The prime minister ruling out an independent inquiry into what the state could have done to prevent the killing of Daphne Caruana Galizia and to determine whether there is any responsibility by state actors in the occurrence is an abhorrent decision.
It belies his claim that he would leave ‘no stone unturned’ to find out all the facts surrounding the assassination. He expects us to believe there are no lessons to be learnt from this. Without needing to say so he is confident in the success of the campaign he has led to blame Daphne Caruana Galizia for her own death. That makes the incident as unrepeatable as the woman herself.
Follow the so called logic here. If Daphne Caruana Galizia was an evil, lying fabricator of slander, no one should be surprised by someone wanting to put a stop to that. Now she’s gone, only evil, lying fabrication of slander could cause another journalist to be killed. If she alone is responsible for her own death, then by extension the state has no responsibility in the matter.
Many of course have made altogether different allegations. Over the past year of trying to understand what could scar our democracy so deeply we have — I know I have — pointed fingers at the state.
This is often intentionally confused with alleging the prime minister ordered the killing of Daphne Caruana Galizia. I have nowhere near enough reason to make such a claim. But an independent inquiry finds more than criminal culpability.
An independent inquiry could assess the allegation that decades of vilifying campaigning by the political media of the Labour Party created the space that allowed the assassins to commit their act. It could assess the allegation that following the assassination of her character, the financial assassination perpetrated by a government Minister paved the way for the justification of her murder.
An independent inquiry could assess whether the state had reasons to suspect an attempt on Daphne Caruana Galizia’s life was likely. Whether it had detected those reasons and whether it did something about them when and if it did. An independent inquiry could assess the allegation that law enforcement agencies had the means to prevent the assassination and did nothing to prevent it.
An independent inquiry could assess the independence of the ongoing criminal investigation. Whether it has been adequately resourced. Whether there has been any political interference or any attempt to eliminate trails before they were adequately assessed. An independent inquiry could investigate whether the delays in forensic investigations as a result of Magistrate Consuelo Scerri Herrera’s delaying tactics had an impact on the findings. It could assess whether the promotion mid-stream of Magistrate Anthony Vella forced a handover at a time that weakened the prospects of a successful conclusion to the investigation.
An independent inquiry could evaluate the allegation that while he was in command of the investigation until removed by order of the Constitutional Court, Silvio Valletta suffocated the investigation.
An independent inquiry could teach us lessons about our democracy and why it is so dysfunctional at least in respect of protecting its journalists from risk to life and limb. It would not only enforce the law but would identify the lessons learnt from its gaps. It would apportion responsibility that is unconnected with the responsibility of murder: the responsibility to protect and to respect.
The prime minister’s excuse that a magisterial inquiry is ongoing is intentionally misleading. None of these issues can be in the competence of an inquiring magistrate or even the police for that matter. Even more so since some of the insights gleaned by an independent inquiry ought to be into the conduct of these investigations as well.
The prime minister’s suggestion that a parliamentary inquiry ‘could follow’ the conclusion of the criminal action is intentionally redundant. Joseph Muscat has led the effort to drive Daphne Caruana Galizia beyond the political pale. He has led the effort to make her a non-person and justified all sorts of violence perpetrated against her by pointing out at his interpretation of her writing and her journalism.
Members of Parliament should be the subject of an independent inquiry into the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia, not be its authors themselves.