Thursday, January 25, 2007

Fiji: suppressing the truth

According to Fiji Live, the Fijian military has started a manhunt for pro-democracy activists Angie Heffernan and Laisa Digitaki. I am not sure about Heffernan, but Digitaki was one of those responsible for the "democracy shrine" in Suva during the coup; as a result she was subjected to Gestapo tactics, dragged from her home in the middle of the night and assaulted and abused by soldiers. According to the army, she has made "inciteful statements", but a later article gives more details:

It is understood the military wants Digitaki because of an emailed statement explaining in detail her interrogation at the Queen Elizabeth Barracks last year.


According to the source, the military was not happy that [Military Land Force Commander Colonel Pita] Driti's name had been mentioned in the statement.

So, telling people what the army does to people and naming those responsible is now apparently a "crime" in Fiji - at least in the military's eyes.


Driti is quite the thug. Being landforce commander, he is in overall charge of all the people being taken up and assaulted for speaking and for daring to think differently from what the army tells us is the 'truth' and 'legal'. He is the one who threatens them not to speak or he'll go after them and their families and kill them if they speak about what happened to them. The soldiers on the street are the reserves, its the full time soldiers that are the harshest and are the bullies. the lid on this simmering keg of anger in the military has been lifted by the coup apologists.

Posted by Anonymous : 1/25/2007 01:10:00 PM

That toxic culture is yet another reason to shrink Fiji's army, I think. Unfortunately, I suspect they'd react very badly to any future elected government deciding that they no longer needed a permanent threat to democracy around.

BTW, is Digitaki's email online anywhere? I think people would be interested in seeing a first-person account of military thuggery.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 1/25/2007 01:20:00 PM

One of the 9 priorities 'outlined' by President Iloilo when he 'appointed' Frank as Interim PM is the 'territorial integrity' of the nation i.e. defence, so the army is likely to grow, not shrink during this interim period.

You can find Laisa's statement online at

Posted by Anonymous : 1/25/2007 04:26:00 PM

In another ominous development today, the army gave a warning to unions not to go to the media with their complaints about the interim government's proposal to reduce the age of retirement from 60 to 55 for civil servants, and to make it compulsory (which is against the Constitution). The evidence is mounting that there is nothing progressive about this coup, other than the rhetoric.

Also, Fiji Times reports that the military has contracted a Christchurch QC to provide them with legal advice.

I wonder who else from outside Fiji is helping to write the (so far invisible) roadmap?

Posted by Anonymous : 1/25/2007 09:00:00 PM