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  1. #1
    Mid
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    Diego Garcia : Their Island, Our Shame

    Their Island, Our Shame
    Eve Ottenberg
    June 17, 2009

    Indigenous Indian Ocean islanders were brutally displaced nearly 40 years ago to make way for a U.S. military base.


    Louis Onesime sits in the house he shares with 26 family members in Port Louis, Mauritius, in January 2005. Onesime lived on Diego Garcia until the archipelago was purged of natives to build a military base.
    xs.to

    Though small in number, the indigenous people of Diego Garcia and the Chagossian Islands in the Indian Ocean have endured a suffering both relentless and intense. In the early 1970s, they were brutally deracinated and dumped in Mauritius and Seychelles to make way for a U.S. military base.

    Anthropologist David Vine reports in his new book, Island of Shame: The Secret History of the U.S. Military Base on Diego Garcia (Princeton, May), the islanders had homes—idyllic though modest—employment, healthcare, a diet of fish, fresh fruits and vegetables, enviable longevity, traditions, the memories of their ancestors and a cultural life extending back over centuries in the Chagos archipelago. But through a number of legalistic and diplomatic deceits promulgated by the British and U.S. governments, the archipelago’s 2,000 islanders was expelled, carted away in overcrowded ships without food or sanitation.

    The dispossessed Chagossians received minute compensation. They were never paid for their expropriated homes. They lost their vegetable gardens and were not permitted to bring pets or belongings into exile. (Indeed, they watched their dogs be gassed to death and incinerated before they were ejected from the islands.) They lost their jobs in the coconut industry. No occupations awaited them in Mauritius, and they were not trained for new employment.

    The Chagossians were basically dumped in their new “homes.” Many lived on the streets, while others paid exorbitant prices for tin shacks in slums. Moneylenders and merchants victimized them, taking their miserable hovels as collateral for loans and purchases and later evicting them. They could not find jobs. As outsiders and people of African—, not the more-privileged Indian—descent, they faced discrimination. Alcohol, drugs and suicide took a toll. Diet deteriorated. They died young, and illnesses utterly new to them—malnutrition, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, tuberculosis—became rampant. Large numbers became clinically depressed. Many simply died of broken hearts. They were treated, Vine writes, like “rubbish people.”

    This was no accidental side effect of the military’s base construction. The military explicitly banned employment of any indigenous people on its base, though it imported workers from elsewhere. And it forbade return visits by the locals, even to tend the graves of their ancestors. It wasn’t until March, 2006, that bad publicity and court cases forced British authorities to permit one visit. Prior to the expulsion, all official reports portrayed the inhabitants as transient laborers rather than a native population. This was done in order to deny their existence and their right to the land, and thus to avoid all political, legal and financial redress.

    Though one cannot know the exact attitude of U.S. officials, David Vine aptly quotes Henry Kissinger on the removal of the residents of the Marshall Islands in 1969: “There are only 90,000 people out there. Who gives a damn?” With that attitude, there was no hope for the 2,000 Chagossians. Clearly no one in power thought anyone would care about their fate.

    The Chagossians’ displacement is not unique in the history of U.S. military bases abroad. But, as Vine points out, the lies fabricated to conceal the secret agreement in the Chagos Archpelgago are particularly astonishing. Secretary of State Dean Rusk described the islands to President Lyndon Johnson as “virtually uninhabited.” And in June 1964, the Johnson Administration pressured the Washington Post not to run stories that might cause trouble. The Post stories that were published referred to the population as “largely transient laborers.”

    Vine does an excellent job of documenting the machinations of military planners and politicians in the 1960s and 1970s, as they sought to evade unwelcome attention from the press, the United Nations or any court system. This was the end of decolonization, the era of imperial plunder and ethnic cleansing was supposedly over and nothing would have looked worse than what was actually happening.

    Vine details at length how no other empire has had as many foreign bases—roughly 1,000—as the United States. A few African islanders were not about to thwart the largest military machine in history. So a cast of characters, including foreign policy official Paul Nitze, Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, former White House and CIA official Robert Komer (infamous for running operation Phoenix in Vietnam) and Admiral Arleigh Burke concealed and misrepresented the removal of an inconvenient population. The stakes, as these pooh-bahs saw them, were quite high. Vine quotes military analyst John Pike telling him that the U.S. military’s goal is “to run the planet from Guam and Diego Garcia by 2015, even if the entire Eastern Hemisphere has drop-kicked us” from every other base.

    “Although the British Government and its agents performed most of the physical work involved in displacing the Chagossians,” Vine writes, “the U.S. Government ordered, orchestrated and financed the expulsion.” But recently the Chagossians have challenged the destiny so carefully prepared for them, and they have won court cases. They hope they may yet receive compensation and the right to return to their archipelago. After all, if gleaming yachts are allowed to dock on these gorgeous islands, why shouldn’t the original inhabitants be welcome there as well?

    inthesetimes.com
    Last edited by Mid; 18-07-2009 at 05:52 PM. Reason: formatting

  2. #2
    crocodilexp
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    Diego-Garcia base has an excellent location of significant strategic importance. Being an isolated island makes it very convenient.

    For the record, expulsion of 2000 natives back in the 70s was done by the U.K. government (not U.S. government). It does not rank up there among the worst episodes of British colonial history.

  3. #3
    Mid
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    For the record, expulsion of 2000 natives back in the 70s was done by the U.K. government (not U.S. government). It does not rank up there among the worst episodes of British colonial history.
    “Although the British Government and its agents performed most of the physical work involved in displacing the Chagossians,” Vine writes, “the U.S. Government ordered, orchestrated and financed the expulsion.”
    neither get a pass

  4. #4
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    This is nothing to what was done the the native Americans, all people are created equal, but some were seen as more equal than others.

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    I was supposed to work on a dredge on that job, and the deal was done by UK who had control of Diego Garcia, and the US did deal only with the UK in payment and authorization of use of the Island.
    Yes they did build a base there but with full authorization of the UK.
    The US is sometimes an asshole, but in this instance, they are not wrong.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by crazy dog
    This is nothing to what was done the the native Americans,
    If you are referring to the American Indians, they are not the Native Americans as there were people there before they came, they are just immigrants, same as everyone else there, The Aleuts and Eskimos were in North America many years before the Indians and they came from Asia/Siberia.

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    I had ben draughted to their while i was in the Royal navy but left before my time there was due to start. I was looking forwards to it too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by blackgang View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by crazy dog
    This is nothing to what was done the the native Americans,
    If you are referring to the American Indians, they are not the Native Americans as there were people there before they came, they are just immigrants, same as everyone else there, The Aleuts and Eskimos were in North America many years before the Indians and they came from Asia/Siberia.

    Yes I was referring to 'American Indians' and red cloud once said 'the white man made us many promises but only kept one, he promised to take our land and he took it'. Might not have been so bad if not done by lies, murder amounting to genocide and putting the survivors into little better than concentration camps. Everyone is an immigrant from Africa if you want to be pedantic, but that does not justify inhumane treatment by lying hypocrites pretending to believe in their precious constitution.

  9. #9
    Mid
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    Everyone is an immigrant from Africa if you want to be pedantic,
    a pedantic would point out that that is also under question .

  10. #10
    Mid
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    members.tripod.com


    Amnesty Box in men's room at Utapao AFB, Thailand. I discovered this prior to boarding my flight to Diego Garcia in 1972. It was a hole cut in the wall with a hinged flap door. I always wondered who the guy was on the other side that got all the free drugs.

    Diego Garcia

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mid
    a pedantic would point out that that is also under question .
    The Indians did fight and kill some white men, they have been paid and are still being paid as we speak, just as the Eskimos and Aleuts are being paid for Alaska and the oil being pumped out . and the North American Continent has been populated by Immigrants from around the Pacific Rim for the last 20,000 years.

  12. #12
    Thailand Expat HermantheGerman's Avatar
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    Borders and Languages change.

    What will the world look like in 500 years ?

    What Languages will be spoken ?

    Who are we going to blame ?

  13. #13
    Mid
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    What will the world look like in 500 years ?

    border less one hopes

    What Languages will be spoken ?

    a common one please

    Who are we going to blame ?

    blame ? :surplus to requirements


    therockrelic.files.wordpress.com

    But I'm not the only one


    John Lennon - Imagine Lyrics

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mid View Post

    But I'm not the only one

    John Lennon - Imagine Lyrics
    He wasn't a dreamer...just a fool.

  15. #15
    Mid
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    ^

    it's true there is one in every circus

  16. #16
    I am no longer a Hostage

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    Similar event, as in the OP, happend at Thule Airbase, when the Danish Government was "asked" to relocate the Inuits.

    They were in the way, I guess, and probaly didn't have any valid deeds

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by wefearourdespot View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Mid View Post

    But I'm not the only one

    John Lennon - Imagine Lyrics
    He wasn't a dreamer...just a fool.
    For not being a cynic, you mean
    Using your scale, I guess Jesus was a jerk

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by helge View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by wefearourdespot View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Mid View Post

    But I'm not the only one

    John Lennon - Imagine Lyrics
    He wasn't a dreamer...just a fool.
    For not being a cynic, you mean
    Using your scale, I guess Jesus was a jerk
    Cynicism is the opposite of creativity. Thank god this world is not totally full of cynics.

  19. #19
    Hansum Man! panama hat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackgang
    I was supposed to work on a dredge on that job
    Sure you were . . . amazing how you turn up at every event since the 18th century. Enjoying living vicariously through those adventure novels?

    Quote Originally Posted by blackgang
    The US is sometimes an asshole, but in this instance, they are not wrong.
    Yes they are

    Quote Originally Posted by blackgang
    If you are referring to the American Indians, they are not the Native Americans
    Your old chestnut again? Let's see . . . they've been there for a lot longer than the white man . . . tens of thousands of years longer. You are nothing but a pathetic apologist

    Quote Originally Posted by crazy dog
    that does not justify inhumane treatment by lying hypocrites pretending to believe in their precious constitution.
    Indeed, indeed

  20. #20
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    Originally Posted by blackgang
    I was supposed to work on a dredge on that job
    Sure you were . . . amazing how you turn up at every event since the 18th century. Enjoying living vicariously through those adventure novels?
    Yes, but it beats being a TEFLer in malaysia, and at the time the contract was let I was on the Dredge" New Jersey" in Manama Bahrain for Standard deredging co. Baltimore Md. and they missed the contract and if memory serves me it was won by a Jap co.

    And while your class is in study hall why don't you actually print something to prove me wrong?
    Last edited by blackgang; 19-07-2009 at 01:29 PM.

  21. #21
    Hansum Man! panama hat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackgang View Post
    Originally Posted by blackgang
    I was supposed to work on a dredge on that job
    Sure you were . . . amazing how you turn up at every event since the 18th century. Enjoying living vicariously through those adventure novels?
    Yes, but it beats being a TEFLer in malaysia, and at the time the contract was let I was on the Dredge" New Jersey" in Manama Bahrain for Standard deredging co. Baltimore Md. and they missed the contract and if memory serves me it was won by a Jap co.

    And while your class is in study hall why don't you actually print something to prove me wrong?

    Bullshit you were, you lying old fart. Time to realise that all your stories are other people's that you had a lot of time to read about in your library job where you spent 40 years 'earning' your pension.

    Me, a TEFLer? In Malaysia? You've been flipping through too many youth swimwear catalogues recently?

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by panama hat
    Bullshit you were, you lying old fart. Time to realise that all your stories are other people's that you had a lot of time to read about in your library job where you spent 40 years 'earning' your pension. Me, a TEFLer? In Malaysia? You've been flipping through too many youth swimwear catalogues recently?
    Is this really necessary ?
    Now you are in Diego Garcia on your stalking-campaing.
    "He started it" you'd say. Ok, is there a timeframe for this revenge ?

  23. #23
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    Oh yes I was and after I left Standard when they sold controlling interest to a Manama co. I went to work for B&R on the derrick 318 at the offshore terminal at Basra Iraq.
    Instead of denigrating bullshit, prove me wrong, prove that what I say is wrong.

    Just because you have spent your life as a TEFLer and can not make a living in Aust, you must stalk me and people are getting tired of the stalking denigrating posts of no value

  24. #24
    Hansum Man! panama hat's Avatar
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    ^ You are sooooo engrossed in other people's adventures you really can't differentiate between fact and fiction.

    (Oh, and in any normal society the person making a claim should be the one to substantiate it . . . in dumb-inbred-talk just for you that means you sad it, you prove it)

    The TEFLer angle again? Never been a teacher, never will be one . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by helge
    Ok, is there a timeframe for this revenge ?
    Fair enough Helge.

  25. #25
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    Well hat, what would I be doing with this visa unless I was working there for B&R on the oil loading facility, And just in case you ask, what would I need a Viet Nam 1 year res. visa unless I was working there in 69.
    those old passports were in the bottom of a box of my papers I had shipped over here.





    I have a employment verification from B&R but it don't say where I was working.

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