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RAB, Counter-Terrorism and Pursuit?of Democracy

By Rahnuma Ahmed

Members of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) ?Munem Wasif/DrikNews

IT HAS been nearly two weeks since WikiLeaks leak of diplomatic cables from US Embassy, Dhaka revealed that US Ambassador James F Moriarty had urged the prime minister’s energy adviser, Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, to award contracts to Asia Energy, Conoco Philips and Chevron.
As I argued in `WikiLeaks Bangladesh – I: People’s Resistance to Global Capital,? Govt Collaboration is Vindicated’ (December 27, 2010), subsequent events reveal that those in position, i.e. those within the government, complied. So did the opposition, by remaining silent. By not publicly disavowing policy decisions taken earlier.
A critical analysis of WikiLeaked diplomatic cables reveal a shared interest between the two major political parties and their respective leaders, Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia, whose bitter political rivalry has led influential sections of both national and international media to dub them `battling begums.’
They reveal a shared interest between?and this probably evokes a sense of deep shame for the nation?the party which leads the nation’s desire for trying war criminals of 1971 (the Awami League), and leaders belonging to the party who are to be tried for having committed these crimes (the Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh).
The public is given to understand that the Awami League, Bangladesh Nationalist Party, and Jamaat-e-Islami are unlikely bed-fellows, but closer analysis reveals their unity in serving the interests of global capital, against the interests of impoverished, oppressed local communities in Phulbari, against asserting national control and ownership of mineral resources.
No official reaction to the WikiLeaked energy cable, still. Other expos?s seem more pressing. The creature comforts in Khaleda Zia’s Dhaka Cantonment home from which she was evicted. Signs of “opulence,” says Sheikh Hasina.
Meanwhile, the National Committee for the Protection of Oil, Gas and Mineral Resources, Power and Ports demands that the US ambassador be declared persona non grata, that the prime minister’s energy adviser be sacked (December 30, 2010).
Continue reading “WIKILEAKS BANGLADESH – II”