African conflict diamonds."
M: "We need to tread carefully. Graves is politically connected."

Back in the real world, the diamond industry says conflict diamonds account for less than four percent of the world’s $7 billion trade in uncut stones; human rights advocates estimate the figure to be closer to 25%.

Above: Diamonds are forever.
  The film shows Gustav Graves marking each stone with his distinctive "GG" logo by a process using highly accurate laser etching. This fictional identification system may soon become reality in the fight to clean up the diamond trade. However, the real-world technology is not yet available for marking individual diamonds; and the industry argues that it will never be practical or affordable to mark the 860m stones polished each year, despite lobbying from human rights organisations.

But would the real SIS ("MI6" in the films) investigate a case of conflict diamond trading? Yes - according to Paul Higdon, director of criminal intelligence at Interpol. He said agencies had "not had a lot of intelligence" in the past, but that was fast changing.

"I have seen some of the biggest targets, the untouchables, fall," said Higdon. "Once we find Mr X is the big man in terms of arms deals and they are illegal we can start targeting some efforts in trying to prosecute these people."

In May of 2000, government officials, diamond-industry leaders, and NGOs from around the globe met in Kimberley, South Africa to develop a global "conflict-free"certification system for diamonds. Negotiations concluded in March 2002 and the agreement - called the Kimberley Process - was implemented in January 2003, just a couple of months after "Die Another Day" premiered.