Al Jazeera’s investigative unit revealed that Bangladesh purchased Israeli-made surveillance technology used to monitor cell phones.
The United Nations is calling for a full investigation into the evidence of corruption and illegality associated with Bangladesh’s military, which was exposed during an investigation released by Al Jazeera on Monday.
Corruption includes Bangladesh Army Chief General Aziz Ahmed, who is scheduled to meet senior UN officials in New York next week.
in All Prime Ministers, Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit revealed that the Bangladesh Army had purchased sophisticated and highly intrusive mobile phone surveillance equipment from Israel, which military soldiers Claimed Being “stationed for a legion” was due to be stationed at the United Nations peacekeeping mission.
A UN spokesman said this was not the case and its peacekeepers do not operate “electronic devices of the nature described in Al Jazeera reporting”.
A UN spokesman told Al Jazeera, “Such equipment has not been deployed with Bangladeshi troops in UN peace operations.”
“We are aware of allegations of corruption against senior officials in Bangladesh and reporting by the Al Jazeera investigation about the press release issued by the Bangladesh Ministry of Defense. The charge of corruption is a serious matter which should be investigated by the authorities concerned.
Bangladesh is the largest contributor of uniformed personnel to UN peacekeeping operations, with more than 6,800 currently deployed in peace operations around the world.
The monitoring device is called the “International Mobile Customer Identifier” or IMSI-catcher. It is a device that provides space and data to cell towers to drive cellular devices that are then captured by the device.
It can be used to track hundreds of protesters’ hundreds of events simultaneously.
Bangladesh’s military said the device was made in Hungary and not in Israel, which Muslim-majority countries do not recognize.
Al Jazeera Received The contract For the purchase, that intentionally disguised the fact that the manufacturer, PicSix, is an Israeli company. PicSix was founded by former Israeli intelligence agents and sent two experts to Hungary to train officers of the Directorate General of Military Intelligence of Bangladesh (DGFI) to operate the equipment.
On the June 2018 contract, the Directorate General of Defense Procurement was signed, which was accused of purchasing Bangladesh’s military supplies. The manufacturer was called PicSix Hungary, a company that does not exist according to the Hungarian company’s filings.
Al Jazeera obtained secret recordings of a middleman, James Moloney, who was made an IMSI-catcher Israel by accepting. Moloney, an Irish citizen, owns a company called Sovereign Systems, which is registered in Singapore, although he himself is based in Bangkok.
Moloney is recorded as saying that Sovereign Systems was a front for the business of Pixix in Asia. He It also acknowledged that surveillance technology is “from Israel, so we do not advertise that technology. We are very careful about our public profile.
“I can never say that Bangladesh army is my customer. We can’t do that.
He The technology is described as “very aggressive and intrusive.” You do not want the public to know that you are using that tool. “
human rights violations
According to Eliot Bendinelli of Privacy International, a UK-based privacy watchdog, officials can use it to gather information about people participating in the demonstrations.
“You are looking at every person who is in the area and so you can check more people under surveillance at the same time,” Bendinelli said.
Bendinelli said, “If you know what people are saying, where they are going to meet, what they plan to do, then you can know a lot of things. And then you have the power to act.” “
Israeli human rights lawyer Itaye Mac told Al Jazeera that the Israeli government does not examine end users’ human rights records. “For a country like Bangladesh, if they buy this device from the US or the European Union, they take advantage of you when you use it for human rights violations and they can cancel the agreement,” he said said.
“With Israel, it’s not like that, they don’t ask questions. They don’t care, “Mac said.
Israeli-made spyware can be used by Bangladesh to keep an eye on opposition groups.
According to Amnesty International, the government is involved in “unlawful killings and disappearances, arbitrary arrests and detention, and torture”.
All Prime Ministers
Undercover reporting months got to know Army chief General Aziz Ahmad is assisting his two brothers to escape prison sentences on charges of murder, and he orders the authorities to help forge the false identities of those fleeing to Europe.
Aziz took his fugitive brother, Haris Ahmed, to Hungary, where he operates under false identities, buying companies and property using kickbacks from military contracts and running extortion rackets with Bangladesh security forces. Another fugitive brother was hiding in Malaysia.
Gen. Ahmed is currently on a diplomatic visit to the United States, where he will meet with UN officials to discuss the current deployment of more than 6,000 troops to the United Nations in countries such as Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia and Burundi. Will meet Aziz is due to meet the Under-Secretary-General and other senior UN officials for peace operations.
The call for a UN probe would be a serious blow to the Bangladesh army.
The United Nations, whose military personnel are known as blue helmets, spends about $ 7bn annually on their peacekeeping operations.
The deployment of Bangladesh generates significant funds for the Bangladeshi Army and is prized as a mark of their international stature as a professional military force.
Concern expressed by the United Nations will put Bangladesh’s Ministry of Defense under increasing pressure to defend General Aziz, who has so far not commented on the investigation himself. The Public Relations Office of the Bangladesh Army described the investigation as “fabricated and unintentional”.