Shame: MP and former Foreign Office official are rewarded for their role in the Chagos affair

Surprisingly, keeping a ‘stiff upper lip’ was put forward as a possible explanation for the conduct of the British government in the most recent development recorded in a recent Guardian editorial . . .

We would like to believe that the motivation was so innocent. However, the indications are that once more ‘Perfidious Albion’ – a nickname adopted by Dick Cheney when the British government was not ‘falling into line’ about Syria – has collaborated with the American political-corporate alliance.

Environmentalists trusted the PEW Foundation – !

diego garcia airbase chagosThe case in question is that of the Chagos Islands. As the Guardian accurately describes it: “a shaming chapter of British colonialism” in which – after initially denying that the islands were inhabited – the islands’ inhabitants were cleared away as part of a deal to create a US airbase. A comprehensive account may be read here.

In 2009 the UK declared a marine protected area around the Chagos Islands with the assistance of the US-based Pew Foundation whose participation – remarkably – convinced many other British international conservation groups – ignorant of its reputation in the USA – to support it.

They failed to do their homework about this organisation, unlike one of the writer’s heroes, India’s National Fishworkers Forum president Father Thomas Kocherry.

He led a significant movement to combat industrial trawling, coastal industrial aquaculture and pollution, all of which lead to the extermination of traditional fishing communities and their catch, and was given a US $150,000 Pew Award Fellowship for furthering marine conservation. He declined the Award because it was funded by the Sun Oil Company, itself responsible for marine pollution, declaring that if he accepted money from a foundation started by the owners of the Philadelphia-based Sunoco (or Sun Oil) company, allegedly one of the world’s largest polluters, it could compromise the fishworkers’ fight against pollution,. He added: ”a polluter giving an award for marine conservation is a contradiction.

British environmentalists are now said to believe that they were misled by the PEW Foundation’s advocacy of the marine reserve proposal.

So much happier than the islanders  . . . flourishing like the green bay tree

$RZWSM02$R87HY89One actor: a senior Foreign Office official, Colin Roberts (right), has now received an appointment as Governor of the Falkland Islands. David Miliband, under whose regime in the Foreign Office this reserve was announced, was recently appointed a Co-Chair by the wealthy Pew funded Global Marine Conservation who commended him at the time for making this decision.

Wikileaks’ revelation

A US embassy cable was published in the Guardian in December 2010. It records Colin Roberts allegedly explaining to the American government that this marine reserve would permit no “human footprints” or “Man Fridays” on the islands and would end all “resettlement claims of the archipelago’s former residents”. The Foreign Office has announced that the memo could not be considered without violating the Vienna convention, which protects diplomatic correspondence.

What next?

Earlier this year the permanent court of arbitration in The Hague ruled that Britain would have to justify its decision to evict the islanders and also the setting up of the marine reserve before a full hearing of the tribunal.

Meanwhile determined lawyers are fighting hard for the islanders. According to one source – “the attempt to limit cross-examination of FCO official Roberts, by reference to their policy of “No Comment” on the Wikileaks cables, was blown away when the judges ruled that Roberts must answer the questions or risk being in contempt of Court. He is proving a very poor witness . . .”

“So stand by for some very interesting progress in this case . . .”
 Our vision: restitution


diego garcia 2010





Posted on April 23, 2013, in Civil servants, Conflict of interest, Corporate political nexus, Democracy undermined, Government, Lobbying, Parliamentary failure, Secret State, Vested interests and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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