The quack that ducked
If it quacks and walks like a duck, then it is a duck. And what if it’s a prime minister who so completely ducks his responsibilities as head of government, that the Daphne Caruana Galizia inquiry report feels compelled to state (p. 201) that his conduct was “unacceptable, to be condemned and represents a grave […]

 

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The rule of delinquents confirmed
As Robert Abela, prime minister and former adviser to disgraced ex-prime minister Joseph Muscat, stood up in parliament yesterday morning to deliver his reality-bending speech about the conclusions of the Daphne Caruana Galizia public inquiry, all around him were ranged the defiant, malevolent faces of the most disreputable government ever in the history of Malta. […]

 

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This fish rotted from the head down
There’s no proof that the government killed Daphne Caruana Galizia, but it was responsible for her death. At first glance, these words might seem like a contradiction. How could the State be responsible for her death but not necessarily involved in it? Let’s deal with ‘responsible’ first. The public inquiry was tasked with finding out […]

 

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Enabling slavery
On 14 March 2015, Leilei Liao was found in a restricted area at Malta International Airport. He lived at Leisure Clothing Ltd premises in Bulebel. He pleaded guilty and was fined €2,329.37 and faced imprisonment if he failed to pay. Liao was probably one of hundreds of indentured workers at the notorious slave factory run […]

 

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Bleak house
In April 2020 I had penned a “letter to my future child”. It was an emotional address in an emotional moment; little did I know at the time that we had a year and a half of living with the pandemic ahead. I bemoaned the lack of solidarity between EU states in their early days […]

 

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Robert Abela’s plan of attack
In Friday’s speech to Labour’s general party conference, Robert Abela effectively told us why Rosianne Cutajar had to be fired as junior minister. By having an issue with the taxman, she threatened to undermine one of his major lines of attack in the coming electoral campaign: paying one’s taxes in full. The issue might seem […]

 

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The dishonesty of double standards
Equality Minister Owen Bonnici, who has been condemned by the courts for breaching the human rights of his own country’s citizens, had the brass neck to write a sanctimonious opinion piece, carried by The Times of Malta, decrying the “defiance of human rights” in Hungary’s anti-LGBTIQ laws. Of course, he’s right that Hungary’s move is […]

 

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Justice through the looking glass
If you want to understand the government’s intent, you can rarely go wrong by taking the mirror’s eye view. For example, “We’re giving more powers to the Commissioner for Standards in Public Life” doesn’t mean autonomy to spotlight abuses and impose real consequences. Intentions are always the opposite in mirror land. Look closer and you’ll […]

 

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Gafa’s gaffes
Police Commissioner Angelo Gafa finally called a press conference. Journalists gathered expectantly at Bacir Nru 1, in the shadow of the American University of Malta. Gafa’s dramatic news? Community policing was being extended to Cottonera.  He bragged that “surveys have shown that people’s trust in the police had grown”, because of community policing. Minister Byron […]

 

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Peregin’s PN pitch: lesser evil revisited
The Nationalist Party’s latest election strategist has begun to sell his pitch this weekend. The frills around the pitch are not new. They speak the language particular to the Maltese political world: from the supposed street-cred of having voted for other parties to the recent history of “punishing” a party for its arrogant track record […]

 

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Spinning the inquiry
Some communication experts are specialists in what is called ‘pre-suasion’. Before a message is even communicated, they prime the target audience to interpret the message as telling one story rather than another. Persuasion engages in explicit argument; pre-suasion shapes people’s implicit assumptions. If people are pre-suaded, they need no arguments. In the coming days, the […]

 

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Beware long covid, the epidemic’s sting in the tail
One in every 20 people infected with covid-19 will go on to develop long covid, the debilitating condition characterised by crippling fatigue, respiratory problems and serious cardiovascular issues, an Imperial College London REACT-2 study published at the end of June found. The findings indicate that in the UK alone, some 2 million people are already […]

 

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The hypocrisy he believes in
Owen Bonnici’s latest vapid waffling about ‘the Malta he believes in’ takes on added poignancy on the 16th of the month — the anniversary of the brutal murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, the journalist whose legacy he did so much to eradicate. The former justice minister bravely opens his column with the claim that, “all […]

 

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Valley roads
“They had come to the desolation that lay before Mordor: the lasting monument to the dark labour of its slaves that should endure when all their purposes were made void; a land defiled, diseased beyond all healing – unless the Great Sea should enter in and wash it with oblivion. ‘I feel sick,’ said Sam.” […]

 

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Bluster out of weakness 
Every time Robert Abela states that he has shown there is no one who’s “untouchable” in the country, someone reminds him of the growing list of seemingly untouchable people in Labour’s orbit, as ministers, MPs, persons of trust or business crony — Rosianne Cutajar looking like the most recent addition. Fair comment, but it pulls […]

 

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Standing up for human rights, only when it suits us
China’s brutal dictatorship is without doubt one of the most repressive governments in the world. Its treatment of its own citizens, and those of the territories it continues to occupy and terrorise, is ruthless and inhuman. Since President Xi Jinping came into power in 2013, the situation in China has deteriorated drastically as his government’s horrific […]

 

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The ruin of dishonesty
“We didn’t deserve it”. “Only three countries wanted us greylisted”. “They want to destroy our economy because we’re so successful”. “They are envious”. This is just a taste of the puerile responses to Malta’s greylisting. Not just by Labour’s trolls, living in One TV’s fantasy world. This was the official government reaction. Prime Minister Robert […]

 

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Our measure of justice
Justice should be an important virtue in any society. To paraphrase the philosopher John Rawls and his idea of a just society, we are only comfortable living in a society when we are sure that it treats everyone justly. In the past week, Lady Justice was called into question several times. We were regaled with […]

 

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Labour weakened our clout
Have you heard of the man who looked forward to falling ill, since convalescence made him feel better and stronger than before? Neither have I. But I have heard of the prime minister who speaks as though being greylisted by the FATF is a cloud with a silver lining, since it will showcase how Malta […]

 

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Justice is not revenge
The horror of Miriam Pace’s killing at the hands of a group of greedy, incompetent, negligent men was shockingly highlighted this week. Magistrate Joe Mifsud, the former PL candidate and journalist, magnanimously decided that the two architects convicted of her involuntary homicide would be spared jail, suggesting that prison terms for the two would be […]

 

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The art of laundering… art
The 13 paintings by Old Masters of the Italian Renaissance featured in their ‘Masterpieces at MUZA’ exhibition are on loan “from a private collector” who is apparently letting Malta hang onto them for at least five years. But is it an act of “charity”, as MUZA claims? Or are they in Malta for some other […]

 

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 The pontificating poser
“This poser was behind the greatest lie of the 2008 electoral campaign,”  Jason Micallef had declared, and now “he is pontificating about his virginity”. That poser, Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando, has penned his autobiography. In it, he claims to take down “assholes and traitors”. Kettles and a pot spring to mind. The autobiography is a self-serving […]

 

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Cassandra’s Curse
Project Cassandra is a project by a small group of German academics working with the military aiming to use novels to try to pinpoint the world’s next conflicts. The idea of trawling through literature to identify possible trends and predict possible conflicts or humanitarian crisis is novel, to say the least, and yet has an […]

 

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The watchdogs that didn’t bark
If the FATF had any doubts about the need to greylist Malta, they will have been expunged by how the matter has been discussed in Malta since. We should consider the compromising silences as well as the embarrassing things said. First, the watchdogs that didn’t bark; or, rather, the pussycats that didn’t miaow. Several economic […]

 

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Yet another perambulating farce
Assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia’s description of Manuel Mallia is as apt today as it ever was. Barely 48 hours after getting the worst news for the Maltese economy in decades, the PL government decides to stick two fingers up at one of the “baddies” who shafted them. The new High Commissioner to the UK […]

 

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Malta chose this path in 2017
We knew the writing was on the wall when Evarist Bartolo took to Facebook to utter his usual cryptic nonsense, this time accusing big countries of “getting away with murder” and topping it up with nationalist rhetoric. After watching his disastrous interview with Conflict Zone’s Tim Sebastian, one could be forgiven for thinking he knows […]

 

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Abusing the bereaved
Glenn Bedingfield, in his latest parliamentary streak of callousness, was once again attacking Daphne Caruana Galizia’s family. Abusing of his parliamentary immunity, he vindictively accused the bereaved family of “not having an interest in discovering the whole truth” about the journalist’s assassination. He claimed that the family had ordered the destruction of evidence.  He demanded […]

 

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The lonely pariah
There are moments still, that one has to shake one’s head to be sure this isn’t all just a bad dream. Tiny Malta risks being thrown out into the cold, the work of two and a half decades undone in eight short years by a gang of criminals masquerading as politicians. And the pilots who […]

 

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50 shades of greylisting
As the FATF D-Day approaches, the political exchanges on the matter have gone up a notch or two. This Wednesday, a plenary vote of FATF members will determine the future of the country’s economy – and that is no light statement. It is difficult for such matters of international political and economic complexity to trickle […]

 

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Glenn Bedingfield eyes the truth
On 16 June, Glenn Bedingfield gave a speech in parliament that was (given its aim) politically skilful and worth analysing on another occasion. But the last few minutes were a scandal. Bedingfield all but explicitly allied himself with the respective legal defence teams of Alfred Degiorgio and Yorgen Fenech, two of the persons charged by […]

 

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