- Purchase by the United Kingdom
- CIA Rendition Aircraft
Diego Garcia is an atoll located south of the equator in the central Indian Ocean.The atoll is located 3,535 km (2,197 mi) east of Tanzania's coast, 1,796 km (1,116 mi) south-southwest of the southern tip of India(at Kanyakumari) and 4,723 km (2,935 mi) west-northwest of the west coast of Australia (at Cape Range National Park, Western Australia). Diego Garcia lies at the southernmost tip of the Chagos-Laccadive Ridge, a vast submarine mountain range, top ofcoral reefs, atolls, and islands comprising Lakshadweep, The Maldives, and the Chagos Archipelago. Local time is UTC+06:00 year-round (DST is not observed).Diego Garcia's coordinates are 7° 18′ 48″ S, 72° 24′ 40″ E.
Diego Garcia and the rest of the Chagos islands were uninhabited until the late 18th century. In 1778, the French Governor of Mauritius granted Monsieur Dupuit de la Faye the island of Diego Garcia, and there is evidence of temporary French visits to collect coconuts and fish. Several Frenchmen living in "a dozen huts" abandoned Diego Garcia when the British East India Company attempted to establish a settlement there in April 1786. The supplies of the 275 settlers were overwhelmed by 250 survivors of the wreck of the British East Indian Ship ATLAS in May, and the colony failed in October. Following the departure of the British, the French colony of Mauritius began marooning lepers on Diego Garcia, and in 1793, the French established a coconut plantation using slave labour, which also exported cordage made from coconut fiber, and sea cucumbers, known as a delicacy in the orient.
Diego Garcia became a colony of the United Kingdom after the Napoleonic wars as part of the Treaty of Paris (1814), and from 1814 to 1965, it was administered from Mauritius. On Diego Garcia, the main plantations were located at East Point, the main settlement on the eastern rim of the atoll; Minni Minni, 4.5 kilometres (2.8 mi) north of East Point; and Pointe Marianne, on the western rim, all located on the lagoon side of the atoll rim. The workers lived at these locations, and at villages scattered around the island.
From 1881 until 1888, Diego Garcia was the location of two coaling stations for steamships crossing the Indian Ocean.
In 1882 the French-financed, Mauritian-based Société Huilière de Diego et de Peros (the "Oilmaking Company of Diego and Peros"), consolidated all the plantations in the Chagos under its control.
Purchase by the United Kingdom
To accomplish the UK/United States mutual defense strategy, in November 1965, the UK purchased the Chagos Archipelago, which includes Diego Garcia, from the then self-governing colony of Mauritius for £3 million to create the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), with the intent of ultimately closing the plantations to provide the uninhabited British territory from which the United States would conduct its military activities in the region.
In April 1966, the British government bought the entire assets of the Chagos Agalega Company in the BIOT for £600,000 and administered them as a government enterprise while awaiting United States funding of the proposed facilities, with an interim objective of paying for the administrative expenses of the new territory. However, the plantations, both under their previous private ownership and under government administration, proved consistently unprofitable due to the introduction of new oils and lubricants in the international marketplace, and the establishment of vast coconut plantations in the East Indies and the Philippines.
On 30 December 1966, the United States and the UK executed an agreement through an Exchange of Notes which permits the United States to use the BIOT for defense purposes for 50 years (through December 2016), followed by a 20-year optional extension (to 2036) to which both parties must agree by December 2014.[needs update?] No monetary payment was made from the United States to the UK as part of this agreement or any subsequent amendment. Rather, the United Kingdom received a US$14-million discount from the United States on the acquisition of submarine-launched ballistic missile system Polaris missiles per a now-declassified addendum to the 1966 agreement.
Following years of reports that the base , British Indian Ocean Territoty , was a CIA "black site" for holding terrorist suspects and years of denials by US and British Officials. In 2002 , the UK goverment admitted that it saw 2 CIA torture flights land on the island(Diego Garcia). Foreign secretary David Miliband told parliment in February 2008 that information had "just come to light" to show that two rendition flights stopped there to refuel.The statement was made after human rights organisations obtained flights data showing that two aircraft closely involved in CIA's renditon programme had flown into and out of Diego Garcia. A Foreign Official was photographed in Whitehall carrying a batch of emails that showed that Scotland Yard detectives had taken possesions of "monthly log showing flight details "and "daily records[obscured] month of alleged rendition".
A few days later , Simmonds told MPs that "previously wet paper records have been dried out ", and that "no flight records have been lost as a result of the water damage".
Two months after that , the Foreign Office told the Commons foreign affairs committee that a number of immigration records relating to civilians landing on Diego Garciac "have been damaged to the point of no longer being useful".