[Coral-List] The US Base on Diego Garcia and environmental protection

Richard Dunne RichardPDunne at aol.com
Tue Jan 26 12:00:53 EST 2010

Dear Listers

An earlier post on the issue of the Chagos MPA posted by Ted Morris Jr 
almost escaped my attention until I revisited it and followed his links 
to his website.

Mr Morris encourages us to protect the marine environment of the Chagos 
by signing up to the proposed MPA. He also thinks that in protecting 
human rights we are politicising the process. I would love to endorse 
his viewpoint if it could be considered to be serious in the light of 
his website which whilst containing some interesting 'facts' about Diego 
Garcia has some fairly alarming facts and statements, for example:

_On the construction of the runway on DG by US SeaBees: _(photos cannot 
be reproduced here)
And then came Tom Grenier and his buddies.
They dredged the coral used to build the runway. Here's a little photo 
essay on how they did it.
First, you set your charges and blow a big hole in the coral....
Then you bulldoze out the rock....
Then, Harry and Joe haul all the "little rocks" to the crusher...
Then you have a party....
.....and another.....
.....and another ....
Or, you could go fishing and looking around the reef for whatever you 
could find...

You might also like to visit the page on blowing a hole in the reef for 
a ship canal. and I am sure that there is something there about dredging 
the lagoon for the Navy ships and submarines._

Elsewhere Mr Morris says_
"Finally Those of you who have read my website, or know me personally, 
know that my first and foremost concern is for the defense of the United 
States and our democratic republic. Diego Garcia is essential to that 
defense, and therefore anything that would limit our use of Diego Garcia 
would not receive my support."

All I can say is that clearly the environmental 'protection' afforded by 
the presence of the US base has been fairly alarming and that Mr Morris 
is very lucky to live in a democracy which has not yet illegally evicted 
him to another country as the UK Government did to the rightful 
inhabitants of the Chagos, as it seems in the interests of UK and US 

I hope that the debate on conservation in the Chagos can proceed from a 
more serious and open-minded angle.

Richard Dunne

Ted Morris Jr's post

The process of protecting the marine environment of the Chagos Archipelago
is at a critical point, and signing the petition at http://protectchagos.org
is the very minimum anyone concerned with the reefs of the Chagos should do.

Politicizing the process by insisting on the inclusion of Chagossian claims,
all of which have been dismissed by UK and US courts, would be unwise.  That
said, there are certainly many people who wonder just what really did happen
to the islanders back in the early 70s, and would like to ensure that a
suitable political solution is arrived at on their behalf.  To fully
participate in that discussion, one should reflect on the economic and
geo-political context of the times, and not solely on emotional appeals.
There is also a huge amount of data concerning the demographics and
population that is germane to the discussion, but is not included in the
arguments posted to date.

I've been a student of the islands, it's history and current uses for many
years, and about 18 months ago I wrote a short paper summarizing the various
British Court cases, the Chagossian lawsuit in the US, and the available
published literature at the time.  That information might be of interest to
readers as they attempt to determine what role the Chagossian community
should play in the future of the islands.  The paper is on line at

Meanwhile, the goal is to fully protect the near-pristine coral reef and
other marine environments of the central Indian Ocean, and anything that
would delay or derail that effort should be avoided.  Conservation now would
be to the advantage of any future resident population, should things change
in that respect, and to no one's disadvantage, least of all to other
residents of the Indian Ocean.

Ted A. Morris, Jr.
easy501 at zianet.com
skype:  ted.morris.501

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