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Saturday, April 25, 2015, Baishakh 12, 1422 BS, Rajab 5, 1436 Hijr

Kiwis spied for US in BD?
Top RAB official unaware of link to NZ intelligence
Saleem Samad with Mamunur Rashid
Published : Saturday, 25 April, 2015,  Time : 12:00 AM,  View Count : 296

The Additional Director General of the elite anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion, Col Ziaul Ahsan, has said that RAB is an independent security agency and is capable of conducting any anti-terror operation and combating crimes.
While talking to The Daily Observer, he regretted that New Zealand print media was critical of RAB's performance and downplayed the agency's role in anti-crime campaign.
Leaked documents show that New Zealand's intelligence agency, the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), has spent more than a decade collaborating with the US National Security Agency (NSA) to spy on targets in Bangladesh. The agencies passed on information to Bangladeshi security agencies.
The revelations were first published on April 16 in the New Zealand Herald by journalists Nicky Hager and David Fisher, in collaboration with Ryan Gallagher from the US web site, the Intercept.
The documents reveal New Zealand's electronic eavesdropping agency shared intelligence with state security agents in Bangladesh despite allegations of torture, extrajudicial killings and other human rights abuses.
Col Zia said that he was not aware of any nexus with Kiwis intelligence for spying in Bangladesh about Islamic radicals and tracking money-laundering suspects.
The security agency officer is not confident whether New Zealand has acquired excellence in covert operation in Asia-Pacific region in collaborating with the US NSA to spy on targets.
The covert operation surfaced after secret NSA documents were recently released by whistleblower Edward Snowden.
However, a Bangladesh top security official did not confirm nor denied that Bangladesh anti-terror unit RAB had been provided equipment and expertise to monitor and keep suspects under surveillance.
Earlier Prime Minister John Key has refused to comment on the GCSB's operations in Bangladesh, telling Radio NZ that "they act lawfully... they gather information for reasons of national interest to New Zealand, and that's really about all I'm prepared to say."
In fact, the leaks demolish claims that the GCSB's activities are lawful and focused on countering threats to New Zealand.
Weeks after 9/11 terror attack on Twin-Tower in New York, Bangladesh has agreed in principle to join the global campaign against terrorism and also agreed to provide logistics to air strikes in Afghanistan by Anglo-US alliance.
The airstrikes are bygone days. Bangladesh is still a major partner in global war against terrorism.
Bangladesh has earlier extradited several suspects and most-wanted person to both United States and Britain on their request after official formalities.
A senior Home Ministry official, who requested anonymity, has confirmed that Bangladesh has not been able to negotiate with the United States and the British authorities about bringing back most-wanted Bangladesh nationals since 9/11.
What the Home official meant was extradition of several fugitives charged for assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who are presumed to be living in the United States.
The official expressed his surprise that New Zealand had never sought for agreements to collaborate in providing technical expertise to RAB or any other security agencies of the government.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
Published by the Editor on behalf of the Observer Ltd. from Globe Printers, 24/A, New Eskaton Road, Ramna, Dhaka. Editorial, News and Commercial Offices : Aziz Bhaban (2nd floor), 93, Motijheel C/A, Dhaka-1000. Phone :9586651-58. Fax: 9586659-60, Advertisemnet: 9513663, E-mail: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected].