Directorate General of Forces Intelligence

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Directorate General of Forces Intelligence
সামরিক গোয়েন্দা মহাপরিদপ্তর
(DGFI)
Agency overview
Formed 1977 (Official Formation) by President Ziaur Rahman
Jurisdiction President of Bangladesh
Headquarters Dhaka Cantonment, Bangladesh
Motto Watch and Listen for the nation, To protect national security
Employees 12,000 (Estimited)[1]
Annual budget Classified
Agency executive
  • Major Gen. Mohammad Akbar Hossain, Director General
Child agency
Directorate General of Forces Intelligence
বাংলাদেশ সামরিক বাহিনীর প্রতীক.svg
Director General : Mohammed Akbar Hossain
Department  : Intelligence
Established  : 1977
Major departments:
  • Directorate of Naval Intelligence
  • Directorate of Air Intelligence
  • Directorate of Military Intelligence
  • Directorate of Counterintelligence
Notable Directors:
  • Major General Sheikh Mamun Khaled
  • Major General ATM Amin
  • Major General Mohabbat Jan Chowdhury
  • Major General Golam Mohammad
  • Major General Sadiq Hasan Rumi

The Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (Bengali: ডিরেক্টরেট জেনারেল অফ ফোর্সেস ইন্টেলিজেন্স , abbreviated DGFI (Bengali: ডিজিএফআই), is the foreign military intelligence main directorate of the Bangladesh Armed Forces.[2] DGFI is operationally responsible for providing national security and intelligence information to the Bangladesh government and armed forces. Although DGFI was formed as a military intelligence unit, over time it has established itself as the principal intelligence unit in Bangladesh alongside National Security Intelligence (NSI).[3]

The DGFI's primary role is to collect, collate, evaluate and disseminate all services strategical and topographical intelligence about law and order situations, armed forces and to ensure counter intelligence and security measures for the Bangladesh government and armed forces.[4]

Although all defense information is kept classified by the agency and armed forces, there are reports that DGFI had the largest budget in the Bangladeshi intelligence community. The DGFI has been involved in most paramilitary operations as well as counter-terrorism and cyberwarfare.[5]

DGFI is regarded as one of the most dreaded intelligence agency in the world due to its aggressive techniques.[6] The agency has received criticism from Human Rights Watch for its brutal interrogation techniques, Targeted killing, Assassinations and its involvement with various militant outfits.[7][7][8][9]

DGFI is headquartered in Dhaka Cantonment, and Brig. Gen. Mohammad Akbar Hossain, a former director of counterintelligence wing of DGFI, is the current director of the agency.

History[edit]

After independence in 1971, National Security Intelligence (NSI) was created as the sole Intelligence agency in Bangladesh. However, external threat from foreign military led to the creation of Directorate of Forces Intelligence (DFI) in 1972. The role of DFI was only limited to sharing intelligence with the Armed Forces. Under Major General Ziaur Rahman's presidency, on 24 August 1976 DFI was improved and rechristened as Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI), which led to a massive modification in the organizational structure of the agency, and the agency was transformed from Defensive to an Offensive Intelligence Unit. In 1978, DGFI headquarters was relocated to Dhaka Cantonment from Bailey Road. According to analysts, the structure of DGFI is a close resemblance of Inter-Services Intelligence. Captain K.M Aminul Islam was appointed as the first Director General of DGFI.[10] Since then, DGFI serves as the principal Intelligence Unit of Bangladesh Armed Forces. In 1994, DGFI's organizational structure was reformed, and since then DGFI has transformed into the primary Intelligence Agency in Bangladesh, alongside National Security Intelligence. The recruitment of DGFI is undertaken by the Armed Forces and the Director General is appointed the President with recommendation from the Chief of Army Staff. The DGFI was structured to be manned by officers from the three main military services, to specialize in the collection, analysis and assessment of Military intelligence. Over the years, DGFI's role have transformed to both military and non-military intelligence gathering as the agency is active in more than 40 countries worldwide.

DGFI Headquarters was permanently relocated inside a 14th Storied Tower near Rajanigantha Area inside Dhaka Cantonment in 2006. Current DGFI Director, Major General Mohammad Akbar Hossain is the 24th Director General of the Agency, since he took over his assignment on 10 March 2013 succeeding Major General Sheikh Mamun Khaled .[11][11]

Purpose[edit]

To collect, collate, evaluate and disseminate all services strategical and topographical intelligence about Law and Order situation,armed forces and to ensure counterintelligence and security measures for Bangladesh Government and Bangladesh Armed Forces .

According to its fiscal 2014 budget, the DGFI's top priorities are:

  • Counter terrorism
  • Counterintelligence, with India, and Myanmar described as priority targets.
  • Apprise Bangladeshi Government with important overseas events.
  • Apprise Bangladeshi Government about any activities that threatens National security.
  • Cyber Intelligence
  • Military intelligence: Provide Bangladesh Army with foreign intelligence and other nations' Armed forces.
  • Joint Intelligence: Works with Special Branch of Bangladesh Police and Rapid Action Battalion to gather detective and criminal intelligence.
  • Air Intelligence: Gather aerial intelligence.
  • Naval Intelligence: Gather intelligence on the advancements in other nations' navies and maritime intelligence.
Major General Ziaur Rahman was the founder of DGFI. He served as the Chief of Army Staff and President of Bangladesh

Notable directors[edit]

  • Captain K M Aminul Islam, First Director General of the agency, appointed by President Ziaur Rahman. Aminul Islam was dismissed from the post later during the year due to Intelligence failure.
  • Abdur Rouf
  • Jamil Uddin Ahmed
  • Chowdhury Fazlul Bari
  • Mohabbat Jan Chowdhury
  • Sadiq Hasan
  • ATM Amin
  • M.A Halim (2001-2003)
  • Rezzakul Haider, (2003-2005)
  • Sadiq Hasan Rumi, (2005-2007)
  • Golam Mohammed, (2007-2009)
  • Lieutenant general Molla Fazle Akbar, (2009 - 2011)
  • Brigadier general Kazi Fakhruddin Ahmed, (2011), Served from 12 June 2011- 19 June 2011.
  • Major general Sheikh Mamun Khaled, (2011-2013)[12]
  • Major general Mohammad Akbar Hossain, (2013–Present); Currently serving as the 24th Director of DGFI. Former Director of DGFI counterintelligence wing.

Organizational structure[edit]

The agency consists of a director and seven deputy directors. DGFI operates under seven directorates makes up the primary structure of the organization. The seven directorates are:

  • Directorate of Air Intelligence: The primary intelligence arm of the Bangladesh Air Force, responsible for the formulation of aerial intelligence.
  • Directorate of Naval Intelligence: The intelligence arm of the Bangladesh Navy, established to report on the advancements in other nations' navies and maritime intelligence.
  • Military Intelligence: The intelligence arm of Bangladesh Army, established to provide operational, tactical and strategic intelligence to the Armed Forces.
  • Directorate of Operations: Responsible for paramilitary and covert operations as well as special activities.
  • Directorate of Counterintelligence: Responsible for collection, analysis and assessment of foreign intelligence.
  • Signal Intelligence Bureau: Responsible for collecting, analyzing, and distributing aerial intelligence.
  • Directorate of Joint Intelligence: Responsible for collection of Political Intelligence.

Counter-terrorism Unit[edit]

Counter Terrorism and Intelligence Bureau (CTIB) , is an elite counter terrorism intelligence unit of DGFI. The Bureau's establishment date is classified, however first made official in 2006. The bureau was established along with Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), and the counter terrorism cell of National Security Agency (NSI). CTIB is responsible with collecting and analyzing intelligence on internal threats and counterattack. The role of CTIB is somewhat a resemblance of Cuerpo de Fuerzas Especiales of Mexican Army. The unit is directed by Brigadier General S M Matiur Rahman. CTIB agents are recruited from the Armed Forces and is responsible for Gathering intelligence and executing special operations.

Training[edit]

The DGFI recruits selective personnel from Bangladesh Armed Forces which includes Army, Air Force and Navy. The personnel undergo extensive intelligence training within country and abroad. DGFI holds a very close relation with CIA, MI6, New Zealand's GCSB and RAW and frequently holds joint exercises and operations. DGFI also has training camps in various cities across Bangladesh including Comilla, Cox's Bazar and Sylhet.

Recruitment[edit]

Not only members of the Armed Forces are eligible to join the DGFI. DGFI also recruits civilian officers and watchers. The committee recruits the most efficient officers from the three branches of the Armed Forces.

Functions[edit]

The DGFI and its activities are highly classified and confidential to both Mass media and civilians. The functions and priorities of DGFI have changed throughout years based on country's political situations and foreign affairs. The primary function of DGFI is the collection of foreign military intelligence, however during recent times, the agency have extended its role economic, political and foreign intelligence. DGFI maintains active collaborations with few other secret services in various countries. Its close relation with, and shares intelligence with New Zealand's GCSB,India's RAW and CIA.[13][14][15]

Operations[edit]

Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI) has been involved in many operations in Bangladesh and other countries. Many news outlet alleged the agency of being involved in many turning points in Bangladesh's history such as military coups and diplomatic missions. The agency has also been active on Indian and Burmese soil.

Military Experts have termed the subcontinent is a beehive of intelligence and counterintelligence activity and spy craft and labeled DGFI, ISI—, CIA, FSB, R&AW, MSS, Mossad, and MI6 as the big players in Asian intelligence scenario.

Controversies[edit]

Blocking advertises on Prothom Alo and The Daily Star[edit]

Bangladeshi Intelligence Agency DGFI was accused of blocking major companies from advertising in two major newspapers in Bangladessh; The Daily Prothom Alo and Daily Star, causing a loss of $2 million during first month. Telenor, which owns 55% stake at Grameenphone admitted that top level officers from DGFI forced them to stop advertising in these two newspaper, However, other large corporations refused to comment on the issue. The demand for foreign-owned corporations to stop advertising in the Prothom Alo and Daily Star newspapers was allegedly given by officers from the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI), following the August 16 publication of a story on the army's killing of five men in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. Later that day, army officials contacted both papers and criticized them for describing the dead men as "indigenous" people instead of "terrorists", sources said on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.

However, one senior manager at Grameenphone told Al Jazeera on the condition he would not be identified: "The DGFI officer said that we could no longer advertise in either the Prothom Alo or the Daily Star, and that steps would be taken against us if we defied the order." The warning was verbal and not put in writing, he said.

Grameenphone was not told the reason for this. "We were only told that the order 'comes from the top'," the manager said. The company had planned on launching a new campaign the following day, and so it immediately pulled the planned advertisement in Prothom Alo, he said.

Morshed Alam, executive director of media buyer Mindshare, confirmed -on the evening of August 16 that Robi Axiata, Airtel, and Unilever asked his company not to buy any further advertisements in the two newspapers.

"We were informed by our clients that due to unavoidable circumstances, we should stop all advertisements in Prothom Alo and Daily Star," Alam said. "We initially continued to advertise in the magazine supplements, but that was also stopped."[16]

DGFI agent Diwan Chand Malik in R&AW[edit]

A Bangladeshi DGFI agent concealed his nationality before joining R&AW, and was known by the name of Diwan Chand Mallik in the agency. He was known to have some important intelligence which was damaging for the national security. He joined the agency in 1999 and used to live in East Delhi. A case of cheating and forgery was filed against him at the Lodhi Colony police station on the basis of a complaint by a senior R&AW official. No trace of him was found afterward.[17]

Scandal involving MOSSAD[edit]

During May 2016, DGFI intercepted MOSSAD's link with Bangladesh's main opposition political party BNP. Several politicians, including Aslam Chowdhury was imprisoned for their involvement with Israel[citation needed], as Bangladesh does not recognize the existence of Israel.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ignoring Execution and Tortures. Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 7 November 2014. 
  2. ^ "Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI) - Overview". 
  3. ^ "DGFI-ULFA joins hand to wreck Havoc". IBN. Retrieved 15 October 2014. 
  4. ^ "PM wants DGFI ready". bdnews24. Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  5. ^ "Ministry wants printers under DGFI watch". New Age. Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  6. ^ "Torture in Bangladesh". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  7. ^ a b "Bangladesh: Stop Denying Killings and Torture". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  8. ^ "The Torture of Tasneem Khalil: How the Bangladesh Military Abuses Its Power". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  9. ^ "Ignoring Executions and Torture: Impunity for Bangladesh's Security Forces". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  10. ^ "Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI)". dgfi.gov.bd. SIB, DGFI, Headquarters,. Retrieved 14 July 2015. [dead link]
  11. ^ a b "History of DGFI". [dead link]
  12. ^ "Maj Gen Sheikh Mamun new DGFI chief". The Daily Star. 20 June 2011. Retrieved 13 May 2016. 
  13. ^ Fisher, David. "New Zealand link to hardline forces". nzherald.co.nz. NZME. Publishing Limited. Retrieved 14 July 2015. 
  14. ^ Talukder, Kamal Hossain. "Bangladesh intelligence team to go India". bdnews24.com. bdnews24.com. Retrieved 14 July 2015. 
  15. ^ BSS. "PM for strong coordination among Asia-Pac intelligence agencies". dhakatribune.com. Dhaka Tribune. Retrieved 14 July 2015. 
  16. ^ Bergman, David. "Bangladeshi spies accused of blocking media adverts". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 4 November 2015. 
  17. ^ "Bangladeshi worked for RAW for 6 years". Hindustan Times. 12 June 2007. Archived from the original on 2008-01-03. 

Further reading[edit]