The US embassy in Dhaka has launched an unprecedented campaign against Bangladesh, acting more like a political organisation than the embassy of a democratic country, analysts say.
It has recently shared a Deutsche Welle (DW)’s documentary on RAB that raises allegations of human rights violation on its verified Facebook page. Analysts say the embassy’s action is similar to interfering in the internal matters of Bangladesh.
Netra News has assisted DW in the documentary. Funded by the US agency National Endowment for Democracy (NED), Netra News is helmed by controversial journalist duo Tasneem Khalil and David Bergman.
Although Bangladesh has rejected the allegations raised in the documentary, the US has called for looking into them.
Senior journalist Ajoy Dasgupta said the US embassy’s sharing of the DW item on Facebook was “not only interfering in the country’s internal matter but also goes against diplomatic etiquette”.
He noted that the US does not publish reports on the plight of Palestinians and the Rohingyas. “Did they publish report on the Pakistani occupation forces’ genocide and war crimes during Bangladesh’s Liberation War? The Pakistani forces used US weapons to kill Bangalees. The US should look at things impartially.”
Tasneem and Bergman assisted in the Al Jazeera documentary, ‘All the Prime Minister’s Man’. “These journalists are engaged in anti-Bangladesh propaganda,” Dasgupta said.
DW documentary intentional
Analysts have branded the documentary intentional and questioned the US’ overly eager behaviour.
UNB news agency editor Farid Hossain said the US tries to oust the governments it doesn’t like. “We’ve seen it in Latin America, the Arab world and even in our own country,” he told Somoy.
Farid said a Bangladeshi journalist present at the State Department briefing asked the question on RAB and they said they would look into it and urged Bangladesh to investigate the allegations.
The journalist was a member of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia’s media wing.
“I believe these (sharing the DW documentary) was tantamount to interfering in a country’s internal matter. Such activities are being carried out on regular basis. Our political parties, particularly the opposition, encourages the practice,” Farid said.
He noted that the US thinks it is their responsibility to talk about human rights, democracy and rule of law of other countries. “But the people of Bangladesh consider it unwarranted interference,” the journalist said.
Rumour monger Tasneem Khalil
Tasneem fled Bangladesh in 2007 and has since been engaged in anti-state conspiracies from Sweden.
He was sacked by the Daily Star for running intentional and biased news. He was also CNN’s Bangladesh correspondent and involved with a Human Rights Watch project. During this period, he wrote a number of attacking articles on Bangladesh’s internal matters.
He developed close ties with diplomats stationed in Dhaka and supplied them information and documents in exchange for money.
He is currently the editor of Netra News. Sources say he has won BNP’s acting chairman Tarique Rahman’s trust by successfully publicising rumours.
Tasneem comes from a family of anti-liberation forces. His father was a member of Al-Badr.
Tasneem had described Bangladesh’s human rights situation as normal before the Awami League came to power in 2009 and spoke for the BNP-Jamaat alliance at the European Parliament briefing.
Bergman siding with war criminals
David Bergman, the son-in-law of Dr Kamal, made headlines for his writings opposing the war crimes trials in Bangladesh.
When asked about him, Farid said Bergman repeatedly claimed that the trials were not maintaining international standards and that international laws were not being followed. “Their purpose was clear,” he said.
The main goal of his writing was to impede the trial process. In most of his write ups, he questioned the trial process of war crimes suspects belonging to BNP and Jamaat.
Jamaat had openly sided with Pakistani forces and tried to thwart Bangalees’ struggle for freedom. It was instrumental in carrying out genocide and crimes against humanity during the Liberation War.
Bergman had also questioned the number of martyrs and tried to embarrass Bangladesh and the government on the global stage.
The International Crimes Tribunal found the British journalist guilty of contempt in 2014 for questioning the official death toll in the Liberation War. Tribunal judges ruled that a blog and two other articles written by David Bergman “hurt the feelings of the nation”.
Bergman was sacked by New Age and bdnews24.com for non-professional conduct and not abiding by journalistic principles.
Netra News and NED
Netra News is getting funds from NED thanks to Bergman’s good ties with the US. It has been running a vicious campaign against Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and currently engaged in circulating fake news about Bangladesh.
At the height of the coronavirus pandemic, they predicted the death of more than 100,000 people in Bangladesh.
The US uses NED to fund various media and selected people. It’s Washington’s favourite tool for regime change in other countries.
NED has been involved in various acts of sabotage in its target countries in the pretext of establishing democracy.
In 1991, its founder Allen Weinstein told the New York Times that NED was the ‘second CIA’. Its four organisations — National Democratic Institute, National Republican Institute, The American Centre for International Labour Solidarity and The Centre for International Private Enterprise — are spearheading propaganda in countries around the world.
Ajoy Dasgupta said various Bangladeshi institutions were getting funds from NED and working in America’s interest.
“We have to ensure our national interest. International propaganda against our country is not desirable,” he said.
Senior Indian journalist Subir Bhaumik described the NED as an instrument for regime change. “If the US wants to oust a government, it funds various institutions and news media through NED to run campaigns against the government,” he said.