Bangladeshi DGFI: A Symbol of Abuse, Corruptions and Impunity

The Thief
The Thief In Green Uniform.

Established in 1977, under the authoritarian rule of General Ziaur Rahman, it has been modelled after Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency. The Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI) reports directly to Prime Minister of Bangladesh and maintains offices all of the country’s district and sub-districts.

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The DGFI is Bangladesh most powerful intelligence agency working inside and outside the territory of Bangladesh to ensure the national security and to establish the supremacy of  Bangladesh Interest. DGFI is presently organized into nine different bureaus and 19 detachments through which it carries out the intelligence activities.

The Bangladesh Army has launched an investigation into allegations of rape of a Rohingya woman by troops at a refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar. Rohingya takes matter in their hands after Bangladeshi troop sexually assaulted a Rohingya woman.

DGFI is widely regarded as the driving force behind military-backed regime and took power on January 11, 2007. It intimidated, arrested and arbitrarily detained hundreds of businessman, seniors party officials, academics and journalist and placed in illegal detention facilities in the cantonment in the capital city Dhaka. Many of them physically and mentally tortured and often forcefully signed confession of the victims to implicate them in crimes they never committed. Some businessmen were to forced to pay subtential and arbitrary sum of money to the state coffers or the DGFI accounts to escape imprisonment and secure their release.

The DGFI’s primary duties revolve around gathering intelligence related to national defense and protecting the country’s sovereignty. Several other units work under the DGFI, such as the intelligence bureau and counterintelligence.

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The primary function of DGFI is the collection of foreign military intelligence, however, during recent times, the agency has extended its role economic and political intelligence inside and outside the country.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina speaking at a meeting with the high officials of Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI). Defense Adviser Maj Gen (Retd) Tarique Ahmed Siddique on the left involved in $20 million TATA HEXA vehicle procurement corruption and money laundering through his private company.

DGFI is operationally responsible for providing national security and intelligence information to the Bangladesh government and armed forces. DGFI’s Intelligence operations seek to provide the policymakers and military commanders with an early warning of impending situations.

Maj Gen Md Saiful Alam appointed as the Director of DGFI.

Md Saiful Alam of the 11th Infantry Division has replaced Md Saiful Abedin as director-general of the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence or DGFI.

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Removal of Chief Justice Sinha

Former DGFI Director, Major General Saiful Abedin was behind the resignation of Supreme Court Justice Sinha. Major General Saiful kicked Justice Sinha on his chest, seated on top of his chest and forced him to sign a resignation letter while Justice Sinha was lying on the floor.

Former Justice Sinha.

Mr Sinha was a reputable chief justice who upheld rules of law and sentenced numerous government officials for corruption and money laundering.

Major General Saiful Abedin

Major General Saiful Abedin actions certainly violate human rights and Bangladeshi laws but favor Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s party, — prompting Hasina to reward General Saiful and appointed him as the new GOC of the 9th Infantry Division.

Failures

On 25  February 2009, The paramilitary Force BDR Revolt resulted in the death of The Chief of the BDR, the Deputy Chief and all 16 Sector Commanders total 57 Army Officer.

After the independence of Bangladesh, it is the biggest military loses in a planned attack on Bangladesh Armed Forces. According to conspiracy theory, one or more Foreign Intelligence agency masterminded the attack by using common dissatisfaction in various ranks of the paramilitary force.

Despite DGFI’s reputation of a silent watchdog and enforcer of the Constitution of Bangladesh. DGFI’s intelligence failure in The Pilkhana massacre reflects its lackings in CounterIntelligence and capability to provide intelligence for Bangladesh Government and Bangladesh Armed Forces.

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The Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI) and the National Security Intelligence (NSI) are among the most well-known intelligence agencies in the country. Both these organizations operate to gather intelligence and preserve national security.

The biggest failure of DGFI is to intercept and gain insights on how Burmese military intrudes in Bangladesh repeatedly sending more than million Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. The DGFI failed to predict violations of Bangladeshi land, sea and air by the Myanmar military.

Money Laundering

Although, Bangladesh Military is uniformed soldiers but Bangladesh military also involved large scale corruption in Bangladesh through Military’s business empire. Bangladesh military officers are known to receiving illicit loans from the Trust Bank and VDP bank. The Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) mutiny was partly fueled by resentment among the BDR troops over the corruption of army officers who lead them for many years were personally profiting from consumer goods sold by the organisation.

In the year 2012, Defense Adviser Maj Gen (Retd) Tarique Ahmed Siddique was involved in bribery of BDT 7 million carried by a government vehicle. The vehicle with the money was confiscated by the Border Guard Bangladesh. Maj Gen (Retd) Tarique Ahmed Siddique called the then chief of army staff, General Md Abdul Mubeen to released the vehicle and the money. Intelligence sources reported that the Army chief was paid a large some of the money to release the vehicle.

Corruption

Bangladesh ranks 143 out of 180 countries in Transparency International’s 2017 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) with a score of 28/100 (Transparency International 2018) with 0 denoting the highest perception of corruption and 100 the lowest. Bangladesh also scores poorly in a number of governance-related issues, including corruption, according to the Worldwide Governance Indicators (WGI) by the World Bank (2017).

The most senior security and defense figure in Bangladesh has been accused of using military intelligence agents to abduct and interrogate people to settle a business dispute involving their privately owned businesses.

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The allegations have been made against Major General Tarique Ahmed Siddique, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s security adviser who has effective control over the country’s armed forces and intelligence agencies.

General Siddique is considered one of the most influential members of Sheikh Hasina’s Awami League government and a very close personal ally; his brother is married to the Prime Minister’s sister, Sheikh Rehana. His niece is the UK Labour member of parliament, Tulip Siddique.

Ashiqur Rahman, a retired Army Officer and owner of defseca.com website who facilitates money laundering through his private company in Gulshan, Bangladesh –local media reported that Ashiqur Rahman was involved in MiG-29 procurement graft case. Ashiqur Rahman is also a lobbyist for Russian defense export corporation Rosoboronexport and Chinese defense giant Norinco in Bangladesh.

Human Rights Violations

Torture of detainees is routine by state officials. According to Human Rights Watch, detainees are subject to severe beatings, sexual violence, electric shocks, having a nail hammered into their toes, being tied to poles and forced to stand for an extended period. DGFI runs tortures centres in the cantonment of Dhaka with purposely fitted rooms for tortures. It has medical personal on standby who can administer first aid and revive unconscious victims who can then subject to further ill-treatment. The military intelligence outfit, the Director General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI), emerged as a symbol of abuse and impunity.

Human rights watch reported the testimony of Tasneem Khalil, recounting his torture at the hands of Bangladesh’s military intelligence agency, the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI).

What happened to Tasneem Khalil – which, sadly, is not uncommon – makes clear that when it comes to human rights, a critical part of what was promised is not being fulfilled. After one year, the state of emergency not only remains in place but is being used to limit political party activity and restrict freedom of expression and assembly, with torture a frequent consequence for those who do not toe the line and end up in the custody of the security services.

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In a report published in 2017, Human Rights Watch found that at least 90 people were abducted in 2016 by law enforcement agencies in the South Asian nation.

A few weeks ago Alison Blake, the new British High Commissioner to Bangladesh, was celebrating how “as two Commonwealth countries, we share a set of core values, including a commitment to Parliamentary democracy and a tolerant and pluralistic system with a commitment to protect and uphold human rights”.

Extra-judicial Killings

Mithun Chakma, an organizer of Chittagong Hill Tracts-based political group United People’s Democratic Front (UPDF), was shot dead by DGFI men in Khagrachhari Sadar upazila on January 2018.

Mithun Chakma

Local sources said Mithun was returning home at Aparna Chowdhury Para area after making an appearance before a court in a case when a group of armed assailants carrying BD-08 rifles abducted him from Aparna Chowdhury Para around 12:30pm. They then took him to the Sluice Gate area, where they shot him in the head and the abdomen. Locals found the 38-year-old in a critical condition and rushed him to the nearby hospital, where the doctors on duty pronounced him dead. There were six bullet wounds on his body, the doctors said. Noteworthy to mention here, BD-08 Rifle is manufactured by Bangladeshi Ordinance Factory which is operated by Bangladesh Army.

DGFI Crushed Independent Media

Bangladesh authorities have blocked access to a Sweden-based investigative journalism website after it published a report alleging corruption by an influential Bangladeshi minister.

Netra News was set up to tackle the challenge of media censorship in Bangladesh [Netra News screenshot]

Netra News and Aljazeera were blocked in Bangladesh within 72 hours of publishing the story about Obaidul Quader, Bangladesh’s minister of road transport and bridges.

“There is not a single newspaper or TV editor in this country who does not know about the blockade,” writes Mr Bergman, “yet not one of the nearly 30 TV stations, nor one of the countless newspapers has reported about this intimidation of the Daily Star and Prothom Alo.”

The Daily Star and its sister publication Prothom Alo – the most widely read Bengali newspaper in the country – are already the subject of a clandestine attempt to undermine their finances.

Demonstrators in Thakurgaon formed a human chain to protest against the charges brought against Mr Anam

DGFI forced Bangladeshi news outlets to withdraw reports published by popular daily news, Prothom Alo and Daily Star about a story on the army’s killing of five men in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. DGFI also prevented Dhaka Tribune newspaper publishing a story on the army personnel raping Rohingya girl in a refugee camp.

DGFI Targetted Human Rights Activists and Opposition Leaders

Bangladesh’s military intelligence agency, the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI), has established a sophisticated operation which secretly hacks the Facebook pages and profiles of opposition groups, political dissidents, student activists and journalists in apparent contravention of the country’s cybersecurity law.

Propaganda and Disinformation Campaigns on YouTube

List of propaganda channel operated by DGFI.

Propaganda and Disinformation Campaigns on Twitter

List of Fake Twitter Accounts

  • @Defres360 – Real Name Syed Amar Khan, DGFI Officer Grade III
  • @bdnewsnetcom – Real Name Shourov Khan, DGFI Officer Grade II
  • @DefenseDtb — Real Name Shourov Khan, DGFI Officer Grade II
  • @DefsecaBD — — Real Name Ashiqur Rahman

Propaganda Campaigns on Wikipedia

Wikipedia accounts Worldbruce, Sir Sputnik, Fox 52 and Don Pilu are affiliated with the Bangladeshi DGFI. Examples of Wikipedia disinformation campaign.

Disinformation Campaign by the DGFI

Propaganda Campaigns on Facebook

List of Misinformation and propaganda accounts by DGFI.

DGFI Operated Internet Domain Names To Spread Disinformation

  • bdmilitary.com registered under the name of Ashiqur Rahman. Email address used to register [email protected] Registered at Godaddy Domain.
  • defseca.com registered under the name of Ashiqur Rahman. Email address used to register [email protected] Registered at Godaddy Domain.
  • bdnewsnet.com registered under the name of Ashiqur Rahman. Email address used to register [email protected] Registered at namecheap.com
  • Defres360.com registered under the name of Imarn Abdur Rahim. Email address used to register [email protected] Registered at publicdomainregistry.com
  • benarnews.org registered under the name of Ashiqur Rahman. Email address used to register [email protected] Registered at tucows.com
  • bangladeshglobal.com registered under the name of Sayed Amar Khan. Email address used to register [email protected] Registered at namecheaap.com

DGFI Officer Syed Amar Khan and businessman Ashiqur Rahman are operating all websites. Registered at

BDMILITRAY Domain Registration Details

Domain Name: bdmilitary.com

Company: BD Military (Ashiqur Rahman)
Address: Dhaka Dhaka 1212 BD
Phone: +880.292111779
Email: [email protected]
Registrant Name: Ashiqur Rahman
Registrant Organization: BD Military
Registrant Street: Dhaka
Registrant City: Dhaka
Registrant Postal Code: 1212
Registrant Country: BD
Registrant Phone: +880.292111779

DGFI Is Operating with Impunity

Bangladesh’s military intelligence agency, the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI), has established a sophisticated operation which secretly hacks the Facebook pages and profiles of opposition groups, political dissidents, student activists and journalists in apparent contravention of the country’s cybersecurity law.

Thousands of fake Facebook, Youtube and Twitter accounts linked to DGFI spread misinformation to protect government-linked senior politicians and high-ranking military officers– target opposition leaders and human rights activists to silence them through intimidation, harassment and threat to “crossfire” if they do not comply with DGFI’s demand.

DGFI also involves raising a large number of fake complaint against to FaceBook and Twitter accounts which exercise freedom of speech using fake Facebook and Twitter accounts linked to DGFI. 

DGFI operates three internet domains bdmilitary.com, bdnewsnet.com and defseca.com registered under the same name and email address directly linked to DGFI operatives Sayed Amar Khan and Ashiqur Rahman.

Bangladeshi military laws effectively shield members of armed forces from being prosecuted by the civilian justice system for human rights violations. The Army Act 1952, Air Force Act 1953, Navy Ordinance 1961 provided that service members who commit a crime on active duty shall be tried by the military court regardless of nature of crime or circumstances under which crime was committed.

Bangladeshi military laws stand in stark conflict with the opinions of human rights committee and mechanism of United Nations which have held that military tribunal should only have jurisdiction over offences that strictly military in nature and that human rights violations by members of armed forces cannot be considered a military offence. The Human Rights Committee also recognized that the power of military courts to deal with breaches human rights contribute to impunity.

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