August 31, 2011

What Fiji can expect from the mining frenzy

Dr Wadan Narsey's eye-opening article on the Namosi copper mine was most revealing.

Despite the rapid propaganda response by currently favoured minions of the illegal and treasonous military regime, proclaiming all that is wonderful and lucrative, Narsey stresses the socio-economic and environmental cost to us as a people. All of us.

In the article, Dr Narsey highlights the PNG experience, and there is no better way to fully understand what we will be up against, unless we see for ourselves what we will inherit.

Mara seeks re-entry into New Zealand to update Melanesian Leaders

Despite the intention of Pacific leader's to no longer dwell on the issue of Fiji at their upcoming meeting, Fiji fugitive, Ratu Tevita Mara is seeking re-entry into New Zealand to get access to Melanesian leaders currently being bullied by the illegal and treasonous regime.

Fiji’s Mara again applies for NZ visa
Posted at 02:19 on 31 August, 2011 UTC

The former Fiji army colonel, Ratu Tevita Mara, has applied for a visa to travel to New Zealand during the Pacific Islands Forum leaders summit.

Ratu Tevita, who fled Fiji facing sedition charges, must apply for a special visa because he is banned as a former member of the military regime.

Fiji has applied to New Zealand for his extradition.

He says he wants to meet individual leaders, particularly from the Melanesian Spearhead Group countries.

    “It seems that they’re not fully aware of what’s happening in Fiji, given their continued support to the military junta. I can only guess that the agenda has already been made, and it is not forcing our way into the Forum proper, it’s trying to meet the leaders individually, and explaining and talking to them on the real situation in Fiji.”

Ratu Tevita Mara.

A spokesperson for New Zealand’s foreign minister, Murray McCully declined to comment on the visa application and the extradition request.

Fiji police buildings torched

Last updated 11:53 31/08/2011

A shadowy group wanting to overthrow the Fiji military regime is claiming responsibility for the arson attacks on two police posts on Monday.

The group calling itself the Viti Revolutionary Front (VRF) has also said it is behind a wave of graffiti across the Pacific nation, condemning military strongman Voreqe Bainimarama. Viti is the traditional name for Fiji.

Fiji is under a state of emergency with heavy media censorship, but unusually the daily Fiji Times today published a story saying police were investigating the burning of two bures or houses used by police in the Nadroga district of the main island of Viti Levu.

"We are investigating both fires," police spokeswoman Theresa Ralogaivau said.

"The cause of both fires is still to be determined.

"However, it is important to note that one of the bures was in a dilapidated condition and in the process of being dismantled when the fires occurred."

A bure at the Nawai police station had been used by police to meet members of the community.

VRF, in an email to media, said they set the fires.

"Our aim is not to damage and destroy any property that belongs to our own people or any private property for that matter," the email said.

"However, our property is occupied by thugs and murderers and they are ruining the future of our children."

They say their aim is to prove to Bainimarama, who took power in a coup in 2006, that he did not have the endorsement of the people of Fiji.

"VRF wants to send a clear message to the international communities about the above and to also send warnings to the international organisations and communities that the violent activities will step up to the next level, until the time they hear our cries and intervene," the message said.

For the first time since the coup, political graffiti has appeared across Fiji.

Various anti-regime websites have carried photos of the graffiti which initially appeared on public spaces and a billboard on the busy Nausori-Suva corridor.

The graffiti now appears widespread, including in the tourist areas of Nadi and Lautoka.

- Stuff

Tikoitoga miffed at NZ travel ban

As expected and predicted, the illegal and treasonous Col Mosese Tikoitoga, really was miffed about being snubbed entry into New Zealand for the rugby world cup despite all his indignantly hollow protestations. 

So much so, Tikoitoga is retaliating by shooting from the shoulders of a supposedly "apolitical" sporting body, against a sovereign nation's decision about who it will and will not let step foot into their country.

The "apolitical" whine sounds altogether too familiar to another pro-military sporting official, Vidya Lakhan, who saw first hand in Noumea what happens to "apolitical" points of view, by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

We already told you Tikoitoga. You Shall Not Pass.

FRU to lodge official complaint to IRB
Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Fiji Rugby Union will lodge an official complaint against the New Zealand Government to the International Rugby Board regarding the rejection of FRU Chairman Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga's visa application.

Tikoitoga told FBC News he knew the visa would be rejected - but the application had to be made to allow the New Zealand Government to make an official stand.

He says it is unfortunate that New Zealand has imposed politics upon an international event such as the Rugby World Cup.

"If they want to mix politics and sports then they must make it clear to the IRB and they should not be holding international tournaments if they're going to sanction who can come and play and who can’t. Unfortunately that is the stand they have taken and FRU, as such, will make its feelings known to IRB."

Tikoitoga applied for a New Zealand visa last week to accompany the Flying Fijians to the Rugby World Cup and says he has received official word from the New Zealand Government that his visa has been rejected.

Report by: Roland Koroi

August 30, 2011

Tongan Unions chime in, in support of workers in Fiji

Tongan union criticises Bainimarama
Updated August 29, 2011 16:47:06
Radio Australia, Pacific Beat

Tonga's Public Service Association has joined trade unions in Australia and New Zealand in criticising Fiji's interim government.

They've sent an open letter to interim prime minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama condemning his government for what they call the harassment, ill treatment and arrest of trade union leaders and violation of workers' rights in Fiji.

Fiji Trades Union Congress President Daniel Urai and another union member are facing charges of unlawful assembly over a meeting they had with workers at a tourist resort without first asking for a permit under the country's Public Emergency Regulations.

Tonga PSA general secretary Mele Amanaki says that it's time Pacific island unions spoke out about events in Fiji and asked Commodore Bainimarama to return the country to democracy.

Presenter: Bruce Hill
Speaker: Mele Amanaki, Secretary General of Tonga's Public Service Association
Listen here.

AMANAKI: We've asked him to accept and comply with the international labour standards and to stop the physical abuses of trade union leaders and violations of their rights and we have also urged him to bring the treaty back to democracy.

HILL: The Fiji government says it's simply applying the laws that union officials have to get permits to hold meetings with workers and in the latest high profile case of one of the trade union leaders, they simply didn't apply for a permit. They're saying this isn't any sort of abuse of union rights, it's simply following the current law in Fiji?

AMANAKI: In my understanding, it's applying for a meeting for political background, political meetings. It's the same here in Tonga also. If every company who's supposed to be holding a meeting, if it's a board meeting or anything like that, it will obstruct the moving forward of the development of any company. I don't think it should include everyday meeting of the activities of a company or whether its trade union or churches or a group. If it's a political meeting, then yes they should apply for a permit. We've held regional meetings in Fiji, we've never had to apply for permits. Why now, why has he started to come down on the neck of the trade unions when they were just doing they're daily meetings.

Here in Tonga, we have been under emergency powers for nearly five years since the riot in 2006. We never had to request for permit for daily meetings of our operation of our trade unions here in Tonga.

HILL: There have been statements from the trade union peak bodies in Australia and New Zealand about the crackdown on trade unionists in Fiji, but that's been dismissed by the government. Do you think the Fiji government might pay more attention to you, as a Pacific Island trade union?

AMANAKI: I think it's about time for us our trade union in the Pacific Island, the smaller islands stand up and condemn these actions by the interim prime minister of Fiji. We are more closer to them and I would urge the people of Fiji to stand up, rise about their problems and put this leader whose putting them into misery out. We are surprised we still have this kind of leader in the Pacific, that he shouldn't be supported by the Pacific Islands.

HILL: In your open letter to him, you've actually contrast the situation in Fiji with the sort of things that you faced in Tonga recently?

AMANAKI: The riots that happened here in Tonga took place one week before the interim prime minister of Fiji overthrow the former government of Fiji using the gun. It took us only until 2010 to bring back Tonga to democracy and in this four years, I think that should have been enough time for him to bring back Fiji to democracy, may be a bit more one or five years because Fiji's is a little bit bigger than Tonga, but if he had really want to end the corruptions in Fiji of the former government that he has claimed were corrupted and then bring back Fiji to democracy as soon as possible, then his movement is genuine. Now he is holding longer onto power there is clearly something different about his agenda now. But it's clearly that we work together here in Tonga, the people stood up against our former government and we petitioned to the King also. It was hard, it was hard for us doing the negotiations with the former government and our King, but at the end we were able to make a peaceful, political transformation that we are really proud of and I'm hoping that the people of Fiji will stand up also and rise above their problems and try and stand up against this leadership they have in Fiji to bring their country to democracy.

August 29, 2011

Military regime to push ahead with FNPF reforms

The painful and unnecessarily drawn out charade by our monopolistic superannuation fund, the Fiji National Provident Fund, can no longer hide the inevitable.

Despite the public outcry they will go ahead and help themselves to your retirement funds and break all the rules while they're at it because the fact of the matter is that the illegal and treasonous military need continued access to the FNPF cash-cow in order to present some semblance of a budget for next year.
FNPF pension reform announcement expected
Monday, August 29, 2011

The Fiji National Provident Fund will not be able to please all members when they announce the pension reforms in a few days time says FNPF Assistant General Manager Prime Services Tevita Nagataleka.

Nagataleka says all submissions made have been taken into consideration - hence the delay in the announcement of the reforms.

He says due to the numerous number of submissions - they had to ask the consultants to reconsider some decisions.

Nagataleka says - some submissions had very good arguments - however - they were not in line with their policy principles.

“In a reform situation - it's extremely difficult to please everyone - all stakeholders. We'll have to be in the middle ground somewhere. Some will benefit outright. Some will have to make some sacrifices - but that is a part of a reform of moving forward to ensure long-term sustainability which is the ultimate objective in this case."

Nagataleka says only those that live above the poverty line will be affected.

There are about 11, 000 pensioners with the FNPF - and about 11 per cent of them live above the poverty line.

Report by: Elenoa Osborne

Oz Trade Unions ramp up action on human rights in Fiji

Samoan PM bats for Dr Wadan Narsey

Further to our update on the unjust removal of University of the South Pacific academic, Dr Wadan Narsey, and the subsequent confirmation on international media, Samoan Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, did not mince his words about Dr Narsey's incident as well as the increasingly tyrannical rule of the illegal and treasonous military regime.

Prime Minister Malielegaoi is also quoted on RNZI on this issue.
Corrupt Fiji regime not a focus at Auckland Forum
August 25, 2011

By Tupuola Terry Tavita

The embattled coup-installed military regime in Fiji should not be a focus in next month’s leaders meeting in Auckland .

The question was put to Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi this week if there is any chance Fiji can again be suggested to rejoin the Pacific Island Forum in the Auckland leaders meeting.

“What for?” asked Tuilaepa

“The regime there is getting worse”

How is this, he was asked.

“Well, there are reports that Bainimarama is paying himself five different ministerial salaries from the five different ministerial portfolios he’s overseeing. That’s on top of his salary as Prime Minister. The Attorney General is reportedly also doing the same.

“And they are both being paid through an accounting firm owned by the AG’s aunt- from cash paid directly from the different ministries. That system ensures that no one else knows the totality of the fortnightly salaries of the PM and his AG.

“In our democratic system where transparency and accountability prevail, the prime minister or a minister can only draw one salary regardless of that minister’s many responsibilities. All the payments are in black and white. There are no grey areas. Elsewhere where good governance policies and best practices iare absent, dictators help themselves to public moneys and feel no urge to go back to democracy.

“He (Bainimarama) and his Attorney General are both into this little scam that’s costing Fijian taxpayers millions of dollars. They’re both looking after themselves. Why then should the Forum allow Fiji back in when the regime there is not demonstrating any genuine effort to return the county to democracy, to good governance principles- in all its forms and manifestations- the Forum upholds?”

It has been alleged that University of the South Pacific’s Professor Wadan Narsey – who has presented critical but objective, views of the military regime- has been forced to resign from pressure exerted by the Fiji government, through Vice Chancellor Rajesh Chandra.

“It is extremely worrying when politics starts to interfere with academic independence. You then start to question the standard of education at USP and the teaching environment there. Especially as USP is collectively-owned by Forum countries and not just Fiji . The irony is that the pressure is coming from an uneducated military dictator who has never studied at a university.”

This week, trade unions in Fiji issued a joint statement asking media outlets in the country to publish and broadcast balanced news item, instead of the one way anti-union pro-regime propaganda that people in Fiji have been receiving.

Said Tuilaepa;

“That’s the reality of military dictatorshipS. There is no freedom of expression, no media independence and any critical views are hushed up, silenced. It’s all shotgun news now in Fiji .”

The planned Methodist annual conference scheduled later this week has again been cancelled by the military regime with reports that some of the senior church leaders have been sent to the barracks and interrogated by the military.

Said PM Tuilaepa;

“If 200,000 Christian women marched for their freedom as the Filipino women did against their own dictator Ferdinand Marcos, the Christian soldiers of the Christian army will just fold their arms and let them through. They will not dare touch their Christian mothers, aunts, nieces, cousins and sisters.”

Meanwhile the non-violent defiance grows, and the regime try and pull a fast one just before the Pacific Islands Forum meeting next week, by hosting fellow Melanesians and even some non-Melanesians this Wednesday.

The regime is obviously miffed (and want to get even) now that their grand plan to get taxpayers to pay for them to watch the rugby failed big time.  Even the one that squirmed hard enough to get a New Zealand visa.
Fiji to host special MSG meeting
Monday, August 29, 2011

A special Melanesian Spearhead Group meeting will be held this Wednesday in Nadi.

This was confirmed to FBC News by Ministry of Foregn Affairs Deputy Secretary Political Affairs and Treaty Sila Balawa.

Balawa says Vanuatu's Prime Minister Sato Kilman and Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister Peter O'Neill have confirmed their attendance.

Solomon Islands will be represented by their Foreign Minister as their Prime Minister has commitments with a UN team in the Solomon Islands.

The MSG meet will be held a day before the 2nd Engaging with the Pacific Meeting in Nadi on Thursday and Friday.

Issues to be discussed include the MSG budget and work programmes.

Fiji and Solomon Islands will also sign a treaty on traditional knowledge.

Report by: Savaira Tabua

SMH: US cables reveal brutality of Fijian regime

Philip Dorling
August 27, 2011

The military is unsparing in its use of violence and intimidation - but there are signs of dissenting voices, writes Philip Dorling.

Some quiet acts of defiance against Fiji's military regime occurred this week. A large number of spray-painted anti-government slogans appeared overnight on walls around the capital, Suva.

The outbreak of political graffiti, sufficiently unusual to be reported in the international media, followed the decision of the interim Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama's military government to ban the annual conference of the influential Methodist Church.

The church had refused to accept an ultimatum that pro-democracy church leaders step down from their positions and not attend the gathering.

Senior members of the church were summoned by the military to Suva's Queen Victoria Barracks to hear the order banning the conference. Soldiers attempted to force the 80-year-old former head of the church, Reverend Josateki Koroi, to attend, but he refused.

It isn't the first time that the military has sought to intimidate Fiji's largest church. The Methodist annual conference has now been banned three years in a row after senior figures began to criticise Bainimarama, who took power in a coup in December 2006, ousting the democratically elected prime minister, Laisenia Qarase.

Under Bainimarama the constitution has been suspended, opponents arrested and beaten, and media freedom restricted. Elections, promised by Bainimarama within two years of the coup, are now nominally scheduled for September 2014.

Secret US embassy cables leaked to WikiLeaks and provided exclusively to the Herald confirm that violence and intimidation have been at the heart of Bainimarama's military rule. Beatings and intimidation of the regime's suspected opponents are reported to have taken place with the knowledge of military commanders and included the direct participation of Bainimarama himself.

One US embassy report records witness testimony that Bainimarama joined in an assault on a senior public servant detained at the military's headquarters immediately after the coup. According to the embassy cables, he ''kicked [the man's] legs out from under him and beat him around the head, telling him: 'Don't f--- with the military.'''

Bainimarama publicly deplored violence by soldiers following his coup and said he would ensure that any excesses ceased. In March 2007, he announced that the military would be responsive to public views on abuse of human rights and the army would ''do its utmost to ensure people can live normal lives''.

He declared Fiji's military does not ''condone violence or the use of force'' and that henceforth would only engage in ''manning checkpoints, community work and public relations''.

However, at the same time the US embassy reported to Washington that Bainimarama privately told European Union diplomats that if anyone insulted the army ''of course we must have them taken to the barracks and have them beaten up''.

The picture that emerges of Bainimarama from the US diplomatic reports is that of an erratic, sometimes violent leader, thin-skinned, often defensive and insecure, and prone to be ''wildly excessive'' in his reactions to criticism.

In one cable sent to Washington shortly before the coup, the US ambassador Larry Dinger observed that ''a psychiatrist would have a field day with Bainimarama''.

He was described as being ''surrounded by a compliant officer corps that is feeding the commander's sense of righteous grievance against the Qarase government … he does not care about international reaction, including the possible loss of aid money from Australia, the United States and New Zealand.''

In other US diplomatic reports Bainimarama's propensity for ''sabre-rattling'' and threats of violence, including against diplomats, caused the US embassy in Suva to ''wonder more than ever about the rationality of [the commodore's] judgment''.

The leaked cables contain numerous reports of human rights abuses following the military takeover, including the arbitrary detention of human rights activists, senior police and civil servants, trade unionists, lawyers, and journalists.

While some cases of detention and intimidation are well known, including the repeated detention of the editor of the Fiji Post, the US cables report many previously unreported cases of violence by the military, including beatings, torture and death threats ''with a pistol to the head''.

A prominent trade union official was ''abused and threatened with death'' while one senior police officer detained by the military at Queen Victoria Barracks described how he saw ''several ambulances depart the camp transporting people beaten by military interrogators''.

Other cases reported by the US embassy included deaths in military custody with one victim's body - ''marked by visible bruises'' - dumped by soldiers at a police station. In another case a police investigation into the death of a young man who had died of a brain haemorrhage following a beating was stymied when army officers denied access to five implicated soldiers.

In other reported cases a group of villagers, including a senior police officer, were ''subjected … to beatings over a three-hour period''; Hindu taxi drivers were assaulted and suffered humiliation directed at their religious beliefs; and Muslim youths were compelled by soldiers to wallow in a pigsty next to a military barracks.

The US embassy reports also document cases of rape and sexual assault by military personnel, including at least one instance of a group of detainees forced to engage in group sexual acts. In another case a prominent human rights activist was ''felt up'' by a senior military officer and was ''warned she would receive worse treatment unless she stopped her activities''.

Telephoned threats of rape have been regularly used by the military to intimidate political activists.

In discussing the interim Prime Minister's motivations, US diplomats highlighted underlying insecurity in Bainimarama's personality. The embassy reports quote a former senior Fijian military officer and close colleague of Bainimarama together with the then chief of the Fiji police, former Australian Federal Police officer Andrew Hughes, who was removed from office as part of the coup, as suggesting Bainimarama suffers from post-traumatic stress arising from the army mutiny of November 2000, when he was shot at and nearly killed by his own soldiers.

''Bainimarama had never been in a combat situation,'' the senior military source told US diplomats. ''Unlike senior army officers who had seen action in Lebanon and other hot spots, Bainimarama's only [peacekeeping] experience was with [the Multinational Force and Observers in the] Sinai during a peaceful period.

''Thus, when he was fired at in 2000, the experience had a significant psychological effect that Bainimarama still carries.''

However, the US embassy cables also document Bainimarama's considerable political abilities, especially his ability to exploit the weakness of Fiji's democratic institutions.

Although Fiji's elderly and ailing president Josefa Iloilo initially rejected Bainimarama's coup and called for respect for the rule of law, later he swore in Bainimarama as interim Prime Minister, thereby giving the regime what the US embassy described as a ''a patina of legality''.

However, the US embassy subsequently reported to Washington: ''We spoke with President Iloilo's personal physician … [who] said Iloilo is at this point so 'senile' that he will read out whatever is put in front of him … now Iloilo hears advice only from Bainimarama.''

Iloilo remained in office while his health and mental faculties continued to deteriorate until his resignation in July 2009. He died in February this year, aged 90.

Although the US embassy in Suva has reported that Bainimarama has been ''feeling the strain of governing a country that doesn't salute like an army'', the leaked cables leave little doubt about the military's determination to only relinquish power on their terms and to never allow their democratic opponents to regain power.

Bainimarama is reported as describing himself as ''the Ataturk of Fiji, the military man who has the vision to right the nation's wrongs and build a bright future''.

According to him Fiji's ''coup culture'' is ''far from over'' and ''hurried elections'' will not solve Fiji's unique political problems.

''The international community has been rather naive in pressurising Fiji to return to parliamentary democracy … without allowing the people of Fiji to comprehensively address the root causes of conflict and dissension,'' the US embassy quotes him as saying.

However, despite all of the military's efforts, there are still strong voices of dissent.

This week Reverend Koroi successfully stared down the soldiers sent to escort him to the Queen Victoria Barracks.

''I told them, the only way to take me to camp now is bundle up my legs, tied up, and my hands, I will not go with you,'' he told Radio New Zealand.

''That is the only way, you carry me to the camp or you bring your gun and shoot me and you carry my dead body to the camp to show to the commander.''

Clearly some people are not easily intimidated.

August 24, 2011

Preparing environmentally for the Namosi Copper Mine

Dr Wadan Narsey
(independent economist)

Many wrong doings of this Military Regime can be reversed when an elected, accountable and transparent government returns to Fiji.   But a wrecked environment is not one of them.

It may not happen.  Or the rare event may happen at great cost, as Japan sadly found with the unexpectedly huge tsunami and resulting nuclear disasters.

Plans are under way for a mining company- Namosi Joint Venture (NJV) (made up of Newcrest (Fiji) Ltd, Mitsubishi Materials Corporation and Nittetsu Mining Co. Ltd.) to begin a mining venture based on “open cast mines” in Namosi, known to have large reserves of copper, but also gold.

The Military Regime has started “community consultations” which will allegedly feed into Terms of Reference (ToR) which will be given to the mining company to allegedly “guide what should be done as part of the EIA”. Why to the mining company?

How useful are these consultations for determining a Terms of Reference for an EIA? How independent will be the IEA?  How thorough will be the EIA?  How will the EIA be used? If the results of the EIA are negative enough, will that be end of the project? 

Or will this Regime go ahead anyway, with or without environment safeguards, because they are desperate for economic growth and increased government revenues to continue to finance their bloated military budget?

Soon this unelected, unaccountable, non-transparent, illegal Military Regime will be making critical decisions on the mining venture. Why are they?

If wrong decisions are made there may be immense risk posed to the Namosi environment, and the reefs and oceans into which the spill-off from the mine will inevitably flow. Also likely to be affected is the tourism industry on the south west coast of Viti Levu.

All indications are that environmentalists and concerned people face an uphill battle to preserve a valuable part of Fiji’s natural environment, for the future generations.

Why now?  Copper and gold price bonanza
A Namosi copper mine has been talked about for more than thirty years.  Why this sudden burst of activity now?

This graph (from explains it all: the price of copper having hovered around US 50 cents between 1997 and 2003, shot up to US$3.50 in 2006, fell to about $1.50 around 2008 and has been rising since then.

It is now above $4 per kg- or eight times higher than 15 years ago.  Even if it falls to half this level in the long term, this has the potential to be a very profitable mine.

There are also reasonable quantities of gold associated with the mineral deposits in Namosi, and gold prices have also had a miraculous rise.  From being below US$500 an ounce up till 2003, it has steadily shot up to more than US$1500 per ounce.

There is every indication that the rise in gold prices will not be reversed.  There is increasing political uncertainty in the world, the US dollar has declined as a reserve currency for the rest of the world, stock markets are increasingly fragile after the Global Financial Crisis, and there are other fascinating reasons such as the century old love of China and India for gold, boosted by their recent meteoric rise in global international power.  Not only has the Vatukoula Gold Mine became a bonanza, but the gold portion may be the icing on the cake for the Namosi Joint Venture copper mine.

In short, the dramatic rise in copper and gold prices have made the mineral resources in Namosi well worth investing in.

The huge investment required will be even more profitable if the mining companies do not have to spend too much to ensure environmental safety.

And a good EIA may require expensive safeguards which would reduce the profits of the mining companies

Good EIAs are immensely difficult
A good Environment Impact Assessment tries to examine all the impacts (environmental, economic, and social) that the mine will have, including the impacts on all the people, the current and future generations and all the natural species, known and unknown.

To do a good EIA even in a developed country is an incredibly difficult exercise full of fundamental disagreements between environmentalists and economists, between environmentalists themselves, and between economists themselves.

Developed countries usually have some understanding of what species there are in the particular environment, from birds to butterflies, to all kinds of species of plants and living organisms, which the average person has no idea of.

But they also have huge vacuums of knowledge and base data about species they know to exist, and knowledge nightmares about species they have yet to discover, but which they know are there, simply because of the past history of discovering new species in such areas.

The difficulties are even more immense in developed country coastal regions, reefs and oceans where there is an absolute dearth of scientific knowledge.

Nevertheless, fool-hardy economists (usually for a nice consultancy fee) take the little bits of knowledge that they do have about the environment they know, and use all kinds of debatable methods to put a monetary value on the likely environmental damage that the prospective mine may cause.

Many of these methods depend on putting market values on costs: such as the value of lost crops, timber, medicines, marine resources, etc. Or they hopefully ask “what would you pay to enjoy this environment benefit?”

Of course, the market value is high if those being asked are rich.  But most often, those being asked are too poor to even feed, clothe and educate themselves, as in Namosi.  What would they offer to pay for a clean environment?

Economists are also known for quite amorally concluding that for a project to go ahead it only has to have “net positive benefits”- ie benefits are higher than losses:  losers don’t have to be actually compensated to have a “an improvement in the economy”.  (Bad luck, losers!)

Of course, no EIA can ever estimate the value of the potential costs to future generations who cannot be asked anything at all.

Forget also about the good environment things that exist which scientists know they know next to nothing about.  And don’t even think about the potential loss of good things which scientists don’t even know the existence of,  but  can put a high probability on them existing!

EIAs in Fiji even more difficult
As with most developing countries in the world, Pacific countries like Fiji, PNG, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, have very little documented scientific knowledge of what exists in our land environments.

There is even less known about what exists in our marine environments, except that for drug companies the world over, the tropical marine resources (including Fiji) have been one of the last frontiers for exciting new drugs and medicines waiting to be discovered and patented.

Just down the Namosi coast is the Great Astrolabe Reef- one of the world’s largest barrier reefs, and one of the world’s best diving locations. It has an incredibly varied topography (including the shallow and deep), goodness knows what marine species, and considered to be ideal for declaration as a marine park and a World Heritage Site.

How many other reefs are there which are not current tourism locations, and which may be affected by the proposed Namosi copper mine?  Does the Tourism industry care enough to taken more than a token interest?

Who will do the Namosi EIA?
According to media reports, the EIA study would be conducted by international consultancy firm Golder and Associates, and the Institute of Applied Science from the University of the South Pacific.

The Institute of Applied Studies can be expected to do the best they can.  But they will be hampered by the lack of most basic information about what exists in that Namosi environment, and all the areas in the surrounding oceans likely to be affected by leaching chemicals.

Local consultations are not going to be much help or any surprise.  They will give a little information about crops, fisheries and bush medicine they are going to lose. (Villages will be busy planting new crops already to maximise their claims- as villagers have done everywhere in Fiji where roads have been built!) .

But local villagers will know very little about the potential biodiversity damage to the environment.  Despite all their good intentions and efforts, there is no way that USP’s Institute of Applied Studies,  will be able to conduct the thorough environmental studies that are needed.  Such studies would take years, not the six months or a year that the NJV is currently expecting.

The chosen company, Golder and Associates are known to do EIAs.  But their website also makes clear that they do far more than EIAs for the mining companies.

Golder’s advertised services include “Surface and underground mine design and production optimisation, including geology, geostatistics, block modelling, grade control, pit slope design and stope design, ground control, backfill design and ventilation; Hydrogeology, geochemistry and water management;  Design, planning and implementation of all types of tailings and waste rock management systems; thickened-tailings and paste-tailings deposition and plant design & construction; Preparation and implementation of closure plans that meet the needs of local stakeholders and regulatory agencies.”

Clearly, the EIA may be only the beginning of the money making for Golder and Associates, out of the Namosi Joint Venture project.
How will the EIA be used?
An EIA can be used in any number of ways, which I simplify to three:
  1. The most genuine and thorough EIA is used to help in the actual decision-making.  If it is found that the costs may be so great as to totally outweigh all the other benefits to the country, the difficult decision may have to be made to not approve the mine.
  2. If the EIA finds that the benefits will far outweigh the likely costs, AND the costs can be minimised, AND “losers compensated”, then the mine may be approved PROVIDED that the mine puts in place the required safety mechanisms.
  3. The EIA may be done (whether well or poorly) and be used to just “rubber-stamp” the mine, regardless of whether safety mechanisms are put into place or not, or adequate independent policing mechanisms established.

The NJV Country Manager is reported to have said, the studies “will gather specific environmental and social data along with other information to identify potential impacts on the environment and provide options on how they could be managed”.

Has the Military Regime already agreed before the EIA has even been done, that the mine will go ahead, and the EIA will merely provide options on how damage “could be managed”?

You can decide at the end of this article, which is the likely outcome in Fiji today.

What’s in it for the Military Regime?
The mining companies will be rubbing their hands with glee because they love unelected Military Regimes, unaccountable to the people.

They know that with the Fiji economy in the doldrums, with the sugar industry collapsing, with no major new investments on the horizon, the Military Regime is over a barrel, desperate to get the economy going.

The Regime will not particularly care for a proper thorough independent EIA which may delay the mine for a few years, and so they will not demand stringent environmental precautions.

The Military Regime may even be pressured to give generous tax breaks to get something going.

The current judiciary may be expected to reinforce the Military Regime’s decisions, and their Military Decrees which state that the Regime may not be challenged on anything. So forget about legal injunctions in Fiji.

International courts will also legitimize agreements made even with illegal regimes, as long as they have demonstrated full effective control, with no obvious challenge to their rule. Yes- that’s Fiji now.  Anonymous bloggers don’t count.

Having closely watched events in Fiji for the last five years, the mining companies will also know that they need to please just two key Military Regime persons- I forget their names- to ensure that their mining interests are safeguarded.

The collaborating local interests
The mining companies are well aware of successful strategies used internationally (and in Fiji) by which local interests are pacified and the support of key movers and shakers guaranteed.

The local villagers will be given their rolls of bank-notes to compensate them for their “lost” incomes from crops and environmental resources, and many may be given labouring jobs associated with the mines.

A few key chiefs and local leaders will be appointed in Public Relations or labour management roles.

There will be a few hundred thousand dollars spent on schools, health centers, water tanks, play-grounds, and sports teams.

The local business community (building materials suppliers, the banks, the insurance companies) will be rubbing their hands with glee as they face the prospect of some improvement in the economy, and their bank balances.  They and their families will not be retiring in Fiji’s environment.

Key civil servants (and the Military Regime leading lights) will be taken on “all expenses paid” tours (like the recent bond selling road show orchestrated by ANZ) of mining sites throughout out the world (not Ok Tedi, of course) where model mining techniques and safeguards may be “demonstrated”.

Multinational corporations know quite well that with hundreds of millions of dollars of profits at stake,  a few millions spent on social lubricants applied to these key persons, would be money well spent in ensuring their ready co-operation.  Fiji abounds with examples of eager politicians and top civil servants willing to engage “privately” with business corporations, international or local.

Expect no civil servant to stick their necks out for the Fiji environment against this ruthless Military Regime, especially as they can expect no protection from the pliant Public Service Commission, if their heads are chopped off.

If environment disaster hits?
Fiji environmentalists (there are quite a few) well know what has happened to the interests of the local people and the environment in major mining disasters overseas.

Probably the most useful for Fiji to learn from is the massive Ok Tedi Mine disaster in Papua New Guinea, also an “open cast” mine involving extraction of copper and gold.

There the “tailings dam”, which was supposed to hold all the poisonous wastes from the mining , collapsed, yet the mine was allowed by officials to continue, despite the known widespread damage to the environment.

The Ok Tedi Mine generated massive profits for the Ok Tedi Mining Limited (BHP Billiton), huge taxation revenues for the PNG Government and the Provincial Government, and the leading political parties and politicians.

Eventually some local communities managed to win large development funds as damages from the Ok Tedi Mining Limited.

Other losing groups are still litigating- but it is an uphill losing battle pitting the limited local resources (the Davids) against the massive (Goliath) multinational corporations able to hire large teams of lawyers, scientists and public relations companies.

If you think it won’t happen in Fiji, have a look at the excellent work of Dr Atu Emberson Bain which gives the ongoing Fiji example of what happens when local communities and workers came up against a large gold mining company.

Dr Bain has well documented in books, articles and video documentaries, the disastrous impacts on workers and the environment, caused by an irresponsible profit-focused mining company, supported by equally uncaring governments.

Those who care about the Namosi and Fiji environment will have to fight to ensure that a proper independent EIA is carried out; that the right decisions are made as to whether the mine should go ahead at all; that adequate environment safety precautions will be put in place and policed; and that the local economy and people and affected groups get their proper compensation. 

This is going to be an uphill battle made more difficult by the continuing media censorship.

The local Namosi communities cannot be expected to safeguard the national interest as their immediate financial and economic benefits are likely to be very large indeed, and will take many of them out of poverty.

But the Namosi and the surrounding environment does not belong to the current generation in Namosi or even the current generation in Fiji.

Remember  what Mahatma Gandi said (oft quoted by Greenpeace)

“The earth, the air, the land and the water are not an inheritance from our forefathers but on loan from our children. So we have to handover to them at least as it was handed over to us”.  

Environment NGO activists like Greenpeace, will need all the help that the public and our expert environmentalists can give (probably on the quiet).

The mining company (Namosi Joint Venture) will be making a huge investment, which still has inherent mining risks, but which promises massive bonuses (millions) to the executives, if large profits are made for the shareholders. 

As the Global Financial Crisis showed, morality and the interests of the general public (or the environment), just do not come into the picture when it comes to corporate decision-making with such large pay-offs. 

It is not a matter of labeling them “good” or “evil” corporate executives: that’s just how the corporate capitalist world operates.

But if the current Fiji people fail to protect the environment in such mining projects, they will have failed the future generations, whatever benefits may be enjoyed by the current generation.

Need for government accountability
Ultimately, Fiji people will have to realize that the struggle for the environment (like the struggle for the FNPF pensioners, or for workers and unions’ legitimate rights, or for religious groups to have their gatherings) is part of the bigger battle which will not go away:

An unelected illegal Military Regime has absolutely no right to be making any decisions on the Namosi Copper Mine which will affect generations to come. They should leave all such decisions to elected governments.

Of course, elected governments have a poor environment record in Fiji as well.

For seventeen years, the Alliance Government was in the pockets of the Emperor Gold Mine, which was even accused of having a role in the 1987 coup which removed the Labour/NFP Government (which unwisely talked about nationalizing the Gold Mine); Rabuka’s SVT Government was sympathetic to the Gold Mine; as was the Qarase Government whose control of Senate resulted in the rejection of Dr Atu Bain’s 2003 motion for an independent inquiry into the Gold Mine.

So elected Fiji governments are no guarantee that justice will be done to the environment or to the mine workers.

But at least they may be rejected at the next election, should their failures be bad enough to displease the voters. 

I doubt, however, if this Military Regime is going to be dismissed by votes, any time soon.

The Fiji public may soon forget what a vote is. 

Just as they have forgotten what a free media means.

Dubai Investors target Fiji Tourism sector

All that schmoozing in the Middle East by the illegal and treasonous Bainimarama and his boss Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum is paying off, with multi-million dollar investors from the "Middle East" now eyeing Fiji's lucrative tourism sector as well as Fiji's strategic point in the middle of the "US Lake".

The Fiji Labour Party's concerns in 2008 on the possible sale of our airports and ports to investors in Dubai is perhaps seeing itself re-morphed into a more "appropriate" lever.

Nonetheless it is quite telling now how Fiji's foray into the 'non-aligned movement' (NAM) circle of friends also comes with privileges befitting "friends with benefits" relationships as such.
Resort project for island
Maciu Malo
Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A MULTI million tourism project is about to start at Yasawa-i-Rara soon, funded by an investor from the Middle-East.

This was confirmed by Commissioner Western Co¡m¡mander Joeli Cawaki following a successful meeting with the landowners this week.

He said the investor from Dubai would be constructing three resorts and an airstrip on the island.

"This is one of the biggest tourism projects in the Yasawas and also for Fiji as a whole and the people of Yasawa-i-Rara will benefit from this investment," Cdr Cawaki said.

"The three resorts are a multi-million dollar project. We had a successful meeting with the landowners last week and we are just finalising some lease documentation before the project starts."

Cdr Cawaki said talks were continuing with the investor and the clearing of lands would start once paper works for the lease of land were completed.

He said the investor was willing to work with Government and landowners to promote tourism.

"The meeting with the landowners is to sort out some of the land issues with regards to the new project.

"All these have been resolved and the Government thanked the villagers for their co-operation. The investor has indicated his willingness to start with the project and the Government will make sure that there is no obstruction whatsoever by the landowners or anyone for that matter.

"The new project will be a big breakthrough to the people of Yasawa in terms of improved standard of living."

Mr Cawaki said the new project would offer many employment opportunities for the villagers.

"Tourism has improved the standard of living of most Fijian villages and the people of Yasawa-i-Rara are fortunate." He said the project was expected to start before the year end.

August 23, 2011

Defiance in Fiji: The Writing is on the Wall

We acknowledge and welcome a new blog to the block, Torture Watch, that has broken news of the increasing and now public defiance in Fiji.

The writing is indeed on the wall and the illegal and treasonous military regime will continue to be on the back-foot on this one because defiance will now overtake all the public spaces: online, offline and yes even smack-bang in their faces.

It appears that the defiance has not limited itself to walls either and is also extending to the regime's billboard propaganda.


The writing's on the wall
Taken this morning 23 August 2011, these photos show dissent and defiance displayed on walls and bus stops along the Suva to Nausori corridor.  No matter how many decree's are published to silence the public, the people of Fiji cannot and will not be silenced.


Work always reserved for the Public Works Department was urgently dispensed to Soldiers who were seen painting over spray painted words that read  "PM YOU LIER" on a bus stop wall. Other road workers stood at the bus stop on the opposite side blocking the view of large letters which read  "REVOLOTION BEGINS".


Also of much interest was what transpired at Karsanji Street.  Earlier on a sign read "PM MURDERER" but this sign was painted over by Soldiers and the wall was clear of any message.  Interestingly, in record time a sign mysteriously appeared in  the space of 20 minutes reading "BAINIMARAMA U EVIL LEADER".



August 19, 2011

The Spirit of Revolt, 1880

Peter Kropotkin (1842-1921)

There are periods in the life of human society when revolution becomes an imperative necessity, when it proclaims itself as inevitable. New ideas germinate everywhere, seeking to force their way into the light, to find an application in life; everywhere they are opposed by the inertia of those whose interest it is to maintain the old order; they suffocate in the stifling atmosphere of prejudice and traditions. The accepted ideas of the constitution of the State, of the laws of social equilibrium, of the political and economic interrelations of citizens, can hold out no longer against the implacable criticism which is daily undermining them whenever occasion arises,--in drawing room as in cabaret, in the writings of philosophers as in daily conversation. Political, economic, and social institutions are crumbling; the social structure, having become uninhabitable, is hindering, even preventing the development of the seeds which are being propagated within its damaged walls and being brought forth around them.

The need for a new life becomes apparent. The code of established morality, that which governs the greater number of people in their daily life, no longer seems sufficient. What formerly seemed just is now felt to be a crying injustice. The morality of yesterday is today recognized as revolting immorality. The conflict between new ideas and old traditions flames up in every class of society, in every possible environment, in the very bosom of the family. The son struggles against his father, he finds revolting what his father has all his life found natural; the daughter rebels against the principles which her mother has handed down to her as the result of long experience. Daily, the popular conscience rises up against the scandals which breed amidst the privileged and the leisured, against the crimes committed in the name of the law of the stronger, or in order to maintain these privileges. Those who long for the triumph of justice, those who would put new ideas into practice, are soon forced to recognize that the realization of their generous, humanitarian and regenerating ideas cannot take place in a society thus constituted; they perceive the necessity of a revolutionary whirlwind which will sweep away all this rottenness, revive sluggish hearts with its breath, and bring to mankind that spirit of devotion, self-denial, and heroism, without which society sinks through degradation and vileness into complete disintegration.

In periods of frenzied haste toward wealth, of feverish speculation and of crisis, of the sudden downfall of great industries and the ephemeral expansion of other branches of production, of scandalous fortunes amassed in a few years and dissipated as quickly, it becomes evident that the economic institutions which control production and exchange are far from giving to society the prosperity which they are supposed to guarantee; they produce precisely the opposite result. Instead of order they bring forth chaos; instead of prosperity, poverty and insecurity; instead of reconciled interests, war; a perpetual war of the exploiter against the worker, of exploiters and of workers among themselves. Human society is seen to be splitting more and more into two hostile camps, and at the same time to be subdividing into thousands of small groups waging merciless war against each other. Weary of these wars, weary of the miseries which they cause, society rushes to seek a new organization; it clamors loudly for a complete remodeling of the system of property ownership, of production, of exchange and all economic relations which spring from it.

The machinery of government, entrusted with the maintenance of the existing order, continues to function, but at every turn of its deteriorated gears it slips and stops. Its working becomes more and more difficult, and the dissatisfaction caused by its defects grows continuously. Every day gives rise to a new demand. "Reform this," "reform that," is heard from all sides. "War, finance, taxes, courts. police, everything must be remodeled, reorganized, established on a new basis," say the reformers. And vet all know that it is impossible to make things over, to remodel anything at all because everything is interrelated; everything would have to be remade at once; and how can society be remodeled when it is divided into two openly hostile camps? To satisfy the discontented would be only to create new malcontents.

Incapable of undertaking reforms, since this would mean paving the way for revolution, and at the same time too impotent to be frankly reactionary, the governing bodies apply themselves to half measures which can satisfy nobody, and only cause new dissatisfaction. The mediocrities who, in such transition periods, undertake to steer the ship of State, think of but one thing: to enrich then.selves against the coming débâcle. Attacked from all sides they defend themselves awkwardly, they evade, they commit blunder upon blunder, and they soon succeed in cutting the last rope of salvation; they drown the prestige of the government in ridicule, caused by their own incapacity.

Such periods demand revolution. It becomes a social necessity; the situation itself is revolutionary.

When we study in the works of our greatest historians the genesis and development of vast revolutionary convulsions, we generally find under the heading, "The Cause of the Revolution," a gripping picture of the situation on the eve of events. The misery of the people, the general insecurity, the vexatious measures of the government, the odious scandals laying bare the immense vices of society, the new ideas struggling to come to the surface and repulsed by the incapacity of the supporters of the former régime,-- nothing is omitted. Examining this picture, one arrives at the conviction that the revolution was indeed inevitable, and that there was no other way out than by the road of insurrection.

Take, for example, the situation before 1789 as the historians picture it. You can almost hear the peasant complaining of the salt tax, of the tithe, of the feudal payments, and vowing in his heart an implacable hatred towards the feudal baron, the monk, the monopolist, the bailiff. You can almost see the citizen bewailing the loss of his municipal liberties, and showering maledictions upon the king. The people censure the queen; they are revolted by the reports of ministerial action, and they cry out continually that the taxes are intolerable and revenue payments exorbitant, that crops are bad and winters hard, that provisions are too dear and the monopolists too grasping, that the village lawyer devours the peasant's crops and the village constable tries to play the role of a petty king, that even the mail service is badly organized and the employees too lazy. In short, nothing works well, everybody complains. "It can last no longer, it will come to a bad end," they cry everywhere.

But, between this pacific arguing and insurrection or revolt, there is a wide abyss,--that abyss which, for the greatest part of humanity, lies between reasoning and action, thought and will,--the urge to act. How has this abyss been bridged? How is it that men who only yesterday were complaining quietly of their lot as they smoked their pipes, and the next moment were humbly saluting the local guard and gendarme whom they had just been abusing,--how is it that these same men a few days later were capable of seizing their scythes and their iron-shod pikes and attacking in his castle the lord who only yesterday was so formidable? By what miracle were these men, whose wives justly called them cowards, transformed in a day into heroes, marching through bullets and cannon balls to the conquest of their rights? How was it that words, so often spoken and lost in the air like the empty chiming of bells, were changed into actions?

The answer is easy.

Action, the continuous action, ceaselessly renewed, of minorities brings about this transformation. Courage, devotion, the spirit of sacrifice, are as contagious as cowardice, submission, and panic.

What forms will this action take? All forms,--indeed, the most varied forms, dictated by circumstances, temperament, and the means at disposal. Sometimes tragic, sometimes humorous, but always daring; sometimes collective, sometimes purely individual, this policy of action will neglect none of the means at hand, no event of public life, in order to keep the spirit alive, to propagate and find expression for dissatisfaction, to excite hatred against exploiters, to ridicule the government and expose its weakness, and above all and always, by actual example, to awaken courage and fan the spirit of revolt.

When a revolutionary situation arises in a country, before the spirit of revolt is sufficiently awakened in the masses to express itself in violent demonstrations in the streets or by rebellions and uprisings, it is through action that minorities succeed in awakening that feeling of independence and that spirit of audacity without which no revolution can come to a head.

Men of courage, not satisfied with words, but ever searching for the means to transform them into action,--men of integrity for whom the act is one with the idea, for whom prison, exile, and death are preferable to a life contrary to their principles,--intrepid souls who know that it is necessary to dare in order to succeed,-- these are the lonely sentinels who enter the battle long before the masses are sufficiently roused to raise openly the banner of insurrection and to march, arms in hand, to the conquest of their rights.

In the midst of discontent, talk, theoretical discussions, an individual or collective act of revolt supervenes, symbolizing the dominant aspirations. It is possible that at the beginning the masses will remain indifferent. It is possible that while admiring the courage of the individual or the group which takes the initiative, the masses will at first follow those who are prudent and cautious, who will immediately describe this act as "insanity" and say that "those madmen, those fanatics will endanger everything."

They have calculated so well, those prudent and cautious men, that their party, slowly pursuing its work would, in a hundred years, two hundred years, three hundred years perhaps, succeed in conquering the whole world,--and now the unexpected intrudes! The unexpected, of course, is whatever has not been expected by them,--those prudent and cautious ones! Whoever has a slight knowledge of history and a fairly clear head knows perfectly well from the beginning that theoretical propaganda for revolution will necessarily express itself in action long before the theoreticians have decided that the moment to act has come. Nevertheless, the cautious theoreticians are angry at these madmen, they excommunicate them, they anathematize them. But the madmen win sympathy, the mass of the people secretly applaud their courage, and they find imitators. In proportion as the pioneers go to fill the jails and the penal colonies, others continue their work; acts of illegal protest, of revolt, of vengeance, multiply.

Indifference from this point on is impossible. Those who at the beginning never so much as asked what the "madmen" wanted, are compelled to think about them, to discuss their ideas, to take sides for or against. By actions which compel general attention, the new idea seeps into people's minds and wins converts. One such act may, in a few days, make more propaganda than thousands of pamphlets.

Above all, it awakens the spirit of revolt: it breeds daring. The old order, supported by the police, the magistrates, the gendarmes and the soldiers, appeared unshakable, like the old fortress of the Bastille, which also appeared impregnable to the eyes of the unarmed people gathered beneath its high walls equipped with loaded cannon. But soon it became apparent that the established order has not the force one had supposed. One courageous act has sufficed to upset in a few days the entire governmental machinery, to make the colossus tremble; another revolt has stirred a whole province into turmoil, and the army, till now always so imposing, has retreated before a handful of peasants armed with sticks and stones. The people observe that the monster is not so terrible as they thought they begin dimly to perceive that a few energetic efforts will be sufficient to throw it down. Hope is born in their hearts, and let us remember that if exasperation often drives men to revolt, it is always hope, the hope of victory, which makes revolutions.

The government resists; it is savage in its repressions. But, though formerly persecution killed the energy of the oppressed, now, in periods of excitement, it produces the opposite result. It provokes new acts of revolt, individual and collective, it drives the rebels to heroism; and in rapid succession these acts spread, become general, develop. The revolutionary party is strengthened by elements which up to this time were hostile or indifferent to it. The general disintegration penetrates into the government, the ruling classes, the privileged; some of them advocate resistance to the limit; others are in favor of concessions; others, again, go so far as to declare themselves ready to renounce their privileges for the moment, in order to appease the spirit of revolt, hoping to dominate again later on. The unity of the government and the privileged class is broken.

The ruling classes may also try to find safety in savage reaction. But it is now too late; the battle only becomes more bitter, more terrible, and the revolution which is looming will only be more bloody. On the other hand, the smallest concession of the governing classes, since it comes too late, since it has been snatched in struggle, only awakes the revolutionary spirit still more. The common people, who formerly would have been satisfied with the smallest concession, observe now that the enemy is wavering; they foresee victory, they feel their courage growing, and the same men who were formerly crushed by misery and were content to sigh in secret, now lift their heads and march proudly to the conquest of a better future.

Finally the revolution breaks out, the more terrible as the preceding struggles were bitter.

The direction which the revolution will take depends, no doubt, upon the sum total of the various circumstances that determine the coming of the cataclysm. But it can be predicted in advance, according to the vigor of revolutionary action displayed in the preparatory period by the different progressive parties.

One party may have developed more clearly the theories which it defines and the program which it desires to realize; it may have made propaganda actively, by speech and in print. But it may not have sufficiently expressed its aspirations in the open, on the street, by actions which embody the thought it represents; it has done little, or it has done nothing against those who are its principal enemies; it has not attacked the institutions which it wants to demolish; its strength has been in theory, not in action; it has contributed little to awaken the spirit of revolt, or it has neglected to direct that spirit against conditions which it particularly desires to attack at the time of the revolution. As a result, this party is less known; its aspirations have not been daily and continuously affirmed by actions, the glamor of which could reach even the remotest hut; they have not sufficiently penetrated into the consciousness of the people; they have not identified themselves with the crowd and the street; they have never found simple expression in a popular slogan.

The most active writers of such a party are known by their readers as thinkers of great merit, but they have neither the reputation nor the capacities of men of action; and on the day when the mobs pour through the streets they will prefer to follow the advice of those who have less precise theoretical ideas and not such great aspirations, but whom they know better because they have seen them act.

The party which has made most revolutionary propaganda and which has shown most spirit and daring will be listened to on the day when it is necessary to act, to march in front in order to realize the revolution. But that party which has not had the daring to affirm itself by revolutionary acts in the preparatory periods nor had a driving force strong enough to inspire men and groups to the sentiment of abnegation, to the irresistible desire to put their ideas into practice,--(if this desire had existed it would have expressed itself in action long before the mass of the people had joined the revolt)--and which did not know how to make its flag popular and its aspirations tangible and comprehensive,--that party will have only a small chance of realizing even the least part of its program. It will be pushed aside by the parties of action.

These things we learn from the history of the periods which precede great revolutions. The revolutionary bourgeoisie understood this perfectly,--it neglected no means of agitation to awaken the spirit of revolt when it tried to demolish the monarchical order. The French peasant of the eighteenth century understood it instinctively when it was a question of abolishing feudal rights; and the International acted in accordance with the same principles when it tried to awaken the spirit of revolt among the workers of the cities and to direct it against the natural enemy of the wage earner--the monopolizer of the means of production and of raw materials.

Notes on translation and transcription
This article first appeared in Le Révolté in 1880. English translations appeared in Commonweal, 1892 and Kropotkin's Revolutionary Pamphlets, 1927. The postscript version was OCR'd by from The Essential Kropotkin, 1975 which was based on the aforementioned 1927 translation.

Another Son of Fiji and the Pacific takes a hit for Fiji's Freedom

Fellow blog C4.5 has broken very disheartening news that Professor Wadan Narsey, an upstanding and unwavering advocate for Fiji's Freedom drawing on the illegal and treasonous military regime's flawed and inept economic policies as evidence, has most probably been unjustly culled from his position at the University of the South Pacific (USP) by the regime via a key coup stooge, the Vice Chancellor Rajesh Chandra.

Prof Rajesh Chandra has more or less paved the way for more his friends within USP Labour mafia circles such as Dr Ganesh Chand to set up a rival university in this country and has had an extremely jumpy academic career running back and forth between institutions of higher education in what can only be explained as an ambitious need to stay on top.

Intelligentsiya knew way back in February 2009, that the regime would use the regionally owned institution, the University of the South Pacific, as a whipping boy for regional retaliation.

This time around however Prof Chandra and Khaiyum have grossly misread the extent of their "powers".

For starters, Prof Narsey's extensive teaching career has tutored and earned him the respect of hordes of Pacific Islanders in positions of power today in their various home countries and even all over the globe.

But more importantly once word on Prof Narsey's injustice becomes validated, the University of the South Pacific's (which is a CROP Agency of the Pacific and owned by 12 independent and sovereign Pacific Island Countries and boasts a governing charter that is royally endorsed), University Council comprising high-level regional member countries might need to assess whether a breach of the USP Council's code of conduct and its statutes has occurred.

Equally compelling is the possibility that "academic freedom" within the region's so-called premier institution that had bred next generations of Pacific leaders, could be escalated upwards for the highest level of Pacific political power who meet in New Zealand next month, to deal with. They are already are very aware of how bad our situation remains, 5 years on.

Speaking of New Zealand, the Fiji team is still trying their luck to get a military officer into Aoetearoa for the rugby world cup. As the Fiji team officials are either deaf, blind or stupid, they might like to get the hint via Gandalf.

August 18, 2011

Chinese electronic espionage allegations also has Fiji and Pacific footprint

While the completely inept and illegal and treasonous Presidential stooge Rt Epeli Nailatikau swans it up in China at an ICT Company called Huawei (can you say "beyond your purview"?), the illegal and treaonous military regime have once again dimwittedly found themselves entangled in what could be some major electronic espionage trouble.

If the distrust between the US and China over IT market share in the US is anything to go by, the US might like to consider how unwell the back-route is covered with Huawei working to entrench itself in the Pacific with Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Solomon Islands and Samoa in their line of sight.
Computer lab’s Chinese-made parts raise spy concerns
By Eli Lake
The Washington Times
Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A U.S. supercomputer laboratory engaged in classified military research concluded a recent deal involving Chinese-made components that is raising concerns in Congress about potential electronic espionage.

The concerns are based on a contract reached this summer between a computer-technology firm and the National Center for Computational Engineering at the University of Tennessee, whose supercomputers simulate flight tests for next-generation U.S. military aircraft and spacecraft, and simulate submarine warfare for the Navy.

The storage system for the contract calls for using software from U.S. cybersecurity firm Symantec installed over devices made by Huawei Technologies, a Chinese telecommunications giant that U.S. officials have said has close ties to China’s military. Huawei and Symantec formed a joint venture in 2008, with Huawei owning 51 percent of the shares of the enterprise.

Last week, four Republican senators and one member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence urged the Pentagon and Energy Department in a letter to review the contract for potential risks to national security.

The lawmakers’ request highlights tensions between the intelligence community and high-technology companies on how sensitive computer servers, microchips and software that are designed or produced in foreign countries can provide foreign intelligence services backdoor access to sensitive information systems.

“Given Huawei’s close ties to the [Chinese] government and its military and intelligence sectors, its history of alleged corrupt practices and infringement on intellectual-property rights, and concerns it may act as an agent for a foreign government, Huawei is not an appropriate partner for advanced U.S. research centers - especially those working on critical or classified defense projects for the United States government,” the five lawmakers stated in an Aug. 9 letter to Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Mary Schapiro, chairwoman of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The lawmakers were Sens. Jon Kyl of Arizona, Jim DeMint of South Carolina and Tom Coburn and Sen. James M. Inhofe, both of Oklahoma, and Rep. Sue Wilkins Myrick, a North Carolina Republican who chairs the House Intelligence subcommittee that oversees counterintelligence.

Huawei’s vice president for external affairs, William Plummer, said in an interview Tuesday that the concerns expressed by the lawmakers are misplaced.

“This letter is just the most recent chapter in what has become a tiresome book promoting fear about China and slandering Huawei as a proxy,” he said. “The fiction is growing old.”

Huawei was founded in 1988 by Ren Zhengfei, a former engineer for the People’s Liberation Army, the Chinese military. U.S. intelligence agencies suspect the company of having the capability of bugging microchips it seeks to install in U.S. networks and equipment that could give China’s government the equivalent of a listening post inside U.S. telecommunications architecture.

In 2008, the Treasury Department-led Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States blocked a proposed sale of the software company 3com to Huawei, based on national security grounds. Last year, representatives of the National Security Agency urged major telecommunications companies such as AT&T and Sprint to cancel a deal that would put Huawei firmware and hardware on the cell towers of the national 4G wireless network.

“My understanding is the ownership of Huawei is closely tied to the government of China,” said retired Air Force Col. John Toomer, who left the service this year as deputy director of the cyber and information operations directorate.

“We’ve had that fear for a long time, of having chips compromised by intelligence services,” he said. “You are inviting a risk by using chips manufactured by Huawei at such a sensitive facility.”

Mr. Plummer said in response to that allegation that his company should not be singled out.

“Cybersecurity concerns are real, they are global, they are agnostic to national borders and they apply equally to the entire information, communication, technology industry supply chain,” Mr. Plummer said. “It is incorrect to suggest that the gear of one vendor is somehow less secure than the gear of another.”

A 2009 white paper prepared for the congressional U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission said China’s military has “begun employing this capability to mount a large-scale computer-network exploitation effort for intelligence-gathering purposes against the U.S. and many countries around the world.”

The five lawmakers, in their letter, raised concerns that Huawei is seeking to place its gear inside sensitive installations by partnering with U.S. vendors. In the case of the University of Tennessee National Center for Computational Engineering, a company called MPAK Technologies won the bid. That company specializes in data-storage architecture, and it has sensitive contracts with the FBI and other U.S. government agencies.

In an interview, MPAK founder and CEO Michael Kornblum said his storage architecture was not at risk of being compromised by an intelligence service. Data for the system would be encrypted, and the storage system will not be connected to the Internet. He also said the Huawei hardware was not installed on the disc drives, where the data would be stored.

“If you were to do the kinds of activities the senators are talking about, you would put that technology in the disk drives because the data lives on the disk drives,” Mr. Kornblum said. “Huawei does not manufacture the disk drives.”

Jeffrey Carr, the CEO and founder of Taia Global, a cybersecurity firm said, however, that encryption is not enough.

“There are so many alternative ways of compromising a network. It can be done through a thumb drive, a printer server,” he said. “It could be done through a vendor that seeks to install or to service the equipment, it could be done through an insider, an alternative communication channel like Bluetooth or another peer-to-peer network. It could done through an internal email.”

Mr. Carr, who first wrote about the lab’s contract on his blog last month, said: “If you are targeting an advanced facility, the bad guy will figure out the layout of the network.”

Another concern expressed by the lawmakers is that Huawei has been subsidized by the Chinese government, giving it an unfair advantage over U.S. companies such as Cisco Systems.

In the letter, the U.S. lawmakers stated that Chinese policy gives Huawei the ability to offer much lower prices than their competitors.

Mr. Kornblum said his company’s bid to build the storage system for the supercomputer was “significantly cheaper.”

“It’s no mystery that Huawei is trying to get into the U.S. market,” he said. “They have done some things to enter the U.S. market that were less publicized. But they are going to get into the market, and they are going to eat Cisco’s lunch. Huawei’s technology is superior.”

Huawei’s Mr. Plummer said his company was given $25 billion in credit from 28 banks around the world, including the Chinese development bank.

Mr. Plummer added: “We are doing business no differently than anyone else does business. We have customers, and we have partners, and we have suppliers, and that is how business is done.”