America’s Covert War in East Africa

Surveillance, Rendition, Assassination

Clara Usiskin

A tough-minded investigation of how legal process and human rights have been ignored in the search for often non-existent terrorists in Africa.

Bibliographic Details
America’s Covert War in East Africa Paperback
January 2018£17.99

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Clara Usiskin has spent eight years investigating the ‘War on Terror’ and its effects in the East and Horn of Africa, documenting hundreds of cases of rendition, secret detention and targeted killings. As a result of her work exposing abuses carried out by regional governments and their international partners, Clara was deported from Kenya and Uganda and is currently persona non grata in both countries.

Her book sets out the historical background to today’s covert war, including the early Somali jihads and British repression in colonial Kenya, through to the 1998 US Embassy Bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, and President Clinton’s early rendition programme. America’s Covert War in East Africa then looks at the US Military’s new Africa Command, with its emphasis on counterterrorism, alongside increasing use of targeted killings by security forces in the region, and continued renditions and secret detention.

Finally, Usiskin investigates the shorter and longer term consequences of such intensive militarisation, and the proliferation of surveillance and other technologies of control in East Africa and its surrounding waters, focussing in particular on their impact on vulnerable ethnic and religious groups in a highly volatile region.


Clara Usiskin is a human rights investigator who documents national security-related abuses around the world, with a particular focus on the East and Horn of Africa. She was formerly a national security fellow at the Open Society Justice Initiative and Deputy Director of the Secret Prisons team at Reprieve.

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