Monday, October 17, 2011

America’s Secret Empire of Drone Bases: Its Full Extent Revealed for the First Time

A ground-breaking investigation examines the most secret aspect of America's shadowy drone wars and maps out a world of hidden bases dotting the globe.
October 16, 2011  |  


Photo Credit: U.S. Air Force Photo/Lt. Col. Leslie Pratt
They increasingly dot the planet.  There’s a facility outside Las Vegas where “pilots” work in climate-controlled trailers, another at a dusty camp in Africa formerly used by the French Foreign Legion, a third at a big air base in Afghanistan where Air Force personnel sit in front of multiple computer screens, and a fourth that almost no one talks about at an air base in the United Arab Emirates. 
And that leaves at least 56 more such facilities to mention in an expanding American empire of unmanned drone bases being set up worldwide. Despite frequent news reports on the drone assassination campaign launched in support of America’s ever-widening undeclared wars and a spate of stories on drone bases in Africa and the Middle East, most of these facilities have remained unnoted, uncounted, and remarkably anonymous -- until now. 
Run by the military, the Central Intelligence Agency, and their proxies, these bases -- some little more than desolate airstrips, others sophisticated command and control centers filled with computer screens and high-tech electronic equipment -- are the backbone of a new American robotic way of war.  They are also the latest development in a long-evolving saga of American power projection abroad -- in this case, remote-controlled strikes anywhere on the planet with a minimal foreign “footprint” and little accountability.
Using military documents, press accounts and other open source information, an in-depth analysis by AlterNet has identified at least 60 bases integral to U.S. military and CIA drone operations.  There may, however, be more, since a cloak of secrecy about drone warfare leaves the full size and scope of these bases distinctly in the shadows.
A Galaxy of Bases
Over the last decade, the American use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and unmanned aerial systems (UAS) has expanded exponentially as has media coverage of their use.  On September 21st, the Wall Street Journal reported that the military has deployed missile-armed MQ-9 Reaper drones on the “island nation of Seychelles to intensify attacks on al Qaeda affiliates, particularly in Somalia.”  A day earlier, a Washington Post piece also mentioned the same base on the tiny Indian Ocean archipelago, as well as one in the African nation of Djibouti, another under construction in Ethiopia, and a secret CIA airstrip being built for drones in an unnamed Middle Eastern country (suspected of being Saudi Arabia).
Post journalists Greg Miller and Craig Whitlock reported that the “Obama administration is assembling a constellation of secret drone bases for counterterrorism operations in the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula as part of a newly aggressive campaign to attack al-Qaeda affiliates in Somalia and Yemen.”  Within days, the Postalso reported that a drone from the new CIA base in that unidentified Middle Eastern country had carried out the assassination of radical al-Qaeda preacher and American citizen Anwar al-Aulaqi in Yemen. 
With the killing of al-Aulaqi, the Obama Administration has expanded its armed drone campaign to no fewer than six countries, though the CIA, which killed al-Aulaqi, refuses to officially acknowledgeits drone assassination program.  The Air Force is less coy about its drone operations, yet there are many aspects of those, too, that remain in the shadows.  Air Force spokesman Lieutenant Colonel John Haynes recently told AlterNet that, “for operational security reasons, we do not discuss worldwide operating locations of Remotely Piloted Aircraft, to include numbers of locations around the world.”
Still, those 60 military and CIA bases around the world, directly connected to the drone program, tell us a lot about America’s war-making future.  From command and control and piloting to maintenance and arming, these facilities perform key functions that allow drone campaigns to continued expanding as they have for more than a decade.  Other bases are already under construction or in the planning stages.  When presented with our list of Air Force sites within America’s galaxy of drone bases, Lieutenant Colonel Haynes responded, “I have nothing further to add to what I’ve already said.”

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

The opposition is in better shape than ever

Delighted opposition supporters in Seychelles got a massive boost when the election results were announced. We saw clearly that we are a force to be reckoned with, and that our strength is on the increase despite all the obstacles placed in our path to discourage us. Seychellois are demonstrating that slowly, slowly we are getting more determined and will soon smash the barriers before us to claim a Seychelles that is truly free and democratic. The opposition is solid and will stand by all Seychellois, and defend them and our country.

SNP supports opposition movement

For the election boycott campaign, SNP joined with NDP and Mr Boulle to encourage Seychellois to either stay at home or spoil their vote. We led this struggle together and we have let the government and the international community know that we are serious and that we will not be pushed around. The result shows that this calculated strategy worked. It is our country, Seychelles, that was the great winner in this election. The conclusion that everyone, especially Mr Michel and his government, must get is that Seychellois will stand firm when it is necessary. For our rights, we will do it.

SNP supports the democratic process

The election result also shows that we still have a very long way to go towards true democracy, despite 18 years of multi-party system. SNP once again extends its support to all partners in the opposition to continue the fight for democracy. We renew our search for better laws and better practices for us to make progress. We will support the Seychellois people, to make sure that our people and country get what is best. There is no place for mediocrity in our democracy.

Stand firm for Seychelles

We call on all those who have always supported us to stand firm. We are looking ahead in a serious manner and we must level the playing field. There is no place for discrimination and favouritism in our country. There is no emperor or lord in our country to dominate our lives and our future. This land is for all of us. Together, we will decide its destiny. As we always say, “Sesel i pou Seselwa!” This means we all have a stake in it and we will never allow anyone to command our lives. We will forever remain the master of our destiny.

We push on with the struggle

Since 1977, many have been struggling for democracy in our country. Others joined the struggle later and today more people are showing determination and coming forward to play their part in moving this country forward. We need everyone, if we are to succeed in this struggle. We need to consider all ideas to find the best strategy. We ask you to come forward. If we do not do it for our country, we will go backward. Together, let us show our determination and together we will pull off a real victory for Seychelles.

Anonymous said...

SNP has to fix itself before it can fix the country. What is the problem with SNP? Can't you start your own blog? What are you afraid of? Why are you sabotaging this thread with your lies? How come you have no comment on Bernard's shady deals? I think you must be hiding some drones.

Anonymous said...

SPPF abandons its newborn baby

Seychellois watched the political spoof closely. The racket of hurrying up to form a political party just to take part in the elections did not go down well with the people. Everyone detected that this was just a manoeuvre to give credibility to the elections and to pretend that democracy exists in Seychelles. Parti Lepep was banking on a caricature opposition in the assembly. Their anger is aimed at Ramkalawan. Now that their plan has come to nothing, we see that they are already distancing themselves from the one they were manipulating. That is classic SPPF/Parti Lepep behaviour. We thought some would be alert to these practices, but unfortunately we saw that certain people were prepared to exchange their soul for favours. They have it coming.

The first sign that the step-parents are cutting off the umbilical cord is the court case. We would have thought that Parti Lepep too would have gone to court to contest the way the Electoral Commission is doing its job. But what did we see instead ? They have quietly named their 6 proportionately elected members and left Pierre to his own devices. Isn’t there a lesson for someone to learn ?

Pulling Pierre's strings

Parti Lepep has another way of destroying you. They build you up, allowing you to think that you matter to them. As you get going in your new guise, they cut you down to size. That’s the other thing that is taking place. They invite Pierre to see the MNAs swearing in and he turned up open-mouthed. But that was just a gimmick. They take him for a marionette, because they know they can pull his strings anytime. Later, we will hear the result on the news. That’s what we call a humiliation and it is coming.

Seychellois know this very well. Later, those who have allowed themselves to be used will sob about how they were discarded. How many times have David Pierre and Jane Carpin made this very point in their speeches in the national assembly ? Were they deaf to what was coming out of their mouths ?

Seychellois, SPPF/Parti Lepep know that their plan has failed. They do not need PDM anymore. Stay tuned and we will see how another bunch of people have been discarded once their “use by date” was up.

Opposition supporters, come together and stand up for real democracy in our country.

Anonymous said...

Magna Pathetic SNP!

Anonymous said...

Never mind Pierre and Carpin, they will find their way back in an opposition camp.

What does the opposition have to say on the drones that are stationed in the Seychelles?

How much money is the Seychelles government making in its involvement in the war against Al Qaeda?

All this may be good for balancing the books and covering the failure of PP but it also makes us responsible for the attacks on independent countries or terrorist groups and it puts us at risk of retaliation.

Anonymous said...

The key is lost

During the last election campaign, Marie-Antoinette Rose, in her usual arrogant style, went on SBC and said that some people think they take the key to democracy with them in their pocket when they leave. She might have spoken the truth for once. It seems that the key to the leader of the opposition seat has been lost and David Pierre has gone to the constitutional court to hunt it down with the help of Tiroz herself. It is never good to speak too soon, in case it turns out to be true. They even talked about wasting money on the Mont Fleuri bye-election. But, please, don't be shy to tell us how much has been wasted on this scam election !

Herminie misses the opposition

Herminie came close to shedding crocodile tears over the absence of opposition in the assembly. His real problem is that he is a bully. He will now have no one to lord over and to shout “out” at. For our part, we would rather call him “Miss” rather than “Speaker” because he acts more like a P1 teacher. Is that the “New Assembly” ?

Veterans parachute in to take over

The young and the not so young have already had an appreciation of how their party functions. The veterans have been parachuted in and have taken the jobs. In the fight over titles, even Wilby Lucas has come a cropper. That is wrong. The ‘legal eagle’ has been thrown away on the compost. Potter is furious because she did not get her foreign embassy. Deco is frustrated because Potter has not made way for him. The happy Larry is Pool. The people are keen to see how this so-called assembly is meant to operate. We will keep you posted. Promise.

Didn’t like it inside, don’t like it outside

What are we to make of David Pierre and Jane Carpin ? Neither of them has ever won an election. It was thanks to SNP that both of them became “honourable members” and got a taste of the national assembly. Pierre bailed out, without being pushed. Carpin raised a finger and dismissed herself. Now that they are both out of the assembly, they have tried to get back in. The people said “sorry, no way Jose”. They are still fighting to get back in. Seychellois have realised that these two are “lost”. We really need a new tune with the title “I didn’t like it inside, I don’t like it outside either”.

Anonymous said...

JP you better be careful about spreading lies on Bernard Georges. This conversation was between lawyer and client, it's privileged. Go and read the Judgment of France Bonte and Percy Ah-Man, Ah-Man had to pay damages which ruined him and from which he never recovered.

Anonymous said...

And the present of those Arab depots to the likes of Khalifa and Co who are already being chased by terrorists in their own countries increase the risks of seeing our peaceful country being the target of terrorists and all that because of a gang of crooks call Pp.

Time to take our country back and restore its sovereignty.

Jeanne D'Arc

Anonymous said...

Make my day bann ziferan!

Anonymous said...

There are no lies being spread.

Information is information. It is not subject to Attorney Client privilege if the client volunteers information and approves of its release.

Here the release is on internet and not a publication, silly. It is virtual.

Georges has sold out his client. He was working for Michel the only person higher then FIU in Seychelles.Listen to the end of the digital. That is the key.

Sell outs!

Where is SNP going to hide now?

There is more coming.

Anonymous said...

Does it continue after the end ? Still can't see where you got your stuff ?

Anonymous said...

Only the client can rely on the right to privilege. In this case it appears client waived/gave the tape to be published. It is tne client who taped the conversation.

Anonymous said...

Precisely. The client taped and the client gave.

Why?

Because Client did not trust Georges.

Secondly, Client was screwed by Georges and higher up then FIU.

Simple.

That is the point.

All sell outs must be exposed. It may be uncomfortable, and it may alter our perceptions of reality, but it must be done.

If we do not expose sell outs, Seychelles quest for a better country will never be achieved.

We must change our ways to make further progress.

We must not attack Georges personally, but be big enough to attack his bad action.

Seselwa Unite!

Sesel Pou Seselwa!

Christopher Gill

Anonymous said...

Precisely. The client taped and the client gave.

Why?

Because Client did not trust Georges.

Secondly, Client was screwed by Georges and higher up then FIU.

Simple.

That is the point.

All sell outs must be exposed. It may be uncomfortable, and it may alter our perceptions of reality, but it must be done.

If we do not expose sell outs, Seychelles quest for a better country will never be achieved.

We must change our ways to make further progress.

We must not attack Georges personally, but be big enough to attack his bad action.

Seselwa Unite!

Sesel Pou Seselwa!

Christopher Gill

Anonymous said...

Precisely. The client taped and the client gave.

Why?

Because Client did not trust Georges.

Secondly, Client was screwed by Georges and higher up then FIU.

Simple.

That is the point.

All sell outs must be exposed. It may be uncomfortable, and it may alter our perceptions of reality, but it must be done.

If we do not expose sell outs, Seychelles quest for a better country will never be achieved.

We must change our ways to make further progress.

We must not attack Georges personally, but be big enough to attack his bad action.

Seselwa Unite!

Sesel Pou Seselwa!

Christopher Gill

Anonymous said...

Precisely. The client taped and the client gave.

Why?

Because Client did not trust Georges.

Secondly, Client was screwed by Georges and higher up then FIU.

Simple.

That is the point.

All sell outs must be exposed. It may be uncomfortable, and it may alter our perceptions of reality, but it must be done.

If we do not expose sell outs, Seychelles quest for a better country will never be achieved.

We must change our ways to make further progress.

We must not attack Georges personally, but be big enough to attack his bad action.

Seselwa Unite!

Sesel Pou Seselwa!

Christopher Gill

Anonymous said...

Precisely. The client taped and the client gave.

Why?

Because Client did not trust Georges.

Secondly, Client was screwed by Georges and higher up then FIU.

Simple.

That is the point.

All sell outs must be exposed. It may be uncomfortable, and it may alter our perceptions of reality, but it must be done.

If we do not expose sell outs, Seychelles quest for a better country will never be achieved.

We must change our ways to make further progress.

We must not attack Georges personally, but be big enough to attack his bad action.

Seselwa Unite!

Sesel Pou Seselwa!

Christopher Gill

Anonymous said...

Fucking hell Gill ou begeye pa posib? Do you have to repeat four times? I know this is your forum but leave some space for us bougla
nek nek nek nek nek nek ou click click click click......

Anonymous said...

Go easy on Gill. We have put him under a lot of pressure. Don't kick a man when he is down.

Rhonda Gendron Murphy said...

..
The Implications of Kenya’s Military Operation in Somalia | PRI's The World
www.theworld.org just a link.. from NPR..

Anonymous said...

And who calls themselves Jeanne D'Arc ? Fake is fine as long as they support Parti Laliberte (PL).

Anonymous is not fake.

Fake Anonymous said...

Gill puts too much emphasis fake;
Fake profile, Fake DNA,fake orgasm, fake party tou ketsoz i fake with Gill....even his surname!
Non Gill?....or is it Gill...?

Fake anonymous

Anonymous said...

We have to strike the hammer while the iron is hot! The whole world is standing up against greed and we have to do the same even if it means kicking those who pretends to be down.

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