The dramatic events of the past week which led Vincent Muscat (Il-Koħħu), one of the accused in the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, to admit the charges against him and to be sentenced to 15 years in prison led to the indictment of this is possibly Malta’s most horrific criminal ring.
According to the police commissioner, now every person – from the brain to the executioner – involved in the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, has been apprehended.
When the assassination took place, many began to bring up stories of foreign involvement, speculating that it was the first bombing in Malta involving the use of semtex and other such creative rumors.
The real story was very different. It was all organized and done locally by people for whom eliminating one human was no different than eliminating another human – at least they thought so.
Vincent Muscat admitted his guilt in the murder of Caruana Galizia after a plea bargain. For “spilling the bean”, Muscat was pardoned for his involvement in another assassination – that of lawyer Carmel Chircop who was shot dead in 2015 in the Birkirkara garage complex where he normally parked his car. The terms of this pardon required Muscat to identify the people who ordered and carried out the murder of Chircop; give details of the money paid and what happened to the pistol and the car used in the assassination.
Three people are now charged with the murder of lawyer Carmel Chircop. Two of the indicted men are also accused of being involved in the assassination of Caruana Galizia, along with a third.
The involvement of this lawyer in the criminal world is currently a matter of speculation. The police commissioner refuses to disclose whether a € 750,000 loan that Chircop granted to More Supermarket – which was run by Ryan Schembri – was a matter of interest in the investigation. This plot must thicken further, before everything is cleared up.
Malta has seen 19 bombings since 2010, with five people targeted in the past 11 months. Several of these cases remain unresolved, with many cases linked to a criminal network that thrives on diesel smuggling, drug trafficking and usury. Some six people were murdered but public outrage was rare – many viewed the bombs as criminals settling scores among themselves. Rumor has it one might even have been a police informant. Either way, the police hardly did anything, of course.
Car bombing someone who is falling out with others in a criminal network is very different from killing a high profile person like Daphne Caruana Galizia. The score to be settled was of a different type and the person charged with ordering the murder was not an established criminal “boss”.
It seems to me that those who agreed to carry out the work of Daphne Caruana Galizia did not realize the importance of this difference. They seem to have expected the usual police investigation to lead nowhere.
It was nothing like that.
In this case, public pressure for justice was intense. The FBI was asked to help and their contribution was vital. Now the whole sordid story seems to have been revealed, although I wouldn’t be surprised if there were still any unknown facts.
What intrigues me is the inability of the assassins to tell the difference between settling scores between criminals and the murder of a blogger who is widely followed to “shut up”, so to speak.
There is a great cultural divide between the world of the criminal network involved and the world inhabited by Caruana Galizia. This was not the case with the other car bombs.
The criminal network that thought it was just another “job” was dead wrong.
They did not realize that their victim was not from their social background and do not seem to have expected the uproar the murder provoked.
Why? Does their background and environment exclude the consciousness of the other “Malta”? This question deserves a thorough social and anthropological investigation.
Crime, after all, does not exist in a bubble cut off from the rest of society.
The EU is working on the idea of introducing vaccination certificates for EU citizens who have had an anti-COVID vaccination.
This follows pressure from southern EU countries which rely heavily on tourism and cannot afford to waste another summer holiday season.
As the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines accelerates, some governments, such as those in Greece and Spain, are pushing for the swift adoption of an EU-wide certificate for those already vaccinated so that people can travel again.
Other countries, like France and Germany, seem more reluctant, as officials say it would be discriminatory for those who cannot or do not want to be vaccinated.
Anti-vaccine sentiment is particularly strong in France where the government has pledged not to make them mandatory.
Vaccination “passports” – or other forms of COVID-19 status certificates – will allow people to show proof of vaccination and thus bypass quarantine protocols when they arrive in another country.
Some countries have already introduced such policies, with Iceland becoming the first European country to issue vaccination certificates.
Greece did not wait for an EU decision and introduced a digital vaccination certificate for those who received two doses of the vaccine.
In the UK, Boris Johnson has sought to allay fears that the certificates marginalize people unable to receive the COVID-19 injection, saying a UK government review would be “aware of the many concerns about exclusion, discrimination and privacy “.
There are still decisions to be made. Will the certificates be in digital form? Will they be accepted globally? At what stage of the two-stage inoculation process should certificates be issued?
The EU is working on these issues with the International Air Transport Association, anxious to revive air transport, as well as with the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Health Organization.
More importantly is the fact that there are no guidelines yet from the WHO and EU agencies as to whether people who have received two injections of the COVID-19 vaccine may still be carriers of the virus. and infect others, even if they are no longer vulnerable themselves.
Additionally, it is not known how long people remained immune after becoming infected and battling the coronavirus.