- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 24, 2011


The press minister at the Bangladesh Embassy is in Washington, not Scotland. He has not lost his passport or credit cards, and he does not need your money.

Swapan K. Sahamade all that clear in an e-mail Tuesday to Embassy Row, as he explained that someone hacked into his Yahoo account on Monday and sent out urgent appeals for cash.

“This is a fake e-mail,” Mr. Saha said. “Please ignore the message.”

The fraudulent message sent under his name with his real e-mail address asked recipients to wire money to a phone number in Britain.

“I made a trip to Aberdeen, Scotland, and had my bag stolen from me with my passport and credit cards in it,” the fake message said.

The phony press minister whined about his lack of money to pay his hotel bill and buy an airline ticket. Then, he said, an idea struck him.

“I was thinking of asking you to lend me some quick funds that I can give back as soon as I get in,” he said, adding a note of urgency.

“I really need to be on the next available flight.”

Mr. Saha, a former chief news editor of Bangladesh’s BSS national news agency, was the victim of something called “phishing,” a type of Internet scam.

Fortunately for many recipients, the e-mail came with a warning of “suspicious” content.


A top U.S. diplomat praised the role of religion in combating slavery, as he urged government leaders to protect refugees from smugglers who deal in human cargo.

“Religion has always spread among people treated like the dregs of society. Faith has always been a crutch for those who didn’t have anyone to turn to,” said Luis CdeBaca, at a recent conference at the Vatican.

He noted how Christianity gave hope to slaves in ancient Rome and how the Prophet Mohammed “was an emancipator.” Some accounts say the founder of the Islamic religion freed 40,000 slaves.

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