After a 15 month wait, we heard this morning Magistrate Aaron Bugeja passed on his inquiry report on Egrant to the Attorney General.
I got a tipoff around 9 am and the source was neither the Attorney General’s office nor, of course, the Magistrate’s. At Labour HQ they were already patting each other on the back and soon moved to plan how you’re going to be hit by Labour’s interpretation of the findings.
Apparently, it’s a thousand page plus document so Labour will want you to skip to the bits it wants you to read.
Their planning is still going on though some of them are more enthusiastic than others and they’re already spraying their shorts all over Facebook. Many were too pleased with themselves to hide the fact they’ve been briefed before you.
Or before anyone was supposed to. Joseph Muscat also went premature this morning tweeting his reaction to the ‘news’ the AG was reading the Magistrate’s very long report seconds after the AG announced it.
Peter Grech received that report in his office as the chief prosecutor. In that office he reports to no one — the Constitution is explicit on that. He especially does not report to the prime suspect and subject of the inquiry report. The secrecy required by the law is particularly intended to prevent the subjects of the inquiry from being tipped off.
The collusion between prosecutor and persons of interest, in this case, did not start this morning. It is insufferable, and their guard, such as it is, was left at the door when they went in to work this morning to start plotting the manipulation of public opinion on this story.
Their reaction suggests Magistrate Bugeja did not reach slam dunk conclusions that determine without comment the fate of Joseph Muscat. They are getting ready to live another day and to turn their favourite lines from the inquiry findings as cannons against their enemies, real or perceived, dead or alive.
In the meantime, of course, these hours since the announcement this morning are intended for everyone else to accept their fate. You’re being massaged and when it’s time you’ll get Joseph Muscat’s spin on the inquiry report before anyone has managed to get half way through the original.
This started out as a farce. Remember how Aaron Bugeja got this poisoned chalice? It was hours after Lawrence Cutajar finished chewing on that Fenkata, now a meal so famous it trumps the Last Supper. It was also hours after Ali Sadr, the guy restricted to the New York and Tristate area on a bail bond of some $40m, raced down the Ta’ Xbiex road with bags full of the evidence Aaron Bugeja never got hold of.
That was the farce this started with until the job was handed over to the Magistrate. And now the Magistrate has handed his work back the farce continues.
These pauses in the developments; these waves of suspense; these acts of collusion between the suspect and the institutions that should be chasing him rather than serving him; these manipulations of timings and information management: this is the oil with which Joseph Muscat massages his audience filling their nostrils to cover the smell of lime with which he covers the rot.