Thousands of people gathered in Valletta in a national protest organized by the civil society to express anger and challenge authorities to react to the brutal assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia killed last Monday.
Several demonstrators demanded the resignation of both the Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and the Leader of Nationalist Party Adrian Delia. This morning Prime Minister Muscat declared that he will not attend the protest so that he does not offend the journalist’s family following direct and personal attacks on him by the son of the victim. On the other hand, the Leader of the Opposition Party, Adrian Delia also declined from participating after rebel members of parliament within his party decided not to accompany the Leader during the demonstration.
During the event, demonstrators carried billboards, protesting against Police Commissioner Lawrence Cutajar and Attorney General Peter Grech accusing them of procrastinating to take action on the case. Other billboards bore Caruana Galizia’s last sentence in her last blog, a few minutes before the assassination “There are crooks everywhere you look now. The situation is desperate”.
Christophe Deloire, Director of Reporters Without Borders addressed the crowd: “They want to silence us, but we will not give them more than a minute of silence,” adding that Caruana Galizia never gave up and neither are we.
At the end of the national protest, the civil society filed a request to the Prime Minister of Malta calling for the resignation of the Police Commissioner and the Attorney General, and requesting that the new constitutional representatives will be approved by a two-thirds vote of the Maltese Parliament.
The requests were also submitted to the President of the Republic of Malta Marie Louise Coleiro Preca. The demonstrators said that President Coleiro Preca should exercise moral authority to do justice. The President said that Monday’s assassination was an attack against the Maltese State and the people of Malta and appealed for national unity.
The Malta Police with the help of American and Dutch experts is putting particular attention to certain blogs and writings published by Daphne Caruana Galizia at the beginning of last March and related articles in the following weeks. Sources close to the police investigation said that there are some very powerful writings that expressed concerns about some people that were dangerous to Daphne Caruana Galizia’s life. In these particular blogs she refers to both local and foreign people, involved in certain sectors and reveals several important things about them to the extent that she stated that her communication with them not only infuriated them but placed a threat on her life that she took very seriously. A group of experts working for the Police Force are analyzing in great detail all the journalist’s blogs both recent and those dating months back particularly those in which Galizia referred to threats in her writings. Meanwhile, the Malta Police have received two messages that Daphne Caruana Galizia had recently received and forwarded to her lawyer Roberto Montalto. The content of the messages was not revealed.
In another development, a farmer who happened close to the explosion, stated that there were in total three explosions that occurred within seconds of each other. Daphne Caruana Galizia died in the second deadly explosion. The Government of Malta is offering a €1 million reward for any information leading to the arrest of those responsible for Caruana Galizia’s assassination.
Based on Macroeconomic forecasts developed by the African Development Bank (BAD), Morocco’s GDP will reach USD 121.4 billion by the end of 2017, recording an annual growth of 4.5%. Moroccan GDP almost tripled compared to 1999 (when it reached 43 billion dollars) and almost doubled compared to 2006 (65 billion). Morocco is currently the sixth largest economy in the African continent, preceded by Nigeria (581.5 billion dollars), South Africa (276.1), Egypt (263.7), Algeria (170.3) and Sudan (123, 9). It should be noted that, with the exception of South Africa, these countries derive much of their revenues from hydrocarbon exports. African Development Bank’s forecasts for Morocco’s 2018 growth indicate a slowdown in the positive dynamics (+ 3.9%). According to BAD experts, Morocco will still have better economic performance than the world average (+ 3.5% in 2017 and + 3.6% in 2018), African (+ 3% in 2017 and + 3.7% in 2018 ) and maghreb (+ 3.1% in 2017 and + 3.6% in 2018).
The latest report of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasts that the growth rate in Tunisia will reach 3% in 2018, following the 2.3% of 2017. Growth in the first half of 2017 was 1.8%, driven mainly by agriculture and services, which grew by 3.8% each. Difficulties, however, for the non-industrial sector, which declined by 2.6%. The same IMF report indicates that the unemployment rate will rise from 13% in 2017, then fall to 12% in 2018. The inflation rate will be 4.8% in 2018, against 4.5% in 2017.
With his goal he has written a small page of history but is in his decision of not exulting that Andre Schembri has decided to make a difference. The first Maltese player to score in the group stage of a European competition thanks to the momentary 1-1 of Apollon against Atalanta, the 31-year-old striker surprised everyone choosing not to celebrate the goal. Schembri explained his choice a few hours later on his Facebook page: “A good show against a very strong Atalanta side. Celebrating my goal didn’t feel right after what happened in Malta this week”. The reference is to the murder of Daphne Caruana Galicia, the journalist who investigated about “Malta Files” and some corruption cases.
Maltese journalists and broadcasters gathered in protest in the capital city Valletta to show their outrage against the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. They stated that no attack will silence them in carrying out their professional work.
Those present bore messages in favour of freedom of expression, democracy and the pursuit of justice.
As they stood in front of the court building, the journalists expressed their solidarity with the family of the journalist Caruana Galizia whilst condemning the barbaric attack that not only managed to seize a colleague’s life but also attempts to stifle freedom of expression.
At the end of the protest, the Institute of Maltese Journalists put forward an application before the Court to ensure that each contact found on any digital device owned by Daphne Caruana Galizia remains confidential in order to protect the sources of the journalist killed.
Meanwhile the Caruana Galizia family refused the request of the President and the Prime Minister of Malta to approve a state grant of € 1,000,000 to give to anyone who can provide information to detect those responsible for the crime. Instead the Caruana Galizia family are asking for the Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s resignation because according to them the Maltese Government failed to ensure fundamental rights relating to human freedoms, resulting in a society where people are living in fear of corruption and criminal activity that last Monday led to the journalist’s murder.
Meanwhile an autopsy is being carried out on the remains of Daphne Caruana Galizia in order for the investigators to find out more on what happened in this barbaric crime that indicates the explosion was triggered via a mobile phone . This can determine the location of the aggressors before the crime took place.
Next Monday a delegation from the Italian Anti-Mafia Commission led by Senator Mario Michele Giarrusso will be visiting Malta to help shed light on this matter that hides too many dark sides.
“Do you know that i am a journalist by profession. And Mrs. Caruana Galizia was the best”. This is how the Prime Minister of Malta Joseph Muscat described Daphne Caruana Galizia following the murder in an interview with La Repubblica. Caruana Galizia’s son, a journalist himself, heavily critisised the government for not protecting his mother. “I don’t believe it is appropriate to reply to Matthew. If I was in his position and found my mother in that state I probably would have had harsher words,” Muscat said.
“I have several times expressed my views on Daphne’s writings that I describe as pure journalism mixed with an international flair,” the Prim Minister said. “However at times some articles created doubts. I cannot comment on the Pilatus Bank issue. I am only sure that the government did everything to investigate. These are matters beyond the Prime Minister’s control. Nevertheless, it is definitely untrue that me or my wife have secret accounts abroad. I have declared on many occasions that if such accusations were proved, I would immediately resign and I keep my word. In any case there is an ongoing Magisterial investigation with regards the Pilatus Bank”.
“I know that Caruana Galizia had given evidence, so the truth will be revealed. However this must not distract us from our mission to find the culprits and executors of this murder that does not belong to us. It is unthinkable that in a country like Malta anyone should die because of the work he does and in this case where Caruana Galizia was assassinated for the articles she wrote. Most probably she was my main opponent and she had been attacking me since I was the Leader of the Opposition but that was her work. What occurred is unacceptable and that is why we have requested the assistance of the FBI and European secret services so that justice is done in the shortest time possible”.
Two Maltese are under investigation by the Prosecutor Office in Catania, Sicily for fuel smuggling from Libya. The investigations have led the authorities in Catania to issue nine arrest warrants. Six of the them have been arrested and an international arrest warrant has been issued for the other three. One of the arrested is Marco Porta, 48 years, the administrator for Maxcom Bunker Spa.
An arrest warrant was issued against Fahmi Mousa Saleem Ben Khalifa, known as “il Malem” (the leader). Originally he is from Zuwarah in Libya, and following Qaddafi’s overthrow, he escaped from prison in 2011 where he was jailed for 15 years for drug trafficking. According to the investigation, Ben Khalifa has led an armed militia close to the coastal area bordering Tunisia. Recently he was taken in custody by the Libyan authorities on accusations of fuel smuggling.
And then there is 45 year old Nicola Orazio Romeo, linked to the Mafia clan of Ercolano. According to a conversation among the suspects he is described as “the untouchable”. He is considered as an integral part of the Maltese component of the organisation, whose primary function was the organisation of fuel transport from Libya by sea. Romeo has already been indicted in 2008 for his mafia connections with the Santapaola clan and for other organised illegal activities in the Acireale and Aci Catena area in order to get money by using force and threats.
The Prosecution claims that together with Nicola Orazio Romeo, the two Maltese citizens – Darren and Gordon Debono – were involved in the illicit business of fuel smuggling from Libya by using a network of commercial companies. Darren Debono is a retired football player and in Malta is considered as one of the most experienced in the game. He represented Malta with the National team and won all major football trophies with Sliema Wanderers and Valletta FC. Debono was twice given suspended jail sentences by the Law Courts in Malta; once for stealing a refrigerated trailer for storing fish and in the second case for defrauding the Government of Malta by not declaring the right amount of fish landings with the Customs Department.
In February 2016, the prominent investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia who was killed by a powerful car bomb, reported on her blog that she received threats via email from a family member close to Darren Debono ( https://daphnecaruanagalizia.com/2016/02/so-last-night-i-received-a-threat-from-the-grandmother-of-the-nice-middle-class-girl-in-the-labour-campaign-video/). The role played by another Libyan national had a determined factor. Tareq Dardar from Zuwara is considered as the prime suspect of collecting payments in foreign accounts held for Ben Khalifa. In the investigation, it also emerged that the administrator of Maxcom Bunker spa, a company with legal head office in Rome, would trade petroleum products and bunkering activities with the involvement of three employees who are under house arrest. They are Rosanna La Duca, a 48 year old consultant for Maxcom Bunker spa, Stefano Cevasco, a 48 year old businessman and Antonio Baffo, 61, responsbile for tax filing in Augusta.
The explosive device placed in the car that killed prominent investigative Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was created with the use of military explosive. Sources close to the Maltese Police Force said that the explosive used in the crime last Monday was kind of Semtex.
Maltese investigators with the assistance of Dutch Forensic Experts and FBI agents are investigating the origins of the explosive device and who was behind the assassination of Caruana Galizia.
Semtex is a general purpose plastic explosive and it is used in commercial blasting, demolition and in certain military applications. Semtex was developed and manufactured in Czechoslovakia during the sixties and eventually became popular with terrorists’ attacks because it was, until recently, extremely difficult to detect, as in the case of Pan Am Flight 103 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988.
The explosive was widely exported, notably to the government of Vietnam during the Vietnam War. However, the main consumer was Libya with about 700 tons of Semtex exported to the Qaddafi’s regime between 1975 and 1981. It has also been used by Islamic militants in the Middle East and by the Irish Republican Army and the Irish National Liberation Army in Northern Ireland.
Malta is under great shock and sadness at the brutal murder of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. She was killed in the afternoon of 16 October in a car blast just 200 meters away from her residence in Bidnija, limits of Mosta.
Daphne Caruana Galizia, 53, had received life threats in recent weeks. The explosion took place while she was driving a rented car, a Peugeot 108. The car ended up in flames and parts of it were found in a nearby field across the road.
The prominent blogger was renowned for her investigative journalism alleging corruption within the Labour Government. Recently, she turned her criticism against officials of the centre-right Nationalist Party, including the newly elected leader Adrian Delia.
Addressing the media from his office in Valletta, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat condemned the killing, and described this attack as a “barbaric act”.
“What happened today is unacceptable. Today is a black day for democracy and freedom of speech in Malta,” Muscat said.
In the televised message, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat reaffirmed: “I will not rest until I see justice done in this case. Our country deserves justice.”
Addressing the Maltese Parliament later on in the evening, Prime Minister Muscat announced that he asked the Government of the United States to assist into the investigation of the brutal death of journalist Caruana Galizia.
FBI agents are on their way to Malta to support the Maltese Secret Service in their investigations into this fatal car bomb in which the prominent Maltese journalist was burned to death by the powerful car bomb.