Ask questions, face the consequence

Karen Gravano, the daughter of a mafia boss, noticed her family was different when, at the age of six, she found a gun hidden under her dad’s bed. Her dad explained to her that “What goes on in our family stays behind these walls – we don’t ever talk about it to anyone else”.

The six-year-old Gravano wondered why everything was such a big secret but understood her father was ‘important’.  When he entered a room people would rush over to shake his hand and kiss his cheek. But what struck her most was her own mother.

She married her dad on her 18th birthday and steadfastly stood by him ever since and never asked questions – the perfect Mafia wife. Realistically she had little choice.  She knew what asking questions would lead to.

Mafia bosses don’t like questions – not even from their wives for one simple reason.  They have too much to hide.

Their secrets are shockingly horrifying.  Questions pose a real threat to their power and their very freedom.   No questions are ever tolerated, not even from their own family.

Robert Abela’s army of lawyers is taking the same approach.  One of those lawyers representing the Planning Authority suggested in court that if the Shift did not want to battle a barrage of lawsuits filed by Robert Abela’s government, it should stop asking questions.

Lawyer Melanie Sammut argued in court that the Shift should stop filing Freedom of Information requests if it didn’t want to be financially crippled by Abela’s lawsuits.

Forty identical appeals have been filed by 40 different public entities against FOI requests made by The Shift and against the rulings of the Information Commissioner and the Appeals Tribunal.

Robert Abela is determined to crush The Shift.  The Information Commissioner ruled in favour of the Shift in 40 separate FOI requests.

Abela’s government appealed all 40 before the Appeals Tribunal. That Tribunal has so far ruled in favour of the Shift in 27 of those cases.

But Abela is digging his heels in.  He has instructed those government entities to make a second appeal against the Tribunal’s ruling in court.

All of Abela’s appeals are filed against one woman – Caroline Muscat.  Those appeals are fronted by over 80 lawyers paid by taxpayers, with one objective – to conceal information from the public.

What is Robert Abela so desperately concealing? Why is he targeting one woman with crippling lawsuits for simply trying to do her job?

Those FOI requests are about payments by public entities and ministries made to Media Today’s Saviour Balzan.  It seems slightly odd that Abela would put such massive efforts and resources into concealing something as petty as Balzan’s remuneration.

But then The Shift has already revealed that Balzan had received at least €1 million in government contracts. And that’s before the 40 separate FOI requests have been answered.

Abela has plenty to hide. He’s determined to stop anybody from asking questions.  This is not just about Saviour Balzan. This is far bigger.

In his relentless battle against The Shift, Abela is making it crystal clear to anybody who dares ask uncomfortable questions that they will pay the price for their insolence.

Abela’s letting everybody know he will go to the earth’s end to destroy those who cross him.

But he’s sending another message to those who collaborate with him. ‘I will defend you till the end,’ is what he’s telling them.

‘I will not abandon you, I will not ditch you, I will stick by you, and I will use and abuse my power to crush anybody daring to ask questions about you. Nothing will stop me from throttling the very life out of journalists.’

Robert Abela expects nobody to ask questions.  And for those who insist on persevering with their inquiries, he’ll mete out the cruellest punishment.

For a country that witnessed the barbaric murder of another intrepid woman, Abela’s open hostility towards Caroline Muscat is deeply disturbing. There is something obsessive about it.

And while he instructs the various ministries and government entities to fight The Shift’s FOI requests tooth and nail, his justice minister mouths platitudes about Labour’s commitment to the EU SLAPP directive.

Minister Jonathan Attard told EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders that Malta is strongly in favour of adequate safeguards for journalists “from judicial proceedings that are manifestly unfounded or abusive”.

Abela’s government issued a press release through the DOI with the comical title: “Malta remains committed to the European anti-SLAPP directive”.

In July 1968, Jeremy Boissevain delivered a short talk titled, ‘Why do the Maltese ask so few questions?’.

One reason, Boissevain argued, was Malta’s colonial heritage and the big stick colonisers wielded. He cited the inequality of power between coloniser and colonised that made discussion between the two very one-sided.

The status quo had to be preserved. The powerful monopolised the right and ability to ask and answer questions. The colonial powers used their supreme power to quash all questioning.

Questioning was considered insubordination – and insubordination was punished viciously.

Boissevain’s talk was published in ‘Ferment’, a university students’ magazine set up by six or seven students. One of them was Alfred Sant.

In 1990, 22 years after Boissevain’s talk, Sant insisted that Boissevain was right and that little had changed.

“Questions were not allowed unless they can be manipulated for public relations purposes”.  “We are still fully in the territory first charted by Boissevain,” Alfred Sant said.

Thirty-two years later, Sant’s successor as party leader and prime minister has taken over the mantle of the privileged oppressor of his own people.

In Sant’s words, Robert Abela must “inhibit critical thinking and has the means to do so”.

But Abela won’t tolerate any questions. He’s got too much to hide.



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saviour mamo
saviour mamo
1 month ago

Crushing Caroline Muscat and the Shift was part of the pact with the devil.

Out of Curiosity
Out of Curiosity
1 month ago

Unfortunately, history is repeating itself. The executive of the Labour Party is acting as the MLP of Dom Mintoff, oppressing those who dare standing before their abuse and manifestation of absolute power. Power has corrupted the executive of this Government in absolute terms, as they think that nothing and no one could ever stop them from doing what they like. The situation is so preoccupying that Power has now spread and descended in the hands of filthy and brainless individuals, the men in the street, who now call themselves labourites, even if perhaps they have never been true leftists, until they have found the opportunity to be seen by joining this ruthless movement. It is going to be really hard to get power out of their hands, unless people will not be led by an opposition who is determined to give everything for our democracy.

Mark Randon
Mark Randon
1 month ago

Bobby serah mohhok you will not crush The Shift and just like that maligned predecessor of yours the gallows await !! Much more awaits to be revealed about you and your banana republic party !!

1 month ago

Mafiamalta run by supermafia an bob leads thtrolls,criminals and corrupt ministers and bob the consultant of the most pm Malta ever had leads the way.

1 month ago

How can the international community in all good conscience allow these abuses of power to continue?

Malta is a full member of what is meant to be a democratic union of European nations working together to stamp out the sort of excesses more befitting of the despotic leaders of Russia and North Korea.

It’s about time the EU made its New Year resolution to restore democracy to Malta and clip the wings of the despot Abela.

1 month ago

ROBBER Abela, you’re fighting with the stakes too high! 

What Daphne Caruana Galizia was to Joseph Muscat and his fellow travelers,
Caroline Muscat is to you!

This time Europe knows the Maltese crooks.
I’m looking forward to when you have to go on your shabby farewell tour.

1 month ago

For starters this PM , Robert Abela , when still a consultant or ass licker to Muscat ,was part of a frame up on the husband of the PN MP Giovanna Debono. . The court threw Robert Abela , the Police commissioner and the contractor , supposedly the wistle blower , out of court, for bring ZERO proof of what Abela and the MLP had tried to hang on Mr. Debono’s neck. But throwing shit what all that Abela wanted to do. So Abela has such a collection of shit in his bag , that he cannot afford to have it opened. The proof of all this is Abela and his continuos attack on the courts decisions. Shift will be supported. One of these days , somebody will kick the stool of the lord of kastilja.

Godfrey Leone Ganado
Godfrey Leone Ganado
1 month ago

Robert Abela – we know that you are no less than a Mafia boss like your predecessor Lord Egrant Accutor who you consulted and who now consults you, or rather twists your arm, but rest assured that Caroline Muscat and her Shift news will find us followers with the required financial and moral support to legally challenge you and your puppet Institutions, to the bitter end which will see you becoming a member of the disgraced political lodge.

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