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Guest Post: Allegation – Americans Flooded Out Millions in Pakistan to Protect U.S. Drone Military Base

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Washington’s Blog

(Video embedded at Washington’s Blog)

Feryal Ali Gauhar served as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Population Fund and is the only UN Goodwill Ambassador who quit over the invasion of Iraq.

Gauhar is a Pakistani actress, filmmaker, writer and human rights activist. Her most recent book is set in Afghanistan. It’s called No Space for Further Burials.

Gauhar told Democracy Now today:

Feryal Ali Gauhar: I just happened to stumble across a contractor … the contractor who built the base, who inadvertently, actually, spoke about it…. So, he actually mentioned to me that the River Indus, which is one of the largest rivers in the world, carrying now a volume of water which has not been known in contemporary history, was breached on the left bank deliberately in order to protect the base, which is on the right bank. And the breaching caused, consequentially, the inundation of an entire district, which resulted in the displacement of millions, not thousands, but millions, because we have 170 million people in the country, and this particular district is one of the most densely populated. So, yes, there is a connect between, you know, what is considered to be a natural disaster, but then the management of that disaster is not natural at all.

Amy Goodman: And this is a base that is used, run by US military, to run its drone attacks?

Feryal Ali Gauhar: Oh, absolutely. In fact, it is a base where non-US military personnel are not allowed. In fact, the person I was talking who was there, who built the base, actually said to me that one of the reasons why non-US military personnel are not allowed is not just for security of the US military personnel, but because they do not wish to share the technology. They are—you know, we’ve had a long historical and political tie with the People’s Republic of China. And so, there is this fear that was expressed while the contractor was working on the base that the drone technology, you know, should remain specifically in the hands of the US military, and it should not be replicated by any other nation. So there is that protection of the technology itself. It’s not just the protection of the personnel.

Even if Gauhar’s allegation is true, she is not alleging that Americans caused all of Pakistan’s flooding. Specifically, the flooding started in the Northwest part of Pakistan, and then spread to the middle and finally the southern-most province of Sindh. The incident which Gauhar addressed took place in Sindh.

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49 comments

  1. Cable Calloway

    Maybe the U.S. also seeded the clouds, again using the drones? Seems a little specious to be posting this one — zero attempt to provide comment from the accused, balance or even corroboration. Yves, and a good example of why the much-derided mainstream media still is superior to blogs. Maybe this is part of a tryout for Fox News?

    1. Brian Sierk

      It was an intentional breach on the opposite levee. This is a very specific charge, and a very serious crime, if proven. If the left bank levee was higher than the right bank levee, its not only plausible, but probable that the levee was intentionally breached.

    2. Parvaneh Ferhad

      This was in the Pakistani press more than three weeks ago and you don’t even need to learn Urdu, Panjabi or Sindhi to read it.

      Pressure mounts for inquiry into embankment breaks
      http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/front-page/pressure-mounts-for-inquiry-into-embankment-breaks-180

      and here
      Jacobabad airbase saved at cost of Balochistan
      http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/Politics/21-Aug-2010/Jacobabad-airbase-saved-at-cost-of-Balochistan

      1. aet

        The reports I’ve seen seemed to blame the large feudal landowners in Pakistan of breaching enbankments, to the detriment of millions, in order to preserve their own lands.

        But I did not know that this activity may also have been carried out to protect US assets.

        A serious allegation….

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      The point of the issue isn’t whether its true or not. If its true, people should be brought up on war crimes, but if its a rumor, this is the kind of thing which results when you blow up weddings in foreign countries. We can’t win hearts and minds, so we have to ask ourselves what are we doing.

  2. Brian Sierk

    Even so, this is a serious charge. I was in Adair County MO when they held the trial of a man charged (and found guilty of) breaching the levee in Hannibal, Missouri during the 93 floods. In older days, this was a shoot on sight, hang on suspicion sort of crime in the US.
    The sentence for the man convicted was life in prison. Ant takers on whether anybody is even rebuked for this?

  3. leroguetradeur

    So Guhar met an unnamed contractor who told him…. Get serious. Where is the evidence? Don’t you think that in “this particular district is one of the most densely populated” place there might be a few people out who would notice large earthworks going on?

    The fact is, you don’t need this explanation for the Pakistan disaster. It is down to the incompetent management of infrastructure aggrataved by an environment of corruption. Religious fanaticism and tribalism do not help.

    Similarly, Aids did not spread in sub-Saharan Africa because of a US plot. It spread because of poor hygiene, the practice of genital mutilation, and sexual promiscuity.

    People really need to look in their own back yards for what they themselves are doing wrong. You’d think reading this stuff that all the evil of the world emerges from Washington to visit woes on the innocent and well meaning victimes all over the world.

    Hysterical nonsense.

  4. Manto

    Have met Faryal Gauhar, she is not the hysterical type. Secondly, various politicians have also been accused with similar stunts, ie protecting their lands by diverting flood waters in a non optimal way, so it is very possible there is some truth. Of course, it’s very easy to claim people are being hysterical and likening it to aids conspiracy theories but you could make such retarded comments about anything the us is accused of.

    As for getting comments from the accused, please let’s get real…they will deny the base even exists just as they won’t even confirm these drone attacks are American. So spare me the “let’s get the US side of the story” bs.

    1. Jon H

      “Secondly, various politicians have also been accused with similar stunts, ie protecting their lands by diverting flood waters in a non optimal way, so it is very possible there is some truth.”

      It could also be that the local politicians and wealthy are blaming the US to deflect blame from themselves.

      As usual.

      1. Manto

        Could be, but I doubt they would use a Pakistani liberal to be their spokesperson. Secondly, other than a few specific instances the feudals are not being blamed for this crisis and this particular story is not getting much airtime in Pakistan so I don’t think that is true.

  5. Albert

    They did notice the effort to do this. Everyone did. It is being reported in the Balochistan region and is posted on news sites from that region. It is not just rumors you arrogant idiot. Just do a search on the region. It was observed and there is nothing the people can do about it because the government of Pakistan, with the enthusiastic help of the US does nothing to protect the people. They kill their own people with our help. Fool.

  6. Glen

    It would be interesting to note how this is being reported in the region.

    And if it is indeed news that’s being suppressed in the US, well then what else is being kept from us?

    1. Parvaneh Ferhad

      It is reported in Pakistan more than three weeks ago:

      Pressure mounts for inquiry into embankment breaks
      http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/front-page/pressure-mounts-for-inquiry-into-embankment-breaks-180

      and

      Jacobabad airbase saved at cost of Balochistan
      http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/Politics/21-Aug-2010/Jacobabad-airbase-saved-at-cost-of-Balochistan

      To name just a two(English) news sources in Pakistan.

      1. BigBadBank

        The first link goes to a rather good piece with a map which shows six breaches (not just one). Both pieces suggest that breaches may have been made to safeguard lands and buildings owned by influential Pakistanis.

        1. Parvaneh Ferhad

          The title (and content) of the second one suggests otherwise in the case of Jacobabad. However, there were other breaches of embankements that are believed to have been done by or on behalf of rich feudal landlords.

  7. ibs

    If the district is in Baluchistan province – then it is the most SPARSELY POPULATED district in Pakistan. So her data is incorrect. Amy Goodman needs to get better more honest sources.

    The simple fact is that all of Pakistan’s money and foreign aid have been spent on the military – no infrastructure, no emergency services, no recovery plans nothing – it is not a state with an army – it is an Army with a state. If they do not blame others then people will revolt and end this crappy state of affairs.

    Pakistanis are famous for all kinds of conspiracy theories – they always try to blame everyone else. If you follow the sport of cricket check out “Pakistan match fixing” on google/youtube – notice how they blame everyone else even AFTER BEING CAUGHT ON LIVE CAMERA.

      1. ibs

        Even according to your own link – there is only one district with 3/4 million people, the rest are less than half a million each. So where is this province where millions got washed out?

  8. Ivan

    Allowing posts like this a very good way to destroy your credibility Ms Smith. I am certain that US Army engineers would have contingencies for severe flooding, after all they were the ones who built the embankments and levees on the Missisippi River. According to the evolving situation the engineers may or may not divert rivers, raise or lower embankments or most likely do nothing at all. The Pakistanis specialise in taking the perfectly innocent and rational actions or lack of it as being directed at them. They suffer from the delusion that the world revolves around them.

  9. prufrock

    I don’t see where the problem is.
    Abusing their power and forgetting that the strongest acheivings were attributable to the ‘soft’ part of it the US is promoting chinese expansion and making the whole thing easier to them. It is such a clear-cut strategy that one must think it is what the US want: at least what the ‘leaders’ – political, financial and the media – want. Don’t have a clear picture of the rest of US… maybe you do.

  10. Neil D

    So what if they did?

    The US long ago gave up the moral high ground. War is hell. Shame on us for ever thinking it was righteous.

  11. Dan Duncan

    Guest Reply: Allegation-The Naked Capitalism Community is riddled with Baby-Killers!

    From Abe Lincoln’s Blog.

    Sue Tulupia is an actress, film-maker, poet and activist. [In other words, she's a "polymath".]

    Tulupia told the influential blog, “Right to Life Now” the following:

    “I just happened to stumble across a garbage man in New York, who inadvertently just spoke about about it. He actually mentioned a dumpster outside Naked Cap headquarters. It was filled with dead babies. Evidently, Yves Smith has an Ayn Rand-like command over her acolytes. They feel the world has too many people. So, each night, they gather in a circle, engage in devil worship, have an orgy and then go out to various hospitals, stealing babies and throwing them in said dumpster.”

    Even if Tulupia’s allegation is true, she is not alleging that Yves Smith as Ayn Rand in this odd community of acolytes has caused ALL of the baby-deaths in NYC.

    _______
    Dan here: Wow, that is some hard hitting stuff, there Abe! Thank you very much for your investigative journalism.

    I know that these allegations might seem outrageous to some, but please note: I am not responsible. Abe does Guest Replies and he does not necessarily reflect my own views and opinions.

  12. Anon

    Amen, finding the period comment from GW in this blog is a little like finding a “Batboy” article from the Weekly World News in the middle of the Lifestyle section of the NYT. Don’t know why Yves post this stuff.

  13. Paul Tioxon

    It is amazing that this can be dismissed with a comment. What is even more amazing is the fact the US Military operates a war on foreign soil, regularly murdering civilians in a war that is continually revised as to the objectives, targets and probabilities of success. No other nation other than Soviet Russia operated like this globally. We still go on as if locked into a life or death struggle with a competing empire with 50,000 thermo nuclear bearing missiles aimed at us for mega death overkill. Organized crime drug cartels are a better equipped and financed threat, but we never over reacted with our drug war to the level as our war on terrorism. Contemplate the military presence of our troops in Pakistan and the world over for that matter. We are a foreign occupying army. That should be enough to make you doubt not the reports of what is done to preserve that presence, but the rational for the fact that we are there to begin with. From that starting point, doing whatever is necessary to carry out the mission is a small step, since being there with our military was the big breach of national sovereignty and signal of the damage to the people in Pakistan yet to come in the prosecution of a war. As we know, war is hell and total war even more so.

  14. Jim the Skeptic

    The source for this article has no first hand knowledge and there are no pictures.

    Thumbs down on this rumor about a rumor!

    1. Manto

      It is an interview not an article, with a source that claims to have a first Hand account. It is a million times better “sourced” than all the articles about drone attacks and all the number 2s they have killed. Funny how you monkeys have no problems believing those.

      1. Jim the Skeptic

        I am reading a Guest post or article on NakedCapitalism which is based on an interview by “Democracy Now” with an actress who talked to a contractor.

        The source is the actress. She is repeating something she was told by a contractor. We don’t have any way of assessing her credibility. There is no independent confirmation of the contractor or his story. And we have no way of assessing the contractor’s credibility.

        I have never heard of “Democracy Now”. I have never heard of this actress.

        Thumbs down on these rumors!

        1. Manto

          Ok so you haven’t met her. Umm how many people in Pakistan have you met that ar involved in flood relief? If you are at all familiar with Pakistani society you would know that Faryal Gauhar is not your typical us celebutard, she has been involved in quite a fewngo type activities. In fact I don’t think she has acted in anything for a decade. But hey since Jim the skeptic doesn’t know brt it doesn’t really matter.

  15. Jon H

    Remember when Washington was posting that the Deepwater Horizon well was shattered and OMGWTF END OF THE WORLD?

  16. lalaland

    Please let us not descend to the level of paranoia, innuendo, and rumor-mongering that afflicts so many parts of the world. We have a free press, free internet, etc to keep those very forces at bay, thanks.

    That posting was, as others have also pointed out, merely I met this guy who said another guy said we did something really terrible. It was one step worse than the last posting I commented on, where the rich NYC bankers, ‘not prone to believing such things’, divulged that the poor were really gunning for them this time. Please. This kind of nonsense doesn’t reflect well on the rest of your otherwise excellent blog.

    1. Parvaneh Ferhad

      The story is confirmed and has been discussed in the Pakistani press some three weeks ago. The only open point is how much – if at all – the US had a hand in it trying to protect their Pakistani Shahbaz airbase from which the US drones are operating.
      For your convenience, I repost the links:
      http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/front-page/airbase-near-jacobabad-under-us-control,-senate-panel-told-980
      and
      http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/Politics/21-Aug-2010/Jacobabad-airbase-saved-at-cost-of-Balochistan

  17. curlydan

    Why are we distinguishing feudal landlords from the U.S. military? Sounds like pretty much the same fellows to me.

  18. acat

    Jim the skeptic – you need a change of name here.

    Normally a skeptic would wish to investigate and then form an opinion.

    Maybe Jim The Compliant, has a nice ring.

  19. FoodforThought

    I find it interesting how people have reacted to this article, which is somewhat critical of US foreign policy. All of the sudden, people need three sources and first hand intel as well as some sort of official WH press statement to think that there might be something funky going on in the world. Meanwhile, quite a bit of the criticism about the WH, Wallstreet and the Treasury seems to be rooted in similar reporting. I just wonder how many people who have hastily commented above have lived in the regions directly affected by US military involvement, especially in the last 10 years.

  20. Eclaire

    Exactly, FoodforThought.

    Albert, in an earlier post, gives a link to the NYT OpEd piece, which I had remembered reading. This mentions a similar situation, with a mysterious US Base, or maybe not. Maybe it is a base that houses only expensive US-built jet fighters and is run by the Pakistanis.

    Of course, the piece, an eyewitness account of the flooding, is written by a novelist with a foreign name, probably one of those unreliable brown people who you can never believe anyway.

    I am reminded of the time, a few years ago, when my husband and I got into a conversation with a pair of Italian college students on the train to Florence. They were on their way to participate in a demonstration against the American military base in the vicinity. I had no idea the US still had bases in Italy. Silly me.

    1. psychohistorian

      It is interesting to see the irregular commenters to this posting wander off the mental universe and cast aspersions on the character of our gracious host.

      I wonder how much of our tax dollars are being spent on comments on NC?

      American Imperialism is not suppose to be discussed in polite company…….

  21. NJ

    We in India have been facing this kind of Pakistani madness for years. The country is completely in control of feudal landlords and the army. Actually this kind of victimized feeling can be seen in the whole of Muslim world. Even in India, where the Muslims are much more moderate in general, there are some who try to incite violence against non-Muslims by spreading CDs of talks by terrorist leaders and quoting such “activists” to show how Islam and Muslims are being victimized. I know there are such people in all religions, but as far as I know, based on my reading of various pakistani blogs, discussion forums, etc. (on a regular basis), the paranoia has gone up unbelievably in Pakistan. Watch Zaid Hamid’s videos on youtube and the comments from Pakistanis there to get an idea.

      1. NJ

        Sorry to disappoint you, but what India has been saying about Pakistan for more than a decade now (that it is the center of terrorism, and that its leadership and the ISI are hand-in-glove with those US is fighting, that there is not much ideological difference between the various terrorist groups,etc.) is just being found out by US and others now, or at least is being accepted publicly. So it would make at least a little bit of sense to listen to India when dealing with Pakistan. It is simply impossible to judge this piece of news based on news items in Pakistani papers or from Pakistani sources because of the reasons I mentioned in my previous post. This does not mean that US has not played a role in the current situation, as it promoted extremism when it needed the jihadis. But anyways, what is this news doing on this website?

  22. ibs

    I apologize for this comment – I regret that I have to put this political stuff on an economics blog – I have 1% of the knowledge that Yves has in economics – but I do know a bit about this region)

    When the British partitioned the subcontinent, Baluchistan was meant to be independent. The Pakistanis snatched the entire province by subterfuge (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baloch_nationalism).

    Yes I agree that American imperialism is no bunch of saints, but this place has a history of its own that predates the founding of America.
    The Baluchis have NEVER submitted to living under the Punjabi dominated Pakistani establishment which treats them like a colony (exploiting its natural gas and ports and giving very little in return). Check out the list of secessionist movements (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balochistan#Secessionist_movements You can click on each to get details about each movement.

    There have been 5 (FIVE) massive rebellions (extremely violent) against the Punjabi Pakistani establishment – check out http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/war/pakistan1.htm. In the fourth rebellion the “tribal” Baluchis almost defeated the entire Pakistani Army – at that point the Iranians stepped in with helicopter gunships and gunned them down (because the Iranians have their own Baluchistan province which is very “restive”)

    IF anyone has deliberately released water here the group with the strongest motive is the Pakistani Punjabi establishment that wants to put Baluchis on reservations/wipe them out.
    addtl info
    http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1933394,00.html

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