Preliminary analysis by Fijian Authorities of a video showing the shooting of individuals in the water, is falsely and fraudulently linked to Fiji.
Fiji naval commander John Fox said inquiries had confirmed the victims were not from the South Pacific nation, where no fishermen has been reported missing recently.
“We are aware of the video and we conducted our investigations,” Fox told the Fiji Times.
‘I can’t say how we were able to verify the information but I can confirm that they are not Fiji citizens,” Agence-France Presse reports.
Fiji police have consulted Interpol, the Australian Federal Police, and other Pacific island nations to help establish the veracity of the video.
President of Fiji Tuna Boat Owners’ Association (FTBOA) Graham Southwick, told TVNZ that indications were that the shooting victims were Somali pirates involved in a failed hijacking.
“We checked with all our Taiwanese boats and various things and they said ‘oh yeah we know about this story, it happened about a year or 18 months ago and the guys in the water being shot are Somali pirates’,” he told TVNZ.
Fairfax New Zealand, citing Fijian police sources, reported that a student found the footage on a mobile phone left in a Suva taxi by an Asian fishing boat crewman.
False reality: South Pacific waters filled with heavily armed Asians?
According to The Tonga Herald initial analysis, it was highly likely the individuals involved were not Fijians based on their features.
Secondly, there is has been no incident of shooting with machine gun fire in the waters of the South Pacific, or the killing of seamen as purported by the video.
But maritime piracy is a pestilence to sea lines of communication, especially the linkages from the Straits of Indonesia, to the Straits of Hormuz and Bab-el Mandeb.
Somali pirates have a notorious history in hijacking and ransoming ships and personnel they capture in the high seas of the Indian Ocean.
Maritime piracy is a multi-billion dollar criminal industry, sometimes co-opted by some corporations and nation-states, and has links to terrorists.
Fishing vessels traversing these waters usually carry armed security personnel for security from pirates.
Dangerous narrative: Let us militarise the South Pacific?
The Tonga Herald, in its initial reports, cautioned that this footage was typical of piracy and anti-piracy clashes in the waters mentioned above.
The subtle nudges by some regional media organisations is most telling.
While most of the world moved to verify if the claims of the Youtube post were accurate, some regional news organisations pile up the supposed evidence that this is commonplace in the region.
The outcome of that is Great powers, and regional powers, gaining excuses to send military personnel into the area.
It would be a solution to a problem that does not exist.
But the presence of armed military personnel will affect the democracies in the area, harking to the days of “Gunboat Diplomacy.”
Gunboat diplomacy has recently been replaced by “Humanitarian-boat Diplomacy.”
This video, if planted intentionally, has the consequence of upsetting the balance of power in the region.
Especially as the United States is shifting focus to the Indopacific and moving 60% of its naval capabilities there, China arming the PLA Navy, Japan responding, Australia buying high-tech military arms from Japan and the US, and New Zealand boosting its forward combat capabilities.
China has pledged to finance boosting the Fijian Navy.
The video, and the non-factual claims about a militant South Pacific, feed into the “Arc of Instability” complex, and the “Africanisation of the South Pacific”: intervention narrative created by Australia and New Zealand to justify interfering in the internal affairs of the Pacific Island countries like Tonga and Fiji.
Greater interference from Australia and New Zealand into affairs and zones of the Pacific Islands, gives excuse for more Chinese presence.