Postcard: Diego Garcia

This coral atoll in the middle of the Indian Ocean is a key base in the war on terrorism and, not surprisingly, rarely visited by civilians. Our correspondent is on the scene

GeoEye Satellite Image

Satellite image of airstrip on Diego Garcia, an atoll located in the heart of the Indian Ocean, some 1,000 miles (1,600 km) south off India's southern coast. Since the enforced depopulation of Diego Garcia in the years leading up to 1973, it has been used as a military base by the United States.

Here's a mental exercise: picture a tropical paradise lost in an endless expanse of cerulean ocean. Glossy palm fronds twist in the temperate wind along immaculate, powder white beaches. Leathery sea turtles bob lazily offshore, and the light cacophony of birdsong accents the ambient sound of wind and waves.

Now add concrete. Lots and lots of concrete. And B-2 bombers. Toss in a few high-value terrorists, disembarking from an unmarked CIA jet, most likely hooded, shackled and headed for days and nights of the closest thing to torture that American interrogators can come up with while still claiming not to have...

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