Diego Garcia: The US Island of Shame
The May 28 issue of The New York Review of Books has an outstanding review by Jonathan Freedland of an important new book that reveals a disgraceful but relatively unknown episode in the history of U.S. imperialism: David Vine's Island of Shame: The Secret History of the US Military Base on Diego Garcia. Diego Garcia is a British-claimed island in the Indian Ocean on which the U.S. established a military base during the Cold War. So secret that no journalist has been allowed to visit, the base has become a key staging post in the War on Terror, both for the launch of bombers and for the CIA's illicit"rendition" of suspected terrorists. In the process of creating the base, the British and U.S. governments cooperated in lying about the island's lack of permanent inhabitants while forcibly expelling all 2000 residents. Beginning in 1971, U.S. soldiers armed with M16s went through shooting all the islanders' pet dogs. Eventually, the islanders' were crammed into cargo ships and dumped more than a thousand miles away in Mauritius or the Seychelles with no homes and absolutely no compensation. See also the exchange from letters about the review in a subsequent issue.