- 16 Jan 2021
diego garcia chagos archipelago
The atoll of Diego Garcia is in the Chagos Islands located on a large shoal area known as the Great Chagos Bank. It is dominated by, Maintained areas of grasses and sedges routinely mowed: Aerial photographs of the island clearly display large areas of grasslands and park-like, Mixed native forest, with no dominant canopy species, Marshes are divided into three different types: cattail (. , In February 2019, the International Court of Justice in The Hague ruled that the United Kingdom must transfer the islands to Mauritius as they were not legally separated from the latter in 1965. The depth of the trench and its grade to the atoll's slope and shelf shore makes it more difficult for substantial tsunami waves to build before passing the atoll from the east. Three are lighter aboard ships (LASH) which carry barges called lighters that contain Army ammunition to be ferried ashore: MV American Cormorant, SS Green Harbour, (LASH), SS Green Valley, (LASH), MV Jeb Stuart, (LASH). Diego Garcia is one of America’s most important – and secretive – overseas assets. VQ9RA Diego Garcia Chagos Archipelago.  None of these facilities was ever used throughout the life of the shuttle program, but were used during the Apollo Program.  Noam Chomsky and Peter Sand have observed and emphasized that the US and UK stance is blocking the implementation of the treaty.. The argument about colonization stems from Britain’s claim over the physical islands and the forcible resettlement of the roughly 2,000 native inhabitants of Diego Garcia, known as Chagossians, to make room for the air base. It is part of the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), a British overseas territory. , No mammal species are native on Diego Garcia, with no record of bats. , Diego Garcia is frequently subject to earthquakes caused by tectonic plate movement along the Carlsberg Ridge located just to the west of the island. , Several groups claim that the military base on Diego Garcia has been used by the United States government for transport of prisoners involved in the controversial extraordinary rendition program, an allegation formally reported to the Council of Europe in June 2007. The Portuguese explored Diego Garcia in the 1500s (it is named for a Portuguese navigator). Garcia de Moguer died the same year on the return trip to Portugal in the Indian Ocean, off the South African coast. One was recorded in 1812; one measuring 7.6 on the Richter Scale hit on 30 November 1983, at 23:46 local time and lasted 72 seconds, resulting in minor damage including wave damage to a 50-m stretch of the southern end of the island, and another on 2 December 2002, an earthquake measuring 4.6 on the Richter scale struck the island at 12:21 am. An island called "Don Garcia" appears on the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum of Abraham Ortelius (Antwerp 1570), together with "Dos Compagnos", slightly to the north. U.K. officials have argued that the issue is a bilateral dispute between Mauritius and Britain and does not warrant international intervention. January is the wettest month with 353 mm (13.9 in) of mean monthly precipitation, and August the driest month, averaging 106.5 mm (4.19 in) of mean monthly precipitation.. , Diego Garcia is the above-water rim of a coral atoll composed of Holocene coral rubble and sand to the depth of about 36 m (118 ft), overlaying Pleistocene limestone deposited at the then-sea level on top of a seamount rising about 1,800 m (5,900 ft) from the floor of the Indian Ocean.  The Baffin Straits charter ran from 10 January 2005, to 30 September 2008, at a daily rate of US$12,550. , A few natural depressions on the atoll rim capture the abundant rainfall to form areas of freshwater wetlands. The large AN/AX-16 High Frequency Radio direction finding Circularly Disposed Antenna Array has been demolished, but the four satellite antenna radomes around the site remain as of 2010[update]. Diego Garcia served as a launch pad for U.S. bombers during the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003. The base, named for the largest island in the Chagos Archipelago in the remote waters of the Indian Ocean, sits on land claimed by the British and leased to the U.S. government for the … Quiz: Are you smarter than an 8th grader?  No current agreement exists on how many of the evacuees met the criteria to be an Ilois, and thus be an indigenous person at the time of their removal, but the UK and Mauritian governments agreed in 1972 that 426 families, numbering 1,151 individuals, were due compensation payments as exiled Ilois. Shortly afterward, the U.N. General Assembly affirmed that opinion in a stunning 116-6 vote and demanded that Britain return the islands. From June through September, the influence of the Southeast trades is felt, with speeds of 10–15 knots. …Seychelles colony, along with the Chagos Archipelago, formerly part of the Mauritius colony. ... Mauritius says it was forced to trade the small archipelago in the Indian Ocean in 1965 for independence. United States Mauritius is the legitimate sovereign over the Chagos Archipelago, including the island of Diego Garcia, which hosts an important US military base in the Indo-Pacific region. Sunday, August 2, 2020, Joe Biden missed many opportunities to learn about son’s business dealings. “It is a matter that is deeply rooted in history,” the ambassador said. No species of plants, birds, amphibians, reptiles, molluscs, crustaceans, or mammals is endemic on Diego Garcia or in the surrounding waters. The island was protected to a large degree by its favourable ocean topography. “To us, it is a matter of incomplete decolonization,” Jagdish Dharamchand Koonjul, Mauritius’ permanent representative to the United Nations, said last week at a panel discussion hosted by the Center for the National Interest. , United States military activities in Diego Garcia have caused friction between India and the United States in the past. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. tropical coral reefs and islands of the territory have a huge abundance of marine and terrestrial species , In June 2020, a Mauritian official offered to allow the United States to retain its military base on the island if Mauritius succeeded in regaining sovereignty over the Chagos archipelago. According to Stuart Barber—a civilian working for the US Navy at the Pentagon—Diego Garcia was located far away from any potential threats, it was low in a native population and it was an island that was not sought after by other countries as it lacked economic interest. The atoll forms a nearly complete rim of land around a lagoon, enclosing 90% of its perimeter, with an opening only in the north.  During combat operations from the atoll against Afghanistan (2001–2006) and Iraq (2003–2006), a number of allied militaries were based on the island including Australian, Japanese, and the Republic of Korea. The official insisted that the establishment of a marine park—the world's largest—would in no way impinge on USG use of the BIOT, including Diego Garcia, for military purposes. UK represents the territory internationally. This equipment was used during the Persian Gulf War, when the squadron transported equipment to Saudi Arabia. , On 23 June 2017, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) voted in favour of referring the territorial dispute between Mauritius and the UK to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in order to clarify the legal status of the Chagos Islands archipelago in the Indian Ocean. From December through March, winds are generally westerly around 6 knots (11 km/h). The Washington Times The horizontal structure of each lens is influenced by variations in the type and porosity of the subsurface deposits, which on Diego Garcia are minor. In 1965, the administration of the archipelago was transferred from Mauritius, in somewhat dubious circumstances, shortly before Mauritius gained independence. The 12 tree species are: Barringtonia asiatica (fish-poison tree), Calophyllum inophyllum (Alexandrian laurel), Cocos nucifera, Cordia subcordata, Guettarda speciosa, Intsia bijuga, Hernandia sonora, Morinda citrifolia, Neisosperma oppositifolium, Pisonia grandis, Terminalia catappa, and Heliotropium foertherianum. , On 1 April 2010, the Chagos Marine Protected Area (MPA) was declared to cover the waters around the Chagos Archipelago. , The primary industry throughout the island's colonial period consisted of coconut plantations producing copra and/or coconut oil, until closure of the plantations and relocation of the inhabitants in October 1971. HHS Secretary Alex Azar to Trump: Capitol raid will 'tarnish' our health legacy The total land area is only about 60 sq km. The dryland rim varies in width from a few hundred metres to 2.4 km.  The Crown immediately leased back the properties to Chagos-Agalega but the company terminated the lease at the end of 1967. Pompeo calls on world to stand up against Iran’s threat to expel U.N. inspectors, Trump says he won’t attend Biden’s inauguration, Mark Steyn rips media’s ‘citadel of democracy’ framing of Capitol: ‘It’s a citadel of crap’, Dominion sues pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell for defamation. Its status as a U.K. territory is essential to the value of the joint U.S.-U.K. base on Diego Garcia and our shared security interests,” a State Department official said. Most inhabitants of Diego Garcia through the period 1793–1971 were plantation workers, but also included Franco-Mauritian managers, Indo-Mauritian administrators, Mauritian and Seychellois contract employees, and in the late 19th century, Chinese and Somali employees. Annual rainfall averages 2,603.5 mm (102.50 in), with the heaviest precipitation from September to April.  In October 2007, the Foreign Affairs Select Committee of the British Parliament announced that it would launch an investigation of continued allegations of a prison camp on Diego Garcia, which it claimed were twice confirmed by comments made by retired United States Army General Barry McCaffrey. State Department officials told The Washington Times that the U.S. “unequivocally supports U.K. sovereignty” over the islands and suggested that a change in ownership of Diego Garcia could have a negative impact on American security. , Following the fall of the Shah of Iran and the Iran Hostage Crisis in 1979–1980, the West became concerned with ensuring the flow of oil from the Persian Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz, and the United States received permission for a $400-million expansion of the military facilities on Diego Garcia consisting of two parallel 12,000-foot-long (3,700 m) runways, expansive parking aprons for heavy bombers, 20 new anchorages in the lagoon, a deep-water pier, port facilities for the largest naval vessels in the American or British fleet, aircraft hangars, maintenance buildings and an air terminal, a 1,340,000 barrels (213,000 m3) fuel storage area, and billeting and messing facilities for thousands of sailors and support personnel.  In a written statement, the U.S. government said that neither the Americans nor the British have any plans to discontinue use of the military base on Diego Garcia. You may not know it, but Diego Garcia is the largest continuous atoll in the world, and the Chagos Archipelago is the 2nd largest living reef anywhere (after the Great Barrier Reef). It is one of two critical US bomber bases in the Asia Pacific region, along with Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Pacific Ocean.  Donkeys, which numbered over 400 in 1972, were down to just 20 individuals in 2005. The United Kingdom separated the islands from Mauritius, a former British colony, three years before Mauritius gained its independence in 1968. , Also, areas of remnant tropical hardwood forest are at the sites of the plantation-era villages, as well as Casuarina equisetifolia (iron wood pines) woodlands. Proctotretus. Diego Garcia is the only inhabited island in the British Indian Ocean Territory, an overseas territory of the United Kingdom, usually abbreviated as "BIOT". Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC. Diurnal variation is roughly 3–4 °C (5.4–7.2 °F), falling to the low 27 °C (81 °F) by night. We would like the U.K. to talk both to the U.S. and to Mauritius, and I think together the three countries should be able to come to a solution that takes into account the needs and interest of each one of us.”. It is assumed[by whom?]  No terrestrial plant species are of any conservation-related concern at present. , In 1942, the British opened RAF Station Diego Garcia and established an advanced flying boat unit at the East Point Plantation, staffed and equipped by No 205 and No 240 Squadrons, then stationed on Ceylon. The base’s location near Asia, the Middle East and Africa makes it an irreplaceable cornerstone of America’s ability to project power around the world. If his country regains control of the island, he said, it would offer the U.S. a 99-year lease to maintain its military base and pledge that little would change in practical terms for the Pentagon. Diego Garcia is the largest land mass in the Chagos Archipelago (which includes Peros Banhos, the Salomon Islands, the Three Brothers, the Egmont Islands and the Great Chagos Bank), being an atoll occupying approximately 174 square kilometres (67 sq mi), of … Given the international court decisions and U.N. action, specialists question whether London could legally offer a lease extension to the U.S., putting pressure on all sides to find a resolution. According to Barber, this was the only way to ensure security for a foreign base. , According to Wikileaks CableGate documents (reference ID "09LONDON1156"), in a calculated move planned in 2009, the UK proposed that the BIOT become a "marine reserve" with the aim of preventing the former inhabitants from returning to the islands. Some sort of action needs to be taken now.”. By 1973, construction of the Naval Communications Station (NAVCOMMSTA) was completed. , The island is a haven for several types of crustacean; "warrior crabs" (Cardisoma carnifex) overrun the jungle at night.  The 680-hectare Barton Point Nature Reserve was identified as an Important Bird Area for its large breeding colony of red-footed boobies. The atoll shelters the ships of the United States Marine Pre-positioning Squadron Two. The shallow reef shelf surrounding the island on the ocean side offers no ocean-side anchorage. These small lagoons off of the main lagoon are filled with seawater at high tide and dry at low tide.  The route had previously been serviced by Sealift Inc.'s MV Sagamore, manned by members of American Maritime Officers and Seafarers' International Union. Although some recreational fishing for consumption is permitted, all other food is shipped in by sea or air. It now hosts a US military base covering two thirds of the island. Diego Garcia provides suitable foraging and nesting habitat for both the hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) and the green turtle (Chelonia mydas). Three small islands are located in the pass. Adult hawksbills and greens are common in the surrounding seas and nest regularly on the ocean-side beaches of the atoll. Second, the issue of compensation and repatriation of the former inhabitants, Littoral scrub lines almost the entire seashore and lagoon shore of the island. On the heels of the International Court of Justice opinion, British officials echoed American arguments that the future of the Diego Garcia military facility cannot be compromised. Diego Garcia is often referred to as "Fantasy Island" for its seclusion. Here Barber designed the strategic island concept, where the US would obtain as many less populated islands as possible for military purposes. Local time is UTC+6 year-round (and since then in permanent DST). that the island was named after one of its first two discoverers—the one by the name of Garcia, the other with name Diego. , In 1997, the United States Navy contracted a vegetation survey that identified about 280 species of terrestrial vascular plants on Diego Garcia. Beginning in the late 15th century, Portuguese explorers began to venture into the Indian Ocean and recorded the location of Mauritius and the other Mascarene Islands, Rodrigues and Réunion(the latter presently a French overseas department). The Ilois, now called Chagos Islanders or Chagossians since the late-1990s, were descended primarily from slaves brought to the island from Madagascar by the French between 1793 and 1810, and Malay slaves from the slave market on Pulo Nyas, an island off the northwest coast of Sumatra, from around 1820 until the slave trade ended following the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833. 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