"It is no longer a question of whether we'll continue to have capitalism. It is a question of what will replace it."- Immanuel Wallerstein, keynote, Yale, Mar 28, 2009. Neo-imperialism in post-independent Africa conference.
Via: Steve Sharra
"It is no longer a question of whether we'll continue to have capitalism. It is a question of what will replace it."- Immanuel Wallerstein, keynote, Yale, Mar 28, 2009. Neo-imperialism in post-independent Africa conference.
On March 25 Bangladesh was shocked by a massive arms haul in a madrassa and orphanage in Bhola. The ten acre compound was situated in a remote place in Bohranuddin Upazila and was fortified by a 'drawbridge' over a large pond leading to the Madrassa entrance. There were 11 children between the ages of 7 and 8 at the compound during the raid by the Elite force RAB, which arrested four people including a teacher. All the three rooms of teachers’ dormitory of the militant den, were mainly used for storing arms and ammunition. General people were not allowed to enter the area and they only knew that orphans were taught there.(More here)
The arms recovery included four handguns, four shotguns, 3000 bomb 'splinters', 900 bullets, eight magazines, two binoculars, two remote-control devices, six life jackets, 20 facemasks, two walkie-talkies and as many mobile phones. A number of books on Jihad were also recovered. (BDNews24)
The recovery also indicates they [the militants] have all equipment necessary to make IEDs. (The Daily Star)
The Madrasa and Orphanage was funded by Green Crescent an UK based charity and its founder, chairman and head trustee is Faisal Mostafa, a Bangladeshi-British. And it has been funding different such establishments in different parts of Bangladesh and in Pakistan. In 2008, Green Crescent had a turnover approaching £70,000 (US$102,733).
Times Online UK reports:
The family of Dr Mostafa, 45, who has a chemistry degree and a PhD in metals corrosion, said yesterday that he had set up the orphanage because of a humanitarian desire to help poor children.However the report reveals the other side of Dr. Mostafa:
Dr Mostafa was acquitted in February 2002 of plotting with Moinul Abedin, also Bangladeshi-born, to cause explosions. Both were arrested in Birmingham. Abedin was found guilty and sentenced to 20 years in prison.
He was acquitted of a similar explosives charge in 1996 after a trial at Manchester Crown Court. Prosecutors claimed explosives were found at his home. But he was found guilty of illegally possessing a firearm, sentenced to four years in prison and banned for life from possessing a firearm.
In July last year he was arrested at Manchester airport for trying to board an aircraft with a pistol in his suitcase. He checked in with the component parts of a gas-powered pistol and primers in his luggage as he and his family were intending to fly to Dubai.He claimed that it was to be used for hunting and fishing, and was given a suspended sentence.
'Faisal comes in every few months about mainland projects in Bangladesh. We only work with organisations that are registered with the Charity Commission so we had no idea about these allegations.'Sid at Unheard Voice writes:
If the Green Crescent charity has indeed been involved in militant activity, this will reflect very poorly on the Charity Commission – particularly given that Mostafa, the head of the charity, had previously been put on trial twice for terrorist offences. Ineffectiveness by the Charity Commission in identifying and tackling extremist charities leads to the British taxpayer directly subsiding militancy and extremism.Bangladesh Finance minister AMA Muhith said that "the large number of NGOs" approved by the then social welfare minister and Jamaat-e-Islami leader, Ali Ahsan Muhammad Mojaheed, would be audited meticulously.
It is worth noting that “fundathons” on Bangladeshi satellite TV channels such as BanglaTV and Channel S raise hundreds of thousands of pounds by Islamic organisations. These groups often have no track record of charity work in Britain or are even registered by the Charity Commission. Audience members simply donate money in all sincerity hoping that these funds will be used on well-deserved Muslim causes. Where are these funds actually going to and what use are these large amounts of money being put to?
It's interesting that given the technological know-how in South Asia in general and in India in particular, all of these sites - although impressive - are not nearly as good as they could be. Nearly all of them do not utilise modern day browsers, resulting in large chunks of empty space - and none of them seem to contain video. This might be because politicians in the area have yet to realise the importance of the internet as a way of communicating with their people. At the moment I would say all these site are two to three years behind Europe and the US, but bearing in mind how fast the region is developing that is unlikely to remain the case for long.
Top 5 Exporters:
1. Germany, $1.47 trillion worth of merchandise.Top 5 Importers:
2. China, $1.43 trillion.
3. United States, $1.30 trillion.
4. Japan, $782 billion.
5. Netherlands, $634 billion.
1. United States, $2.17 trillion.Details can be found here.
2. Germany, $1.21 trillion.
3. China, $1.13 trillion.
4. Japan, $762 billion.
5. France, $708 billion.
Just got this message from the Committee to Protect Bloggers:
----------------I am speechless. Rest in piece Omir.
Omir Reza Misayafi has died in an Iranian prison. Omir was a blogger. Read the rest here.
A towering inferno engulfed mainly the corporate office of Basundhara City shopping complex in Dhaka Friday, with clouds of thick black smoke billowing from the burning building.Eyewitness reports are coming via blogs and Twitter messages. Iftikhar Mohammad is posting pictures along with updates:
The fire is dying down after the flames spread downwards from the top floors, trapping many inside.
Some of the injured were taken to Dhaka combined Military Hospital.
Army has joined rescue operations while navy fire experts joined in. Brigadier general Anwar said they have come in aid of the fire service and secure the area.
Where are the army helicopters!! Please save these people.
3:27pm - What I have seen.. It will burn for a few hours. Nothing can be done. Water is scarce. The fire is rising. Fire extinguishing powder is required.
3:43 It seems all levels above 8th floor will burn. Our fire fighters ladders cannot go higher than that.
4:06 17 Injured people were rushed to nearby Shomorita Hospital
4:19 Fire Service cannot reach beyond 14th floor. There is nothing to do.
Pakistan is moving towards a political crisis. From Global Voices:
A section of the Pakistani Lawyers and political activists have finished all their preparations for a scheduled Long March and sit in protest starting tomorrow to reinstate the deposed judges. Tensions are running high in Pakistan because the opposition leader Nawaz Sharif's party (PML-N) is participating in the protests and the government has started crack down on activists and imposed ban on protests. Pakistani citizen journalists have started to cover the events as they unfold using live blogs, live picture updates, email/SMS and Twitter messages.You can monitor the situation live via this live blogging tool:
Germany was shocked by another shooting incident in a school in Winnenden near Stuttgart. Today morning 17-year-old youth killed 16 people (including 10 pupils and three teachers) in a shooting rampage.
It is interesting to learn how twitter updates of citizen journalists are used by the media. The Observer posts details how journalists of France24, a French TV channel tracked an eyewitness of this incident via twitter updates and broadcast her interview. The Blog of France24 notes:
It's not the first time that Twitter's helped with breaking news (other examples include the Amsterdam plane crash, and the cricket terrorist attack in Pakistan). In the case of this shooting, using the website made the process faster than ever. Just fifty-two minutes between the incident being reported and an account live on the channel. The future of participative journalism looks bright!Breaking Tweets has more Twitter message roundups.
Son of a senior BNP leader (Tanvir Ahmed Siddiki) Irad Ahmed Siddiki has alleged that BNP chief Khaleda Zia sought Tk 5 crore from him in return for the Dhaka mayoral ticket from the party.No wonder BNP will now grill both Siddikies. This is the sad state of Bangladeshi politics where able candidates are not nominated but positions are sold only to pave way for future corruption. Because candidates see this as an investment.
"She asked me if I had enough money. She asked for Tk 5 crore for election (expenses). But I am no (Mosaddek Ali) Falu or (Mirza) Abbas," Chowdhury Irad Ahmed Siddiqui told a news conference Monday in Dhaka. (BDNews24)
Watch this video from PBS site if you cannot watch it here
Why rank and file soldiers of the Bangladesh Rifles went on a killing spree earlier this week that left at least 56 of their senior officers dead is still shrouded in mystery. David Montero, on the scene soon after, describes how events unfolded.
Bangladesh has blocked the video sharing website YouTube for hosting a recorded conversation between the newly elected prime minister and the country's powerful army officers, officials said Sunday.BDNews24 reports that a Bangladesh government official defended blocking of YouTube and eSnips:
Internet users were unable to access the site after it hosted the audio tape, which appeared to show angry officers shouting at Sheikh Hasina over her handling of a bloody mutiny that has threatened Bangladesh's recent return to democracy.
“Nothing has been done which is beyond the jurisdiction of the government,” BTRC chairman Zia Ahmed told bdnews24.com, when asked to confirm the reports.
“The government can take any decision to stop any activity that threatens national unity and integrity,” said retired brigadier general Zia Ahmed.
First published in Global Voices Online.
Internet users in Bangladesh are not able to access YouTube since Friday (March 6, 2009) evening. Soon people discovered that other Social Media and file hosting/sharing sites like Esnips, mediafire etc. were also not accessible. Apparently these are blocked by the firewalls at IIG (International Internet Gateway) as these can be accessed by proxy.
Torpon appeals to the Bangladesh government not to takeaway the freedom of internet after providing some proofs of the filtering:
ঢাকায় ইউটিউবে ঢুকতে গিয়ে টাইম আউট হয়ে যাচ্ছিল দেখে অনেকে ভাবছিলেন যে ইউটিউবের সার্ভারের সমস্যা । এরপর দেখা যাচ্ছিল যে ইস্নিপস্ এও ঢোকা যাচ্ছে না । তখন সন্দেহ করা হলো যে সমস্যাটি অন্য কোন খানে । কোথাও ডেটা ব্লক হয়ে যাচ্ছে । প্রমাণ ছাড়া সরকার কে দোষ দেয়াটা অযৌক্তিক । কিন্তু অল্প কিছু সময়ের মধ্যে অভিজ্ঞ বাংলাদেশী নেটওয়ার্ক ইঞ্জিনিয়াররা বিভিন্ন জায়গা থেকে জানালেন সরকারী কোন সার্ভারের ফায়ারওয়ালে ইউটিউব সহ অনেক গুলো সাইট ব্লক করা হয়েছে।
While accessing YouTube from Dhaka a 'time out error' was being returned and people thought there was something wrong with YouTube Server. Soon people found out that they could not access E-snips (a file sharing site). So people feared that somewhere the data is being blocked. It is not logical to blame the government without proof and logic. But soon IT experts and network engineers from all over Bangladesh notified that YouTube and a few other sites are being blocked by a firewall in some government server.
বাংলাদেশ লিনাক্স ইউজার গ্রুপের সার্ভার থেকে গুগল, ইউটিউব এবং ইস্নিপসের সাইটে ট্রেসরাউট কমান্ড দিয়ে দেখা গেছে, গুগল ঠিকই পৌছে যাচ্ছে গুগলের সার্ভারে কিন্তু বাকি দুটো আটকে গেছে বিটিটিবির ফায়ার ওয়ালে।Mango and BTCL (formerly BTTB) are the official IIGs (International Internet Gateway) in Bangladesh. Starting last April, by regulation, all Bangladeshis ISPs have to route their international traffic to either Mango, or BTCL, who send the traffic over either the submarine cable or the vsats.
When traceroute command was executed from the Bangladesh Linux user group server targeting Google, YouTube and E-snips sites the result showed that Google server could be reached but the other two were being stuck at BTTB Firewall.
mahayalamkhan: youtube, eSnips, midiafire, filefreak, upload-mp3 are banned or blocked in Bangladesh. Please, re-twitt.Russell John speculates why the ban was executed:
Why did the Government do this? It's because of an audio recording that could "damage" the reputation of our great Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. For now they blocked YouTube and eSnips, but in the future there might be more sites. Maybe Facebook too? People shares a lot of stuff there.After the recent BDR mutiny and massacre of army officers in Dhaka the Prime Minister met the aggrieved army officers in a confidential closed door meeting at Shenakunja where no press or outsiders were allowed. The conversions in the meeting and cellphone video recordings were leaked out, uploaded and shared using many file sharing sites including E-snips and YouTube. Unheard Voice blog discusses the issue of the leaked audio files which are being used by some quarters to create some political bickering and malign the army and the Prime Minister.
If Bangladesh Govt thinks Internet is like Cellphone service then they are living in fools' paradise. There are many ways people can bypass the blockage. [..] In this particular case anyone can use Anonymous proxy and bypass firewall!Some bloggers like Kayes Mahmud are providing proxy links so that others can access the blocked contents. Razon Sun points out that the contents of the meeting at Shenakunjo have already been published in a local newspaper [bn]. So there is actually no logic to block the internet. It may be mentioned here that Bangladeshis outside Bangladesh can easily access to these contents, which can be downloaded and shared by email.
Youtube, eSnips etc are very common and useful services. If Bangladesh Govt think any particular Audio and Video harmful for our society they could directly request Youtube to remove them. Such wild blockage is not only stupidity but also raises question about Govt's intention.
প্রচারনা বন্ধ করার আগে দেখেন কিভাবে এটা রেকর্ড হলো? প্রথমে কোন সাইটে এটা আপ্লোড হয়েছে। সেনাকুঞ্জের সভার ভিডিও টা দেখেন ভালো করে কোন সেনা কর্মকর্তা মোবাইল হাতে চুপেচাপে রেকর্ডিং করছে। এটা ধরা তেমন কঠিন কাজ না।Russell vents his frustration:
Before trying to block the audio/videos please see how it was recorded and where it was first uploaded. Please check the video of the Shenakunja meeting to pin point who recorded it. It is not hard to find out.
What's ironical is that it's the same Government that talks about "Digital Bangladesh" all the time. We now know what Digital Bangladesh is like.Now the question is how to unblock YouTube and other file sharing sites in Bangladesh. We have seen in previous cases that the authorities do not recognize that such bans were carried out in the first place shifting the blame to technical glitches. In the absence of 'Right To Information Act' it is hard for a common citizen to ask why it was done. We hope that the authorities will unblock all these sites to prevent more controversies and bad publicity for the government.
From the Daily Star:
Citing telephone records of some suspects, investigators said the February 25 massacre at BDR Pilkhana headquarters was planned at least two months back.Unheard Voice discusses the issue of some leaked audio files of a closed meeting between the Prime Minister and the aggrieved army officers. Check the comments section for a revealing discussion. Hasan Murshed and Arif Jebtik also raises some points.
Those involved in the investigation said so far they have collected the suspects' phone records for the last two months.
“Most likely the networking between them had begun much before that time. Further investigation will shed light on that,” said a high official of a law-enforcement agency, requesting anonymity.
The information obtained in interrogations of the arrested mutineers bears out the 'finding', he added.
So far, the investigators have gathered that at least 100 people were involved in the vicious killings of scores of army officials deputed to BDR. “However, this number [of mutineers] could shoot up to 1,000 in the end.”
The BDR massacre has been done with outside help is being more prominent each day. There is the evidence of a grey colored pickup which brought the ammunition to kill the officers via gate no. 5. Many mutineers escaped through that gate which was not properly sealed and speedboats were used for the escape.
Here is a telling photo (thanks Asif) taken on 25th of February during the standoff:
Law enforcing agencies recovered a huge quantity of firearms and ammunition including around two lakh rounds of bullets of different kinds of firearms, 623 rifles, 220 SMG, 16 LMG, 111 RGES grenades and 36 pistols from inside the BDR Headquarters at Peelkhana in the capital abandoned by the fleeing BDR troops after the Feb 25 bloody massacre.More news:
Meanwhile, the intelligence unit of the BDR named Rifles Security Unit (RSU) might have been involved in the BDR carnage, an army official said.
"The RSU members were forced to involved in the carnage or they deliberately took part in the carnage, as a huge quantity of firearms and ammunition of them and others were recovered from the rooms of RSU jawans," he said.
"As per the rules none could allow to keep his firearms and ammunition at their rooms," he said. "The RSU jawans not only kept their arms but also firearms of others, which proved their involvement in the massacre," he said.
"The jawans of the RSU might have been involved in the attack as all of the five or six officials of the intelligence wing might have been killed as they protested the incident," he said.
Another mystery over the presence of two foreign nationals, a female and a male, inside the BDR headquarters was yet to be unfolded.
Witnesses say foreign nationals Tang Yunpeng, 30, and Xang Zhaoua, 28, came out of the BDR Headquarters in the afternoon on February 26.
This doesn't look good at all:
A dozen men attacked Sri Lanka's cricket team with rifles, grenades and rocket launchers Tuesday ahead of a match in Pakistan, wounding several players and killing six police officers and civilian in a brazen attack on South Asia's most beloved sport.Pakistan stock exchange is falling as a result.
Herdict Web - the verdict of the herd:
Have you ever come across a web site that you could not access and wondered,"Am I the only one?" Herdict Web aggregates reports of inaccessible sites, allowing users to compare data to see if inaccessibility is a shared problem. By crowdsourcing data from around the world, we can document accessibility for any web site, anywhere.
Yesterday another body was found washed out from sewerage. So far the death toll from the BDR rebellion has risen to 74 and 71 army officers still missing. It was in reality not a mutiny but pre-planned attack and pre-meditated murder, which was later revealed. Bangladesh is mourning and the TV channels are broadcasting worries, pains and tears of the families. Wives lost their husbands, children their fathers and parents their sons on whom they depend. Its really a grim situation. These scenes are unbearable and you can't stop your tears watching them.
This had put a negative effect on everybody and some are confused. The BDR jawans were heroes on the first day but turned to notorious villains after the bodies started to be discovered. People are spontaneously showing their protests and demanding justice. There has been candle vigils in Dhaka and in a few cities across the world.
And the army is raging with anger to retaliate. There are rumors everywhere which points to the government's negotiation process and lapse of time. Some believe if army was moved in earlier they could have saved many officers. But the hard truth is coming out from eyewitnesses reported in the Daily Star:
Most of the BDR Jawaans who killed the army officers during the BDR mutiny were quite young and most of the killings were carried out and over between 10:30 to 11:00 am, immediately after the chaos started at Darbar Hall at the BDR headquarters.The report talks about a grey-coloured pick-up approaching the Darbar Hall from the gate number 5, loaded with boxes of ammunition. The pickup was with the jawans when they carried on with their killing spree of officers in other offices.
About the government's tackling of what she termed a pre-planned massacre at Pilkhana, she said the focus all along was on saving lives of thousands of innocent people.Shadakalo also dispels some rumors like why the light was off at night and has some questions for the investigation team:
"I opted for talks to save lives, to save the officers and their families," she said refuting claims that not resorting to force was a tactical mistake.
1. What were the various intelligence agencies doing? Lt. Col. Kamruzzaman is on record that the field agents of the intelligence agencies were involved in this. Even if this is not true, this indicates a massive intelligence failure.The blogger also compiles a Timeline to better understand what happened when. Here are some pictures and videos of the troubled times.
2. What happens to the corruption allegations? We hope that those will not be buried along with the dead bodies.
3. On March 1, 2009, the police forces of Bangladesh suddenly started receiving 100% ration, which was one of the 22 demands of the BDR. Was there any credible intelligence regarding a similar threat at the Police force? If so, from whom?
BDR forces = dispersed and morally brokenThe Indian media is indicating that Jammat and BNP lawmaker Salahuddin Qader Chowdhury are involved. Ananda Bazar Patrika reported that the BDR rebel chief DAD Towhid is a Jamaat member.
Armed forces = insulted, abused, hurt and killed
The Government = support-less, embarrassed, endangered and the stability threatened
The Prime Minister = alone, burdened with her decision, under tremendous pressure and she is under threat
General public = hurt, confused, without direction and totally unaware of the plans of the real culprits
So this is the state of the nation. What threat lies ahead is uncertain to many.
When a crisis strikes in a country like Bangladesh, the civilian government usually faces two main challenges. First, it must deal with the crisis itself. Second, it must deal with the ever present possibility that the army may intervene and take control of the government.According to the Daily Star:
The government today decided to deploy the members of the armed forces across the country to arrest the fugitive rebels of Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) and seize missing firearms.Mash also terms this as a very troubling development. The blogger says:
A home ministry official preferring anonymity said the troops would be deployed in aid of the civil administration under the ‘Operation Rebel Hunt.’
“Army will help the police to arrest the rebels and seize their arms,” the official told The Daily Star last night.
He said the army would be withdrawn after having the situation under control.
The army is being deployed for law enforcement purposes across the country on a mission to hunt down those that have killed the army’s own. This holds the potential for further bloodshed. [..] In an atmosphere where the army ranks are in a mood for revenge, putting them in charge of hunting down the perpetrators is ill advised. The urge for revenge combined with the natural and historical urge of the army to take control make for a volatile situation.
The Indian press is all over Salahuddin Qader Chowdhury.
Times of India:
The preliminary interrogation of some of the rebels has thrown up the name of Salauddin Qadeer Chowdhury, a well-known shipping magnate and reportedly very close to the Pakistan military-intelligence complex and the opposition BNP. According to sources monitoring the situation, about one crore taka has already changed hands to help the mutiny along.Indian Express:
The interrogation reports, which include one Subedar Major Zafar, point the finger of suspicion to BNP MP and known businessman Salahuddin Qader Chowdhury, who has several cases of graft against him.However Mr. Chowdhury refuted these claims as propaganda.
According to information coming from Dhaka to New Delhi, some BDR personnel have confirmed that a sum of 1 crore Takas was provided as initial amount after a meeting three days before the mutiny. The idea, sources said, was to fuel latent anger among BDR personnel with the hope that a killing of this sort would indeed provoke a strong Army reaction.
“At around 10:00am on Wednesday I heard an announcement through loudspeakers that the Jawans staying inside their residences instead of taking part in the mutiny will be killed,”Lt. Colonel Kamruzzaman reveals in Shamokal:
Field agents of intelligence agencies were involved in this. They knew everything.