Diego Garcia, the island base in the Indian Ocean used as a stationary aircraft carrier by US forces operating in Afghanistan and Iraq may be reverting to the indigenous people who actually own it, according to a story in British newspaper, The Guardian.
"An estimated 2,000 Chagossians were driven from their homes between 1967 and 1971 after Britain made a secret deal to lease the island of Diego Garcia to the US for use as an airbase. They were tricked out of their homes, encouraged to leave on temporary trips, and not allowed back.Forcibly removing people from their homes and transporting them to another country is defined as "ethnic cleansing" in international treaties the US is party to and is classified as a war crime by those treaties. It is also a war crime under Title 18, Part I, Chapter 118, Paragraph 2441 of the United States Criminal Code.
"Later, the islanders were subjected to intimidation. At one point US soldiers rounded up their dogs and gassed them. The departing Chagossians were loaded on to boats, allowed to take only one bag with them, and deposited in Mauritius, where most have lived in poverty ever since. The base has served as a refuelling stop and base for air raids in a succession of wars, most recently in Afghanistan and Iraq.
"Yesterday's ruling was greeted by silence from the Chagossians in court, who have seen hopes of a return dashed several times in their four-decade exile. But Olivier Bancoult, their leader in exile who took the foreign office to court, emerged smiling holding his fingers up in a victory sign. 'I'm very happy for my people,' Mr Bancoult told a crowd of supporters and journalists. 'We will go back and make Chagos great.'"