US embassy cables leaked by Wikileaks reveal that the UK government has been training a paramilitary death squad in Bangladesh – in the name of “counter-terrorism”, naturally.
The Rapid Action Battalion is estimated by human rights activists to be responsible for 1,000 murders since its establishment six years ago, in addition to a record of kidnapping, extortion and torture. Last year, it was used against garment workers during their huge strikes. Since three years ago – under the Labour government – Britain has been training these killers in “areas such as investigative interviewing techniques and rules of engagement”.
The foreign office has responded by saying that the UK provides “a range of human rights assistance” in Bangladesh!
The leaked documents reveal that the US and British governments want to step up support for the RAB. The British labour movement must raise its voice in protest.
● For more on Bangladesh, including workers' struggles there, see here.