The ever positive former prime minister Joseph Muscat is at it again – threatening and intimidating the family of a journalist murdered during his premiership, denigrating judges, discrediting the independent inquiry he was forced to set up before it has even concluded and prejudging its conclusions.
The man who abused the words of St Francis of Assisi to conceal his true colours and dupe the electorate is back to default position – spewing spite and fomenting hate.
Just four days after his catastrophically corrupt legacy dealt its latest blow to the country with Malta’s greylisting, Muscat was deflecting the public’s attention. He proposed a shameful “offer” to the Caruana Galizia family. “I am ready to drop the libel case against Caruana Galizia if her family will simply acknowledge the conclusions of the Egrant inquiry,” he said. Nobody took the bait. And the Egrant case is anything but resolved.
Everybody else was too distressed worrying how Malta’s greylisting would impact their own livelihood. Many others, including those who had been fooled by Muscat’s falsehoods, were ruing the day they trusted him. Many more were livid at how he scuttled the ship of state and quickly abandoned that ship.
Instead of doing the decent thing and issuing an apology, taking responsibility for the nation’s predicament and expressing remorse, Muscat sought to deflect attention, concocting a decoy that everybody ignored. Not content with his first attempt, he persisted. On 30 June, just one week after Malta’s greylisting, he uploaded an interminable Facebook post.
“I waited for nearly three days to elapse to see whether anybody would report anything interesting,” he moaned. “What I am referring to did not require any leaks or baseless speculation because it is a public document – but nobody opened his mouth about it.” Muscat was referring to an affidavit presented by Peter Caruana Galizia, the widower of the assassinated journalist and which Muscat then published on his Facebook page.
In the midst of a greylisting maelstrom, the disgraced former prime minister was picking another fight with the journalist’s family. Muscat will stoop to any depth. As even his successor cautiously distances himself from Muscat, the latter’s effort is exposed for what it truly is – a final desperate attempt to avert the inevitable castigation that will follow.
When Robert Abela was asked whether he would denounce the former prime minister, Abela’s clear reply was: “Joseph Muscat hasn’t formed part of this government since January 2020. Today he is no longer an MP, and so that question is already answered”.
No wonder Muscat’s panic is intensifying. If the prime minister withdraws his protection, nothing will prevent investigation of Muscat’s involvement in the multiple corrupt deals and illegalities. It is only a matter of time before Muscat joins his right-hand man, Keith Schembri and his loyal sidekicks Adrian Hillman, Brian Tonna and Karl Cini in facing justice.
Until then, Muscat continues to harm his country with his unbecoming and embarrassing snide commentary. This is not your common Labour troll, this is not Jason Micallef, Toni Zarb or Alfred Grixti. This is our former prime minister indulging in baiting the bereaved family of the assassinated journalist and inciting his loyal supporters to post hateful comments on his own Facebook page.
Romea Vella accused the journalist’s son of attempting to “kill the investigation, when you destroyed your mother’s laptop” on the former prime minister’s page. Another encouraged him to “screw everyone else dear Joseph” as if he needed encouragement. Another pleaded for Muscat to “make a came (sic) back brother Joseph”.
In his hysterical frenzy, Muscat was also digging his talons into the judges on the Caruana Galizia inquiry board. He accused them of abandoning their terms of reference – not deviating but completely abandoning those terms of reference (“Abbandunat l-istess termini”). Cynically, Muscat insisted “it is clear what the conclusion (of the inquiry) will be”. That responsibility, he demanded, will be carried by those judges.
Muscat made his disdain and wrath for the inquiry panel known in his insolent testimony before the inquiry. Now he perseveres in his attempt to undermine the inquiry itself, discredit the judges and torpedo the conclusions before the inquiry has even wrapped up. Such actions would be outrageous from any source. When the perpetrator is none other than a former prime minister, serious questions need to be asked.
What drives a former prime minister to interfere in the course of justice? Why does the man who conveniently insisted the institutions should be allowed to work when they were at a complete standstill, now put spokes in the wheels of those institutions that are working? If he’s so convinced Egrant exonerated him, what’s eating him?
Muscat frantically resisted setting up the Caruana Galizia public inquiry. For years he blocked all requests including from the United Nations Human Rights Council. It was only a three-month deadline set by the Council of Europe that compelled Muscat to reluctantly agree to set up the inquiry. When he did, the terms of reference were utterly restrictive.
The original terms simply referred to the “death” not the “assassination” of the journalist – making her demise almost sound natural. The original terms did not even oblige the prime minister to publish the findings of the board or submit the report to parliament. The family were not entitled to read the report. Joseph Muscat had appointed to the board of inquiry Prof Ian Refalo, who was Adrian Hillman’s lawyer, and Anthony Abela Medici who was appointed by the Labour government as Commissioner for the Voluntary Sector and who until his resignation hounded Repubblika.
It would take huge efforts and pressure for the terms of reference and board members to be changed. Andrew, one of the journalist’s sons, commented “this was one of the most painful fights we ever fought – and it must continue”.
How right he was. Even from beyond his political grave, Muscat recurrently resurrects to insult, intimidate and incite. That fight for truth and decency has only just begun.