Robert Abela is not in a good place. Like Joseph Muscat he appears to have been pre-advised of the raid at his predecessor’s house today. His response is rehearsed and recognisably Muscatian.
Robert Abela warned the magistrate to stay within the limits of the law and not to use her powers for ulterior motives. Wipe away the careful lawyerese painfully scripted so that he can deny alleging there have been ulterior motives. Robert Abela’s words are taken out of Joseph Muscat’s method when he was faced, and was concerned, with Aaron Bugeja’s Egrant inquiry.
Robert Abela cannot threaten to fire the magistrate. He cannot even threaten to block any chance of future promotion for her because thanks to Repubblika’s efforts that power is no longer in his hands.
But he can threaten to unleash on the magistrate and the police officers of conscience who may be working on this case with the power that he (and more significantly Joseph Muscat) has: to mobilise the ire of his partisan support. This is flat, unadulterated intimidation: it is the wielding of popular power to undermine the rule of law, no more, no less.
The minute news of the raid on Joseph Muscat’s property came out, henchmen like Emmanuel Cuschieri and Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando, the people Muscat used for over a decade to mobilise the nastiest, ugliest trolls, started spewing their pathetic wails about how poor Joseph Muscat has been vilified and tormented. Imagine just for a second if this was happening with a PN government in place. It’s odd to say this but for this fact at least, it’s a blessing it isn’t.
Robert Abela has no place threatening a magistrate. And no matter how they spin it, the urgent reference to the risk of exceeding her powers “for something else” was a threat. As was the pathetic reference to Joseph Muscat’s long politically-exploited daughters whose mobile toys were taken away by the police today.
As if when a magistrate orders that a suspect’s phone is collected, the suspect can simply tell the police their phone really belongs to their children. Joseph Muscat wanted to pull Keith Schembri’s shit about his lost phone and now he’s moaning he wasn’t allowed to.
I can almost understand Joseph Muscat using the ‘my poor babies lost their phones’ palaver because in some universe his two daughters still elicit sympathy. But quite why the prime minister of a European nation should lament the fact that two 14-year-olds have had their phones (their phones mind you, not their clothes, their food, or their shelter) taken away because their father is suspected by the police of major crimes is impossible even for me to explain.
Unless Robert Abela is more, or then again less, than the prime minister of a European nation. Remember when Malta’s justice minister – Owen Bonnici at the time – said in the context of the Egrant inquiry that he was also Joseph Muscat’s personal lawyer?
Would it stun you to learn then that Joseph Muscat now hires the country’s prime minister as his personal attorney? I wouldn’t think so.
It is clear from a number of very explicit facts that we are coming up to a cross roads. If allowed to take its course the ongoing VGH investigation has the potential of caressing Joseph Muscat’s wrists with the clumsy taste of metal. This is no fantasy. The hospitals deal never made sense. We’ve been through one general election since we first understood the basics of what happened and we’re coming up on another. But that deal never, never made sense unless it could be explained with corruption.
What should be amazing us is not the fact that a raid on Joseph Muscat’s has occurred but that it didn’t happen a good four years ago.
It is also clear that Joseph Muscat is not as vulnerable as anyone against whom so much evidence exists should be. At this stage of a magisterial inquiry, after years of publicly available evidence, and so many witnesses babbling in the attempt of buying their own survival, any suspect of a major crime would be worried. I’m not saying Joseph Muscat isn’t worried. I’m saying that he is doing more than putting on the airs that what happened today was an inconvenience equivalent to the parish priest showing up at his door armed with holy water before his wife has changed the curtains for the Easter season.
Joseph Muscat is mobilising all resources left to him to survive. He has contacts in the police that still owe him whatever influence they still enjoy. It looks like they tipped him off ahead of today’s raid. It also looks like that information reached Robert Abela who was never entitled to receive it.
Joseph Muscat wields more useful assets than just whispering police officers. He has a grip on a big chunk of support in the Labour Party and the loyalists to mobilise them to whatever mad end suits him. And he still has that as a consequence of the simple fact that Robert Abela could not and did not attempt to distance his party from his predecessor.
Therefore, at these cross roads, the course of events will either lead to justice served on Joseph Muscat and his accomplices, or, if Joseph Muscat has his way, the law in Malta is suppressed by the hand of criminals in political power and their puppets, beginning with Robert Abela.
All the talk you heard from Robert Abela about good governance and the rule of law? He set it all alight tonight. He knows on which side his bread is buttered. It isn’t the side of justice. It’s the side of protecting Joseph Muscat from the long, stretched, bloodied arm of the law.
Here’s a warning to Robert Abela then. All must pay their dues and if you don’t want to go deeper into debt with justice, back off and repeat to yourself your too often repeated mantra: let the institutions work, even when you don’t quite like what they’re doing to your friends and masters.