The Disinformation Blogs

WEEEKEND READING • Allen Lockington Column • When Violence Treatens by Graham Davis • Qarase's 'Association of People United' by Subhash Appana  • The  King and I by Croz Walsh • Media Barons and Democracy - BBC.

                             Opinion by Crosbie Walsh

There are indications of panic in the anti-blog newsrooms.

 Despite their efforts to liken the Fiji dictatorship to the military dictatorship in Burma, there have been no protest marches or public immolations. Ordinary Fijians seem to be going about their daily lives in normal ways. From the perspective of the anti-blogs, things are moving too smoothly. The Constitution reform process has been generally well received. The media is publishing commments hostile to the "illegal" Government by former politicians Qarase, Chaudhry and Beddoes , and even Rabuka has put his two-cents worth in. The Methodist Church hierachy and the CCF have aired views critrical of Government on the demise of the Great Council of Chiefs.   The pathway to the "illegal" elections is now more clearly illuminated. There seems little doubt that America, and Australia and NZ behind the scenes, have accepted the announced steps leading up to the 2014 election. And even the economy seems to be picking up.

What does this mean for the anti-blogs? They could change tack and try to steer events closer to how they wish.  They could even change to genuine support, subject to certain conditions.  But these strategies would not put the SDL back in power or ensure itaukei paramountcy, whatever that now means. Nor would there be the perks, appointments and scholarships like there were in the good old days.  So, as their chances of success diminish by the day, their best option is to take their disinformation to a new level. 

"Disinformation (a direct translation of Russian дезинформация dezinformatsiya)", and I quote from Wikipedia,"is intentionally false or inaccurate information that is spread deliberately. For this reason, it is synonymous with and sometimes called black propaganda. It is an act of deception and false statements to convince someone of untruth. Disinformation should not be confused with misinformation, information that is unintentionally false.

"Unlike traditional propaganda techniques designed to engage emotional support, disinformation is designed to manipulate the audience at the rational level by either discrediting conflicting information or supporting false conclusions. A common disinformation tactic is to mix some truth and observation with false conclusions and lies, or to reveal part of the truth while presenting it as the whole (a limited hangout)."

Disinformation, of course, is not new to Coup4.5. Their stories from insider, leaked and "usually reliable sources" have long provided gossipy fodder for their more gullible readers. Remember the protest marches that never eventuated. The military about to rebel. The links to Al Queda and the Muslim takeover. Bainimarama so ill he could not walk unsupported. Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum's arrest. Bainimarama portrayed as Khaiyum's puppet (and unintelligent, untrustworthy, corrupt, incompetent and a liar, as FijiToday repeated only yesterday.)

The blog's latest posting (22/3/12) claims "on excellent authority that  a trio [of the Chief Justice and lawyer sisters Nazhat and Shaista Shameem] has already drafted a guiding Constitution and held a secret meeting on New Years Day at the Macau Hotel in Nadi"  to discuss the consultation process, the Civic Education Programme, and the composition of the Constituent Assembly. They also had learned "on excellent authority that as suspected, Yash Ghai was chosen by Bainimarama and Khaiyum to head their illegal consultation process because of his profile."

What's so hushhush and sinister about all this? A secret meeting in Nadi when they could have met more secretly in Suva — although, apparently, it took Coup4.5 from New Year's Day to find out? Three lawyers meeting to consider legal guidelines? Thoughts on who could make up the Constituent Assembly? The choice of an internationally respected lawyer to chair the Commission that would hear submissions prior to the meeting of the Assembly?  Does Coup4.5 seriously and honestly think the Constitution Process could happen without forward planning, that participants and agendas would miraculously fall into place, and a lot should be drawn for Chairman?  There is no story here. Perhaps that's why it took Coup4.5 from January 1st to tell it.

The day before (21/3/12) they  published an equally incredulous, but far more embellished, story. This time it was a "leaked report" of a meeting of the Military Council to  provide an "exit strategy for Frank Bainimarama cloaked in a new Constitution and the 2014 election." The meeting apparently considered a "paper titled Fiji's Road Map To Political Election 2014 (sent to Coupfourpointfive the day before the consultation process was announced more than two weeks ago on March 9)."  But why it was not reported then they do not say.

However, we are told subsequent events (the abolition of the GCC, changes in the Provincial Councils, etc.)  make the report "too convincing to ignore." The meeting also discussed how Bainimarama could be "out maneuvered"! Huh! Exit strategy and out manoevered?  Submitting  the report and the  minutes of their meeting to paper would seem to be dangerous given their part of their plot to  out manoevre the Prime Minister. The paper (that may be read in full on the Coup4.5 site) really lets the cat out of the blog so I would expect the immediate dismissal of plotters Captain Natuva, Colonel Saumatua and Colonel Aziz on the grounds of disloyalty.

The paper listed seven strategies.  Strategy 1 called for an immediate election, and a “People Constitution Forum" spearheaded by the 20 Government Departments. If this does not happen, Coup4.5's disinformation is exposed.

Strategy 2 called for the PM  "to publicly announce this month he will stand for election" and form a new political party. His campaign will be led by "highly professional and political experts." All government departments will be "militarized" and soldiers will be his "campaign runners." Provincial Councils and civil servants will "follow orders."  It's no secret the PM may stand for elections but if his election campaign is not as Coup4.5 describes, its disinformation is further exposed.

Stategy 3 would see no old political party stand for election, and a qualification test for all candidates. This is also possible.  It has been talked about for some time, and no one would be surprised if the Constitution Assembly ruled along these lines.

I'll leave readers to read the rest, most of which I find unsurprising. Most "accusations" have been announced or anticipated already. It is only their interpretaation that makes them seem sinister.  But, as we now all know,  "A common disinformation tactic is to mix some truth and observation with false conclusions and lies, or to reveal part of the truth while presenting it as the whole."

Expect much more of the same as time rolls on.

Comments

Lia Lia Liu Muri said…
Coup 4.5 is shame to journalism and any journalist who has in anyway contributed to this site is shame on journalism fraternity. An ethno- nationalist blogsite is a tool to reinstate the racist Qarase government in Fiji and treats Indo Fijians in general and Muslims in particular with tons of abhorrence. Shame on all Indo Fijians who are in anyway associated with this black spot on any form of journalism. This site is the reson why Fiji needs a Military strongman like Bainimarama to tame such etnonationalist who have been masquarading as Chiefs and Padris and Reverends of Methodist Church.
Anonymous said…
I notice again you chose the easy route not to take the regime to task for any of their tactics, or lack of any accountability. You seem to imply that because there are no demonstration s there must be little resistance. I would say there were no demonstrations prior to the coups either so presumably there was little support to change anything?? You apply some breathtaking standards of truth and accountability to blogs and journalists, but explain away the behaviour of the regime as if they should held to very different standards of transparency.
Anonymous said…
Croz you still can't bear to say Military junta or dictatorship can you? The country HAS been militarised and you have the gall to claim that there has be no obvious dissaffection or protest against the military regime? Why, people have long memory of what happens when you oppose this junta, that's why. You have a very short memeory on what happens to people who are vocal and i also note you dismissed just about all allegations of abuse as rumour and without evidence. You have made it very clear you are the mouthpiece of the militray and even your very polite criticism is heavily conditional and laced with broad staement about how they compare with the 'racist chiefs and Qarase' or 'not as bad as Burma'.
Croz Walsh said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Croz Walsh said…
@ Anonymouses ... I started this blog to counter the likes of Michael Field who were abusing their influence as journalists by disinforming the NZ public. As time went on I moved from neutral to a pro-Bainimarama position, with reservations. I continue trying to explain what is happening in ways I hope will help Fiji move forward. This includes my concerns about Fiji Government actions. As things stand now, Fiji's best hope is the Constitution reform process. Blogs like Coup4.5 do not see things this way. They are using every tool available to them, including fabrications of the truth, to derail the process. I do not think this is in the best interests of Fiji. There are genuine concerns about the future. Some I share; some I don't. But I will continue to publish them (and comments hostile to the Government). By contrast, find one article in Coup4.5, or similar blogs, that makes any attempt to understand another point of view, or which you really think will help take Fiji forward.

P.S. The previous comment, also my me, was deleted because it contained typos.
Live and Breathe the same Air said…
'Weekend reading: When violence threatens - GD

One wonders if Graham Davis and his fellow travellers have any real understanding or insight as to the situations of 'threatened violence' as experienced in Fiji in the 1987 and 2000 coups d'etat?
Were they here, on the ground when the violence or ever present threats "kicked in"? Have they an honest clue of what it is like to live for months on end submerged in the unknown, what will happen next syndrome? One doubts it very much. There is a deep sense of 'unknowing' about these people. They simply do not KNOW about reality-on-the-ground.

If they did, the tenor of their address would be substantially altered: modified to suit their inner realisation. There is trauma within Fiji. There is trauma within individuals and groups within Fiji. It lives daily and is endured daily and it will come again to fill our lives and waking hours with horror. Those who created it, are still around. They live and breathe the same air that we breathe.

That is the horror of it.
The Darkling Gaze and Come Uppance! said…
Media Barons and Democracy?

Well, we all knew that when Rupert Murdoch took over the London Times that its Glory Days were gone. It travelled almost immediately towards the Underclass. Over the years, it ran with the underclass. Recently, along with the News of the World it BECAME part of the underclass. Corrupted policemen? Interfering with communications through jaded hacks feeding on corrupt and ill-gotten gains?
James Murdoch himself was in league with the devil: it could be seen in the tenor of his darkling gaze. At last, he's met his Public Comeuppance! The shareholders have had 'their say'. Just as the taxpayers shall in Fiji - it's coming, it's coming.
Anonymous said…
Anti blogs? Anti what? I prefer to call them pro blogs. Pro democracy and pro freedom. "Deception Ahead," indeed. And this blog is well practiced in the art of deception.
flyhalf said…
This patch would be appropriate for C4.5'ers

http://aftermathnews.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/pork-eating-crusader-templar-patch.jpg
Frank - the best Fijian money can buy. said…
Its a problem Croz - should the NZ public form their opinions based on sensational and often incorrect reporting from the pro - democracy blogs or the cut and paste regime propaganda posing as opinion pieces that you churn out?

What to do?
Charlie Charters said…
Croz, surely you meant to opine: 'no public immolations', not 'no public immolestations' or are you suggesting a form of protest that has yet to be invented?
in front and behind said…
Deception is very much part of the itaukei psyche. It was a common strategy of chiefs during the years of pre-Christian tribal warfare which continues to linger in the minds of many itaukei. The tales of such deception continue to be handed down from one generation to the next. People whose forefathers were massacred through the deception of chiefs are not likely to forget unless they are born-again Christians. The art of LIU MURI - meaning 'in front and behind' - has been perfected by those itaukei promoting disinformation propaganda. One of the best ways to counter them is to apply the British parachutist's motto, 'KNOWLEDGE DISPELS FEAR' and it needs to be done boldly and fearlessly by the Media. The question is, Are the local journos up to the challenge ?
Croz Walsh said…
@ Charlie ... Thanks. I've corrected my error.
Walker Texas Ranger said…
for Charlie.....

Plenty of molestations have been around of every imaginable description. Just yesterday, we learned of an attempted arson attack in a particular place where signs of instability continue. How long will overseas investors for retirement in Fiji put up with this? Should they try North Yorks instead?

So, the "cleansing of the countryside" may be said to not entirely have disappeared. When those at the receiving end are people in good faith prepared to spend considerable sums wanting only to find a quiet and peaceful life in the sun, we have to ask ourselves:

Are we mad or just foolish? Or are we actually both at the same time? Tourism and Travellers are what we have left now that Fiji Sugar is no longer King. Both require nurturing and a sense of 'comme il faut' (How it should be done)

"I am but mad, north-north-west; when the wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a handsaw". (Hamlet - Act 2 sc2 - W. Shakespeare)

Some of us remain unconvinced of this.

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