Sanctions on RAB is result of bribery and Islamist propaganda


While on December 10, 2021, the US Department of Treasury has wrongly imposed sanctions on several officers of the anti-terror and anti-jihad elite force Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) with the allegations of “human rights abuse, including technology-enabled abuse”, key policymakers in Washington DC as well as US intelligence establishments are fully unaware of the fact that this sanction was a result of bribery, political corruption and anti-democracy attempts of an organized racket comprising terrorists, war criminals, jihadist, and pro-Caliphate nexus.

Following December 2008 general elections, when Awami League achieved majority in the parliament through a landslide victory, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina declared  war against terrorists, religious extremists, and jihadists where members of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) exhibited tremendous success in effectively countering terrorists, religious bigots and jihadists, while it also played crucial role in dismantling secret bases of several anti-India insurgency outfits, including United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA). It may be mentioned here that, during the 2001-2006 rogue rule of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) coalition government, jihadist outfits such as Harkatul Jihad Bangladesh (HuJI-B), Jamaatul Mujahedin Bangladesh (JMB), Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT) etcetera were getting direct patronization from the government in continuing recruitment, training and procuring weapons. At the same time, insurgency groups such as ULFA were getting fund and logistics from the BNP-Jamaat regime.

In December 2021, the US Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service, through its Rewards for Justice (RFJ) office, offered a reward amounting to US$5 million for information on the terrorist attack in Dhaka, Bangladesh that left US citizen Avijit Roy dead and his wife, Rafida Bonya Ahmed, seriously injured. According to the US Department of State, Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT) is a local franchise of Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS).

In 2016, the Department of State designated AQIS as a Foreign Terrorist Organization under Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, and a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under Executive Order 13224, which provides authority to sanction terrorists and those who support terrorists or terrorist acts.

According to intelligence sources, Jamaatul Mujahedin Bangladesh (JMB) also has formed alliance with Islamic State (ISIS).

Meaning, members of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) have been vigorously fighting local franchises of Al Qaeda and Islamic State, while several members of this anti-terror elite force had sacrificed lives during anti-terror operations. Meaning, the US authorities have imposed sanctions one of its allies in America’s war on terror and violent extremism.

Let us chronologically describe how BNP-Jamaat nexus has been spending lavishly in maligning the image of Bangladesh as well using Americans against Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, her government and even members of her family.

Back in September 2015, District Judge Vincent L Briccetti of the Southern District of New York sentenced to jail Robert Lustyik, the former FBI agent who took bribes in return for sensitive information from BNP activist Rizve Ahmed Caesar, for conspiring to abduct Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s son Sajeeb Ahmed Wazed Joy.

In the same case, Rizve Ahmed Caesar, 36, son of Mohammad Ullah Mamun, vice-president of BNP’s cultural wing Jasas, was also sentenced to three-and-a-half-year prison term on March 4 2015. He started serving his sentence on April 20. Caesar was assigned by BNP-Jamaat nexus for taking help from FBI agent Robert Lustyik in abducting Sajeeb Ahmed Wazed Joy and by holding his hostage demand resignation of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, handover power to a ‘Caretaker government’ led by members of pro-Islamist and jihadist forces, including Jamaat-e-Islami, and withdraw all cases lodged against several Jamaat leaders for their direct involvement against Bangladesh’s war of independence in 1971 and specific records of war crimes.

A Connecticut resident, Rizve Ahmed Caesar pleaded guilty to bribing Special Agent Robert Lustyik for confidential documents and secret information of US law-enforcing agencies between September 2011 and March 2012.

He requested the confidential information to help him locate and harm BNP-Jamaat’s political rival and others associated with the intended victim, a US Justice Department statement said.

The deal’s middleman, Johannes Thaler, 51, was sentenced to 30 months in prison.

Both of them were arrested on August 13, 2013. In October, they pleaded guilty to bribery and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and honest services fraud.

Although the Justice Department records kept the identity of the intended victim a secret, several media in Bangladesh claimed that it was Joy.

Joy accused BNP leaders of conspiring to ‘abduct and kill him’ in a Facebook post on March 9, 2015.

This specific case of hiring FBI agent Robert Lustyik as a cohort in the dangerous conspiracy of abducting Sajeeb Ahmed Wazed Joy evidently proved – BNP-Jamaat nexus can succeed in infiltrating into US intelligence community, meaning, their having hands behind the December 10, 2021 sanctions of several officer of Rapid Action Battalion is not any wild speculation.

Let us now dig further into the case of the US Treasury Department’s sanctions on RAB officers.

Back in 2013, more precisely on May 6, 2013, when pro-Caliphate organization Hefazat-e-Islam (HeI) of madrassa teachers and students laid a seize at Dhaka’s commercial district demanding immediate handing of power to HeI and transform the country into a Caliphate, several individuals were later proved as active players behind this dangerous plot. Adilur Rahman Khan, a former Deputy Attorney General during BNP-Jamaat rule started using his pocket organization named ‘Odhikar’ in spreading lies and rumors claiming hundreds of HeI members were killed when law enforcement agencies took actions is driving-away those rowdy Caliphate-monger madrassa teachers and students. Adilur Rahman Khan started contacting several international rights groups, including the Human Rights Watch (HRW) with concocted and bogus data and information clearly with the notorious agenda of putting Awami League government into trouble for their actions against pro-Caliphate HeI members. Khan had also accused RAB as “human rights abusers”. As his false propaganda fell flat, Adilur Rahman Khan took a long-term project with the target of putting RAB in particular into wrath of the US administration as well as other authorities in the Western countries. Meanwhile, BNP-Jamaat nexus stood with massive fund and logistic support for Odhikar’s anti-Bangladesh agenda.

It should be mentioned here that, Hefazat-e-Islam denounces democracy, promoted Caliphate rule and sees Western nations and non-Muslims as “enemies of Allah”. It also maintains deeper links with Al Qaeda, Islamic State and other radical Islamic militancy groups.

In plain words, by imposing sanctions on several officers of RAB, the US authorities have stepped into the evil traps set by Islamist and jihadist nexus. Their actions have gone in favor of Al Qaeda, Islamic State and other militancy groups.

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Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
An internationally acclaimed multi-award-winning anti-militancy journalist, writer, research-scholar, counterterrorism specialist and editor of Blitz. He regularly writes for local and international newspapers on diversified topics, including international relations, politics, diplomacy, security and counterterrorism. Follow him on 'X' @Salah_Shoaib

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