Monday, May 23, 2011

Dictator Bainimarama’s Treasonous Call to Pita Driti & Senior Military Officers to Overthrow Qarase Government in 2004


Part Two

Bainimarama: Dou cakava vakatotolo na plan de dou qai kidacala au sa liu sobu i ra.”  (“You people carry out the plan quickly, or I’ll surprise you by doing it ahead of you”.) 


Pita Driti: “Io, vinaka me caka ni sa rui levu na butako.” (“Yes, good do it as there is too much stealing (corruption)”.
By VICTOR LAL and RUSSELL HUNTER
 
On 4 May 2011 the former Land Force Commander Brigadier General Pita Driti and former 3FIR Commander Colonel Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara appeared in the Suva Magistrates Court for allegedly plotting to oust the dictator Frank Bainimarama who had treasonously deposed the SDL-FLP government in December 2006.
  
Driti is charged with one count of uttering seditious comments and one count of inciting to mutiny. Ratu Tevita, who has taken refuge in Tonga, is charged with one count of uttering seditious comments breaching section 67 of the Crimes Decree.

And yet dictator Bainimarama remains at large from the arm of the law for his own two aborted attempts to oust the democratically elected Qarase government in 2004 and 2005.  Among the senior army officers he had exhorted to execute the coup was none other than Driti, once his right-hand man.

Our claims, as we pointed out in the first instalment, are based on five years of painstaking research, personal interviews, top secret State, military and other confidential documents. For a detailed account of our findings, please wait for our forthcoming book tentatively entitled Treason in Paradise: Commodore Frank Bainimarama and the 2006 Fiji Coup - The Inside Story.  
We will shortly disclose how Bainimarama left New Zealand in November 2006 where the local police had reversed an earlier decision to arrest him on a charge of perverting the course of justice in a foreign jurisdiction. If convicted he faced a maximum sentence of seven years. Perverting the course of justice in a foreign jurisdiction is a crime in New Zealand. Meanwhile, the narrative below was written by us in 2010 for the forthcoming book, long before Ratu Ului’s recent escape to Tonga. Below is an abridged version of it.

Bainimarama’s Pre-2006 Coup Plans

In December 2003 Bainimarama - not from any sense of outrage over corruption or anything else - though he must have known about the rampant graft in his own ranks - ordered his men to commit treason so that he could keep his job.

As Victor Lal has written elsewhere, http://www.coupfourandahalf.com/2010/10/biggest-pay-reap-off-in-fijis-40-years.html in December 2003, with Bainimarama’s five-year term due to expire in three months time he would have been aware of Cabinet’s reluctance to reappoint him. He was outraged.
 
From top secret military documents and minutes in our possession, we can confirm that Bainimarama gave a coup order in December 2003. One of the officers told us: “In late December 2004, I was ordered to plan a coup against the [Laisenia Qarase] government in the following month. However, I submitted written advice that that it was illegal, unjustified and unprofessional to execute a coup for the reasons he outlined.” He was just one of the officers sacked for refusing to commit treason.

On January 5, 2004 secret advice to Bainimarama not to execute a takeover of the government warned of the chaos and damage that could follow. The document, a copy of which was made available to us by one of his many “trusted” bodyguards, reads in part:
 
“The on-going confrontation between you as Commander RFMF and the government is unfortunate and is causing some concern and anxiety amongst the local and international communities. This is especially so when this confrontation is being aired openly in the press. Such differences should be resolved professionally and in a professional manner between you as commander and the Minister for Home Affairs. The matters under dispute (the persecution (sic) of the 2000 coup perpetrators, your contract and investigations into the actions of the RFMF during the May 2000 incidents) are nothing that is out of the ordinary. The differences in opinion over the issues under dispute can always be resolved through negotiation based on the principles of transparency and fairness.
 
“Your recent utterances at your conferences of 16 and 18 December are of deep concern to us officers. We feel that your intentions are contrary to all that is stated above. Besides, we feel that the interests of the RFMF and the nation have been overridden by your personal wishes. First and foremost, the issues under dispute, especially the renewal of your contract, are matters to be resolved between you and the government. The RFMF as an institution cannot and must not be dragged into the dispute as a means for its resolution.
 
“Secondly, please bear in mind the oath of allegiance that we all swore when we first enlisted into the RFMF. The officers are standing by this oath. You have interviewed some of the officers personally. They have all individually given advice on the matter and as requested by you they have shown their standing regarding your intention. These officers’ views and stance must be respected. These officers have taken both a legal and moral stand which is contrary to yours. This does not mean they are disloyal to you, they are only exercising their right as professional military officers in what they believe in – to discharge their duty according to law. (original emphasis). Should you persist with your intention then this same privilege you gave to these officers must be extended to all ranks of the RFMF.

“Thirdly, the situation which you are bringing to bear on the RFMF and the nation for that matter cannot be compared to the incidents of 1987 and 2000 (the previous coups). Under the circumstances there is no way you can justify your intent and impending action. On the other hand the consequences of such action would be catastrophic for Fiji. The despair and suffering will be unbearable and longer lasting than that experienced after 1987 and 2000. Whatever your feelings are about the issues under dispute, there is no other avenue open to you but to resolve the issues through legal means.”
 
The dissenting officers’ predictions of catastrophe were to prove uncannily accurate – but their boss didn’t want to hear this. He wanted action. He wanted to keep his job.
Nevertheless, the officers continued: “We must all recognise that the RFMF is the ‘final guarantor of law’ (original emphasis) and our actions must therefore confer accordingly. Any attempt to create a supposedly national crisis so as to influence government action is considered unprofessional and falls within the elements of conspiracy and contempt.”

The officers “strongly recommend to you that you make a bold stand as the Commander of the RFMF and go back to government and seek redress on the issues under dispute through the professional approach of negotiation and dialogue. There is no other way. To do otherwise is tantamount to conspiracy and treason.”

Almost exactly two years later, on December 5 2006, Bainimarama would do precisely as he we was so strongly counselled against – create a national crisis and then purport to resolve it by an act of treason. The advice by his soon to be sacked dissenting officers concluded: “We urge you to please take heed of this advice and place the interests of the RFMF, the nation and its people before your own personal feelings and interests.”
But Bainimarama would not.
  
TO BE CONTINUED. 


Comments posted on Matavuvale.com

  • Vinaka vakalevu Victor Lal. He has worked tirelessly in exposing this regime and other corrupt people in the Gov. Keep it coming Victor.

VICTOR LAL and RUSSELL HUNTER were co-winners of Fiji’s prestigious Robert Keith-Reid Award for Outstanding Journalism in 2008. Fiji Sun publisher and editor-in-chief Hunter was abducted from his home by military goons and deported out of Fiji for publishing Victor Lal’s disclosure of Mahendra Chaudhry’s secret millions in Australian bank accounts. Chaudhry was then Frank Bainimarama’s Finance Minister in the illegal government.

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