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America in Pakistan

Posted by on Sep. 21, 2013 at 3:31 AM
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Interesting book review from The Economist


The Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger and a Forgotten Genocide. By Gary Bass. Knopf; 499 pages; $30. Buy from

UNTIL 1971 Pakistan was made up of two parts: west and east. Both Muslim-dominated territories were born out of India’s bloody partition 24 years earlier, though they existed awkwardly 1,600km apart, divided by hostile Indian territory. Relations between the two halves were always poor. The west dominated: it had the capital, Islamabad, and greater political, economic and military clout. Its more warlike Pashtuns and prosperous Punjabis, among others, looked down on Bengali easterners as passive and backward.

The split into Pakistan and Bangladesh was perhaps inevitable. It began in late 1970, after Pakistan’s first national elections. To the shock of West Pakistanis, an easterner, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, won a sweeping victory, and was poised to lead the country. His Awami League wanted greater rights for Bengalis. But the army chiefs and politicians in Islamabad would not countenance his taking office. They arrested him and the army began repressing eastern protesters.

Bengalis flocked to join the rebel forces who were fighting for independence. West Pakistani soldiers stationed in the east, plus a few local supporters, began targeting students, writers, politicians; especially the Hindu minority. Soldiers massacred civilians, burned villages and sent millions fleeing to India. Eventually some 10m became refugees, mostly Hindus. At least 300,000 people were killed; some say the death toll was over 1m.

Seen from America, where Richard Nixon was president, the war was a domestic Pakistani affair. India’s leader, Indira Gandhi, claimed otherwise. She called the floods of refugees a humanitarian disaster that threatened regional stability. She wanted international action, demanding that America tell Pakistan’s leaders to stop the killing. Nixon, urged by his national security adviser, Henry Kissinger, refused.

In “The Blood Telegram” Gary Bass, a Princeton academic (who once wrote for The Economist), sets out to assess America’s handling of the war. He argues that the killings amounted to a genocide: Hindus, as a distinct minority, were chosen for annihilation and expulsion. He asks why Nixon continued actively to support the Pakistani leaders who were behind it.

At the behest of Mr Kissinger, Nixon sent military planes and other materiel to Pakistan, even though he knew this broke American law. He deployed an American naval task force to the Bay of Bengal to intimidate India, which had begun helping rebels in East Pakistan. Most extreme, he secretly asked China to send troops to India’s borders. He did so accepting a risk of Soviet retaliation, even that nuclear bombs might be “lobbed” around in response.

Nixon and Mr Kissinger stood with Pakistan, even as they knew of the extent of the slaughter. Their own diplomats told them about it. The centrepiece of Mr Bass’s gripping and well-researched book is the story of how America’s most senior diplomat in East Pakistan, Archer Blood, the consul-general in Dhaka, sent regular, detailed and accurate reports of the bloodshed. Early on he stated that a “selective genocide” was under way.

Blood and his colleagues protested that America should not support Pakistan’s rulers. Then, 20 of them sent a dissenting telegram (the “Blood telegram” of the book’s title) condemning America’s policy. It was an extreme and idealistic step for a diplomat, whose career was soon cut short. Though the telegram did not change American policy, it rates as an historic document. Such open dissent is extremely rare.

Mr Bass does a good job of explaining Nixon’s wilful support of Pakistan. Using newly released recordings of White House conversations between the president and Mr Kissinger, he sets out with admirable clarity what else was at stake. In part it was personal. Nixon, a man of few friends, was notably fond of Pakistan’s military ruler, Yahya Khan, a gruff, dim-witted, whisky-drinking general. Nixon compared the Pakistani favourably to Abraham Lincoln. By contrast he despised India’s wheedling civilian politicians, reserving a particular dislike for Gandhi, whom in private he frequently called a “bitch” and “witch”.

More important, Pakistan was a loyal cold-war ally, whereas India was seen as leaning towards the Soviet Union. Crucially, Mr Kissinger early in 1971 was using Pakistan as an essential secret conduit to China. He flew via Islamabad to Beijing to arrange for Nixon to make his own trip to see Mao Zedong. Better relations with China would allow America to wind down the war in Vietnam.

Ultimately, Mr Kissinger did much to set America’s course. He argued that America should pay no heed to domestic horrors in Pakistan, saying “you can’t go to war over refugees”, and warned that India was a greater threat to international order. Indian “bastards”, he agreed with Nixon, needed a “mass famine” to cut them down to size.

Mr Bass depicts Mr Kissinger as increasingly erratic, perhaps overworked, as East Pakistan’s secession became inevitable. He is quoted calling the conflict “our Rhineland” (in reference to the start of the second world war) and warning that India would “rape Pakistan”.

Mr Kissinger adopts a magisterial tone in the one chapter he devoted to the India-Pakistan crisis in his 1979 work, “The White House Years”. He refused to speak to Mr Bass for this book, and glosses over the Blood telegram in his memoirs, never explaining why he ignored the entreaties of the diplomats on the ground. That is a pity, because America’s response to the war has reverberated over the years.

The 1971 war poisoned regional affairs for decades. It ended when India’s army intervened, having supported East Pakistan’s rebels for months, and crushed the Pakistani forces within days. Pakistan was humiliated, yet no Pakistani soldier has been held to account for the mass slaughter that provoked the war. Pakistanis by and large prefer not to discuss it. The war did convince them that India might next try to break up the remaining western rump of their country, perhaps by supporting Baluchi separatists on the border with Afghanistan. A sharp mutual suspicion still lingers between the neighbours, helping ensure that Pakistan’s army dominates—and damages—the country still.

Nor did the war do much for India. Eventually the refugees went home, but relations with Bangladesh soon soured. At home Gandhi became suddenly more popular. But she then descended into authoritarianism, even suspending democracy. Inside Bangladesh the war remains a live political issue as alleged collaborators in the conflict (all opposition leaders) are being tried by a flawed, local war-crimes tribunal. This week, one defendant was sentenced to death by the Supreme Court.

Could things have been different if America, having listened to Blood, had pressed Pakistan not to slaughter its own people in 1971? Mr Bass does not speculate directly. Yet if a peaceful secession of Bangladesh had been possible, many lives would have been saved and a source of deep division in a troubled region would have been removed.

What ongoing effects in the region, and how America is seen there, do you think this had?

Do you think it has implications for what America's policy today ought to be on intervention in genocide?

by on Sep. 21, 2013 at 3:31 AM
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by on Sep. 21, 2013 at 12:06 PM

Nor did the war do much for India. Eventually the refugees went home, but relations with Bangladesh soon soured

I think the whole situation was very "very" sad..and as you can always goes back to the "same" thing.  How many times do we hear other countries say "the U.S. needs to stay out of our business" and/or if we intervened  then they end up at square one eventually again... but the goodness what a horrible HORRIBLE  tragedy.. . I never was a Kissinger fan..and I'm surprised at his reaction to "Indians" considering he grew up in an antisemtic time in Germany.  And he's another one (imo) that questionably won a nobel peace prize for resolving??the war in Vietnam?? I can't remember all of it but he was an odd duck (imo)..  And the American public (or at least I'm going to assume so) doesn't and/or didn't have much respect for Nixon. Even Indira Ghandi changed..(below).

At home Gandhi became suddenly more popular. But she then descended into authoritarianism, even suspending democracy. Inside Bangladesh the war remains a live political issue as alleged collaborators in the conflict (all opposition leaders) are being tried by a flawed, local war-crimes tribunal. This week, one defendant was sentenced to death by the Supreme Court.

All in all this was a good and intersting read I had never heard of this before.

What ongoing effects in the region, and how America is seen there, do you think this had?  Honestly I'm not up on all current and/or past events of peoples, genocides, and/or wars of other countries.  But from what I read..I think that  India is not as respected and they intervened..  People want "fixes" and answers but when they get what they want..then they start theiir own little retaliation war in someway. They want the help but they "know" whats best for them so ergo don't want  help with solutions from other countries just the help..yet they get in these "fixes" and then the cycle repeats itself..(imo).

Do you think it has implications for what America's policy today ought to be on intervention in genocide?  I think this is what the U.N. was created for and I think the U.N. is as worthless as worthless can be..quite frankly. Why are they getting make policy or to intervene in these types of situations?  They are more concerned with the zimmerman case (if I recall) than they are about Syria..just "rediculous"..  Get rid of the U.N. "then" look to other countries for solutions. Do you realize how many wars or interventioins there would be if every country got into other countries "business"..   The U.N. should be doing something about this.  If you (general you want countries to intervene) ..why not Russia..where was their concern..or China..or England..why does it have to be America?  And I have little respect for India..sorry..even though they intervened..look at it today..there's either "very" poor or "very" rich..and mostly poor in that country today. 

In my opinon people of the country or countires in question and/or people of the world don't care who intervenes or who don't..they will still complain about the country that is being attacked or the countries that go in to intervene or don't go into intervne..because there's always two sides to the story..and eventually each side will make it's case against what's actually the truth going on within their borders and a case against or for those who come in to intervene.  Look at what's happening in one knows who the "bad" guys are..and yet Obamas been arming the rebels..and now gas was used.. and by who?? No one knows..  How about in 5-10 years someone writes an article that says IF Obama had not been arming the rebels..gas wouldnt have been used..  Or America provided the gas along with the guns..or the gas came from Iraq sanctioned by Syrias president....and Americans didn't do their job getting rid of the Weapons of mass destruction in Iraq..ergo causing this genocide.   Is that a possibility?  Don't know.. There's always two sides to the story..and frankly I'm getting tired of the U.N. looking  for weapons of mass destruction..took them 16??years and they still didn't find it in Iraq but they KEEP looking?? And of course they tell the country when they are coming in which is like telling your basic street corner drug dealer what time the cops are going to show up for a raid..  I think this matter should be handled by the U.N..or "again"..get rid of the U.N..then go to other countries looking for help.. Why isn't Obama over at the U.N. yelling at the top of his lungs?  Look below..this is what the U.N. is concerned about..besides what drink they are going to have before lunch.

UN Demands Obama “Nullify” Stand Your Ground Laws

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Wildly overstepping its bounds while revealing a profound ignorance or disdain for America’s constitutional system of government, the United Nations demanded on September 3 that the Obama administration “nullify” Florida’s popular “stand your ground” law. Of course, the president cannot “nullify” anything, let alone state law — and especially not on meaningless orders from the UN.

However, the increasingly out-of-control global bureaucracy claimed in a press release that the U.S. government was “required” to obey its mandates. Unsurprisingly, though, critics promptly ridiculed and lambasted the UN across the Internet, taking apart its bogus claims and once again calling for American withdrawal from the scandal-plagued “dictators club.” 

In the press release, the group of self-styled UN “independent experts” began by calling on the Obama administration to finalize its “review” in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman. Of course, Zimmerman was cleared of all charges by a jury of his peers earlier this year as experts said the prosecution was out of line even bringing the half-baked case to trial.

Thanks largely to deceptive media reporting and agitation by professional race mongers and the Justice Department, however, the self-defense killing attracted global attention last year. Among the many bizarre and ignorant reactions were demands in the case from the dictator-dominated UN “Human Rights Council” that were blasted by critics as outrageously inappropriate — even silly.   

Now, though, the planetary entity has gone even further, purporting to demand obedience from the American people even on state self-defense laws. “States are required to take effective measures to review governmental, national and local policies, and to amend, rescind or nullify any laws and regulations which have the effect of creating or perpetuating racial discrimination wherever it exists” (emphasis added), claimed Mutuma Ruteere, the UN “Special Rapporteur on Racism.”

In UN speak, “states” are national governments, which the UN presumes have unlimited power to defy constitutional restrictions in submission to global bureaucrats. However, in America, as the UN almost certainly knows by now, nullification refers to actions by state governments aimed at stopping unconstitutional usurpations of power by federal authorities. Across the country, dozens of states have nullified lawless federal statutes, and the trend is accelerating quickly. 

Apparently, the UN has not been following the Zimmerman-Martin case very closely either. For one, jurors already ruled that the killing was justified. Secondly, there was not even a shred of evidence presented by any source that Zimmerman, a Hispanic with a long track record of support for blacks, could in any way be thought of as a racist. There is also the fact that the defense did not even cite Florida’s “stand your ground” protections during the trial, mostly because Zimmerman had no way to flee even if he had wanted to.

Finally, studies about the popular law cited in countless media reports revealed that blacks rely on Florida’s “stand your ground” protections far more often than whites as a proportion of the population. Blacks in Florida are also successful using that defense at a higher rate than whites, according to data compiled by researchers. The majority of those killed in Florida “stand your ground” cases, meanwhile, have been white, too.

The UN, seemingly living in some sort of parallel universe where facts are irrelevant, suggested that the state’s protections for self-defense rights are somehow “discrimination” against blacks. “We call upon the U.S. Government to examine its laws that could have discriminatory impact on African Americans, and to ensure that such laws are in full compliance with the country’s international legal obligations and relevant standards,” said UN “human rights expert” Verene Shepherd, chief of the so-called “UN Working Group of Experts of People of African Descent.”

Stand your ground, of course, is a state law that has been adopted in some two dozen states so far. Despite the demands by the self-styled UN “human rights expert,” the federal government does not have any laws to “examine” for “compliance” with “international legal obligations.” That is mostly because the Constitution gives no power to Washington, D.C., to regulate or restrict self-defense rights, so it was not immediately clear which of “its laws” the U.S. government was called on to “examine.” It appears as though Shepherd must have been confused or ignorant about the American system of government, or alternatively, openly disdainful of it. 

“The Trayvon Martin case has highlighted the importance of the need to review those existing laws and policies that can have a discriminatory effect on the basis of race, as African Americans become more vulnerable to such discrimination,” Shepherd continued. She also cited various UN agreements including the “International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,” the “International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination,” and “many other international human rights law treaties;” inaccurately suggesting that they confer some sort of extra-constitutional powers on the federal government to meddle in state affairs and restrict individual rights. 

As The New American and countless constitutional experts have explained on numerous occasions, UN agreements and international treaties cannot be used to expand federal powers beyond those outlined in the Constitution. That absurd myth has been debunked since America’s founding, in fact. “I say the same as to the opinion of those who consider the grant of the treaty-making power as boundless,” noted Thomas Jefferson in 1803. “If it is, then we have no Constitution.”

More recently, the Supreme Court ruled in the landmark 1957 Reid v. Covert case that Washington, D.C., could never expand its lawful powers just by signing and ratifying an international treaty. In its ruling, the high court found that “no agreement with a foreign nation can confer power on the Congress, or on any other branch of Government, which is free from the restraints of the Constitution.”

Still, this is hardly the first time self-styled planetary “authorities” have demanded that the U.S. federal government violate the Constitution to enforce UN schemes. Even in the Trayvon Martin case — as local, state, and federal investigations were ongoing — UN “High Commissioner for Human Rights” Navi Pillay demanded an investigation and questioned Florida’s self-defense laws.

"As High Commissioner for Human Rights, I call for an immediate investigation," she told reporters, seemingly unaware that three probes were already well underway to determine the facts in the case. "Justice must be done for the victim.” Despite her bold statements, Pillay, a South African, was without question speaking without knowing the facts in the case.

“It's not just this individual case. It calls into question the delivery of justice in all situations like this,” she continued. Painting herself as the planet’s “human rights” enforcer, she also questioned the law and expressed “shock” that Zimmerman had not been arrested. “I will be awaiting an investigation and prosecution and trial and of course reparations for the victims concerned," she added forcefully, apparently misunderstanding the nature and scope of her job.

Critics promptly made a mockery of her statements and stepped up calls for the U.S. government to defund and withdraw from the almost comical global entity. As analysts noted, in America, the U.S. and state constitutions recognize that everyone has the right to be considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law by a jury of their peers. Americans also cherish their unalienable right to keep and bear arms — also protected by the Constitution — despite UN pressure to infringe upon it.

Ironically, the misnamed UN “Human Rights Council” purporting to be concerned about the United States is composed of more than a few ruthless Islamist and Communist dictatorships that are notorious around the world for viciously abusing the rights of the people they enslave. Among the tyrannical regimes represented on the dubious entity are those ruling over Cuba, Saudi Arabia, Uganda, and China — some of the most despotic on Earth.

The UN’s priorities were almost incredible. As millions of North Koreans wasted away in concentration camps while the UN gave the dictator sensitive technology, as Chinese women were forced to suffer UN-assisted abortions for defying the communist regime’s “one-child policy,” and as UN troops were being accused of sex crimes around the world, the global body was busy attacking the unalienable human rights guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution.

Separately, the UN was also occupied lashing out at Canadian authorities for relatively low taxes and allegedly failing to provide enough welfare. Because many women still stay home to care for their children, Switzerland was also in UN “Human Rights” crosshairs for supposedly not having enough “gender equality.”

As the UN itself explains in its “Declaration of Human Rights,” it believes “rights” are "granted" by governments, not the Creator as explained in the U.S. Declaration of Independence. The global entity also claims “rights” can be limited “by law” — essentially redefining rights as revocable, government-granted privileges. “These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations,” the declaration also states.      

In recent years, UN efforts to restrict the rights, votes, and sovereignty of Americans have become increasingly threatening and outlandish. Late last year, for example, The New American reported that UN “International Narcotics Control Board” (INCB) boss Raymond Yans demanded Obama quash state sovereignty and the will of voters by overturning the repeal of marijuana prohibition in Colorado and Washington State, which nullified unconstitutional UN mandates and federal statutes.

“These developments are in violation of the international drug control treaties, and pose a great threat to public health and the well-being of society far beyond those states,” Yans alleged, again putting the UN’s ignorance or disdain for America’s system of government on full display for the world to see. Last week, the Obama administration defied the UN demands and said it would not challenge the state measures repealing prohibition, for now — possibly for fear of losing the battle. But the UN is not done yet.

As The New American has also documented extensively, the planetary entity is quietly but quickly working to transform itself into a global government. From so-called “sustainable development” and Agenda 21 to absurd “human rights” demands and perpetually expanding bureaucracies, the UN has made substantial progress — and it is accelerating. Analysts say the best way to stop the scheme in its tracks would be to get the United States out of the UN and cut off all funding immediately.      

Alex Newman, a foreign correspondent for The New American, is normally based in Europe. He can be reached at 

Related articles:

UN "Human Rights" Boss Questions Fla. Law, Demands Justice for Trayvon

State vs. Federal: The Nullification Movement

UN Demands Obama Smash State Marijuana Legalization

Feds Will Respect State Sovereignty on Marijuana, Says AG Holder

Fomenting Racial Backlash: Media Manipulation on Race and Crime

Zimmerman Not Guilty; Unrest and Calls for Federal Charges Begin

The United Nations: On the Brink of Becoming a World Government

Vermont Nullifies UN-Mandated Federal Marijuana War

UN Ridiculed for Attacking Poverty and Demanding Tax Hikes in Canada

After Admitting Failure, UN Targets U.S. and Demands Expanded Drug War

UN Troops Accused of Sex Crimes Worldwide

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