THE House of Lords appeal court yesterday reversed the three decisions taken by seven senior judges, in previous court hearings, that the Chagos Islanders have the right to return to their homeland, from which they were evicted with the utmost brutality by British imperialism, so that Diego Garcia could be handed over to the United States to house an enormous military base.
The base has been used to attack Somalia, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and may shortly be used to attack Iran.
The judges made the ruling by a 3-2 majority.
The trio in favour of permanently banning the islanders’ right to return, based their judgement on the position that the reasons the Secretary of State gave in the Orders in Council, signed by the Queen, banning the Chagossians, were essentially political in nature and that judges should not seek to ‘second guess’ them. It was in effect that the law should not apply to political decisions!
The illegal nature of this ruling is underlined by the fact that the monarchy and feudal Orders in Council had to be used as the authority to evict the islanders. The state was too frightened to put the issue before the elected Houses of Commons, because of the importance to imperialism of the US having a base in the region. It opted for a feudal decree!
The reality is that the three judges acted as if they were representing US imperialism, not the British legal system and its ‘right to return to one’s homeland’.
The US made it known that the right to return of the Chagossians, if allowed, would pose a security risk to the base in Diego Garcia, as far as it was concerned.
The British government then jumped to attention and worked hard and saw to it that the state, in the form of the House of Lords appeal, came to the conclusions that the United States administration and military wanted adopted.
The two dissenting judges were clear. This was that the right to return to one’s homeland was ‘one of the most fundamental liberties known to human beings’, and that to deny it ‘added insult to injury’.
This is the most fundamental liberty that the British government and the House of Lords have trampled all over. The outcome of the exercise – the overthrowing of the judgements of three previous court hearings and seven senior judges – pleases only the Brown government and the US administration.
That this is a disgraceful legal decision is obvious. The basic rights of British citizens have been trampled on to satisfy the requirements of US imperialism.
The Guantanamo military commissions would not have done a better job.
This decision must be reversed. The trade unions, which support the Chagos islanders’ right to return, must organise mass demonstrations and rallies, and mobilise millions of British workers to see that the Chagossians get their rights.
In fact, this injury to the Chagossians is an injury to every British worker.
If the interests of the United States can so dominate a British government and the House of Lords Court of Appeal, as they have over this issue, to abolish a British right, then a precedent is being established for future US interventions, based on strategic grounds, challenging other rights of British workers, as capitalist Britain becomes more and more the poodle of the US.
The News Line therefore urges the trade unions to act, and to mobilise and to call a whole series of actions in support of the Chagossian people and their right to return.
The message has to be that the capitalist state’s attack on the Chagossians’ right to return is an attack on the British workers.
This attack must be defeated by the mobilisation of millions of workers to bring down the Brown bankers and bosses government, to bring in a workers government that will carry out socialist policies at home and abroad.
Among its first actions will be the closing down of the US base on Diego Garcia and the shutting down of the House of Lords.