Don’t give me away, someone once said to his accomplice. Don’t give me away. The “or else” implied, darkly, as one conspirator sits desperately trying to bargain his way out of jail.
The stories we hear on an almost daily basis of the machinations employed by the murderers of Daphne Caruana Galizia as they attempt to deceive and gaslight the general public, as they try to divert blame away from themselves, as they stab each other in the back in full view of everyone else, tell a tale of such sordid dishonour that at times it literally takes one’s breath away.
Indeed, the sheer horror of it all, the depths to which these bottom-feeding characters are able to sink, the outright lies and mangling of the truth they dish out as they twist and turn on the hook of their own criminality, is becoming as damaging to our country as the corruption itself.
More than three years since Caruana Galizia was assassinated, the Labour government – still incredibly in power despite all – sinks deeper and deeper into infamy. Robert Abela, manoeuvred into position a year ago to ensure “continuity” meant attempting to derail any progress in the murder investigation, was quick to announce that following the guilty plea of one of the assassins, no politicians had been found to be involved in the crime.
He claimed Vince Muscat’s admission as a personal achievement, waved it around as proof that the “rule of law” prevailed in Malta.
Somehow, we were supposed to forget that accused murderer Yorgen Fenech claimed to have been passed, via his doctor, a letter from Keith Schembri detailing how he should pin the blame for the murder on then-minister Chris Cardona. Don’t give me away! Somehow, we were supposed to forget the dead-of-night calls between disgraced former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, his sleazy sidekick Schembri and Fenech himself, just minutes before Fenech tried to flee the island on his yacht.
Somehow, we were supposed to forget about the message groups between the three, the lavish gifts, the holidays abroad, the intimacy with which they addressed each other. Somehow, we were supposed to forget, just because Abela told us to, that murder middleman Melvin Theuma had been given a government job he didn’t have to actually do and had been photographed with Schembri in his office in Castille just a few months before the murder.
Somehow, we are expected to believe that Fenech decided entirely on his own and without any ‘insurance’ from his many friends in high places, that he’d murder Caruana Galizia and pay for it all himself. Somehow, we are expected to forget that Theuma’s evidence in court told how the assassination plot had been delayed just before the 2017 election and then restarted just after the Labour government was re-elected. “Mexxi, mexxi” are words that will forever hold the chilling, hideous portent given to them by Fenech’s message to Theuma as he celebrated the Labour Party win with wild abandon.
Police chief Angelo Gafa’s assertion that everyone involved in Caruana Galizia’s assassination had been apprehended was even more categorical than Robert Abela’s statement and just as preposterous.
First, of course, because with all the many strands and tendrils of connections that the murder conspiracy involved, he can’t possibly know for a fact that no-one involved has escaped detection. Second, because it’s simply not credible that Fenech would have taken the enormous risk of commissioning the assassination of Malta’s most prominent journalist, a job that relied on the discretion of so many loose cannons, without having some sort of get-out-of-jail-free card up his sleeve.
And third, because if the thesis of Fenech’s guilt is built upon his need to block Caruana Galizia’s publication of reports on the Electrogas swindle, his ownership of 17 Black and the links with Konrad Mizzi’s and Keith Schembri’s Panama companies, it’s very clear that at the very least, Mizzi and Schembri would have had just as much, if not greater, motivation to silence her.
If anything, as we follow the sordid trails of this investigation, it seems that far from the ‘mastermind’ being a single person, the plot is much more likely to have involved multiple conspirators. The lengths so many people in government and positions of authority have gone to in attempts to shut down the investigations and divert attention from the obvious to the obscure suggest an even wider participation than just one sleazy businessman and a couple of murderous government ministers and officials.
There’s so much left unexplained, so many avenues walled off, so many turnings blocked, that being told the crime has been solved, the criminals all caught is akin to being told black is white, when clearly black is not white. It’s the kind of crazy-making gaslighting that abusive spouses use to try and control their victims. Done on a national scale, it’s mind-boggling, destructive and despair-inducing.
There’s only one way to deal with this kind of abuse. Call out the lies, call out the tactics, call out the obvious facts. Only guilty people worry about accomplices giving them away.