Interviews carried today by London’s The Times with Jonathan Ferris and Maria Efimova show just how whistle-blowers are made to feel by the government of this country.
It is clear that the intimidation campaign against journalists in Malta, culminating in the explosive annihilation of Daphne Caruana Galizia, were addressed to sources who provide information to journalists in search of the truth.
It is clear that there is no journalism without sources. In the same way that there is no justice without witnesses.
Maria Efimova had said well before Daphne had died that she ran out of the country for her own safety. She felt she had taken the right decision when she heard of Daphne’s killing. And now that an international arrest warrant is out on her she has told the UK’s The Times she would not expect to live long if she were to come to Malta.
The Maltese government did not exactly offer her a honey trap. If anyone here was interested in justice and in capturing the culprits, they would offer Efimova immunity from prosecution, witness protection and payment of relocation in exchange for her testimony to convict the politicians she accuses.
That is what happens in a normal democracy. In this country, where right and wrong are flipped, we issue an international arrest warrant because she misappropriated less than 2,000 euro from the bank she accuses of not paying her salary, not to mention harbouring evidence of money laundering and corruption in the highest political offices of the country.
Jonathan Ferris is another star witness who is being threatened with imprisonment if the government’s efforts to silence him fail. But Jonathan Ferris is a smart fellow. He knows how these things work. And this is his home. In his response to The Times today about whether he fears for his life, Jonathan Ferris said he had made plans in case his life was ended in an untimely manner.
If he was indeed killed, he would be beyond the retribution of the authorities in power for revealing their secrets. And their secrets will be known.
This is a man who wants very much to tell us the truth and is jumping every hoop thrown at him by those who want nothing better than to suppress it for good.
It is significant that Jonathan Ferris and Maria Efimova started out knowing each other on very bad terms. Jonathan Ferris was one of the officers who investigated Efimova on the back of her employers’ report on misappropriation. She accused him — wrongly, he says — of mistreating her in custody.
These two have very little motivation to lend each other credibility.
And yet they are hunted by the power of the state and the resources it mobilises because there is a credible risk we have two witnesses corroborating each other.
The two of them got to know Daphne Caruana Galizia at around the same time, early this year. The two of them have felt on their faces the heat of the flames that consumed her.
And today on the UK’s The Times they both speak of a government that continues to stoke that fire to keep them away.