If you want news about Malta, don't wait for the PM to speak. Switch now to Sky and the BBC.

Published: March 18, 2011 at 1:24pm

On Sky News, Malta has been marked with the Union flag, as a British base

British defence experts are talking about how “we have bases in Malta.”

The British defence minister is quoted as saying that British fighter jets are to be based in Malta to enforce the no-fly zone.

A map of the region has been shown, with Malta clearly marked with the Union flag.

Meanwhile, the Maltese prime minister talks to Al Jazeera and the leader of the Opposition hides out.

36 Comments Comment

  1. Etil says:

    Shame – shame – shame You are treating us like idiots who are only good to vote when asked to do so !

  2. il-Ginger says:

    Are you making this stuff up?


    [Daphne – No, I’m watching Sky News. Malta has been marked with a large Union flag on a map of the region, and defence experts are talking about Britain’s military base in Malta. The Defence Minister is also quoted as talking about Britain’s military base in Malta. Half an hour ago, one expert even specified which sort of jets and how many are being deployed from Malta, but I didn’t get the names because I’m not into military hardware.]

    • A.Attard says:

      Maybe Gloster Sea Gladiators, Hurricanes and Spitfires.

      [Daphne – Even I know those belong to WWII.]

    • Zorro says:

      Tornado and Typhoon fighters, mean machines, but not mean enough to wake up our foreign minister to at least issue a statement. Frankly the prime minister should be addressing the nation. It’s unacceptable that his people have to watch Sky or Al Jazeera to find out what’s happening.

      [Daphne – Yes, Tornado and Typhoon fighter jets, those are the ones they mentioned as being deployed from Malta. And what about the finance minister? With all these threats to our economy, he was on Facebook yesterday, talking about Twistees.]

      • La Redoute says:

        Twistees are in trouble. A couple of containers were on their way to Libya. Now what?

        No matter – Germany is about to get a taste of Twistees, timesofmalta.com reports.

        So that’s all right, then.

      • A. Charles says:

        Good, Libyans are being saved from salty, unsavoury, unhealthy food.

      • e. muscat says:

        Our president has no say in all this? Or because ‘priority’ rules that he honours his commitment in Australia?

    • il-Ginger says:

      Oh, that is very odd.

      I turned on SkyNews and there was Busa Musa (or whatever he’s called) giving some bullshit speech about a “ceasefire” and “protecting” Libyan civilians.

      The West and the Arabs should just declare war on Libya, because I think at this point there is no alternative.

      Gaddaffi is just going to send his soldiers in plain clothes and say that the rebels are fighting amongst themselves. It’s a pretend ceasefire.

  3. La Redoute says:

    Well, if that’s the case, then Malta had better gear up for the arrival of international media. One piddling press conference a week too late won’t be anywhere near enough.

  4. H.P. Baxxter says:

    If any aircraft will be based in Malta, it won’t be the interceptors or bombers.

    1) Ours is a civilian airport with normal civilian traffic, and it wouldn’t cope with the extra traffic.

    2) They need a sizeable force for support and logistics, and it wouldn’t make sense to deploy the units in Malta.

    3) At most it would be a couple of AWACS aircraft.

    The picture we’re getting suggests that bases in France (Istres) and Corsica (Solenzara) are where most of the units will fly from. The Charles-de-Gaulle will sail from Toulon on Monday, so it’s unlikely that we’ll see any action before Sunday night.

    (P.S. Our own PM is probably having all-day crisis meetings with investors and businessmen. )

  5. maryanne says:

    CNN – Libyan Foreign Minister has just announced a complete ceasefire.

  6. Another John says:

    Not a bad prospect at all having a patch of land dedicated to Britain’s armed forces. It would certainly bring REAL peace of mind, as opposed to a clause written in our constitution.

    I would not mind seeing the Union Jack flying for a change. It is high time that it will be and that we should show that we are part of the civilised community of nations.

    [Daphne – Once again, Union flag not Union jack. A jack is that little flag flown on the prow of vessels. A country flies a flag not a jack. Seagoing vessels fly jacks.]

  7. Albert Farrugia says:

    If Malta is being marked by a Union Jack on some map on TV it means one of two things: a) either the news networks are wrongly informed (there is nothing infallible about international news networks, there is a lot of press release reporting going on there, too), or (b) our government has concluded some secret deal behind our backs. I doubt this second option very much.

    [Daphne – Union flag not Union Jack. The Union Jack is something else. The point is not why Sky News reports what it reports, but why Malta’s prime minister and leader of the Opposition fail to report anything at all.]

    Meanwhile, people should also take a look at Al Jazeera to see whats happening in Yemen (30 civilians dead today only), and of course Bahrain. Where is France?

    [Daphne – Why France, Albert? Why not Malta?]

    • Macduff says:

      Bahrain is not the same as Libya, Albert Farrugia. Look things up.

    • e. muscat says:

      Where are our ‘journalists’ and also our politicians? Nobody stands up to the occasion. Is Peppi in Benghazi? Charlon may be caught up in Marsa. John Bundy held in divorce discussion. Kif tista tlahhaq ma kollox! Kieku xtaqt,

  8. Ragunament bazwi - the head below the parapet edition says:

    Even as the world swings into action, for some no parapet is too low – comment on timesofmalta.com


    David Gatt
    @All those cheering and clapping…

    Keep in mind that this attack is happening just because Libya has the OIL. If it weren’t so then please tell why the UN is not intervening in other genocides around the world. Shall I name them out for you?

    Also I am very worried by Gaddafi’s statement where he said he will retaliate by attacking forces in the Mediterranean. I hope for our sake that we won’t be in his crosshairs.

  9. Ragunament bazwi - the Denis Catania edition says:

    We don’t want to be involved militarily but want the world to protect Malta – Denis Catania (yes, he’s back) on timesofmalta.com


    Denis Catania
    My prayers are with the American soldiers as most likely they will do most of the work, also my prayers are with the Maltese citizen as Gadaffi will do anything as a cornered rat would. If Israel can’t stop all scud missile attacks, I doubt Malta can. Let’s hope the UN will bring in a good defense system for Malta. Just in case. Although the Maltese have it in their blood to protect the island as proven in past history.

    • il-Ginger says:

      Ah the shortcomings of free speech, what a bore that man is.
      I guess he isn’t making Easter poops this year.

  10. Clem says:

    FYI : http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/blog/2011/mar/18/libya-military-action-live-updates:

    ”1.09pm: On a lighter note. Malta’s tourism authority is keen to correct what it says is incorrect information in parts of the British media.

    Please be aware that there are NO British military bases in Malta, emails the Malta Tourism Authority. Two news sources – Sky News and Metro, have erroneously stated that British military bases in Malta could be a possible target for Libyan counter attacks, Please be aware that this is false and that Malta has no British military bases and is not a target.”

    • H.P. Baxxter says:

      Well feyuuuuck me! The Malta Tourism Authority has taken over the Office of the Prime Minister. Crikey, a coup d’état!

  11. Anthony says:

    Anyone who is really interested in the workings involved in enforcing an air exclusion zone over the entire Libyan territory should look at the paper by Cdr ND (Sharkey) MacCartan-Ward on the Fleet Air Arm website.

    Sharkey Ward is the UK government’s top adviser on the matter.

    The conclusions are:

    1. as far as the RAF is concerned forget Akrotiri;

    2. the options are Sigonella, Birgi or Malta.

    • H.P. Baxxter says:

      It’s a question of politics more than anything else. Greece has declared its support for military operations against Libya. Turkey says it is against (although it supports the UN resolution). So why Birgi but not Souda?

  12. El Topo says:

    MIntoff must be turning in his grave.

    • H.P. Baxxter says:

      Er, he’s not dead yet. Unfortunately.

      • La Redoute says:

        Yes, he’s still around, though not exactly compos mentis. One of the few comforts of the current confrontation is that Mintoff has lived long enough to see his carefully tended relationship with Gaddafi come undone.

        And that’s not a moment too soon.

      • H.P. Baxxter says:

        Good thing El Topo mentioned Mintoff. Someone should give his nursing home a tinkle. The nurses are probably glued to the TV screens in the common room.

        We wouldn’t want the old fucker to snuff it before the show starts. Let’s make sure he stays alive, and awake, until Gaddafi is hanging from a lamp post in Tripoli and THEN we pull the plug.

      • El Topo says:

        Tongue-in-cheek aside, when I was living in England in the early nineties I was quite surprise and very annoyed at the number of well-educated people whose first reaction when I mentioned that I was from Malta was “Oh, you’ve got that Mintoff for prime minister don’t you?”.

      • Corinne Vella says:

        A grocer on Elephant Island in Southern Egypt said the same thing about Mintoff – and that was only a couple of years ago.

  13. .Angus Black says:

    So who is to make vital decisions Sky News or the Malta government?

    Leave it to Sky News to hurriedly find a fifty year old map of the British Empire showing Malta all but British, so they stuck a Union Jack on the Maltese islands. I bet until recently their journalists didn’t even know Malta existed, where it is located and cared even less.

    Leave it to journalists to screw things up. So far it does not seem that the PM has received any requests to use Malta as a base for British or other forces.

    If such a request is received, the burden lies on the PM either to grant permission or outrightly reject it. The Opposition continues to sit on the fence and as usual they will come up with their brand of advice when the crucial decisions are already taken. Hindsight is 20-20.

    The PM knows that the majority will be with im if he decides to go along with such a request.

  14. Jo Bartolo says:


    so why is there a ‘UNION JACK’ flag over MALTA?

    [Daphne – I’ll patiently repeat: Union flag not Union jack. A jack is that little flag that ships and yachts fly from the prow. The Maltese jack is red and white and shows the Maltese cross.]

    • I.R.A.B. says:

      This one seems to be still up for debate. It seems that while technically you are right Daphne, Union Jack is also a perfectly acceptable name for the flag.


      [Daphne – I’m sorry, but I don’t celebrate linguistic inaccuracy. A jack is one thing, and a flag is another. People confuse the Union jack with the Union flag because they are visually identical, the difference being in size and purpose. You would not, however, be able to refer to the Maltese flag as the Maltese jack, because the Maltese jack is complete different. This is the Maltese jack: http://www.chetcuticauchi.com/jpc/images/photos/flagship.jpg ]

  15. I.R.A.B. says:

    While I agree that you don’t have to celebrate it and you can refuse to use it, I feel it’s a bit much to correct people for using it when it is acceptable.

    [Daphne – It’s not acceptable. It’s accepted – by some people, and not by all. Plus, there is a difference between people using ‘Union jack’ out of choice and people using it because they don’t know what it means, or because they actually think it’s what the flag is called. A jack is just a type of flag used for a particular purpose. There is an Italian jack, a Maltese jack, a Greek jack, etc – people might actually find this bit of information interesting.]

  16. I.R.A.B. says:

    I sure did find it interesting. That’s why I looked it up. When something surprises me I always like to check it out. I’ve got to admit that I always used to call it the ‘Union Jack’ actually thinking it was the correct name. As the saying goes – ‘Everyday is a school day’.

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