Lawyers for Jonathan Ferris this morning filed yet another protest on his behalf giving a detailed account of the sort of runaround he is being given by the authorities whose interest lies in him remaining silent.
We are supposed to have whistle-blower protection in this country. The theory is that when the bosses are corrupt, their underlings need to break the rules to tell on them. That’s how we find out the bosses are corrupt.
It is the opposite logic of the foot soldiers of the SS who said they knew shooting civilians was illegal but they were following orders, which was what they were trained and expected to do.
Well we’re supposed to know better now. Civil servants are not automata in the hands of corrupt politicians. They have their own constitutional function and that includes keeping the administration of power on the straight and narrow. And when they don’t manage the nice way we have laws to protect them as they step out of the system and help bring corrupt politicians to justice.
Clearly these mechanisms work if a contractor wants to get the husband of an ex-PN minister in trouble. Not only are they given immunity from any consequences from the brown envelopes they handed over. They are also given incentives in the form of multiple contracts as rewards for their cooperation. If that helps get to the bottom of truth, so be it.
But if the accused are Labour ministers, with secret companies in Panama, trusts in New Zealand and bank accounts in Dubai, alleged to be stashing bribes left, right and bloody centre, we get the sort of treatment described in today’s protest.
Because in spite of all the lies to the public, the press, the international media and European institutions, there is one truth Joseph Muscat wants to continue to be able to say: Daphne Caruana Galizia’s reports have never been proven in court.
The way to ensure that remains the case is to make sure they are never heard by a court at all. For as long as that can be avoided, these stories remain outside the circle of proven fact. In the dual mind of those who do not think if it is proven fact it must be false.
The scene described by Jonathan Ferris’ lawyers reminds me of the eighth Herculean task of Asterix. To prove he is a god, Julius Ceaser instructs him to get a form A 38 from a civil service office, known affectionately as ‘the place that sends you mad’. He’s made to go up and down the stairs negotiating his way through the maddening lack of logic, the rubber wall of bureaucracy.
Except that in the Twelve Tasks of Asterix, the civil servants mean well and are not actually aware just how confusing their systems are. And Asterix is probably a god.
Here the bureaucracy is under the spell of an evil regime intent on covering its tracks and Jonathan Ferris is but a man facing this monster down alone.