Good riddance to bad rubbish

Rather than taking delight in the removal of a person on whose watch:

  • Malta became a heaven and a haven for criminals and money-launderers,
  • corruption and crime prospered,
  • rule of law was replaced by impunity, lawlessness and mob rule,
  • freedom of expression deteriorated,
  • and a journalist was murdered for uncovering the corruption of his best friends and closest collaborators, corruption of which he was aware and which he defended,

they gave him a hero’s send-off.

They depicted him as a saviour, a saint and a martyr, the ultimate politician and statesman.

They should have depicted him as he really is – reprehensible, repugnant, repulsive and revolting.

They should have told him “good riddance to bad rubbish”.

The fact that they didn’t shows that it doesn’t really make a difference who is elected as his successor. All we can expect is more of the same. Cut from the same cloth.

It’s time for change. Real change. But change doesn’t happen just by saying that we need change, or by thinking it. By doing nothing. Words are cheap.It’s time to stand up and be counted.

Mahatma Gandhi once said,

“Silence becomes cowardice when occasion demands speaking out the whole truth and acting accordingly.”

I would add it also becomes complicity.

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Repubblika PR

09.01.2020

Repubblika will be holding a General Meeting on Saturday 11 January 2020 to discuss and consider the adoption of its policy document “Malta Ġdida: Repubblika Ġdida”. The meeting has been convened with the following agenda.

09:00 Registration

09:30 Call to Order   + Introduction by Robert Aquilina, President-Elect

09:40 Presentation of Policy  Document by Manuel Delia

10:00 Debate Part 1

10:45 Coffee Break

11:15 Debate Part 2

11:45 Vote

11:50 Concluding remarks by Vicki Ann Cremona, President

12:10 Closing

12.15 Refreshments 

The General Meeting is convening at the St Aloysius Assembly Hall, Birkirkara. Entrance through Triq il-Kulleġġ.

The Press is invited to attend any part of the meeting and committee members will be available for interview. A digital copy of the policy document in English and Maltese will be provided.

Nothing wrong Robert? Think again

Robert Abela says he sees nothing wrong for his legal firm to continue “competing” for government work if he is elected Prime Minister if he resigns from the firm.

He’s wrong. What he see as “nothing wrong” actually goes against the law. It’s illegal. Even if he resigns from the firm.

The aspiring Prime Minister of Malta does not understand that the possibility or perception of conflicts of interest are considered as actual conflicts of interest at law.

He never understood that good governance is not only about doing things in the right way, but also about being perceived to do things in the right way.

The EU has laws on conflicts of interest.

The applicable EU provision is Article 24 of the consolidated directive on public procurement, which applies as law and above any Maltese law within its scope.

Member States shall ensure that contracting authorities take appropriate measures to effectively prevent, identify and remedy conflicts of interest arising in the conduct of procurement procedures so as to avoid any distortion of competition and to ensure equal treatment of all economic operators.


The concept of conflicts of interest shall at least cover any situation where staff members of the contracting authority or of a procurement service provider acting on behalf of the contracting authority who are involved in the conduct of the procurement procedure or may influence the outcome of that procedure have, directly or indirectly, a financial, economic or other personal interest which might be perceived to compromise their impartiality and independence in the context of the procurement procedure.

DIRECTIVE 2014/24/EU OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL Conflicts of interest


The conflicts here are obviously massive. Here are a few:

  • Abela has an interest in his wife, a member of his family, making money.
  • There’s a direct hierarchical relationship between all awarding officers and Abela as prime minister.
  • Employees of public authorities may have an interest in helping Abela and his family as that can have an impact on their career.

Effectively, Robert Abela is planning to break the law once he becomes Prime Minister.


Repubblika PR

09.01.2020

Repubblika will be holding a General Meeting on Saturday 11 January 2020 to discuss and consider the adoption of its policy document “Malta Ġdida: Repubblika Ġdida”. The meeting has been convened with the following agenda.

09:00 Registration

09:30 Call to Order   + Introduction by Robert Aquilina, President-Elect

09:40 Presentation of Policy  Document by Manuel Delia

10:00 Debate Part 1

10:45 Coffee Break

11:15 Debate Part 2

11:45 Vote

11:50 Concluding remarks by Vicki Ann Cremona, President

12:10 Closing

12.15 Refreshments 

The General Meeting is convening at the St Aloysius Assembly Hall, Birkirkara. Entrance through Triq il-Kulleġġ.

The Press is invited to attend any part of the meeting and committee members will be available for interview. A digital copy of the policy document in English and Maltese will be provided.


Stop throwing stones at every dog that barks

Diversionary tactics have long featured in war and in politics. They serve to attract people’s attention away from something which you do not want them to think about, know about, or deal with. They divert attention and resources away from the key, core issues.

In the summer of 1998, at the height of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, Bill Clinton confessed on television that his romantic relationship with a White House intern amounted to “a critical lapse in judgement … a personal failure.” Three days later, with his presidency hanging in the balance, the administration announced airstrikes against suspected terrorist sites in Sudan and Afghanistan, following the bombing of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Many observers claimed that Clinton had launched a classic diversionary war, or a use of force to sidetrack the media, whip up patriotic sentiment, and boost approval ratings. ”

The Atlantic June 15 2017

Diversionary tactics are a staple of the Labour party’s strategy. The Labour party manufactures and fuels distractions from key issues on a daily basis. Now more than ever.

Those opposing to this government’s corruption – NGOs, civil society and the Opposition party – need to be careful not to fall into the their trap. No one should lose sight of the endgame – justice, and doing what needs to be done to ensure that we never end up in the situation we are in today again.

‘You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.’

Winston.S.Churchill

So here’s a reminder of what some of the key matters I believe we should keep our focus on:

  • The Electrogas power station project was designed as a lucrative pension fund for Joseph Muscat, Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri and a number of other people.
  • The police commissioner’s attention was drawn to the corruption in which the whole project was mired, however he refused to do his job and investigate.
  • Daphne Caruana Galizia however did do her job, she did investigate, she did ask the right questions, and she found out the truth, but at a terrible cost.
  • What Daphne found out about the Electrogas scam cost her her life. Those who were (are?) making millions thanks to the scam off taxpayer money assassinated her, so that they could go on with their criminality unhindered.
  • Joseph Muscat, Keith Schembri, Konrad Mizzi, and all those who enabled, allowed, or closed an eye to the brazen, blatant corruption and crime have blood on their hands.
  • In the meantime, Joseph Muscat is globe-trotting, ensuring that he and his assets are beyond the short arm of the law, Keith Schembri lives like a Rajah, running the country and its institutions from his luxury home in Mellieha, and Konrad Mizzi has dropped out of sight and out of mind.

We need to keep our eye on the ball, and starve ourselves of any distractions from the core issues.

The priority at the moment is to ensure that all the people involved in the Electrogas scam and in the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia are put away behind bars. All involved in any way and at any level, without exception.

Then comes the next step – to ensure that such atrocities never happen again.

Why you shouldn’t attend protests against corruption

There’s going to be a protest next Sunday, a protest organised by Civil society organisations and NGOs such as Repubblika, #occupyjustice and manuedelia.com, and supported by Moviment Graffitti, KSU, aditus, UHM Voice of the Workers, Friends of the Earth Malta, The Times of Malta, The Shift News, Lovin Malta, The Malta Independent, and MaltaToday as well as several artists.

While most people agree that the country has been overrun by corrupt politicians (it’s hard to disagree since it’s a well-established, documented fact), many are not too sure whether these protests are the way forward.

Here are a few of the “buts” I get when I encourage people to attend these protests.

But wasn’t there corruption under the previous administration too? Yes, but the amount, level and the rate at which corruption increased post 2013 is unprecedented, and the institutions whose job it is to safeguard against corruption, crime and the deterioration of rule of law were completely captured and emasculated in 2013. This is why civil society, NGOs etc must take a stand – otherwise no-one else will; not the police, not the AG, not the judiciary.

But why didn’t people hold such protests back then?pre-2013? Many did – with their vote. The governing party at the time (PN) lost the 2013 election with a resounding defeat.

But aren’t the protesters being incited and egged on by the PN? This is not about PN and PL but about the corrupt and those who reject corruption. Anyone who reframes the issue into a partisan context is doing so to obfuscate, and manipulate minds and hearts.

But aren’t these protests damaging Malta economically? The only thing that is damaging Malta economically and politically is unchecked, brazen corruption, crime, lawlessness, impunity and breakdown of rule of law.

But don’t you think that these protests are a bit too much? The people who are at the centre of the network of corruption and crime were ready to snuff out an innocent life and assassinated a journalist because she uncovered their corruption and would doubtlessly have revealed more had she not been savagely silenced. Do you want to live in a country where such things happen / are allowed to happen? I don’t.

The highest price

Disgraced and discredited Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has repeatedly told us that he has paid “the highest price possible”.

I am not sure what he means by that. To my knowledge, he hasn’t paid a price for his actions (and lack of action) – yet.

He can never pay the “highest price possible”. So far only one person has paid a price, and it will always remain the “highest price possible” – a life senselessly and savagely snuffed out.

As Prime Minister, he had the duty to protect Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Instead he and his minions dehumanised and demonised her, making her fair game for violent elements within the Labour Party and for criminals.

The alleged mastermind (or one of the masterminds) of Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination – Yorgen Fenech – was an intimate friend of Muscat.

Muscat even invited Fenech to an intimate, wild birthday party he held at Girgenti which was so exclusive that not even the ministers in his cabinet were invited. The two were that close.

Fenech also gifted Muscat with wines costing thousands of euros as well as a Bvlgari watch costing some €17,000. The two were that intimate.

The other person allegedly highly involved in the assassination calls Muscat his best friend. Keith Schembri was Muscat’s closest collaborator, his chief of staff. He was certainly involved in the corruption that ultimately led to Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination. And Muscat could have stopped that corruption years ago; he knew all about it.

So if Muscat is trying to elicit sympathy or playing the empathy card by playing the martyr, he can go stuff himself. He could have prevented Daphne Caruana Galizia’s death.

Instead he now has her blood on his hands. That will be his legacy, along with the title of “2019 MAN OF THE YEAR IN ORGANIZED CRIME AND CORRUPTION”.

It’s time you showed up

We are currently witnessing one of the most tempestuous and turbulent periods in Malta’s recent history, and the manner in which we are responding to it (or not responding to it) is defining our political and economic future for many years to come.

The country is in the throes of a constitutional crisis and administered by a government which is the epitome and personification of blatant, shameless corruption.

Parliament and the institutions are rubber stamps for the whims of a corrupt Prime Minister and his corrupt collaborators.

The police are led by a commissioner who refuses to do his job and to allow his reports to do theirs. Thanks to his failure to fulfill his oath of office, lawlessness and impunity have become the norm.

The attorney general unashamedly goes out of his way to hinder the course of justice.

Magistrates and judges are appointed on the basis of political allegiance and connections. It is impossible for justice to be done and to be seen to be done.

Patronage, clientelism, nepotism and cronyism have become the order of the day.

Freedom of speech and expression are in free fall.

There’s never been a time before when it was so urgent for people to stop believing lies manufactured by politicians rather than indisputable facts.

There’s never been a time before when it was so urgent that people who have the values of justice and integrity at heart stand up to be counted and make their voice heard.

There’s never been a time before when it was so urgent to stop justifying all that is wrong with feeble excuses.

There’s never been a time before when it was so urgent that people stop taking decisions and acting on the basis of tribal politics, personal interests, fear or indifference.

We are fast approaching a time where the only semblance of democracy is an election every five years.

The decimation of democracy, rule of law, and human rights, does not happen in an apocalyptic fashion. It happens unnoticed, while people go about their daily business, oblivious or indifferent to what is going on around them.

Until it’s too late.

It’s time to show up and to make your voice heard.

Use selective honesty and generosity to disarm your victim

One sincere and honest move will cover over dozens of dishonest ones. Open-hearted gestures of honesty and generosity bring down the guard of even the most suspicious people. Once your selective honesty opens a hole in their armor, you can deceive and manipulate them at will.

The 48 laws of power

Prime Minister of Malta Joseph Muscat must have studied Robert Greene’s book “The 48 Laws of Power” to a T. He follows most of the “laws” laid out in the book to the letter. He is the con man par excellence.

Take for example the disgraced and discredited Prime Minister announcing the donation of €15,000 to charity drive “LIstrina“.

A charity drive that should be unnecessary given Malta’s unprecedented immense economic success thanks to his leadership (according to him).

A €15,000 donation is equivalent to a mere 3 days of payments from Yorgen Fenech, the alleged mastermind (or one of the masterminds) behind Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination to Keith Schembri via their secret companies.

A €15,000 donation is equivalent to a mere 3 days of payments from Yorgen Fenech, the alleged mastermind (or one of the masterminds) behind Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination to Konrad Mizzi via their secret companies.

A €15,000 donation is less than the cost of one of the Bvulgari watches gifted by Yorgen Fenech to Joseph Muscat.

Who knows, Muscat might top up the donation with money gained through the sale of passports to crooks.

The patron of the charity event is Dr George Vella, the president of Malta, who sponsored Joseph Muscat’s bid for the post of leader of the Malta Labour Party back in 2008.

Professor Kevin Aquilina and former chief justice Dr Vincent de Gaetano have not held back any punches in chastising Vella for refusing to do his duty and remove Muscat from office.

But in spite of all his attempts at reputation laundering, Muscat will go down in history as the “2019 MAN OF THE YEAR IN ORGANIZED CRIME AND CORRUPTION”  – (OCCRP The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project).

fb_img_15774899276971546515273222082745.jpg

Shame on anyone who supports the “2019 MAN OF THE YEAR IN ORGANIZED CRIME AND CORRUPTION“.

Shame on anyone who is not outraged by the “2019 MAN OF THE YEAR IN ORGANIZED CRIME AND CORRUPTION“‘s having turned Malta into a den of thieves, a heaven and a haven for crooks.

 

 

Ma’ min rajtek xebbahtek

Disgraced, discredited Prime Minister Joseph Muscat keeps rather unusual company. His close friends are not the type of friends you’d expect a Prime Minister to have. Neither are they the type of friends any Prime Minister should have.

For example Yorgen Fenech, the alleged mastermind (or one of the masterminds) behind Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination.

The intimacy between Fenech and Muscat was such that Fenech felt moved to gift Muscat an expensive Bvlgari watch in 2014 costing €20,000 at the time. And it was not the only gift the businessman gave the Prime Minister throughout the years Lovin Malta reported.

UPDATE: The Times has revealed what some of these gifts were this morning. You can read more here.

A Prime Minister should never accept such a gift, under any circumstance or for any reason.

There can only be one reason why a businessman would give a Prime Minister such a gift. There can only be one reason why a Prime Minister would accept such a gift.

For example Ali Sadr Hasheminejad, the Iranian owner and chairman of the now defunct Pilatus Bank who faces a life sentence in jail in the United States for various charges.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, his wife Michelle and OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri travelled to Venice together in 2015 to attend his very exclusive wedding. Lovin Malta revealed that Yorgen Fenech was also invited and travelled with them. They stayed at the Roccoforte Hotel in Florence – at the expense of Ali Sadr.

A Prime Minister should never accept such a gift, under any circumstance or for any reason.

We have a saying in Maltese – “Ma’ min rajtek xebbahtek”. A loose translation would be that birds of a feather flock together. So if a Prime Minister counts a number of crooks as his closest friends, the probability is that he is a crook too.

 

 

 

When Judas betrays the cult

The amount of information emerging every day about the web of corruption and criminality emanating from Castille is shocking and overwhelming many of all political leanings.

Many activists of the ruling party – Labour – are reeling in disbelief. Some of them are angry. Some of them are anxious. Some of them are disorientated. Some of them feel hurt. Some of them are in denial.

Some of them closed ranks because their party is their cult.

And a cult means unquestioning commitment to its leader. Anything he says is the absolute truth, anything he does is perfection personified. Any accusations of wrongdoing or allegations of a crime on his part can only be the result of a conspiracy, a persecution by the outside world.

Being in a cult implies having convictions manufactured by the leaders of the cult for their own personal advantage. And the more these convictions are challenged, the more the cult member’s belief in these convictions is reinforced.

“A man with a conviction is a hard man to change,” Festinger, Henry Riecken, and Stanley Schacter wrote in When Prophecy Fails“Tell him you disagree and he turns away. Show him facts or figures and he questions your sources. Appeal to logic and he fails to see your point … Suppose that he is presented with evidence, unequivocal and undeniable evidence, that his belief is wrong: what will happen? The individual will frequently emerge, not only unshaken, but even more convinced of the truth of his beliefs than ever before.”

The Shift News had published an excellent article on how the Labour Party manipulated supporters’ minds to transform Joseph Muscat into a god in their eyes.

But the truth of the matter is that the evidence that Keith Schembri is a criminal is becoming more and more overwhelming day by day. And the truth of the matter is that Joseph Muscat knew enough to realise what Keith Schembri, his best friend and closest collaborator was up to. That makes him an accomplice.

To Labour activists, Joseph Muscat embodies their party’s Messiah. After 25 years relegated to the Opposition benches, the PL is now celebrating landslide victory after landslide victory thanks to him. PL have a champion, a winning horse. Losing Joseph Muscat is a bitter pill for them to swallow.

But Labour activists have to realise that this is not about PL and PN. It is not about bringing PL down. It’s about the corrupt and the criminal versus those who do not want to be governed by the corrupt and the criminal and those who do not stand up to them. It’s about integrity and justice. They need to get past the cult mind-set, they need to realise that the leader of the cult was a Judas who used them and manipulated them, and they need to evict the leader of the cult from office and from the party yesterday. It should never be Judas who sets the timetable of his resignation.

Unfortunately, it seems that integrity and justice have long left the building and have no intention of returning.

The Labour Party is heading for Groundhog Day

In the movie Groundhog Day (1993), Phil, a self-centred weatherman, is dispatched to the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania to cover the annual 2 February celebrations, which revolve around a groundhog supposedly foreseeing the exact date of the arrival of spring. Phil makes no secret of his contempt for the assignment, the small town, and the “hicks” who live there.

“This is one occasion where television really fails to capture the true excitement of a large squirrel predicting the weather,”

Phil

He is later shocked when he wakes up the next morning and realises that he is reliving the same day, 2 February, over and over again. He remains in a time loop, the 2 February rebooted each day at 6am, until Phil figures out how to break the cycle. The secret, it transpires, lies within him.

There’s a leadership contest in the Labour Party, with two contenders, but none of them have what it takes. If the Labour Party does not elect a leader with integrity and competence, it will be like Groundhog Day for the party, the nation and the country.

If the leader that is elected does not possess both these qualities, there is no way on earth that he or she can clean up the mess that Joseph Muscat will be leaving behind. If it can be cleaned up at all, as the price will come heavy politically and economically, and it will have to be paid to the last cent. The bills are already coming in hard and fast.

And there are some messes which can never be cleaned up. No one can bring Daphne Caruana Galzia back to life.

A person of integrity does not compromise. Integrity is like virginity, you either have it or you don’t. It implies strong values and principles, it implies sticking to them whatever the cost, it implies that you act in accordance with your words. You cannot promise a clean sweep of the corruption and crime that has taken over our island, but not stand up to corruption and crime.

Like Joseph Muscat, Chris Fearne and Robert Abela surely must have figured out why Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi would be receiving 5,000 euros daily when the Panama Papers came out. Especially when the media revealed that the person who would be paying them 5,000 euros a day was Yorgen Fenech, a director in the Electrogas villainous project.

Yet both Fearne and Abela closed an eye. They closed two eyes. They closed their ears. They said nothing. They did nothing.

They even entertain the possibility of Muscat’s remaining an MP, and asking for his advice once they are elected.

His advice on what exactly?

On how to capture institutions?

On how to organise a constitutional crisis?

On how to break down the Rule of Law and let impunity reign supreme throughout the country?

On how to destroy Malta’s reputation globally, irreparably harming it economically and politically?

A true leader would stand tall, and fight to have Muscat evicted from the party yesterday. Instead, Chris Fearne and Robert Abela jockey for a photo with him.

Is there no man or woman with a pair in the Labour Party who will stand for leader? Is there no man or woman of integrity in the Labour party who will stand for leader?

If not, it’s going to be like Groundhog Day for the Labour Party, even under the new leader. If not, it’s going to be like Groundhog Day for the nation and for the country.