The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?

There is one “ruthless mastermind” the country is after and it is not Daphne Caruana Galizia but the one who killed her; the one who decided to make a show out of her assassination by blasting her to high heaven, in a show of force that was intended to send a message and silence a country.

This fact escaped Labour MP Rosianne Cutajar who continues to take pleasure in bashing a journalist beyond the grave, someone she knows can no longer answer her – and that is what is feeding Cutajar’s enthusiasm because she could never stand her ground against Daphne. She had the chance when Daphne was alive, but she failed miserably.

Cutajar posted a photo of the posters erected on Daphne’s memorial showing her face together with those of former Opposition Leader Simon Busuttil, PN MEP David Casa and Pilatus Bank whistleblower Maria Efimova with the words ‘Crooks’.

The posters mocked the assassinated journalist’s last words and they were a clear rebuttal of the posters erected on the day marking her death every month to voice calls for justice.

Government members and officials screeching that “illegal banners” calling for justice should be taken down (and they were) did not have the same problem when the message worked in their favour. And the Planning Authority did not rush in and take down the offensive banners as the Authority did when Il-Kenniesa put up messages for the Prime Minister on the road to his house.

We did not see activists tearing them down either, as happens when Muscat loyalists decide to defend freedom of expression by silencing others.

These were Cutajar’s words on the pro-government posters plastered on Daphne’s memorial: “Instead of affixing posters, I would have cleared everything. The ruthless mastermind behind the Egrant fabrication doesn’t deserve being commemorated on a national monument”.

Before we handle the manipulations and fabrications – the ones by the government – the obvious needs to be stated: Cutajar does not get to decide who the public respects and wants to commemorate.

Four months after Daphne’s death, Cutajar took to Twitter to tell Daphne’s son, Matthew Caruana Galizia, that calls for justice for his mother were “embarissing” (sic). And on the day marking eight months since Daphne’s assassination she stood up in Parliament and let rip into a dead woman – a woman killed under the watch of a government of which she is a member. A victim they had set up as a target of hate, and permitted celebrations of her death in the Labour Party’s secret online groups.

Yet Cutajar is on a mission on behalf of the government. She did not stop there. The Labour MP chose to taunt and pressure activists, journalists and MEPs including her counterpart in the European Socialist group – Portughese MEP Ana Gomes:

“Are you ok? You’re so quite (sic),” Cutajar said to Gomes on Twitter.

These are the people running the government’s communications – their credentials can’t be their command of the language…

She even said she expected an apology, although she is not likely to get one soon from Gomes who immediately addressed the attempt at spin by the government’s permanent representative to the EU Cyrus Engerer to tell him exactly what she thinks of the manipulations by the Maltese government.

It is particularly revolting to anyone capable of rational thought to watch government members killing a journalist a second time. That is why the public relations piece for the Prime Minister’s wife Michelle Muscat with Malta Today’s Saviour Balzan backfired.

Daphne’s sister, Corinne Vella, pointed out to Michelle Muscat that an interviewer willing to accommodate her was not necessarily a good thing. Once you let your guard down you tend to make stupid mistakes because you think the public will be as sympathetic as the person unwilling to ask you the real questions on people’s minds.

And Michelle Muscat made a huge mistake that revealed a great deal. She said: “When I heard the news about what happened to her, I think I was more sorry than her own family. Her family could go on to make her a saint; but at the same time I said to myself: ‘Now I will have to live with her lies’”

Reacting, lawyer and academic Justin Borg-Barthet hit the nail on the head: “What she said, essentially, was that her desire for revenge is greater than what she understands of maternal and filial love for a murder victim. It’s awfully twisted, and entirely credible”.

It is now open season to bash anyone who was ever critical of the government in a two-pronged attack: using the inconclusive and as yet unsupported findings of the Egrant inquiry to whitewash reputations infected by corruption (backed by documentary evidence and the subject of further magisterial inquiries) while at the same time discrediting and ridiculing citizens and journalists through fabricated lies.

While Joseph Muscat and his cohorts love to use #fakenews on posts to counter facts reported in the media and spin their own lies, it is the government that is the greatest generator of fake news in the country through its sheer dominance of the public sphere.

Taxpayers’ money continues to be used to pay the salaries of people who generate and spread these lies, who manage their secret online hate groups targeting citizens and politicians, and who spend millions on advertising to drive propaganda messages to counter legitimate criticism.

One of the posts by government consultant Tony Zarb

The drip feeding of information on the findings of the Egrant inquiry present a dangerous situation in the country:

  • There is a fabricated dispute between the government and the Attorney General on whether the findings should be published. This has allowed the government to announce it will publish a redacted version of the findings as though it were some benevolent offering rather than an injustice. Yet it is the Attorney General who has the power to decide these things. Read more.
  • The ‘report’ by Magistrate Aaron Bugeja is in fact a collection of evidence, including witnesses who have revealed information on people close to the Prime Minister who are still the subject of other inquiries into corruption. In a country where people do not speak up for fear of retribution, can you imagine how those people who testified are feeling, knowing that what they said is in the government’s hands while not public information? Read more.
  • It has allowed the government to manipulate narratives and attack and discredit others who still have no access to the evidence collected. Read more.

What we do know for sure is that while the Prime Minister has kept his cards to his chest on an inquiry of which he is the subject, the government has spent the last two weeks fabricating lies against independent critics and journalists who refuse to toe the line.

There is one fact Joseph Muscat and his cohorts must keep in mind – the fight for justice is not going to stop. The question of ‘who killed Daphne?’ will continue to haunt it, because that is the “ruthless mastermind” that needs to face the country, not a journalist who died because of what she revealed.

Read more: 6 things to keep in mind about the Egrant inquiry


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