Camp Thunder Cove, formerly Camp Justice is a United States Navy and Air Forces support facility within the US-UK Naval Support Facility on Diego Garcia, a small, strategically located, isolated island in the Indian Ocean. The island is in the Chagos Archipelago, part of the British Indian Ocean Territory.
United States forces have used Diego Garcia since at least the mid-1960s, under lease from the United Kingdom. The island has port facilities and an airstrip capable of handling large aircraft. Currently, 1,700 military personnel, mostly United States forces, with around 50 British troops, and a further 1,500 civilian contractors reside there.
The facility fills several roles. The installation serves as a support facility for both surface fleets and submarine units in addition supplying regional operations in conjunction with Military Sealift Command. The base is also home to a sophisticated radar, space tracking and communications facility along with a fully operational joint Navy and Air Force airfield.
Construction of Camp Justice was the impetus for the British government's expulsion of the Chagossians. The entire population of approximately 1,600 Chagossians were removed from 1967 to 27 April 1973, resulting in financial compensation being paid out to the former inhabitants as well as several legal challenges.
Starting in 1990, the base saw another round of rapid improvement and expansion. Conflicts in the Middle East necessitated the construction of two exceptionally long (2.3 mile) runways, heavy aircraft storage and maintenance facilities and a large fuel depot.
The camp was renamed "Thunder Cove" in July 2006.
"The existence of a US airbase on the island of Diego Garcia has consistently brought controversy on the government," he [British MP Tom Brake] said. "After the recent prisoner abuse scandals in Iraq and Camp X-Ray, the British people have the right to know whether suspects in Bush's War on Terror are being held on British soil.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
A British colony lying midway between Africa and Asia in the Indian Ocean, the island is one of 64 unique coral islands that form the Chagos Archipelago, a phenomenon of natural beauty, and once of peace. Newsreaders refer to it in passing: "American B-52 and Stealth bombers last night took off from the uninhabited British island of Diego Garcia to bomb Iraq (or Afghanistan)."CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
For the United States, meanwhile, Diego Garcia has grown into a multibillion-dollar base, which the military likes to call the "footprint of freedom." About 4,000 miles closer to the Persian Gulf than homeland bases, it has played an increasingly important role in US attempts to control Middle Eastern oil and natural gas supplies. During both Gulf wars, the island has been used as a launch pad for long-range bombers and prepositioned weaponry and supplies destined for Iraq. Air Force personnel flying from Camp Justice, a new facility built after 9/11, dropped more ordnance on Afghanistan than any other units during the 2001 invasion. Over the last two years, the Bush administration has upgraded a submarine base and added extra wartime supplies--with the motive, some journalists have speculated, of preparing for a possible strike against Iran's nuclear facilities.mirror