Putting whipped cream on cow dung and calling it a culinary delicacy

If you dress cow dung with whipped cream and call it a culinary delicacy, it remains cow dung.

In case it’s not clear, I’m talking about Robert Abela’s attempts at hiding his government’s corruption behind a veneer of good faith and a semblance of good governance.

The same people who were in in Joseph Muscat’s cabinet which was mired in corruption are nearly all in Robert Abela’s cabinet too. That includes Abela himself.

The same people who failed to stand up to Joseph Muscat’s defence of the indefensible, of the corrupt, are in Robert Abela’s cabinet too. That includes Abela himself.

Asking the Police Commissioner to resign may seem as though Abela is trying to do the right thing, but that’s bullshit.

Doing the right thing would mean firing Lawrence Cutajar, not asking him to resign, and asking the acting or new police commissioner to investigate Cutajar.

Cutajar’s serious omissions of duty resulted in the assassination of a journalist and the transformation of a country into a heaven and haven for criminals and money launderers.

Robert Abela’s asking Justyne Caruana to resign (of course he asked her) because her husband – an ex-deputy commissioner of the police and who sat on the board of directors of the FIAU – consorted with the alleged mastermind behind Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination may seem as though Abela is trying to do the right thing but that’s bullshit.

Did Abela ask Caruana whether she was aware of her husband’s intimacy with a person mired in corruption and accused of complicity in murder? If she did, he should have a big problem with her. She deceived him. She deceived everyone.

Terminating Adrian Hillman’s contract with the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) and Lou Bondi’s contract with the Arts Council may give the impression that Abela is trying to do the right thing.

The right thing to do would be to also fire the ministers who employed/contracted them back then. If it’s a bad thing now, it was a bad thing then. Clearly the objective of these terminations is merely that of keeping up appearances, a PR strategy.

Good governance can never be half-baked or in bad faith. There can be no compromises when it comes to justice and integrity.

It’s the little foxes that ruin the vines.

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.

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).

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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.

 

 

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.

The Untouchables

If anyone thinks that with Yorgen Fenech’s arrest for the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia things on this island will revert to any semblance of normality any time soon, he or she is very mistaken.

Fenech’s arrest is a first step not an end.

Fenech’s arrest has exposed an intricate, villainous network of corruption and crime which has the office of the prime minister as it’s command and operations centre.

This den of iniquity at Castille enjoys complete immunity from the law and justice. It can never be uprooted if the institutions maintain their current policy of shameful, brazen dereliction of duty.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat is undeniably implicated in Daphne’s assassination even if indirectly. He bears a great responsibility for it and has blood on his hands. He has been aware of Keith Schembri’s and Konrad Mizzi’s 5,000 euros a day Christmas gift from businessman Yorgen Fenech for a long time (we all were), yet did not take any action. Anyone who tolerates or closes an eye to the mere whiff of corruption is corrupt, and a crook.

Yet Muscat remains in office despite the clear danger (and probability) of his obstructing justice to protect his best friend and himself. Muscat has at least six weeks to do that, and to try to arrange for a successor who will be his proxy/puppet when he resigns.

The Police Commissioner does not seem to think that Joseph Muscat should be investigated.

Keith Schembri, the disgraced former prime minister’s chief of staff is comfortably holed up in his luxurious home. He should be arrested and investigated for corruption and for his part in Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder. The testimonies by the alleged mastermind of the assassination Yorgen Fenech and by the middleman Melvin Theuma clearly indicate that Schembri did all he could to help Fenech evade justice for Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination. That would make Schembri an accomplice. It was in Schembri’s own interest to protect Fenech. He had (has?) a 5,000 euros a day source of income to protect.

The Police Commissioner does not seem to think that Keith Schembri should be investigated.

Neville Gafa visits Keith Schembri regularly (he seems to have replaced Dr Adrian Vella as Keith Schembri’s preferred carrier pigeon). Gafa has been accused of of criminal activities, including a medical visas racket (in which he is also being accused of having attempted to bribe witnesses) and stalking Daphne Caruana Galizia the day before her assassination. He is also chummy with Libyan warlords, and the post he occupies in the prime minister’s office seems to be one of the most carefully guarded state secrets.

The Police Commissioner does not seem to think that Neville Gafa should be investigated.

Nexia BT partners Brian Tonna and Karl Cini helped Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi set up secret companies designed to hide illicit payments and gains. They enabled criminality and corruption. They should be facing disciplinary actions from the accountancy boards as well as intense scrutiny and investigation by law enforcement agencies But this is not happening. What is happening is that the government awards them millions of euros of direct orders every year.

The Police Commissioner does not seem to think that Brian Tonna and Karl Cini should be investigated.

For the United Nations (UN), the rule of law is

a principle of governance in which all persons, institutions and entities, public and private, including the State itself, are accountable to laws that are publicly promulgated, equally enforced and independently adjudicated, and which are consistent with international human rights norms and standards. It requires measures to ensure adherence to the principles of supremacy of the law, equality before the law, accountability to the law, fairness in the application of the law, separation of powers, participation in decision-making, legal certainty, avoidance of arbitrariness, and procedural and legal transparency.

For Malta rule of law is non existent as it has been replaced by its antithesis, impunity, and will remain so as long as there are people who are above the law.

Crooks should not be prime ministers

I realise on hindsight that I may have made some mistakes. A few judgements of errors. And that my best friend betrayed me, compounding matters.

That’s the narrative Joseph Muscat is trying to sell to his faithful. That he’s a humble man, ready to admit his shortcomings, despite being a great man who transformed Malta into an island of immense prosperity, whose citizens have so much money it’s coming out of their ears.

But the truth of the matter is that knowingly protecting criminals is not a mistake or judgement of error.

And Muscat did know that his then Minister for energy and chief of staff Keith Schembri were neck-deep in corruption. As did every member of his cabinet.

It’s not possible that the fact that Mizzi and Schembri created identical secret companies at the same time, and through the services of the same financial practitioner was not enough for him to realise that corruption was afoot.

It’s not possible that the fact that somebody would be paying 5,000 euros a day into the coffers of each of these companies belonging to Mizzi and Schembri was not enough for him to realise that corruption was afoot.

It’s not possible that the fact that the person who was going to pay Mizzi and Schembri 5,000 euros a day each – Yorgen Fenech – was one of the main investors in a consortium that won a massive government tender was not enough for him to realise that corruption was afoot.

These are all facts, not mere allegations. They are substantiated by official documents as well as reports drawn up by the FIAU (Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit).

No Joseph, you are no martyr, and neither do you deserve to leave the stage in glory. You knowingly protected crooks rather than taking action against them.

That, in my books, makes you a crook.

Crooks should not be prime ministers. Not even for a day. That’s why you shouldn’t be in office for a single minute more. That’s why you must leave now, and not in forty two days’ time.

Drain the swamp!

This evening disgraced Prime Minister Joseph Muscat announced his resignation (or more accurately his dismissal) in six weeks’ time on national TV.

He then proceeded to give a State of the Union address brimming with triumphalism.

Nothing of what he said had any bearing on the issue which is tearing Malta apart, the mother of all corruption scandals in Malta, which culminated in the barbaric assassination of a journalist, Daphne Caruana Galizia. And in which Keith Schembri, his best friend and chief of staff – till a few days ago – is being implicated by one of the alleged masterminds behind the assassination, as well as by a doctor who acted as a carrier pigeon between Schembri and the alleged mastermind.

That’s what needs to be done, Muscat said, referring to his resignation. But that’s not what needs to be done. What needs to be done is that he tenders his resignation effective tomorrow morning. Not in six weeks’ time.

He cannot remain in office, continuing to meddle in the investigation into the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia in which Schembri may be involved, potentially obstructing justice to protect his friend.

Muscat has overseen Malta’s transformation into a haven and a heaven for criminals and money launderers. His tenure has been characterised by an unprecedented, incessant stream of corruption scandals.

He has allowed corruption to infiltrate and permeate his office and indeed the whole country. Under his watch, corruption has become the order of the day, and impunity has been normalised.

And Muscat has blood on his hands, because had he acted to stem and address the corruption going on in his office, the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia would not have occurred.

Joseph Muscat needs to go now.

Not in six weeks time.

The point of intersection – Azerbaijan?

The Labour Party has had a cosy relationship with Azerbaijan for a long time. Malta is considered by Azerbaijani oligarchs as one of the “provinces” of Azerbaijan according to an extensive report into how Azerbaijan uses “caviar diplomacy” to buy the influence of Western politicians.

Joe Debono Grech, a long time Labour Party MP, and former minister had worked hard to improve Azerbaijan’s image in the Council of Europe in spite of its documented abuse of human rights, harsh suppression of press freedom and rampant corruption.

Anġlu Farrugia, currently speaker of the Maltese Parliament observed many elections in Azerbaijan and always spoke highly positively about them, ignoring documented electoral fraud and gross human rights violations.

In December 2014, Prime Minister Dr Joseph Muscat, his then chief of staff Keith Schembri, then head of government communications Kurt Farrugia and Dr Konrad Mizzi, who was at the time the minister responsible for energy, paid a furtive visit to Azerbaijan.

The Azerbaijan visit was a secret until just hours before Dr Muscat’s departure: it was only revealed by The Sunday Times of Malta that same day. The government then issued a very brief statement, stating that “Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and Minister for Energy and Health Konrad Mizzi left Malta today afternoon for an official visit to Azerbaijan. They are expected to hold official talks on energy and commerce, as well as discussions on diplomatic relations between the two countries.”

Normally these visits are announced well in advance and press organisations are invited to send representatives to accompany the official delegation to report on the the visit. The delegation would include diplomats, including Malta’s ambassador to the country where applicable, and civil servants.

A deal for fuel supply for the power station was struck. SOCAR – the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic was awarded an 18 year exclusivity agreement for the supply of LNG, which fuels the new power station.

The SOCAR deal is highly irregular on many levels. The National Audit Office (NAO) questioned the decision to go for a long term agreement with Azerbaijan’s SOCAR to deliver the country’s energy needs. “Despite requests for documentation in support of the options identified by Enemalta, the NAO was not provided with evidence of analysis undertaken prior to the commitment to procure power and gas from one supplier”.

A whistleblower passed on around 680,000 documents from the Electrogas consortium behind the Delimara Power Station to the journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, who was killed by a car bomb. She died before being able to publish any findings from the leak, but her unfinished work was continued by the Daphne Project. The leaks contained pricing information and contracts. An analysis by international experts showed that the Maltese taxpayer was losing money “hand over fist” thanks to this deal.

You can read more about the analysis that shows how the Maltese taxpayer is losing several millions through this deal here.

SOCAR also forms part of the ElectroGas consortium that won the bid for the Delimara power station project. The ElectroGas consortium was selected to build and operate the LNG power station in Delimara back in October 2013, with a deal eventually signed in April 2015. Yorgen Fenech, who it is alleged was one of the masterminds behind the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia, was a director. The NAO found a number of shortcomings and irregularities in the tendering process.

The last few days proved what was clear from day one – that the whole power station project is an infinite swamp of corruption and crime, one so vile that it claimed the innocent life of a journalist.

Now is the time to find out why Muscat, Schembri, Mizzi and Farrugia were keen to keep their visit to Azerbaijan that day secret, why they did not want any witnesses around them, and whether any of them are benefiting from the deal.