Watch this speech by Jason Azzopardi. He makes the case on how Pilatus Bank and Henley and Partners appear to be fingers attached to the same hidden hand. Another finger is Joseph Muscat who is reported by MaltaToday insisting he had no prior knowledge of Pilatus’s Arizona SLAPP lawsuit against Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Actually I’m being too kind. He insists the Office of the Prime Minister had no prior knowledge. Which does not necessarily mean he didn’t.
As Jason Azzopardi points out here, Joseph Muscat used his @josephmuscat.com address to conspire with Henley and Partners to SLAPP Daphne Caruana Galizia and Jason Azzopardi. He kept the Ministry out of it though that was not enough subterfuge to hide from the penetrative abilities of Daphne Caruana Galizia’s famed international network of spies.
We found out Joseph Muscat had prior knowledge of Henley and Partners’ SLAPP plot not out of some official communication from the Office of the Prime Minister. We found it out through the investigative capabilities of the journalist they were trying to, again as Jason Azzopardi put it, financially assassinate.
That hadn’t worked. It would require a more definitive form of assassination to silence her.
But not before she revealed the social networks connecting Henley and Partners and Pilatus Bank at their highest levels.
The prime minister denies having personally authorised Pilatus Bank to SLAPP Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Let us stick to the facts:
- Joseph Muscat personally authorised Henley and Partners to do exactly the same thing.
- Joseph Muscat was aware of at least 3 publicly acknowledged cases of threats of SLAPPs to Maltese media houses.
- Joseph Muscat was aware of Henley and Partners’ threat of a SLAPP to the Shift News which, to their credit, they ignored.
- Joseph Muscat is aware of Jason Azzopardi’s private members bill proposing anti-SLAPP legislation.
- Joseph Muscat is aware of recommendations from international media institutions, NGOs, and the editors of all independent media houses pleading for SLAPP.
- Joseph Muscat is aware of legal advice by specialist IT lawyers recommending anti-SLAPP legislation.
- Joseph Muscat is silent.
It is the actions that form a judgement of the will and intent of a political leader with the power to change things and the policy not to.
Every day he does not ban SLAPPs to protect media freedoms, while the threat of it hangs on all our necks, Joseph Muscat confirms his prior knowledge of SLAPPs yet to hit us. You need to understand that in the current reality not only have you been denied Daphne Caruana Galizia’s journalistic skills, her enormous capital of sources patiently accumulated over many years of trustworthy journalism and her indomitable courage. Your right of information is also quashed by your prime minister’s complicit, active or passive in the threat of use of law suits carrying liabilities of tens of millions of dollars.
Now this may not scare off the moderately insane like yours truly. But it’s known, for a fact, to have made newspapers you rely on for information change their own versions of what we know are facts in the past. We will never know what other information they may have come or may yet come across and choose to look away from to stay out of this enormous scale of trouble.
We will never know how many witnesses to information on wrongdoing, how many whistle-blowers, how many confidential sources, have clammed up out of fear that journalists they would have confided in might not report on the information they are given in spite of the enormous risks they took to give them it.
Media freedom is not some special privilege accorded to journalists. It is a protection of your right to information about who you are governed and how your money is spent on your behalf. If journalists are afraid of the truth, you will never know it.
Do not accept this.