Army HQ condemns Al Jazeera report
Bangladesh authorities have termed an Al Jazeera investigative report "false, defamatory and a politically motivated smear campaign" intended to disrupt the harmony among different government organs of the country and destabilise the secular democratic government of Bangladesh.
In a rejoinder yesterday, Bangladesh Army Headquarters said it condemns in the strongest possible words the "concocted and ill-intended report by a vested group in the news channel Al-Jazeera titled "All the Prime Minister's Men" aired yesterday.
"This, in fact, is a sequel by the same vested group which has been attempting to destabilise the country in the recent times," said Inter Service Public Relations Directorate (ISPR).
It said the commentators of the report are David Bergman, a convict of International Crimes Tribunal, Zulkarnain Saer Khan (featured as Sami in the report), an ex-cadet expelled from Bangladesh Military Academy on charges of drug addiction and Tasneem Khalil, the chief editor of "infamous" Netra News.
"The nexus among the ill-motivated and vested personalities is clearly visible in their past credentials."
The Army Headquarters said it is not clear how an international news channel like Al-Jazeera can associate itself with such an ill-intentioned group of people with criminal records.
"The video is prepared putting together clips of different official, social and private events using technology. Several disconnected events are edited together giving voices at the background."
Bangladesh Army denounces the "false information" provided in the report with respect to procurement of the Mobile Interceptor Device from Israel. The truth is the equipment was procured from Hungary for one of the Army Contingents due to be deployed in the UN Peacekeeping Mission, it said.
"Nowhere in the equipment was mentioned/written that these were of Israeli origin. There is no scope of defence co-operation/procurement from Israel since Bangladesh does not have any formal diplomatic relation with the country."
The rejoinder said Bangladesh Army views the report as an attempt by the "vested group" to disrupt the harmony among different government organs with a view to obstructing the growth and development of the country.
"Bangladesh Army is the most disciplined under the present Chain of Command and loyal to the constitution and the government. Bangladesh Army had always been and will remain respectful to the government of Bangladesh and contribute in the nation building efforts of our beloved motherland," it said.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh foreign ministry has described the Al Jazeera investigative report "All the Prime Minister's Men" as "false, defamatory and a politically motivated smear campaign".
"The government of Bangladesh has learnt of a false and defamatory report titled 'All the Prime Minister's Men' by Al Jazeera news channel," said the foreign ministry in a statement yesterday morning.
It said the report is nothing more than a misleading series of innuendos and insinuations in what is apparently a politically motivated "smear campaign" by notorious individuals associated with the Jamaat-e-Islami extremist group, which has been opposing the progressive and secular principles of the People's Republic of Bangladesh since its birth as an independent nation in 1971.
The statement said the fact that the report's historical account fails to even mention the horrific genocide in 1971 in which Jamaat perpetrators killed millions of Bengali civilians and raped more than two hundred thousand Bengali women, which is a reflection of the political bias in Al Jazeera's coverage and that of its principal commentator, David Bergman, convicted by International Crimes Tribunal of Bangladesh for challenging the official death toll of 1971 Liberation War.
It is noted that the main "source" of Al Jazeera's allegations is an alleged international criminal claimed to be a "psychopath" by Al Jazeera itself, the statement said.
"There is not a shred of evidence linking the prime minister and other state institutions of Bangladesh to this particular individual, and it is highly irresponsible for an international news channel to draw conclusions on the basis of the words of a mentally unstable person," it said.
The statement said it is also not surprising that the report aligns with the string of anti-Bangladesh propaganda habitually orchestrated by a few convicted absconding criminals and discredited individuals patronised by Jamaat-e-Islami, which on certain occasions has conspired with international extremist groups and news media, especially the Al Jazeera.
The foreign ministry said Bangladesh government rejects this desperate "smear campaign" instigated by extremists and their allies, working from London and elsewhere, and regrets that Al Jazeera has allowed itself to become an "instrument for their malicious political designs" aimed at destabilising the secular democratic government of Bangladesh with a proven track record of extraordinary socio-economic development and progress.