Empty Vessels and Barishallya Logic



We occasionally profile a few insightful comments on the front page of the blog.

One of our recent posts, Accountability and Distorted Truths” generated many comments on Shadakalo and E-Bangladesh that also merit space on the front page.

Where email addresses were provided, we tried to to communicate with the commenters but in vain; looks like all of them provided fake email addresses so the emails bounced.

We thought we would respond en masse, and at the same time [a] acknowledge valid points and [b] refute obviously incorrect or untrue comments. The comments are in a shaded box, followed by our response.

As this post was being written, we came across this piece of news that we hope you will agree supports our position. The news is simple: Army officers on deputation to BDR are resisting going to their duty post, and instead asking to be transferred back to the regular Army.

From Ittefaq:

Anonymous said…

retired army officers r in limelight??? what do u mean by that??? who r “us”? in a massacre RELATED to army, retired or serving army personnels will be highlighted, that’s very natural…bcoz they r the ones who r experienced…what do we know, what do u know??? do u think u can help the country out of this problem?? or i can? NO. but they can coz they r experienced people…they r retired, doesn’t mean that they r useless now think before talking about something…don’t cross the limit…

March 3, 2009 11:40:00 AM EST

You are picking a fight where one does not exist. Since you can write English, I assume you can read it too. I suggest you go back and read what I wrote.

But what exactly do you mean by “don’t cross the limit”? Is that a threat? I guess it burns you up that the “bloody civilians” are questioning the Army’s motive–the Army whose officers have so far killed two sitting presidents of the country.

Also, allow me to ask another question.

Are you saying you actually think retired officers should have a role in the running of the current Army?

Perhaps by now you have heard the audio of the dialog between Sheikh Hasina and some Army officers. If so, you have heard Lt. Col. Syed Kamruzzaman yelling about Maj. Gen. (rtd) Tarek Siddik’s role in promotion and posting. I happen to agree with Lt. Col. Kamruzzaman about curtailing the role of retired officers.

Do you?

Anonymous said…

On you first point, where you again basically tried to justify something with some words of an retired Army officer:

1. your article assumes that the Army attack would be somewhat like ‘Panipother Juddho’. You possibly have no idea of modern warfare. In modern times they don’t line up and shoot at everything.

There are ways of attack while there are own people around. A team can rescue & others can contain the enemy or there are many many options to do it.

If Army says they can means they can, you and me don’t know more than them. Haven’t you seen or heard of hostage rescue ioperation all over the world?

2. Even if majority of the officers were killed in 90 minutes, not all were killed. More over it’s not only about killing: Mutilation, Mass grave, Looting & Raping etc etc also are concerns that could be avoided. More over a badly injured person can be saved if they could be taken to hospital. One only dies instantly if he is shot in Brain or the blood supply to brain is 0. So many officers injured could have survived if Army would have attacked.

3. I can go on with each of your sentenses. You are a blind supporter of some corner and putting all ‘Barishallya Logic’ devoid of knowledge of what you are talking about.

God bless u

March 3, 2009 1:44:00 PM EST

Dear Sir or Madam: Unless you claim you know more about warefare than the retired Brigadier General whom I quoted, you are a poser, and have no right to make the claims you did.

But lets leave that behind for now, and concentrate on your comment, “Haven’t you seen or heard of hostage rescue ioperation [sic] all over the world?”

Yes, I have. But you don’t have to believe my claims. I will direct you to this thesis by a US Army Major on Hostage Rescue, titled “ANATOMY OF A HOSTAGE RESCUE: WHAT MAKES HOSTAGE RESCUE OPERATIONS SUCCESSFUL?”

Just so you don’t think this is an academic talking, the author states: “I have personally been involved with tracking some of these AMCITS (american citizens-SK) and trying to recover them.” Remember that this is a serving officer writing his thesis for a Navy post graduate school, someone with personal knowledge about “modern warfare” that you allege to know so much about.

I quote:

“The principles of hostage rescue operations presented in this thesis and used in the biorhythm model—surprise, intelligence, operator’s skill, and deception—are derived from looking at numerous planning models from special operations, from personal experience, and the thorough analysis of six historical cases. The historical cases show that in every instance any one of these four principles was overlooked, the operation was doomed.”

I know for a fact, based on conversations with serving Army officers, that Bangladesh Army has not trained in Hostage rescue operations before, but that is going to change now. Perhaps you care to enlighted us how, without any practice or skill, and ZERO
surprise, how this operation was going to be successful without getting the hostages killed in the process? (even if you ignore the “bloody civilians”)

Also, you are blatantly ignoring the rest of the country. We know there are confirmed reports of the BDR taking up arms in Shatkania training facility, Khulna and Sylhet. We know all Army officers had by then fled from their commands. On March 9, an Army officer reported to the new DG of BDR that:

“At a battalion outside Dhaka some soldiers took arms from the armoury to attack the officers following rumours of military attack on the jawans,” said an officer who left his office outside Dhaka on security grounds on February 26 and has not returned yet.

Like this officer, other officers are also afraid of going back without one platoon of Army soldiers to those areas. So my dear arm-chair general, answer me this: if 10 days after the so-called mutiny Army officers are afraid to go back among the BDRs in other districts, you think on the day of the rebellion the BDRs would have just sat back and let their fellow BDRs be over-run by the Army?

Don’t give me a line about cutting off the mobile network. BDR has its own radio network, and its own Telephone network.

Even cutting off the radio network wasn’t enough; if the BDRs at, say Sylhet, could not communicate with the rebels in Dhaka, they would know something was wrong.

Lastly, ‘Barishallya Logic’–I am not sure what it is but since Sher-E-Bangla was from Barishal and a great debater, I think you meant that as a complement.

Yes. God Bless.

Anonymous said…

Can anyone answer following questions that has been hunting me, please do not elaborate but agree/somewhat agree/disagree/somewhat disagree, etc
1) Never seen any “mutiny or hostage” situation dealt without deployment of “superior forces and equipment” – not even in cinema. Probably some military equipments are “for show to physiologically deter the criminals and create divisions among them”. If we look at the timeline, BDR fell apart in the afternoon of 26th when Tanks/APC etc reached to their visible distance – so couldn’t we do that on 25th (deploy only)?

2) Civil administration can assist BUT CANNOT deal with Mutiny, ONLY ARMY is authorized to do so – check the procedure. Govt of Hasina dealt Ansar mutiny this way in 1996 at Shafipur/Khilgaon

3) How come questionable people like Nanak, Mirza Azam, Inu, Menon, Jalil, etc were allowed to deal that too keeping the army 3km away? This was surely not their playing field! Then why??

4) Agree that media’s role is to find out the truth but NOT at the expense of destroying the country! How come media keep telecasting BDR’s view that created “sympathy for the mutineers and helped spreading it to fellow jawans across the country”? Mobile networks were disrupted, only media spread it – adventure with real lives!! In the past, we heard ONLY the ISPR press releases until situation calmed down.

5) Why the media didn’t show ANY grieved family of the victim officers or those missing before the end on 26th? Deliberate degradation of army??

6) Why didn’t the home minister tried to talk to any army officers when she entered Pilkhana? She could have learnt more by discussing with one of them.

7) How come home minister come out with the key of ordinance dept when the
rebles reportedly killed the guards to break it in earlier – can’t they break the door/lock?
Why didn’t she arrange proper guards (police/rab) before coming out?

8) Lights were off “due to absence of electrician”……ha ha. Couldn’t the “negotiators” arrange electricians from outside and restore lights so that forces could observe activities from outside??

9) How come thousands of jawans flee when it was cordoned off by Police/Rab? Inexcusable! Probably 2nd major failure after intelligence.

10) How come govt quickly form “inquiry committee headed by home minister”? No one can form committee with departmental head of that department committing crime. Why?
May Allah bless us; we need too much patience, mercy and wisdom to survive as a nation.

March 4, 2009 4:41:00 PM EST

Great questions. Allow me to answer where I know the answer.

1. Read the paper linked on the above response. The author is a Major in the
US Army, and based on his case study and personal experience, he does NOT mention superior force as a success factor.

As a matter of fact, if you think back to Antebbe and all the other successful operations,
the hallmark always been through a surprise attack by a very highly skilled small team, not superior force.

Hasina stated that the Army chief told her it will take time to position tanks and other heavy weapons. Since even the most vocal critics at Shenakunjo did not dispute that, I am assuming that was true. Do you agree?

BDR did not fall apart because of the tanks/APCs getting there on the 26th; they were there on the 25th as well.

2. Which “procedure” is this? Seriously, enlighten me. BDR is under the home ministry,
and the Army has no role in its running or quelling of the Mutiny beyond what the government asks it to do. When Army officers are sent to BDR, they become BDR officers, outside the chain of command of the Army. This is a basic fact.

3. First, BDRs were shooting at the Army. If not the politicians, the Army could not negotiate with fire coming at them. Who else was going to go in and negotiate? University professors? Doctors?

Please cite one newspaper report showing the Army was asked to move back 3km. Civilians were asked to move back 3KM as a preparation for the final assault, not the Army. One of my relative’s house is about 300 yards away from gate 2, and their garage became an Army camp, like all neighboring houses.

Go back and read some newspapers–there are hundreds of photo showing Army right outside the walls on day 1.

4. I am not sure I understand. The “Truth”, whatever it is, can NOT destroy the country. However, Lies can, and will, destroy to country. If you are saying the media
broadcast the BDR lies, I am with you 100%. At the very least, they needed to report both sides of the story equally

5. I don’t know. Perhaps you can ask the Media. Since DGFI actually approves who gets to go on talk shows these days, perhaps you can also ask DGFI about the people
on various talk-shows.

6. Do you seriously believe it would have been safe for the officers if one ventured out from hiding to talk to her?

TV cameras showed her being escorted by armed BDR personnel. If she tried to talk to an Army officer, his life would have been in danger. I guess then we could blame her
even more? On the night of the 25th, Sahara Khatun left Pilkhana with at least one injured Army officer. At Shenakunjo, Sheikh Hasina described how the BDRs guarding the gate
were ready to shoot him, and Sahara Khatun convinced them to allow him to leave. Are you saying after this officer was safely out of BDR, no one asked him what
was going on, or he did not volunteer any information? If you still believe that, no logic will convince you. But if you are a logical, rational person, ask yourself.

7. Proper guard? In case you have forgotten, this was a war-zone on the night
of the 25th. If police/RAB could be sent in to guard the Kote, the crisis would have been
solved by then

8. Ha ha ha indeed. First, come up with an electrician who knows where the switches were (remember: there were 22 different main switches).
Then you convince him to go inside among thousands of people with loaded weapons. Then lets deal with convincing the BDRs.

You are seriously not suggesting they were just going to agree to someone coming in and turning on the lights, when they were planning to flee under cover of darkness? Given what we know about officers still afraid to go back to their command posts, the electrician would have been very brave (or foolish) indeed. Are you still laughing?

9. Yes–Inexcusable. This is something both investigating committees (Civil and Army) should look into.

10. I agree, but for a different reason. Sahara Khatun’s actions are being
questioned, and she can not investigatre herself neutrally. So she can not be in the committee

(from E-Bangladesh): someone says:

March 4, 2009 at 1:47 pm

I think someone should not comment about something in a forum about which he is not fully aware of.
“Empty vessel sounds much” and that is proved by the author of this writtings. He said, “perhaps they have forgotten that BDR is the most battle-hardened force in Bangladesh that faces regular live fire from BSF, while for most army soldiers the only gunfire they see come during exercises.”

The author does not know that the army officers are trained to understand the troops psychology.
Thats why most of them were in favour of entering Pilkhana immediately after the incident except
those who fulfill some political agenda. Thats why the lead BDR in borders. He quoted Major General Salam.But we know which politics he is in practice with. Probably the author does not also know that Bangladesh army is the largest troops contributing force in UN peace-keeping mission.Such a pride for this small country is only gained by this army because the world have seen this army in the battlefield.They are also leading BDR troops in the borders and thats why BSF is afraid of them.Probably the author does’nt understand the importance of a leader in the battlefield.He feels that a battle is like a movie!The Indian forces saw our army in 1971 also when they were fighting together.Thats why they are afraid.They know that if the army does not lead and guide this troops,they can easily win over.Probably that is one of the objective of such incident.

The author said, “What would have happened to them in the cross-fire if the Army attacked? What of the Army soldiers taking part in the attack? What about the civilians outside Pilkhana? What about the BDR forces in other districts and the border, where the tensions were rising and reports of rebellion was rising? In the event of an assault, who would have prevented bloodbaths in those locations? We submit that however painful
the death of the officers in Dhaka, an armed assult on Pilkhana would have been many times worse and caused a country-wide firefight.”

This time I must say that the author might be the son of a RAZAKAR or AL-BADAR who were afraid of fighting in 1971 and doing everything in favour of pakistan. .He wants to sacrifice lives of some military leaders who ensure the sovereignty of the nation. He does not know that he can not create a military leader all on a sudden like the political leaders.I am sure that the author is going to join our opponent if there is another liberation war.
(read the rest at E-Bangladesh)

I guess you were looking at a mirror when you wrote about the empty vessel. Because if you knew how the BDR operates, you would know that the border outposts (BOP) are manned solely by BDR personnel, and commanded by BDR JCOs and NCOs. The Army officers commanding them stay back from the border, and conduct their work via inspections and monitoring. Do you know who I am quoting? The newly appointed DG of BDR. So be careful before you dispute this.

Army officers know the psychology of the BDR Jawans? Really? A rebellion that killed 51 officers, 3 still missing, women murdered.. Army officers are familiar with this psychology? Is this why they are now not willing to join their commands outside Dhaka without additional protection?

Get your facts straight, empty-vessel.

Bangladesh Army is not the largest contributor to UN peace-keeping missions, it is the Pakistan Army. Bangladesh is 2nd. The difference is small, but when you accuse others of inaccuracy, it is important to get your own facts straight first.

Ah.. name-calling. The last resort of the imbecile who can not defend his position with facts or logic.

Our Army officers are still afraid to go back to their posts outside Dhaka without additional Army soldiers for protection.

Let me see if I get this right. I said civilians in other districts may have been killed if Pilkhana was attacked. You disagreed. Now Army officers are saying they are worried about their own safety. If a trained Army officer who understands the psychology of the troops (your words, not mine) is afraid, and another officer reported that BDRs were taking up arms at his duty post, what chance did the unarmed civilian population have?

Are you calling these officers sons of Razakars?

One Response to “Empty Vessels and Barishallya Logic”

  1. Author Image


    Naaraye Takbir…….Allah Hu Akbar…The most hated political wing is JAMAAT. BNP is responsible for this meteoric rise of JAMAAT politics. Like the obscene literature, BNP plays the same role in the area of Politics. This is a political party only if you agree that obscene literature fall under the mainstream literatur subclass!

    I hate the politics that BNP did to come to the power. Bangladesh will suffer in the long run and it is not far away when we have to make OJU before we drink wine! JAMAAT is a political group who does each and every illegal act in the name of God.

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