New Statesman, Feb 25, 2008
An apology by David Miliband over the use of UK territory in US rendition flights leaves questions about claims of a secret prison facility on Diego Garcia
At any one time, there are three or four British policemen on the island of Diego Garcia. Ostensibly they are there to maintain law and order in this tropical, palm-fringed part of the British Indian Ocean Territory.
In reality, they confine themselves to confiscating pornographic DVDs and drugs from the island’s population of 3,500 which is made up of 1,000 US military personnel and 2,500 civilian workers – all but three of whom come from the Philippines and Sri Lanka.
What the members of the Royal Overseas Police certainly haven’t been doing is collecting evidence about the use of the island’s military base for the CIA’s practice of extraordinary rendition.
Last week David Miliband was obliged to make a humiliating apology to MPs after it emerged that – contrary to previous government statements from Tony Blair, Jack Straw, Kim Howells and Lord Malloch-Brown – two CIA flights carrying rendition suspects did, in fact, land at Diego Garcia in 2002.