Wednesday, July 01, 2009

The Audacity of Change- Fiji's Beta Democracy (Part2).

Jenny Hayward-Jones' latest blog posting on "The Interpreter" titled "New Strategic Framework", features new developments in the arena of Fiji's political cross-roads.
The article in question, began with the factual play-by-play events, then abruptly ends with a "did not convince" rhetorical device.

This particular rhetorical device was somewhat confusing, as it veered the otherwise impressive objective opening, to a myopic ending; un-intentionally or intentionally spinning ignorant readers into the cornucopia of biased projections about Fiji.

ABC Pacific Beat program July 1st 2009 , previews the expected speech by Fiji's Interim Prime Minister, in an abrupt interview (last quarter of show)with Vijay Narayan.

Also interesting was the similar vein of questions, alluding to the question: "timing of elections", in the context of the media reports, highlighting the formulation of a new constitution in Fiji, as outlined in a speech by Frank Bainimarama. Brief audio of speech.

The common thread between Lal and Hayward-Jones' comments were undeniably similar as if they were 'peas of the same pod'. Both analysis's started off with the speech's focus on the fixing the economy and morphed in the harangue about the delay about election timing, with a pinch of monologue related to the future of the military. Neither Lal & Hayward-Jones, addressed the issue of native land which was also raised in the same speech by Bainimarama.

Another misleading angle, peddled by Professor Lal, pointed out national statistics of poverty, while conveniently ignoring that those poverty rates did not rise out of a vacuum and implied all those economic woes are directly related to the activities of the Interim Government.

It seems both Lal and Hayward-Jones selectively feel that a 3 minute democracy is the best remedy for Fiji. Undoubtedly and unsurprisingly, this flawed sentiment was also echoed by the Australian Foreign Minister, Stephen Smith.

Dr. Lal, later questioned the issue about the consultation phase, regarding this new Fiji Constitution. However the ABC host did not bother to challenge Lal's remarks or even bother to compare the present and continuing consultations, to the diluted 1997 version. Neither did ABC offer any other opposing views, apart from their favorite talking heads, in their so called forum.

A surreptitious version of due diligence; that was formed during Lal's celebrated and at times, over-glorified tenure as 'architect' of the 1997 Fiji Constitution. Irregardless of the glaring failures of the 1997 legal document; in the context of racial equality- a crucial issue which Brij Lal has vacillated on repeated occasions.

Later the Radio Australia's news forum discussed the question of Fiji's 2014 Elections and the speech contents.

In an another one sided interview-a known maker's mark of Radio Australia, featured the same celebrity expert of Fiji politics, Dr. Brij Lal; a tenured Professor of History at Australia National University (ANU).

Another SDL stalwart also on the ANU tenure, Jone Baledrokadroka, is the contracted Fiji military expert; consulted by Radio Australia and underscored in the quotes featuring Baledrokadroka, in the June 26th 2009-ABC article.

Undeniably, these series of articles by ABC, does raise eyebrows about the impartiality factor. Although, those allegations may now have a ring of truth to it; such questions are usually dismissed by the proponents of media freedom and political naysayers, as simply baseless.

In the above posted ABC article, the image shown and article is misleading to say the least and was captured few months earlier, then the event reported. It is unclear, how any times the ABC web page continues to show this out-dated image of Frank Bainimarama in uniform, along side their breaking news on Fiji?

Case in point, Fiji TV video footage (posted below) actually shows Fiji's Interim Prime Minister, Frank Bainimarama wearing a suit during the delivery of his national address.

However, these media generated 'stimuli' designed to agitate Fiji's population, a template realistically spear headed by a 2007 white paper funded by ADF's Section of Defense Science and Technology Organization.

The paper in question, with an eye-opening title "Historical Analysis of Population Reactions To Stimuli-A Case Study On Fiji", was unveiled in a thread started by 'No Sapo' on Fiji Exiles Board and does give legitimacy to the well documented and coordinated Australian media assault. Coupled with the Trans-tasman diplomatic cold shoulder and colonial mentality. Case in point, PACER Pluse negotiations.

A micro-excerpt of the paper:

1. Introduction

Previous reports [1-4] have discussed the impact that non-combatant populations can have on Australian Defence Force (ADF) operations, particularly in urban environments. Indeed, the success or failure of an operation may depend on the reactions of the civilian population, and as such, the study of population reactions becomes a matter of importance.

These reports [1-4] have demonstrated that valuable insights can be obtained by analysing the stimuli which have in the past resulted in reactions from the population (thereby creating an event). These events may range from insurgences1 through assisting/supporting one side in a conflict to popular support of a group or ideal. Hence, understanding the stimuli2 which have in the past caused (and hence might cause) the population to act in a particular way, resulting in some event, can give insights into how they might react in the future, provided there are sufficient historical trends.

This report is the fifth historical analysis of stimuli and effects of populations in the South East Asian/South West Pacific region, which was identified as of particular interest to Australia in the 2000 Defence White Paper and the 2003 National Security Update [5, 6]. Fiji falls in this region as well as having a well documented history of coups, insurgencies and violence. A timeline of these events for Fiji is in Appendix A3.

This study provides insights into how this population have reacted to past stimuli, which may have both operational and strategic applications. The resulting qualitative data could be used in war games or training exercises where the input of the reaction of a population is from a real environment. Additionally, these studies provide baseline data for futures studies, regional assessments and comparisons. They are aimed at providing contextual information and guidance on socio-cultural issues for planners in multi agency operations in the region.

2. Methodology

The methodology used in this report is similar to that used in previous reports [1-4]. Because this methodology has been explained in detail previously, only a brief description is included here. This work uses a multidisciplinary approach taken from such disciplines as operations research, political science, anthropology and qualitative historical analysis. These methods were used to extract stimuli and events from qualitative data that was obtained from a broad literature search on Fijian history. It must be stressed that this data is not 'statistically valid' in the sense that each event has only occurred once, thus rendering statistical results

1 Insurgences are defined as riots, rebellions or revolts by the Macquarie Dictionary 3rd Edition.
2 Stimuli are represented as causes and triggers throughout the report.
3 This work was undertaken prior to the coup at the end of 2006.

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