June 27, 2008

FYI: Shaista Shameem's report on Russell Hunter and Evan Hannah (sic)

For those who know the Fiji scene, this report is seriously funny. Mike Field has already outlined the ways in which it is so, but two things are most prominent: The "evidentiary material" she uses as the basis for her report is illegal. No question. The emails were stolen as a result of hacking into the email systems of the institutions concerned (and the Freedom Bloggers already suspect who the culprit may be). Isn't the hacking of emails a breach of privacy? Shameem doesn't think the question is appropriate to answer in her 41-page report.

Another thing is that the majority of her report meanders all over the place - most notably through the personal conversations in the stolen emails - before getting to the point of her report. Her investigation even implicates The Albert Einstein Institution in the US, the CIA's alleged role in that organisation (again on the basis of stolen emails), and the CIA's reported involvement in several coups around the world ... (and on in the same vein). She wonders about the source of NGO funding and gripes about the "inter-locking directorates of civil society". What about the inter-locking directorates of the military-led regime?

Shameem talks of "conspiracy" and tries to show us "evidence". She appears to have created most of that conspiracy herself by using stolen emails to make sinister links between institutions and people (like who's married to whom, and what the alleged background of this or that organisation is).

And then there are the recommendations. But we'll leave that for you to read for yourself.

Download a copy here (2.35MB).


June 24, 2008

An analytical gem from Mike Field

Sometimes it takes outsiders to tell it like it is. When it comes to Fiji, the venerable Pacific affairs journalist Michael Field, certainly has a field day.

Take for instance, Field's precis of the still-not-publicised report by Shaista Shameem on the deportation of newspaper publishers Russell Hunter and Evan Hannah. Fiji TV had reported on the leaked document, highlighting the fact that Shameem had found no basis for claims that the men's human rights were breached when they were bundled away for deportation. Immediately the red flags are up, especially when the devious manner in which the men were thrown out of the country was well documented by the media.

But the real question is: As a lawyer, could Shameem not have realised a glaring legal error in basing her report (judging from the reported bits) on emails that have apparently been obtained illegally.

Of course, Field makes several points beautifully about the fundamental questions left unanswered. Oh, and he's also notes Shameem's love of Wikipedia. (Recall the incident during the Qarase v President trial three months ago when Shameen, as amicus curiae, used Wikipedia as one of her "authorities" and blamed her lack of preparedness that day on internet failure at her office the day before.)

Hilarious. Read Michael Field's piece here.

June 14, 2008

Let the People Set the Election Policies

So here you have it. These are the key categories of election policies that Intelligentsiya thinks need to be addressed by aspiring candidates:
  • Inclusive and Sustainable economy
  • Human Rights and Democracy
  • Natural Resources
  • People development
  • International relations
  • Reforms
  • National relations

Of course this list is what we think...tell us if you think otherwise.

Let’s turn the next elections around folks. Instead of political parties and personalities drawing up what they think we need, let’s make democracy live and start calling the shots about what we think the nation needs to prioritise, and by who we trust.

We don’t think there will be much disagreement about the fact that the recovery of our Economy will be key. Therefore candidates who aspire to hold this key portfolio will have to really jump through hoops.

Intelligentsiya’s view is that perhaps when we align the people with the required roles we can force aspiring political parties to think longer and deeper about critical party personalities rather than perpetuating cronyism or ‘alma-materism’ which has long been a trend that needed to change yesterday.

We limit our categories also to 7 (but open to suggestions so blog them in folks) as we see that any new Government will have to do more for less. Uh-huh that’s right candidates…if you are dreaming of swanning around in a new Pajero then we suggest you consider walking as the priorities will be saving money and sweating your butts off to get the country back in order. You can count on Intelligentsiya to hold candidates to this.

Having reduced categories also suggest that these should form the basis of election manifesto’s and therefore we will not be supporting a large cabinet in the interest of cost efficiency. Again the motto is doing more for less—otherwise, simply, don’t throw your hat into the ring.

Let the games begin….9 months to go and counting.

June 13, 2008

It Ends Here

We’ve HAD IT with the “we REALLY are going to have elections” outbursts at any international forum bored enough to listen. So please excuse us if we are just a tad bit cynical when you say something else on the home front.

But for Intelligentsiya it ends here.

That is, we are no longer going to be side-tracked by the excruciatingly depressing mess of this Junta but focus on the Elections and therefore to the “hopefuls” who think they can REALLY take the country out of the doldrums.

Right here and right now we will be seeking out political candidates who can bring some leadership to this country and it’s quite simple.

You or aspiring candidates and parties can nominate themselves to step up to the plate against some very high standards that any democratic electorate would expect -- having “1 (and only 1) kitchen” is one such example of these standards.

Aspiring candidates are also warned that part of the standards we will set are that they have to have a solid and credible background and the correlating RESULTS. Any research we unearth that points to the contrary, will be revealed.

Because the Junta PM had also initially publicly stated that no one in this interim line-up would be eligible to stand for elections we will stand by that (and not the latter change of heart). No one in this current interim administration will be considered by Intelligentsiya. Their current non-achievements so far is validation enough for us.

While the Interim (and Illegal) Government has had shifting goal posts all over the place, on the Elections front we won’t.

March 2009? Bring it ON….not for the faint-hearted, we warn you in advance now.