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.