Tender Smells of a Rat
As if there weren't enough bad things about the RAB (Rapid
Action Battalion), the latest news is that a 200 crore tender
for buying cars for the elite force and the police, has been
manipulated so that only two selected car dealers can participate.
A <>Prothom Alo report states that the specifications
of the tender are such that they can be met by only a handful
of companies, leaving out those selling other well-known cars.
The procedure is such that no reputed international carmakers
or suppliers -- other than these two with the government's
blessing -- will be able to bid.
Though the newspaper didn't mention the two companies, the
report said, "The tender's technical requirements just
copied the characteristics of the cars supplied by these two
companies." Truck, bus and prison vans of these kinds
have never been imported to the country, the news-report alleged.
In fact, in the last 2003-2004 fiscal year, the government
floated a tender which was equally marred by allegations of
nepotism and corruption. The parliamentary committee on home
ministry later asked the government to cancel the tender when
it turned out to be biased towards these two companies. Some
old habits, it seems, die hard.
Gupta Passed Away7
Writer-journalist Santosh Gupta passed away in a city hospital
on August 7. He was 79. The veteran journalist was suffering
from brain haemorrhage when he was taken to hospital a week
ago. Gupta was born on January 9, 1925 in Runshi in Jhalokathi.
He started his career in journalism in 1957. In his 45-year-old
career that followed, Santosh Gupta worked in Dainik Azad,
Dainik Purbakon, before joining Dainik Sangbad
in 1965. He served as the assistant secretary of the information
department of the Bangladesh government in exile in 1971.
Gupta was awarded Ekushey Padak in 1997 for excellence in
journalism. He also authored 14 books on literature, history
and journalism. Santosh Gupta is survived by a daughter and
crime while behind bars?
One of the two accused in the June 4 bus arson at Sheraton
Hotel crossing that killed 10 people and left 20 others injured
was in police custody from June 3 to 8. Both the accused filed
petitions on August 7, retracting their confessional statements
in which they admitted that they, along with four others,
sprayed the bus with gun powder given to them by Jubo League
President Jahangir Kabir Nanak, General Secretary Mirza Alam,
AL leader Sayeed Khkon and pro-AL transport workers' leader
Ruhul Amih alias Boro Mia. According to a DS report, Shafiqul
Islam Kalu, a CNG driver, said he had been arrested on July
27 and beaten by police until he confessed to the arson even
though he was in jail on the day of the incident.
Police tortured him inhumanly and even threatened to kill
him if he did not listen to what they said, claimed Kalu.
Masum, the other accused, said he had given a false statement
as police had threatened to cripple him and implicate his
family members in criminal cases.
DB chief Faruq Ahmed denied the police torture but, when asked
how Kalu could commit the arson when he was in police custody
at the time, said "The real culprits behind the incident
might have bribed him to make such a statement to 'damage
the merit of the case'."
City under Threat
Sunday (August 8) did turn out to be a 'bloody Sunday' in
the northeastern holy city of Sylhet when a car bomb went
off outside Gulshan Hotel killing Mohammad Ibrahim Ali, publicity
secretary of Awami League (AL) and injuring 30 others. The
bomb, planted in a Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV), went off
at 7:50 pm, moments after Mayor Badaruddin Ahmed Kamran, apparently
the main target of the attack walked past it. Kamran, also
Sylhet city AL president, was present at the Gulshan Hotel
to attend a workers' meeting of their party.
What remained of the SUV was a pile of charred, twisted metal.
The scene was one of horror and panic as chaos reigned. Intelligence
agents were present on the scene, trying to solve the puzzle
of the crime. They linked the crime to Islamic outfits as
the Mayor had previously received death threats from one such
group. A day-long hartal was called on Monday to protest the
killing and the Al in Sylhet brought out rallies. This shocking
incident followed two fatal blasts in a cinema hall in the
city only 47 hours ago that killed a young man and injured
quiz execution video hoaxer
The FBI has interviewed a US man after he admitted faking
a video that appeared to show him being beheaded while held
hostage in Iraq. The FBI said it was still considering whether
22-year-old Benjamin Vanderford had broken any law. Vanderford
said he filmed his own mock execution in a friend's garage
to show how the media could be fooled. The apparent execution
was widely reported after the footage appeared on a website
used by Islamic militants. The video was reported to have
been made by militants linked to top al-Qaeda suspect Abu
Musab al-Zarqawi. Zarqawi's group has released tapes of previous
hostage beheadings, but doubts were quickly expressed about
this purported killing.
The dark images of the faked video showed a man dressed in
a plain T-shirt, sitting on a chair with his hands behind
his back. "I have been offered for exchange for prisoners
here in Iraq," he says. "We need to leave this country
right now. If we don't, everyone is gonna be killed in this
After that, a body is shown on the floor with a knife apparently
cutting at the neck.
Vanderford told the BBC World Service he did not send the
video to anyone, but made it available on Internet share networks.
The "people of the world" did the rest, he said,
and the video found its way to Arab television stations on
Saturday and then a US news agency.
"I thought about the nature of the American media and
how easily it can be manipulated," he said on the World
Today programme. Once the Arabic news channel al-Jazeera broke
the story, it was picked up by the Associated Press news agency
"and then suddenly it was the 'truth', when actually
no physical evidence has been recovered", he said.
Vanderford, who lives in San Francisco, said he decided to
make the video after watching some of the coverage of prisoner
executions in Iraq. He said the videos tended to be of low
quality with bad camera angles. "I am in no way trying
to denigrate any lives that have been lost, but my first thought
was this could be faked by someone," he said. Vanderford
said he believed "anyone could do this for political
gain" and he thought he should bring attention to that.
Source: BBC News
(R) thedailystar.net 2004