[New Game] WikiLeak Wishing Well

A new game of wonder is set to light the dinner tables, chatrooms and tunnels of struggle this year. It starts of with the line

If Santa Julian was to come down your chimney with a WikiLeak, what would you like it to concern?

We aren't allowed to define what its content could be, but simply its concern.

[I would like the banter surrounding the banishment and extraditions of the poet Talha Ahsan to be known more officially. Lord Carlisle, Theresa May, US ambassador and UK judiciary...]

Following his Chiristmas Sermon from Mount Ecuador, The troubled Wiki Leaks lightning rod Julian Assange promised many more WikiLeaks to come in 2013.

Following the leaks from the Bangladesh War Crimes Tribunal, I went through some of the WikiCables from the US Embassy in Dhaka. Its funny how new happenings can breathe a different life into old data. I think more should be done with the data and that it hasnt been used particularly deftly yet.


[New Word] Dumbographic

Race-to-the-bottom market-thinking targets these, as do folks technocratically preoccupied with 'grass roots'.

As we see the rise of the neoliberal muslim NGO in WarOnTerrorTimes, you must work on your self not to fall into somebody's target dumbographic.

Cultural commod(d)ity?

Audience under retardation?

Have-a-go NGO?



[New Word] Deadmockracy

The politics of representing the dead as an assumed and non-negotiable constituency.
Such commodification of suffering and pain  is not new, but in late capitalism it generates strange political flows that dim the light.

Closely related to: Zionism, Jionijom, Blood Capitalism


[New word] Motanarrative

 A story that possesses you so much that it gives you brain damage, like jinn possession.

I am justifiably in contempt of this Kangaroo Court

Tribunalgate is quite fluid these days.

Last night the Economist mumbled something about lawyers and  clearly stated that they were handed data of communications between Justice Nizamul Huq and Dr Ahmad Ziauddin (17 hours audio, 230 emails) and did not solicit them. The comments below the article are amazing, with raw relief from many at the sight of their truth finally in print, as well as secular-takfiri bloodymindedness that we have come to expect from people holding firmly onto the master narrative. Its quite a sad reflection on our internal conversation and adab (manners) that 1971 has become such an infantalising matter, enfooling and humiliating.

Legal eagle BangaliVabna finds the Economist a little limp-wristed, gives an insight into the tribunals social context and what they have already done to split, confuse and make fools out of the Bangladeshi nation.  David Bergman made an appeal to civil society to show some spine, but more conservative blogs haven't yet commented.

These tribunals don't end impunity, they reconstitute it.
In the real world, a journalist from the Bangladeshi newspaper Amar Desh (My Country)  wrote something brave,  based on what I imagine is the same data that the Economist received.  We probably won't see the western liberal media falling over themselves to protect him, but we should, as he really pushed the boat out. Mahmudur Rahman, the editor of the paper, might also come in for a spot of bother and Awami ultra violence.

The main exhibit of this post is an audio file of what appears to be a conversation between the Judge and the Academic-Activist. Whoever organised this information retrieval from deep inside the rotten core of the Bangladeshi injustice system has done well to make people who will not otherwise listen, look the lie in the face.

This post wiki wolf whistle features them complaining about ministers setting them unrealistic deadlines and discussing how to massage the judgement so that it appears like it meets the standards expected by western powers. In passing Ziauddin observes that the Bangladeshi public will not be critical about this process at all. It seems to me that they are cooking up a judgement. It seems that a key ideological campaigner is having more representation in the tribunal than the accused, whose defence witnesses are denied, kidnapped and written off.

Somehow I can't see myself wearing a t-shirts saying 'Bangladeshi Justice for Bangladeshi Citizens' at this moment in time. These situations do get you thinking about the nature of the human intellect, its moral detuning and role in power play. You can listen to some more of the alleged audio on SonarBangla and make up your own mind.

When I was on field work in Bangladesh, during the last-but-one government, a young man, who had a small mobile phone shop by the oncoming River Jamuna said to me:
Over here, the educated people try to make fools of the illiterate.

bad poem alert.


 The day their music died

The Awami League of Liars stared
Their version of the past declared,
An exaggerated Jatra play
A power game, a truth to flay

No party is exonerated,
Our ranks were still quite decimated,
Yet, may the future flow uphill in wonder,
With dignity and hope not blunder.

We recognise that modus operandi,
Can only beg for foreign candy,
Terrorise and halt the nation,
With political emaciation

Noble souls,
Our thoughts controlled,
Questions patrolled,
Now, may His truth unfold.


War Crimes Tribunal Judge tells the Economist to stick-em-up: Some context

So why is the Economist of London being summoned by a Bangladeshi court and ordered to embargo an article about (in)Justice Nizamul Huq of the War Crimes Tribunal's involvement with a known and ideological genocide activist?

  • How much more embarrassing can this get?
  • What does it take to get a fair hearing these days? 
  • Will we ever know that which we don't and want concerning 1971?
  • Even if this were a WikiLeak scale revelation,  would there me much public outcry in Bangladesh, where human rights activists only act selectively in defence of their leaders and territory?
  • Is (in)Justice Nizamul Huq trying to buy time so he can judicially assassinate the accused before publication?
  • How might I explore this area without feeding the monster of White Privilege?

TribunalGate 101: Made up on so many levels

Delwar Hussain Sayeedi is a political threat to the Awami League.
He can motivate a crowd of people like none of their leaders.
In fact the post-harvest waaz audience really misses him.
He sports probably the reddest mendhi beard in the Ummah.
Anticipate Jionists in the UK to play the preacher-of-hate-card.
It is difficult to know where to start to explain the retardedness of the War Crimes Tribunal as it looks set to make its guilty verdict of the exMP Pirojpur-1 and popular religious orator Delwar Hussain Sayeedi official.  The judges of the tribunal have allowed a prosecution-turned defence witness to be abducted from under their noses without proper investigation, they have allowed the prosecution to mislead the tribunal about witnesses being unavailable when they were in government safe houses. 

Needless to say (in)Justice Nizamul Huq refused to politely stand down
when a senior opposition leader said that his involvement with the
Nirmul Committee meant he could not be neutral and unbiased.
Following what I can, it seems that the judges have put unfair obstacle after unfair obstacle before the defence and let the prosecution get away with murder.  If this were any other trial, the defence would have won a few times over.  And for the record, we still do not know anything new about the operation of the Razakars and Jamat during the war year. 

The defence team is led by Barrister Abdur Razak, who appears to be discharging his duties well in trying circumstances, whilst his staff and set up are being harassed and party members disappeared.  By the end of this, he will have earned a great deal of esteem, which is not something that can be said of Justice Nizamul Huq, the desperate students of Shibir, as well as the secularist establishment.

However this is a trial about war crimes committed during the 1971 Bangladesh War, and as any 'rightminded' person would know, any member of the Jamat-e-Islami Party is a priori guilty as portrayed in the popular demonology. For reference, their guilt was established in 1992 at a civil society (mob) tribunal organised by the Nirmul Committee, which is stocked with hardcore secularist activists like Shahriar Kabir and the grieving relatives of some of the war dead. It is with this Nirmul committee which Justice Nizamul Huq has a history and controversially, a current 'learning relationship', through Dr Ahmed Ziauddin of the Centre for Genocide Studies. This is what the Economist had gotten to know, through hacking or whistle-blowing or hagoo-throwing.

But look at our own complicity in this injustice system, over the decades we have stood as witless witnesses to the programme of a dedicated group driven mad by edited stories of sorrow, marshaled by an ideology that narrows the heart and mind, and dressed in the virtue of justice, human rights and civil society. The lack of resistance and  contestation has allowed dim witted thinking, poor evidencing and rumourising to become social habits from the decision-maker to the home-maker.

Our tragedy is being unwilling to sift the truth from falsehood, which is why Bangladesh is about to kill the one of its most rousing politicians, who apparently wasn't even in Jamaat-e-Islami during the war year in which he is alleged to have committed crimes against humanity. Sayeedi was part of Tabligh-e-Jamat, an apolitical Islamic dawah group that focus on good manners and what they believe to be accurate religious performance amongst Muslim people. Apparently, he only got involved with the party in the 1980s.


I believe this is possible, and await confirmation, because I have met a freedom fighter who was a Jamaat district-level leader, a rokon-level party member who tends his local mass graves and have some access to the non-secular internal conversation.  If you accept certain sources and possible histories as potentially valid forms of knowledge the feedback loop of quietens and you might just hear something interesting.
Image from the Bangladesh war depicting General Yahya Khan.
So far unable to get justice out of Pakistan, the proxy forces
in which some of the older Jamaat leadership were involved
act as the lightning rod for frustration. 
The Master Narrative of Bangladesh

A master narrative can be a misguiding light in making sense of an experience. Sometimes people do not get very far in their own investigations before being sucked into a powerful and compelling set of reference points that contain their own internal logics and even validation overrides. 

This is a rough sketch:

(1) Islamists opposed the Awami League even after they won the election of 1970 and the army committed excesses, how dare they think differently! 
(2) All Islamists are evil traitorous swine and the principle responsible party for 1971 atrocities and all our woes, they want to take us back to Pakistan, they killed all our intellectuals
(3) I cannot listen to their side of the story or any other information that might complicate (1) or (2)
(4) The war criminals don't deserve a fair trial, my master narrative got it all right. The government should hang them before the election, the people want the trials!

Although the master narrative of the Bangladesh war still reads 3 million Bangladeshis killed by Pakistanis and their demonic local Razakar proxies, the picture is more complex and ugly. It is essential to understand ourselves changing sides and selling out, or being cruel, brave and dignified under fierce pressure, as this is what life is made of and what today is made of. Yet knowledge, especially history is socially contorted and this distortion has harmful and deluding impacts.  Bangladesh warlore has been constructed by political parties invested in reproducing their own heroism, the country's national liberation and the other's demonisation. This is all policed by loyal patriots who love justice.

As Prof Mushtaq Khan put it, during our war 'everyone was killing everyone'. For an idea about the multi-directionality of the war and its killings see the Sarmila Bose lecture in London last year on Applying critical thinking on 1971. For more depth about our politics leading up to the war please read Afia and Anwar Dil's sober and exhaustive Bengali Language Movement  and the Creation of Bangladesh, which has recently been published in Bangladesh, ten years on.

This Punjabi-Bengali couple of anthropologists
write from two generations of experience,
so the people of Bangladesh, Pakistan and India
might understand
Bothering to know

There is normally a strong social whip out for those questioning the evidence base for the trials, the wild charges, the master narrative of the 1971 war, and of course the political motivations of the trials.  Between self-censorship, state-censorship and imprisonment we have a broadly epistemicidal regime that is also vulnerable. By epistemicidal I mean destructive of ways of knowing, and by vulnerable I mean that it is crumbling slowly. Starting from the top, the English speaking press were never going to kick up a fuss as they hate Jamat so much it blinds them, and pays them. Mir Quasem Ali of Jamat's Diganta Media group was locked up a long time ago. Newish conservative blogs like Alalodulal are silent. The Guardians Of The Liberation Narrative even had an early Al-Jazeera piece removed by intimidating their Dhaka correspondent.  I guess many of the others are so deep in developmentia that this doesn't even seem to be worth the effort. Why rock the boat if you've got family and life to lead?

Alternate accounts of the politics to Bangladesh are occluded or traitorised through the very mature anti-Bangladesh jibe. Its not just in cyber macho space though, but at the heart of the academy and in polite society. Last year, a history professor in Jahangirnagar University narrowly kept his job after Awami League students and staff went ape at his inclusion of books of Sarmila Bose and Syed Sajjad Hussain on a student reading list.  I know people sitting in pretty gilded cages scared to be seen reading the Bose book, so I guess something destabilising is getting in there at least.

There is another dimension to 1971 knowing that is new, and harder for the secular guardians to dismiss because of its white privilege and cultural capital. David Bergman's Bangladesh War Crimes blog is really hotting up and provides the only public transcription of the proceedings. His positionality is part of the appeal, having been involved in the 1995 War Crimes File documentary that blew a lot of wind into the sails of the Nirmul Committee by video editing a lot of their content and screening it in front of a UK audience unable to contest it.  Since the kidnapping of Shukron Bali he has really gone for it, as far as interviewing his poor deserted wife.

Bir Bangali 
Hiding behind a lady's sari
While Dhaka burns
Nobody shall learn.