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Hunter Biden works in favor of Islamist party in Bangladesh

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Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury is an internationally acclaimed multi-award-winning anti-militancy journalist, writer, research scholar, and counterterrorism specialist. He regularly writes for local and international newspapers.

US President Joe Biden’s scandalous son Hunter Biden, who has earlier met with State Department official on behalf Gabriel Popoviciu, a corrupt Romanian real estate tycoon in exchange for US$1 million when Joe Biden was vice president in 2016, has been now working for Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), a hardcore Islamist political party in Bangladesh and been vigorously pushing several agendas set by BNP.

A review of emails and documents on Hunter Biden’s infamous laptop reveal a March 2016 meeting with then-US ambassador to Romania Hans Klemm on the topic of a corruption case against Gabriel Popoviciu. According to information, Popoviciu made more than US$1 million in wire payments to Hunter Biden from November 2015 to June 2017 as he battled corruption charges in his home country. Being a paid lobbyist of Gabriel Popoviciu, Hunter Biden met twice with Ambassador Hans Klemm, first in November 2015 and again in March 2016.

Emails show, at that time, Hunter Biden was a consultant for a law firm named Boies Schiller Flexner and worked with lawyers from the firm to lobby the US embassy in Bucharest to intervene in Gabriel Popoviciu’s case. Law firm Boies Schiller partner Christopher Boies told Biden in a September 1, 2015 email that his law partner – whom he never identified—was “best friends” with the newly appointed ambassador to Romania, Hans Klemm.

According to US Congress Oversight report, Gabriel Popoviciu’s first wire payment amounting to US$59,900 was sent to Hunter Biden on November 9, 2015. Four days after that, Hunter Biden and Boies Schiller partner Michael Gottlieb discussed a meeting with Ambassador Hans Klemm and provided him reports about the Popoviciu case, which they said showed the corruption charges were bogus. The emails indicate that Biden attended the meeting, and Biden’s calendar shows a meeting with Klemm at Lapis restaurant in Washington, DC, on March 30, 2016.

Emails show that Hans Klemm was receptive to the reports and arranged meetings for the Biden consortium with Romanian officials. On May 17, 2016, Gottlieb contacted Klemm to seek help in meeting with Romania’s anti-corruption service, the DNA. Gottlieb wrote to Hunter Biden and others that “the USEMB [US Embassy] has primed this for us”.

Neither Hunter Biden nor Boies Schiller registered as lobbyists for Gabriel Popoviciu, who was ultimately convicted of bribery in 2017 and sentenced to seven years in prison.

It may be mentioned here that the Lobbying Disclosure Act requires individuals to disclose their lobbying activity to Congress, and the Foreign Agents Registration Act requires them to disclose lobbying on behalf of foreign nationals to the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Commenting on this Republican Congressman Darrell Issa who is a member of the House Judiciary Committee said: “the Justice Department’s disinterest in Hunter Biden’s lobbying shows there is one set of rules for the president’s family and one for everyone else”.

Earlier the Washington Free Beacon in a report said that Hunter Biden and lawyers from Boies Schiller hatched a plan in 2014 to meet with State Department officials on behalf of Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian gas company whose owner was accused of bribery. A Boies Schiller partner wrote to Biden that she would arrange State Department meetings and conduct other activity “right up to the line” where the firm would have to register as a lobbyist.

BNP-Jamaat lobbyist bids in the United States

For several years, Hunter Biden has connections with a consulting-cum-lobbyist firm named Blue Star Strategies, which had earlier registered its work for the Ukrainian company Burisma under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Through the same company Hunter Biden also crafted a plan to lobby the State Department on behalf of the Chinese private equity firm BHR Partners.

On January 17, 2022, Bangladesh’s State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam told reporters that Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) has spent US$3.75 million for a US lobbyist firm as part of their anti-Bangladesh campaign.

The BNP hired US lobbyist firms called Akin Company Associates, Blue Star Strategies and Rasky Partners while Jamaat signed agreements with an organization named ‘Peace and justice’.

According to information obtained from the US, BNP spent US$2.7 million annually from February 2015 to April 2017. It spent US$120,000 per month in retainer fees.

According to information obtained by this newspaper, Blue Star Strategies was hired by BNP through Abdus Sattar, an UK-based leader of the party in August 2018. Agendas behind appointing Blue Star Strategies by BNP were to “promote the goals of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) for the upcoming [2018 general elections] elections in Bangladesh”. In addition, Blue Star Strategies also developed a strategy “that educates officials, policy influencers and the media [in the United States] about the BNP and its interests in free and fair elections” and drafted a “narrative to communicate the BNP’s goals”.

The contract was signed by Abdus Sattar as an individual – but the documentation suggests that he was acting on behalf of the BNP. In the section of the form which states that the name of the “foreign principal” was Abdul Sattar, it is confirmed that he is a “foreign political party”, meaning, Bangladesh Nationalist Party.

In addition, in the section of submitted documentation asking for details “if the foreign principal is a foreign political party”, Blue Star Strategies stated: “Bangladesh Nationalist Party, 28, 1 VIP Rd, Dhaka 1205, Bangladesh”.

The documents confirmed that there were payments made to Blue Star Strategies which totaled at least US$278,582 over a two-year period. An amount of US$10,000 was paid to Blue Star Strategies in August 2018, another payment of US$197,790 in September 2018 and US$70,792 between March to September 2019.

The last payment was made from an account at the Singapore-based Overseas-Chinese Banking Corporation Ltd. It may be mentioned here that BNP’s acting chairman Tarique Rahman and his business partner Giaus Uddin Mamun were also banking with the Overseas-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC).

As part of the same contract with Blue Star Strategies, another lobbyist firm named Rasky Partners was paid US$86,627 by Blue Star Strategies to work with it in lobbying for the Bangladesh Nationalist Party. Humaiun Kobir, BNP National Executive Committee Member, Secretary of International Affairs and Advisor to the Acting Chairman has been coordinating BNP’s connections with Rasky Partners.

In January 2015, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP sent a proposal to UK-based lawyer Toby Cadman stating that “Akin Gump is pleased to offer to support the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (‘BNP’) in Washington, DC. by providing legal services (including policy analysis) as described below.”

It went onto say, its services would include “facilitating dialogue between the BNP and politicians in Washington (including in relation to the forthcoming election) and lobbying in relation to war crimes trials taking place in Bangladesh, trade policy and trade negotiations, human rights abuses in Bangladesh, and the general relationship between the United States and Bangladesh”. It may be mentioned here that Toby Cadman played a key role behind 2021 sanctions on Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), imposed by the US Department of Treasury.

In February 2015, the US firm submitted a document confirming that it was undertaking work for the BNP on the basis of a “formal written contract”, and appended the proposal sent to Toby Cadman, as the agreed contract.

In 2007, during the state of emergency, another lobbyist firm namely Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP was hired by the BNP to “advance restoration of a democratic government and expedite elections in Bangladesh”.

The documents submitted by the US firm noted that the “Name and title of the official with whom registrant deals with” was Khaleda Zia. It was paid US$160,000 by BNP.

Similarly, Jamaat-e-Islami hired two lobbyist firms through an organization named Organization for Peace & Justice (OPJ), which is based and incorporated in New York. According to documents submitted by Jamaat-e-Islami’s lobbyist, OPJ is a Jamaat-e-Islami group. “Sympathizers of the Jamaat-e-Islami party serve as directors of the Organization for Peace & Justice, Inc. The mission is to prevent party members from being prosecuted by a politically motivated and government-influenced Tribunal”.

In 2018, OPJ, hired Husch Blackwell Strategies, LLC to ensure that “the United States Government policies, while currently supportive of political stability and democracy, development, and human rights in Bangladesh, do not shift in any manner contrary to the interests of Jamaat-e-Islami, nor create an environment where JI is defined as a security threat within Bangladesh or on an international scale”. The submitted documents suggest that OPJ was acting for the Jamaat as the lobbyist as the form confirmed OPJ as being a “foreign political party”.

In 2014, OPJ hired Cassidy and Associates which “engaged in educational meetings about human rights violations and provided strategic advice in an effort to prevent members of Jamaat-e-Islami Party from being prosecuted and executed by a politically motivated and government influenced tribunal”. It paid a total of US$285,952 [from April to June 2014 US$50,000; from February to July 2015 US$75,915; from August 2015 to January 2016 US$50,037 and US$110,000].

Between 2011 and 2013, Mir Masum Ali, who then lived in the United States, and was the Project Director of media and publications of Muslim Ummah of North America (MUNA) – an organization that attracts US-based supporters of the Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh paid a total £370,000 to the same law firm, Cassidy and Associates, to lobby on “Bangladeshi war crimes tribunal and political opposition matters”.

Mir Masum Ali is the brother of Jamaat-e-Islami leader and executed war criminal Mir Quasem Ali. He paid US$210,000 in 2011, US$140,000 in 2012 and US$20,000 in 2013.

In 2011, another organization named Institute for US Bangladesh Relations hired Cassidy and Associates and paid the firm US$210,000, whereas this organization was connected to executed war criminal Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury and Pakistani spy agency Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI).

Hunter Biden’s connections with BNP

While BNP has been frantically trying to hire Hunter Biden as its lobbyists, it finally has succeeded in reaching an agreement with him through William B Milam. Milam is an influential figure of the Democratic Party and a retired diplomat who runs an organization named ‘Right to Freedom’ jointly with an individual named Mushfiqul Fazal Ansarey – a former Assistant Press Secretary of then Prime Minister Khaleda Zia.

Mushfiqul Fazal Ansarey, a diehard anti-India and anti-Hindu individual with affiliations with jihadist groups and Pakistani spy agency has been making frantic bids with the direct collaboration of William B Milam in pushing the United Nations as well as the US Department of State in unseating Awami League government through undemocratic process. Earlier the duo pursued the United Nations as well as the US Department of State in bringing more politicians and civil-military officials from Bangladesh under fresher sanctions using Global Magnitsky Act.

Ansarey has been working as the “Permanent Correspondent” of an illegal website named ‘Just News’, with active collaboration of William Bryant Milam (William B Milam), an American diplomat, who is known as the Senior Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington DC., has been making desperate bids both in the Capitol in Washington DC and the UN Headquarters in New York City, with the agenda of misleading key policymakers in Washington and the UN against Bangladesh and ruling Awami League and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. It may be mentioned here that ‘Just News’ does not have any existence in Bangladesh.

According to a credible source, Ansarey spends thousands of dollars every week socializing with key individuals in the US, while he also is seen having lunch and dinner with those individuals, where most of the time he is accompanied by William B Milam.

Although Mushfiqul Fazal Ansarey succeeded in getting press accreditation in the White House and the United Nations claiming as the “US Correspondent” of an illegal website, a vernacular tabloid daily in Dhaka has also been terming Ansarey as its “Permanent Reporter in the United Nations” and the White House. This vernacular tabloid has also been prominently publishing anti-Awami League propaganda materials sent by Ansarey on a regular basis.

It may be mentioned here that, on October 27, 2020, at the persuasions of William B Milam and Mushfiqul Fazal Ansarey, ten US Senators sent a letter to then Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin calling for sanctions against RAB officials. In the United Kingdom, the Guernica 37 Chambers law offices made a formal submission to the British Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office in August 2021 recommending sanctions for 15 current and former senior RAB officers.

On August 31, 2021, the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission held a virtual hearing on enforced disappearances in Bangladesh where several witnesses suggested taking punitive action. Bangladesh Foreign Ministry was not apprised of the case of letters sent by the US Senators, as it was later alleged that the Bangladesh High Commissioner in Washington DC was actually a former leader of BNP’s student wing.

At the directives of BNP’s fugitive and convicted leader Tarique Rahman, William B Milam and Mushfiqul Fazal Ansarey also maintain deeper contact with controversial Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus.

After months of frantic bids, Bangladesh Nationalist Party has finally succeeded in reaching into a lobbyist arrangement with Hunter Biden through Blue Star Strategies. Although the amount of “lobbyist fees” offered by BNP to Hunter Biden remains unknown, according to a number of sources, the son of US President Joe Biden has been assigned to accomplish three goals – to obstruct Awami League from holding the next general election without participation of BNP; to exert pressure on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in holding the next general election under direct supervision of Washington; and to stop import of goods from Bangladesh if the next general election is held without BNP.

It was also learnt from sources that at the request of Muhammad Yunus, Hillary Clinton also has been trying to influence US President Joe Biden through a number of key officials, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Massive propaganda plan of BNP In addition to its ongoing lobbyist efforts and recent arrangements with Hunter Biden, Bangladesh Nationalist Party has hired a New York-based PR firm in running full-page ads for consecutive five days in The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal with “appeal” of obstructing the general election in Bangladesh, once the ruling Awami League moves ahead with the election and schedule of it is announced.

Bangladesh Nationalist Party also is looking for hiring journalists and columnists in a number of major publications in the US, while Tarique Rahman plans to do similar propaganda in a number of major newspapers in Britain. For such propaganda efforts, BNP has been building a huge fund with contributions from wealthy leaders of the party as well as Jamaat-e-Islami, while family members of executed or convicted war criminals would also contribute to it.

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Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury is an internationally acclaimed multi-award-winning anti-militancy journalist, writer, research scholar, and counterterrorism specialist. He regularly writes for local and international newspapers.
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