Blood Brothers: Mormons, Genocide, and the Nixon Administration

RussellCulture, Mormon 9 Comments

Charles Radford, a Navy yeoman, present some fascinating questions about Latter-day Saints’ relationship with the government, the law, and politicians. Charles Radford was serving as a navyman aboard a ship in India. He was an active, married Latter-day Saint. In various venues, Radford was a trained stenographer who took down highly-secretive government documents about war actions in various sections of the globe. And he was a spy for the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Yeoman Charles Radford

Charles Radford

A colorful case in point: in March 1971, East Pakistan won the majority of the seats in the National Assembly. This would center power in the ethnically distinct Bengali East Pakistan region. However, the Western military dictator, Yahya Khan would have none of it. He sent his forces to repress the Eastern Bengalis en masse, killing hundreds of thousands of East Bengalis. This would culminate in a flood of refugees to Eastern India—somewhere to the tune of 10 million. This obviously caused strains for the Indo-Pak relations. War broke out quickly—a war which the East Pakistanis won. They eventually broke off and declared themselves to be an independent Bangladesh. Around this same time, a low-level bureaucrat in Dakka, Bangladesh named Archer Blood sent a barely classified (marked with only “secret” instead of “top secret”) memo declaring the U.S. government to be “morally bankrupt” for its complacency on the issue.

Radford had access to key U.S. documents regarding U.S. policy during this war. During the famed

Jack Anderson

India-Pakistan War in 1971, Nixon notably declared the United States to be neutral. However, Nixon was privately “tilting” in their direction, a reality that Radford leaked to fellow Latter-day Saint Jack Anderson, a prominent newsman for the Washington Post through stolen documents . This was no mere geopolitical move, however; Jack Anderson would win a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on the incident. Anderson would later find himself on Nixon’s enemies list and even a possible target of assassination. G. Gordon Liddy even talked to a doctor about putting LSD in his soup. Nixon’s men were also considered trying to tie Anderson and Radford together through a possible homosexual relationship. I do not take that claim at all seriously—this is Nixon after all (and my M.A. thesis is on Nixon—this is a man I know something about).

Faithful Latter-day Saints—what are we to do? Anderson was as active as they come. Radford as well. Was Radford’s actions justified given the horrific situation of genocide taking place? Anderson revealed secret documents about the powers-that-be to the world. Was he standing up for the right or failing to follow Christ’s counsel to “render unto Caesar” and Paul’s counsel to let the powers that be reign supreme until Christ comes again?

Comments 9

  1. I don’t know the salient details of this, and your summary of this matter is too short for me to form an opinion.

    However, on another matter Anderson leaked the identities of US foreign assets, spies or informants, which resulted in them being killed. And it was obvious beforehand that the publication of their identities would lead to their deaths. It was not an accident and their deaths were not unseen.

    In my opinion, Anderson has blood on his hands in that matter. I’d even say Anderson is guilty of their deaths.

    If I had been in a temple at the same time as Anderson, I would have had to walk out.

  2. Post

    Those are interesting and pointed words, Bookslinger.

    For the sake of readers, could you explain what case you’re referring to?

  3. I too read this your article and think that its too short for a unbiased opinion.

    I wonder which way Anderson leans, democratic or republican o what? Plus were they actually concerned about the deaths in what was as a struggle for independence or were they out to just get Nixon? I’ve never heard of Radford but do know that East Bengali had sought independence for decades.

    Maybe a followup post would be a good idea. And what happened with Radford who was under military law after all, so didn’t he break some?

  4. Is it a bad thing to be a traitor to the secret combinations that run our government? Much of what our government does in the world is murder in the name of getting gain or the glory of the world, the very actions which define secret combinations. Someone who speaks out against such actors is ok in my book. I admit I am not intimate with Anderson’s individual case though.

  5. Anderson did much to expose real corruption too, but in his zeal he exposed some foreign good guys working on our side in the cold war, and it resulted in scores of death-by-torture of those foreigners who were working as informants and spies for the US.

    It may be hard to google, because Anderson reported on and was involved in so many different cases. I’m not sure which search words will narrow it down to the case I remember reading about.

  6. Post

    Another segment that details Jack Anderson’s life and work as a Latter-day Saintis forthcoming. Given our desire to make these stories accessible, we try to keep them within a reasonable length. Anderson is the topic of a full-fledged biography by the head of George Washington University’s journalism program, Mark Feldstein. So I hope for readers’ understanding on that.

    Re: Anderson’s political affiliations, while he was decidedly Democrat, a more accurate description of his affiliation would be “muckraker.” Anderson initially allied himself with Joseph McCarthy; after all, Anderson wanted the State Dep’t free of Communists as much as the next guy. He (quite infamously and incorrectly) accused then-Democratic Senator of drunk driving on several occasions…a charge which he soon retracted. Granted, Anderson spilled much ink and much of it was derisive of Republicans. But to think of him as a straight-out Democratic partisan hack would be incorrect thinking.

    In my view, to see Anderson as a model for the social-justice minded Latter-day Saint. He was really just doing his job very well.

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