Joseph Muscat must be held accountable

“The central cause was one man… who many others followed.  None of this would have happened without him.  He was personally and substantially involved in all of it.”

These comments weren’t referring to disgraced former prime minister Joseph Muscat in relation to Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination.  They were made by Liz Cheney, referring to Donald Trump.

Trump didn’t personally break down the doors of the Capitol.  He didn’t break windows or pull down security barriers himself. He didn’t fire the gun that killed Ashli Babbitt, an Air Force veteran.

He didn’t beat Officer Brian Sicknick to death himself.  He didn’t crush Rosanne Boyland to death. Yet Trump is held responsible for the riot on the Capitol on 6 January.

Joseph Muscat didn’t place the bomb under Daphne Caruana Galizia’s car seat.  He didn’t send that fateful SMS “‘#RL1=ON” that triggered the devastating explosion.  Yet the central cause of Caruana Galizia’s assassination was Joseph Muscat.

Muscat was in court recently testifying in a libel suit he instituted against lawyer Christian Grima who posted a comment in response to Michelle Muscat’s callous words about the journalist’s murder.

“What happened to her?”, Grima wrote, “your husband blew her up”.

Muscat took offence.  “A red line” had been crossed.  Muscat argued the comment was defamatory.  Grima’s comment placed him “in the same position as the murderer,” he claimed.

No, it placed Muscat in his rightful place, one far worse than the murderer’s. The murderers assassinated a woman they didn’t know for money. Somebody paid that money to commission her murder.

Muscat created the environment that enabled that murder to occur.  The public inquiry said as much about the climate of impunity for which he was responsible.

Grima’s lawyer explained his client’s remark was not intended to imply Muscat placed the bomb or detonated it. Muscat knew precisely what the comment meant.

Ironically, Muscat’s lawyer Pawlu Lia rebutted that such comments “sparked hatred and triggered possible consequences”.

What about Muscat’s 2017 comments that “Malta is being tarnished from Bidnija”? We know what happened – the macabre dismemberment of his client’s most prominent critic.

So how could one man cause all this? Muscat’s intent and motivations are becoming increasingly clear.  He had a roadmap before he was even elected.

Those in his inner circle had their roadmap too.  Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri established secretive Panama companies and desperately attempted to open bank accounts. They were Muscat’s key aides in implementing his roadmap.

They knew exactly what they were up to, as did the American Department of Justice. “Their involvement in significant corruption” led to them and their families being banned from entering the US.

“In their official capacities as Minister of Energy and Chief of Staff to the prime minister, Mizzi and Schembri were involved in corrupt acts that included using their political influence and official power for their personal benefit”, the DOJ declared.

“There is credible information that Mizzi and Schembri were involved in a corrupt scheme that entailed the award of a government contract for the construction of a power plant… in exchange for kickbacks and bribes”, the statement concluded.

Muscat was central to all this.  He knew what Schembri and Mizzi were doing. But he protected and defended them to the hilt.

Several ministers implored Muscat to sack them.  Muscat ignored them. He knew they lacked the courage and the will to defy him, and he was right.

In parliament, those ministers voted to support Mizzi, who was retained as a minister within the OPM.  Muscat had all the information at his disposal.  He decided to retain Mizzi and Schembri – not because he’s stupid or because he’s loyal, but because he was the leader of that nefarious trio.

None of this is normal.  None of this is acceptable.

Yet Muscat survived for months.  So did Mizzi and Schembri. Only Schembri is indicted on various charges – money laundering, fraud, forgery, and corruption. Mizzi and Muscat continue to evade justice.

That’s because of Muscat’s successful demolition of the institutions.  Muscat knew the institutions only hold when men and women of integrity make them hold.

So Muscat deftly populated them with loyal sycophants with the explicit intention of rendering those institutions irrelevant.

Muscat knew that for his roadmap to work, he needed people who wouldn’t stand in his way and to remove all those who might.  That’s why he removed Police Commissioner John Rizzo.

That’s why he got rid of Marie Louise Coleiro Preca. That’s why he sacked Godfrey Farrugia. That’s why he installed Lawrence Cutajar as commissioner.

That’s why he put Silvio Valletta on the FIAU.  Or Jeffrey Curmi to lead the AFM. Or Joseph Cuschieri as CEO of MFSA.  Or Frederick Azzopardi as Enemalta chairman. And Anglu Farrugia as Speaker.

Muscat was intent on breaking the institutions and the republic.

Muscat’s loyalists within the institutions failed their duty through fealty to the leader. They didn’t stand up for Malta. They stood up for one man, aiding him in subverting the rule of law and abusing his power.

Muscat ordered Schembri to contact Yorgen Fenech. He invited Fenech to his birthday party. He travelled with him to Ali Sadr Hasheminejad’s wedding in Tuscany. He maintained a private chat group with Fenech and Schembri.

On the day Muscat was informed by police about plans to raid the Marsa potato shed, Fenech was told.  Fenech passed that information to Theuma, who informed the Degiorgios about the date and time of the raid.

Caruana Galizia’s assassination was appallingly evil.  Our country cannot just punish the foot soldiers who executed the assassination.  Those who commissioned her murder must face justice. So must the man who created the environment that made it possible.

Some principles must be beyond politics. Those principles are more important than any single person – even if that person is the former prime minister. Without accountability, Muscat’s iniquities become normal – and it will all happen again.

                           
                           
                               
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Paul Pullicino
Paul Pullicino
1 month ago

The world knows Hitler murdered six million Jews. But he never gave the order to kill. His orders were to demonise German Jews as traitors of the fatherland. It’s the people under him that did the killing without fear of consequence.

Last edited 1 month ago by Paul Pullicino
Francis Said
Francis Said
1 month ago

Unfortunately Joseph Muscat still wields power, through third parties. The case of Magistrate Lia refusing to recuse, the fact that her father in law’s altercation with the leader and motivator of Repubblika. The very fact that Dr. Lia is a member of the Administration of Justice are significant examples.

carlos
1 month ago

As usual Dr. K. Cassar straight to the point and no beating around the bush. The most corrupt pm Malta ever had had turned Malta into a mafia state.

saviour mamo
saviour mamo
1 month ago

Unfortunately, most of the atrocities and scandals carried out by Labour under Dom Mintoff and Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici went unpunished. The result is that we had more serious scandals and even a killing of a journalist under Joseph Muscat and Robert Abela.

Gee Mike
Gee Mike
1 month ago

We are only here because in 1988 we went stupidly for reconciliation. The the screwed remained screwed, and the thief’s kept their loot.
This time around “Unity” is being sounded, I will only call for “Justice” I want all the stolen money back, and the thief’s in jail, then we can have Unity.

Philip Andrew Ransley
Philip Andrew Ransley
1 month ago
Reply to  Gee Mike

How very 👍 right

Eddy
Eddy
1 month ago

Joseph Muscat must be held accountable.:
He can do or order what he wants, he’s the Maltese Putin, in fact, is he not a Russian orphan?

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