Island of Shame: The Secret History of the U.S. Military Base on Diego Garcia

Author(s): David Vine

Other Wars

The American military base on the island of Diego Garcia is one of the most strategically important and secretive U.S. military installations outside the United States. Located near the remote center of the Indian Ocean and accessible only by military transport, the little-known base has been instrumental in American military operations from the Cold War to the war on terror and may house a top-secret CIA prison where terror suspects are interrogated and tortured. But Diego Garcia harbors another dirty secret, one that has been kept from most of the world--until now. Island of Shame is the first major book to reveal the shocking truth of how the United States conspired with Britain to forcibly expel Diego Garcia's indigenous people--the Chagossians--and deport them to slums in Mauritius and the Seychelles, where most live in dire poverty to this day. Drawing on interviews with Washington insiders, military strategists, and exiled islanders, as well as hundreds of declassified documents, David Vine exposes the secret history of Diego Garcia. He chronicles the Chagossians' dramatic, unfolding story as they struggle to survive in exile and fight to return to their homeland. Tracing U.S. foreign policy from the Cold War to the war on terror, Vine shows how the United States has forged a new and pervasive kind of empire that is quietly dominating the planet with hundreds of overseas military bases. Island of Shame is an unforgettable expos of the human costs of empire and a must-read for anyone concerned about U.S. foreign policy and its consequences. The author will donate all royalties from the sale of this book to the Chagossians.

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[A] meticulously researched, coldly furious book that details precisely how London and Washington colluded in a scheme of population removal more redolent of the eighteenth or nineteenth century than the closing decades of the twentieth... [O]ne likes to think that if Barack Obama were somehow to stumble across a copy of David Vine's fine book, he would instantly realize that a great injustice has been done--one that could easily be put right. -- Jonathan Freedland, New York Review of Books This angry and angering book is well researched, compelling, and valuable to understanding and emerging US 'empire.' -- Choice For Vine imperialism, military prerogative and racism have all combined to deny a people a home simply because they were in the way. His succinct style and controlled outrage make for a damning indictment. -- Phil Chamberlain, Tribune Island of Shame is not just a gut-wrenching account of how a tropical paradise of powder-white beaches and palm fronds was turned into a massive launch pad for America's military expansionist programme. A large chunk of the book is devoted to how the Chagossians came to build their complex but happy society in the islands and the resulting tragedy of their displacement. Above all, Vine is a top flight researcher... We owe Vine a great debt for shining his light on this island of horrors. -- Latha Jishnu, Business Standard David Vine's story of the Chagossians is an exemplary piece of both socially embedded reportage and investigative journalism, despite a tendency to indulge in the self-conscious idiom of academic ethnography and reflexive criticism of US 'imperialism.' At heart, however, he speaks truth to power. Power, though, is not listening. -- Colin Murphy, Irish Times David Vine ... has rendered high service by writing a thoroughly documented expose of the crime, which the world has ignored because one of its perpetrators is a superpower, the U.S., and its accomplice, the U.K. -- A. G. Noorani, Frontline Vine's important and timely book sheds welcome light on this dark chapter of U.S. military history, questioning the way our military operates and its impact on civilian populations. -- Katherine McCaffrey, American Anthropologist

David Vine is assistant professor of anthropology at American University in Washington, D.C.

List of Illustrations and Tables ix Foreword by Michael Tigar xi Abbreviations and Initialisms xvii A Note to the Reader xix Introduction 1 Chapter 1. The Ilois, The Islanders 20 Chapter 2. The Bases of Empire 41 Chapter 3. The Strategic Island Concept and a Changing of the Imperial Guard 56 Chapter 4."Exclusive Control" 72 Chapter 5."Maintaining the Fiction" 89 Chapter 6."Absolutely Must Go" 99 Chapter 7."On the Rack" 112 Chapter 8. Derasine: The Impoverishment of Expulsion 126 Chapter 9. Death and Double Discrimination 137 Chapter 10. Dying of Sagren 149 Chapter 11. Daring to Challenge 164 Chapter 12. The Right to Return and a Humanpolitik 180 Epilogue 197 My Thanks 199 Further Resources 203 Notes 205 Afterword to the Paperback Edition 249 Index 255

General Fields

  • : 9780691149837SECA
  • : Princeton University Press
  • : Princeton University Press
  • : January 2011
  • : 229mm X 152mm X 23mm
  • : United States
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : 355.709697
  • : 288
  • : 12 halftones. 2 tables. 4 maps.
  • : David Vine
  • : Paperback
  • : Revised edition