Daphne Caruana Galizia RIP

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The Guardian has reported the murder of the Maltese anti-corruption blogger Daphne Caruana Galuzia, saying:

The journalist who led the Panama Papers investigation into corruption in Malta was killed on Monday in a car bomb near her home.

Daphne Caruana Galizia died on Monday afternoon when her car, a Peugeot 108, was destroyed by a powerful explosive device which blew the vehicle into several pieces and threw the debris into a nearby field.

A blogger whose posts often attracted more readers than the combined circulation of the country’s newspapers, Caruana Galizia was recently described by the Politico website as a “one-woman WikiLeaks”. Her blogs were a thorn in the side of both the establishment and underworld figures that hold sway in Europe’s smallest member state.

I suggest reading the whole report.

I admit to being shocked, and to be being slightly in shock. I also make clear I did not know Daphne Caruana Galizia, so the loss is not personal. But this is a murder of a type that I always presumed was possible one day. The chance that those with money might eventually fight back physically against those who named and shamed the corruption that  they undertook, and undertake, through tax havens was always, and is now all too obviously, real. And now it has happened, targeting a journalist and blogger for doing what journalists have done so well throughout the whole history of the tax justice and anti-corruption movements, by bringing the systemic risks of corruption to people's attention by highlighting individual cases where the risk appears to have been significant.

I share the sentiments of fellow Tax Justice Network founder Sven Giegold MEP, speaking to the Guardian:

Responding to news of the attack, the German MEP Sven Giegold, a leading figure in the parliament’s Panama Papers inquiry, said he was “shocked and saddened”.

“It is too early to know the cause of the explosion but we expect to see a thorough investigation,” said Giegold. “Such incidents bring to mind Putin’s Russia, not the European Union. There can be absolutely no tolerance for violence against the press and violations of the freedom of expression in the European Union.”

And I strongly suspect that this is correct:

The [Maltese] Nationalist party leader, Adrian Delia – himself the subject of negative stories by Caruana Galizia – claimed the killing was linked to her reporting. “A political murder took place today,” Delia said in a statement. “What happened today is not an ordinary killing. It is a consequence of the total collapse of the rule of law which has been going on for the past four years.”

Tax havens, and those who promote them do seek to undermine democracy, and they have always sought to undermine the rule of law. Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed for defending both.

Caruana Galizia was 53 and leaves a husband and three sons. I extend my condolences and symathies to them and hope that they can believe that she did not die in vain.