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

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Princeton University Press, Jan 3, 2011 - Social Science - 288 pages

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

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Some Americans may know Diego Garcia as the isolated atoll in the middle of the Indian Ocean that holds an American military base, crucial to current engagements in the Middle East. But few may know ... Read full review


1 The Ilois The Islanders
2 The Bases of Empire
3 The Strategic Island Concept and a Changing of the Imperial Guard
4 Exclusive Control
5 Maintaining the Fiction
6 Absolutely Must Go
7 On the Rack
The Impoverishment of Expulsion
11 Daring to Challenge
12 The Right to Return and a Humanpolitik
My Thanks
Further Resources
Afterword to the Paperback Edition

9 Death and Double Discrimination
10 Dying of Sagren

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About the author (2011)

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

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