Island of the “Hunter-Killers” — The Seychelles Sells Out to the U.S. Military

 image: Maj. Eric Hillard, U.S. Africa Command

John Galt  
Activist Post

How much does it cost to purchase a tropical paradise island as a base for hunter-killers?  $5.5 million for 4 months, according to an unclassified cable obtained by WikiLeaks. This is the amount of revenue that three programs of the U.S. Military are estimated to have generated for the Seychelles economy at the end of 2009. All that is required is to be complicit as a host for MQ-9 Reaper drones known as “hunter-killers” that are contributing to death from a distance via drone warfare in six countries.

The U.S. Military has a fairly sordid reputation for using “lily pad” outposts for military testing, training, research and bases of operation. The Seychelles is an island chain located in the Indian Ocean 930 miles east of mainland Africa making it a private, yet strategically placed location for the operation of the MQ-9 Reapers. It is also a nice luxury setting for the military, compared to where the battles actually take place. The money being spent by the American taxpayer via the military team on the ground is a boon for the Seychelles economy, but the cable reveals a startling expenditure at a time when Americans are hungry and jobless at ever-increasing levels.

The summary of expenditures is as follows, due in part to a signed U.S. / SOFA agreement:

Taken directly from the cable obtained by WikiLeaks:

There were, for example, twelve ship visits, three Flag Officer visits — General Ward (AFRICOM), Rear Admiral Kurta (CJTF-HOA), and Rear Admiral Sanders (CTF 151) — a three month P-3 Deployment (including three P-3 aircraft and 113 personnel), various training programs for local Seychelles government/military staff, and a UAV Operation, OCEAN LOOK, (including 82 contractors and military personnel). For bookkeeping purposes, the military divided the activities into three categories: P-3 Deployment, UAV Operation, and Ship Visits. The P-3 Deployment contributed   approximately $1.4 million in revenue, in the following areas: 

Lodging/Billeting $548,852 
Vehicle Rental $79,672 
Facilities/Services $34,659 
Food/Liberty $127,069 
Air Seychelles Services $5,000 
Aircraft fuel $644,839 
TOTAL: $1,440,091  

The UAV Operation, OCEAN LOOK, contributed approximately $3.1 million in revenue, 

in the following areas: 
Lodging/Billeting $1,457,784 
Vehicle Rental $51,760 
Facilities/Services $598,363 
Food/Liberty $937,260 
Aircraft fuel  $70,777 
TOTAL: $3,115,944 
The Ship Visits contributed approximately $0.9 million in revenue, in the following areas: 
Facilities/Services   $600,000 
Food/Liberty  $293,400 
TOTAL: $893,400 

The total contribution for the three military programs was $5,449,435; a significant amount to the Seychelles economy.   

The Seychellois have already taken notice of the economic benefits. Seychelles Secretary of State Jean Paul Adam observed that local shop owners and restaurateurs have commented that the U.S. military is bringing steady income into hotels, restaurants, and shops: a direct influence of the American presence. In addition, an indirect benefit has been an increase in tourist confidence resulting from the security provided by the U.S. military.


Travelers of good conscience everywhere should immediately boycott the Seychelles for welcoming a foreign imperial power on their soil; they should not view U.S. military presence as “tourist confidence” and security.  In fact, the island is already known to be relatively safe for tourists.  From Wikipedia:
Seychelles performed excellently on the 2010 Ibrahim Index of African Governance, ranking 2nd out of 48 sub-Saharan African countries, with an overall score of 79 out of 100, second only to Mauritius, which received a score of 83. Particularly good were its scores in Safety and Security, Participation and Human Rights, and Human Development. The Ibrahim Index is a comprehensive measure of African governance, based on a number of different variables which reflect the success with which governments deliver essential political goods to its citizens.
The Seychelles is no desperate, starving nation; in fact, it is economically more well-off than America in many respects.  It is governed as a republic and currently enjoys a 2% unemployment rate, 14th lowest in the world. Its economy is a fairly well-balanced combination of local agriculture, fishing, exports, tourism, and foreign investment. 
From Wikipedia

Since independence in 1976, per capita output has expanded to roughly seven times the old near-subsistence level. Growth has been led by the tourist sector, which employs about 30% of the labour force, compared to agriculture which today employs about 3% of the labour force…

…In recent years the government has encouraged foreign investment in order to upgrade hotels and other services. These incentives have given rise to an enormous amount of investment in real estate projects and new resort properties…

Even the IMF issued a favorable first-quarter report after a recent visit:

Economic activity continues to be on the rise, supported by a strong tourism sector. Consumer price inflation remains low (about 2 percent year-on-year) as the increase in international prices of food and fuel have not yet passed through to domestic prices. The present fiscal and monetary policy stances continue to be geared toward maintaining macroeconomic stability and reducing public debt.

The Seychelles is particularly vulnerable, economically, to a decrease in tourism.  Tell them that you have no intention of visiting, and that you are spreading the word, until the American drone installation is shut down and all personnel sent home.  Your hard-earned travel dollars should be spent in nations supporting peace, freedom, and human rights, not an island that welcomes hunter-killers. 
The Seychelles should be derided for their complicity in supporting undeclared wars, human rights violations, and war crimes, when they profess themselves to represent otherwise.  To make your voice heard, contact your country’s Ambassador of Tourism for the Seychelles Islands, as well as your embassy and consulate. You might also want to give a call to the Four Seasons Resort.
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