The Shame of Diego Garcia

Click here: CounterPunch.org –  The Shame of Diego Garcia

One of the more sordid and long-running stories in Anglo-American colonial history — that of Diego Garcia, the chief island of the Chagos Archipelago in the Indian Ocean — reared its ugly head again on Friday when the UK’s all-party foreign affairs committee announced plans to investigate long-standing allegations that the CIA has, since 2002, held and interrogated al-Qaeda suspects at a secret prison on the island.

…The suspicion, which the foreign affairs committee has pledged to investigate, is that on Diego Garcia the Americans found a far more compliant partner in torture — the British government — than they found in most other locations chosen for secret CIA prisons. …In June 2006, Dick Marty, a Swiss senator who produced a detailed report on “extraordinary rendition” for the Council of Europe, also concluded that Diego Garcia had been used as a secret prison. Having spoken to senior CIA officers during his research, he told the European Parliament, “We have received concurring confirmations that United States agencies have used Diego Garcia, which is the international legal responsibility of the UK, in the ‘processing’ of high-value detainees.”

…Barry McCaffrey, a retired four-star US general, who is now professor of international security studies at the West Point military academy, has twice let slip that Diego Garcia has, as the administration’s opponents have struggled to maintain, been used to hold terror suspects. In May 2004, he blithely declared, “We’re probably holding around 3,000 people, you know, Bagram air field, Diego Garcia, Guantánamo, 16 camps throughout Iraq,” and in December 2006 he slipped the leash again, saying, “They’re behind bars … we’ve got them on Diego Garcia, in Bagram air field, in Guantánamo.”

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