Lobbyists pressuring US congress to act on behalf of Bangladeshi terrorists

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Well funded lobbyists in partnership with various media sources and pseudo-humanitarians are acting on behalf of the bad guys of the world. Consequently, they’re working to get the US government to side with future enemies–does that sound familiar–as it was with the Soviets and Vietcong, the communist Chinese, the Nazis and Islamic terrorists in general, not excluding Boko Haram.

The US is not overtly enabling these bad guys yet (overtly) yet it may not be long. Who are they and where are they from? Lets meet the Bangladeshi Jamaat-e-Islammi, responsible for over 500 bombings in 2005 and a recent spike of killings of secularlists.

From Hindu American Foundation:

JeI and ICS [the JeI student wing] have a long history of radicalism and violence, and both strive to create a Taliban style regime in Bangladesh. JeI is the most powerful Islamist group in the country and has been the ideological center and recruiting base for several terrorist groups, including Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami Bangladesh (HuJI-B), a State Department designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), and Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB). HuJI-B’s parent organization Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami has also been banned by the United Nations, the United Kingdom, and India, while the British and Bangladeshi governments have further outlawed HuJI-B and JMB. JeI and ICS also enjoy extensive links with the wider Islamist militant network in South Asia and reportedly receive funding and support from Pakistan’s ISI spy agency and from Saudi Arabia.8 Moreover, JeI and ICS members and supporters have been implicated in several of the recent incidents of violence against minorities, and for planting bombs during protests and opposition strike.

JeI’s resources are vast. The story in the article from the Economic Times discusses how JeI has hired the services of a lobbying group to pressure the US congress to condemn Bangladesh’s International Criminal Tribunal for the sentencing of several JeI leaders on war crimes, including recently hanging one to death. The members of the US congress are not familiar with Bangladesh history nor culture thus can be easily fooled. The lobbying firm hired by JeI is Cassidy & Associates. Aside from lobbying congress, the lobbying firm will pressure academics, think tanks, journalists and the State Department.

According to wikipedia in 2007 the Washington Post boldly stated that Cassidy “helped create the new Washington.”

The Prime Minister of Bangladesh whom is the object of hate of Islamists, Sheikh Hasina, claims to support secularism strongly and promises to bring punishment to these war criminals. Whereas she and many Bangladeshis will oppose violence in the name of Islam (officially), Hasina’s government has jailed bloggers for criticism of Islam, some of them being the same victims of JeI attacks. Hasina’s actions against JeI are not in the name of punishing those extremists against religious liberty but out of resentment of what JeI extremists loyal to Pakistan had done to Bangladesh in her war for independence.

The Economic Times points out Bangladeshis have reason to be suspicious of US foreign policy, as America has a history of sticking its nose into Bangladesh’s business.

Should Cassidy succeed in portraying Jamaat e Islammi as the underdogs, we can expect strict condemnations from our State Department and the international community that Bangladesh’s Prime Minister has disrupted the process of democracy and rule of law in that country will be put to the test.

Full story at Economic Times:

The line given by the lobbyists goes something like this: JeI is a moderate political party. Yes, it is religious but it is being forced to become more extreme because of the war crimes trials. Besides, the Awami League is not living up to its secular ideals. This argument has been accepted by some key think tank experts. The Jamaat’s assistant secretary general, Abdur Razzaq, a well-spoken lawyer, apparently visits Washington on a regular basis to meet American think tankers and policymakers.

The Bangladesh government too has a lobbyist to present its point of view. The Jamaat’s lobbying campaign switched into high gear last month after Bangladesh’s Supreme Court confirmed the death sentence of Mir Quasem Ali. “He does not deserve any leniency on the question of sentence on consideration of the nature and gravity of the offence,” the judgment said. Ali is accused of murder, abduction and torture during the 1971 war when he supported the Pakistan army as a member of two militias — Al-Badr and Islami Chhatra Sangh. 

He is accused of setting up camps for torture in at least three locations and preparing a list of intellectuals to be killed. Ali, a member of the Jamaat’s central executive council, is a powerful man with links to even more powerful ideological brethren beyond Bangladesh. Besides being a media magnate and marketing director for a pharmaceutical company, he is a director of the Islami Bank Bangladesh Ltd. A US Senate investigation found the Islami Bank was linked to Saudi Arabia’s notorious Al-Rajhi family, an early financier of al-Qaeda. 

A Senate report released on July 17, 2012, raised several questions about the Islami Bank’s involvement in transactions traced to terrorists. Bangladesh’s central bank has fined the Islami Bank at least thrice for covering up terrorists’ transactions. Abdur Rahman, chief of the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), was found to hold an account in the bank. 

In 2005, JMB claimed responsibility for detonating more than 450 bombs across Bangladesh — in 63 of its 64 districts. It is also an accused in the most recent terrorist attack. Ali’s story is not a simple one as Jamaat lobbyists would like to portray. And funds clearly are not a problem for the Ali family. According to an investigative report by David Bergman, a journalist based in Dhaka, Ali and his US-based younger brother Masum Ali spent $310,000 on Cassidy & Associates in 2011 alone. 

All said, the Ali brothers have lavished more than $700,000 on their lobbyists. That money is supposed to get enough people in Washington confused and begin questioning Hasina’s motives. 

The contract with Cassidy & Associates says the lobbyists will “engage members of the US Congress to support a Congressional resolution condemning the actions of the ICT” and “pressure the government of Bangladesh to suspend ICT proceedings”. It is clear that Hasina’s critics, i.e. the Islamists, are better organised and have more firepower than her supporters. 

Seth Oldmixon, a Washington-based analyst who spent time in the Peace Corps in Bangladesh and saw the Jamaat operate at the local level, says it is enough for the lobbyists to “muddy the waters, which gives them space to operate in Washington” even if they don’t achieve their ultimate goal of shutting down the ICT. They are “happy to carry out their activities without scrutiny”. He said there was little understanding of the real ideology of the Jamaat among too many US experts. They tend to think of it as a “moderate” political party, not a political movement striving to create a caliphate. They can’t distinguish between mafia-style violence between political rivals and “targeted violence against Hindus, Christians and other minorities to cleanse Bangladesh of non-Muslims” that the Jamaat indulges in.

The Bangladesh government clearly is being outspent and out-written on aljazeera. com and huffingtonpost.com by Jamaat lobbyists who cloak their arguments in high verbiage of law and human rights. If terrorism is to be defeated, the first order of business should be clarity on who is playing what game and why.