Chagos Eilande – Den Haag / The Hague

 

Hou gerus dit dop – Chagos Eilande word as ‘n Brits beheerde kolonie eilandgroep beskou en VSA is betrokke – vir baie onbekende groep eilande maar wat nie regtig aan die Britte behoort nie, of behoort dit?  Mauritius sê dis hulle eilande.   Die nuutste is dat Australië, Verenigde State van Amerika en Israel Brittanje ondersteun om dit te beheer.  Twee en twintig lande het aansoek gedoen om deel van hierdie besprekings te wees.  Diego Garcia bevat ‘n groot vloot hawe.  Daar is heelwat lande wat Mauritius hierin ondersteun, onder andere ook Suid-Afrika.  Afrika Unie ondersteun ook Mauritius.  Daar is ‘n hele geskiedenis rondom hierdie eiland waar die Britte die bewoners weggevoer het van die eiland af .
Chagos Islands — Britain’s last remaining African colony –

 

Fuel tanks at the edge of a Military airstrip on Diego Garcia, the largest island in the Chagos archipelago, it is the site of a major United States military base in the middle of the Indian Ocean leased from Britain in 1966. (Reuters)

British Claim to Chagos Islands considered by World Court

Video – Court and background

According to Reuters, the Hague is currently weighing Britain’s claim to Chagos Islands. Mauritius has been appealing the case to judges at the World Court on Monday. It says Britain illegally stripped it of the Indian Ocean archipelago. The Islands are now home to a major U.S. air base. In 1965 Britain detached the Chagos Islands from its colony of Mauritius. Mauritius became independent three years later. The sparsely populated Chagos Islands, however, remained overseas British territory. The U.S. has leased the biggest island, Diego Garcia, since 1966. It built an air base there, forcing the population of around 1,500 people to leave. The case is a test of whether colonial-era deals struck by great powers are legitimate.

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This is a first person account of a Chagos Island native who was uprooted from their home island, put on a ship and sent to Mauritius, by the British Empire. Today, 50 years later, they are still fighting to go back to their native island, Diego Garcia, which has been converted into a US Military Base .

Video of Chagos Islander and Colonialism

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More about the book
The U.S. military base on the island of Diego Garcia is one of the most strategically important and secretive U.S. military installations outside the United States. Located near the remote center of the Indian Ocean and accessible only by military transport, the little-known base has been instrumental in American military operations from the Cold War to the war on terror and may house a top-secret CIA prison where terror suspects are interrogated and tortured. But Diego Garcia harbors another dirty secret, one that has been kept from most of the world–until now.
Island of Shame is the first major book to reveal the shocking truth of how the United States conspired with Britain to forcibly expel Diego Garcia’s indigenous people–the Chagossians–and deport them to slums in Mauritius and the Seychelles, where most live in dire poverty to this day. Drawing on interviews with Washington insiders, military strategists, and exiled islanders, as well as hundreds of declassified documents, David Vine exposes the secret history of Diego Garcia. He chronicles the Chagossians’ dramatic, unfolding story as they struggle to survive in exile and fight to return to their homeland. Tracing U.S. foreign policy from the Cold War to the war on terror, Vine shows how the United States has forged a new and pervasive kind of empire that is quietly dominating the planet with hundreds of overseas military bases.  David Vine

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READ MORE HERE:
Military base of USA on the islands of Diego Garcia

The 50 years term of the agreement between Great Britain and the USA regarding the Pentagon’s lease of Diego Garcia atoll, which is located in the heart of the Indian Ocean, for military purposes expires in December 2016. However, chances are it could be prolonged for 20 years till December 2036.


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In 1966, the head of Britain’s Colonial Office, Lord Denis Greenhill, wrote about Chagos, “The object of the exercise is to get some rocks which will remain ours; there will be no indigenous population except seagulls who have not yet got a committee. Unfortunately, along with the seagulls go some few Tarzans and Man Fridays that are hopefully being wished on Mauritius.”   read more: History lessons

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Article by September 2018

Article done by Simon Allison

On Monday, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague began public hearings that may determine the fate of the Chagos Islands — Britain’s last remaining African colony.

Twenty-two nations have applied to take part in the proceedings. Supporting Britain in its bid to retain control of the islands are the United States, Australia and Israel. The United States maintains a large and strategically important naval base on Diego Garcia, the largest of the Chagos Islands.

Opposing Britain’s continued rule over the Indian Ocean archipelago is Mauritius, which argues that the Chagos Islands should fall under its sovereignty.

Seventeen other nations support Mauritius’ claim of sovereignty: Belize, Botswana, Brazil, Cyprus, Germany, Guatemala, India, Kenya, the Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Serbia, South Africa, Thailand, Vanuatu and Zambia. The African Union will also be making representations in support of Mauritius.

The ICJ took on the case after the United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly in favour of a Mauritius-backed resolution to seek a legal opinion from the court. Its verdict will be advisory, and not legally binding.

‘British agents gassed their dogs’

The Chagos Islands is the territory that decolonisation forgot.

Over 250 years ago, people began settling on the Chagos Islands — mostly slaves from Africa and indentured labour from India. During the colonial period, it was considered to be part of Mauritius, and administered from there. Given their tiny size and lack of natural resources, the islands did not receive much attention.

Things changed dramatically as the Cold War began to heat up. The United States recognised that the Chagos Islands’ isolated geography was the perfect location for an Indian Ocean military base. The United Kingdom, a key ally, was happy to cooperate, eventually signing a sweetheart deal that gave the Americans a 50-year lease on Diego Garcia, for the sum of just $1 per year, along with a discount on nuclear technology.

There was one snag, however: this was also Africa’s independence era, and in 1968 Mauritius was about to be granted its own independence. Could a new government in Mauritius be relied upon to grant access to the base?

Taking no risks, the United Kingdom unilaterally annexed the Chagos Islands, and forcibly removed all 2 000-plus Chagos Islanders — referred to by officials at the time as “Tarzans” and “Man Fridays” — the better to preserve security around the base.

The removals took place over several years and were brutal.

According to anthropologist David Vine: “British agents, with the help of Navy Seabees, quickly rounded up the islanders’ pet dogs, gassing and burning them in sealed cargo sheds. They ordered … the remaining Chagossians onto overcrowded cargo ships. During the deportations, which took place in stages until May 1973, most Chagossians slept in the ship’s hold atop guano — bird crap. Prized horses stayed on deck. By the end of the five-day trip, vomit, urine and excrement were everywhere. At least one woman miscarried. Arriving in Mauritius and the Seychelles, Chagossians were literally left on the docks. They were homeless, jobless, and had little money, and they received no resettlement assistance. In 1975, the Washington Post broke the story in the Western press and found them living in ‘abject poverty’. Most remain deeply impoverished to this day.”

Justice delayed

Over the subsequent decades, the evicted islanders — most of whom settled in Britain or Mauritius — have repeatedly taken the British government to court, demanding compensation and the right to return to their homeland.

In 2000, a British High Court ruled in their favour, ruling that the mass evictions were illegal and the Chagossians should be allowed to return home. This verdict was overturned by ‘royal prerogative’ — a little-used quirk of British law that allows the Queen to set aside court judgments she doesn’t like.

More recently, Britain’s Supreme Court denied the islanders’ right to return on the basis that it would be prohibitively expensive to do so. To further frustrate the islanders’ efforts to return, in 2010 Britain declared that the Chagos Islands to be a ‘Marine Protected Area’. In the words of a US official in a diplomatic cable leaked by Wikileaks: “… former inhabitants would find it difficult, if not impossible, to pursue their claim for resettlement on the islands if the entire Chagos archipelago were a marine reserve”.”

In parallel, the Mauritian government has been pressing its claim of sovereignty, culminating in this week’s hearings in The Hague. But Britain is hanging on tight to its last African colony.

“While we do not recognise the Republic of Mauritius’s claim to sovereignty of the archipelago, we have repeatedly undertaken to cede it to Mauritius when no longer required for defence purposes, and we maintain that commitment,” said a foreign office spokesperson.
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3 May 2016
Diego Garcia frequently reads like fiction …..
This plan was confirmed with an “exchange of notes” signed on December 30, 1966, by U.S. and British officials, as one of the State Department negotiators told me, “under the cover of darkness.” The notes effectively constituted a treaty but required no Congressional or Parliamentary approval, meaning that both governments could keep their plans hidden.According to the agreement, the United States would gain use of the new colony “without charge.” This was another fiction. In confidential minutes, the United States agreed to secretly wipe out a $14 million British military debt, circumventing the need to ask Congress for funding. In exchange, the British agreed to take the “administrative measures” necessary for “resettling the inhabitants.”  Those measures meant that, after 1967, any Chagossians who left home for medical treatment or a routine vacation in Mauritius were barred from returning. Soon, British officials began restricting the flow of food and medical supplies to Chagos. As conditions deteriorated, more islanders began leaving. By 1970, the U.S. Navy had secured funding for what officials told Congress would be an “austere communications station.” They were, however, already planning to ask for additional funds to expand the facility into a much larger base. As the Navy’s Office of Communications and Cryptology explained, “The communications requirements cited as justification are fiction.” By the 1980s, Diego Garcia would become a billion-dollar garrison.  read more:
Island – International forum information

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Studies were done and various articles available on this island group and their peoples.   Read:
Studie done by Nichola Harmer in 2012

The largest criminal organizations in the world are governments. The bigger they are, the more capable of perpetrating atrocities. Not only do they obtain great wealth through compulsion (taxation), they also have an ideological mystique that permits them uniquely to get away with murder, torture, and theft.
Great Britain claims the island. According to Vine, African slaves, indentured Indians, and their descendants had been living on the Chagos islands for about 200 years. “In 1965, after years of secret negotiations, Britain agreed to separate Chagos from colonial Mauritius (contravening UN decolonization rules) to create a new colony, the British Indian Ocean Territory. In a secret 1966 agreement, Britain gave U.S. officials base rights on Diego Garcia.”
British officials soon began restricting food and medical supplies to Chagos. Anglo-American officials designed a public relations plan aimed at, as one British bureaucrat said, “maintaining the fiction” that Chagosians were migrant laborers rather than a people with roots in Chagos for five generations or more. Another British official called them “Tarzans” and “Man Fridays.”
Then, in 1971, the final order came down, reminiscent of a Russian czar expelling Jews from their village. “The U.S. Navy’s highest-ranking admiral, Elmo Zumwalt, issued … a three-word memo.… ‘Absolutely must go.’”British agents, with the help of Navy Seabees, quickly rounded up the islanders’ pet dogs, gassing and burning them in sealed cargo sheds. They ordered … the remaining Chagossians onto overcrowded cargo ships. During the deportations, which took place in stages until May 1973, most Chagossians slept in the ship’s hold atop guano — bird crap. Prized horses stayed on deck. By the end of the five-day trip, vomit, urine, and excrement were everywhere. At least one woman miscarried.   read more:
Diego Garcia .. 2013

 

There was a time, not so long ago, when the British Empire stretched across vast swathes of Africa; when the continent was ruled from London, for London, and Africans were treated as second-class citizens.

For most of Africa, that era ended in the 1960s, when a wave of liberation movements demanded self-rule, eventually seizing independence to bring an end to centuries of European colonialism. But for the tiny Chagos Islands, Britain’s last outpost in Africa, colonialism remains alive and well today, with the fate of its people serving as a 21st century reminder – in case you’d forgotten – of just how brutal and callous British rule can be.

Things changed dramatically in the 1950’s and 1960s’, when – with the Cold War in full swing – the US started looking for a location for a military base in the Indian Ocean. They settled on Diego Garcia, one of the biggest of the Chagos Islands, and cut a sweetheart deal with Britain to lease it. In return for a $14-million discount on nuclear technology, Britain granted the US a 50-year lease at a rent of just $1 per year.  There were just two obstacles to this superpower plan. First obstacle: the Chagos Islands were technically part of Mauritius, which was about to be granted independence. No problem: Britain unilaterally annexed the Chagos Islands, declaring it a separate entity over which it maintained full control.

 

 

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