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UK Chagos Islands e-petition for Diego Garcia

 
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2007 11:23 pm    Post subject: UK Chagos Islands e-petition for Diego Garcia Reply with quote

COME ON GUYS & GALS! They need 200 signatures, and have 174. Please sign straight away (Remember Diego Garcia's place in the NWO's War on Iraq, secret detentions, 'War on Terror' (sic).


URGENT ACTION NEEDED. Chagossians (Diego Garcia) need your e-signature PRONTO!!!

Please support the islanders exiled from British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT). The Chagossians' search for justice will be delayed if the FCO decides by 6 November to go ahead with a fourth attempt in the courts to deny them their right of return. There are three ways you can help:

FIRST - Sign the petition on the number 10 website at http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/chagosappeal/
You have to be a British citizen to sign We need 200 signatures to force a government response. Every signature counts

SECOND - forward this to friends and email groups in the UK and overseas (if UK citizens)

THIRD - urge your media contacts to give publicity to a letter from a group of UK MPs, MEPs and members of the House of Lords which should appear in a UK daily paper on 2 November. Once published, the final text will be on the website of the UK Chagos Support Association (www.chagossupport.org.uk - which also has a great deal of background on the way the UK government has treated the Chagossians). The draft text is at the bottom of the enclosed document which shows that the Prime Minister's fine words in his recent speech "On Liberty" ring hollow when compared with the treatment over the years of the Chagossians. Some publicity might be linked to the current enquiry by the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC) into the FCO and the overseas territories.

Chagossians deserve support. To see their faces, go to an excellent site for photos of the exiled Chagossian community in Mauritius by the photographer Phuc Quach at: http://www.phucquach.co.uk

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2016 6:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BRITAIN AND THE EMPIRE: Falklands and Chagos – A Tale of Two Islands
http://www.globalresearch.ca/britain-and-the-empire-falklands-and-chag os-a-tale-of-two-islands/29884

By Peter Presland - Global Research, March 21, 2012

BRITAIN AND THE EMPIRE: Falklands and Chagos - A Tale of Two Islands
April 2012 marks the 30th anniversary of the 72 day undeclared war between the UK and Argentina over the Falkland (Malvinas) Islands in the South Atlantic 1. 2012 also marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the US military base on Diego Garcia 2, the largest island of the British Indian Ocean Territories comprising the Chagos Archipelago.

At the time of each event, the islands had settled populations of British subjects numbering around 2,000 each. A Comparison of the treatment of these people and their roles in the respective UK official narratives of events, is the subject of this article. It is an object lesson in the essentially Machiavellian nature of Power in general and of the British State in particular.

Sovereignty and Settlement of the Falkland Islands

The Islands lie about 250 nautical miles off the East coast of Argentina and some 7,000 nautical miles from London. The UK claim to sovereignty dates from 1833 following settlement by small groups of British Nationals. At various earlier and concurrent times there have been French, Spanish and Argentine settlements on the islands. Argentina’s sovereignty claim is based on inherited and well documented earlier claims by Spain prior to Argentine independence in 1816 and has been continuously maintained ever since.

Sovereignty and Settlement of the Chagos Islands



Chagossian school children in the early 1960′s

Diego Garcia is the largest island of the Chagos Archipelago situated about 5,000 nautical miles from London in the Indian Ocean. Until 1966 the archepelago was part of the self-governing British colony of Mauritius, when it was purchased for the princely sum of £3 million as part of the Mauritian independence settlement. The terms of the purchase allow for return to Mauritian sovereignty ‘when the islands are no longer needed for defence purposes’ 3

As with the Falklands, there are many documented sightings by Western navigators (notably Spanish and Portuguese) dating back to the 1500′s, together with various transient settlements as early as the late 18th century. Diego Garcia became a British colony following the Napoleonic wars, as part of the treaty of Paris in 1814. The 1960′s population have well evidenced claims to continuous settlement dating back to at least the mid-nineteenth century (ie almost exactly the same time span as the Falkland Islanders), most notably – and convincingly – from inscriptions on their aging ancestral tombstones 4

The Falklands War

The Falklands war proper began on 2 April 1982 when the Argentine military of Dictator General Leopoldo Galtieri invaded the islands. There were no civilian casualties resulting from the invasion itself, and no allegations of mistreatment by the civilian population. It was effectively ended by the surrender of the Argentine garrison commander, General Mario Menendez, on 14 June. The war cost the lives of 655 Argentines, 255 UK military/support personel and 3 Falkland Island women civilians (killed by Britsh forces shelling during the battle for the capital Port Stanley) 5,6. Additionally, in 2002 the South Atlantic Medal Association estimated the number of Falklands veteran suicides since 1982 to exceed the total number of UK deaths during the conflict itself 7; the figures for Argentine veterans are no doubt similar in scale. Non-fatal physical casualties numbered around 1,060 and the total cost to the UK exchequer is estimated at around £1.5 billion. 8

British justifications for the war



British Royal Marines in Port Stanley following the Argentine surrender

At the time of the Argentine invasion most people in the UK had never heard of the Falkland Islands, let alone knew their location or anything about their population. Even John Nott, the then UK Defence Secretary, confessed to consulting his office globe to remind him of their location. 9. However, running counter to their obscurity and the acknowledged marginal viability of their economy (at the time based principally on the export of high quality wool and sheepskin), was emerging evidence of oil deposits around the islands. There was also the question of potential future Antarctic claims which would be enhanced by sovereignty over adjacent territory. But perhaps the strongest factor of all in the decision to launch a military campaign to retake the islands, was the outrage of deeply conservative Foreign Office Mandarins. Steeped in the Imperial hubris of an empire so recently lost, the apoplexy it must have generated in the smoking rooms of Whites, the Travellers and Reform Clubs, is a given; that an uppity South American Dictatorship should dare to challenge the rule of Her Imperial Britannic Majesty was unbelievable and simply could not be allowed to stand. The instinct of Margaret Thatcher – the extreme right-wing prime minister of the day who was in dire need of a populist cause to bolster her collapsing poll ratings – was to provide the necessary political cover. A compliant mainstream media quickly translated all this into a frenzy of patriotic outrage over the fate of a plucky, loyal island people and the stage was set for the carnage to follow.

That narrative – of a plucky island people threatened and trampled upon by a wicked Argentinian dictatorship and deserving of unconditional UK support – remains the public face of UK policy to this day. The policy states “the UK recognises and encourages the Islanders’ right to self determination, including their right to remain British if that is their wish.” 10 It is a narrative that is readily accepted and supported by a well-meaning but infinitely gullible majority in the UK itself but, as illustrated so vividly by the events described below, is denied outright to similarly qualified British Subjects elsewhere should they be an obstacle to impererial interests.

The eviction of the Chagossians

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. 11

At the height of the Cold War the search was on for a US military base location capable of facilitating control of the main Indian Ocean shipping lanes and the approaches to the Persian and Arabian Gulfs. In 1961, by arrangement with the UK Foreign Office, this search brought Rear Admiral Grantham of the US Navy to Diego Garcia to survey its suitability. The visit was the precursor to a series of highly secret, jointly planned events and agreements that would, by 1973, see the entire indigenous population of the Islands dispossessed and forcibly deported to Mauritius over 1,000 miles away. John Pilger described the attitude of British officialdom throughout the period as one of “imperious brutality and contempt” for the Chagossians, a description amply evidenced in his award winning 2004 documentary “Stealing a Nation” 12] and in official documents subsequently released by the UK and US governments.

Terms for a US lease on the prospective military base area were negotiated and agreed at $1 per year. They required the islands to be ‘swept and sanitised’ so as to be handed over uninhabited. In return, the UK was to receive continued support for its so-called ‘independent nuclear deterrent’ and a £14 million discount on the supply of its submarine launched Polaris ICBM system. As part of its 1968 UN mandated independence demands and in ignorance of the US/UK negotiations, Mauritius agreed to sell the archipelago to the UK and it became the new ‘British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT). The deal was thus completed and the torment of the Chagossians began. From then onward, the Islanders were subject to what amounted to officially sanctioned psychological warfare. Among the many pressures brought to bear on a hapless population, a few stand out in their utter callousness:

On orders from the then Governor Sir Bruce Greatbatch, the Islanders were required to deliver their pet dogs (some 1,500 in total) to a large building with no explanation of the reason. Once delivered they were sealed in and gassed with the exhaust fumes from two US military jeeps and under the supervision of American and British officers.
Anyone who embarked on a visit to Mauritius for medical treatment or other necessity was forcibly barred from returning.
The regular supply ship bringing post, fresh milk, dairy products, sugar, salt, oil, medications and other basic supplies was barred from docking at the islands.
By 1973 only some 250 of the indigenous population remained. Allowed to take just one suitcase each, they were forcibly embarked into the holds of the SS Nordvaer, on top of a cargo of bird fertiliser (the decks being reserved for horses) and transported to the Seychelles where they were held in prison cells before being transported to Mauritius. There, in similar fashion to the relatives, friends and fellow Chagossians who had preceded them, they were dumped penniless on the quayside. The Mauritian authorities were later paid £650,000 to compensate for the assistance required of them.

British justifications for the evictions

There were no public attempts at justification by the British until the episode became more widely known through legal disclosure of documents during litigation by the Chagossians and following routine release of classified government papers around the turn of the century. There was no need since the entire project had, by design, been carried out with the utmost secrecy and deceit.

The papers amply confirm the conspiratorial nature of the entire project to hide the true nature of the islands population. They also illustrate Jon Pilger’s characterisation of its architects as imperious, brutal and contemptuous of the people whose lives they so casually destroyed.

In chapert 16 of his his book “Web of deceit’, Historian Mark Curtiss says:

The reality that was being concealed was clearly understood. A secret document signed by Michael Stewart [Foreign Secretary] in 1968, said: “By any stretch of the English language, there was an indigenous population, and the Foreign Office knew it.” A Foreign Office minute from 1965 recognises policy as “to certify [the Chagossians], more or less fraudulently, as belonging somewhere else”. Another Whitehall document was entitled: “Maintaining the Fiction”. The Foreign Office legal adviser wrote in January 1970 that it was important “to maintain the fiction that the inhabitants of Chagos are not a permanent or semi-permanent population”. [13]

Here are a few more examples:

Memo dated 1965 from Sir Bruce Greatbatch, Governor of the Islands, to the Foreign Office in the context of the US having made depopulation of the Islands “virually a condition of the agreement”: “These people have little aptitude for anything other than growing coconuts…. they are unsophisticated and untrainable,” 14
Memo dated 1965. “There IS a civilian population. In practice however, I would advise a policy of ‘quiet disregard’. In other words, lets forget about this one until the UN challenges us on it. 15
Memo dated August 1966 from Sir Paul Gore Booth to diplomat Dennis Greenhill apropos the implications of the purchase of the archipelago from Mauritius: “We must surely be very tough about this. The object of the exercise was to get some rocks which will remain ours… There will be no indigenous population except seagulls who have not yet got a committee (the Status of Women Committee does not cover the rights of birds)…..The United States Government will require the removal of the entire population of the atoll by July.” 16
At the bottom of the item 3 memo there is a handwritten note by Dennis Greenhill, later Baron Greenhill of Harrow: “Unfortunately, along with the birds go some few Tarzans or Men Fridays whose origins are obscure and who are hopefully being wished on to Mauritius etc. When this has been done I agree we must be very tough and a submission is being done accordingly.’”. 17
Throughout, there are indications of unease and misgivings about the project, but clearly not out of any concern for the unfortunate population, rather for fear that they might be found out.

Recent developments



Sir Rex Hunt and Margaret Thatcher, respectiverly Falklands Governor and UK Prime Minister at the time of the war, show commerative coins on the 25 Anniversary

Falklands

At the time of writing a number of recent events are contributing to a forceful reassertion of Argentina’s sovereignty claim. Most notably the granting of exploration licences to various oil companies. Questioned in Washington on 14 March 2012 during his US visit, prime minister David Cameron revealed that he had discussed the escalation with President Obama. He went on to say

“To me it is very important that we stick up for the right of self-determination. People in the Falkland Islands want to continue with their British status…. and what I want to do is send a very clear message …. that while the Falkland Islanders want that status, Britain will let them keep that status” 18

Compare and contrast what Mr Cameron might be required to say were he questioned similarly about the Chagossians.

Diego Garcia

UK Court proceeding initiated by the Chagossians since 2000 are labyrinthine in their complexity and, in spite of notable judgements asserting, at minimum, a qualified right of return, successive British governments have continued with determined and thoroughly deceptive stratagems to prevent ANY return.

For a thorough description of the entire saga and the legal position up to and including the summer of 2006, see the High Court Judgement dated 11 May 2006 [19] which unamiguously affirms their full right of return with a memorable description of the eviction as “…illegal, repugnant and a breach of accepted moral standards” . The judgement is also notable for the comparisons it draws with the case of the Falkland Islands.

The two principle UK government stratagems employed since 2000 are:



A group of Chagossians on a supervised visit to their former home in 2004

Commissioning a feasibility study on resettlement which controversially provided precisely the conclusions the government wanted and which it used in 2004 as the basis of an ‘Order in Council’ (an arcane procedure to by-pass both the Courts and Parliament) to overturn a 2000 judgement giving a qualified right of return – ie excluding Diego Garcia.
Declaration of a Marine Preservation Area (MPA) effective from 1 April 2010 which effectively excludes the possibility of return on viability and pollution grounds. There are over 200 scientific papers cited in the bibliography of the Chagos Conservation Trust and used to justify the MPA. Not a single one addresses the impacts of ANY of the following 20:
the massive jet fuel spills (totalling more than 1.3 million gallons) at the US military base on Diego Garcia in 1984, 1991, 1997 and 1998
the 31% observed increase in alien plant species unintentionally introduced in Diego Garcia since 1988 as a result of US military construction and naval operations, including Leucaena leucocephala (listed by IUCN among the top 100 worst invasive species of the world)
radiation leakages in the Diego Garcia lagoon from US nuclear-powered naval vessels and submarines regularly transiting or permanently stationed there since 1979, and from the transit of 550 tonnes of low-grade uranium in the lagoon in 2008
harm to marine mammals caused by the US Navy’s continued low-to-medium frequency sonar used for submarine monitoring and long-distance underwater sound propagation programmes at its Diego Garcia Ocean Surveillance Station since 1974 (the Chagos Archipelago is part of the International Whaling Commission’s Indian Ocean Sanctuary)
As the study cited at 2 above further notes:

The Diego Garcia lagoon (which is part of Britain’s Ramsar Convention site No 1077/2UK001) must be the world’s only internationally registered nature reserve that also serves as habitat to nuclear submarines, ordnance supply vessels [and a host of other seriously polluting activities - Ed].

In reality the designation can be seen as a cynical flanking move designed to put further obstacles in the way of any possible return by the Chagossians.

A couple of anecdotes

The following anecdotes from 2006 illustrate that imperial arrogance and subliminal racism are alive and well in early 21st Century Servants of the Crown. It is an attitude that, whilst not the root cause of the grossly disparate treatment of Falkland Islanders and Chagossians (see conclusions below), is undoubtedly a significant enabler of it.

Compare and contrast this quote from the sworn affidavit of Chagossian Jaques Gervais Florian

I was on the crew of the Mauritius vessel Le Gentilly which left Mauritius for a [properly licenced ed] fishing campaign on 5 June 2001. The vessel reached the Chagos waters on or about 10 June 2001 and we began fishing on 12 June 2001.
On the same day, we were near the Chagos island called Six Islands. A group of us, all native Chagossians, decided to step on the island to get some coconuts. The group included Pierre Willy Jaffa, Vitalingum Soopramanien, Roselin Permal, France Louis, Felix Flore, Luc Azie. We had been on the island about ten minutes when we saw a ship, the Pacific Marlin, rushing towards us. The officer on board, Glen Quelch, approached us and ordered us off the island immediately. He spoke in a threatening and condescending manner causing us all to feel belittled. We politely informed Mr. Quelch that we were all Chagossian and had been allowed by the High Court of London to be on the Chagos islands. He replied that the judgement was not binding on him and that he was the one to decide whether we could be on the island or not. He then stated that he had decided that if we did not leave the island in three minutes, we would be prosecuted and liable to pay a fine of £200,000. [21]

With these accounts of yachting holidays in the Chagos by….. well you be the judge of the category they belong to:

This from Eric Toyer and Lynn Sands of the Yacht Amarula
“It is easy to see why this remote region is such a magnet for visiting yachts with its stunning islands and clear water, offering fantastic diving, snorkelling, fishing and a totally relaxing Robinson Crusoe style existence…..
The only form of bureaucracy here being the British patrol ship which visits every couple of weeks to collect an $80 fee (which allows up to 3 months stay) from each yacht and to take away the rubbish.” [The Royal Navy as your personal garbage collector eh? - nice Ed]

And this from Al and Beth Liggett:
“Grand Finale. The BIOT officials and the crew of the Pacific Marlin, the Fisheries Patrol boat, threw a big party aboard the ship for all the yachties….. The following night we did turn about and hosted the Pacific Marlin crew and BIOT guys ashore for a pot luck. A couple of the fellows went fishing that day and got some nice wahoo, dorado and yellowfin tuna. We offered fresh sashimi, freshly smoked fish and the good old standby: bar-b-que fish fillets.” 22

Says it all really.

Conclusions



Aerial view of ‘Camp Justice’

The startling comparisons of this article encapsulate a central – but carefully hidden – tenet of the ‘British Imperial Project’ through both its nineteenth century rise and its twentieth century decline. Its rise is the story of vast geopolitical ambition which generated, refined and consolidated a complex and ruthless structure of powerful wealthy interests controlling all domestic institutions that mattered. Its decline is the story of that same power structure, fighting a rearguard action of self-preservation involving a complex alliance and integration with the USA on geopolitical/military matters (in a sort of ‘UK Consiglieri to US Capofamiglia’ relationship [23] ), together with continued pursuit of exactly the same geopolitical objectives. Throughout this period of relative national decline, the ‘British Imperial Project’ has gradually morphed into the ‘Anglo-American Imperial Project’ – and more recently into the ‘Anglo-American-NATO Imperial Project’

The central tenet in question is that, in the prosecution of imperial geo-policy, humanitarian considerations per se are utterly irrelevant, except in so far as the people involved may represent either an exploitable asset or a disposable liability – ie pure Machiavelli. The Falklands population have the good fortune to be in the former category and the Chagossians the misfortune to be in the latter. It really is that simple.

In a final ‘coup de grace’ insult to the Chagossians, as the last of them were forcibly removed from their homeland, the giant American military base that was to take over their homeland and replace them was officially named “Camp Justice”.

References

↑ The Falklands War – Wikipedia article accessed March 2012
↑ Diago Garcia – Wikipedia article accessed March 2012
↑ Mongabay.com – Mauritius History
↑ 42 Flags Over Diego Garcia – Zianet.com March 2012
↑ UK regret over Falklands dead – BBC 1 April 2007
↑ Are you enjoying the day? – Memorial site accessed March 2012]
↑ Falkland veterans claim suicide toll – BBC 13 January 2002
↑ Aftermath of the Falklands War – Wikipedia
↑ The Falkland Islands – a background – History learning site. March 2012
↑ South America and South Atlantic Islands – UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office web site. March 2012
↑ Diego Garcia: Paradise Cleansed – John Pilger. Guardian 2 October 2004
↑ Stealing a Nation – 2004 John Pilger documentary
↑ ISBN 0099448394 – Web of Deceit by Mark Curtis. Vintage 2003
↑ Diego Garcia: Paradise Cleansed – John Pilger. Antiwar.com 4 October 2004
↑ British officials discuss population problem on Diego Garcia – History Commons accessed March 2012
↑ US Has Made Depopulation of Chagos Islands ‘Virtually a Condition’’ – History Commons accessed March 2012
↑ High court decision in favour of the Chagossians – 11 May 2006
↑ Argentina Takes Aim At Falklands Oil Firms – Sky News 15 March 2012
↑ High court decision in favour of the Chagossians – 11 May 2006
↑ Diego Garcia Legal Black Hole – Peter H Sand. Journal of Environmental Law
↑ Jaques Florian affidavit – sworn before the Mauritius High Court 9 January 2002
↑ Yachting in the Chagos Islands – ‘Simply Appalling’ 24 May 2006
↑ Consiglieri and Capofamiglia – Wikipedia article
Retrieved from “https://wikispooks.com/wiki/Falklands_and_Chagos_-_A_Tale_of_Two_Isla nds“

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2016 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

End This British Atrocity:
https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2016/03/end-this-british-atroc ity/

'One of the worst atrocities of the British Empire occurred well within my own lifetime – the removal of an entire people, the Chagossians, from their homeland. Uprooted and deposited across the seas hundreds of miles away, many died from the physical and psychological effects of this crime against humanity. The thing is, it is still happening. The survivors have clung together as a community, and the British government are still actively preventing their return to their homeland – all to make way for an American military base on Diego Garcia. There is no reason other than simple Imperialism for America to maintain a military base in the middle of the Indian Ocean.

Probably the most breathtaking piece of hypocrisy in modern history was when New Labour proudly announced that they had demarcated the waters around the Chagos Islands as the world’s first total marine conservation area – purely so they could make it impossible for the fishing based island community ever to return.

It is of course another example of the unparalleled talent for hypocrisy of the British state that the same politicians who declare their willingness to fight and die for the right of self-determination of the Falkland Islanders, will defend the deportation of the Chagos Islanders and their continued exclusion from their own islands. Again I would stress that Labour have been at least as guilty as Tories. The entire British state is complicit in this atrocity.

I would urge everybody who reads this immediately to use this link to send a message to your MP. I should welcome feedback through the comments section on any responses received.
Link http://chagos.good.do/return/emailyourmpaboutchagossianreturn/

Type the name of your street into the box, and it should come up with your MP, click then fill in your full details in


Stealing A Nation – John Pilger – Documentary:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEhVNzHI4rQ

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'And he (the devil) said to him: To thee will I give all this power, and the glory of them; for to me they are delivered, and to whom I will, I give them'. Luke IV 5-7.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2016 12:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Americans similarly removed the people of Bikini Atoll so they could test atomic bombs on it:
'

Bikini A-Bomb Tests July 1946

Underwater Atomic Blast Contaminated Test Ships Making Them “Radioactive Stoves”

Declassified Documents, Films and Photographs Depict Tests "Able" and “Baker” and Removal of Bikinians

National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 555

View the posting

Washington, D.C., July 22, 2016 - U.S. atomic tests in Bikini Atoll in July 1946 staged by a joint Army-Navy task force were the first atomic explosions since the bombings of Japan a year earlier. Documents posted today by the National Security Archive about “Operation Crossroads” shed light on these events as do galleries of declassified videos and photographs. Of two tests staged to determine the effects of the new weapons on warships, the “Baker” test was the most dangerous by contaminating nearby test ships with radioactive mist. According to the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s Evaluation Board, because of the radioactive water spewed from the lagoon, the “contaminated ships became radioactive stoves, and would have burned all living things aboard with invisible and painless but deadly radiation.”

The Baker test caused a radiological crisis because task force personnel were assigned to do salvage work on contaminated test ships. Stafford Warren, the task force’s radiation safety adviser, warned task force chief Admiral William Blandy of the danger of these activities: the “ships were “extensively contaminated with dangerous amounts of radioactivity.” It was not possible to achieve “quick decontamination without exposing personnel seriously to radiation.” These warnings eventually led Blandy to halt decontamination activities although only after many military and civilian personnel had been exposed to radioactive substances.

Observers from the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission, including two from the Soviet Union, viewed the Crossroads tests from a safe distance. Recently declassified documents shed light on the emerging Cold War atmosphere; one of the observers, Simon Peter Alexandrov, who was in charge of uranium for the Soviet nuclear project, told a U.S. scientist that the purpose of the Bikini test was “to frighten the Soviets,” but they were “not afraid,” and that the Soviet Union had “wonderful planes” which could easily bomb U.S. cities.

The U.S. Navy’s early March 1946 removal of 167 Pacific islanders from Bikini, their ancestral home, so that the Navy and the Army could prepare for the tests, is also documented with film footage. The Bikinians received the impression that the relocation would be temporary, but subsequent nuclear testing in the atoll rendered the islands virtually uninhabitable.'

Check out today's posting at the National Security Archive

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 28, 2017 9:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

...and still this problem chugs on.

https://www.theguardian.com/law/2015/jun/22/chagos-islanders-supreme-c ourt-house-lords-decision

Quote:
Chagos islanders ask supreme court to overturn House of Lords decision
Group say forcible removal from British Indian Ocean homes was made partly on basis of feasibility study which was never presented to original hearing
Louis Olivier Bancoult, leader of the Chagos Refugee Group, arrives at the supreme court in London
Louis Olivier Bancoult, leader of the Chagos Refugee Group, arrives at the supreme court in London for Monday’s hearing. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA
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Owen Bowcott Legal affairs correspondent
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Monday 22 June 2015 17.49 BST Last modified on Tuesday 23 June 2015 00.14 BST
Chagos islanders, forcibly removed from their homes in 1971, have gone to Britain’s highest court to argue that failure to disclose a key Foreign Office document has prevented their return.

In an unusual legal move, lawyers for Louis Oliver Bancoult, the leader of the Chagos Refugee Group, are trying to persuade the supreme court to overturn a previous judgment by the House of Lords.

In 2004, the Chagossians’ right of abode on the British Indian Ocean Territory was removed partially on the basis of a feasibility study, examining how they could be settled, which was never presented to the original hearing.

About 1,500 islanders had been removed to make way for the US base on Diego Garcia, the largest island, in 1971. Under a deal, kept secret at the time, the United States agreed to contribute to the costs of establishing the bases and waive the UK’s payments for joint missile development programmes.


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Arriving at the supreme court in Westminster on Monday, Bancoult said: “I’m very hopeful. We will continue appealing for the right for our people to go back home. Most of the people want to return.” A large Chagossian community has settled in Crawley, Sussex; many were in court to watch the latest legal development.

Edward Fitzgerald QC, for Bancoult, told the court that the House of Lords’ decision in 2008 had “removed one of the most fundamental liberties known to human beings: the right of return to their homes, however poor the conditions might be”.

Had the feasibility study, which only emerged in 2012, been available to the judges at the time, Fitzgerald added, “there may well have been a very different outcome. Something has gone wrong in the legal procedure and therefore the Chagossians have been deprived of an opportunity to challenge the reliability of this report.”

The 2008 House of Lords decision was by a margin of only three to two against the islanders. One of the judges at the time, Lord Mance, is now sitting in the supreme court to hear the appeal.

Fitzgerald’s legal team argued in a written submission: “Now that re-settlement is in principle contemplated on the same island as the United States base (which would radically reduce the costs of resettlement), it seems inconceivable that there could be overriding security considerations for excluding all resettlement from the Salomons or Peros Banhos over a hundred miles to the north.”

Olivier Bancoult speaks to Amal Clooney, part of the legal team representing islanders
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Olivier Bancoult speaks to Amal Clooney, part of the legal team representing islanders, outside the supreme court in London. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA
It continued: “An analysis of the draft [feasibility] report reveals that the prediction of the likelihood of increased storminess was not based on any scientific likelihood but on a possibility that could arise if there was a small northward shift in the cyclone belt.

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“So a potential risk raised in the draft feasibility study was transformed into a predicted likelihood in the final study. And this questionable prediction was then relied upon [by two of the House of Lords judges].”

Richard Gifford, a solicitor with the law firm Clifford Chance who represents the Chagossians, said before the hearing: “Because of the Iraq war, the whole situation [of contemplating the islanders’ return] was suddenly put into reverse.”

In 2004, the government used the royal prerogative to nullify the rulings but this was overturned by the high court and court of appeal. The government then went to the House of Lords in 2008 to argue that allowing the islanders to return would seriously affect defence and security.

At previous hearings, the government said the decision to expel the islanders was made on the basis that it was necessary for peace, order and good government.

The supreme court reserved judgment.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 28, 2017 10:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jun/29/chagos-islanders-lose-su preme-court-bid-to-return-to-homeland

Quote:
Chagos islanders lose supreme court bid to return to homeland
Islanders forcibly evicted to make way for US base in Indian Ocean had launched legal challenge to overturn resettlement ban
Chagos islanders protesting outside the high court in London.
Chagos islanders protesting outside the high court in London. Photograph: Fiona Hanson/PA
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Owen Bowcott Legal affairs correspondent
@owenbowcott
Wednesday 29 June 2016 10.49 BST Last modified on Tuesday 28 November 2017 18.51 GMT
Chagos islanders, forcibly removed from their homes in 1971, have lost a legal challenge at the supreme court that could have speeded up their return.

In a majority ruling, justices at the UK’s highest court said disclosure of Foreign Office documents assessing a feasibility report on the Chagossians’ return would not have altered the outcome of a House of Lords judgment in 2008.

We Chagossians are British citizens. So how can Britain treat us like this?
Mylene Augustin
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In 2004, the Chagossians’ right of abode on the British Indian Ocean Territory was denied partially on the basis of a feasibility study suggesting settlement would be prohibitively expensive. An assessment of the drafting of this study, which lawyers for the Chagossians say cast doubt on it, was not presented to the original House of Lords court hearing.

Delivering Wednesday’s judgment, Lord Mance said there was “no probability” that a court would have, if it had seen the papers, made a different decision.

About 1,500 islanders had been removed in 1971 to make way for the US base on Diego Garcia, the largest island. Under a deal, kept secret at the time, the US agreed to contribute to the costs of establishing the bases and waive the UK’s payments for joint missile development programmes.

A more recent feasibility study by the Foreign Office, carried out in 2014-15, concluded that resettlement was feasible on the islands if Diego Garcia was included.

A further legal challenge by Chagos Islanders over their loss of fishing rights in the Indian Ocean is expected to reach the supreme court next year.

Standing outside the court holding the Chagossian orange, black and blue flag, Louis Oliver Bancoult, who brought the legal challenge, said the ruling was “not the end of the road”.

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Bancoult, who was forced into exile along with his family when he was four years old, said: “It’s impossible to accept that other people can live in our birthplace but we can’t. Chagossians will be on Chagos very soon. We want to be allowed to return. We implore the British government to go ahead with the exercise to allow us to go back to our homeland.”

Many of the exiled Chagossian community now live in Crawley, West Sussex. Richard Gifford, the solicitor who has represented them through a string of legal challenges, said: “Resettlement is perfectly feasible and fervently desired by the Chagossians. Given the acquiescence of the US and the support of Mauritius, this injustice can no longer be sustained.”

A spokeswoman for the Foreign Office said: “We are pleased that the supreme court was clear that additional documents would have not made any difference to the outcome of the case in 2008 and ruled in favour of the UK government.

“We remain committed to our current review of resettlement and will continue to keep parliament, Chagossians and their supporters closely informed of progress on the issue.”

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