Why Labour keeps mum about Gaddafi (1)

Published: February 23, 2011 at 5:50pm

November 1984: Muammar Gaddafi pays a seventh visit to Malta and is welcomed by president Agatha Barbara, foreign minister Alex Sceberras Trigona, and cabinet ministers Karmenu Vella, Lino Spiteri, Philip Muscat and Censu Moran.

During this visit, Malta’s foreign minister Alex Sceberras Trigona and prime minister Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici sign a ‘security agreement’ with representatives of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime. In terms of this security agreement, Malta’s prime minister informs Gaddafi in 1986 that bombers sent by Ronald Reagan are headed over Malta towards Libya to target Gaddafi’s compound near Tripoli. Gaddafi escapes in the nick of time and Libyans and the world are saddled with him for another 25 years.

34 Comments Comment

  1. TROY says:

    Gaddafi does have somewhere to go: Mile End in Hamrun. How can they recreate the Golden Years without him?

    • Bus Driver says:

      Qanna, Troy, mela ghalhekk applikaw mal-Mepa biex jibnu gallarija mal-faccata tad-dar il-hamra. U kullhadd kien qed jahseb li kienet mahsuba ghal-Joseph.

  2. La Redoute says:

    So much for trying to make us forget the 1980s. I bet the jerk hadn’t banked on all this blowing up in his face.

  3. John Lane says:

    Perhaps a little balance would be nice here. Yes, Labour stays mum but there have been outcries from the PN, as far as I can tell.

    As for meetings with the Colonel, those did not stop with the end of the MLP reign; the Prime Minister visited him just the other day.

    I can understand the cowadice on both sides, given the economic and geographical vulnerability of Malta.

    [Daphne – Please read my column tomorrow.]

  4. kev says:

    Labour is hardly relevant at this point. The question is: What will Gonzi do if Gaddafi requests anything from him, such as the return of the fighter jets to bomb civilian targets?

    [Daphne – Oh, I can answer that for you. He told a meeting of worried Maltese businessmen this afternoon that the Maltese government has received requests already for the return of the pilots and has categorically refused. One assumes that the same applies to the fighter jets, if for no other reason than that they are the only ones here who can fly them back. How else were you proposing to return them, Kevin? By DHL?]

    Will he be thinking on the lines of: ‘Jekk inxellifha mieghu u jirnexxielu jsalva jpattihielna zgur’?

    He may have other considerations, such as the possibility of Islamic extremists taking over: ‘Jekk nappogga lil Gaddafi u jirbhu ‘huma’ nerdghuh.’

    Most probably he’ll apply his best delay tactics and wait for the EU to decide on his behalf.

    • kev says:

      I tackled that point in a recent post: they’ll send two pilots to pick them up.

      [Daphne – Really? Brilliant plan. And how do they get permission to do that without demanding that Malta collude in crimes against humanity?]

      It’s easy to refuse sending the pilots back. Even in Mintoff’s days Russian defectors were given free transit. It’s not the same for the jets, though.

      • kev says:

        Tal-ghageb! You were the one who enquired about DHL.

        The question is whether Gonzi will refuse to return the jets or not – the ‘how’ is easy and no DHL is required.

        Refusing to return the pilots is the easy part. The fighter jets will be demanded back and Gonzi’s decision will qualify the relationship between the two countries.

        [Daphne – He can keep them in custody until the danger is over. Indeed, he is obliged to do so.]

      • Angus Black says:

        Yes, that would be a good plan.

        A better plan would be to make sure that the two fighter jets have enough fuel on board to last about 30 miles off Malta’s coast.

        Kill four birds with one stone.

      • La Redoute says:

        It looks like you’re at a loose end again. Try this

        I believe they also have a Kindle version. You can sneak that in under your shirt.

      • A. Charles says:

        As usual, Kev, you are wrong. During the doctors’ strike, the majority of the imported doctors from East Europe managed to seek asylum in the USA and other democracies by skipping the connecting flights in Rome when they went for their holidays in their country of origin.

        The border police in Malta had specific instructions to vet these people so that no attempt was made by the medics to escape from Malta.

    • Tim Ripard says:

      How I hate the eponymous use of ‘DHL’. TNT please.

      • H.P. Baxxter says:

        Sell those Mirages back to Dassault and get a few crates of Dom Perignon (woops! pun alert!) in a triangular deal.

  5. Interested Bystander says:

    Seriously, Gonzi could make a big impression if he played the Christian statesman right now. Has he got it in him?

  6. maryanne says:

    I hope that there will be at least one journalist who goes to parliament tonight and asks Joseph Muscat what he thinks about Libya. You know, the way in which the Super One journalists used to hound Eddie Fenech Adami on his way in or out of the Palace.

    • Frankie's Barrage says:

      I am sure Julia Farrugia has prepared a set of questions for Joseph Muscat on Gaddafi. Shall we hold our breath?

  7. Joe Micallef says:

    This is becoming serious

    From il Messagero

    Al Qaeda ha costituito un emirato islamico in Libia, a Derna, nell’est del Paese. Lo ha affermato il viceministro degli Esteri libico, Khaled Kaim, incontrando i diplomatici dell’Ue. «L’emirato è diretto da Abdelkarim Al-Hasadi, un ex detenuto di Guantanamo», ha detto Kaim, convinto di uno scenario alla talebana. Al Qaeda avrebbe poi un altro responsabile, il numero due dell’Emirato, Kheirallah Baraassi, che si è stabilito ad al Beida. Il gruppo avrebbe disposto l’obbligo del burqa per le donne, uccidendo chi si rifiuta di collaborare.

    [Daphne – More hysterical Italian xenophobia. They drive me up the wall. And why ‘becoming serious’? It’s been serious for 42 years.]

    • H.P. Baxxter says:

      Er, actually the Islamist Libyan faction is based in London. It’s been there for bloody yoicks.

      And could we stop the “geographical and economic vulnerabilty” spiel? First we wallow in the de Marco “zghar, izda kbar” fantasy, and join the EU and all, and then when push comes to shove we chicken out “ghax zghar”.

      Gonzi should realise that the real test of a statesman is not the “opportunitajiet ghaz-zaghzagh taghna” Sunday speech, but this sort of thing.

      So far we’ve failed on all counts.

      Fawning handshakes qisu qieghed il-kazin, a foreign minister who sounds like a monsignor on camomile, platitudes about the poor forsaken “biznissmenn Maltin fil-Libja”, bombing fantasies and Karl Stagno Navarra hamming it up for the cameras.

      • Angus Black says:

        “Gonzi should realise that the real test of a statesman is not the “opportunitajiet ghaz-zaghzagh taghna” Sunday speech, but this sort of thing”.

        According to the latest news ‘this sort of thing’ just happened a couple of hours ago when ‘Malta refused a Libyan plane from landing at MIA . On board was allegedly Muammar Gaddafi’s daughter’ – see Aljazeera & CNN news online.

        Ahna zghar, izda kbar fits nicely sometimes.

        Now someone will start asking questions like, “what’s Gaddafi’s daughter got to do with the slaughter ordered by her own father?

        [Daphne – I don’t believe that Gaddafi’s daughter was on board for the simple reason that if she was, then I shall have to wonder once more about our government’s judgement where Libya is concerned. Gaddafi’s daughter would have made the perfect hostage against the seizing of Maltese assets in Libya.]

      • H.P. Baxxter says:

        Nope. I disagree. First Suha Arafat, then Gaddafi’s daughter. What is Malta, the retirement home for relatives of deceased or fallen dictators? She can go to Switzerland, where no doubt she has a few millions stashed away. The two colonels are another matter.

        I’m still waiting for KMB to make a statement. It should be fun.

      • Antoine Vella says:

        If the plane really had passengers fleeing from Libya they would have continued to Sicily rather than fly back to Tripoli.

        All the same I don’t understand why no permission to land was given.

      • ciccio2011 says:

        The Gaddafis are not welcome in Switzerland anymore.


      • La Redoute says:

        Aisha Gaddafi denied having tried to enter Malta.

      • Catsrbest says:

        I read on another site that the plane was carrying pilots to take the 2 fighter planes back that is why it was refused entry. And this makes much more sense that the story of Gaddafi’s daughter being on it.

    • Anthony Farrugia says:

      What do you expect from a country with a prime minister interested only in passing laws to protect himself from legal action in corruption cases. Oh, and bunga-bunga with paid girls.
      Il-veru kas, fiddling while Rome burns.

  8. Neil Dent says:

    Is/are the Libyan navy ship/ships around here somewhere or not? Maltese authorities have again denied it but I just hear it again on Al Jazeera – two warships, sent out from Tripoli to Benghazi, but then they changed course and headed for Malta.

    [Daphne – I wouldn’t like to point fingers, but that story seems to have been fed into the mix by a former Al Jazeera reporter who now works for Malta Today. He also gave Al Jazeera the impression that he somehow spoke to the fighter pilots.]

    • Neil Dent says:

      Aahh. Got you. In fact it was another, however current Al Jazeera reporter called Cal Perry who has put the story out to the wider world last night. Coincidence?

      [Daphne – You didn’t get me at all. Sniff about for the common factor.]

      • Neil Dent says:

        Yes, yes. Having already broken the pilots’ story on AJ, the Maltese ex-AJ correspondent feeds the warship(s) story to the current AJ correspondent in Malta, Mr Perry, for…..whatever reason. Theoretically speaking of course.

    • Hot Mama says:

      Dak il-bassa li kien jahdem Al Jazeera

  9. Cannot Resist Anymore says:

    It seems to me that Cal Perry has only appeared reporting from Malta since yesterday.

    Prior to that it was Karl S.Navarra. What happened? Has he walked over to the Horizon from Al Jazeera as well?

  10. d.farrugia says:

    Just because one Italian newspaper reports something you go hysterical about the whole Italian nation.

    What about France which had just restored the Migs that two of them landed in Malta and wasn’t Tony Blair visiting Libya a couple of years ago? I think all European countries were licking Gaddafi’s butt and not just Italy which is the nearest country besides Malta to Libya and being their ex colonial masters.

  11. Marku says:

    Il-klikka kollha kienu jmorru jilqawh: Agatha, Alex, Philip, Karmenu, Censu u il-kumplament tar-regim Mintoffjan.

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