The Obama administration is building a network of secret drone bases to expand its illegal campaign of extra-judicial executions deeper into Africa and the Arabian peninsula, the Washington Post reported today.
The paper cited US officials as saying that the government is establishing a new drone installation in Ethiopia, has reopened a drone base in the Seychelles and is constructing a secret drone airstrip "somewhere in the Arabian subcontinent."
"One of the installations is being established in Ethiopia, a US ally in the fight against al-Shabab, the Somali militant group that controls much of that country," the Post reported.
"Another base is in the Seychelles, where a small fleet of hunter-killer drones resumed operations this month after an experimental mission demonstrated that the unmanned aircraft could effectively patrol Somalia from there."
The Post said Washington's rapid expansion of the undeclared drone wars "is a reflection of the growing alarm with which US officials view the activities of al-Qaida affiliates in Yemen and Somalia, even as al-Qaida's core leadership in Pakistan has been weakened by US counterterrorism operations."
Officials at the White House declined to comment on the report.
But the chief of US military operations in Africa indicated this month that the US intended to intensify offensive operations there.
General Carter Ham claimed that three Africa-based terrorist groups - al-Shabab, al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb and Boko Haram in Nigeria - have agreed to conduct joint operations against Westerners.
The Obama administration does not officially acknowledge that it deploys drones to kill people in foreign countries because the assassination campaign breaches international humanitarian law.
In a 1998 report the United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial summary or arbitrary executions was adamant that extrajudicial executions "can never be justified under any circumstances, not even in time of war."
Last month progressive Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich warned that the US military's increasing reliance on drones was serving to "foment anger and resentment" towards the country.
"We have spent years in Afghanistan and Iraq under the guise of nurturing democracy and the rule of law while at the same time our use of unmanned drones severely undermines the rule of law," Mr Kucinich declared.
Washington's covert drone war on Pakistan's tribal areas alone is believed to have killed up to 775 civilians since 2004.
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