Monday, March 2, 2009

Don't ask fox to guard chiken coop!

Couldn't resist sharing. Sorry for the long post. From:

My fellow countrymen,
We need to pay attention to Mej Gen Fazlur Rahman. I think we should all appreciate all the constructive criticisms and other alternate views and many plausible scenarios that a lot of people have offered already. If we all pursue our own thesis, gradually, I believe we are going to start to get the whole picture. In order to thoroughly dissect the ulterior motives of all political parties and foreign influences and the potential roles that some of them may have played to orchestrate this ghastly massacre we need to be open-minded and be willing to entertain all possibilities.

In our pursuit for truth, we shouldn’t hesitate to question the very authority that at this very moment appears to be righteous. A lot of people on this forum have already offered tantalizing possibilities and I salute you all for your insightful comments. Together, as free people with our inalienable rights to voice our concerns, we need to continue to engage ourselves in this kind of dialog if we are to force a proper investigation of this massacre and crack open this massive conspiracy and bring the rogue elements to justice.

First, let's talk about the MULLAH parties. We, the citizens of one of the most moderate Muslim countries in the world, have become hostages of these fundamentalist religious zealots. BNP, the Jatiya Party, and others have been making concessions to these fanatics and in the past have used them as trump cards for political advantage. It’s about time that we demand the reversal of what Sheikh Mujib and Zia did and un-pardon these murderous thugs. If the trails of the investigations lead to even one member of these fundamentalist groups we’d need to disband these groups and start the wholesale deportation of the principal chieftains back to Pakistan or Saudi Arabia, the countries where their allegiance belong truly belong.

Regarding the re-building of the BDR from ground up to disinfect this institution from the poisonous grasp of the fundamentalist force, I must say that we’d continue to get the same result until we find a way to stop the flow of Saudi money from ending up in the constructions of thousands of Madrasahs and stop the recruitment and brainwashing of massive number of impressionable poor children that turn to these Madrasahs for bare sustenance. The crushing poverty in our country gives these violent fundamentalist groups, which are 100% funded by the murderous wahhabi regime in Saudi Arab and their allies in Pakistan, the ideal fertile ground to create an army of suicidal and delusional puppets that are capable of inflicting unfathomable carnage and destruction to advance the political agendas of their fanatic Wahhabi ideologue masters.

What is more disconcerting is that these religious fanatics have incorporated various military entrance exams as part of their Madrasah curriculum and infiltrating various branches of our armed services in terrifyingly disproportionate number. It’s just a matter of time before we end up with the same situation that we now have in Pakistan where the fundamentalists constitute a large core of the powerful central command. In a recent New York Times article, an ex Pakistani colonel who joined the Pakistani military academy in the same year as ex Pakistani president Parvez Musharraf (an active Al-Qaeda activist in disguise) wrote his experience about how the Pakistani military was transformed from a secular entity into its fundamentalists dominated present form a few decades ago. We are witnessing the same forces at work trying to transform our own military (and I’d be fooling myself if I pretend that large segment of our armed services hasn’t been infiltrated already).

There’s no denying that the religious fundamentalists are busy at work trying to destabilize our democratic institution and create another TALIBAN state in Bangladesh. However, I wouldn’t be too quick to allow our disdain for these **roaches to blind us of other tantalizing possibilities.

A lot of people have suggested that the massacre was probably part of the conspiracy to topple the government. Really? Does anybody honestly believe that at any point during the seize bunch of foot soldiers armed with SMGs and Chinese Rifles restricted inside a small compound with no access to armored vehicles, heavy artillery, or air support and other supplies posed any significant threat to our government, which was backed by all three branches of the REAL military? Whoever or whichever force was behind this conspiracy wasn’t probably that delusional. According to Mej General Fazlur Rahman and other top level army officials, a full blown army assault would take at best 30 minutes to bring the muting under control. We’d be underestimating the intelligence of our enemy and doing ourselves a disservice if we allow ourselves to become trapped with the “government toppling” theory.

How about the theory of trying to create public unrest? That’s a distinct possibility. However, the killings of such high number of military officers in one clean sweep, which the killers executed with clinical precision, something unprecedented in the history of modern military warfare, suggests that the conspirators had a very well defined agenda and not some nebulous notion of creating “public unrest.” It strikes me as somewhat odd that the militant fundamentalists would choose this operation as an opportunity to create public unrest, considering the numerous other ways they could have achieved the same objective with fewer potential causalities (on their side).

If the military were to blast their way inside the Pilkhana compound and quell the rebellion by force the BDR body count would have been enormously high (off course, that point is moot at this point considering the tens of thousands of jawans that **cally disappeared in thin air). If we are to believe that the reach of the MULLAH party extended so deep inside the various ranks and files of the BDR that they were able to stage a public revolt knowing fully well of the repercussions and the potential loss of thousands of its diehard members within the BDR organization, well, that would be quite a stretch. The Mullah party has spent decades building their base within the BDR and spent millions of dollars to infiltrate the organization. They are not going to sacrifice their investments in one ill-conceived and short-lived mission just for the sake of creating some “public unrest.” If creating public unrest was the main objective then the nationwide synchronized bombing that "Bangla Bhai" pulled off a few years ago would have been a lot more low-cost low-casualty but highly effective strategy.

And, then off course we have the issue of putting the Army and the BDR against each other. Our military strength is at its highest when the Army and the BDR and all other branches of the military are supporting each other and forming a united front. If the objective of the militant fundamentalists was the creation of friction between the BDR and other forces and the eventual complete dissolution of the border security force, then I must say that the Mullahs have achieved their objective.

However, from the vantage point of the militant fundamentalists that hardly seems to be the scenario that they would have wanted. Not only does it make and recruitment and training of thousands of madrasah-educated BDR members, an investment that took them decades to put together, totally meaningless it also suddenly makes our borders with India extremely vulnerable, which the Mullahs wouldn’t find agreeable under any cir**stances.

So, who else would want to turn our much revered BDR into an extinct entity and weaken our ability to defend our borders with sufficient force? How about BNP? But BNP is currently owned and controlled by the same forces that control the militant fundamentalists, so their ambitions and objectives are one and the same. How about the Awami League? The close ties between the Awami League and the Indian government since the creation of our nation is beyond debate.

Would Hasina be part of anything such barbaric and inhuman to abolish the BDR and open our border to her Indian masters? Well, that’s a tantalizing possibility worth much debate.
The father of our nation Sheikh Mujib was the catalyst that allowed us to secede from the murderous Pakistanis. He put his life on the line for the country repeatedly and endured physical torture while being imprisoned in West Pakistan throughout the liberation war, which eventually allowed us to snatch a great victory against a formidable opponent (with significant help from India). At great personal cost, he gave us, the Bengali people, our own country and the gift of being able to determine our own destiny.

At the beginning, Sheikh Mujib had the support and die-hard loyalty of both the people and the military. If Sheikh Mujib had asked the people to jump over a cliff, half the population would have obeyed him without asking any question. But the honeymoon didn’t last very long. As Prime Minister of the free Bangladesh Sheikh Mujib couldn’t have failed more miserably. Throughout his reign, his cronies and his party affiliates turned the country into their own personal ATM machines. Billions of dollars in foreign aid disappeared in thin air while millions of people starved and littered the streets of all cities with their skeletal dead bodies. Just as Saddam’s wretched sons would go out on joy rides and snatch beautiful women from all over Baghdad for their personal enjoyment, Sheikh Mujib’s two sons were also notorious for snatching pretty women from all over Dhaka and created a never ending nightmare for all.

Sheikh Mujib never tried to hide his disdain for a strong military. He never felt the need to have strong home grown military capable of defending its own borders. He openly talked about disbanding the military altogether and created his own Rokhi Bahini. The Rokhi Bahini was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousand of students and political dissidents. I know, all these sound like fairy tales to some of you. But these are historical facts and unless you lived through that time you’d have a hard time believing them just by reading history books.
It was the military that eventually assassinated the father of our nation and consolidated their power for the long haul.

After Mujib, it was Zia’s turn to shepherd the destiny of our young nation. Zia ruled for five years with dramatically different approach from Mujib and with better results. However, he was also soon assassinated by his own military brothers. These days, it’s common knowledge that Hussein Muhammad Ershad was the mastermind that orchestrated Zia’s assassination. But Ershad has always been one smart cookie and he not only survived 10 years as the head of the state he continues to play a leading role in domestic politics to this date.

I’m not trying to give anybody a very simplified history lesson here but merely trying to bring into light the key assassinations that rocked the nation since the birth of our nation. A nation that doesn’t know its own history is liable to make the same mistakes repeatedly and no where is this more relevant and evident than in the history of our own country.

So the question that begs to be addressed is why was Sheikh Mujib opposed to a strong military and in our ability to defend our borders? I’m afraid we can’t answer that question without taking into account the geo-political relationship between Bangladesh and our next door superpower neighbor. Throughout the history of human civilization, strong military powers have always hated and tried to dismantle another strong military presence alongside their borders. India is no exception in this regard and, historically, never tried to mask their contempt for our military build-up since the assassination of Sheikh Mujib.

India fought two major wars with Pakistan and was only too happy to play a key role in the dismantling of Pakistan. India was never too happy to see their key ally (Mujib) to suffer the consequences and since then has played the role of an extremely disgruntled antagonist. India never tried to be the friendly neighbor. Instead of playing the role of a gracious neighbor and encourage trade and commerce between the two nations they decided to be a constant sore in our butt and pester us in every conceivable way.

India repeatedly defied the International laws and built numerous dams in the upstream of some of our most prominent rivers without the slightest regard for the desertification and other deadly consequences on vast areas of its next door neighbor. The Indian government has allowed the contructions of countless "Phencidyle" and other addictive drug manufacturing companies throughout our borders knowing fully well the devastating effects of those drugs and their potential to totally destroy the minds of our youth. The BSF (with the help of a few corrupt BDR members on our side) works as the agent for these companies to facilitate the movement and distrubution of these drug throughout our country. From the vantage point of the Indian government nothing wold be more desireable than converting our **ry into a land of mindless and spiritless zombie-like creatures.

BDRs are our first line of defense against potential enemies. They fight with the BSF on a daily basis. Those of us that have never really lived closed to the border areas have no idea how unstable and fragile and tenuous life close to the border can be. The BSF outnumber the BDR by ten to one in most border security posts and they have chosen to engage our border security forces every single day.. The BSF routinely provokes the BDR and instigates indiscriminate shooting. This daily harassment is routine for our BDR brothers. A lot of times the BSF kill innocent farmers and livestock. Other times, they kill members of the BDR. Much of this remains unreported most of the time in our daily news. It’s just part of the daily reality for our brothers in BDR. Not a day goes by when at least a few members of BDR doesn't bleed for the country.

However, in spite of being outnumbered and outgunned by the BSF and in spite of suffering occasional causalities every now and then our brothers in BDR can keep the BSF in check and in line most of the time. As Mej Gen Fazlur Rahman stated, the embarassing defeats of the BSF in the hands of the BDR in Raumari and Padua are reasons enought for them to want to plot against the BDR and deliver a deadly blow as revenge for their shameful defeats. The members of BDR are fierce in battle and they watch over our borders with utmost dedication and they lay down their lives in the line of duty every single day. The massive public sentiment against the BDR that's being brewed right now is not a good sign for our Para-military forces.

The historic friendly relationship between the Indian government and the Mujib family is well-known and has been much do**ented. The Awami League, including its founder, made numerous efforts in the past to weaken our military power and our ability to successfully defend our borders. It doesn't require too much i**nation to connect the dots and figure out who gains the upper hand with a crippled and de-moralized BDR. The Indian government has always hated the BDR and treated them with utter contempt. A weakened and much-maligned BDR (or even ABOLISHED BDR...YES, you heard me right...the BDR can become abolished altogether) only helps the Indian government and the leadership of our current government.

If India didn’t have to worry about Pakistan and Pakistan’s potential interference in case of India’s territorial ambitions in its eastern border, India would have annexed Bangladesh years ago and we would have ceased to exist as a free sovereign nation from the face of the world map.

The point I’m trying to make here is that India suddenly has a renewed interest in the politics of Bangladesh now that the Mujib family has finally returned to power. It would be a mistake to assume that the allegiance and loyalty that Sheikh Mujib cultivated with our next door neighbor is no longer a valid point to consider. Just as her father, Hasina has a history of close ties with India. In the past, Hasina has repeatedly visited India and spoke to top level members in the Indian government. During her first tenure as prime minister, Hasina begged people to give her another chance on national TV. She asked her fellow countrymen and women to forgive her party’s past mistakes and promised for a new era of peace and prosperity. And then she reneged on all her promises and attempted to unleash the same reign of terror her party was guilty of during the Mujib era.

If Hasina had made an even a half-hearted attempt to win the hearts and minds of our people during her first tenure as Prime Minister, Khaleda Zia (the other miscreant that we hope would never get back to power) could have never turned her political fate around so quickly. A few years ago, after her first term ended and she was voted out of office, Hasina went out of her way to spread egregious lies about the torture of Hindus in Bangladesh at a UN forum with total backing from the Indian political machinery. This is a lady that has repeatedly shown her extreme lack of patriotism. She has repeatedly sacrificed the interest of her country to advance her political ambitions. She has a proven track record of doing away with ethics and moral virtues for political expediency.

According to the surviving witnesses, the initial volley of shooting that killed most officers inside the Darbar Hall came from so called "soldiers" who were already in civilian clothes. The survivors also stated that large number of the killing force outside Darbar Hall that hunted down the officers and killed them was also in civilian clothes. Most of the faces of the jawans we saw on TV during the seize speaking with the reporters were probably foot soldiers that had absolutely no clue about what was really going on. Folks, ordinary foot soldiers don't demand to meet with the prime minister and talk about surrender- GIVE ME A BREAK. They were told to repeat those lines to the reporters by the senior leaders of the shadow forces that were part of the killing machine and which we haven't identified yet.

The estimated BDR presence before the killing had begun was close to FIFTEEN thousand. After the jawans surrendered and returned to the barracks their number dwindled to merely three hundred!!! Folks, more than 98 percent of the BDR jawans escaped. Can you even begin to comprehend this fact!!! It doesn't require the brains of a rocket scientist to realize that by the time the remaining clueless foot solders put down their weapons, the real perpetrators had enough time to actually leave the country. As a matter of fact if we can manage to successfully lift the veils of this conspiracy someday, there's a very good chance that we might find the real perpetrators were not members of the BDR at all. They might very well turn out to be members of the military or even members of Special Forces of foreign origin.

Also, the military, the police, and the RAB cordoned off the entire Pilkhana and adjoining areas while more than FOURTEEN THOUSAND AND SEVEN HUNDRED BDR jawans escaped through the barricades. Is this really believable?!?! God help us, since we must have the most inept military force in the whole wide world. If we were to believe this then we must gather all those escaped BDR jawans and give them the highest military award for successfully executing the greatest escape in the history of warfare.

As a matter of fact, if our military, the police, and the newfangled RAB really couldn’t prevent the enemy from escaping through their fingers right under their noses then we should really be fearful of their fighting abilities and their abilities to defend us. These guys couldn’t stop an unarmed retreating enemy from cir**venting a heavily guarded barricade and disappearing in thin air in broad day light. How are these very same people ever going to protect us if we were to face a heavily armed real enemy!?!

The new details that are emerging are even more disturbing. Nobody knows yet who ordered to turn off electricity for the entire Pilkhana and surrounding areas at night and why. Nobody can also figure out why the army was told to move back their barricade up to FIVE kilometers from their original position!!! The day after the attack everybody saw more than 20 ambulances going in and out of the Pilkhana compound while the official casualty count remained at 7!!! What were those vehicles doing and what were they carrying out?

It appears that the BDR jawans were not only given the perfect backdrop to escape throughout the night, some of them were also given official armed escort services for safe passage out. Folks, this is not rocket science. All those thousands of people managed to escape because it was all part of the script or pre-planned strategy, the very same script that the killers methodically executed to commit the most barbaric slaughter in the heart of our capital. At this point, it wouldn’t sound too much of a farce to state that the retreating jawans were actually ALLOWED to escape. Maybe, that was also part of the script.

So, given Hasina’s past actions, her close ties with India, her willingness to sacrifice national interests to please her Indian masters, her treacherous nature, and her extreme lack of moral and ethical virtues would it be too far-fetched to entertain the notion that she might have indirectly aided and abetted the conspirators to pull off this barbaric assault as the first step toward the fulfillment of the long term objectives of her Indian masters?

If this recent development leads to the eventual dismantlement of Bangladesh Rifles and the whole notion of border security suddenly becomes a thing of the past and we suddenly find ourselves at the mercy of the BSF to redefine our borders who do you think winds up as the supreme beneficiary? The fact that our current government failed to prevent close to fourteen thousand BDR jawans from disappearing in thin air cannot and should not be allowed to disappear from our minds.

Yes, it is true that the negotiations with the BDR representatives and the eventual surrender of the BDR saved the lives of a lot of army families. But the colossal failure to catch the perpetrators would hang over Hasina’s government as black clouds even if subsequent investigations reveal the true identity of the conspirators and Hasina turn out to have no role in this conspiracy altogether. I’m afraid the current government must bear 100% responsibility for this colossal failure in damage control.

And We can't allow ourselves to pay any attention to certain groups of people that have been calling for the dissolution of the BDR. PLEASE. You just don’t dismantle the BDR, a 77 year old institution, and replace it with another border security force in a jiffy. Once dismantled, it would take decades to properly recruit and train a new security force. Also, regardless of whatever terminology people have been using to label the a few rogue members of the BDR responsible for this heinous crime, we need to be careful before calling the BDR “dead.” Just as you don’t dismantle the entire Army, Navy, and the Air Force and replace them with new Army, Navy, and Air Force units simply because some members of these forces participated in numerous Coup d'états at various time in the past and slaughtered their fellow military brothers in similar barbaric manner, you don’t label a seventy thousand superbly trained and mostly dedicated and disciplined essential force as “war criminals” in one broad brush and disband the entire force altogether. It simply cannot be allowed to happen.

Speaking of military Coup d’états, let’s not be negligent of the potential role the military may have played. During the 5 years of general Zia’s tenure we had a relative period of piece and prosperity. However, the appearance was way more deceiving than we could have ever i**ned. It wasn’t years after Zia’s assassination that tremendous amounts of details started to leak out about more than twenty five failed Coup attempts that Zia survived before finally suc**bing to the brilliant plan hatched by Ershad and his cronies. Zia’s military intelligence was able to intercept most of those Coup attempts and foil the efforts of the military conspirators with deadly counter strikes.

It has been estimated that Zia alone executed thousands of military personnel including a large number of very high ranking officers to survive the dangerous high stake world of “military rule – third world style.” It would be naïve for us to think that our military is a drastically different entity today from the days of general Zia. If past is any guide then we need not make a giant leap to conclude that our military is in a state of constant flux. It is made of a diverse group of very aggressive and highly ambitious group of hot blooded soldiers with their own agendas that often times clashes with each other. It is quite likely that within the military world Coup D’états take place with remarkable frequency and the public stays in the dark and knows nothing about them most of the time.

Who is to say how many times Ershad crushed Coup attempts against him and how many military personnel he had to kill to survive ten long years? And who is to say how many Coup attempts our current military chief had to squash in order to maintain his reign in power during the last few years of upheaval and political unrest? And who is to say that the military wasn’t behind the whole slaughter getting rid of a huge swath of high ranking officers that were perceived to pose a threat to the current hierarchy and not loyal to the cur** administration? Suddenly the transfer of some of the brightest senior army officers from RAB to the BDR and the transfer brilliant arme officers from the Army to the BDR in last few months don't sound like mere coincidences anymore.

Also, aasn’t the military mostly in charge of barricading the Pilkhana compound? If the military was really behind this massacre then suddenly the disappearance of fourteen thousand BDR jawans doesn’t seem that implausible anymore.

And finally, no conspiracy theory can be complete without entertaining the potential involvement of foreign powers and their willingness to interfere with the domestic affairs of third world countries. We live in a world that’s crashing at the weight of its own debt. There is a raging energy crisis all over the globe and a lot of the traditional foreign powers are desperate to explore and exploit cheap sources of energy. Foreign governments are more than willing to intervene on behalf of their multi-national companies. If forming new alliances with former enemies or killing a few hundred or a few thousand or even a few millions of innocent third world dwellers is the price of admission they must pay then that’s exactly what they are willing and ready to do. So what is it that Bangladesh, one of the poorest third world countries, has that foreign powers might be interested about? Yup…you guessed it right…ENERGY.

Folks, our country is literally floating on oil and gas!!!
Just to fully comprehend the scope of operation of these multi-national companies lets consider the fact that Chevron, the largest among the international oil companies (IOCs), is building a massive petro-chemical (oil) refinery (capacity 300,000 bbls/day) in Bangladesh. The multi-national oil companies are building oil refineries in all third world countries since the environmental fallout from these refineries are staggering and it's impossible to get permits to build similar refineries anywhere else in the first world nations. The cost of properly disposing the millions of tons of toxic byproducts simply doesn’t justify the costs.

Here in Bangladesh, not only can they take advantage of dirt cheap labor they can also pollute at will and dump the toxic fallout in our air and waters. The refinery will supposedly import crude from outside the country, refine it, and then sell it in the export markets. Chevron is currently in Bangladesh with daily gas production of around 780 mmcfd, which is over 40 per cent of our total daily gas production of around 1,800 mmcfd. Chevron produces gas from three of its existing gas fields - Moulvibazar, Jalalabad and Bibiyana - and supplies to the national grid. When you break it down in plain English this is what you get... 1,800 million cubit feet per day is equivalent to 300,000 barrels of oil equivalent (boe). Now multiply that by an average crude oil price of US$50/ barrel (the price of oil was more than $140/barrel less than five months ago. It’s likely to go up again. So the dollar figure is on the very conservative side). That equates to US$15 million per day. Multiply that by 365 days in a year and you have a whopping US$5.5billion (Tk 385,000 crore – using $1=Tk70) in revenues per annum!!!

Now do you think we have been getting American aids all these years for nothing!!! How about India? The energy shortage problem there is reaching a crisis level and hurting their rapid fire growth of recent years. Now do think India has nothing to look forward to on our side of the border? PLEASE...

Lastly, you can’t ask a fox to guard the chicken coop. We as a nation must ask for an independent commission to investigate the slaughter and not put the current government in charge of uncovering the details. If we were to truly crack open this massive conspiracy we can’t rely on closed door sessions; we got to have an open public tribunal where all evidences and testimony would be available for all to examine. We must track down all guilty parties regardless of their party affiliations and bring them to justice. Maybe, it's time we bring back the old-fashioned public hanging one more time. As a sovereign democratic nation we owe it to ourselves. And that’s the least we can do to properly honor our fallen heroes.

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