Directorate General of Forces Intelligence

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Directorate General of Forces Intelligence
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Seal of the Forces Intelligence
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Flag of the Forces Intelligence
Agency overview
Formed 1972 as Directorate of Forces Intelligence
Jurisdiction President of Bangladesh
Headquarters Dhaka Cantonment, Bangladesh
Motto Watch and Listen for the nation, To protect national security
Employees 12,000 (Estimated)[1]
Annual budget Classified
Agency executive
Child agency
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 section 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 the National Security Intelligence (NSI). [3] The DGFI's primary role is to collect, collate and evaluate strategic and topographic intelligence relating to foreign matters for the Bangladesh government and armed forces.[4]

Although all defence information is kept classified by the agency and armed forces, there are reports that the 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 agencies in the world due to its aggressive techniques.[6] The agency has received criticism from Human Rights Watch for its brutal interrogation techniques, targeted killings, Assassinations and involvement with various militant outfits.[7][7][8][9]

DGFI is headquartered in Dhaka Cantonment, and former commandant of Defence Services Command and Staff College (DSCSC) Major General Md Saiful Abedin, is the current director general of the agency.[10]

History

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 the 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 a Defensive to an Offensive Intelligence Unit. In 1978, DGFI headquarters were relocated to Dhaka Cantonment from Bailey Road, Dhaka. According to analysts, the structure of DGFI closely resembles that of Inter-Services Intelligence. Captain K.M Aminul Islam was appointed as the first Director General of DGFI.[11] 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 staff is undertaken by the Armed Forces and the Director General is appointed by the President with recommendations from the Chief of Army Staff. The DGFI was structured to be manned by officers from the three main military services, to specialise in the collection, analysis and assessment of Military intelligence. Over the years, DGFI's role has transformed to both military and non-military intelligence gathering and the agency is active in more than 40 countries worldwide.

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

Purpose

To collect, collate, evaluate and disseminate all services strategical and topographical intelligence about Law and Order situations and the Armed Forces. 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 on 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

Organizational structure

The agency consists of a director and seven deputy directors. DGFI operates under seven directorates making up the primary structure of the organisation. 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' navy and maritime intelligence.
  • Military Intelligence: The intelligence arm of the 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, analysing, and distributing aerial intelligence.
  • Directorate of Joint Intelligence: Responsible for collection of Political Intelligence.

Counter-terrorism Unit

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 Intelligence (NSI). CTIB is responsible for collecting and analysing intelligence on internal threats and counterattack. The role of CTIB is structured similar to the Cuerpo de Fuerzas Especiales of the Mexican Army. The unit is directed by Brigadier General S M Matiur Rahman. CTIB agents are recruited from the Armed Forces and are responsible for gathering intelligence and executing special operations.

Training

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 has very close relationships with the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States of America, MI6 of the United Kingdom, Inter Services Intelligence of Pakistan , New Zealand's GCSB and Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) of India, and frequently holds joint exercises and operations with them. DGFI also has training camps in various cities across Bangladesh including Comilla, Cox's Bazar and Sylhet.

Recruitment

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

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, Pakistan's ISI, India's RAW and CIA.[13][14][15]

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

Controversies

Blocking advertising on Prothom Alo and the Daily Star

In 2015, Bangladeshi Intelligence Agency DGFI was accused of blocking major companies from advertising in two major newspapers in Bangladesh; the daily Prothom Alo and the 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 newspapers. However, other large corporations refused to comment on the issue. The demand for foreign-owned corporations to stop advertising in the Prothom Alo and the Daily Star newspapers was allegedly given by officers from the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI), following 16 August 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 criticised 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 16 August 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 the 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 RAW

A Bangladeshi DGFI agent concealed his nationality before joining RAW, 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 RAW official. No trace of him was found afterward.[17]

See also

References

  1. Ignoring Execution and Tortures. Human Rights Watch. 2009. ISBN 9781564324832. Retrieved 7 November 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI) – Overview".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "ULFA, Bangladesh's DGFI join hands to wreak havoc". News18.com. Cable News Network, LP LLLP. Archived from the original on 1 March 2017. Retrieved 1 March 2017. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "PM wants DGFI ready". bdnews24. Retrieved 17 April 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Ministry wants printers under DGFI watch". New Age. Retrieved 17 April 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Torture in Bangladesh". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 17 April 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Bangladesh: Stop Denying Killings and Torture". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 17 April 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "The Torture of Tasneem Khalil: How the Bangladesh Military Abuses Its Power". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 17 April 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Ignoring Executions and Torture: Impunity for Bangladesh's Security Forces". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 17 April 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Changes in top army positions | The Daily Star". 17 February 2017. Archived from the original on 17 February 2017. Retrieved 17 February 2017. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. 11.0 11.1 "History". Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI). Archived from the original on 14 July 2015. Retrieved 14 July 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Maj Gen Sheikh Mamun new DGFI chief". The Daily Star. 20 June 2011. Retrieved 13 May 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Fisher, David. "New Zealand link to hardline forces". nzherald.co.nz. NZME. Publishing Limited. Retrieved 14 July 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Talukder, Kamal Hossain. "Bangladesh intelligence team to go India". bdnews24.com. bdnews24.com. Retrieved 14 July 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. BSS. "PM for strong coordination among Asia-Pac intelligence agencies". dhakatribune.com. Dhaka Tribune. Retrieved 14 July 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. Bergman, David. "Bangladeshi spies accused of blocking media adverts". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 4 November 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. "Bangladeshi worked for RAW for 6 years". Hindustan Times. 12 June 2007. Archived from the original on 3 January 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

Further reading