Does the US intend to turn Guam the next Diego Garcia--an island completely overtaken by the US and UK military in 1971?
Diego Garcia is the largest island in the Chagos archipelago that was part of Mauritius and the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean. In the 1960s, the Chagos archipelago was secretly leased to the UK which decided (together with the US) to forcibly remove the island's entire population to make way for a joint US/UK military base slated to open in 1971. The 2,000 Chagossians (or Ilois) are descendants of African slaves and Hindu laborers brought to the islands by French colonizers in the 18th century.
John Pilger included Diego Garcia in his 2007 book, Freedom Next Time: Resisting the Empire:
...the little-known island of Diego Garcia, in the Indian Ocean, has become a microcosm of the ruthlessness of great powers. The island--sold by the British to the U.S. military in the 1960s, the indigenous population forced out--remains the United State's third largest military base in the world.Anthropologist David Vine updated coverage of Diego Garcia in Island of Shame: The Secret History of the U.S. Military Base on Diego Garcia, focusing on the plight of the expelled Chagossians:
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 base was a little-known launch pad for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan 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.The U.S. military already occupies one third of the land on Guam--the U.S. Naval Base Guam at Sumay; U.S. Coast Guard Sector Guam at Sumay; Andersen Air Force Base at Yigo; Apra Harbor, U.S. Navy – Orote peninsula; Ordnance Annex, U.S. Navy – South Central Highlands (formerly known as Naval Magazine); Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station, U.S. Navy – Barrigada and Finegayan; and Joint Force Headquarters-Guam, Guam National Guard – Radio Barrigada and Fort Juan Muna.
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.
Guam is now viewed as a key global military hub that will further allow even more U.S. military power to be projected via air, land, sea and undersea. Military expansion is slated to begin this year and continue for several years until the US military occupies 40% or more of the entire island.
It is unlikely that the US will forcibly remove the Chamorros, the indigenous people, from Guam--but they express passionate concern about their quality of life under expanded US military rule. The Chamorros, who populated the island (the largest in the Southern Marianas) around 4,000 years ago, are among the most vocal opponents to the military build-up. In 2008, civil rights attorney Julian Aguon testified at the Seventh Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York City in 2008:
With no input from the indigenous Chamoru people and over our deepening dissent, the US plans to flood Guam, its Colony in Perpetuity, with upwards of 50,000 people, which includes the 8,000 U.S. Marines and their 9,000 dependents being ousted by Okinawa and an outside labor force estimated upwards of 20,000 workers on construction contracts. In addition, six nuclear submarines will be added to the three already stationed in Guam as well as a monstrous Global Strike Force, a strike and intelligence surveillance reconnaissance hub at Andersen Air Force Base.Janet Aguon, a resident of Dededo, interviewed by Kuam.com reporter Nick Delgado at a public hearing on the expanion today testified:
This buildup only complements the impressive Air Force and Navy show of force occupying 1/3 of our 212 square mile island already. This massive military expansionism exacts devastating consequences on my people, who make up only 37% of the 170,000 people living in Guam and who already suffer the signature maladies of a colonial condition.
We need to stop the land-grabbing. We need to stop the lies.DMZ Hawaii has a comprehensive webpage dedicated to resistance to the US military expansion plan. An anti-military build-up website Weareguahan.com--produced by an ad-hoc group of citizen-volunteers working to get the general public thinking about issues related to the planned U.S. military relocation to and build-up in Guam and the CNMI--has the latest up-to-date reports from organizers. They are looking for supporters to join them.
The military already occupies 1/3 of our island. They want more land now...This has to stop. We cannot be bombarded with all this military training.
We also have to stop the military shenanigans that this will all be open and transparent. That is a lie. I served in the military and have since retired. And I know the mission and how psychological welfare is used to effectuate their mission.
We cannot have this military build-up on Guam. Can you imagine...a quarter of a million of people on our island... We can no longer go to our beaches because the military wants it all.
We cannot believe the military...This is not a done deal...And the people of Guam ought to stand up against it.
(The Associated Press just reported on a request for another increase in already out-of-control military spending from US President Obama: "Obama Wants $33 Billion More for Wars; Comes on top of record $708 billion request for next year."This more than the US spent on the Pentagon in any year since 1946 (in dollars adjusted for inflation). It is just under what the entire rest of the world spends for defense; three times the combined defense budgets of China, Russia, Cuba, North Korea, and Iran. )