Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Malta Car Bomb kills Panama Papers Journalist


Guardian |  The son of the murdered Maltese investigative journalist and blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia has described finding parts of his mother’s body around the blazing car in which she died and attacked the island as a “mafia state” run by “crooks”. 

“My mother was assassinated because she stood between the rule of law and those who sought to violate it, like many strong journalists,” Matthew Caruana Galizia, who is also an investigative reporter, wrote in a moving and at times graphic Facebook post.

“But she was also targeted because she was the only person doing so. This is what happens when the institutions of the state are incapacitated: the last person left standing is often a journalist. Which makes her the first person left dead.”

Dutch forensic experts were due to arrive in Malta to help police in the EU’s smallest state investigate the killing of Daphne Caruana Galizia, who led the Panama Papers investigation into corruption on the island. 

She died on Monday afternoon when her Peugeot was destroyed by an explosive device so powerful it blew the car into a nearby field. One witness driving up the road behind her said her heard two loud and distinct blasts. 

Several thousand people gathered at an impromptu candlelit vigil in Sliema, near the island’s capital Valletta, on Monday night to mourn the journalist, described as a “one-woman WikiLeaks” whose blogs were as fiercely critical of the island’s politicians as they were of its organised crime gangs.
The European commission said it was horrified by the murder, praising the journalist for her her “dedication to the truth” and pioneering investigative work: “The right of a journalist to investigate, ask uncomfortable questions and report is at the heart of our values and needs to be guaranteed at all times,” it said.

Matthew Caruana Galizia said he would never forget “running around the inferno in the field, trying to figure out a way to open the door, the horn of the car still blaring, screaming at two policemen who turned up with a single fire extinguisher to use it”.

One of the policemen said: “Sorry, there is nothing we can do,” he wrote. “I looked down and there were my mother’s body parts all around me. I realised they were right, it was hopeless. ‘Who is in the car?’, they asked me. ‘My mother is in the car. She is dead. She is dead because of your incompetence.’” 

Caruana Galizia, 53, ran a hugely popular blog relentlessly highlighting cases of alleged high-level corruption among politicians across Malta’s party lines. “There are crooks everywhere you look now. The situation is desperate,” she wrote in a post published barely half an hour before the bomb exploded.