With most unpopular president and vice president in the White House and series of failures that has been badly damaging image of the United States, the country, once again is headed towards an imminent civil war and according to analysts, it cannot bear to face it. They said, the political problems in the United States today are both structural and immediate, the crisis both longstanding and accelerating. The American political system has become so overwhelmed by anger that even the most basic tasks of government are increasingly impossible.
In an opinion-editorial in The Guardian, Stephen Marche wrote: The legal system grows less legitimate by the day. Trust in government at all levels is in freefall, or, like Congress, with approval ratings hovering around 20 percent, cannot fall any lower. Right now, elected sheriffs openly promote resistance to federal authority. Right now, militias train and arm themselves in preparation for the fall of the Republic. Right now, doctrines of a radical, unachievable, messianic freedom spread across the internet, on talk radio, on cable television, in the malls.
The consequences of the breakdown of the American system is only now beginning to be felt. January 6 wasn’t a wake-up call; it was a rallying cry. The Capitol police have seen threats against members of Congress increase by 107%. Fred Upton, Republican representative from Michigan, recently shared a message he had received: “I hope you die. I hope everybody in your family dies.” And it’s not just politicians but anyone involved in the running of the electoral system. Death threats have become a standard aspect of the work life of election supervisors and school board members. A third of poll workers, in the aftermath of 2020, said they felt unsafe.
Under such conditions, party politics have become mostly a distraction. The parties and the people in the parties no longer matter much, one way or the other. Blaming one side or the other offers a perverse species of hope. “If only more moderate Republicans were in office, if only bipartisanship could be restored to what it was”. Such hopes are not only reckless but irresponsible. The problem is not who is in power, but the structures of power.
With such extremely chaotic internal situation, Biden administration is looking for opening new war fronts – with China as well as other democratic countries in the world, including Bangladesh. Recently, US Treasury Department has imposed punitive sanctions on Bangladesh Police’s elite force Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), several officers of RAB and the Inspector General of Police. According to credible sources, following imposition of sanctions on Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), Inspector General of Police and few other officers of RAB, Biden administration now is going to issue fresh list of sanctions targeting a large number of civil servants and politicians in Bangladesh. According to Capitol Hill sources, the Biden administration has decided to adopt a stricter policy on combating corruption. As part of this policy, US President Joe Biden is going to impose sanctions on a large number of civil servants and politicians in Bangladesh.
The policy states that those who purchased properties in the United States and deposited cash through money laundered from abroad would be asked to submit specific evidence showing such properties were not purchased with dirty money. Failing in providing such evidence will result in confiscation of assets and freezing of bank accounts. The US administration will publish list of the sanctioned individuals once punitive measures are taken.
A highly-placed source in the Biden administration told this correspondent that President Joe Biden is putting special emphasis in combating corruption and money laundering under its policy of checking global corruption. As part of this initiative, an investigation has already been launched on gathering details about properties purchased by foreigners through laundered cash.
According to the US administration sources, such actions are not only going to be taken against Bangladeshi civil servants and politicians, but it also will be applied on a large number of individuals from India, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Nepal and other South Asian nations as well as nations in Asia and other continents. The source said, dozens of Bangladeshi bureaucrats and politicians are already on the potential list of sanctions. It said, the fresh list of sanctions will be published by the first quarter of 2022.
Meanwhile, seeking anonymity, a highly placed intelligence source told Blitz that a large number of high-profile politicians, businessmen and civil-military bureaucrats may come under the new sanction list.
It said, since 2001, the trend of buying properties in the US and depositing large amount of cash in banks by Bangladeshi nationals have reached an alarming level. Such amounts were laundered into the United States mostly through illegal hawala channels operated by Bangladeshi nationals living in New York City and other parts of the country.
The source further said, initially it was anticipated that majority of the people who had purchased properties in the United States with dirty money were politicians from Bangladesh. But the recent investigations have found that most of these people are bureaucrats.
The source said, until now, the US administration has already detected hundreds of properties purchased with dirty money mostly by bureaucrats. Owners of these properties will be asked to submit valid documents showing the amount were earned through legal means and transferred to the United States through banking channels. Anyone failing in providing such evidences will face sanctions and their properties will be confiscated and bank accounts frozen.
The US administration has also detected several properties and bank accounts which are even owned by some serving Bangladeshi bureaucrats.
Whatever reason the Biden administration may have cited to justify its sanctions on Bangladeshi law enforcement agency and officials, even a naïve would understand, these are results of undue influences exerted from influential quarters, including Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama as well as some mighty lobbyist firms in the US.
Second reason is Bangladesh’s increased relations with China.
For Bangladesh, priority should be put on stopping the next series of sanctions which would be imposed within next several months on hundreds of individuals – including civil-military officials, politicians and businessmen, who had smuggled millions of dollars into the United States and purchased properties and business establishments as well deposited cash in banks. If we fail in doing so, Biden administration for sure will start fresher bids of directly interfering in 2023 general elections in Bangladesh. It may be mentioned here that, for months, this newspaper has been repeatedly warning about dubious activities of at least four lobbyist firms appointed by Bangladesh Nationalist Party and Jamaat-e-Islami, which had influenced the United States in imposing sanctions on Rapid Action Battalion in particular. But our reports had been unfortunately ignored by the authorities concerned in Bangladesh.
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