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Wikileaks: Colonial limbo a deliberate attempt to keep islanders from homeland

The Ground-Based Electro-Optical Deep Space Surveillance System (GEODSS) facility at Diego Garcia is one of three operational sites worldwide. Photo: United States Air Force photo/Senior Master Sgt. John Rohrer/Wikipedia.

Six months ago, I wrote a piece for rabble.ca describing the appalling treatment of the people of the Chagos Islands in the Indian Ocean by the British government. 

The islands were purchased by the government of Britain in 1966 from Seychellois Chagos Agalega Company, with the initial intention of running them as a U.K. government-owned plantation enterprise. This proved less profitable than the establishment of Cold War strategic military bases, so the islanders were removed.

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Indian Ocean islanders in 44 years of colonial limbo

The Ground-Based Electro-Optical Deep Space Surveillance System (GEODSS) facility at Diego Garcia is one of three operational sites worldwide. Photo: United States Air Force photo/Senior Master Sgt. John Rohrer/Wikipedia.
The people of the Chagos Islands were removed by the British government in the 1960s to make way for U.S. bases -- and the people remain stuck.

Related rabble.ca story:

Indian Ocean islanders in 44 years of colonial limbo

The Ground-Based Electro-Optical Deep Space Surveillance System (GEODSS) facility at Diego Garcia is one of three operational sites worldwide. Photo: United States Air Force photo/Senior Master Sgt. John Rohrer/Wikipedia.

In 1966, England was all about the soccer, the Labour Party and the Beatles. The country had just won the World Cup and things were swinging with 1960s euphoria and happiness.

But it was also the year which marked the commencement of an exercise to depopulate the Chagos Islands, a coral archipelago in the Indian Ocean, approximately 1,600 km north-west of Mauritius. The indigenous community were soon to have their homes taken away from them in a shameful act of latter-day colonial vandalism.

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