Thursday, April 30, 2009

Swine flue conspiracies

While pigs worldwide are perfectly in healthy condition, a virus in their name has caused deaths and panic around the world. It will take some time to gauge the impact of this deadly virus, already labelled as new biological weapon to depopulate the world.

The Internet is now abuzz with a host of conspiracy theories about the spread and scale of swine flu. Before dismissing those, take a look at some of those theories:

1. This one compiled a list of 10 conspiracy theories.

2. This one asks to be aware of those conspiracy theories.

3. This one claims exposing the big business behind the spread of swine flu.

4. Newscientist says the virus is more likely to be a product of our (western) lust for bacon.

5. Simon Jenkins of the Guardian calls this a hysteria and feels the news won't sell papers or drugs, or justify the WHO's budget.

No matter what those theories say, it is better to be on guard than panicking.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Obama's first 100 days and beyond

George Friedman of Stratfor has written this piece, received via e-mail:

U.S. presidential candidates run for office as if they would be free to act however they wish once elected. But upon election, they govern as they must. The freedom of the campaign trail contrasts sharply with the constraints of reality.

The test of a president is how effectively he bridges the gap between what he said he would do and what he finds he must do. Great presidents achieve this seamlessly, while mediocre presidents never recover from the transition. All presidents make the shift, including Obama, who spent his first hundred days on this task.

Obama won the presidency with a much smaller margin than his supporters seem to believe. Despite his wide margin in the Electoral College, more than 47 percent of voters cast ballots against him. Obama was acutely aware of this and focused on making certain not to create a massive split in the country from the outset of his term. He did this in foreign policy by keeping Robert Gates on as defense secretary, bringing in Hillary Clinton, Richard Holbrooke and George Mitchell in key roles and essentially extrapolating from the Bush foreign policy. So far, this has worked. Obama’s approval rating rests at 69 percent, which The Washington Post notes is average for presidents at the hundred-day mark.

Obama, of course, came into office in circumstances he did not anticipate when he began campaigning — namely, the financial and economic crisis that really began to bite in September 2008. Obama had no problem bridging the gap between campaign and governance with regard to this matter, as his campaign neither anticipated nor proposed strategies for the crisis — it just hit. The general pattern for dealing with the crisis was set during the Bush administration, when the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve Board put in place a strategy of infusing money into failing institutions to prevent what they feared would be a calamitous economic chain reaction.

Obama continued the Bush policy, though he added a stimulus package. But such a package had been discussed in the Bush administration, and it is unlikely that Sen. John McCain would have avoided creating one had he been elected. Obviously, the particular projects funded and the particular interests favored would differ between McCain and Obama, but the essential principle would not.

The financial crisis would have been handled the same way — just as everything from the Third World debt crisis to the Savings and Loan crisis would have been handled the same way no matter who was president. Under either man, the vast net worth of the United States (we estimate it at about $350 trillion) would have been tapped by printing money and raising taxes, and U.S. assets would have been used to underwrite bad investments, increase consumption and build political coalitions through pork. Obama had no plan for this. Instead, he expanded upon the Bush administration solution and followed tradition.

The Reality of International Affairs
The manner in which Obama was trapped by reality is most clear with regard to international affairs. At the heart of Obama’s campaign was the idea that one of the major failures of the Bush administration was alienating the European allies of the United States. Obama argued that a more forthcoming approach to the Europeans would yield a more forthcoming response. In fact, the Europeans were no more forthcoming with Obama than they were with Bush.

Obama’s latest trip to Europe focused on two American demands and one European — primarily German — demand. Obama wanted the Germans to increase their economic stimulus plan because Germany is the largest exporter in the world. With the United States stimulating its economy, the Germans could solve their economic problem simply by increasing exports into the United States. This would limit job creation in the United States, particularly because German exports involve automobiles as well as other things, and Obama has struggled to build domestic demand for U.S. autos. Thus, he wanted the Germans to build domestic demand and not just rely on the United States to pull Germany out of recession. But the Germans refused, arguing that they could not afford a major stimulus now (when in fact they have no reason to be flexible, because the U.S. stimulus is going to help them no matter what Germany does).

Germany’s and France’s unwillingness to provide substantially more support in Afghanistan gave Obama a second disappointment. Some European troops were sent, but their numbers were few and their mission was limited to a very short period. (In some cases, the European force contribution will focus on training indigenous police officers, which will take a year or more to really have an impact.) The French and Germans essentially were as unwilling to deal with Obama as they were with Bush on this matter.

The Europeans, on the other hand, wanted a major effort by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The Central European banking system, largely owned by banks from more established European countries, has reached a crisis state because of aggressive lending policies. The Germans in particular don’t want to bail out these banks; they want the IMF to do so. Put differently, they want the United States, China and Japan to help underwrite the European banking system. Obama did agree to contribute to this effort, but not nearly on the scale the Europeans wanted.

On the whole, the Europeans gave two big nos, while the Americans gave a mild yes. In substantive terms, the U.S.-European relationship is no better than it was under Bush. In terms of perception, however, the Obama administration managed a brilliant coup, shifting the focus to the changed atmosphere that prevailed at the meeting. Indeed, all parties wanted to emphasize the atmospherics, and judging from media coverage, they succeeded. The trip accordingly was perceived as a triumph.

Campaign Promises and Public Perception
This is not a trivial achievement. There are campaign promises, there is reality and there is public perception. All presidents must move from campaigning to governing; extremely skilled presidents manage the shift without appearing duplicitous. At least in the European case, Obama has managed the shift without suffering political damage. His core supporters appear prepared to support him independent of results. And that is an important foundation for effective governance.

We can see the same continuity in his treatment of Russia. When he ran for president, Obama pledged to abandon the U.S. ballistic missile defense (BMD) deployment in Poland amid a great show made about resetting U.S. Russia policy. On taking office, however, he encountered the reality of the Russian position, which is that Russia wants to be the pre-eminent power in the former Soviet Union. The Bush administration took the position that the United States must be free to maintain bilateral relations with any country, to include the ability to extend NATO membership to interested countries. Obama has reaffirmed this core U.S. position.

The United States has asked for Russian help in two areas. First, Washington asked for a second supply line into Afghanistan. Moscow agreed so long as no military equipment was shipped in. Second, Washington offered to withdraw its BMD system from Poland in return for help from Moscow in blocking Iran’s development of nuclear weapons and missiles. The Russians refused, understanding that the offer on BMD was not worth removing a massive thorn (i.e., Iran) from the Americans’ side.

In other words, U.S.-Russian relations are about where they were in the Bush administration, and Obama’s substantive position is not materially different from the Bush administration’s position. The BMD deal remains in place, the United States is not depending on Russian help on logistics in Afghanistan, and Washington has not backed off on the principle of NATO expansion (even if expansion is most unlikely).

In Iraq, Obama has essentially followed the reality created under the Bush administration, shifting withdrawal dates somewhat but following the Petraeus strategy there and extending it — or trying to extend it — to Afghanistan. The Pakistani problem, of course, presents the greatest challenge (as it would have for any president), and Obama is coping with it to the extent possible.

Obama’s managing of perceptions as opposed to actually making policy changes shows up most clearly in regard to Iran. Obama tried to open the door to Tehran by indicating that he was prepared to talk to the Iranians without preconditions — that is, without any prior commitment on the part of the Iranians regarding nuclear development. The Iranians reacted by rejecting the opening, essentially saying Obama’s overture was merely a gesture, not a substantial shift in American policy.

The Iranians are, of course, quite correct in this. Obama fully understands that he cannot shift policy on Iran without a host of regional complications. For example, the Saudis would be enormously upset by such an opening, while the Syrians would have to re-evaluate their entire position on openings to Israel and the United States. Changing U.S. Iranian policy is hard to do. There is a reason Washington has the policy it does, and that reason extends beyond presidents and policymakers.

When we look at Obama’s substantive foreign policy, we see continuity rather than changes. Certainly, the rhetoric has changed, and that is not insignificant; atmospherics do play a role in foreign affairs. Nevertheless, when we look across the globe, we see the same configuration of relationships, the same partners, the same enemies and the same ambiguity that dominates most global relations.

Turkey and the Substantial U.S. Shift
One substantial shift has taken place, however, and that one is with Turkey. The Obama administration has made major overtures to Turkey in multiple forms, from a presidential visit to putting U.S. anti-piracy vessels under Turkish command. These are not symbolic moves. The United States needs Turkey to counterbalance Iran, protect U.S. interests in the Caucasus, help stabilize Iraq, serve as a bridge to Syria and help in Afghanistan. Obama has clearly shifted strategy here in response to changing conditions in the region.

Intriguingly, the change in U.S.-Turkish relations never surfaced as even a minor issue during the U.S. presidential campaign. It emerged after the election because of changes in the configuration of the international system. Shifts in Russian policy, the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq and shifts within Turkey that allowed the country to begin its return to the international arena all came together to make this necessary, and Obama responded.

None of this is designed to denigrate Obama in the least. While many of his followers may be dismayed, and while many of his critics might be unwilling to notice, the fact is that a single concept dominated Obama’s first hundred days: continuity. In the face of the realities of his domestic political position and the U.S. strategic position, as well as the economic crisis, Obama did what he had to do, and what he had to do very much follow from what Bush did. It is fascinating that both Obama’s supporters and his critics think he has made far more changes than he really has.

Of course, this is only the first hundred days. Presidents look for room to maneuver after they do what they need to do in the short run. Some presidents use that room to pursue policies that weaken, and even destroy, their presidencies. Others find ways to enhance their position. But normally, the hardest thing a president faces is finding the space to do the things he wants to do rather than what he must do. Obama came through the first hundred days following the path laid out for him. It is only in Turkey where he made a move that he wasn’t compelled to make just now, but that had to happen at some point. It will be interesting to see how many more such moves he makes.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Bangladesh's Rizwana bags Goldman Environmental Prizes

Six campaigners who have fought governments and industry to protect the planet won prestigious Goldman Environmental Prizes on Sunday.

According to Reuters, Syeda Rizwana Hasan, Director, Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers' Association (BELA) is one of the recipeints of this prestigious awards, often referred to as the Nobel Prizes of the environmental world.

Rizwana got it for raising public awareness of the dangers of ship-breaking. Heartiest congratulations to Rizwana. In 2003 BELA received the Global 500 Role of Honors of the United Nations.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Checklist for trial of Bangladesh war criminals

Barrister Harun ur Rashid, former Bangladesh Ambassador to the UN, Geneva, writes in daily Star what needs to be done for trial of war criminals:

Crime, although committed against a person, is an offence against law and order of a State and that is why it constitutes a crime against a State and State prosecutors (public prosecutors) pursue a criminal case. War crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity are offences against humankind because it denigrates human dignity. That is why every country has an obligation under international law to try individuals who allegedly perpetrated such crimes, irrespective of the fact whether such crimes were committed in that State or not.

A person who allegedly commits a crime can always be charged until that person is alive. Unlike civil litigation or disputes, length of time does not affect crime. In other words, it does not have statutory limitation. That is why those who allegedly committed genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes (grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva Conventions) during the Nazi Germany more than 60 years ago are being arrested and tried. In Cambodia, Khmer Rouge leaders who alleged committed crimes against humanity and turned the country into 'killing fields' during 1975-79 are being put on trial after 30 years by a Tribunal with the backing of the UN.

On 3rd December, 1973, a resolution of the General Assembly (Resolution number 3074) was adopted underscoring the obligations of member-States of the UN in the detention, arrest, extradition and punishment of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Bangladesh is a member of the UN and it is a duty of Bangladesh to hold trials for such crimes.

Given the above background, on 29th January 2009, Bangladesh Parliament adopted a resolution to try war criminals. On 25th March, the government decided to try war criminals under the 1973 International Crimes (Tribunals) Act and investigation as claimed by the government had already begun.

Scope of the 1973 Act
The International Crimes (Tribunals) Act 1973 has been protected by an amendment of the Constitution of Bangladesh ( Article 47A) so that the Supreme Court could not term the Act unconstitutional for being counter to any of the fundamental rights.

Section 3 of the Act has defined the crimes against humanity, anti-peace crimes, genocide, war crimes, breaches of rules of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 during armed conflicts, any crime under international law. It also embraces crimes such as murder, torture, ousting any civilian from Bangladesh territory, considering him a slave or with any other objective, looting personal or public property and damage to towns and villages in the absence of military necessity.

Furthermore an attempt to commit, instigate, and conspire to commit and conniving in not preventing such crimes will be considered as crimes under the Act.

The law contains provisions of constituting tribunals, (each tribunal consisting of a chairperson and not less two and not more than four), appointment of chief prosecutor and prosecutors, establishment of an Agency for the purpose of investigation into such crimes, punishment and giving legal aid to accused. The law also recognises the right of the accused to appeal against the verdict of the Tribunal to the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court . The law makes it clear that the proceedings of the Tribunal shall be in public (Section 10 of the Act). This is for the sake of transparency, fairness and justice. Justice must not only be done but seen to be done.

Does the 1973 Act need review?
The Act was enacted in 1973. In the 90s, Bangladesh has become party to many international human rights conventions/treaties. Some legal experts argue that taking into acccount of the provisions of the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, in particular Articles 9 (arrest and speedy trial), and Articles 14 and 15 ( the right of the accused), Sections 11 (power of the Tribunal), Section 17 (right of the accused) and Section 21 (right of appeal) may be revisited so as to ensure that they conform with provisions of international human rights conventions/treaties.

The Act lays down the rules of evidence for the Tribunal which are much more relaxed and not bound by technical rules of evidence than those in the Evidence Act of 1872. This is perhaps because of the fact that occurrences of commission of war crimes take place during armed conflict or in an abnormal situation where evidentiary materials are found to be thin. It is argued the aforesaid provisions of the Act need to be reviewed in the light of the provisions of the UN human rights conventions/treaties to which Bangladesh is a party.

Fact-Finding Committee
It is suggested that Investigating Agency or Fact-Finding Committee is to be set up whose task will be to gather all materials, documents in support of the evidence to be submitted to the Tribunal. The materials may be collected from within the country or abroad. In this connection, the UN can assist the Fact-Finding committee on what kind of evidentiary materials are required for the trial.

In overseas during the Liberation War, international community was involved in reporting and monitoring the situation and there are many materials abroad such as possessing materials of evidentiary values resting in broadcast in radios, human rights organisations, university centres of genocide and human rights (for example Tutgers University and Yale University in the USA) and individuals.

In the case of current on-going Camobodian war crime trial, some crucial evidentiary documents that once thought missing were reportedly discovered by the Yale University Genocide Research Centre. Bangladesh must explore such possibilities to gather and collate as much materials as possible from abroad for trial.

International community and the proposed trial
War crimes trial has international dimension. It has been a sensitive issue for many authoritarian developing countries because some of their heads of State or Governments adopt systematic and widespread state-sponsored oppreesive and repressive measures against civilian population and political opponents and therefore they think they could be indicted by the Hague-based UN International Criminal Court.

It is obvious that there are strong reservations of many countries for holding trials for such crimes. For example, about 30 countries that abstained from voting in the UN General Assembly when the Cambodian trial was put to vote. All African and Arab countries object to the issue of warrant of arrest on 4th March to the Sudanese President by the International Criminal Court on charges of crimes against humanity in Darfur region of Sudan.

White paper
The government may seriously consider preparing a White Paper on the reasons for holding trials for such horrible and senseless crimes committed during the Liberation War of 1971. A copy of the White Paper may be distributed to all foreign resident diplomatic missions in Dhaka. Furthermore, the government may embark on diplomatic efforts through our missions overseas to explain the need and the popular demand for this trial to cross section of public including civil society and media abroad, eliminating possible mis-perception that the trial is a policy of revenge and retaliation.

To demonstrate the commitment to trial of war crimes, it is appropriate that Bangladesh ratifies the Statute of International Criminal Court of 1998 (Bangladesh signed it) and the ratification will show to the international community Bangladesh's firm resolve that war crimes must not and cannot escape unpunished.

Crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide are the gravest crimes in international law and are condemned by all UN members. The effective punishment is an important element in the prevention and recurrence of such odious crimes and for protection of the inherent dignity of human person.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Some readings on Bangladesh

Sankar Sen, former member of the IPS and former director-general, National Human Rights Commission of India, writes in the Calcutta Telegraph the situation in Bangladesh remains highly volatile and hence,efforts to destabilize the Hasina government will remain a matter of utmost concern for India.

2. The Hindu tells how a Dhaka gossip sparked nationwide terror panic in India.

3. Read why CIA has its own plan of creating instability in South Asia particularly in Pakistan, Bangladesh, China and Sri Lanka.

4. Read how Mumbai massacre has kicked off a dangerous arms race in the subcontinent.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Bangladesh's rare dolphin

Thousands of rare Irrawaddy dolphins have been found in Bangladeshi waters, a wildlife advocacy group said Wednesday, a hopeful sign for a vulnerable species found only in small numbers elsewhere. However, the newly discovered population is already threatened by climate change and fishing nets, the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society said.

Ainun Nishat, the Bangladesh head of International Union for Conservation of Nature, however, said the finding was an indication that "ecology in the area is not dead yet." "There is plenty of food, mainly fish, in the area for the dolphins to eat," said Nishat, who was not involved in the study. "What is now needed is to restrict fishing in the area to protect the dolphins."

Nearly 6,000 Irrawaddy dolphins, which are related to orcas or killer whales, were found living in freshwater regions of Bangladesh's Sundarbans mangrove forest and the adjacent waters of the Bay of Bengal, the Wildlife Conservation Society announced.

The results of the study were made public Wednesday at the First International Conference on Marine Mammal Protected Areas in Maui, Hawaii. The news release did not say when the study was conducted but Bangladeshi researchers in the team said it was launched in 2004.

According to New York Times American and Bangladeshi biologists conducted the dolphin survey by boat. The researchers said that the six- to eight-foot dolphins, while apparently thriving, needed to be protected and monitored in view of rising threats like entanglement in fishing nets, a decline in freshwater flows because of dam construction and inland diversions of water along the rivers that sustain the coastal ecosystems.

Economist Intelligence Unit on Bangladesh

Here are some salient features of EIU's April report on Bangladesh:

The Awami League (AL) is expected to serve a full term in office, having secured a huge parliamentary majority at the general election in December.

2. The likely monopolisation of parliament by the AL for the next few years raises the risk of large street protests.

3. There is still a risk of a sharp deterioration in the security situation.

4. The Economist Intelligence Unit's 2008 democracy index ranks Bangladesh 91st out of 167 countries, putting it among the 30 countries whose governments are considered to be hybrid regimes. This designation includes countries such as Cambodia and Singapore.

5. The Bangladesh military may have orchestrated a 'guardian coup' in 2007. This type of coup is characterised by an aim to improve public order, efficiency or to end corruption, while maintaining the existing structure of power. The actions taken by the leaders of such coups are often portrayed as a temporary and unfortunate necessity.

6. The likelihood of another such coup taking place in Bangladesh has been reduced by the army's full support of the civilian government during the BDR mutiny in February.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Bangladesh's ridiculous situation!


Bangladesh press very prominenty published news about possible visit by US Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton. Someone with minimum news sense may initially get confused thinking the tour is already finalized.A news quoting Ministry of Foreign affairs said Ms. Hillary was invited by Bangladeshi foreign minister Dr. Dipu Moni in 'side-line' talks during an international conference on Afghanistan in Netherlands.It said, the US Secretary of State has “accepted the invitation and would tour Bangladesh on a mutually convenient time”.

In my writings, I repeatedly commented on the naive attitude and lack of experience of several kid ministers in the cabinet of Sheikh Hasina Wajed. This time, the way Bangladeshi foreign ministry distributed the news about the possible visit, will certainly bring smile in the faces of world's diplomatic arena seeing the childish attitude of the government.Any leader in the world can be informally invited in so-called side-talks and as a part of diplomatic gesture no one would say 'no' to such information invitation.

But, it does not mean that the invitation was accepted or the visit is imminent. Dr. Dipu Moni with her no knowledge of diplomacy might have taken the US Secretary of State as a mere colleague. She possibly does not know that, every year, the US Secretary of State receives hundreds of such informal invitations from many of the leaders around the world. And, of course, these are nothing but very much part of diplomatic courtesy by the Secretary of State to say, she would visit on a mutually convenient time.

Former Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice received several such invitations even from the former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia or former administrator in the interim government Dr. Fakhruddin Ahmed. Even Bangladeshi ambassadors in United States continue to place such invitations on an informal manner almost on a regular basis. But, none always means 'businesses'.I am almost sure, staffers in the State Department will get surprised at the way the news about possible tour by Hillary Clinton has been publicized in Bangladeshi press.

And, this news item, although looking quite smart and glamorous to show the performance of the Bangladeshi Foreign Minister as 'excellent' is in reality an exposure of childish attitude of the minister as well her team. Bangladeshi ministry might have been rather pressed by the minister in issuing such press release; otherwise, many of the seasoned diplomats inside MOFA are already aware of the result of such informal invitations.

Dipu Moni should have understood that, every small talk in the so-called side-talk opportunity is not to be disclosed to the press. Surely Bangladeshi foreign ministry would have publicized the news with due importance if the invitation was made through proper channel and was accepted as well. Such funny attitude of the Bangladeshi minister will onwards put her in the lines of diplomatic duffers in the eyes of world leaders. Many of them even may feel hesitant even speaking to her in future.

And this is the first result of diplomatic mess by the kid minister of Sheikh Hasina Wajed.Interestingly, Dhaka's prominent English press, The Daily Star, The New Nation etc did not publish this funny news, as they absolutely understood that, the contents in the press release issued by MOFA were quite pre-mature.Now, let me shift to another minister. Law and parliamentary affairs minister Barrister Shafiq Ahmed told reporters that Qawmi madrasas are turning into breeding grounds of religion-based terrorism."They are not following the Quran, the Shariah and even laws of the land," he said adding that religious militancy goes against the spirit of religion and Islam.He said, the clergies and teachers in Madrassas and mosques are teaching jihad and encouraging people towards Jihad by alluring with the promise of heaven and 72-virgins.

With this statement, the minister surely has opened a new avenue of confrontation with the Islamic and Islamist leaders and majority section of people of Bangladesh with the present government, when the 90 days government of Sheikh Hasina is suffering from severe political malnutrition. Names of a number of leaders belonging to the Grand Alliance government such as Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir, Mirza Azam, Jahangir Kabir Nanak, Barrister Fazle Noor Taposh, Hasanul Huq Inu, Rahsed Khan Menon, Abdul Jalil, Liakot Sikder, Sajeda Chowdhury, Joinal Hazari, Haji Mockbul, Shamim Osman, Abul Hasnat Abdullah, Pankaj Deb Nath, Bahauddin Nasim are already in the list of suspects in connection to BDR massacre case.

On the other hand, the Prime Minister has very cunningly picked up the residence of Khaleda Zia inside Dhaka Garrison as an issue of politics thus stating that, if the house shall be vacated by Mrs. Zia, this will be used as housing complex for the family members of the martyred army officers.In a parliament session on March 31, 2009 the matter came prominently, while the PM and her parliament colleagues were seen making fun and bursting into laughter at this issue of Mrs. Zia's residence.

By mixing the residence issue with the BDR massacre, Sheikh Hasina Wajed in reality mixed the saddest incident of the nation into a mere political agenda, thus telling the nation that, her government will try in taking highest advanatage of the incident in gaining political benefit for er government.Members of Bangladesh Armed Forces may assume about the 'sincerety' of the Prime Minister in neutrally probing the massacre case and punishing the culprits. I can almost predict that, the present rulers in Dhaka shall never let the investigation continue in a neutral manner, nor there will be ever any trial of the killers and their patrons and collaborators at least in near future.

And lastly, I should mention about the latest statement by none, but the one and only the Faruk Khan, a self proclaimed excellent personality in Bangladeshi politics.Lt. Col. Faruk Khan, who is the coordinator of the 3 probe committees told reporters that, if Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed would have allowed military action on BDR headquarters on February 25, 2009, at least 20,000 people would have been killed.He also said, no one was killed before 10:45 am on that day.In fact, according to my personal opinion, Faruk Khan should be properly interrogated by the army probe teams, as from his series of statements, now I really smell rat in him.Khan's latest statement will generate further questions in the minds of the people especially the investigators. Some of the questions are:

Lt. Col. Faruk Khan said, should the PM allowed military action in BDR headquarters, at least 20,000 people would have been killed. In this case, my question is, according to various reports, there were maximum 10 thousand people inside the BDR headquarter on February 25, 2009.

In this case, how 20,000 people would have been killed? Did his party had any agenda of sending extra 10,000 armed cadres inside the place of mutiny once the army action was imminent?

Lt. Col. Faruk Khan said, killings did not take place before 10:45 am. He also said, according to CCTV, arms were looted 10:25 am. In this case, my question is, how he earlier said, outsiders came inside BDR headquarters and opened fire thus killing officers?

Awami League government was from the beginning mentioning about a ‘grey pickup van’. This was also mentioned by one of the survived officers named Major Shams. Now, where is the theory of grey van disappeared? Or, this Shams, who survived the massacre was also one of the planted elements inside the BDR headquarters, like Lt. Col Mukit (another survivor) who was sending fax messages from the BDR headquarters from 11:50 pm onwards on February 25, 2009 with various comments against Bangladesh Army and BDR director general?

Why Lt. Col. Mukit was sending all these fax messages to a number of pro-Awami League writers and journalists in Dhaka? What was his intention? What is the political background of this army officer?

Survived officer Shams and Major Kamruzzaman told reporters repeatedly that officers were killed by 11 am. Minister faruk Khan said, no one was killed before 11 am. Question is, who is lying?

Earlier Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed also said, officers were killed between 10:30 – 11 am. But, her minister rejected the statement of the PM. Or, both and other colleagues in the Awami League government are giving contradictory statements willingly to mislead the investigation?

In her statement in the Parliament on April 1, 2009, Sheikh Hasina Wajed while commenting on BDR massacre said, “Zia hanged hundreds of airforce officers and murdered several army officers in the name of trial”.

In this case, with this statement does the Bangladeshi Prime Minister want to say that, as Zia killed the millitarymen so she also killed only some? On the other hand, during Zia’s rule, airforce officers were tried for their involvement in mutiny. But, inside BDR headquarters, army officers were killed by the mutineers. Did Sheikh Hasina consider these army officers as ‘mutineers’ for helping the government after January 11, 2007, which pushed her into prison on corruption charges?

Sheikh Hasina’s statement in the parliament in reality went against the political forces in Bangladesh. She said, former ruler Zia, the founder of Bangladesh Nationalist Party killed army officers in the name of trial.Now, her government also possibly is going to get caught in killing army officers inside BDR headquarters. So, did Sheikh Hasina mean that, politicians in Bangladesh, irrespective of their political identity are anti-army? If so, what possible reaction she may assume from the members of the armed forces?

Retired Major General Syed Muhammed Ibrahim, who is also a political and defense analyst in Bangladesh on April 1, 2009 commented that, military action would have surely saved lives and honor of many army officers and their family members. Lt. Col. Faruk and others in Awami League continued to claim that, army offensives would have been disastrarous. Faruk was claiming to be an expert on millitary affairs. But, when a senior General like Syed Ibrahim also opined in favor of army operations, what mere petty officer like Faruk Khan can say in defense of Prime Minister’s dilly-dally in taking action?

Mirza Azam, a lawmaker in the ruling party and a suspect in the BDR massacre told the parliament couple of days after the mutiny that, he and Jahangir Kabir Nanak consider Sheikh Hasina’s commands as Ibadat (religious rituals). He made this comment while stating how Sheikh Hasina Wajed asked them at 1:00 pm to try to do something in connection to the BDR massacre. First of all, why the PM assigned these two juniors in ‘trying to do something’ mission? Why she did not assign her home minister or senior ministers like Matia Chowdhury?

Is it because, politicians like Mrs. Matia Chowdhury has personal guts and would never consider any wrong or bad commands as Ibadat? Moreover, choosing people like Nanak and Azam, who has dirty track record in politics of political murder, atrocitiy, anachism etc, gives signal to everyone about unknown mystery behind the entire so-called political settlement theme.

Much before the 14-member mutineer delegation met the Prime Minister, one of the renegade members inside BDR headquarters demanded general amnesty from their netri (leader) Sheikh Hasina Wajed in TV interviews. Interestingly general amnesty was announced by the PM during the 3-hour long closed door meeting. What is the mystery behind such tremendous coordination of claim and execution?

After the meeting with the PM, the mutineer kingpins faced the press. Although the Home Minister Sahara Khatun was present, Nanak was chosen as the spokesperson by the government to address the press alongwith DAD Towhid. Nanak’s statement should be carefully seen by the investigators. From his body language, everyone will fully understand his affiliation and solidarity with the killers. Moreover, he said, “the BDR delagation have expressed their feelings and complaints with the honorable prime minister in an emotional manner”. What did those people say to Sheikh Hasina Wajed in ‘emotional manner’?

Although Barrister Abdur Razzak of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami was formally summoned by Criminal Investigation Department’s chief investigator Abdul Kahar Akhand, there was no report of Akhand summoning leaders of the ruling Grand Alliance, especially Jahangir Kabir Nanak or Mirza Azam. Moreover, it is learnt that, Kahar Akhand continued to constantly communicate with the Prime Minister, Home Minister, Jahangir Kabir Nanak and Mirza Azam, even after he took up the investigation assignment. What is the reason for this mid-ranking police officer having the audacity of speaking to the Prime Minister over cell phone directly?

What was also the reason behind his calls to Nanak or Azam?

On March 20, 2009 in the late mid night, Abdul Kahar Akhand had a secret meeting with three influential members of Bangladesh Awami League in Dhanmondi area. What was the agenda of discussion of this secret meeting?

Abdul Kahar Akhand is expecting a promotion in several weeks. It is learnt that, government has given signal to him of immediate promotion if the investigation report is done “as agreed”. What is the fact of agreement?

Government is influencing the mobile phone operators in cooperating with the present rulers in providing evidence of phone call records related to the mutiny. It is even learnt that, threats of harrassment centering mobile phone company’s illegal Voip businesses is also placed during this requests, if they (operators) do not cooperate with the government and CID. Is it possible that the government may influence the operators in getting some false call statements by inserting numbers of some opposition leaders to show their involvement in the mutiny?

Several officers in army and DGFI were actively trying to find out facts behind the BDR massacre. But, in one week of the mutiny and such tremendous efforts and some results of these officers, Sheikh Hasina managed to remove all these army officers and DGFI officials to other desks at the help of army chief General Moeen U Ahmed, in exchange of according him one year extension. It is even learnt that, a particular officer in DGFI whose name begins with ‘M’ was visiting Sheikh Hasina Wajed’s residence named Sudha Swadan at Dhanmondi much before the general election of December 29, on a regular basis.

Removal of DGFI officers and army officers from important posts were done at the suggestion of one Brigradier General M. Why the government is unwilling to let some real investigative effort continue inside the army and DGFI to findout the culprits of the massacre?

The government is considering placing several army officers, who expressed anger at the Sena Kunja meeting with the Prime Minister. DGFI director Brig. Gen. M is preparing such list. A large number of senior officers like Lt. General Masud Uddin Chowdhury, Maj. General ATM Amin, Brig General Chowdhury Fazlul Bari, Brig. Gen. Nuruzzaman, Brig. Gen. Lodi, Col etc are reportedly in the queue of gradual force retirement by the present government. Such retirements will come into effect as soon as the government tackled the mutiny related complications. Awami League loyalist officers will be gradually placed in various important positions.

There is such placement already in National Security Intelligence. Why the government is vindictive on the officers, who were heavy with shock and anger at the brutal murder of their colleague officers and rape and humiliation of many members of the army officers inside the BDR headquarters?

On the day of mutiny, although it began at 9:30 am, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina remained at her residence instead of even getting prepared to attend her office. What was the mystery behind for the Prime Minister in staying at home? Was it a preparation to meet the mutiny kingpins?

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina did not attend her office for several days after the munity. What was the reason behind? Any special reason of fear?

Sheikh Hasina Wajed told the Parliament on April 1, 2009 that her government will try to do everything in helping the members of the martyred army officers. This ‘try to do everything’ type statement can only be applicable for financially under-privileged people or beggers. But, this is a case of some real heroes of the nation, who sacrificed their lives in the hands of the mutnineers while on duty. Why and how the PM can make such statements to undermine the dignity of the martyrs?

There is rumor that, although Awami League leader Torab Ali Akhand is arrested in connection to BDR mutiny, his name will be cleared from the final report of CID. Is it true?
Why Torab Ali Akhand’s statement under section 164 was not recorded when he was placed before the magistrate after the remand?

Since arrest of Leather Liton (son of Torab Ali), investigators are keeping tight lip on this matter. What is the mystery behind?

Dipu Chowdhury, Son of Awami League leader Mofazzal Chowdhury Maya and Jewel son of Awami League leader Abul Hasnat Abdullah came to Bangladesh on February 10, 2009 secretly and were staying at the residence of an AL leader near BDR headquarters. Is there any information on such secret trip’s reason?

A large section of arms, explosives and ammunitions looted from the BDR headquarters were finally shifted to some figures in Awami League, Chatra League, Jubo Leage and even BNP. According to information, Leather Liton of Awami League and Nasiruddin Ahmed Pintu of BNP were two of the major beneficiaries of such looted items. Why the investigators are silent on making any comment on the whereabouts of these items from BDR headquarters?

Why the government is buying time in the investigation process? When and really when the reports will be published? What is the fate of army investigation? Initially, army was holding press briefing about the massacre. Why such briefings suddenly stopped? Why the army investiagtion team is not uttering a single word about the date of publishing the report?
Who helped the mutineer BDR men in fleeing the country? Is it a fact that those mutineers were boarded into aircraft through a special passage near the boarding bridge? Who made such arrangements? Is there any involvement of the home ministry and the civil aviation ministry ‘big men’?

Why Sajib Wajed Joy, son and advisor of the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed is continuing to claim in various international community that BDR mutiny was a result of decade long repression by army officers? Has he been assigned as the advisor of the PM to continue anti army propaganda in foreign countries?

What happened to the two ‘Chinese’ national who were also rescued from the BDR headquarters? What was their identity and what they were doing inside the place of mutiny?
Is it true that Jahangir Kabir Nanak and Mirza Azam entered the BDR headquarters on February 25 late night to inspect the cleaning of blood stain and mass-burial of the army officers?

Is it true that Colonel Gulzar was shot by Mirza Azam at late night of February 25?
Several ambulences belonging to Red Crescent Society (this is headed by a person from the ruling party) were entering and coming out of the BDR headquarters since late afternoon of February 25. Who were or what items were carried out from the BDR headquarters by these ambulences?

During the massacre, why some Awami League leaders were stationed near LabAid Hospital? What they were doing?

Why Biryani (delicious meal) were supplied inside BDR headquarters in police van during the late hours of February 25?

Why Awami League activists were supplying ‘Vodka’ in drinking water bottles to the renegade troops? Was it to keep their ‘morale’ strong?

How a number of mutineers were having mobile phone numbers of Jahangir Kabir Nanak, Mirza Azam, Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir, Sahara Khatun, Sajeda Chowdhury, Abdul Jalil, Liakot Sikder, Barrister Taposh etc?

It is reported in the media that, huge amount of money was invested behind the brutal massacre. Some ‘businessmen’ financed this action. Massacre kingpin DAD Towhid even met some influential politicians at NAM building right after the general election. But, CID investigators are trying to twist all such information to various directions as per directives of the government. Sheikh Hasina Wajed was suggested to make the inspector general of police as the head of the CID investigation team as supervisor. But, why the head of the government fears in assigning an honest, dedicated and directly affected (son in law of the IGP was killed and daughter humiliated during the massacre) officer like Noor Muhammed with this important task of investiagtion?

Sajib Wajed Joy is hiring some attornies in United States while Sheikh Rehana is also working in hiring lawyers from Britain to defend the accused people in the trial into the massacre case. Millions of dollars will be spent for this purpose. Why such enthusiasm? Difference between the armed forces and the politicians especially those in power is increasing every day. Citizen as well as members of the martyred officers are already hopeless of seeing any real investigation result and trial of the killers, collaborators and patrons.Any hidden anger always explodes one day. Delay in investigation, questioned role of the government and senseless statement of the ministers may ultimately lead the fate of democracy of Bangladesh towards unknown destination.

People may even opt for chosing un-elected democracy instead of elected anarchy, terror and autocracy.