September 10, 2007

Propaganda: threat to rebuke dissent in a foreign land

This news was overlooked by many Bangladeshis. A news article have been published in one popular Bangladeshi newspaper the Daily Ittefaq, owned by one of the advisers of the Caretaker Government which warns against the dissents against the Governments actions among Bangladeshi diaspora communities in USA. Some excerpts (translated by Rumi Ahmed):
It has been learned that a list is being prepared of those who are protesting the arrest and demanding the release of those arrested in Bangladesh for corruption, nepotism and massive looting with abuse of state power....Three officials from a special law enforcement agency of Bangladesh have already arrived in New York on a special mission. These intelligence agents are contacting professional, political and community leaders and are collecting from various sources the names-addresses as well as the immigration status of the organizers of these protests. According to a reliable source in the Bangladesh embassy in Washington, it will not be at all difficult for the intelligence agents to track a handful of expatriate Bangladeshis. Full details of these protesters will be sent to airports and respective police stations in Bangladesh. The same source also informs us that naturalized American citizens will also not be spared as their photo along with video footage will be sent to special law enforcement agencies in Bangladesh. In addition, those expatriates who under the banner of news agencies, and without any basis and with ill motive, write in our local newspapers inflammatory and negative stories that damage the image of our country will also be tracked.
Mash reports:
A similar report appeared in Jonomot, a weekly Bengali language newspaper published in London, England. The report in Jonomot claimed that a similar intelligence team had been dispatched to the United Kingdom to collect information on protesters there.
He posts and excellent rebuttal of this propaganda in Daily KOS and E-Bangladesh titled "I will not be silenced":
The latest report in the Ittefaq serves to further intimidate those in the West who are protesting the Bangladesh military government's suppression of fundamental rights. If the report is correct and Bangladesh has indeed dispatched intelligence agents to the United States to spy on Bangladeshi nationals and US citizens of Bangladeshi origin, it is almost certainly a violation of US laws. The United States government should take immediate steps to protect the rights of its citizens against foreign government spying.

Protest and dissent are fundamental to the health of a democracy. It is the violation of human rights that defame the image of Bangladesh, not the reporting of them.
This shows the absurdity of the propagandists who fail to realize that these types of reports can create a diplomatic incident with those countries involved and put the Bangladesh Government in a more awkward position. This kind of immature report is unacceptable from a leading Daily like Ittefaq and I am sure the report has no merit. One may as well question the reasons behind publication of these reports.


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