Town Square

Stealing a Nation

Original post made by Jag Singh, Los Altos, on Nov 13, 2007

Early last month, Avenidas (Palo Alto Senior Center) hosted a documentary, ‘Stealing a Nation’, made by the renowned film maker, John Pilger. This is one of the most shocking tales of the British and the US government’s connivance to expel the most vulnerable islanders of Diego Garcia from their homeland. Diego Garcia was an idyllic paradise situated in the Indian Ocean inhabited by 2000 people whose roots date back many generations. In the late 1960s, the government of British Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, entered into a secret agreement with the United States to purge all the inhabitants and hand over the island to the United States – in complete violation of the United Nations Charter. What followed, according to Pilger (drawing from official documents), was a brutal effort to terrorize the population into submission. First they were starved of essential food supplies, then threatened with being bombed and finally witnessed their beloved pets being gassed to death. Many committed suicide and the remaining population were herded at gunpoint onto boats like cattle and dumped in the slums of Mauitius where many died of utter depression. Currently, Diego Garcia is the largest US military base in the world and is suspected of being a rendition site for ‘enhanced interrogation’ of detainees. In 2000, the highest British Court issued a judgment declaring a grave injustice had been done to Chagossians but this was overturned by a decree of the British Crown.


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Posted by GMC
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 13, 2007 at 4:44 pm

That is really unfortunate. I blame the British mostly. Diego Garcia is really important strategically now, though, and I doubt those people would really want to live there with all those flight ops going on all the time.

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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 13, 2007 at 6:28 pm

All governments reserve the right to condemn private property for essential government function, and defense is one such.
These people were compensated and relocated. Had the United Kingdom not posessed the island, I can assure you the Islamists would have and the people would not have retained their "idylic" existence.

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Posted by disgusted
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 14, 2007 at 5:10 pm

What Mr. Singh proposes as reality is so completely hyperbolic, that I fail to even begin to want to try to research it. It is blatant propoganda, and causes me to believe that exactly the opposite occured.

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Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 14, 2007 at 6:44 pm

Diego Garcia, discovered by the Portugese, was unihabited. The islands remained uninhabited until the 18th century when the French established copra plantations with the help of slave labor. Diego Garcia became a possession of the United Kingdom after the Napoleonic wars, and from 1814 to 1965, it was a dependency of Mauritius.

For a brief review see:

Web Link

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Posted by spin, spin, spin
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 14, 2007 at 8:02 pm

Furthermore it was privately owned, and BOUGHT, with the tenants thus having to move to make room for the new owners.

Like when your house is sold that you are renting. Yes, many of the people were there a long time, and it was very sad that they had to move, but the reality is that when you are not on your own land, you are at the mercy of whoever owns the land.