GUEST POST: Look into my eyes

2020-09-07T10:31:56+02:00Mon, 7th Sep '20, 10:31|

While giving evidence at the public inquiry about the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in October 2017, Alfred Camilleri, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Finance, said that in the parliament building last year “someone had told me 'look me in the eyes and say I am not involved in anything',” while people were protesting [...]

Careless is not good

2020-09-07T07:47:37+02:00Mon, 7th Sep '20, 07:47|

Reports in The Sunday Times and Malta Today about Bernard Grech’s past issues with tax authorities do not make happy reading. He’s been late with his taxes several times throughout his career and has needed court orders chasing him for payment. He has a small one-man practice in family law which may explain his modest [...]

The lines behind Robert Abela

2020-09-05T16:29:56+02:00Sat, 5th Sep '20, 14:30|

Within 24 hours Robert Abela twice exceeded his authority as prime minister, to protect his political interest and the personal interest of his predecessor. The personal interests of Joseph Muscat and the political interests of Robert Abela are one and indivisible. If Joseph Muscat is personally indicted for crimes or made responsible for state failure [...]

Number 9 woke up dead

2020-09-05T09:55:26+02:00Sat, 5th Sep '20, 09:55|

Earlier this week, prison chief Alex Dalli told me there are 25 pending inquiries into his conduct as prison director. If that’s accurate, then it’s 26 today. A 9th person has died under his watch, a 45-year old man who, officially, has died of “natural causes”. Quite how that fact has already been established when [...]

Malta less compliant with financial information standards now than in 2013 – OECD

2020-09-05T09:58:52+02:00Sat, 5th Sep '20, 09:15|

Instead of working to address its darkening reputation as a secretive financial services jurisdiction that harbours tax dodgers and money launderers, Malta is taking initiatives that are heightening the suspicions of outside investors. A recent OECD report reviewing Malta’s transparency and compliance with international standards on information sharing found Malta is less compliant with international [...]

GUEST POST: He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother

2020-09-05T08:40:27+02:00Sat, 5th Sep '20, 08:40|

“It's a long, long road, from which there is no return While we're on the way to there, why not share? And the long doesn't way me down at all He ain't heavy - he's my brother.” In 1969, The Hollies, a British rock group, released the song ‘He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother’ which [...]

Council of Europe rapporteur tells Robert Abela to take hands off Daphne inquiry

2020-09-04T17:04:23+02:00Fri, 4th Sep '20, 17:04|

Council of Europe rapporteur Pieter Omtzigt who is following progress on Malta's implementations of his organisations recommendations after Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed, told Prime Minister Robert Abela today he must not interfere in the independent inquiry into her killing. "I note that the inquiry’s terms of reference state that it 'shall endeavour to conclude [...]

“Savage beating” in Malta leads to 11 arrests in anti-‘Ndrangheta investigation

2020-09-04T12:36:44+02:00Fri, 4th Sep '20, 12:36|

The “savage beating” last January of Giovanni d’Alessandro, a construction sub-contractor working in Malta, led to several arrests this week of bosses of the ‘Ndrangheta crime syndicate operating in Lombardy, Italy. Phone taps by anti-mafia prosecutors discovered details of a revenge hit in Malta to recover €2,900. The arrests happened after the internal backlash within [...]

GUEST POST: The scumbag and friends

2020-09-04T21:24:04+02:00Thu, 3rd Sep '20, 17:50|

John Sweeney of the BBC interviewed Joseph Muscat in January 2018 and called him the ‘Artful Dodger of Europe’ and ‘passport-seller-in-chief’. Today these adjectives look more like a compliment than an criticism. When, during that interview, Sweeney asked Joseph Muscat what has been the effect of the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia on Malta's [...]

A man with no name

2020-09-03T16:04:22+02:00Thu, 3rd Sep '20, 16:04|

A man died trying to escape the improvised prison in Ħal Far. All we’ve been told about him is that he is from Sudan. Sudan is not just miserably poor. Just last year state security forces fired on protesters killing 117 people and injuring thousands. Security forced fired live ammunition on unarmed civilians. That’s on [...]

Thoughts from one election, delivered to another.

2020-09-03T15:33:30+02:00Thu, 3rd Sep '20, 15:31|

Three years ago this week Adrian Delia and Chris Said were shortlisted for a two-man race for the leadership of the Nationalist Party. I had written an article on The Sunday Times reviewing Adrian Delia's new way, what it meant, what his indictment of his predecessors meant, and why I did not support any of [...]

How to get away with murder

2020-09-03T14:58:08+02:00Thu, 3rd Sep '20, 14:56|

Marian Kocner was shockingly acquitted today of the charge of ordering the murder of Slovak journalist Jan Kuciak. The decision by the Slovak court is subject to appeal in front of the country’s Supreme Court. And Kocner will not walk free today. Last February he was sentenced for 19 years in prison for one of [...]

Robert Abela is tired of the truth

2020-09-02T14:06:43+02:00Wed, 2nd Sep '20, 14:06|

It wasn't Robert Abela's decision to have an inquiry into the killing of Daphne Caruana Galizia. It wasn't really a decision anyone took. It was a surrender, a towel thrown, after two years of resistance by the government who refused to constitute the inquiry in spite of the call being made from the victim's family, [...]

GUEST POST: Newspeak 2020

2020-09-02T13:48:23+02:00Wed, 2nd Sep '20, 13:48|

“In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” – George Orwell Freedom of the press is the principal platform for ensuring freedom of expression and freedom of information. Unfortunately, hostility towards the media is spreading and journalists around the world are threatened by government censorship and organised crime syndicates. The murders of journalists highlight [...]

Examined distancing

2020-09-02T13:24:58+02:00Wed, 2nd Sep '20, 13:24|

This is how far apart students are being kept as they write their exam papers. The chairs are empty because the photo is taken before the exam starts. The photo is taken in one of the official examination halls currently in use. They'll all be stuffed of people and kept that way for hours, a [...]

Much remains hidden

2020-09-02T12:32:47+02:00Wed, 2nd Sep '20, 12:32|

In spite of the invitation I got to visit the prison, the government hasn’t properly addressed my repeated requests made since last November. No journalist is allowed to visit migrant centres, in spite of requests made by so many and so often. What we get instead are reports of degrading conditions and occasional riots blamed [...]

LONG READ: Alexander Dalli, the Wrath of God

2020-09-04T22:20:31+02:00Wed, 2nd Sep '20, 12:26|

(This might be one of the longest pieces on this blog, which is not notorious for the brevity of its wit. So keep this one for when you have the time for it. I trust you'll find it's worth your effort). I walked up to the prison door in the blazing sun of yesterday afternoon. [...]

Just visiting

2020-09-02T11:41:50+02:00Wed, 2nd Sep '20, 11:41|

After much struggle and toil, I was given the opportunity to visit the prison and ask its director some questions. It wasn’t easy. I wrote to then minister Michael Farrugia 5 times in November, never getting a proper answer. Then when it looked like the government was floundering, I waited for the change. In February [...]

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