The Malta Independent 24 January 2022, Monday

Live not by lies

Kevin Cassar Sunday, 9 January 2022, 10:11 Last update: about 15 days ago

“In our country the lie has become not just a moral category but a pillar of the state,” wrote Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in his essay ‘Live not by lies’. It could have been written for today’s Malta.

“The lie led us so far away from a normal society that you cannot even orient yourself any longer - in its dense, gray fog not even one pillar can be seen”. Labour dominates the media through TVM and ONE, watched by 66% of the population, according to a recent survey.  Social media is overwhelmed by pro-government ads funded by taxpayers’ money.  Organised trolls, led by persons of trust, manipulate the narrative through abusive intimidating online comments.

As Vaclav Havel noted in ‘The power of the powerless’, “the regime is captive to its own lies and it must falsify everything.  It falsifies the past, the present and the future - it even falsifies statistics”. A perfect description of Labour’s Malta.

Lies are used to cover hidden motives, gross corruption, looting of state assets. They’re also used to “transform reality into fiction” in Hannah Arendt’s words.   Corrupt state actors impose a fictional account of the country.  Relentlessly repeated lies impregnate minds.  Stagno Navarra’s Pjazza is the most watched ‘discussion’ programme.

Those lies come thick and fast.  Silvio Schembri lied in parliament claiming office space leased for Malta Business Registry would cost ‘only’ 8.4 million. The NAO revealed it will cost taxpayers 26 million euro. Schembri hides by refusing to publish the contract.

The same Schembri declared only 33,894 euro income in his 2017 declaration of assets. His tax return revealed he earned almost double. Schembri failed to declare 23,536 euro he earned as “ministry adviser”.

Schembri misled parliament by concealing thousands of euro in direct orders dished out by Malta gaming authority to Labour’s loyalists -  Vince Marmara, Cory Greenland and Minister Miriam Dallis sister Veronique, newspaper Malta Today owned by governments PR consultant Saviour Balzan, companies owned by Keith Schembri’s wife and Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi’s sister. When challenged, the MGA claimed this was a “mistake”. Speaker Anglu Farrugia exonerated the minister by ruling that his failure to disclose those direct orders was “not intentional”.

Schembri’s deceptions are no exception. Konrad Mizzi denied being involved or having access to the secret Vitals MOU. Instead, he blamed Malta Enterprise. Malta Enterprise spent years fighting freedom of information requests to release the MOU. After having spent 3 years in a legal battle to keep the document secret, CEO Kurt Farrugia, Joseph Muscat’s spokesman, then claimed Malta Enterprise had never been party to the secret deal. Not even the NAO was given access to it and was compelled to publish its first Vitals report without having seen it. The document was “lost”, Labour lied.  But the MOU was miraculously ‘found’ and passed to the NAO. And the signatory was Malta Enterprise after all. Was Kurt Farrugia disciplined for his deception?

Neither were all the Labour figures who lied brazenly. Justyne Caruana lied that Bogdanovic wrote the report. She knew he hadn’t. Ian Borg lied he didn’t know about the mental illness of the man he robbed of his heirloom. Zammit Lewis lied that he had no relationship with Yorgen Fenech. Carmelo Abela lied that he did not know who built the verandah at his house, that he didn’t testify in the HSBC heist case. Keith Schembri claimed he lost his phone, Konrad Mizzi lied that his secret Panama company was worth 92 euro - it was worth 9200. He lied that he never gave the go-ahead for a bank account. The FIAU discovered he’d travelled to Dubai specifically for that purpose. Chris Fearne claimed Vitals would invest 220 million in our hospitals. Rosianne Cutajar claimed she did not take Yorgen Fenech’s money. Joseph Muscat claimed he could not remember when he last saw Yorgen Fenech. Robert Abela claimed no politician was implicated in Caruana Galizia’s murder. He denied discussing Bernard Grech’s taxes with Marvin Gaerty.

Those were little lies. There were far bigger ones.  ‘It’s not who you know but what you know that counts’ was the mega meritocracy lie. Labour’s pre-electoral anti-corruption stance was just fake. ‘You might disagree with us but you can work with us’ was another big one.  Or ‘Malta Taghna Lkoll’ - (Malta belongs to all of us). Maybe Labour’s fictitious surplus and fiscal competence were the biggest lies of all. Now the national debt and deficit spiral out of control.

Even statistics are falsified.  Malta’s record unemployment was attained through a ‘cunning’ plan - pay the unemployed a state salary through a GWU company so they appear to be employed in the ‘private’ sector. Government ministers nominated constituents to be recruited to that GWU scheme, buying votes in the process.

And we still smile cowardly and mumble with our tongues tied.

The country is grey-listed - that best in Europe mantra was just fiction. Pilatus wasn’t clean after all. Nor was Nexia BT. Simon Busuttil’s “empty boxes” weren’t empty. Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi were corrupt - that’s why they’re banned from entering the United States. ONE news didn’t dare report the US state department’s condemnation of Joseph Muscat’s two chief disciples.

Labour must suppress the truth more severely than anything else. Labour sold Schembri and Mizzi as saviours of the nation, still defending them to the hilt. It cannot ditch them.  Otherwise Muscat is denounced too. If ONE exposes the architect of Labour’s glorious victories for the fraud he really was, Labour’s edifice crumbles.

The truth is Labour’s biggest threat because it erodes the very foundations Labour’s built on. So in our timidity, let us make a choice: to shrug off lies and earn our children’s respect or remain a Frank Fabri, a servant of falsehood. For those who choose the latter out of fear, apathy, personal gain or to take the easy road, Solzhenitsyn had this to say: “Let him say to himself plainly - I am a coward, I seek only warmth and to eat my fill”.




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