I don’t really see the point of all the circumlocution. Joseph Muscat carries the ultimate responsibility for all the awkward answers a truly independent and impartial inquiry could turn out.If it is determined that the state could have done more to protect Daphne Caruana Galizia, the buck stops with Joseph Muscat. If it is determined that the state has failed to ensure her assassination is properly investigated, the buck stops with Joseph Muscat. If it is determined that media freedom in Malta has been allowed to deteriorate by government action or inaction, the buck stops with Joseph Muscat.
Therefore, the fact that Joseph Muscat “has full confidence” in the people he chose to determine the answers to those questions is not merely irrelevant, it is profoundly worrying. It’s like saying that Alfred Degiorgio has full confidence in the jurors he gets to choose.
Alfred Sant tried to sound sarcastic yesterday when he said that judging by the reaction to Joseph Muscat’s choices for this board of inquiry, the real solution would be to appoint me – Manuel Delia – along with Jason Azzopardi and Ana Gomes on this inquiry board.
I am in no way qualified. But Alfred Sant should not be shocked by his own suggestion. It’s not as outlandish as he meant it to be. When special counsels are appointed in the United States to investigate transgressions by the federal administration, the chosen investigators are either people who owe allegiance to no one or, better still, people known for their rabid dislike of the administration they are appointed to investigate.
That’s how a government clears its name. By having people with no reason to like it, or preferably with much reason to dislike it, acquit it altogether.
Joseph Muscat knows he can only really get anywhere near something that sounds like clearing his name by fixing the goal posts himself. That’s what he did with the Egrant inquiry which started at his own request late that Thursday night in April 2017 after all the evidence that could be useful had already been whisked away.
For this inquiry he needed to wait two full years and was forced to back down and call it after the weight of international pressure became such, even he could not resist it.
Now he’s controlling the outcome by compromising the members of the inquiry board: one by his involvement in the parallel criminal inquiry, the other by his “viva chi regna” slavish attitude to the government that employs him, and the other by more useful professional secrets he must keep to himself than the fly on the wall that night when Ali Sadr was packing his bags late at night.
As ever what really hurts most is the jerking around the government submits the Caruana Galizias to. The vindictiveness is unbelievable. Do not for a minute separate the “announcement” of this sham inquiry with the reiterated statement by Joseph Muscat that he wants the Caruana Galizia family to “acknowledge” the Egrant inquiry when they were never even allowed to read it. Do not therefore separate it from the parallel trolling leads by Labour Squealers like Karl Stagno Navarra that started the online spin that the family deserves this suffering. Do not separate it from Alfred Sant’s post that says without shame that the relatives of an assassinated journalist should not have an opinion on who looks into why their mother was killed.
L-ewwel tohrog b’gidba oxxena li kwasi destabilizzat pajjiz, u l-Kunsill tal-Ewropa trid li l-PM iwaqqa’ l-libelli…u mela le!
— Karl Stagno-Navarra (@ksnavarra) September 19, 2019
The haters take their cue loud and clear. The flood of posts about how Daphne’s sons killed their mother to make Joseph Muscat look bad follows inevitably all over Facebook like a torrent let lose by a shattered sluice.
Joseph Muscat gets away with this because there’s no one to stop him. It is as unfair to expect Peter, Matthew, Andrew and Paul Caruana Galizia to stand in resistance to the evil corruption and execrable moral vacuity of this government as it was when we stood by while their mother tried to fight this chimera alone and died in the attempt.
I am revolted by posts, even by well-meaning do-gooders commenting on this blog, egging the Caruana Galizia family on and proffering their cheque book to fund legal battles as we enjoy the spectacle like a fee-paying audience at a gladiatorial show.
Peter, Matthew, Andrew and Paul Caruana Galizia do not owe us their lives. They have a right to live their own for themselves and their own families. And instead they are there on the front line holding on as tight as they can under the vicious torment and hatred inflicted on them.
Their mother was dehumanised as a witch before she could be killed. They are being dehumanised as matricides. Let’s not mince words. When they’re charged about hiding evidence – which they haven’t – or, most cruel of all, told they left the car within reach of their mother’s assassins as part of a conspiracy to kill her, they are being described as mother-killers. Denied even the assumption that ‘Russians love their mothers too’, to twist a borrowed phrase, they are made to be inhuman.
Do not for a moment comfort yourselves that a couple of haughty statements by NGOs like Repubblika, or an angry blog post I write in the comfort of my home, or a few well-meaning editorials in the newspapers, make this ordeal any easier.
If anything, it makes it worse. Consider this news report from Net TV that betrays that among the other absurd delusions the Nationalist Party is under there’s this idea that a half-hearted speech by Adrian Delia to no one in particular on Independence Day’s eve had any impact whatsoever on things.
I hear Adrian Delia thinks he’s ‘setting the agenda’ and that he’s had a hand in securing a meeting for the Caruana Galizia family with Joseph Muscat. Could a man have a more tenuous relationship with reality?
Joseph Muscat has had to accept to meet the Caruana Galizia family two whole years after their mother was killed in a car bomb because that family did not have a single day of proper mourning their loss in those two years. Instead they campaigned incessantly to protect the memory of her mother, to continue her journalistic work and to bring to the world’s attention the miserable state of the rule of law in Malta and the condition of our very human rights. That work has brought about the international pressure including an explicit deadline from Europe’s human rights organisation that not even Joseph Muscat could escape.
The Caruana Galizia family owes thanks to no one, least of all the Nationalist Party that has been disgracefully missing during two whole years when duty called it to fulfil the first thing this nation always recognised it was most useful for: fighting and protecting human rights.
The pattern repeats itself. Daphne fought alone. Her husband and sons are fighting practically alone. There’s practically no one in the political firmament that is willing to stand with them. I know there are some splendid exceptions and the exceptions exist only in the Nationalist Party. There are MPs and MEPs that have been absolutely marvellous. But they still stand in a party that will not itself lift a finger.
With an opposition like that facing him, no wonder Joseph Muscat feels such confidence in the outcomes of realities he conjures with no one there to challenge him.