BDR Rebellion updates

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Inquiry into custodial deaths of BDR men demanded

New Age

Rights activists, civil society members and political alliance on Saturday demanded independent inquiry into the custodial deaths of the Bangladesh Rifles members. They also demanded trial of the BDR rebels in civilian court under general criminal laws instead of the Army Act to ensure a proper, fair and transparent trial. Thirty human rights activists and eminent citizens and a political alliance Jatiya Mukti Council made the demand, issuing separate press releases. They also raised question about involvement of United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation to probe into the BDR rebellion.

“In the meantime, at least six BDR personnel have died in mysterious circumstances, causing public anxiety and concern regarding the investigation process,” said the press release signed by thirty rights activists. It also said, “Inhuman torture during interrogation on the BDR people was evidenced by the blood clots as mentioned in the inquest report of Lance Naik Mobarak Hossain who died on 22 March 2009.”

“The use of torture in the interrogation process is not only a violation of human rights as Bangladesh is a state party to the Convention Against Torture, it is also both illegal and a punishable offence. We demand an independent inquiry into each of these deaths,” they added. The families of the BDR personnel are passing their days in a state of insecurity and uncertainty. The government must remember that it has duties towards them as well, especially as the investigation is ongoing, they observed.

Expressing concern over the government move to try the mutinous BDR soldiers under the Army Act in a military court, they said, “The act of rebellion was covered by the general amnesty, but murder, rape and looting are punishable offences. We, therefore, expect a proper investigation and a fair and transparent trial will take place under the ordinary criminal laws.”

However, as the BDR is under the Ministry of Home Affairs and not the Ministry of Defence, it is logical to expect that the trial of the BDR personnel will take place in an ordinary criminal court, they said, proposing formation of a Speedy Trial Court or a Special Tribunal to try the mutinous soldiers.

They criticised loose comments from different quarters on the nature of the incident, saying, “It can only deter the investigation from taking its own course and become an obstacle in the path of justice.”

Demanding inquiry into the deaths of the BDR soldiers who were kept under the government supervision, the Jatiya Mukti Council president, Badruddin Umar, and its secretary Faizul Hakim in their statements alleged, “Their deaths are due to torture under state custody, though the government claimed the deaths to be incidents of suicides or death after cardiac arrest.”

“The people are undoubtedly saddened at the death of scores of army officers in the BDR carnage. But at the same, people have started to fell aggrieved at the torture on the BDR soldiers. The people would not accept any trial to be conducted stealthily under the army act. The people want those who were behind the killings to be brought to justice as well,” the statement said.

The signatories of the press releases are women’s movement activists Shireen Huq, Shipra Deori, Maheen, Sultan Samia Afrin and Habibun Nessa, writer Rahnuma Ahmed and Tarek Omar Chowdhury, economist Professor Anu Mohammad, lawyer Dr Shahdeen Malik, NGO activist Khushi Kabir and Zakir Hossain, journalist Kamal Lohani, health rights activist Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury, Professor Perween Hasan, Professor Firdous Azim, economist and writer Mohiuddin Ahmed, photographers Shahidul Alam and Nahar Ahmed, human rights activist Rina Roy, university teacher Lamia Karim, human rights activist Shaheen Anam, anthropologist Saydia Gulrukh, BanglaPraxis executive director Zakir Kibria, architect Bashirul Haq and development banker Mozammel Huq, anthropologists Sayeed Ferdous, Mirza Taslima Sultana, Sayema Khatun, Sadaf Noor and Nasrin Khandoker.

Bangladesh Lifts Ban On YouTube

Source AFP/Google

Bangladesh has lifted a ban on the video-sharing site YouTube after it hosted a recording of an angry dispute between the premier and army officers over a mutiny, an official said Thursday.

Several similar sites were also blocked on Sunday after the recording, purportedly an argument between the army chiefs and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed, was uploaded onto the Internet.

In the recorded conversation, the military bosses are heard yelling at the premier for her handling of the mutiny, in which at least 74 people were killed, 56 of them senior officers.

“The ban has been withdrawn,” Ziaul Islam, the head of the telecommunications regulatory commission, told AFP.

“Things are cooling down and everything is settling. We will not be interfering with what is on the site,” he said, adding the content originally considered “subversive to the state” was still available to download.

Bloggers had criticised the government’s actions as heavy handed

Bangladesh army: victims and victimizers

Rater Zonaki

HONG KONG, China, March 11, 2009

The bloodshed at the headquarters of the Bangladesh Rifles, who protect the country s borders, on Feb. 25 and 26 was initially labeled a mutiny. Since then more information has unfolded, and the media have termed it a massacre and a mass assassination. The BDR soldiers killed around 60 army officers, from the rank of captain to major general.

The death toll is reportedly 73, which includes six soldiers of the BDR, three pedestrians, the wife of the director general of the force, and a retired colonel along with his wife. The rest of the victims were officers, and one soldier, of the Bangladesh army. Four officers are still missing since the incident.

Separate civilian, police and army investigations are ongoing, some including experts from the United States and the United Kingdom. At the same time the nation is busy commenting and analyzing the reasons behind the killings. As political parties debate the causes and consequences, measuring the success and failure of the authorities in accordance with their own interests, the government has launched

Operation Rebel Hunt to catch the culprits.

The public image of the armed forces has been very mixed. Whenever there are floods, cyclones or other devastating natural disasters, the government calls on the army to conduct relief work and engage in disaster management. During such times soldiers and officers are perceived as diligent and brave, helping to restore calm and hope.

The people have applauded the army s humanitarian efforts for decades, because they have helped the common man. Other than that, as the day-to-day functions of the armed forces are not directly related to the public, people do not see the army at close quarters.

However, many Bangladeshis have experienced the bitter side of the army, which is far different. People have witnessed their crackdowns on political opponents, social activists and human rights defenders and read of their arbitrary arrests, detentions, torture and extrajudicial killings. They have also observed that such offences have not been thoroughly investigated and that the perpetrators have not been brought to justice.

For example, on Oct. 16, 2002, the government of Prime Minister Khaleda Zia deployed the army across the country in the name of “Operation Clean Heart,” which continued until Jan. 9, 2003, to crack down on illegal arms and criminals.

During the 86-day crackdown, around 11,200 people were officially arrested and detained in custody; 2,500 people were listed as criminals and about 300 as suspects by the police. Around 2,000
different types of arms and 29,700 rounds of ammunition were recovered. Although more than 50 people died in the custody of the armed forces, their deaths were officially termed as “heart attacks.”

In reality, an additional 8,000 people were arrested and detained, and all who were detained were seriously tortured. Who was responsible for such illegal actions, which affected the ordinary
people financially, socially and physically? What kind of affinity could people have with the army in the light of their brutal actions?

The past two years under emergency rule have created new records of brutality at the hands of the armed forces, which have illegally arrested, detained and tortured thousands of people. Officers of the Bangladeshi army were the dominant perpetrators in almost all cases.

Allegations of extortion by the army have also surfaced where businessmen and industrialists were kidnapped and ransoms demanded. Such people were allegedly detained on fabricated corruption charges, intimidated and tortured in custody till the ransoms were paid.

Compared to the army, the BDR soldiers are more closely in touch with the public, at least in the cities they protect along the more than 4,000-kilometer-long border, under the leadership of the army.

Still there are corrupt BDR soldiers who allegedly allow smugglers to transport goods in and out of Bangladesh for personal benefit. While the beneficiaries of such illegal trade appreciate the soldiers’ supportive” role, the majority of the common people believe that the BDR protects the territory well.

Following the tragic killings on Feb. 25 and 26, the government immediately announced it would give one million takas (US$14,620) as compensation to each of the families of the army officers that were killed. Yet it completely ignored the civilians that died, for more than a week.

Only after the media reported the slip-up did the authorities announce they would give 200,000 takas (US$2,924) to the families of the civilian victims. Such discrimination, which has prevailed for
decades, makes people wonder why civilians are considered less human than the armed forces.

The government must reconsider the fairness of such decisions. The armed forces should also rethink their actions during “Operation Clean Heart and similar crackdowns, when politicians provided them impunity at the cost of huge grievances to the people.

The army officers should also reflect on their image as brutal giants during the state of emergency. The military should understand and accept that the Parliament has the right and responsibility to
discuss such issues openly. They should accept that they are not above the laws of the land.

It is easy to vilify the BDR soldiers for the violence of the February killings. But one must not forget that this force represents at least 67,000 Bangladeshi families. It is important for the nation
to look beyond political games and find the truth behind the February massacre.

(Rater Zonaki is the pseudonym of a human rights defender based in Hong Kong, working at the Asian Human Rights Commission. He is a Bangladeshi national who has worked as a journalist and human rights activist in his country for more than a decade, and as editor of publications on human rights and socio-cultural issues.)

Interview of Nurul Kabir

A Janakantha reporter asked Nurul Kabir, editor New Age why his car was chased by armed men, on motorbikes (5 March 2009, night). This is the full text of his reply (Janakantha, 9 March 2009), translated by Rahnuma Ahmed

My journalistic practice has always been part of the movement for democracy in Bangladesh. I have always spoken for the social, economic and cultural interests of the majority whether through spoken or written words. I have spoken out loudly and clearly. This, of course, has gone against the interests of different un-democratic governments — whether elected or un-elected. It has also gone against personal or coterie interests, whether those be of a military leadership hungering for political power, or business and industry interests which seek to fulfill their crass material interests, or fawning and boot-licking intellectuals who serve political party interests.

I was opposed to the un-elected, military-controlled caretaker government that had clung to power from January 2007 to December 2008. I had expressed my dissent both through speaking on television, and through writing in the newspaper of which I am the editor. Of course, those who are powerful had tried to prevent me. Of course, they didn’t succeed, but it is only natural that they will keep trying since my efforts — and those of my colleagues — hinder their own attempts to keep their narrow group interests hidden and to go unchallenged.

These ruling interests, small but undoubtedly powerful, who have previously been hostile towards me, continue to remain so now, and I expect them to remain thus, in future. What inspires me is my own democratic convictions, and the love and affection that I receive from countless people.

This powerful group who are anti-people to their core — whose repeated interventions have acted to prevent a democratic system from taking root in this country, a government that is formed of peoples’ representatives — have created and propagated lies to further their own interests. For instance, after the recent brutal killings at the BDR headquarters, they dubbed me as being “anti-army” to incite those who had been the victims of this terrible disaster. Although I have repeatedly insisted on countless TV talk shows, and in editorials, that what we need most — in the interests of Bangladesh’s existence as a proud nation-state — is a strong army, one that is committed to upholding the national interest. Although I have always maintained that if the army evades its professional responsibilities and becomes involved in political rule, if it becomes a pawn in the military leadership’s political game, it is bound to become internally weak. And therefore, I maintain that the national interest demands of us, that we should build a strong army, that we should build a democratic political order free of military control. It demands that the army should not engage in unprofessional conduct, that it should not attempt to control politics. This is against Bangladesh’s national interest. I have repeatedly said this, and I will continue to do so.

I have also repeatedly said that an elected government does not necessarily mean that it is a democratic government, and this, I shall keep repeating. Democracy is a system of living. An elected government can provide proof of its democratic orientation by adopting and executing political, economic and cultural policies that are pro-people, by tolerating political dissent, and by creating spaces so that independent-minded people can express their ideas freely. If any government deviates from this path — and this is regardless of the number of votes that has brought it to power — it would be fair to say that the government is un-democratic. In such a case, the only path left for a journalist who is committed to democracy, is resistance. This is what I have done in the past, this is what I shall keep doing in future. It would not be an exaggeration to say that danger stalks me, and it comes from those social groups that are small, but immensely powerful. I am convinced that this incident, of armed men chasing my car, was initiated by one of these groups.

If it’s a democratic government, it will provide assistance in averting such threats to my life and liberty. And if it isn’t, the love and affection that I receive from readers and viewers shall sustain me in my commitment to a journalistic practice that is committed to democracy.

A threat to media, democracy, say citizens


Who killed digital Bangladesh?

Poor Jawad Karim! Did he know it would end like this? When Google bought YouTube for the staggering price of $1.6 billion, the third co-founder of that company put his mark on history. 27-year-old at the time, this Bangladeshi origin graduate student had seen YouTube from humble origins to the peak of technology. Instant clout forever in technology history as the originator of YouTube as well as early member of PayPal (another paradigm shift company acquired by eBay). The man who changed the history of video on the internet. The arrival of the true convergence between television and computer. The first steps towards digital future.
Jawad may have hoped that his native Bangladesh would give him due honours. But instead perhaps today he wakes up to the news that his creation is now banned in Bangladesh. According to a report in Prothom Alo, a local Bangla daily, a large number of internet users called the newspaper to inform about this. Internet service providers in the country also confirmed this. The internet gateway that is used to access the submarine fibre optic cable from Bangladesh, controlled by the Bangladesh Telecom Company Ltd, is now blocking YouTube’s IP address. As a result, this popular website is not accessible from Bangladesh. Not just YouTube, the list of websites caught in this sudden clampdown include so far:,,,, The list has probably doubled by the time I write this letter.
Building things take time. Banning things? A snap of the finger will do. Welcome to democracy. But does our government knows what it is doing, doesn’t it? If it banned YouTube (and all the rest), they must have good reasons, no? YouTube must have done something really bad. I went to my YouTube account to check, just what I had bookmarked under ‘Bangladesh’ videos. These were my first 15 hits.
1. George Harrison: concert for Bangladesh, Madison Square Garden, 1971.
2. Driving in Dhaka
3. Shakira appeals for Bangladesh
4. Bangladesh anthem
5. Microcredit from Grameen Bank
6. Cholo Bangladesh by Cryptic Fate
7. Bangladesh beats India-WC07
8. Arsenic in water
9. Bangladesh 1971 Genocide
10. Climate change in Bangladesh
11. Renewable technology opportunities for women
12. Incredible Bangladesh
13. Plastic recycling in Bangladesh
14. Bangladesh voter registration
15. United Bangladesh appeal – Cyclone Sidr
But there must have been some reason to ban the site. Maybe I am not looking hard enough. Will the government please oblige and let us know which videos they found problematic? Nothing makes things popular and wanted than a ban, as history shows repeatedly. So please tell us what was the problem, and you will ensure those videos will spread like fire. Or are you planning to ban e-mail as well? Will you empty the entire ocean so we can’t drown?
The honourable prime minister launched a dynamic election platform that focused on Digital Bangladesh. Those were exciting words to us, the huge bloc of first-time voters who elected this government to office. We were looking forward to your digital Bangladesh. We are still looking forward to it. We are waiting and waiting, meanwhile to borrow a metaphor, the train seems to have been pulled off the tracks. Please tell us, please assure us, please show us, that this is not what you meant by ‘Digital Bangladesh’.
Chanchal Robin

Via e-mail

Testing times

It is not a failure of one institution but a collective one and only by sharing the findings can such incidents be avoided in future. We have far too many secrets and even greater tragedies spawned by such events before and it is time the demand of the people’s right to know was seriously respected by all. Half-known truths are as bad as half-truths,

writes Afsan Chowdhury

BANGLADESH is passing through an extremely difficult phase where all its institutions are being tested to the full. The incident at the Bangladesh Rifles headquarters has become a rite of passage of sorts for the Bangladesh state to see if it can make through tough times. It faces a strain on all but the greatest challenge is to the relationship the armed forces and the civilian political government have with the Bangladesh state itself.
The incident has been shaped over several days and continues till today. There was a period of confusion followed by a collective scream of horror as the nature of the incident became clear including the death toll and the manner of the death and disposal of the dead. Like it or not, Bangladeshis should not look upon the horrors of 1971 and think that such acts can only be committed by Pakistanis. At least the Pakistanis claimed no ethnic brotherhood and blood ties with Bengalis but Bangladeshis have shown that their capacity for murder, pillage, rape, loot and defiling of dead bodies outdoes everyone. It is a remarkable display of gruesome hatred and should make us humble and reflect on the beast within us, individually and collectively. The myth about Bengalis being soft and gentle hearted should be removed once and for all; they have proved their murderous intent many times before and now.

Mystery and speculation: half-known and half-truths
UNANSWERED questions surround the incident and it has mystified national and international circles equally and fuelled much speculation too. Rumours have been many and many have been accused of crimes but without proof till now. Within Bangladesh, they range from accusations of incompetence on the part of the present government to conspiracies hatched by extremist forces to destroy the army to create bad blood between the civil government and the military forces and so on. However, with every statement, the timbre of the state structure is weakened and it might serve everyone best if rash statements were not made by anyone in the government, opposition or elsewhere, including the media. It is time for a touch of restrained tongues.
It makes little sense to speculate as to what happened or could have happened as the government and the military have both set up investigation committees to find that out. Like others, one hopes that there will be proper coordination between the two committees and full disclosure will follow instead of secret reports. It is not a failure of one institution but a collective one and only by sharing the findings can such incidents be avoided in future. We have far too many secrets and even greater tragedies spawned by such events before and it is time the demand of the people’s right to know was seriously respected by all. Half-known truths are as bad as half-truths.
While we wait to hear what happened and how it happened and who was responsible we would like to devote space to what is known and try to understand from them.

The state is more resilient than thought before
PERHAPS the most important fact that has transpired from amongst it all is the resilience of the state and its present shape. Foremost is the fact that despite the extreme crisis and provocation, the army did not take over. This in the context of Bangladesh is an unexpected indication of maturity and deserves to be recognised. Bangladesh does have a history of takeovers and even the present government came to power through an army guaranteed election but the army did not give in to emotions and angry reaction and break the barrier.
In this connection we would like to refer to the clandestine tape recordings of Sheikh Hasina’s meeting with the army officers at Senakunja which is making the rounds. Any listening will make it clear that the army officers’ principal emotion was that of hurt and primary feeling was that of disappointment that the officers who could be saved weren’t.
At the same time, one can also see how misinformation played a part in building up resentment. The prime minister was asked why she didn’t attend a BDR dinner and if it was because there was a security issue. The prime minister replied that she had already informed the BDR chief that due to office work pressure she would not go to the dinner and post-dinner celebrations. She was firm and said this sort of rumours would do no one any good. Although voices were still being raised it was clear that the feeling was not dominantly of anger but wounded feelings and a sense of feeling let down.
In this encounter, Sheikh Hasina neither lost her cool nor compromised her position as the prime minister. She also behaved like an ‘older sister’ and one supposes this approach suited the situation very much and it served both. While facing the unhappy officers, Hasina also defended her own position and that of her government in handling the crisis actively. It sounded like an honest exchange and the airing of grievances which was certainly a positive thing. The fact that no hostility was evident is significant. It was a critical moment in the crisis that in the end cleared much of the cobwebs and the gloom. The next step now is to find out what happened and why.

Scapegoating and demonising won’t help the cause
THERE is unfortunately a bit of scapegoat finding that is going on and much of the attention is going towards the home minister Sahara Khatun’s way which is unfair. There is no precedent of handling such a situation and all those that happened before were handled no better. The home minister displayed great courage by going in and negotiating. Also, to think that she alone was taking all the decisions is not right. However, there are many forces and institutions who need to explain their conduct and competence and she certainly is not the first on the line.
As has been mentioned several times, there is unease about the failure of intelligence agencies. Of course, given the history of such agencies and their failures everywhere, one should also not be over judgemental but it should be a lesson to them that intimidating civilians is relatively easy compared to taking care of national security and one should prioritise appropriately the tasks one handles.
This is the time to be analytical and one hopes that everyone else will do so because it is easy to catch the bus to quick judgement. It applies to all because the crisis is not of a single institution but the state machinery.

The positives of the situation
AMIDST all the anxiety and acrimony there are certain positives that need to be respected. First and foremost, despite all the tension and pressure, the army didn’t take over. This is a sign of a maturity that perhaps was missing even a few years back. It means that the civil-military alliance in Bangladesh has firmed up and this is now much more of a fellow travelling. The chief of army obviously played a critical role in this.
The decision not to take the BDR headquarters by force is probably the best decision taken by calm heads because such a decision could have exploded into large-scale violence and that would have been impossible to calm down. Thousands of armed people roaming in a state of conflict may well have been impossible to control and one dreads to think what that would have led to. That it wasn’t followed is another positive example.
Several forces from the police to the army to the BDR and Ansars exist without a clear description of who they are. What constitutes the military and the paramilitary and the others must be defined and detailed for what appears to be a case of inadequate management. Such forces exist in India and Pakistan; so, one needs to learn how it needs to be handled.
Two investigation committees are looking into the violent incident but there is a very strong need to look into the structural problems that contributed to this disaster. One has to explore what the real grievances of the mutineers are and what instigations from within or outside were there because a grievance leading to carnage is an extreme disconnect that has to be put in place.
Also, it should certainly not become a military-versus-paramilitary conflict. In the backdrop of the large-scale killing, rage will exist but it is the responsibility of the leaders to ensure that due process is followed and rights of all are respected. There should be a fair trial and everything needs to be done to ensure that such decision are beyond the boundaries of revenge. Victimisation has to be avoided if the gains made now are to be made permanent.
Demonisation of the identified mutineers will be there naturally but the BDR should not be demonised as they are a state force. It belongs to Bangladesh and it is again the duty of the concerned to return it to its original level of competence and integrity. That is why a wide enough enquiry has to be held to find out how many BDR men were involved and why. If a large number were involved, it becomes an institutional issue and must be dealt with decisions beyond trial and punishment. It becomes a matter of reform and restructuring not just trying killers.

The mutiny was meant to foil democracy, people say. For the moment, Bangladesh seems to have survived but one has to make sure that it continues to do so.

Editorial in New Age

Government should lift websites ban, explain ‘national security’ threat

THE government’s latest move to discreetly block access to a number of file sharing sites on the worldwide web, including the popular, is tantamount to a kind of club-fisted censorship that can have no place in a modern democracy, not least because of its shallow understanding of technology. While a top official of the government admitted to New Age on Sunday that the Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission blocked access to the sites, and is empowered to do so on ‘the grounds of national security’, there has been no official comment on the specific content that the government wishes to restrict access to. One can only surmise, therefore, that it is access to audio and video related to the February 25-26 BDR rebellion and its aftermath that the government is seeking to block. If that is indeed the case, and if the materials have a highly sensitive nature that threatens the country’s national security, what good is it to block Bangladeshi citizens’ access, if the rest of the world can access this material freely? Surely the government cannot argue that this information takes on a national security threat to Bangladesh only in the hands of its own citizens but remains innocuous in the hands of foreign governments.
One of the most politically empowering aspects of the worldwide web is the idea that no single authority owns it, nor reserves the right to block the diversity of information and political opinion expressed through it. And while this is not the first time that a government has sought to block its citizen’s access to information on the web in an effort to manage and control public opinion, such efforts have mostly failed. This is because cyber-technology has developed a tremendous capacity to outstrip the ability of the blunt censorship tools that governments often employ to block the public’s access to information on the web. There are dozens of free services already in place that allow the most novice of users to bypass government restrictions, through dummy proxies and the use of alternate file sharing sites. Meanwhile, in restricting access to information that may cast the government in poor light, Sheikh Hasina’s democratically elected regime is inviting comparisons with intolerant regimes elsewhere in the world which resort to such measures to silence critics or impose totalitarian ideologies.
Given that the people of this country have time and again risen up in protest against totalitarian rulers, and have earned their democratic rights and liberties at a heavy price, we demand an immediate explanation as to the specific ‘national security’ grounds on which this censorship is being exercised. The government should not only clarify in parliament the rationale for this censorship, but immediately reverse this brazenly undemocratic effort to control the public’s access to information

Official defends YouTube block

Sun, Mar 8th, 2009 10:32 pm BdST

Dhaka, Mar 08 (—A top regulatory official has defended blocking of Websites to Bangladeshi visitors in the national interest, saying it is permitted by law.

Popular video site YouTube and blog site could not be accessed by visitors from Bangladesh territory in the last two days, leading to reports that the Websites might have been blocked by the authorities.

“Nothing has been done which is beyond the jurisdiction of the government,” BTRC chairman Zia Ahmed told, when asked to confirm the reports.

An audio on the proceedings of the Mar 1 meeting between prime minister Sheikh Hasina and hundreds of army officers at the Dhaka cantonment in the wake of the Feb 25-26 BDR mutiny was posted on both the sites, and visitors passed on the links through emails.

Some newspapers also carried abridged versions of the texts of the audio, leaked apparently by rogue intelligent agents.

“The government can take any decision to stop any activity that threatens national unity and integrity,” said retired brigadier general Zia Ahmed.

“Our clients have been complaining that they cannot open these two sites,” said Sumon Ahmed, managing director of BDCOM, an ISP.

“We suspect it has been filtered at the Internet Gateway,” he told

“Grassroot Open Source Intelligence can include information we get from books, magazines, the Web, music, movies and other open sources. These information sources often overlap and intermix. Valuable intelligence can be found in a very wide range of people, media and other sources. Keep your eyes and mind open for good grassroots intelligence. The human race needs all the intelligence we can get our hands on.” Steve Hammons

Sunday, 8 March 2009

[BdOsint Monitors Comments: We most regrettably confirm that the Bangladesh Government is intercepting and blocking YouTube and eSnips]

This is month of our Freedom, Bangladesh Govt is taking their hand over freedom of Internet. Since most of the traffic is routed through Bangladesh Govt’s Submarine Cable Govt is doing cheap firewall tricks so that Internet users cannot access any audio, video and news site.

Initially lot of people thought this may be problem in Youtube server but here it reveals the truth.

Simplest way to check if any site is accessible is to use TRACERT / TRACEROUTE command.

This is one example of Traceroute. It shows how internet request is routed and how much time it takes in different node. You can find more about Traceroute in Wikipedia.

Lets come to the point. Since yesterday people are complaining that Youtube is not accessible in Dhaka. I found its true. To check network accessibility I prefer using Looking Glass service hosted by BDLUG.

It shows all youtube packets stops at GW-TELNET.BTTB.GOV.BD


Same for that provides Audio services. It does not go beyond BTTB router

Now you can see for its showing different result. It goes nicely outside BTTB. So it proofs that Bangladesh Govt is intentionally blocking particular domains. Are they trying to stop user listening to Leaked out “Confidential” Audio recording between Army and PM, and also watching Video’s regarding BDR incidents? If so there are many many sites where those content are copied and they are also spread over emails! How they will stop them?

If Bangladesh Govt thinks Internet is like Cellphone service then they are living in fools’ paradise. Earlier they tried to block Blog sites by blocking ports in firewall but people invented different ways to bypass that. In this particular case by using proxy servers anyone can bypass Govt’s firewall!

Youtube, eSnips are very common and useful services. If Bangladesh Govt finds any particular audio and video are harmful for our people they can request those service providers to remove that. I find not a single reason to block these sites.

I strongly protest Bangladesh Govt’s decision to filter any of the Internet servicess.

More links:

YouTube, eSnips, MediaFire BANNED? (Bangla)

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