#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: 2011-05-01

Saturday, May 7, 2011

'FNPF symposium another farce'

By Professor Wadan Narsey

The Bainimarama Military Regime will  this week put more nails in the FNPF coffin.

While they ruthlessly maintain a draconian media censorship, Frank Bainimarama and Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum will organize a charade of a “Symposium on The Future of FNPF”.  

There will be a panel discussion by “experts”, discussing recommendations by unknown and unaccountable consultants from IMF, World Bank, ILO, etc advocating changes to the FNPF structure, operations and pension rates.
The symposium will be used to ratify that the FNPF is not financially sustainable at the current pension rate of 15% (single) and must be reduced by a massive 40% to 9% (single).

It will also be encouraged to conclude that the contribution rate by employees should be increased from the current 16% of your wages and salary to perhaps 20%, as other model countries in the world such as Singapore practice.

But this “symposium” will all be a big farce, a pretence at “public consultation”, much like the Charter Charade organized by Bainimarama, John Samy and Petero Mataca.

We all know the Bainimarama Regime will make all the decisions.

The Bainimarama Regime will continue to hide all the reports that would reveal that they are themselves responsible for a large part of the mess that the FNPF is currently in.

The Bainimarama Regime will continue to milk the FNPF cow, which, with increased contributions and reduced payouts, will give them even more  of our savings to use ad misuse, however they wish.

You, the contributors to FNPF and the pensioners of FNPF, will have no choice in the matter.

With media censorship, you can't even publicly and freely discuss these massive changes to your pension fund.

But you could go and speak your mind at the Bainimarama/Khaiyum Symposium Charade this coming week.  Know the facts before you go.

Why the reduction in pension rate?
For several years now, there have been studies done by IMF, World Bank, ILO etc that argued that FNPF could not sustain the 15% single pension rate over the long term. And given the long term declining performance of the FNPF investments, the 15% pension rate may have been a little on the high side.  But we don’t know why.

For every FNPF management team and board for the last fifteen years (including the appointees by Rabuka, Chaudhry, Qarase and Bainimarama), have arrogantly refused to make these studies public.

The public will not know whether the data and the analysis are accurate, and whether the recommendations are justified.

But they should know two reasons why the pension rates are being recommended to go down as low as 9%: first, the economic stagnation over the last four years directly caused by the Bainimarama coup of 200; and second, FNPF’s disastrous investments and board decisions during the last four years of Bainimarama’s rule.

Bainimarama and his military officers, and all the coup collaborators, are partly to blame, for the planned reduction in pension rates.

When Bainimarama and his Fiji Military Forces (our former security guards) treasonously took over the country in 2006, they also took over the Fiji National Provident Fund.

Without any reference to you, the owners of the FNPF, they changed the senior management and the board. They appointed new board members to all the FNPF subsidiaries like ATH and its subsidiary companies. 

Some of these new board members made decisions which led to financial disasters such as the lost money through unwise loans and expenditure decisions at Natadola (more than $300 million?), Momi ($80 million?), GPH ($30 million?), FSC ($100 million?) and potentially other disasters such as at Tappoo City ($30 million?) and bad loans forced upon entities such as FDB.

How much is the Bainimarama Regime to blame?  We don’t know because they won’t release the reports on these financial disasters.

But we know for sure, the Bainimarama Military Regime has helped to destroy the sugar industry by turning down $300 million of EU aid available in 2006 for the sugar industry reform and restructuring, and badly managing an $100 million Indian loan for FSC mill refit, which resulted in even lower milling efficiency.

We know that the Bainimarama regime has for five years freely run massive budget deficits because of huge over-expenditure on the military itself, all funded by increasing the Public Debt, largely financed with enforced loans from FNPF at low rates of interest (around 5% at the margin).

We also know that a few months ago, Bainimarama and Khaiyum, with the irresponsible complicity of ANZ,  showed their financial skills by proudly borrowing $500 million in foreign bonds at 9% while turning down an IMF loan at 2% (Yang, the IMF rep in Fiji stated there were very few conditions).

We know that with investments drying up because of Bainimarama’s arbitrary Military Decrees, there has been minimal economic growth, minimal job creation, minimal new contributors to the FNPF.

The lack of economic growth has also meant that there are few bankable projects in the private sector for FNPF to lend to.

Instead, the FNPF has been forced by the Reserve Bank to bring back its income earning foreign investments, with the lost income going through the RBF into the control of the Military Government.

On the other side, the outgoings from the FNPF have been increasing not only because of pension or lump sums to be paid to those retiring, but also because of withdrawals by members for education and health reasons, due to increased hardship.

For many years the FNPF Annual Report used to state that their target earnings rate was 2 percentage points above the rate of inflation. 

That statement is not made any more in the FNPF Annual Reports, because they have failed to achieve their target (what a pathetic management tactic: when you fail to achieve your KPIs, get rid of your KPIs!).

Indeed, for this year, the rate of inflation may be as high as 7% while the FNPF average return is less than 6%.  Our FNPF savings are going backwards.

As we have been warning since 2006, the FNPF is in deep trouble.

No transparency, no accountability
The FNPF Annual Reports, signed by the FNPF Board and senior management all claim to be transparent and accountable to the FNPF Members.

What a pack of lies.

For more than three years now, I have asked FNPF management to make available the reports by WB, IMF, ILO and other recent consultants, or the recent reports on the financial mismanagement of the investments at Natadola and Momi. 

They have all bluntly refused- they are simply afraid to lose their jobs.

The Bainimarama/Khaiyum Regime will not tolerate any transparency or accountability of the FNPF to the public, whatever are the lies they propagate in their People’s Charter.

Just as they refuse to make public the Annual Auditor General’s Reports on the military government’s expenditure and revenues over the last five years; or to allow an audit of the Regimental Funds; or to explain why they are paying themselves more than half a million in salaries each through a private accounting firm.

Coup costs usually out of sight
When an economy suffers because of a military coup, it is difficult to identify and quantify the costs, especially when the economy recovers pretty quickly, as in 1987 and 2000. 

But the economy has not recovered after the 2006 coup. Our 2011 GDP, even if we to manage the projected 2.8% growth this year, will just about recover to our GDP in 2006.

We have therefore lost four years of economic growth, costing us anywhere between $1 billion to $2 billion, not even including the huge losses in property values.

The banks know that many businesses, big and small, are struggling; FIRCA is struggling to increase revenues, despite the increase in VAT; many government ministries like  education and health are struggling to maintain their budgets; and there is little money available to fix up roads, water and sewerage.

Some may point to the increased numbers of beggars in the streets, despite official efforts to keep them out of sight; or the increased numbers of suicides and attempted suicides, or increased incidence of mental health problems.

But these costs are very difficult to quantify and relate to the 2006 coup.

But costs to FNPF are now clear
This week, we FNPF contributors and pensioners (including coup supporters) will see very clearly how the military coup by Bainimarama and his supporters, are harming us.

Single pension rates will be reduced from 15% to 9%; double pension rates will be reduced from 12% to 7%.

This reduction in pensions will harm all civil servants, including all the treasonous military officers and soldiers who have conveniently forgotten their oaths of office, and blindly supported Bainimarama and his coup while enjoying their ill-gotten gains.

Existing pensioners (including coup supporters) will also know that their current pension rates will be reduced and capped: they can weep and wail all they like that FNPF signed and sealed a legal agreement with them, when they retired.

But evil people who can treasonously remove a lawfully elected government can also change the conditions of any legal contract: all they need is another military decree signed by the illegal immoral Military President, who many times has sworn sacred oaths on the Bible, to protect the people of Fiji.

We should know by now, that our basic human rights, such as the protection by law, freedom of speech and assembly, all mean nothing to Bainimarama, Khaiyum, Nailitikau, the military officers and illegal ministers in an illegal Military Government.

We should know by now that our basic human rights also mean nothing to the dozens of prominent businessmen, clergy, professionals, social leaders, and all the coup supporters and collaborators who have helped to legitimate and keep the Bainimarama Regime in power since 2006.

We should known by now that the softening by our traditional donors and Australian “think tanks” towards the Bainimarama Regime is driven by their worries about China  displacing them in the Pacific, not so much our own welfare.

We are all on our own.  We can watch our FNPF be gutted.

Do we owners of FNPF, who have never protested against this evil regime, we who have continued to socialize and tolerate all the coup collaborators and supporters, deserve what we get?

Adam Smith’s selfishness not good for Fiji
In economics, there has been a very strong idea, originating from Adam Smith more than two hundred years ago, that if every individual acted selfishly in his own self interest, the free market economy will perform efficiently, to the ultimate benefit of everyone in the economy.

This principle is totally wrong in Fiji’s politics and society today.

It is abundantly clear that many of our people understand the evil consequences of this Bainimarama coup for Fiji and its people.

It is clear that they say nothing and do nothing, because they think it is in their self-interest not to do so, in case they are personally victimized by the Bainimarama regime.

But if we all behave selfishly and refuse to oppose the treasonous Bainimarama coup; if all our military and police officers accept and obey their treasonous, illegal and immoral superiors;  if we all live in our business, professional, religious, social, and sports boxes and refuse to confront and ostracize the coup supporters and collaborators amongst us; then the resulting Fiji is going to be a nightmare for our citizens, especially the poorest among us.

Adam Smith’s advocacy of individual selfishness is proving to be disastrous for our FNPF, and for Fiji.

What options?
Who knows?  Perhaps even at this late stage in our demise as a free people, we might want to go to the FNPF Symposium Charade being organised by the Bainimarama/Khaiyum Regime and:

1) Demand the public release of all the reports by IMF, WB, ILO and recent independent consultants;

2) Demand the release of all the reports on the investigation into the investments at Natadola,  Momi, etc

3) Demand that the majority of the FNPF Board Members must be democratically elected by the current FNPF contributors and with pensioners having separate elected representation.

4) Demand that the Chairman of the Board must be from these elected Members and definitely not some foreigner as currently.
5) Demand that any decision on changes to the FNPF must be made by the elected Board and not the current Board and Management.

6) Demand that FNPF must be allowed to invest as much of its funds abroad as is prudently advisable and that RBF must recompense FNPF for all the lost earnings because of foreign investments brought back.

7)        Demand that the FNPF management swear oaths of allegiance to the real owners of the Fund- you the contributors and the pensioners, and not to a treasonous Military Government;

Also part of our struggle to regain our basic human rights, also

8)       Publish the full list of coup collaborators and supporters in Fiji and abroad, so that all FNPF contributors and pensioners can see who are collectively responsible, with Bainimarama and Khaiyum, for the massive blows to our pension fund;

9)       Start teaching our children to not take part in the daily charade by treasonous people illegally pretending to be  Prime Ministers, Ministers, Attorney General, President, and First Ladies, etc.

10)     Call on Australia and NZ to take sanctions against all their citizens who have supported the treasonous military coup in Fiji and the continuing plunder of the tax-payers of Fiji,  and the gutting of our FNPF.

11)       Appeal to those current and former military officers who have retained any vestige of allegiance to their military oaths, honor, ethics, and patriotism, to call on Bainimarama and his ministers to resign from government and give it back to civilian rule, immediately, not in 2014.

If we continue to remain docile and quiet under oppression, we deserve everything we get, while condemning our children to a bleak future.

Can New Zealand handle kai viti rakavi?

Control of Fiji Rugby is at stake with the illegal government's $3 million bribe. Jone Baledrokadroka asks if the host of this year's Rugby World Cup is up to the hijack.

Within the ruck of Fiji’s social structure that combines the Vanua, Lotu and Rakavi lies the seamless connectedness of Fijian politics. 

It is through the complexity and fusion of the three ‘indigenous’ organisations that one masters Fiji’s neo traditional politics.

Simply put: to be on top of the local political game is to be on top of these three institutions.

KAVA BOWL: Place of game playing.
Around the yagona bowl in any given rural or urban community, these three celebrated topics make up the cornerstones of what now makes for indigeneity and modern sporting culture. 

Along with the other two social topics, endless hours are spent on the discourse of Rakavi a la Viti.

In commenting on the way in which Samoans appropriated rugby after its introduction by the Marist Brothers in the early 20th century, former national team manager Lemalu Tate Simi (2007) might have spoken for the region as a whole. 

“We very quickly took to rugby, almost as if it were our own invention” he said. “Now, we don’t think of it as a Palagi (European; foreign) sport, we think of it as our own.” (Dewey: 2008:159). 

Judging by last weekend's Fiji Rugby Union AGM elections of executive members underpinned by the promised $3million grant bait, the illegal regime has finally got its hooks into our “national” game, politics and all.

With the World Cup only months away, the International Rugby Board now finds itself having to pack down on the same side with a new FRU board loaded with regime stooges against the host nation New Zealand’s travel  sanctions.

KEY: Can he play ball Fiji style?
Its chief executive, Mike Miller, said during a recent visit to New Zealand that he hoped it would relax the travel sanctions against regime members, including Bainimarama, so they can  to attend the World Cup matches in September. 

The regime has been jockeying for control of the Fiji Rugby Union ever since its political power grab of December 200. Remember, it placed the then Police Commissioner Esala Teleni on the FRU board as the government's representative.

In typical Fijian rugby style, the IRB may have been sold a perfect dummy pass by our Dictator prior to the World Cup. In fact, European voices in FRU Annual Reports and committee minutes from the 1950s and 1960s repeatedly complained about “unorthodoxy".

“No matter what you try to teach the Fijians one member of the Executive complained, “as soon as they get on the field they play their own type of game.” (Fiji Rugby Union, Management Committee Meeting, April 7, 1961). 

The question is will the New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, buy the Fiji regime’s unorthodox political play?

Jone Baledrokadroka
Founding President
Natasiri Rugby Union (1998-2002)

Editor's Note (Sunday 6pm): The RFMF's Colonel Mosese Tikoitonga has been appointed chair of the FRU board. He told Fiji Village yesterday sub-committees have been formed to investigate certain issues and make recommendations. One of the  recommendations include a call by Suva Chairman, Francis Kean, for the FRU constitution and operations to be reviewed.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Fiji's police commissioner orders road blocks

 RFMF goes on high alert!

Reports that Pita Driti and Roko Ului Mara will be taken into custody to wait out their trial have strengthened with the Police Commissioner passing a directive for police, with army on backup, to mount roadblocks.

Fifteen hundred police officers are to be on a 24 hour shift. 
The CID and the NIB have recommended to the Police Commissioner that Ului and Driti be taken into custody to wait out their trial. 

The reason? Fear of national security.

Insiders say a report was delivered to Ioane Naivalurua today and a copy sent to both the Ministry of Defence and the illegal PM's office.

It's believed the illegal attorney general, Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum, has signed off on the remand notice but Naivalurua is to approach the dictator when he returns from Vietnam.

Sources say Driti and Mara are likely to be taken in, within the next 24 hours and will be remanded until their hearing on May the 30th and June the first. Their expected place of confinement? Nabaro maximum prison. 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Fiji's former 3rd infantry commander rallies Lau

Roko Ului Mara has come out fighting a day after being charged with sedition by his former masters.

Our sources say he has announced to the Vanua of Lau (after consulting all of the chiefs in the group), that Lau is no longer backing the Peoples Charter, a statement clearly showing  non-support for Bainimarama.

Coupfourpointfive has been told the former commander of the 500-strong 3rd Fiji infantry was at his Yatu Lau office today formalizing the recommendation for the Lau provisional meeting to adopt.

Roko Ului is the youngest son of the late Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara and chair of the Lau Provincial Council.

The military was also out today to show its might. Predictably, the current land force commander, Mosese Tikoitoga, said the RFMF was 100 per cent  behind Bainimarama and would continue to protect Fiji citizens.

The police commissioner, Iowane Naivalurua, meanwhile refused to say if anyone else will be charged.

Coupfourpointfive would like to remind readers of the list it printed just over a month ago (March 28) of those being  investigated by the police and the DPP, and those  shortlisted to be charged for allegedly trying to overthrow Bainimarama. 

Our list went like this:  
a) Roko Ului, Mohammed Aziz (although he remains in the army), Pita Driti from the Army
b) Tevita Lesu, SSP Tabakau, Tevita Uluilekeba from Police

c) Epeli Ganilau (picture right), the former Minister of Defence.

The former police commissioner, Esala Teleni, was on the list to be interviewed but sources say the questions that were sent to him remain unanswered.

Fiji insiders warn of implications in Driti and Mara case

Sources say the case against Pita Driti and Roko Ului Mara hangs on the messages found on their mobile phones: the messages allegedly refer to a plot to remove the illegal leader, Frank Bainimarama.

The former land force commander and the former commander of the 3rd infantry were charged yesterday with uttering seditious comments and inciting a mutiny: Driti with sedition and mutiny and Mara of just uttering seditious comments.

The charges relate to an alleged failed plot last year and both have pleaded not guilty.

Coupfourpointive has been told the DPP and Police case against the former key right hand men of Bainimarama will revolve around the telephone messages.

Other material that could be used to incriminate the duo include papers alleged to have been found at the home of the Suva businessman, Ben Padarath, the nephew of Driti.

Informed sources are already picking that with the regime determined to prove the charges against the pair and Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum's grip on the judges and the Commissioner of Police, Driti and Mara need good legal representation.

Sources say both could be looking at three to five years in prison.

Insiders are also saying it's possible moves will be made to remand Driti and Mara in custody because of the high risk of the allegations levelled at them. They say the measure is also likely to be pursued to scare officers who might want to go against the illegal leader and his self-appointed government.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Fiji hierarchy agreed to Driti and Mara charge

MARA AND DRITI: Moved on by DPP after months of purgatory. pic FBC News

Insiders say the push for high ranking military officers Pita Driti and Roko Ului to be charged with  sedition and inciting mutiny came from the DPP.

Coupfourpointfive has been told the DPP went back to the Fiji police commissioner, Ioane Naivalurua, to get an agreement on laying the charges and that Naivalurua gave the okay after consulting the illegal attorney general Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum and the illegal leader, Voreqe Bainimarama.

Both had been removed from military duties late last year after a fallout with the dictator. 
Sharma (left) with Patel during trial
Driti, the former land force commander, and Ului, who commanded the 3rd Fiji infantry, were picked up from home this morning and charged over an alleged failed plot to overthrow Bainimarama as revealed by Coupfourpointfive earlier today before the news broke officially.

Both have pleaded not guilty and are fighting the charges.

Driti is being represented by Filimoni Vosarogo, the lawyer who defended the Naitasiri chief, Ratu Inoke Takiveikata, who was found guilty earlier this year of inciting a mutiny at the Queen Elizabeth Barracks.

And Mara is being defended by Devanesh Sharma, who acted for Peni Mau who was convicted recently for fraud over the sale of a clock, with Fiji Times owner, Mac Patel.

Confirmed: Driti and Ului charged by Fiji police

THE GOOD OLD DAYS: Former right hand man Driti (behind the dictator) now charged over alleged plot to overthrow Bainimarama, along with Ului (below).

 Coupfourpointfive can now name the two key figures charged this morning by the police as Brigadier General Pita Driti and Lieutenant Colonel Tevita Uluilakeba Mara.

The former land force commander and the former chief of staff were charged this morning for last year's failed plot to overthrow the illegal leader, Voreqe Bainimarama.

Driti and Ului were removed from duty late last year after a souring of relations, with the regime saying they were on leave.

That leave has stretched into months as Bainimarama dithered over what to do with his estranged former supporters, who were pivotal to his 2006 coup.

The situation got stickier earlier this year after the dictator's former aides were fingered in an alleged plot to overthrow him when papers were found at the Suva home of Ben Padarath (Driti's nephew), detailing the attempt to topple the unpopular leader.  

CHARGED: Ului and Driti. pic FBC News.
EDITOR'S NOTE AT 6PM: Driti and Ului have both pleaded not guilty to charges; Driti of uttering seditious comments and inciting to mutiny and Ului of one count of uttering seditious comments.  Both were released on bail after appearing at the Suva Magistrates Court late this afternoon and ordered to surrender their passports. They will reappear at the end of the month.

News flash! Reports of Fiji police charging two key figures

Information has come in of police charging two well-known figures this morning.

Coupfourpointive knows the names of the two men believed to have been charged but won't release them at this stage as we verify the info.

As per, though, the tip off has come from people on the ground who know what's going on and the charges are significant and involve two well-known figures.

In other major news today, Fiji Village is reporting that Doctor Muhammed Shamsud Dean Sahu Khan has been disbarred by the Independent Legal Services Commission for professional misconduct.

Fiji Village says the charge relates to Sahu Khan executing a Deed of Indemnity and Guarantee with a Sashi Kiran Pratap, which provided that Sahu Khan would arrange at his own cost a loan of $120,000 to pay one Mohammed Farouk Ali (Sahu Khan’s client), when Pratap had already paid the sum of $130,000 for the same piece of land, owned by a Ambika Nand.

In exchange, Pratap agreed to provide Sahu Khan with her authority to take action for damages against the Registrar of Titles and or the Attorney General.

But Sahu Khan then initiated civil proceedings against Pratap for failing to pay the loan and interest to the respective lenders after his civil suit against the Registrar of Titles and the Attorney General was dismissed.

He has been told to repay the $120,000 plus expenses.

ANZ calls for easing of Fiji sanctions but fails to disclose its commercial interest

Norman Wilson with Ken Dakuidreketi last year.
ANZ is barrelling in behind the Lowy Institute and its call for Australia to lighten up on Fiji.

This is the same bank, of course, that went on the military regime's March 'roadshow' in Asia, as it boasted it had raised $F500 million in bonds to pay off $F300 in foreign bonds raised in 2006.

ANZ Fiji's Norman Wilson (pictured at right) said he was confident of Frank Bainimarama and Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum's management of the encomy but  made no mention of what ANZ's cut was or what percentage of bonds it bought.

We now have ANZ's Pacific CEO, Michael Rowland (pictured below), saying Australia's so-called smart sanctions aimed at securing the return of democracy in Fiji have not worked and it's time the Australian government changed its approach.

It follows the launch of a Lowy Institute paper which suggested Australia lift its travel bans on Fiji and put together a coalition of nations, including Asian democracies such as India and Indonesia, to help Fiji with electoral reform in the lead up to a promised poll in 2014.
Rowland gave this interview to Radio Australia's Jemima Garrett

ROWLAND: Australia has taken a particular policy stance with Fiji for a number of years and we would say that hasn't been successful.

GARRETT: What impact has that tough stance had on business and on Australia's standing as a business partner?

ROWLAND: We would say that more generally Fiji has suffered from a lack of investment over a longer period of time and unless there is an opening up of the economy and an acceptance of new investment, the Fiji economy will continue to deteriorate and we think quite rapidly.

GARRETT: Now you say that for any approach to Fiji for the restoration of democracy to be successful, it needs to be lead by a country other than Australia. What makes you say that?

ROWLAND: Our view is that the approach by the Australian government to date, which is quite understandable, hasn't worked and we think we really need to look at this differently and it is critical that any approach to the Fiji government works. Therefore there is more of a chance in our view that a coalition of interested nations, preferably lead by a respected Head of State, comes to the party and has open dialogue with Fiji. We think its more than just an Australian issue now. We think it's a regional issue and we think the Fiji government would be more open a multi-coalition approach.

GARRETT: Just how much animosity are you picking up to Australia and is that the reason why you think Australia couldn't lead something like this?

ROWLAND: I think by the Fijian government's actions in relation to Australia, I think they speak for themselves.

GARRETT: Jenny Hayward Jones has suggested that this coalition of nations include the major Asian democracies. Is that a good way to go?

ROWLAND: We think so. We think that Asia has a lot to offer Fiji. We are seeing with ANZ's broader supra-regional approach that there is a lot of investment interest in Fiji from Asia and we think, therefore, that there is a real role to play by a number of the Asian countries. We've seen recently that Fiji has opened an embassy in Indonesia, for example, and we are seeing that there are reasonably good relations being forged with a number of the other non-aligned nations. So we think that an approach from and involvement of Asian nations would be beneficial.

GARRETT: Do you think governments would be as interested as business seems to be in the Pacific?

ROWLAND: We believe so, yes. We are seeing a lot of interest from Asia into the Pacific. The Pacific has a lot of what Asia needs, particularly from an agricultural point of view, but also minerals and resources and we think that will only increase.

GARRETT: At the moment Fiji is excluded from talks from the PACER Plus agreement - the regional trade agreement with Australia and New Zealand. The Lowy institute paper suggests using access to PACER Plus as a carrot to persuade Fiji to accept help for the return of democracy. What is your reaction to that idea?

ROWLAND: I wouldn't say that involvement in PACER Plus should be used as a carrot. We would say that Fiji as the traditional hub in the Pacific, needs to be involved in PACER Plus discussions. But as the Lowy institute paper says it is certainly something that should be encouraged and it would be well received in Fiji if they were included.

GARRETT: Would you like to see that straight away or should it wait until commodore Bainimarama has shown some signs of being willing to go ahead with his timetable for the return of democracy?

ROWLAND: Our view would be that to achieve successful elections in Fiji in 2014 means that work needs to commence now. The paper talks about support for redrafting the constitution and also for electoral reform so we would say that work really needs to be underway very quickly. And so if we all have any chance of achieving what I think is a generally held view that democratic elections in Fiji are a good thing then we really need to start now so the package of measures that are outlined in the policy brief we think are important and they should all be embarked upon as quickly as possible.

GARRETT: Fiji's interim Prime Minister and coup leader, Frank Bainimarama has rejected every overture made to assist with the restoration of democracy so far. What is in it for him in terms of accepting this offer from an international coalition?

ROWLAND: We believe Fiji is sincere in its desire to move towards elections in 2014. I think they would also recognise that to achieve that they need some help around the issues of the constitution and electoral reform so we would think that, given that the Fiji government believes that, and that there is a well-meaning approach to assistance that they would see the benefit and effectively accept the proposal.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Forget the guilt: terrorist leaders and dictators like Bainimarama know what they're doing

FEELING HEMMED IN? Bainimarama forced to look over his shoulder but no-one to blame but himself. picture FiiLive

Question: Is it right to celebrate the death of terrorist leader Osama bin Laden and will we feel the same, when Voreqe Bainimarama is brought down?
Answer: No one wants to be ghoulish and inhumane but bin Laden was a mass killer. He knew what he was doing and he was determined to kill people. Bainimarama, too, knows what he's doing and while his crimes are on a much lesser scale, his actions have hurt people and caused deaths. He, too, should man up to the crimes.

Question: How long will Bainimarama keep having to look over his shoulder (bin Laden had a double and was on the run for ten years), as he's having to more and more?
Answer: For as long as he continues to refuse to give the people of Fiji what is rightfully theirs - democratic elections. The security is proof he's leading without the support of the people. A leader that's endorsed by the people doesn't need 24/7 protection.

Question: Would Bainimarama ever have the guts to call it quits (unlike bin Laden he can still do it) and save the nation from having to get rid of him?
Answer: No, he doesn't have the balls to do what's right. And neither does anyone else in his midst, including rebel soldiers who've supposedly broken away or who've told Coupfourpointfive they want out. They and Bainimarama intend to make the nation suffer to the very end.

Question: Should we indulge in some of the current whoopee over bin Laden? In the US, memorabilia like tee-shirts and cups are selling like cheap kava as marketers cash in on the chance to make a buck.
Answer: Why not? Bainimarama is not a God. He is but a poorly-educated soldier who used guns to wrest power from an elected government, and who has since gone on to enjoy the good life thanks to a huge salary and the privileges of  being a dictator, while the people suffer. Give yourself permission to take a break from fighting the good fight and be amused:)

Bin Laden trinkets that are selling hot in the US:

T-shirts: Hundreds of designs already. One of the best selling ones shows a stick figure version of a victorious, flag-carrying American standing over the dead stick figure (complete with scraggly beard) of bin Laden. Another tee shirt says: "Obama killed Osama."
Buttons: In making a marketable joke of bin Laden's burial at sea, a $5 button shows a photo of bin Laden under the line "Fish Food."
Coffee mugs: A coffee mug shows bin Laden in a gun sight under these words: "Death by U.S. Navy Seals, May 1, 2011."
Caps:A $15 cap treats the event like the collegiate basketball tournament that Barack Obama likes to follow by listing the final two brackets as "Obama" and "Osama;" then showing the final bracket winner as "Obama."
Bumper stickers: A $3.95 bumper sticker shows pictures of bin Laden and Saddam Hussein with the question: "Who's Next?"
Neckties: It shows bin Laden in a gun sight under the line, "Justice: May 1, 2011".
Phone case: An iPhone case shows a photo of bin Laden with the words "Mission Accomplished" stamped across his face.
T-Shirts for the Dog: The tee shirt says "Osama's Dead," and is Facebook friendly with the familiar thumbs-up "Like" logo.  (Bruce Horovitz of USA Today)

Bin Laden's death: justice triumphs over evil

BLOODY DEATH SCENE: The inside of the mansion where bin Laden had been living.

Quick ending for 9/11 mastermind ... a crash, a raid then two shots in the head

The Americans were led to Osama bin Laden's mansion by one of his most terusted men: a courier, first identified by detainees at Guantánamo Bay. 

He was said to be protege of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, alleged architect of the 9/11 attack. The Americans discovered his name four years ago, and discovered that he lived in the Abbottabad region with his brother two years ago.

Last August they narrowed his location to a compound in Abbottabad, an affluent military town about 35 miles north of Islamabad. The compound, built in 2005 and valued at $1m, was no ordinary home. Perimeter walls up to six metres (18ft) high were topped with barbed wire, there was no internet or telephone connection and few windows.

Monitoring the house with satellite technology and other spy tools, the CIA determined that a family was living in the house with the two men. Last February the CIA determined "with high probability" that it was Bin Laden and his clan. Officials scrambled to formulate a plan to kill him.

The first idea was to bomb the house using B2 stealth bombers dropping 2,000-pound JDAMs (joint direct attack munitions), according to ABC News. But Barack Obama rejected it, saying he wanted definitive proof that the Saudi was inside. "The helicopter raid was riskier," said one US official. "[But] he didn't just want to leave a pile of rubble."

An air assault plan was formulated. The Seal Team Six, officially known as the Naval Special Warfare Development Group and based in Virginia, held rehearsals on a specially constructed compound in early April. Meanwhile, Obama officials engaged in regular meetings, chaired by national security adviser, Tom Donilon, and counter-terrorism adviser, John Brennan, to determine when – and how – to strike.

On 28 April, shortly after he nominated CIA director, Leon Panetta, to replace Robert Gates as defence secretary, Obama held a final meeting. In the secrecy of the White House situation room, he listened to recommendations from all sides, but reserved the final decision. Finally last Friday morning, with the eyes of the world glued on the royal wedding in London, he signed off on the air assault.

Only a tiny handful of people within the administration were aware of the operation. US officials say that no other country including Pakistan – as far as some were concerned, especially Pakistan – was informed, even though the US helicopters would essentially be invading Pakistani airspace. Pakistani officials agreed on Monday that they knew nothing.

Saturday came, the day of the planned assault, but bad weather conspired against the Americans. On Sunday, Obama spent part of his day on the golf course, but cut short his round to return to the White House for a meeting where he and top aides reviewed final preparations. Hours later the Seals took off – probably from Jalalabad or Bagram airbases in Afghanistan, the ISI official said – and entered Pakistani airspace.

What happened next is subject to the American account only. Local residents reported three large blasts shortly after the helicopters passed overhead. The al-Qaida fighters holed up inside fought back, trading gunfire for nearly 40 minutes, as the US troops cleared the compound floor by floor, Pentagon officials said.

The Pashtun courier – he has not been identified – and his brother were killed, as was one of Bin Laden's adult sons, possibly Hamza, who was a senior al-Qaida member. One woman reportedly died and two others were injured.

The Americans then reached Bin Laden – the man with a $25m bounty, the embodiment of the national terrorist nightmare, the subject of greater American passions and frustrations than perhaps any other figure of the past decade.

According to the Pentagon he was identified by name by one of his own wives. As the raiding party closed in on the last unsecured room in the compound, Bin Laden himself seized a gun and started firing back.

US officials say – and there is no independent verification of this fact – he was shot twice in the head. "Done in by a double tap – boom boom – to the left side of his face," wrote Marc Ambinder of the National Journal, a beltway insider's journal.

The Americans scoured the house for intelligence, took photos of the body, using facial recognition technology to compare it with pictures. It was him. Before withdrawing, the Seals blew up the wreckage of the helicopter.

Bin Laden's body was taken to the US aircraft carrier Carl Vinson in the Arabian Gulf. Back in Abbottabad, the wounded were taken to the Combined Military hospital in Abbottabad.

Hours later, the body was wrapped in white cloth, and – after, it is said, the administration of Islamic burial rites – it was weighted and dropped from a plank into the sea. The location was not revealed. (The Guardian)

Monday, May 2, 2011

BREAKING NEWS! The US says Osama bin laden is dead

SEPTEMBER 11: Deadly attack on the US by Bin Laden.

The US president Barack Obama has gone on television to confirm that America's number one enemy, Osama bin Laden, has been killed by CIA operatives.

In his address a few minutes ago, Obama said he was told a week ago bin Laden had been found in Pakistan and he gave his permission for an attack to be made.

He said the operation involved a fire fight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody ofhis body. He said "justice has been done."

CNN was first with the news about an hour ago that bin Laden, was dead.

The news agency said the US administration was positive the terrorist leader had been killed, which is why Obama was going public with the information.
CNN said the terrorist leader who the US has been hunting for a decade, was killed in a mansion outside the Pakstian capital of Islamabad along with other family members, including an adult son.
Obama didn't say anything about the other deaths only that US operatives had confirmed it was definitely bin Laden. 

For years, it had been thought the al Qaeda leader was living in caves and remote, border areas in Pakistan, moving constantly with several doubles to protect him.

Thousands of Americans are outside the White House, jubilant at the news as questions arise about just how much Pakistan knew about bin Laden being in Islamabad.

The Rats who're making excuses for Bainimarama and his illegal regime

Whenever it is that Frank Bainimarama finally gives up or gets booted out, many of his current supporters will no doubt change their tune. 

They will claim to have been making the best of a bad situation, to have been ‘working from within’, and to have had little to do with the dictatorship that has been running Fiji into the ground for close to five years.

In fact, these apologists have played a crucial role, without which the Fiji Military could not have gained such complete control over the country.  

Back in December 2006, unilateral military action to dislodge the elected government was have been unthinkable without the support of key institutions and activists, who provided the moral legitimacy and legal justifications that were obvious even in the December fifth takeover speech. 

Many of these people have since been dispensed with, having served their purposes. 

The likes of Mahendra Chaudhry and his fellow Labour Party supporters have been booted out. 

So, too, has Shaista Shameem and her sister, Nazhat, and the Citizen’s Constitutional Forum’s coup-supporting apologists have also lost influence. 

But there are many who remain. We would like to bet that, once the rug is eventually pulled from under these people’s feet, they will quickly claim to have been on the side of democracy, the rule of law, and constitutionalism throughout.
So we would like to give them the opportunity now, not when it's easy to do so but when the Bainimarama regime is still in authority, to write to Coupfourpointfive publicly declaring their opposition to the coup and calling for a speedy restoration of elective democracy.

Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum
add all ministers, CEOs, ambassadors etc
Kevin Barr, Chairman Wages Council
Rajesh Chandra, Vice Chancellor, University of the South Pacific
Sandra Tarte, University of the South Pacific
Vijay Naidu, University of the South Pacific
Ganesh Chand, Fiji National University
Sitiveni Halapua, MP, Tonga
Robin Nair, Australia
Akuila Yabaki, Citizen’s Constitutional Forum
Crozbie Walsh (New Zealand)
Gerald McGhie (New Zealand)
Hugh Laracy (University of Auckland)
Graham Davis (Australian Journalist)
Derek Brien (Vanuatu, Pacific Institute of Public Policy)
Mahendra Reddy, Commerce Commission

Coup apologists top to bottom: Mahendra Reddy, Ganesh Chand (left), Rajesh Chandra, Robin Nair (at left), Hugh Laracy, Ganesh Chand, Steve Halapua, Vijay Naidu, Aquila Yabaki and Crozbie Walsh, Graham Davis and Sandra Tarte.