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Island of Shame:

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


The U.S. 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 exposé of the human costs of empire and a must-read for anyone concerned about U.S. foreign policy and its consequences.


The author is donating all royalties from the sale of this book to the Chagossians.

Chagos Islanders in Mauritius and the UK:

Forced displacement and onward migration


The Chagos islanders were forcibly uprooted from the Chagos Archipelago in the Indian Ocean between 1965 and 1973. This is the first book to compare the experiences of displaced Chagos islanders in Mauritius with the experiences of those Chagossians who have moved to the UK since 2002. It thus provides a unique ethnographic comparative study of forced displacement and onward migration within the living memory of one community.

Based on in-depth ethnographic fieldwork in Mauritius and Crawley (West Sussex), the six chapters explore Chagossians' challenging lives in Mauritius, the mobilisation of the community, reformulations of the homeland, the politics of culture in exile, onward migration to Crawley, and attempts to make a home in successive locations. Jeffery illuminates how displaced people romanticise their homeland through an exploration of changing representations of the Chagos Archipelago in song lyrics. Offering further ethnographic insights into the politics of culture, she shows how Chagossians in exile engage with contrasting conceptions of culture ranging from expectations of continuity and authenticity to enactments of change, loss and revival.

The book will appeal particularly to social scientists specialising in the fields of migration studies, the anthropology of displacement, political and legal anthropology, African studies, Indian Ocean studies, and the anthropology of Britain, as well as to readers interested in the Chagossian case study.

United States and Britain in Diego Garcia:

The Future of a Controversial Base


Diego Garcia is a pivotal US base for all Middle East operations. This book describes its evolution from a secret US-UK bilateral deal in 1966 and the deportation of the native population in the 70s to its new role in Guantánamo-style 'renditions' and the impact of miltary construction on its environment.

PETER H. SAND, formerly legal adviser for the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Bank, is a lecturer in International Environmental Law at the University of Munich, Germany. His earlier publications include Lessons Learned in Global Environmental Governance (1990), Transnational Environmental Law (1997), and over a hundred articles in international legal journals and collections. He has been visiting professor at Duke Law School and at the universities of Paris, Geneva, Addis Ababa, and Helsinki; and he served on the UN Security Council's Compensation Commission for environmental claims arising from the 1991 Gulf War.

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