Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Diego Garcia US Military Base: Indian Ocean - one of a thousand US bases around the world.

Diego Garcia Military Base: 
 We start our descriptions of US Military bases world wide with Diego Garcia, a Naval facility in the Indian Ocean in an area which is still a part of the British Empire, described as a British Overseas Territory.  The British enabled the establishment of the American Base on Diego Garcia,  the larges island in the Archipelago, in 1971 by forcibly deporting the approximately 2000 residents who had been living there since the time of the American Revolution.  These former residents are still suing to get their home back. 

According to David Vine, an assistant professor of anthropology at American University and author of “Island of Shame: the Secret History of the U.S. Military on Diego Garcia(Princeton University Press).” in Global Researcher
Long off limits to reporters, the Red Cross, and all other international observers and far more secretive than Guantanamo Bay, many long suspected the island was a clandestine CIA "black site" for high-profile detainees, Vine wrote in a related article. Journalist Stephen Grey's 2006 book “Ghost Plane” documented the presence on the island of a CIA-chartered plane used for rendition flights. On two occasions former U.S. Army General Barry McCaffrey publicly named Diego Garcia as a detention facility. And a Council of Europe report named the atoll, along with those in Poland and Romania, as a secret prison.
The island became “a major launch pad” for the U.S. attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq, Vine said. In addition to its capacious harbor, the island readily supports some of the largest U.S. warplanes, including Air Force B-52s, B-1Bs and B-2s. Two years ago, the Pentagon awarded a $32 million contract to add a submarine base to the island’s arsenal.
Diego Garcia had been a British possession until 1966, when London allowed the U.S. to use it as a military base in exchange for cancelling a $14-million British debt for a military hardware purchase. Some idea of the size of the base may be conveyed by the fact it is said by the Pentagon to contain 654 buildings.
Recently released documents on British colonial history detail what was kept from the public as the base was developed:

The aim behind the decision to control the islands, noted a Foreign Office official in a document dated September 1966 and marked "Secret and Guard", was to build "defence facilities … without hindrance or political agitation".
In 1970, the Foreign Office told its officials at the UN to describe the islanders as "contract labourers" engaged to work on coconut plantations. "The merit of this line," it noted, "is that it does not give away the existence of the Ilois [the indigenous islanders] but is at the same time strictly factual."
In addition Wiki-leaks cables revealed further maneuverings to keep the islands free of indigenous populations so that the US and Britain can maneuver there as they please:
 In April 2010, the UK established a marine nature reserve around the Chagos Islands. A cable subsequently released by Wiki-leaks reported exchanges between a US political counsellor in London, Richard Mills, and a Foreign Office official, Colin Roberts. According to the leaked cable, Roberts "asserted that establishing a marine park would, in effect, put paid to resettlement claims of the archipelago's former residents".
A description from Wikipedia of the Base and its uses to the US Empire:
  During the Cold War era, the United States was keen to establish a military base in the Indian Ocean to counter Soviet influence in the region and protect the sea-lanes for oil transportation from the Middle East. The US saw the island as a strategically important one.[104] The value has been proved many times, with the island providing a "fixed aircraft carrier" for the US during the Iranian revolution, the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraqi Freedom.  The US Navy operates a large naval ship and submarine support base, military air base, communications and space tracking facilities, and an anchorage for pre-positioned military supplies for regional operations aboard Military Sealift Command ships in the lagoon.The Naval Support Facility Diego Garcia provides Base Operating Services to tenant commands located on the island. The command's mission is "To provide logistic support to operational forces forward deployed to the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf AORs in support of national policy objectives."
 The atoll shelters the ships of the US Marine Pre-positioning Squadron Two. These ships carry equipment and supplies to support a major armed force with tanks, armoured personnel carriers, munitions, fuel, spare parts and even a mobile field hospital. This equipment was used during the Persian Gulf War, when the squadron transported equipment to Saudi Arabia.

There are facilities for Aircraft up to and including the size of the Space Shuttle and extensive communications facilities including satellite communications and one of five GPS stations operated by the US Military. And remember this is all paid for by our tax dollars while our schools decay, health care is out of reach for 50 million Americans and the Middle Class dwindles.

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