MEGATRENDS: Diego Garcia Coverup    
 Diego Garcia Coverup6 comments
Diego Garcia: Paradise Cleansed

by John Pilger

There are times when one tragedy, one crime tells us how a whole system works behind its democratic facade and helps us to understand how much of the world is run for the benefit of the powerful and how governments lie. To understand the catastrophe of Iraq, and all the other Iraqs along imperial history's trail of blood and tears, one need look no further than Diego Garcia.

The story of Diego Garcia is shocking, almost incredible. A British colony lying midway between Africa and Asia in the Indian Ocean, the island is one of 64 unique coral islands that form the Chagos Archipelago, a phenomenon of natural beauty, and once of peace. Newsreaders refer to it in passing: "American B-52 and Stealth bombers last night took off from the uninhabited British island of Diego Garcia to bomb Iraq (or Afghanistan)." It is the word "uninhabited" that turns the key on the horror of what was done there. In the 1970s, the Ministry of Defense in London produced this epic lie: "There is nothing in our files about a population and an evacuation."

Diego Garcia was first settled in the late 18th century. At least 2,000 people lived there: a gentle Creole nation with thriving villages, a school, a hospital, a church, a prison, a railway, docks, a copra plantation. Watching a film shot by missionaries in the 1960s, I can understand why every Chagos islander I have met calls it paradise; there is a grainy sequence where the islanders' beloved dogs are swimming in the sheltered, palm-fringed lagoon, catching fish.

All this began to end when an American rear admiral stepped ashore in 1961 and Diego Garcia was marked as the site of what is today one of the biggest American bases in the world. There are now more than 2,000 troops, anchorage for 30 warships, a nuclear dump, a satellite spy station, shopping malls, bars and a golf course. "Camp Justice," the Americans call it.

During the 1960s, in high secrecy, the Labor government of Harold Wilson conspired with two American administrations to "sweep" and "sanitize" the islands: the words used in American documents. Files found in the National Archives in Washington and the Public Record Office in London provide an astonishing narrative of official lying all too familiar to those who have chronicled the lies over Iraq.

To get rid of the population, the Foreign Office invented the fiction that the islanders were merely transient contract workers who could be "returned" to Mauritius, 1,000 miles away. In fact, many islanders traced their ancestry back five generations, as their cemeteries bore witness. The aim, wrote a Foreign Office official in January 1966, "is to convert all the existing residents ... into short-term, temporary residents."

What the files also reveal is an imperious attitude of brutality. In August 1966, Sir Paul Gore-Booth, permanent undersecretary at the Foreign Office, wrote: "We must surely be very tough about this. The object of the exercise was to get some rocks that will remain ours. There will be no indigenous population except seagulls." At the end of this is a handwritten note by D.H. Greenhill, later Baron Greenhill: "Along with the Birds go some Tarzans or Men Fridays ..." Under the heading, "Maintaining the fiction," another official urges his colleagues to reclassify the islanders as "a floating population" and to "make up the rules as we go along."

There is not a word of concern for their victims. Only one official appeared to worry about being caught, writing that it was "fairly unsatisfactory" that "we propose to certify the people, more or less fraudulently, as belonging somewhere else." The documents leave no doubt that the cover-up was approved by the prime minister and at least three cabinet ministers.

At first, the islanders were tricked and intimidated into leaving; those who had gone to Mauritius for urgent medical treatment were prevented from returning. As the Americans began to arrive and build the base, Sir Bruce Greatbatch, the governor of the Seychelles, who had been put in charge of the "sanitizing," ordered all the pet dogs on Diego Garcia to be killed. Almost 1,000 pets were rounded up and gassed, using the exhaust fumes from American military vehicles. "They put the dogs in a furnace where the people worked," says Lizette Tallatte, now in her 60s," ... and when their dogs were taken away in front of them, our children screamed and cried."

The islanders took this as a warning; and the remaining population were loaded on to ships, allowed to take only one suitcase. They left behind their homes and furniture, and their lives. On one journey in rough seas, the copra company's horses occupied the deck, while women and children were forced to sleep on a cargo of bird fertilizer. Arriving in the Seychelles, they were marched up the hill to a prison where they were held until they were transported to Mauritius. There, they were dumped on the docks.

In the first months of their exile, as they fought to survive, suicides and child deaths were common. Lizette lost two children. "The doctor said he cannot treat sadness," she recalls. Rita Bancoult, now 79, lost two daughters and a son; she told me that when her husband was told the family could never return home, he suffered a stroke and died. Unemployment, drugs and prostitution, all of which had been alien to their society, ravaged them. Only after more than a decade did they receive any compensation from the British government: less than £3,000 each, which did not cover their debts.

The behavior of the Blair government is, in many respects, the worst. In 2000, the islanders won a historic victory in the high court, which ruled their expulsion illegal. Within hours of the judgment, the Foreign Office announced that it would not be possible for them to return to Diego Garcia because of a "treaty" with Washington – in truth, a deal concealed from parliament and the U.S. Congress. As for the other islands in the group, a "feasibility study" would determine whether these could be resettled. This has been described by Professor David Stoddart, a world authority on the Chagos, as "worthless" and "an elaborate charade." The "study" consulted not a single islander; it found that the islands were "sinking," which was news to the Americans who are building more and more base facilities; the U.S. Navy describes the living conditions as so outstanding that they are "unbelievable."

In 2003, in a now notorious follow-up high court case, the islanders were denied compensation, with government counsel allowed by the judge to attack and humiliate them in the witness box, and with Justice Ousley referring to "we" as if the court and the Foreign Office were on the same side. Last June, the government invoked the archaic royal prerogative in order to crush the 2000 judgment. A decree was issued that the islanders were banned forever from returning home. These were the same totalitarian powers used to expel them in secret 40 years ago; Blair used them to authorize his illegal attack on Iraq.

Led by a remarkable man, Olivier Bancoult, an electrician, and supported by a tenacious and valiant London lawyer, Richard Gifford, the islanders are going to the European court of human rights, and perhaps beyond. Article 7 of the statute of the international criminal court describes the "deportation or forcible transfer of population ... by expulsion or other coercive acts" as a crime against humanity. As Bush's bombers take off from their paradise, the Chagos islanders, says Bancoult, "will not let this great crime stand. The world is changing; we will win."

This article first appeared in The Guardian [link] .


"No State known to history originated in any other manner, or for any other purpose. Like all predatory or parasitic institutions, its first instinct is that of self-preservation. All its enterprises are directed first towards preserving its own life, and, second, towards increasing its own power and enlarging the scope of its own activity. For the sake of this it will, and regularly does, commit any crime which circumstances make expedient. In the last analysis, what is the German, Italian, French, or British State now actually doing? It is ruining its own people in order to preserve itself, to enhance its own power and prestige, and extend its own authority; and the American State is doing the same thing to the utmost of its opportunities.

"What, then, is a little matter like a treaty to the French or British State? Merely a scrap of paper – Bethmann-Hollweg described it exactly. Why be astonished when the German or Russian State murders its citizens? The American State would do the same thing under the same circumstances. In fact, eighty years ago it did murder a great many of them for no other crime in the world but that they did not wish to live under its rule any longer; and if that is a crime, then the colonists led by G. Washington were hardened criminals and the Fourth of July is nothing but a cutthroat's holiday.

"The weaker the State is, the less power it has to commit crime. Where in Europe today does the State have the best criminal record? Where it is weakest: in Switzerland, Holland, Denmark, Norway, Luxembourg, Sweden, Monaco, Andorra. Yet when the Dutch State, for instance, was strong, its criminality was appalling; in Java it massacred 9,000 persons in one morning which is considerably ahead of Hitler's record or Stalin's. It would not do the like today, for it could not; the Dutch people do not give it that much power, and would not stand for such conduct. When the Swedish State was a great empire, its record, say from 1660 to 1670, was fearful. What does all this mean but that if you do not want the State to act like a criminal, you must disarm it as you would a criminal; you must keep it weak. The State will always be criminal in proportion to its strength; a weak State will always be as criminal as it can be, or dare be, but if it is kept down to the proper limit of weakness – which, by the way, is a vast deal lower limit than people are led to believe – its criminality may be safely got on with." --- "The Criminality of the State" --- by Albert Jay Nock


"Fiat money has got to be the best racket around. A few years ago I calculated that the interest earned on the national debt amounted to roughly a billion dollars per working day. That’s a pretty good return – mathematically, an infinite return – on "money" created out of thin air by the lender, who does so pursuant to no law that I know of permitting him – a private individual – to create what passes for United States money." --- "Fiat: Let There Be Blight!!" --- by Paul Hein


"The size of the lie is a definite factor in causing it to be believed, for the vast masses of a nation are in the depths of their hearts more easily deceived than they are consciously and intentionally bad. The primitive simplicity of their minds renders them a more easy prey to a big lie than a small one, for they themselves often tell little lies, but would be ashamed to tell big lies.": Adolf Hitler (1889-1945) German Nazi Dictator 1935 Source: Mein Kampf, p. 197(?) 14th Edition.
Who will be the last American soldier to die for Cheney and Bush's multitude of deceptions and monstrous lie ?


Allen L Roland

"I can't believe that!" said Alice.

"Can't you?" the queen said in a pitying tone. "Try again, draw a long breath, and shut your eyes."

Alice laughed. "There's no use trying," she said. "One can't believe impossible things."

"I dare say you haven't had much practice," said the queen. "When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."

- From "Alice in Wonderland" by Lewis Carroll



30 Dec 2006 @ 22:16 by triggs : Bye Saddam
Bye Saddam, you were a bad person, but not as bad as Bush and co. {link:}
I realize that this is not really revelent, I just wanted to share the link with you Vax and Astrid. Peace and prosperity to you both. Keep posting, you folks are great. Tom


Thanks for the link, Tom. Every little bit can be relevent in the game they are playing. Peace and prosperity for you too. Thanks Tom...

I think the real Saddam is laughing his hide off. People, in General, aren't as duped as we seem to be about any of this...  

31 Dec 2006 @ 00:05 by jobrown : not only that,
triggs, what the link tells us. There's more , but NEVER mentioned anywhere: all the artifacts of the OLD MESOPOTAMIA; today's Iraq, where the Hebrews co-existed with many other groups of Mesopotamians of varied "ethnicity"-or should we be naked and say the way it really was and still is: of different sub-cultures!

How about those 30.000 clay tablets, discovered some ten fifteen years ago in Iraq and Israel instantly putting claims to them and they were given some 2500 of them to be taken to Jerusalem "to be translated"... They are Sumerian, in other words some 5-6thousand years old, written in Sumerian Coniform letters and describe regular Every-day life in the Old city of Babel (and maybe overall life in the Valley between the Rivers, Eufrat & Tigris ! WHY would some groups NOT have this to be known History of the World???? One can only wonder.... Nut as we know: There's "always" more to every Story, than meets the "eye"!...

For example; Do you REALLY think that the Library of Alexandria burned down accidentally, books and all? NOTHING in this world can make me buy that story. Never has. I believe the one's who had most to gain in keeping Truth away from the Big Populace of Humans, did then what they've been doing all along: HIDE the truth!... books were confiscated, hidden somewhere secure and then the BUILDINGS of Alexandria Library burned down. But NOT "Books and all"! Diego Garcia already then in Alexandria.
Same thing has been done to Iraq: burned down to the ground, even if it took to destroy all the people who were in the way somehow!.... The Oil thing is just a happy "co-incidence"; the PERFECT COVER!....
NO.... There are secrets that SOME people ( > what this Vaxen's article is all about) DO NOT WANT to come out in the daylight. Why???? because it would blow their whole LIE and reason for being in to a million small pieces!.... and with that their grip on Humanity would be over! "The Da Vinci Code; Holy Grail" story etc etc. To make sure Saddam wouldn't blow the cover of this Best Kept Secret, he was hanged today! Diego Garcia all over again. This time (in) Iraq!...
Ignatius of Loyola was murdered when he had finished the Big Custom Job he did for these guys: when he created/set up the Brotherhood of Jesus; the Jesuit Order. Etc etc.
Too incredible to believe; The Impossible thing to believe?... Do like the Queen: work on believing the impossible.

"I can't believe that!" said Alice.

"Can't you?" the queen said in a pitying tone. "Try again, draw a long breath, and shut your eyes."

Alice laughed. "There's no use trying," she said. "One can't believe impossible things."

"I dare say you haven't had much practice," said the queen. "When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."

- From "Alice in Wonderland" by Lewis Carroll

Yes, Vax, you are so right on!

Hi Vax, Hi Triggs, this is New Years Eve. I just ran into this article, which proves my statements; about the madness put into play at any given time...I agree with the article when it states that surely Saddam could foresee this kind of behavior from these idiots. They will kill the real Saddam when they know for SURE they have ALL the Proofs = Artifacts, that ever existed in Mesopotamia and Saddam was aware of. Not until he has given away the true History revealing treasures will they get rid of him. They kill their own AND "just People" ONLY when "Not usable" any longer. Not before!....But, then again; THEN it happens without exception, without mercy ( the murder of Sharon is proof of that! )!


Well ,the scavengers can fight all they want to about any of it. One big lie...multiples of lies covering the one big lie up. Occluded world for a glass darkly.

Thanks A-d...  

5 Jan 2007 @ 12:17 by ashanti : Alter-ed
[deleted for obvious reasons]. Thanks. May do so. May not for your safety. It hasn't happened in the physical universe yet - but it is only a matter of time - can feel it closing in, very very close now.
Love You.

Good to hear from you Lady Ashanti. I've been wondering how you are doing and I understand. I don't have the private messages configured to other than default. I'll check that out again. If you need to drop a line to me then try

Of course South Africa, in general, is considered to be 'an armed fortress.' Well, shan't go into the why's and wherefores.

Please drop me a line and let's chat...

Keep the chin up and don't waltz with Matilda, she will tramp on your toes! ;)

Luv ya...  

6 Jan 2007 @ 08:06 by jazzolog : Obvious
What does Deleted For Obvious Reasons mean in the comment above? The last thing I look for at Vaxen's Log is what I would think of as obvious. Usually he informs me what really is obvious and that I am a Bozo on the bus. In this case when the esteemed Ashanti has made a rare and legendary appearance at this dim site, I would hope nothing she does would have to be deleted. But these are increasingly dangerous times. Like Saddam we all could look in from the next "level" to see an epitaph at his grave Deleted For Obvious Reasons. I guess I should be grateful we all aren't being dumped yet into great unmarked graves...for similarly obvious reasons.  

6 Jan 2007 @ 17:05 by vaxen : Ah...
That wasn't deleted by me, jazzolog, so... the obvious reasons aren't what you think... thanks for pointing that out, though, and for your astute comment...  

25 Apr 2007 @ 18:06 by USAUSAUSA @ : PC BS on Diego Garcia
What I love is idiot articles based less on fact than on P.C. sympathies.
You know what the America's Indian tribes try the same tact. Bottom line, most tribes and native peoples were warriars they displaced, murdered, raped and they fought modern powers and they lost. I am not responsible for the actions of my ancestors any more than these so called "native peoples" are. The Brits have owned Diego Garcia for over a century and before that the French and I don't care what their ancestors did to people that most likely did the same or worse to others. They own it, if they wish they can give it back (or not). Just like the American Tribes calling themselves "sovereign nations" The US Goverment has not acknowledged any tribe as a nation since 1875 when they said they are not a nation nor will they be delt with as a nation. And bottom line. The Indians, stole, raped, murdered and pillaged as did the white men (and black men) at the time. I am not responsible because they got their ass kicked finally. They are the ones that consider themselves to be a warrior nation and they LOST. To the victors at that time go the spoils. We don't act like that any more and I don't owe them anything. If you do pay up I say forfit your home your "stolen" property from the great environmentalist pacifist nations (which in human history do not exist) You can be responsible for the actions of your ancestors and make it right pay up today everything you own. In fact I recommend it. The displaced from Diego Garcia were workers at a plantation that they did not own.......the British goverment owned the island. Have a nice day............  

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