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Just to give you a bit of background about how fucking outrageous this is, let me tell you about how we stole these islands from their rightful owners by *pretending they didn’t exist*.
bbc.co.uk/news/uk-505118…
Of all the horrendous stuff I wrote about for my book, this one really stuck with me.

When the British Empire was breaking up, we couldn't resist one last act of being a total arsehole just for old time's sake.
amazon.co.uk/52-Times-Brita…
That opportunity came when it was time to give back Mauritius and grant it independence. America, however, had their eye on Diego Garcia, part of the Chagos Islands (which were about to fall under Mauritian sovereignty).
They wanted it as a military base in order to monitor Soviet activity. Ergo, a sordid deal was struck with the British.
In return for leasing the Chagos Islands, Britain would get a major contribution to our Polaris submarine programme and one of those American hair ruffles we love so much.
Through pressure on Mauritius, which they would later say amounted to forcing them to do it, we were able to keep this uninhabited island in the middle of the ocean as ours, perfect for use as a military base.
Unfortunately, there was a problem, in that the island actually *was* inhabited. By around 1,800 people, in fact, mainly descendants of slaves. If the UN found out about them, they would need to be recognised as people ‘whose democratic rights have to be safeguarded’.
The UK had a solution though, and brace yourselves because it's a fucking doozy: we would simply pretend to the world that they weren't really there at all.
As Sir Paul Gore-Booth of the Foreign Office put it at the time, ‘the object of the exercise was to get some rocks that will remain ours. There will be no indigenous population except seagulls.’
With that expressed goal in mind, we reclassified the population, many of whom had been there for five generations, as ‘temporary workers’ on the island, belonging elsewhere and with no right to residence.
The fraud was well-documented, and actually states that the idea was that ‘along with the birds go some Tarzans or Men Fridays’, because when you're doing a fraud and a mass eviction of an indigenous population, why not do a racism whilst you're at it.
Americans moved onto the island and began building a base right away. Whenever an islander received urgent medical treatment away from the island in Mauritius, they were not allowed back in.
If someone else went to then check their recently hospitalised and now exiled relative was ok, they too would find themselves unable to return home.
If you booked a holiday, you'd sure as hell hope you picked somewhere you'd like to live permanently, because buddy, we were not letting you back in.
The idea was to intimidate, bully and trick the whole population of an island into not populating their island anymore.
They were, as you'd imagine, reluctant. They had lived there for generations. They weren't Tom Hanks desperately waiting for rescue and chatting shit with a football about how many Oscars their brief time on the island was going to bag.
In one final act of intimidation, Sir Bruce Greatbatch, governor of the Seychelles and man in charge of ‘sanitising’* the island, ordered all the dogs of the island to be rounded up and gassed in front of their owners.
*Should mention at this point that no goody has ever been told to sanitise anything. If your job is to sanitise something and it's not some kind of toilet, congratulations: you are on the side of the baddies.
Almost 1,000 pets were caught and put to death using the exhaust fumes from American military vehicles on the Island, which, and I know it's not the main thing, isn't even very eco-friendly.
The intimidation worked. When someone starts gassing your dogs to death at the same time as pretending to the world that you don't live there at all and there are no records of you, you tend to get the message.
Or at least you don't hang around long enough to find out if it was just a mass dog death-based whacky misunderstanding.
The remaining population, like a person at a dinner party who has just noticed the host has been yawning and glancing at their watch for the past hour and also nodding pointedly at a gun, took the hint and left on ships provided by their ‘hosts’.
They were only allowed one suitcase each.
After briefly stopping in the Seychelles, where they were kept in a prison, they were then transported to Mauritius, where they were unceremoniously told to get out.
The military base went on to be used as a place where the CIA detained people unlawfully, allegedly to torture them, and we later took off from the base to bomb Iraq.
Which, even if you support the Iraq war, isn't exactly the most morally clean cut way of using an island we stole.
To this day, we have only given minimal compensation to the families we booted out, and have just missed a deadline to give the island we stole back.
I should point out that most of the book is less horrendous/more fun than this, e.g. the time we harassed the first guy to use an umbrella for years, and used to send cards on Valentine’s Day to inform the recipient that they were bald.
amazon.co.uk/52-Times-Brita…
Here's the appalling letter referenced above by the way.
commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dipl…
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