Detentions, Beatings Denied: Military Rumours, Chaudhry Denied

Readers are urged to read and comment on the Pillar 1 of the  People's Charter and Chapter  1 of the State of the Nation paper 
published on Saturday. Scroll down.

N0195. MORE ON THE DETENTIONS. Former SDL Cabinet Minister Sam Speight  says he'll seek asylum in Australia.  Speight's sister said he'd been treated in Brisbane Hospital after being allegedly beaten by the military in Fiji.

Military Land Forces Commander Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga has denied Speight and others were beaten. "There is no assault or implication, or confirmations of any assault...you know, there would be some minimal force used if people [resist] arrest."

He added that "the mere fact that they have disobeyed the public emergency regulations (PER) is testimony to the fact that they have different agendas." He thought their statements were part of their political agenda.

Clarifying the military's role, he said the military is only involved in arresting people, if police request their help and when the public emergency regulations have been broken. The detentions followed breaches of the PER.

Patrick Holmes, Amnesty International NZ's CEO has replied to may queries about the AI release on the detainees. I'll make a full posting on the release and my reaction once I've had time to consider it more fully, and perhaps get back to Patrick for clarifications.


N0196, EPELI ULUILAKEBA. Click  here to read and, if you wish, sign the petition for a review of the case of Fijian Commonwealth soldier and Iraq war hero Epeli Uluilakeba to allow him to remain in the UK.

N0197. FRAENKEL SAYS GOVERNMENT FEELS THREATENED.
ANU's Dr Jonathan Fraenkel has attributed the recent spate of detentions to Government insecurity. The police and military have certainly reacted promptly to heightened activity by anti-government bloggers and activists over the past two weeks, but if Bainimarama's tour this week though Vanua Levu is any indication, he is not taking the threats too seriously. A threatened Prime Minister would stay in Suva. But Jonathon's guess —for that is what it is— is no more informed than anyone else's.

N0198. THE RUMOUR MERRY-GO-ROUND. Rumours seem to come around in lunar cycles, the last one being of a split in the military.  Its last reincarnation has been denied by RFMF Land Force Commander Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga who said he knows where the stories are coming from but they have no substance.

"Everybody is focused on working with the Commander and Brigadier Aziz Mohamed in trying to take the RFMF forward and all the officers are committed to doing that.” A rumour last month was that the Brigadier had been dismissed, or was it arrested.  Either way, he's still at work.

Speaking of criticisms made about the military Col Tikoitoga admitted there were a few on the blogsites but "we can’t take those people seriously but the Commander when he moves around to villages and other areas, he gets a lot of praises for this government and what it has been doing. You know the civilian community are coming out strong and saying there is a better government than what it was before.” The call from some villages to cancel the 2014 elections is "indicative of what the government is doing."

N0199. CHAUDHRY TOLD NOT THIS TIME.  Former PM Mahendra Chaudhry has been denied permission to travel abroad.  Justice Daniel Goundar  said the court was concerned about Mr Chaudhry's frequency of travel. Chaudhry faces several charges relating to money laundering, tax evasion and giving false information to the Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority. Judge Goundar said Chaudhry's arraignment had been adjourned several times from the time his case was first heard in July last year. He had been permitted to travel to Hawaii and Australia between December and March and the judge says if he is allowed to travel this time, his arraignment would have to be postponed again.

Comments

Fraenkel watch said…
Croz, Jon Fraenkel always portrays the government as threatened no matter what the circumstances. It's part of this guy's song and dance routine cooked up with his SDL-loving Fijian marama. Accuracy? Zero. Credibility? Zero. A miserable git surrounded by a bunch of other losers at the ANU, like Brij Lal and the jailed Qaranivalu's vei wekada Jone Baledrokadroka. All three have personal barrows to push and huge conflicts of interest yet have the temerity to pose as independent academics. The libel laws prevent me from being more specific. But definitely not to be trusted.
Powers of arrest said…
Croz
Is Tikoitoga saying the Fiji military has the powers of 'arrest'? This is indeed a frightening situation and does not auger well for a free and democratic Fiji? I would be interested to hear the views of the regime AG, CJ and SG on the thse military powers as stated by the military Land Force Commander.
And what is happening to the MINFO? Surely it must have a view on the international media and its widespread reporting of military intimidation and beatings?
The new col speaks said…
Col Tikoitoga should be squashing any talk of delaying elections beyond 2014 not panding to such talk and certainly not promoting it. If he wants some general public endorsement of his commandors government then he should be promoting the immediate lifting of the PER so people are free to talk about the success and otherwise of the four years of military government.

His other comments around corruption and this being the reason people have been moved around is of greater concern. If there is corruption people should be moved out not to new roles. And if the constant shuffling of military roles in government is because of coruption they need to be removed from the military as well as their governemnt roles without payments. Given the high pedestal the military has put intself on it needs to do more to show it follows its own high standards.
Economic update from USP said…
Here is something that is not runour but fact...but i doubt it will get much of a run in Fiji's media.

The ADB Pacific Economic Monitor was released by USP today. Forecasts for GDP growth in 2011 and 2012 put Fiji as one of the worst performing economies in the Pacific. GDP growth is ecpected to be less than 1% this year and next. The only Pacific country forecast to do worse is Tuvalu ! Perhaps the military should take over Tuvalu as it seems the only place they can lecture to on economic performance.

Any one remember the PM promising to have fixed the economy by now and it being one of the key reason he conducted his coup...oops sorry not aloud to call it a coup am I ?
Rumours to be expected said…
Perhaps the reason the rumours flare up from time to time is...

1. The PER leaves no room for sensable discussion or debate

2. Despite military claims this government is not as perfect as they make out to be

3. It is normal to have opposition. It is not normal for a government that says it beleives in democracy to expect no opposition and want to crush all opposition.

4. People need to vent. Blog sites are about the only place to do this apart from around the grog bowl and even that has become to dangerous.

For as long as this government seeks to have no feedback, no criticism and only flowerly praise published we can expect wild runours from the normally ignored fringes of the community.
About time said…
On Chaudhry is seems like just yesterday he was part of this coup and as smug and confident as ever that he could do no wrong. Cleared by the PM and AG and free to seek retribution on whoever he wanted. How things change. Maybe he should consider joining the likes of Sami, Reddy and others in your fine country Croz.
get over it said…
@ rumour and others

Get over it folks - the PER is here to stay, critics will be silenced and they should be. This government and PM are here to stay. There is no road map to democracy and why should there be when everything is working so much better now. Everything in Fiji is better....don't beleive me ? Well pick up local papers and see.
concerned said…
Dear Croz,

I'm not anti-government and i'm certainly not pro-SDL but I am concerned we seem to be getting further away from free and fair elections rather than closer.

I'd really like to see open dialogue start now. I'd like the PER lifted and I'd like to see a more confident PM and military not ones that worry about every small thing said about them.

Unless we see change now moving to a free democracy at a magical date in the future will be impossible.
Load of Cr@p said…
What a load of Cr@p. We all know the military round up individuals, interigate them and often hold them overnight. The police are rarely involved. And from the military's point of view its working. Even around the grog bowl these days people are very very careful about what they say. No one want the military calling on their busines or family home.
soldier said…
Thanks Mr Walsh for allowing the petition for Pex to be on your website.

Please Click the link on No.196
Croz Walsh said…
@ Powers of arrest ... PER gives the military these powers. They have been mainly used for breaches of the PER regulations. I keep hoping PER will be lifted but it seems unlikely while there are concerted efforts to destablise, and while threats of hangings etc are made by the anti-govt bloggers (and the organizer of the march that didn't take place last Friday.)
@ Economic Update... I would be grateful if you would supply a web link or contact so we can see this document? I's surprised Govt had so little trouble raising the US$250million loan announced today if things are really as bad as you say.
@ Rumours .. I agree wholeheartedly.
@ Get over it ... I presume you are being sarcastic. PER will go; it's just not going quick enough.
@ Concerned ... I agree with much of what you say and of course no future outcomes are certain but progress is being made on the infrastructural stage of the Roadmap. This blog has itemised many of them. The Strategic Framework for Change office is working on the constitutional and electoral reform, and dialogue on both should start late this year or early next year. I'm as confident as can be that elections will be held in 2014. Hope you are following the comments on the Charter Pillar One posting last Saturday, and will follow and comment on the ones to follow for the next ten weeks.
Population Growth Unsustainable said…
A $250m dollar loan oversubscribed is far more a test of the future for Fiji than anything else just now. But present and predicted GDP growth is hugely insufficient with the population growth rate. we cannot afford to have more than two children with a GDP which is stagnant and under 6% per annum. That is the fierce reality. We are procreating at a rate we cannot afford. It does not matter whether this growth rate is legitimate or illegitimate. It must end and end now.
Anonymous said…
BASA

9% interest on a Government bond is the highest rate on offer this year so far. Of course it was over subscribed.
Say It Isn't So said…
Croz, Re: ANU’s Dr Jonathan Fraenkel - deride him all you like but he understands the Fijian psyche better than most kai Valagi.
In April 2009, when Ratu Iloilo suspended the Constitution, Bainimarama opponents ramped up the pressure and called for all forms of uprising, violence included.
Dr Fraenkel was the only one who said that Fijians would not rise up in opposition. [See http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2009/04/28/silence-after-abrogation-of-fijis-2007-constitution/]
So his opinion is just as valid as this blog’s.
Now, if I were a Bainimarama supporter, I would welcome the arguments of more moderate opponents like Dr Fraenkel rather than try to ridicule or supress them.
Yes, his guess may be just that, a guess, but so is much of what you present here.
You are asking us to give Bainimarama a chance because Bainimarama says there will be elections in 2014.
How do we know there will be elections in 2014? You are guessing that we will.
Your guess - for that is what it is - is no more informed that anyone else’s.
On your earlier point, of course Bainimarama does not feel threatened. He knows it will take a hell of a lot for Fijians to rise up in opposition. Plus he has all the guns.
This isn’t one of those countries where anyone can easily get an AK-47. This is Fiji where, thankfully, not everyone can.
Parity of esteem & understanding said…
@ Dr Fraenkel's understanding of the Fijian psyche......

This understanding needs to be challenged. At present, it appears to be allowing impunity to continue and might be said to be an encouragement for corruption and a failed resolve to stem to
crimes against humanity. This lack of resolve is mostly within the Fiji Police and those who ought to be applying the law with regard to violent crime. Dr Fraenkel has an imperative to adjust his thinking on these matters and side with the population which is being targeted and intimidated through threats and crimes of violence. This has continued unabated since 2000. The picking on women and children and the physically less able: despicable acts of "Might is Right". No message has come to Fiji from Dr Fraenkel to demonstrate his revulsion? So it is more than apparent that his understanding is partial promoting division and disunity in the face of continued acts of violence. If a parity of esteem and understanding is required to attain peace, then where does Dr Fraenkel position himself?

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