Stealing a Nation
This documentary exposes the shocking and little-known story of how the inhabitants of a small tropical island in the Indian Ocean were forcefully deported in order to allow for the United States of America to set up an offshore military base.
Once a peaceful tropical island, Diego Garcia, the largest island among the Chagos Archipelago in the Indian Ocean, is now home to one of the largest US military bases with more than four thousand troops stationed there. From this location, the US has attacked Afghanistan and Iraq. The Pentagon calls this base an “indispensable platform for policing the world.”
It all began in 1960s when British governments conspired with American officials to come up with a plan to expel the inhabitants of Diego Garcia out of the country. The Foreign Office invented a story stating that the islanders weren’t really indigenous to the island but were merely contract workers. They stated this in spite of the fact that they had been living on the island since the 18th century.
The United States needed to use the island and wanted it “swept and sanitized.” Thus the entire population was deported. They were forced to leave everything behind and get on a ship with only one suitcase each. Their first landing port was Seychelles where they were kept in prison cells until they could be shipped to Mauritius. Once on Mauritius, they were forced to live in condemned houses that had been taken over by animals and had no water or electricity.
By the end of 1975, the secret expulsion of the people of Diego Garcia was complete. Many of the islanders died from diseases caused by the filthy surroundings they were forced to live in, but also due to starvation. The lives of those that survived were destroyed due to the sheer sadness of being uprooted.
To this day, even though in November 2000 the British High Court ruled the exile illegal, the Chagossians are still unable to return to their homes.
Find out how this unbelievable story unfolded by watching John Pilger’s remarkable film, “Stealing a Nation.”