News and Editor's Comments Friday 2.9.11

Weekend  Reading as usual tommorrow.
Friday 2.9.11
My Apologies. The lack of postings over the past few days is due to family reasons, not a change in standpoint. I hope to be "back at the office" late next week. If only some kind reader, whose approach to the Fiji situation is broadly similar to my own, would offer to post me  two or three "ready to post" items a week, it would greatly help.    Meanwhile, here are a number of items of interest. Reports on the Engaging the Pacific meeting that ends today will be posted separarely.

Graffiti and police stations. A quick roundup of last week would include the anti-blog story of a boy of "Indo-Fijian descent" who is alleged to have had three fingers broken by the police for writing graffiti in Lami, and the equally "plausible" story that Bainimarama had ordered someone else's fingers cut off.  This came at the same time as news that two police stations had been torched at Vatudradra and Nawai, presumably on orders from the phantom Viti Revolutionary Army, that was also behind the the mass protest that was supposed to coincide with last weekend's Hibiscus Festival. 

Ratu Mara's entourage were staying at an Adelaide motor camp last week. He is organizing his application for a NZ visa so that he may inform Melanesian leaders attending the Pacific Forum meeting in Auckland next week of what is "really" happening in Fiji. He appears to have abandoned his plans to visit Melanesian countries after some said he would not be granted a visa. There was also the possibility he would be extradited to Fiji to face his outstanding court charges.

From Adelaide also he is calling for Fijians (I think he means itaukei because he seems to have no support from other ethicities) to follow the Gandhian path of passive resistance. He urges civil servants to take leave and slow down on the job. The saddest thing about Ratu Mara's wanderings is not that he appears to have gained no new support but the financial cost to local itaukei communities. 

But, as my "old friend" the Rev Tomasi Kanailagi once said people do not understand the Fijian culture of giving.  This was when former politician Mike Beddoes questioned the amount of money poor itaukei were giving to the Church. The same time, some readers will remember it, before he started to talk about democracy, when Senator Kanailagi in the Upper House, accused the Fiji Times and  Fiji One of being "agents of evil" who were working against Christianity and the indigenous people. "Indian reporters" were "poisoning the country with false accusations" over the status of the Methodist Church.  It is as well to remember this man.  He is still a Church leader and was one of reasons the Methodist Annual Conference was cancelled.

My understanding of the final meeting that led to the Conference cancellation is that Government spokesman  Mosese Tikoitoga tried hard to to resolve issues that would have allowed a non-political meeting to go ahead. Had Government not wanted this, it could more easily delivered a letter saying the conference was cancelled. Much international attention has claimed political interference in church affairs, and in some ways the accusation is correct. But with the church's political stance and the prominence of leaders like Kanailagi one could also claim some church leaders wanted this outcome. They wanted government to cancel the conference.  It would add to their political weapons.

Last week also saw the FICAC (Corrupton Commision) charges against former Fijian Holdings CEO Sitiveni Weleilakeba dismissed by the Suva High Court. Another victory for the independent judiciary. Co- defendant former Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase will now stand trial alone.

Dinger Donger. Another story last weekend, made much of overseas,  is the reporting of a "wikileaked" document by Sydney Morning Herald's Philip Dorling. His  article "Cables Reveal Brutality of the Fiji Regime" cites leaked despatches from US Ambassador Larry Dinger who served in Fiji from July 2005 to June 2008. The so called brutality he describes took place soon after the coup and has been well reported without any obvious need for an August 2011 leak.  But for Dorling's purposes it was "news." By not putting any dates to Dinger's claims, Dorling left readers thinking the events took place yesterday. His claims that Ratu Iloilo was senile, and Bainimarama psychotic were not news either but they help the propaganda grinder.

Dinger is just as principled. In another, earlier, leaked despatch he urged the US not to follow the Australian and NZ lead by calling the military takeover in 2006 a "coup" because it could affect the use of Fijian soldiers in Iraq. 

Nepotism. Saras'sista, a regular anti-Government commentator to this blog,makes further unfounded (or at least questionable) claims of nepotism against Government.  Her/his latest concern is the employment of the A-G's wife by Tourism. Sorry, Saras'sista.  You got it wrong again. The work is voluntary and unpaid.

More disturbing by far was the apparently forced resignation of USP academic, Dr Wadan Narsey, a longstanding government critic.  Wadan is on leave in Japan.  When he returns to Fiji and I have more information, I will have more to say.  But for the moment, my understanding is that Wadan was asked to apologize but for what I do not know. USP is funded from several sources, Pacific Islands governments, Australian, NZ — and Fiji. 


thanks and what i would like to see said…
Dear Croz,

All your efforts with this blog are excellent. Thank you so much for your hard work. By all means take as much time out as required ! You are indeed a friend of Fiji.

On the MSG/Friends of Fiji meeting the local press is reporting that Frank presented on the progress being made to return Fiji to democracy in 2014. This is good but what frustrates me is the people he needs to be presenting to first are not the MSG but the people of FIJI (us) !

I would like to see Frank stand up and present what he sees as the progress v raodmap on national TV & radio. Detail in particular the work happening on the constitution and how and when the consultations will work. I would then like him to face a press conference afterwards to take questions on what he has presented.

It is time our PM stood up and spoke to the nation. If he can do it for 'neighbours' surely can do it for us ?
Done a runner said…
Welcome back croz - we thought you had done a runner like gates?
He had to go said…
The only surprise is he lasted as long as he did. Croz, the bottom line is you can't criticize this government and expect to get away with it. I have not heard you be concerned at all about the CEO and board members who all lost their jobs post coup simply because they had worked with previous government or to make way for the military men. Speak up in Fiji and you will be got. Sometimes it takes longer than others.
Yea yea said…
@ thanks

Sorry but that is not going to happen. When was the last time your heard the pm do anything other than read a statement ? There is good reason for that.
Anonymous said…
Welcome back croz but be sure to catch plenty of the world cup action.
Anonymous said…
Thanks, Croz
You are the voice of sanity and reason with information that is not only interesting but revealing. The Melenasian group is now emerging as a powerful group that will resist Australia and New Zealand stance vigorously. The sun is setting on the Pacific bulies and it was long overdue. They dangled carrots and made the island leaders feel that they could not look after themeselves without them. Now China is a more dominant player in the Pacific and the island nations have a choice that did not exist in the past. Tevita Mara's presence may be an opportunity for him learn that he is just wasting his time and energy. The more he speaks the more he shows he should not!
sara'ssista said…
I was commenting on another report, i did not claim any first hand knoweldge, and my concerns remain valid.I still don't know how you tell who is and isn't employed by this regime given the secrecy and method of payment to her husband and others. I would be interested to know how you have 'confirmed' her status with Tourism.
Mafu said…
Welcome back Croz, and what on earth is the Tongan absconder upto now. We all know what has been happening in Fiji even before 1874, to date. What does he know that the MSG dont? Why is a Tongan interfering in Fijian politics? Why doesnt he reveal the contents of his secret files to the people? Simply because he has nothing to share. It is all a load of BS.
Croz Walsh said…
@ Saras'sista ... You never give up. Different instruments, same tune. Over and over again. Many things you write are valid but you need to develop and argument. A recited mantra makes uninteresting reading. Who was my source? I have a number of contacts with very different views who I consult. My source was one of them, and there it no good reason to reveal their identity. Have you asked Coup4.5 about their supposedly reliable sources?
Anonymous said…
@ sara'ssista
Look b4 u leap my child. This is what the problem is with you lot, incl. Mark Manning, Waqatairewa, Tevita Mara, C4.5, JB etc.

If you depend on getting your info from C4.5, may God help you.
Anonymous said…
@ Croz

Perhaps you could ask your sources how much the PM is paying himself and put to bed whether or not is more or less than before he made himself PM. I still remember his claim that no one in the military would benefit from this coup but nearly 5 years later it looks like everyone in the military is benefiting.
scher said…
@ croz

The PM repeats the mantra of the Peoples charter but fails to follow it.
sara'ssista said…
Well presumably, coup four uses the same excuse. I think given the first hand knowledge from Mara I would pitch most of what he discusses, minus the hyperbole, against any credibility this regime purports to claim they have left. The only person who claims to have all the answers left it appears is the illegal PM. I think everyone accepts that there must be some middle ground and a discussion that does require total and complete submission to a discredited and vain military regime intent on remaining in power if not in government.
Anonymous said…
Hey sister Saras, C4.5 is now supporting/advocating the use of IEDs. How sick are they? Looks like beyond help. They stopped short of saying the phantom VRF did it, perhaps because they supposedly dont target civilians.
sara'ssista said…
I have no issue whatsoever with attacking the regime. The methods don't much concern me at all, if they indeed want to step up the pressure and make the regime feel nervous and insecure, the go for it. Capital punishment for coup plotters would have solved this issue long ago and served as a very real deterrent. Libya is doing just fine, maybe they need some tips. Or perhaps CRoz would have the libyans negotiate with a tyrant and use the pacific technique of talking him to death and begging for forgiveness after.
sister saras said…
We all need a bit of humour in life, and C4.5 provided that for me today after a hectic day at work. They are showing a bus on fire, suggesting that IEDs have been used on fuel lines. The fuel lines reside on the underside of the bus, and the fire is on the roof. Ha ha ha, reminds me of reasons given for coups of 1987 and 2000.
@ sara'ssista

It was always a 'given' that the use of IEDs would surface. The style and the substance of the messages were leading in that direction. Now, the advocacy is overt.

So, how does this potential horror sit with you? Think long and hard before you reply. Next come the threats and the bombs and ultimately,the suicide bombers? Is that where all this leads? No way can this elicit 'back to barracks'! The ordinary people deserve better and after twenty years, they shall have better! The safety and the welfare of ordinary Fijians will be prioritised ahead of anything else. This only serves to clarify the position and our near neighbours in the the Pacific Forum need to know this and to digest it and to think what they propose to do constructively to assist: tell the ordinary people that they propose to help and set a time frame for this support.

Entertaining extremists is hardly helpful?
sara'ssista said…
'potential horror' is a little dramatic don't u think. Recent history would suggest sitting back and taking it , simply does not work. Where have you been ??!!! Your advice i would refer you to Tibetans,Burmese, Zimbabweans,Tunisians, Syrians, Egyptians, East Timorese, and look how well that worked, the very idea of a passive resistance only gives the military time to further entresch itself, if thats possible and expect amnesty.Given how this regime doesn't much mind using brutal means to enforce it's will,then I would expect no complaint when the same happens to them.'elicit', we shoudn't have to negotiate it... should be forced and the military disbanded.Reform is apparently required for everyone BUT the military, they have had their chance .

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