Lies, bribes and Wikileaks – Ben Fogle on Chagos

Our patron Ben Fogle had a great article in yesterday’s Telegraph titled ‘My fight for the forgotten islanders’

He tells the whole sordid Chagos story, how he ended up getting involved in the campaign, and how he felt duped after being persuaded to support the Chagos marine reserve – which Wikileaks revealed to have been a sneaky way for the government to undermine the islanders’ chances of getting home.

“We must not allow ourselves to be dazzled by ‘green’ policy, blinding us to the bigger picture,” he writes. Hear hear.


  1. Sid Davies says:

    I visited Saloman attoll in 1985 ( north of Diego Garcia) – we were on passage in a 250 ton ketch on oaaage from New Zealand to Rhodes. It was quite sad to see the abandoned hoses and little church where visiting yachtsmen lafet messages for others. There were a few hens still there and a small yacht crewed by a delightful French couple had brought a cockrel from the Maldives to join them.
    We were told that the inhabitants had harvested the coconuts and that a schooner from Mauritius would call twice a year to collect them. Occasionally an US plane would fly low over the island and lagoon keeping tabs on the place. Yachts were not allowed to call at Diego Garcia.
    Interestingly the German cruiser Emden hid here in 1914 whilst giving the British a great headache as she preyed on shipping all over the Indian Ocean.

  2. Mrs Snook says:

    uninhabited islands are not just vulnerable to passing opportunists, they are an invitation to plunder whatever is required by whoever is passing at the time. For insight into protection for such reserves you need look no further than ‘The Spice Islands Voyage’ by Tim Serverin published by Little, Brown and Company. Note particularly the section on page 224 if you are in a hurry. There are other sections where an ethnic sailor who was assisting the expedition leapt onto an uninhabited island saying they must have turtle eggs for breakfast and he knew where he could get them in spite of the other members protestations. In fact he discovered that the island had already been plundered by the crew of a passing Industrial scale fishing boat, when he discovered one lone hatched turtle he then protected this while it made its way to the sea, the lesson that all the wildlife on the island was now in jeopardy deeply affected this person and showed him just how vulnerable these islands were while having no local inhabitants to act as Guardians!

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