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The US military base, Diego Garcia, a part of the Chagos Archipelago, was "excised" from the country of Mauritius when it achieved its independence from the UK in 1968. Diego was then leased to the US. To build the base 4500 people were forcibly removed from the Chagos and moved to the island of Mauritius, 1200 miles to the southeast. UN resolutions demanding the reuniting of the Chagos and Mauritius have been stymied by the US and UK. With the key strategic role played by Diego in US military activities in the Middle East and South Asia it is time that the US anti war movement became aware of the history of Diego Garcia and take action to support the inhabitants of Diego in receiving justice. Implicit in all the court cases is a call for the closing of the military bases and implementing regional resolutions calling for a nuclear free Indian Ocean. If you are interested in supporting this fight please contact Robert Irminger at [email protected]
Diego Garcia is one of the largest US naval military bases outside the U.S. It is playing a key strategic role in the invasion plan of Iraq. While Qatar is the de facto headquarters for US forces in the war with Iraq, a large number of high altitude bombers are stationed at Diego Garcia including B-2 stealth bombers, B-52s. A large contingent of naval power is also stationed at Diego Garcia.
In an important case for reparations and compensation for their forcible eviction from their islands, inhabitants of Diego Garcia and Chagos are suing the US Government, as well as notorious individuals like Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Robert McNamara, and US companies for their responsibility in genocide, torture and knowingly inflicting degrading treatment on people. And the suffering continues, so that the present under-Secretary for Political and Military Affairs, Eric Newsome, is being sued for refusing to let Chagos people return, even after the UK Court Judgement in November, 2000.
Each of the 4,500 Chagos inhabitants is suing for two million dollars. The case, lodged in December, 2001, has already come before Judge Ricardo Urbina in the federal courts in Washington DC. The case shows us, in clear focus, how the "industrial-military-State complex" works in the USA, and how peoples’ profit-making jobs are inter-connected with their roles as politicians, as Secretary of State or Under Secretary of State.
Dick Cheney, present Vice President of the USA, is sued for a double responsibility: he was both part of the US administration in the early 1970s and also the General Manager of Halliburton, as well as now being Vice-President. He is being sued for "guilty knowledge" of all the facts.
Lawrence Eagleburger is also being sued for a similar double responsibility in the multinational profit-making business, on the board of Halliburton, and in the State apparatus, as Under Secretary of State. Directly in the firing line, and with a double role, is a woman called Anne Armstrong. She was the US ambassador to the UK and signed some of the deal, herself. She has also been part of the Halliburton management team. She is being sued for her role in the suffering of these 4,500 people.
Donald Rumsfeld, George W. Bush’s right hand man in warmongering right now, is being sued for his orchestration of the depopulation at the time, and for his role in knowingly breaking up families.
The ex-Secretary for Defense, Robert McNamara, ex-Secretary for Defence 1961-1968, in his role as supreme Commander of the US Forces, is being sued because he knowingly and against payment by the UK to Britain, inflicted the painful treatment on the people of Chagos. He committed these acts during the illegal US barter of Polaris missiles for UK-"owned" uninhabited islands.
His two successors under Nixon and then Ford, were Melvin R. Laird and James Schlesinger who are both being sued for their implication in the deportations. Other military men, Admiral James S. Holloway, and George T. Churchill are also being sued, together with other Secretaries of State.
The notorious company Arthur Anderson is being sued through its agent, De Chazal du Mee. This company is thus under attack for fraud and also for its past human rights abuses. The reign of companies is reaching a ludicrous summit when a company like De Chazal du Mee runs a university and is being sued for serious human rights abuses at the same time. Similarly, in the Chagos inhabitants’ "plaint", they draw attention to the fact that Halliburton have themselves been running a campaign against human rights abuses in Myanmar, when they stand accused of perpetrating them in Chagos and Diego Garcia.
The plaintiffs in the case are Olivier Bancoult, Marie Isabelle France-Charlot, Therese Mein, the Chagos Refugees Group, and the Seychelles Comite Social Chagossien.
Ragini Kistnasamy and Lindsey Collen are members of Lalit, Republic of Mauritius). Copyright Ragini Kistnasamy and Lindsey Collen, 2003. For fair use only/ pour usage équitable seulement .