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Diego Garcia: Stealing a nation and how ‘international rules’ don’t apply if it is the US or UK

Diego Garcia: Stealing a nation and how ‘international rules’ don’t apply if it is the US or UK​

By John Pilger
Aug 11, 2022
DIEGO GARCIA, British Indian Ocean Territory

Image: Flickr / COMSEVENTHFLT
One of John Pilger’s most remarkable documentaries, bringing a little-known story to a wide audience, is Stealing a Nation, about how British governments ruthlessly expelled the population of the Chagos Islands, a crown colony in the Indian Ocean, in the late 1960s and early 70s to make way for an American military base on Diego Garcia, the largest island.
The truth about the brutal removal of 1,500 islanders and the official conspiracy to deny the presence of an indigenous population did not emerge for another 20 years. Secret official files were unearthed at the Public Record Office, in London, by lawyers acting for the former inhabitants of the coral archipelago, who wished to return to their homeland. Historian Mark Curtis described the enforced depopulation in Web of Deceit, his 2003 book about Britain’s post-war foreign policy. The British media all but ignored it, while the Washington Post called it a ‘mass kidnapping’.
Pilger first heard of the plight of the Chagossians in 1982, during the Falklands War. ‘Britain sent a fleet to the aid of 2,000 Falkland Islanders at the other end of the world,’ he said, ‘while another 2,000 British citizens from islands in the Indian Ocean had been expelled by British governments and hardly anyone knew. The difference was that one lot were white and the others were black, and the United States wanted the Chagos Islands – especially Diego Garcia – as a major military base.’
At the beginning of Stealing a Nation, Pilger says, ‘There are times when one tragedy, one crime, tells us how a whole system works behind its democratic façade and helps us understand how much of the world is run for the benefit of the powerful and how governments often justify their actions with lies.’
He recalls how the Chagos paradise – with an abundance of natural produce and no extreme weather – once had thriving villages, a school, a hospital, a church, a railway and an undisturbed way of life until a secret 1961 Anglo-American survey of Diego Garcia led both governments to plot to remove the inhabitants.
The expulsions began in 1965. People were herded into the hold of a rusting ship, endured rough seas and were dumped in the Seychelles, where they were held in prison cells. They were then shipped on to Mauritius, where they were taken to a derelict housing estate with no water or electricity. Twenty-six families died in brutal poverty, there were nine suicides and girls were forced into prostitution to survive.
The depopulation of the archipelago was completed within 10 years and Diego Garcia became home to one of the United States’s biggest bases, with more than 2,000 troops, two bomber runways, 30 warships, facilities for nuclear-armed submarines and a satellite spy station.
In a series of moving interviews, Pilger hears from islanders forced from their homes. One woman recalls how she and her husband took their baby to Mauritius for medical treatment and were told they could not return. The shock was so great that her husband suffered a stroke and died. Others describe how the British and Americans gassed their dogs – beloved pets – as an inducement to pack up and leave. In exile in Mauritius, Lizette Talate’s children ‘died of sadness’.
After demonstrating on the streets of Mauritius in 1982, the exiles were given the derisory compensation of less than £3,000 each by the British government. With the discovery of declassified Foreign Office files, the full cynicism was laid bare. One file was headed, ‘Maintaining the Fiction’.
In 2000, the High Court in London ruled the expulsions illegal. In response, the Labour government of Tony Blair invoked the Royal Prerogative, an archaic power invested in the Queen’s ‘Privy Council’ that allows the government to bypass Parliament and the courts. In this way, the islanders were banned from ever returning home.
Stealing a Nation won the Royal Television Society’s 2005 Best Single Documentary award. A year later, the High Court finally ruled that the Chagossians were entitled to return. However, in the summer of 2008, the Foreign Office appealed to the Supreme Court, formerly known as the Law Lords. The appeal was successful.
In 2010, the British government hurriedly established a marine nature reserve around the Chagos Islands. Soon afterwards, WikiLeaks published a US Embassy diplomatic cable from 2009 that read, ‘Establishing a marine reserve might indeed, as the FCO’s [Colin] Roberts stated, be the most effective long-term way to prevent any of the Chagos Islands’ former inhabitants or descendants from resettling.’ Emboldened by this disclosure and by public support, an indefatigable campaign of islanders and their supporters shows no sign of giving up.
Awards: Best Single Documentary, Royal Television Society Awards, 2005; The Chris Statuette in the Social Issues division, Chris Awards, Columbus International Film & Video Festival, Ohio, 2003.
‘Stealing A Nation’ was a Granada production for ITV. It was first broadcast on ITV1, 6 October 2004…yes 2004.

Diego Garcia: Stealing a nation and how 'international rules' don't apply if it is the US or UK - Pearls and Irritations (johnmenadue.com)
 

jhungary

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What does this have to do with the fact that the observers are not part of the UN agency? Are the decisions made by the observers equivalent to those of the United Nations, such as the OIC, the League of Arab States?
Dude, we are going round-and-round again, already answered that 2 posts ago, go back and check the definition of UN Observer, I can't do everything for you.
 

huanghong

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Dude, we are going round-and-round again, already answered that 2 posts ago, go back and check the definition of UN Observer, I can't do everything for you.
This is just a clear question, does the decision as the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the League of Arab States represent the United Nations? Because you seem to keep saying, the PCA is a UN observer, so his decisions are the UN's.

Dude, we are going round-and-round again, already answered that 2 posts ago, go back and check the definition of UN Observer, I can't do everything for you.
Can this paragraph be applied to the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the League of Arab States represent the United Nations?

UN General Assembly Observer is a non-member international organisation recognized by UNGA, all the work laid within the framework of UNGA, except with the power to vote. Member state (as in UN Member) are bounded by the same right to observer than other member states.

So in effect, you are talking about PCA being observed by all UNGA Member, and itself resolve issue for all UNGA member, so for all intent and purpose, how is it not a UN agency? Because UN did not pay for the operation??
 

jhungary

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This is just a clear question, does the decision as the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the League of Arab States represent the United Nations? Because you seem to keep saying, the PCA is a UN observer, so his decisions are the UN's.
I never said PCA decision is UN, i said PCA decision, as a UN Observer, have to be respected and observed by all UNGA Member.

Dude, please don't go round and round again, be precise and clear and look up previous post before you comment. I am not going to go around and spend my next 2 hours typing the same thing over and over again.
 

huanghong

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I never said PCA decision is UN, i said PCA decision, as a UN Observer, have to be respected and observed by all UNGA Member.

Dude, please don't go round and round again, be precise and clear and look up previous post before you comment. I am not going to go around and spend my next 2 hours typing the same thing over and over again.
So, what I want to ask is can this paragraph apply to the OIC, the League of Arab States on behalf of the United Nations? I said that the decisions of the OIC, the League of Arab States, as UN observers, must be respected and followed by all members of the UN General Assembly. Do you agree?
 

jhungary

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So, what I want to ask is can this paragraph apply to the OIC, the League of Arab States on behalf of the United Nations? I said that the decisions of the OIC, the League of Arab States, as UN observers, must be respected and followed by all members of the UN General Assembly. Do you agree?
Well, consider this. Interpol is a UN observer too, not an UN "Agency", so when China asks Interpol to issue a Red notice, should the US say "Hey this is not on behalf of United Nation, screw you Chinese Red Notice"?

So no, I don't agree.
 

huanghong

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Well, consider this. Interpol is a UN observer too, not an UN "Agency", so when China asks Interpol to issue a Red notice, should the US say "Hey this is not on behalf of United Nation, screw you Chinese Red Notice"?

So no, I don't agree.
So why do you have such a double-standard decision?
Apparently it's not your basis whether it's an observer or not
 

huanghong

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Oh my god.......ARE YOU FOR REAL??

How is it double standard?
To be honest, your arguments keep changing? Can you clarify first
Is PCA an UN Agency?
At the beginning you said
Actually, it's not Hague Tribunal that judge against the Chinese in the issue of South China Sea, it's Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), PCA is a part of International Court of Justice (an UN Organisation), in fact, PCA is located at the same building ICJ is in.

So yes, it was an UN Agency that made the South China Sea review in favor of Philippine


Then you said you didn't say it ?
I never said PCA decision is UN, i said PCA decision, as a UN Observer, have to be respected and observed by all UNGA Member.

Dude, please don't go round and round again, be precise and clear and look up previous post before you comment. I am not going to go around and spend my next 2 hours typing the same thing over and over again.
 

jhungary

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To be honest, your arguments keep changing? Can you clarify first
Is PCA an UN Agency?
At the beginning you said
Actually, it's not Hague Tribunal that judge against the Chinese in the issue of South China Sea, it's Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), PCA is a part of International Court of Justice (an UN Organisation), in fact, PCA is located at the same building ICJ is in.

So yes, it was an UN Agency that made the South China Sea review in favor of Philippine


Then you said you didn't say it ?
I never said PCA decision is UN, i said PCA decision, as a UN Observer, have to be respected and observed by all UNGA Member.

Dude, please don't go round and round again, be precise and clear and look up previous post before you comment. I am not going to go around and spend my next 2 hours typing the same thing over and over again.
I will have to disengage as I don't like to keep typing the same thing over and over again.

All the answer to this question has been stated in previous post. I am not going to retype it every time you ask it. Go read about the 6 post I wrote, and if you are too lazy to do that, that ain't my problem.

Dude, you are the one that go on tangent on the issue, first you ask me why I think PCA is UN affiliated, then after I said they are UN Observer, you say "Banks, and Well-known University" were invited by UNGA (Which is not true as stated in my post, which also mean you did not do any research). Then you ask about UN decision and then Arab league (I don't know why you ask that to be honest).


I had tried to accommodate you the best I can, but I do have a limited, I don't like to play ring around the rosy with someone and keep typing the same stuff over and over again all day. So, I am going to disengage, do not need to reply to me, and if you do, I will ignore it. Thank You
 

huanghong

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I will have to disengage as I don't like to keep typing the same thing over and over again.

All the answer to this question has been stated in previous post. I am not going to retype it every time you ask it. Go read about the 6 post I wrote, and if you are too lazy to do that, that ain't my problem.

Dude, you are the one that go on tangent on the issue, first you ask me why I think PCA is UN affiliated, then after I said they are UN Observer, you say "Banks, and Well-known University" were invited by UNGA (Which is not true as stated in my post, which also mean you did not do any research). Then you ask about UN decision and then Arab league (I don't know why you ask that to be honest).


I had tried to accommodate you the best I can, but I do have a limited, I don't like to play ring around the rosy with someone and keep typing the same stuff over and over again all day. So, I am going to disengage, do not need to reply to me, and if you do, I will ignore it. Thank You
You see that you have written so much later, but you still did not answer me clearly until the end. What you said
So yes, it was an UN Agency that made the South China Sea review in favor of Philippine at the beginning.
Is it a rumor or true
It was you who told me that a UN agency made the verdict, and then when you found out that it was a UN observer, you kept talking about it, and you didn't even have the courage to answer whether the PCA was a UN agency or not.
 
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