[Coral-List] Chagos Conservation
easy501 at zianet.com
Tue Jan 26 14:16:56 EST 2010
Mr. Dunne's response to my posting involves what I attempted to point out -
that criticism of the current effort to protect the Chagos by tying it to
actions taken at the height of the Cold War four decades ago is
The construction activities and the treatment of the islanders was not
unusual given the circumstances of the time, and I do not defend them.
However, I do not condemn them either. It simply was the way things were
done. If you have read the resettlement proposals of the UK CSA, you can
see that their plan to resettle thousands of islanders will be as disruptive
to the Chagos as that of the SEABEEs in the 1970s.
The appropriateness of the islanders' compensation is really Mr. Dunne's
concern, is it not? Isn't the subject still in play in the ECHR? Won't it
be a subject of legislation in the democracies involved as time goes by,
regardless of the ECHR outcome? Of course. Therefore, I think where Mr.
Dunne and I differ is that I believe that those are the forums in which
resettlement should be discussed. Mr. Dunne's effort appears to be to halt
the conservation of the Chagos by using the emotional and politicized
question of the islanders' compensation. This will help no one and is
potentially damaging to the marine environment of the islands for the
reasons given by Dr. Sheppard in other posts in this thread.
From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
[mailto:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov] On Behalf Of Richard Dunne
Sent: Tuesday, January 26, 2010 10:01 AM
To: Coral List
Subject: [Coral-List] The US Base on Diego Garcia and environmental
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 ....
Or, you could go fishing and looking around the reef for whatever you
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.
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
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