Michael Vella is a frequent contributor to the comments boards of this website. He sent the below comment as a contribution to the discussion on the ‘untimely interruption‘ of the work the FBI did on identifying the movements of devices used by the alleged assassins hired to kill Daphne Caruana Galizia. Their review of their movements stopped at the time of her death when analysis of what happened later could help understand who the assassins were working for. Read his comment. I make one additional observation beneath.
From Michael A. Vella:
See Running Commentary post dated 31st May 2017. Plans were made by Henley and Partners to silence Daphne Caruana Galizia by SLAPP action, and approved by Keith Schembri and Joseph Muscat, back in November 2016.
The plan was held back, quite certainly, due to public dissent and the loss of PL votes that such action would have caused in the lead up to early 2018 general election. SLAPP action had to wait until Joseph Muscat was again secure in government for a further five years. By late January or early February 2017, the decision had already been taken to move forward the election to June that year.
(Note by Manuel Delia: See also Daphne’s post of May 17th of last year where she shows that the Labour Party’s election theme had already been decided by the previous April when the domain name www.laqwazmien.com was registered. The registration of that domain on 7 April predates the Egrant story by 13 days).
The urgent need to silence Daphne was the real reason why the election date was brought forward, and not, as sometimes and incorrectly stated, the report weeks later, in April, that Egrant is owned by Michelle Muscat.
SLAPP action was then instituted in Arizona, USA, against Daphne Caruana Galizia by Ali Sadr/Pilatus Bank, but put on hold (somewhat unconvincingly) because her home address was not known.
Following the election of Adrian Delia late in September, and the consequent emasculation of the PN as a credible political force capable of rallying an adverse public reaction to Daphne being subjected to serious harm, the political climate favored a less protracted, cheaper, and permanent solution – during the last week in September, Daphne’s home and her movements were put under constant surveillance by her killers. On the 15th October she was being stalked while in Floriana. On the 16th October, Monday, at 2.58 pm she was assassinated by a 400 gram TNT specially made bomb placed inside her car.
A few hours before Daphne’s murder, Pilatus Bank threatened the media with SLAPP action if stories that Pilatus deemed to be detrimental to its reputation (sic) were published and unless those in their archives removed.
A few hours after Daphne’s killing Pilatus quietly withdrew their SLAPP action in Arizona against against Daphne.
I want to add just one observation to the point about the February decision to bring forward the general elections by an entire year. FBI agents today provided details on the phone that was used as detonator by the bombers. It had only been used twice before – in January and August 2017.
On January 10, 2017, between 3.19 pm and 3.25 pm, texts were sent from the phone in question to another number. The same thing happened on August 21, 2017. At 1.41 am on October 16 that phone was turned on. It remained in same location until it received a text message from another number with a 356 prefix at 2.58pm. The message read:’#rel1=on’. It was then disconnected from the network.
The plot to assassinate Daphne Caruana Galizia was in place in January 2017. The election date was set in February 2017. The assassination plot kicked back into action after the election result.