Shame, Lies and Secrecy on Diego Garcia 93

Diego Garcia and the Chagos Islands remains a deep shame to the United Kingdom. In the 1960’s we forcibly deported an entire population a thousand miles, very much against their will, to make way for a United States air base. This is not an ancient evil; it continues to seep its poison into current actions, and the remnants of the deported population still linger in Mauritius, dreaming of home.

The Chagos outlines the stark hyprocrisy of UK policy on the Falklands. There we state the will of the islanders is paramount. In the Chagos, we state the will of the islanders is meaningless. Of course, the Falklanders are white-skinned, the Chagossians brown-skinned. That is the limit of the FCO’s attachment to self-determination as a principle. It is not for “Man Fridays”.

“Man Fridays”, according to the US Embassy Cable describing the briefing on Diego Garcia given them by FCO official Colin Roberts, is how Roberts referred to the inhabitants:

Roberts stated that, according to the HGM,s current thinking on a reserve, there would be “no human footprints” or “Man Fridays” on the BIOT’s uninhabited islands.

In the Diego Garcians’ latest attempt to get their home back, Roberts under cross-examination denied emphatically that he had used the term “Man Fridays”. It is difficult to see why the US diplomats who recorded his meeting with them used the term and put it in quotation marks, if Roberts did not use it. Roberts appears, on the face of it, to be potentially a perjurer in court. It was at this point the judges brilliantly resolved this issue by declaring the US Embassy cable ineligible in court on two grounds; firstly, its possession was a contravention of the UK’s official secrets act, as Roberts’ disclosure of the UK government’s duplicity was an official secret; secondly for it to be noticed by a court would contravene the Vienna Convention on the confidentiality of diplomatic communications.

This not only wiped out the problem of the apparent perjury by Colin Roberts; it collapsed the Chagos Islanders’ case that the US Embassy Cable clearly shows that the declaration of a Chagos Islands marine conservation area was merely a ruse to make it impossible for the inhabitants – who are artisan fishermen – to return:

He asserted that establishing a marine park would, in effect, put paid to resettlement claims of the archipelago’s former residents. Responding to Polcouns’ observation that the advocates of Chagossian resettlement continue to vigorously press their case, Roberts opined that the UK’s “environmental lobby is far more powerful than the Chagossians’ advocates.”

Of course, I knew at the time what the evil David Miliband was doing, and I blogged about it in May 2010:

Miliband has now produced what is one of the most cynical acts in the history of British foreign policy. Dressed up as an environmentalist move, and with support from a number of purblind environmentalists, the waters around the Chagos Archipelago have been declared the world’s largest marine reserve – in which all fishing is banned. The islanders, of course, are fishermen.

The sheer cynicism of this effort by Miliband to dress up genocide as environmentalism is simply breathtaking. If we were really cooncerned about the environment of Diego Garcia we would not have built a massive airbase and harbour on a fragile coral atoll and filled it with nuclear weapons.

The subsequent wikileaks release of the cable recording the US Embassy briefing by Colin Roberts – which shows just what an odious, immoral creep Colin Roberts is – confirms the truth at what I am saying. I am still very angry at the environmental organisations which allowed themselves to be used in this way; they were blinkered and stupid. There is nothing more dangerous than a good man with a monomania.

The Guardian rightly execrated the ludicrous court decision to pretend the wikileaked US cable did not exist. It rather undermines the famous legal maxim that “facts are stubborn things”. A truer maxim would be “Facts are things which vicious, authoritarian judges can make disappear when it benefits the government for them to do so”.

The implication that facts, no matter how true, can be ignored in court if the government did not wish those facts to emerge, is a major blow to the very possibility of whistleblowing. A judicial system where the court only considers government approved fact, is a cornerstone of fascism. What happened in that court was very serious indeed. Lord Justice Richards and Mr Justice Mitting are a disgrace to their profession, the compliant tools of a policy that should disgust all moral men.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

93 thoughts on “Shame, Lies and Secrecy on Diego Garcia

1 2 3 4
  • KingofWelshNoir

    ‘The sheer cynicism of this effort by Miliband to dress up genocide as environmentalism is simply breathtaking.’

    Yup, words fail, don’t they? I always found the story of the British troops rounding up all the islanders’ dogs and gassing them, especially chilling.

  • Neil Saunders

    As with so many movements which begin idealistically, and with generally praiseworthy aims, the environmental lobby has been co-opted, infiltrated and manipulated by cynical individuals and groups who do not have the wider public interest at heart.

  • John Goss

    Have signed your epetition. This is Wikispooks comparison between the Chagos Islands and Falkland Islands as different approaches in different parts of the world.

    KingOfWelshNoir, my sentiments exactly regarding the gassing of the island dogs, but also the forced extradition of islanders from their homeland without compensation.

    My guess is the Jewish Charity for whom David Miliband has gone to work, is another in the mould of Blair’s. Likewise with Liam Fox’s Atlantic Bridge, another form of money-laundering.

  • guano

    Well said Craig. The New World Order will start to disappear anything related to opposition to its policies.
    Whatever the cynical Dreoilin may say about paranoia, my insurance company Liverpool Victoria have succeeded in losing the phone call I made to insure my car in January, leaving me compromised uninsured in spite of paying in full all this time.

    In these cynical times, and with a gullible youth brought up on Zionist media’s TV soaps which are entirely dedicated to different types of scams and lies not normally practised by decent human beings ( Turkish TV soaps the worst I have so far seen ), it is easier for managers to destroy evidence because their minions have been acclimatised to wrong-doing. No, I’m not blaming the kids, I’m just saying that this David Miliband behaviour is rapidly becoming the norm. Nothing to do with the gullibility of well-meaning individuals or lobbies. We are simply not used to outright lying.

    Moving on, I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that the evidence of chemical weapons found in Syria was delivered to order from Assad’s opposition. I wish he had been killed yesterday but he seems to have avoided it on this occasion. The characteristic of lying, adopted by the NATO/AlQaida New World Order Collusion, represents a new tangent in human development.By the time everyone is lying we will all be walking round like mentally ill zombies in former communist dictator hospitals, in grey pyjamas and doped out of our minds. Dreoilin, your talk of paranoia is the best assistance our lying leaders could find.

    I can just hear one eco-warrior saying to another ‘ I think your being a bit paranoid to think the UK government would want to clear the islands just to make a strategic base for its allies.’

    Try screwing the other ear. It might have less fleas than the first one.

  • Frazer

    In the light of the previous post by Craig,if Scotland ever get’s independence, maybe we can officially adopt the islands and ask for a referendum to find out if they want to be part of Scotland. When they invariably say yes, we can send over a few woad painted Jocks in Kilts to deal with those uppity Yankees !!! I’m up for it.

  • April Showers

    A cause that John Pilger has taken up too.

    Lisette Talate died the other day. I remember a wiry, fiercely intelligent woman who masked her grief with a determination that was a presence. She was the embodiment of people’s resistance to the war on democracy. I first glimpsed her in a 1950s Colonial Office film about the Chagos islanders, a tiny creole nation living midway between Africa and Asia in the Indian Ocean. The camera panned across thriving villages, a church, a school, a hospital, set in a phenomenon of natural beauty and peace. Lisette remembers the producer saying to her and her teenage friends, “Keep smiling girls!”

    Sitting in her kitchen in Mauritius many years later, she said, “I didn’t have to be told to smile. I was a happy child, because my roots were deep in the islands, my paradise. My great-grandmother was born there; I made six children there. That’s why they couldn’t legally throw us out of our own homes; they had to terrify us into leaving or force us out. At first, they tried to starve us. The food ships stopped arriving [then] they spread rumours we would be bombed, then they turned on our dogs.”


    I can remember feeling outrage when Avaaz sent round a petition in 2010 supporting the marine reserve. I wrote to them in protest that such a ‘reserve’ would prevent the Islanders’ return but received no reply.

    Meanwhile Miliband D is counting his IRC lucre in New York along with Thompson the ex DG of the state broadcaster at the NT Times. Does all our dross end up in NY?

  • Komodo

    Didn’t take long for this one to go o/t, did it?
    Maybe it would look more interesting with some more background:

    The proposed no-fishing zone in the Chagos is 545,000 square kilometres in area. Can’t find the total area of the UK’s territorial waters, but that given for Wales is about 15000 – rather bigger than Wales, in fact. It will be patrolled by a single protection vessel.

    Given that fish stocks in the North and Irish seas are under considerable threat from overfishing – I know this won’t play in Peterhead, sorry – UK interests would be better served by declaring our territorial waters a no-fry zone, I’d have thought.

    And that’s quite apart from our monumental hypocrisy and insouciant truckling to the Septics* to which Craig quite rightly draws attention.

    *-tank = Yank, for those unaware.

  • craig Post author


    I frequently find that as here when I feel I am at my best – on a neglected topic, exposing an outrage with wide implications, and concise and scathing in my language – by comparison the post draws little interest. Sadly, posts which attract most attention tend to be those in which the topic coincides with current mainstream media content, though of course my angle on the story is generally very different to the mainstream.

  • Mark Golding - Children of Conflict

    The back-drop to the Chagossians suffering:

    To avoid confirming the WikiLeaks cable’s authenticity, Steven Kovats QC, counsel for the Foreign Office, said the government would stick to a policy of “neither confirm nor deny” anything about the documents. The policy is known in Whitehall as NCND.

    But the judges warned that Roberts could not avoid answering questions by relying on the NCND policy. Kovats then argued that the Diplomatic Privileges Act 1964, which incorporates the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations into domestic law, meant the alleged cable, or copies of it held by newspapers, were inadmissible in evidence.

    In their ruling, the judges agreed and said that the 1964 Act prevented them from considering whether the cable contained an accurate record of the May 2009 meeting. Article 24 of the Vienna Convention states: “The archives and documents of the mission shall be inviolable at any time and wherever they may be.”

    I hope to examine the Diplomatic Privileges Act 1964 in the hope of extracting a point of challenge to answer.

  • Chris2

    I’m not sure how you measure interest. But so far as comments are concerned there are posts, such as this one, which do not require much comment beyond our saying “Hear! Hear!”
    When you are channeling Colonel Blimp, in the aftermath of, wholly justified, riots, comments will pour in. Not because the subject is grabbing headlines but because you are mistaken.
    On the questions of the Chagos islanders, David Milliband (Blairites in general) and the US regime decent people are as one: the islanders deserve sympathy and support, their persecutors are contemptible.

  • evgueni

    Yep, politics is always local. The result of evolution. What matters most to most people, is the relative success at breeding (inclusive fitness, not just numbers). From this perspective, unless the Chagossians are coming to get us, they are wey down the list.

    Paradoxically (or not), the best means of helping them may be to motivate the people to struggle for democratic change by appealing to their domestic needs, prejudices and fears. Sort of like what UKIP are doing – in aiming to achieve their narrow goal they are willing to concede a lot more power to the people than any of the ‘mainstream’ three parties. I’m all for it.

  • technicolour

    KOWN: yes, quite.

    More on the marine reserve (MPA) from the Chagos Trust. Last sentence particularly striking: still, at least it sets a precedent.

    “If Chagossians return to the islands in future, we believe that they will benefit from the no-take MPA’s existence since 2010, as it will have helped preserve the archipelago’s environment.

    If the islands do become inhabited, CCT would seek to work with Chagossian communities and the British government to negotiate new terms for the MPA that will enable the population to meet their needs through sustainable fishing, whilst maintaining as much of the Chagos as possible as a no-take reserve. In this event we would be keen to extend our current conservation education work with the Chagossian community.

    1The US military base on Diego Garcia and the water to three miles from its shoreline is not part of the MPA. Recreational fishing here is permitted, but is restricted and carefully monitored.”

  • Dreoilin

    “Steven Kovats QC, counsel for the Foreign Office, said the government would stick to a policy of “neither confirm nor deny” anything …”

    Now where have we heard that before?

  • Iain Orr

    Mark Golding (above at 1.49 pm) and others might also consider the long negotiating record behind the Vienna Convention.

    Article 24 of The Vienna Convention concerns the inviolability of diplomatic property and the persons of properly accredited diplomatic agents of the sending state against violations perpetrated by the host state and its agents. It has NOTHING to do with the protection of any country’s diplomatic communications as a result of inadequate protection by that country or (as in this case) by the unauthorised disclosure to others of such material by a national of that same country, being also one who has been given authorised access to that material by authorised agents of that government.

    The Convention also has NOTHING to do with the protection by any country of the physical or intellectual property rights or reputational or diplomatic damage suffered by any other country as a result of the unauthorised disclosure to or publication by third parties of the content of any country’s diplomatic traffic.

    There may be other international conventions or bilateral Treaties which concern the provision of legal protections in such matters, but they are NOTHING to do with the Vienna Convention and any directly related UK legislation giving effect to it within the UK legal system

  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    Craig; Maybe the lack of interest is a kind of outrage-overload. There seems to be a plethora of pornographic human activity throughout history, so it’s easier to make a heated connection with something current, thereby the media impulse.

    I could add the Aleutian Islands to the Diego Garcia tragedy , and I most likely won’t get a reply.

  • Komodo

    Now where have we heard that before?

    It’s a matter of national security.
    Ours, not theirs, obviously.
    My lips are sealed.

  • KingofWelshNoir

    I agree with Chris2 : we are all on the same page on this one, so there may be fewer comments. But that shouldn’t deter Craig from posting on topics like this, it’s great to see. I knew about the Chagos Islanders from reading Pilger, but I didn’t know about the Milliband conjuring trick. I will definitely be disseminating that one. It all helps.

  • April Showers


    The troughers, and I am including Miliband D when we was around, at the House of Commons do well for time out and holidays.

    Easter Recess 27 March – 14 April with a special sitting on 10 April for Thatcher eulogies, £3,750 to return if abroad and the same to return as I understood it.

    Return to house 15 April – 18 April

    19 April House did not sit.

    Return to house 22 April – 25 April

    26 April house prorogued. Return 8 May – 21 May.

    Then in recess 22 May – 31 May

    Return to house 3 June – 18 July

    Off 18 July – 2 September.

    Nice work if you can get it.

  • 1971Thistle

    Miliband is Blair without the brass neck and and the balls. That’s why he lost to his brother (who may of got what balls were going, but not the brains or the sly cunning)

    Say whatever, do whatever, to suck up if it lines his pockets.

    You might not like Blair (I don’t) but at least he had a pair

  • April Showers

    The link to the HoC calendar is!/calendar/Commons/MainChamber/2013/4/19/events.html

    I was looking at their latest register of MPs’ interests earlier. There are 87 mentions of ‘Israel’ although the word is repeated in each record of a visit to Israel. There are two for Kazakhstan (ref the earlier post). They were for Toby Baldry and George Galloway. Liam Fox has been getting around too.!/calendar/Commons/MainChamber/2013/4/19/events.html

1 2 3 4