Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Forcibly deported from Eden

Diego GarciaJohn Pilger has a powerful Guardian article based upon his new book investigating the fate of the islanders of Diego Garcia:

During the 1960s and 1970s, British governments, both Labour and Tory, tricked and expelled the entire population of the Chagos, a British colonial dependency, so that their homeland could be given to a foreign power, the United States, as the site for a military base. This "act of mass kidnapping", as one observer describes it, was carried out in high secrecy, along with the conspiracy that preceded it. For almost a decade, neither parliament nor the US Congress knew anything about it, and no journalist revealed it. BBC newsreaders still refer to US aircraft flying out to bomb Afghanistan and Iraq from the "uninhabited" island of Diego Garcia. Not only was the Chagossians' homeland stolen from them, but they were taken out of history. This scandal is unresolved today - even though the high court in London has twice ruled that the islanders' "wholesale removal" was an "abject legal failure".

It is clear that UK and US government officials since the 1960s have colluded in a crime under Article 7 of the International Criminal Court statutes. When will they be brought to justice?

1 comment:

Chris Parsons OBE said...

In 1974 I served as a Royal Naval Medic on Diego Garcia and clearly recall wandering amongst the sad and obviously hurriedly deserted buildings such as the hospial, several dwellings and even the church in the plantation area on the eastern side of the island. I was told by the then British Representative that the islanders had 'chosen to leave' due to the copra industry being reduced because of the increasing introduction of alternative oils.
Little did I know then that these peaceful, happy people were 'herded' in to ships and taken forever from their homeland. I found an old medical register in the hospital and one entry referred to a 91 year old man who as the entry said had 'never left the island during his entire life'. He had attended with severe chest pain . The entry from his medical carer read 'I am deeply saddened that I have no medication to treat this old man and have been told that there is no possibility at all that I will be able to obtain any. I pray that he will be able to receive treatment at his final destination but fear that he will not sustain the journey to wherever they are taking him'. I showed the British Representatve the medical register which he took from me to in his words 'bin it'.