Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Where In The World Are The Diego Garcians, And Why Doesn't Anybody Know Or Care?

The fate of the inhabitants of the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia is one of the unsung human rights' abuse sagas of the Cold, and subsequent wars. Expelled from their homes, robbed of history, tradition, and livelihood, the Chagos Islanders were dropped en masse into the slums of Mauritius, where they may still be found today, a ruined people.

Diego Garcia is a strategic atoll situated just about exactly in the middle of the Indian Ocean. It is within range for the B-52 and B-1 aircraft stationed there of virtually anywhere in the south or central Pacific region, but especially South Asia, East Africa, and the Middle East. The high-altitude, long-range bombers stationed there during the VietNam invasion/incursion (1958-75) dropped hundreds of thousands of tons of ordnance on North Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, killing thousands upon thousands of innocent people.

It is also a key site in the array of connections which maintain the Global Positioning System.

Obviously, such a place--the highest elevation on which, at 22', is LOWER than the cockpit of a B-52--is unfit for indigenous populations (it's got pretty good waves somewhere around the island almost any time, according to a surfer-buddy once stationed there).

So, to placate their most powerful ally, the USofA, the British expropriated and relocated the entire population of the whole little archipelago around 1968.

Just like that.

At the current rate of sea-level rise, the waves will likely overtake Diego Garcia again in about 50 years.

Read more about it in this (longish but informative) piece from a site called "".

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