The fightback
User avatar
Posts: 4128
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2017 5:44 pm
Location: Turtle island

Re: Brazil

Post by blindpig » Mon Aug 19, 2019 4:56 pm

Lula’s political imprisonment reaches 500 days
Everyone who cared about Democracy who was paying attention to what was happening in Brazil knew, from day one, that Lula’s arrest was a sham result of a biased political witch hunt led by right wing extremists in order to remove him from the presidential race. The Intercept revelations now prove, unequivocally, that they were right.

by Brian Mier

August 19 marks the 500th day of political imprisonment for leftist former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. For 500 days, he’s been held in solitary confinement in violation of the Mandela Rules, in the federal police headquarters in Curitiba, for a crime that neither the prosecutors nor disgraced former judge Sergio Moro could even clearly define: undetermined acts of corruption. For 500 days, a permanent group of hundreds of union and Movimento de Trabalhadores Sem Terra (Landless Rural Workers Movement/MST) activists, which rotate members on a regular basis, has been camped out in front of the Curitiba federal police headquarters yelling “good morning, good evening” and “good night” and sing songs to Lula. From his windowless cell, he can hear them.

Thrown in jail as part of a joint US Department of Justice/SEC/Curitiba Public Prosecutors Office investigation based on one coerced plea bargain testimony made by a known liar who changed his story three time in exchange for a 90% sentence reduction and partial retention of millions of dollars in illicit assets, no material evidence was ever shown implicating Lula in any crime. The Intercept has now revealed leaked social media conversations that show massive illegal collusion between then-judge Moro (who received a cabinet position in the right wing extremist Bolsonaro administration for removing Lula from last year’s elections), the Lava Jato prosecutors and at least two members of the Supreme Court. These leaks prove, without a shadow of a doubt that Lula is a political prisoner and was arrested specifically to prevent him from winning the 2018 Presidential elections, opening up the door for Jair Bolsonaro, who was polling at less than half the popularity of Lula even after he had been in jail illegally barred from contact with the press for 3 months.

On the day Lula was ordered to turn himself in, tens of thousands of supporters surrounded the ABC Metallurgical Workers Union headquarters begging him not to do it. I was there and filmed it, to have some proof against the foreign correspondents in case they tried to downplay or ignore it. Shortly before he turned himself in, Lula, gave a speech to the tearful crowd saying, “there is no point in trying to end my ideas, they are already lingering in the air and you can’t arrest them. There is no point in trying to stop me from dreaming, because once I cease dreaming I’ll keep dreaming through your minds and your dreams. There is no point in them thinking that this will cease when I have a heart attack. That’s nonsense, because my heart shall beat through your hearts, and they are millions of hearts. They can kill one, two or 100 flowers, but they will never prevent the coming of the spring.”

Immediately after Lula’s arrest, the AFL-CIO, representing 12.7 million US and Canadian union workers, delivered a letter to the Brazilian embassy in Washington demanding Lula’s release, saying, “Lula’s persecution, conviction and detention are more than a violation of his human rights. They are a bald political maneuver to prevent him from running for president in the October 2018 election. He has long led all polls taken on the upcoming election and we cannot allow him to be barred and Brazil to suffer another denial of democracy. Given his innocence and the lack of any evidence, Lula turned himself in to the authorities in Curitiba. In Brazil and around the world union, human rights and democracy activists are mobilizing support for Lula and democracy in Brazil.”

Led by by Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), 29 US lawmakers, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)—delivered a similar letter to the Brazilian embassy saying that Lula “was imprisoned following a highly questionable and politicized judicial process in which his rights were apparently violated,” and that there is “reason to believe that the main objective for his jailing is to prevent him from running in upcoming elections.”

Renowned intellectuals around the world, like Noam Chomsky and Angela Davis, declared Lula a political prisoner, something that Brasil Wire also declared immediately after his arrest.

Angela Davis knows Lula a political prisoner when she sees one

In short, everyone who cared about Democracy who was paying attention to what was happening in Brazil knew, from day one, that Lula’s arrest was a sham result of a biased political witch hunt led by right wing extremists in order to remove him from the presidential race. The Intercept revelations now prove, unequivocally, that they were right.

The most prominent voices in the mainstream press, however, did everything to normalize Lula’s arrest by glossing over important details, such as the fact that the judge in charge of admitting or rejecting evidence in the investigation was allowed to rule on his own case, in a legal loophole which dates back to the inquisition. They also ignored the fact that the trial took place with no jury and the US DOJ was a partner in the investigation. The Guardian lied about the crime Lula was convicted of, saying his conviction was part of an R$88 million graft scheme, to deliberately make it seem more serious. In the New Yorker, former Bloomberg journalist Alex Cuadros, who for some bizarre reason is still perceived as a progressive in some US circles, called Lula’s arrest, “the most important criminal conviction in Brazil’s history”. Citing no source, he gave the misinformation that, after Lula’s arrest while he was still leading in the polls with more support than all other candidates combined, “95% of Brazilians support Operation Car Wash”. Despite the fact that no crime had been clearly defined in Lula’s conviction, and no material evidence presented, Cuadros said, in a patronizing manner, that “Lula lived up to an old Brazilian saying, “rouba mas faz”—“he steals, but he gets things done.”

To anyone paying attention, these journalists and media groups were acting as stenographers for regime change. They were buttering up their readers for the return of fascism and the pillaging of Brazil’s natural resources in direct benefit of their corporate advertisers. But this is all water under the bridge now, because the Intercept revelations prove, without a doubt, how wrong they were. The only thing left for them now is damage control.

But what is happening with Lula’s case right now? Is there any sign he will be released?

Early Sunday morning, a new chapter in the #VazaJato scandal made the political persecution to which former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is victim of more clear than ever. Conversations between prosecutors revealed by the Folha de São Paulo newspaper in partnership with the Intercept Brasil show that the Lava Jato task-force broke the law to access data protected by the Brazilian Internal Revenue Service without authorization. The illegal act was practiced repeatedly, including against former President Lula in the case of the Atibaia country home. The man who illegally provided the information to the prosecuting team was promoted by Sérgio Moro after Jair Bolsonaro assumed the presidency and is now serving as the director of the Conselho de Controle de Atividades Financeira (COAF/ the Federal Government Financial Activities Control Board), which is responsible for investigating corruption committed by government officials – the same agency that has buried the money laundering investigation into Jair Bolsonaro’s son Flavio and Rio de Janeiro’s Escritorio do Crime militia.

This Sunday, Lula’s defense team issued a statement reaffirming that the former President is “victim of a conspiracy by public officials who worked to convict him even though he had not committed any crime – with the goal of removing him from public life and damaging his honor and reputation.” The defense lawyers Cristiano and Valeska Zanin explain that the messages revealed on this Sunday are directly related to two “clearly corrupted” trials – the cases of the triplex apartment and the Atibaia vacation home – “in which unfair convictions against Lula were made, one of them used to deprive him of his freedom through an premature administration of his sentence.”

Due to the succession of facts that have been revealed about the criminal behavior of former Judge Sérgio Moro and the public prosecutors, the Workers Party (PT), which is still the largest political party in Brazil’s Congress, recently announced plans, together with the other left of center parties, to create a Parliamentary Investigation Commission (CPI) to investigate the criminal organization created within the context of the Lava Jato investigation. According to the PT Congressional Bloc leader Paulo Pimenta, the investigation task-force transformed into a “criminal organization which hijacked an investigation to persecute adversaries, protect friends and personally enrich members of the task force.”

The Brazilian Federal Supreme Court, some of who’s ministers have been compromised by the leaked Telegram messages, is scheduled to rule on Lula’s appeal but has continually delayed it. It is hard to say how long Lula will remain in jail, therefore, and his situation is further exacerbated by the fact that 35% of the population, mainly the majority white upper middle and middle classes, blinded by class hatred and years of media character assassination against the PT party, don’t seem to care if Lula is innocent our not or if his prosecutors acted corruptly to throw him in jail. This problem is exacerbated by the fact that the rule of law has disintegrated so much in Brazil since the 2016 coup that even if the Supreme Court overthrows the charges against him, one wonders if the military will allow his release. Meanwhile, day in, day out, in the morning, afternoon and night, people continue to travel from all over Brazil and the world, just to yell, “Good morning, President Lula!” And from his cell in solitary confinement, he can hear them. ... -500-days/

Tell ya what, Brian Mier does a good job keeping us somewhat informed on affairs in Brazil but if Lula, Dilma or somebody else got to the point of nationalizing major enterprise he would turn on them like a rabid wolverine.
"We ask no compassion from you. When our turn comes, we shall not make excuses for the terror."

User avatar
Posts: 4128
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2017 5:44 pm
Location: Turtle island

Re: Brazil

Post by blindpig » Tue Aug 27, 2019 11:33 am

Brazil harshly rejects G7 aid offer to fight Amazon fires
Tue Aug 27, 2019 07:10AM [Updated: Tue Aug 27, 2019 07:50AM ]

An aerial photo released by Greenpeace shows smoke billowing from fires in the forest in the Amazon biome in the municipality of Altamira, Para State, Brazil, on August 23, 2019. (Via AFP)

The Brazilian government has inhospitably rejected a 20-million-dollar aid package offered by the Group of Seven (G7) countries to help fight raging fires in the Brazilian Amazon forest.

“We appreciate it (the offer), but maybe those resources would be put to better use reforesting Europe,” said Onyx Lorenzoni, chief of staff to Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, during an interview with the local Globo TV news network on Monday.

The aid proposal was announced at the G7 summit that was recently hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron in France’s Biarritz.

“Macron can’t even prevent a foreseeable fire in a church that is a world heritage site,” Lorenzoni said, referring to the fire that partially damages the historical Notre-Dame cathedral in April. “What does he want to teach our country? He has plenty to take care of at home and in the French colonies.”

He said Macron’s “objective” might be “colonialism and imperialism.”

“Brazil is a democratic, free nation that never had colonialist and imperialist practices, as perhaps is the objective of the Frenchman Macron,” Lorenzoni said.

​A file photo of French President Emmanuel Macron (L) and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro during the G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan, on June 28, 2019 (by AFP)
Lorenzoni’s remarks, however, contradicted an earlier reaction to the aid offer by Brazil’s Environment Minister Ricardo Salles, who told reporters the country would welcome the funds from the G7.

According to local reports, following Salles’ statement accepting the G7 aid, a meeting was called between Bolsonaro and his ministers that led to a change of course by the Brazilian government.

Brazil welcomes Tel Aviv regime’s aid offer

This is while Brazil has accepted help from the Israeli regime, which offered to dispatch an aircraft, according to AFP.

Tensions between Paris and Brasilia intensified after Macron tweeted that the wildfires raging in the Amazon basin amounted to an international crisis and should be discussed as a top priority at the G7 summit. Bolsonaro then reacted by slamming his French counterpart for having a “colonialist mentality.”

Hundreds of new fires erupt

The development came while the Brazilian government has faced protests, including abroad, over its inability to prevent and extinguish the fire. After taking office, Bolsonaro lifted restrictions on land clearing, a move that has been blamed for the quick spread of the fires.

Hundreds of new fires flared up in the Amazon on Sunday and Monday, even as military aircraft dumped water over hard-hit areas.

A mere two C-130 Hercules aircraft began extinguishing fires destroying large swaths of the world’s largest rain forest on Sunday.

The Amazon rainforest is regarded as key to keeping climate change in check.
PressTV-Brazil ramps up fight on Amazon fires, new blazes ignite
Brazil has deployed two Hercules C-130 aircraft to douse fires devouring parts of the Amazon rainforest, as hundreds of new blazes were ignited.
Some 1,113 new fires were ignited on Saturday and Sunday, Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research announced on Monday.

Smoke choked Porto Velho City and forced the closure of the airport for nearly two hours.

Fires raged in the northwestern state of Rondonia, where fire-fighting efforts are concentrated.

Experts say rising land clearing during the months-long dry season to make way for crops or grazing has prompted the recurring problem this year.

Bolsonaro has ordered a probe into reports that rural producers in the northern state of Para held a “day of fire” on August 10 in a show of support for the far-right leader’s policies to weaken environmental protection monitoring.

Brazil’s defense chief claims fires ‘under control’

Moreover, Brazil’s Defense Minister Fernando Azevedo e Silva claimed on Monday after meeting with the president that the fires in the Amazon were “under control.”

“It has been exaggerated a little that the situation was out of control — it wasn’t,” he said. “The situation isn’t simple but it is under control.”

Seven Brazilian states, including Rondonia, have called for the Brazilian army’s help in the Amazon, where more than 43,000 troops have been deployed to combat the fires.

1000s protest Amazon destruction as Bolsonaro’s approval rating sinks

Thousands of people have taken to the streets in recent days across Brazil and Europe to deplore the destruction.
PressTV-World urges action as Bolsonaro lets fire devour Amazon
World leaders and protesters across the world call on Brazil's President Bolsonaro to take action against massive fires burning in the Amazon rainforest.
And the results of a survey conducted in the past four days pointed to a sharp rise in Bolsonaro’s disapproval rating, to 53.7 percent from 28.2 percent in February, according to MDA Research. Only 41 percent approved of his performance, down from 57.5 percent.

The latest official figures show 80,626 forest fires have been recorded in Brazil this year, the highest number of any year since at least 2013. ... -Bolsonaro
"We ask no compassion from you. When our turn comes, we shall not make excuses for the terror."

User avatar
Posts: 4128
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2017 5:44 pm
Location: Turtle island

Re: Brazil

Post by blindpig » Tue Aug 27, 2019 7:53 pm

The Amazon’s Neocolonial Problem

There is a left argument for Brazilian sovereignty that should never need to be made.

The 2019 G7 summit in Biarritz unnecessarily handed Brazil’s Neofascist Bolsonaro a propaganda coup with which to rally his dwindling support. With his approval falling to record lows and facing international attacks of unprecedented intensity, their colonial-sounding rhetoric allowed him to appear heroically nationalistic, a defender of Brazilian sovereignty over the Amazon, when in reality he and his government are fully geared to serve the interests of foreign capital in true comprador tradition.

Jair Bolsonaro is effectively the G7’s guy. He and his Chicago School Economy minister Paulo Guedes are implementing an ultra-neoliberal economic platform on which Brazil is sold off for the price of a Banana. There should be no doubt about who the practical rather than rhetorical defenders of sovereignty are on the political spectrum.

Former PCdoB Senator Vanessa Grazziotin took aim at Bolsonaro on social media following the G7 summit:

“Our Sovereignty over the AMAZON is NON-NEGOTIABLE. To defend it is to have the responsibility to take care of it and ensure its sustainable development, which does not mean weakening Ibama (Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources), encouraging burning and disrespecting our scientists.”

Yet here we are, and a President whom NATO powers helped come to office via their support for the coup against Dilma Rousseff and imprisonment of Lula da Silva, has returned the favour, with an opportunity for their corporations to exploit Brazil to an extent not seen since the colonial era as depicted in Eduardo Galeano’s Open Veins of Latin America, and near future as envisaged by the subjects of Gerard Colby and Charlotte Dennett’s Thy will be done.

The G7’s cursory offer of $22 million US dollars is not money that Brazil actually needs, the country has $370 billion in reserves. The key failure of this thinking is the notion that the Amazon fires are some kind of tragic accident. It is not through oversight, incompetence or “failure to act” that the rainforest is in flames, it is a deliberate, planned and genocidal deforestation strategy, from which G7 companies are themselves in line to benefit.

A leaked presentation by Washington DC lobbyists close to the Trump administration shows US companies being recruited to exploit the Amazon, from the Mining, Agribusiness and Gas/Chemical industries. A myriad of G7-based companies are already directly benefitting from the far-right Brazilian Government’s policies. Justin Trudeau will be unlikely to mention the Brazilian operations of Canada’s notorious Mining sector, and from the United States – Cargill, Monsanto, Boeing, Chevron, Exxon Mobil have all gained enormously from the post-Coup governments of Michel Temer and Jair Bolsonaro. There is even talk from Paulo Guedes to merge Banco do Brasil with Bank of America.

Scepticism over the G7’s rhetoric is unfortunately well founded. The idea of selling off tracts of the Brazilian Amazon to corporations for its own protection (note that the proposed G7 initiatives specify the Brazilian Amazon rather than the entire Amazon rainforest) emerged in 2006. Then UK Foreign Secretary under Tony Blair, David Milliband, addressed an environmental conference in Mexico and effectively proposed a corporate-led internationalisation of the rainforest.

Mr Miliband said: “Obviously there are sovereignty issues but deforestation is a massive issue… and any plan, however radical, is worth looking at.”

This had its origins earlier that year, when Swedish millionaire Johan Eliasch, an environmental consultant to Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown, and former deputy treasurer of the UK Conservative Party, had bought 400,000 acres of Brazilian rainforest for £8m pounds (which has greatly increased in value since). Off the back of this initiative, Eliasch founded the organisation “Cool Earth” with the objective of finding buyers for tracts of Amazon land. This dovetailed with the concept of carbon credit, where companies buy areas of forest to offset their emissions elsewhere. (His company Gethal was later fined by environmental agency Ibama for illegal logging and use of land). In an article in the Sunday Times, Maurice Chittenden wrote: “Eliasch is part of a growing trend towards ‘green colonialism’. Rich people with chequebooks instead of pith helmets, charities and trusts, who are buying vast swathes of the Third World or ‘renting’ the timber rights to stop trees being cut down. It is a breakaway from the methods that have characterised the international conservation movement for the past 50 years.”

Eliasch was quoted as saying: “In theory you can perhaps buy the Amazon for $50 billion.”

It was this line that caused discomfort within the Lula government, and understandably so. Worse still, they had not even been consulted on the proposal beforehand. Back then there were legal limitations on foreign ownership of Brazilian land. Bolsonaro’s Government moved immediately abolish them during his first months in office.

The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald posted on Twitter: “one valid grievance the Brazilian Right has about the Amazon is anger over other countries – the US and in Western Europe – who already developed industrially & are destroying the planet, now demanding Brazil save them by not exploiting its own internal resources.”

But hostility to meddling Foreign Governments and NGOs is not confined to Brazil’s conservatives. The developmentalist left echo many of these sentiments for different reasons. They believe that the G7 do not want Brazil to develop and wish it to remain an exporter of cheap commodities – a glorified plantation economy. Thus Amazonian nationalism spans political boundaries. In 2010 Lula criticised demonstrations promoted by Greenpeace and Avatar director James Cameron against the Belo Monte Hydroelectric Dam project, as green colonialism – a gringo protest intended to hurt the electoral campaign of his successor Dilma Rousseff. The fall in deforestation under Lula’s Workers Party was lauded internationally as a success story, yet the standoff with Greenpeace continued, and they began to campaign on non-environmental issues under Dilma Rousseff’s first mandate. This even extended to bringing activists from the US to give lectures on innovative protest strategies during the 2014 election year. The road to Bolsonaro was paved with good intentions.

The history of foreign ambitions for the Brazilian Amazon and its riches is well documented.

In 1927, Henry Ford, then the richest man in the world, bought a large tract of land, around 12,000 km², in the state of Para, deep within Brasil’s Amazon Rainforest. Greg Grandin’s excellent book on the subject depicts one man’s deluded attempt to enforce his will on the natural world. Fordlândia, as the settlement was named, quickly became the site of a struggle between an industrialist and the most complex ecological system on the planet.

Ford’s early successes in imposing routine and even American midwestern culture such as square dances on indigenous workers made way as it slowly transformed into a raucous “tropical boomtown” before falling into abandon.

Around a decade ago, a mocked up page purporting to be from US high-school textbook showed a map which labeled the Amazon as an internationally administrated area. This spread around Brazil on the social network of the day Orkut, and was never completely debunked, returning zombie-like every few years to circulate on newer platforms. For native English speakers, its spelling mistakes and strange diction left no doubt that it was fake, but the real question was: did it actually reflect international opinion?

Such “Internationalisation of the Amazon” is being depicted now as a military dictatorship-era fantasy, now revived by Bolsonaro in a desperate answer to foreign outrage over the rainforest.

The problem is that this type of Amazonian nationalist sentiment has at its core an awareness of very real historic and ongoing designs on the region’s resources which it is naive to ignore, and a “resource nationalism” abhorred by the State Department and Wall Street.

This August 2009 State Department cable, a scene-setter for National Security Adviser General James Jones’ visit acknowledges Anti-US sentiment amongst Brazilians ahead of the 2010 elections:

“A small segment of the Brazilian public, including the elite, accepts the notion that the United States has a campaign to subjugate Brazil economically, undermine it culturally, and militarily occupy the Amazon. Such attitudes and beliefs have influenced Brazilian reporting and commentary on issues such as the reestablishment of the U.S. Navy’s Fourth Fleet (which has been characterized as a threat to Brazil’s offshore pre-salt finds) and U.S. activities in the Amazon.”

Thus the problem is not genuine concern over the sovereignty of the Brazilian Amazon, it is the identities of who are now talking about it. To make a defence of Brazilian sovereignty in the current context you could appear in alignment with those with whom you oppose politically and morally, thus few are. But it must be made.

A few weeks before the Amazon fires exploded onto every front page and news network around the world, Foreign policy magazine, which had previously run columns normalising Bolsonaro and insisting that he represented no threat to Brazil or its democracy, published an article by Stephen M. Walt headlined: “Who will invade Brazil to save the Amazon?”.

“Aug. 5, 2025: In a televised address to the nation, U.S. President Gavin Newsom announced that he had given Brazil a one-week ultimatum to cease destructive deforestation activities in the Amazon rainforest. If Brazil did not comply, the president warned, he would order a naval blockade of Brazilian ports and airstrikes against critical Brazilian infrastructure.”

The normalisation of these fantasies have at the very least revived a notion that “Brazil cannot be trusted as guardians of the Amazon”, and this trope now re-emerges in countries which actually, even actively supported the torching of Brazilian democracy. Right now, as the Amazon burns, progressive Democratic Members of Congress have requested clarification from the US Department of Justice’s on its role in Jair Bolsonaro’s rise to power.

In essence, do we really trust those who did nothing to help Brazil defend its democracy from fascism, foreign governments in the service of extractive corporations, or their think-tank lackeys, to protect the Amazon and its peoples?

Instead, this wave of indignation and fear around the world should be channeled into helping the inhabitants of the Amazon rainforest and progressive Brazilians defend it themselves. To do this we must support their struggle to root out and extinguish the political cause of this catastrophe. ... l-problem/
"We ask no compassion from you. When our turn comes, we shall not make excuses for the terror."

User avatar
Posts: 4128
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2017 5:44 pm
Location: Turtle island

Re: Brazil

Post by blindpig » Wed Sep 04, 2019 1:50 pm

Brazilian Academics: 2019 Amazon fires are not “normal”
A group of Brazilian academics based in Sweden debunk media and governmental claims that the 2019 Amazonian fires are a “normal” seasonal event.

Brazil is currently facing worldwide attention due the fires in the Amazon rainforest. After an extremely polarized 2018’s electoral race which culminates in election of Jair Bolsonaro, Brazilian society is deeply divided between its critics and supporters. In this scenario, any event or news that possibly may affect Bolsonaro politically, is relativized and normalized by his supporters, aiming to minimize or neutralize criticism.

However, given Amazon rainforest’s global importance, should we be worried? Are the fires in the Amazon forest an exceptional event or are they a natural occurrence that are being used to attack Bolsonaro’s government, as many of his supporters argue?

An unbiased view supported by data from satellites clearly shows that fires in the Amazon rainforest have increased compared to last year’s monitoring and that the extent of the fires is much higher, when compared to equivalent periods in previous years.The fires in Amazon are directly linked to deforestation and the Brazilian National Institute of Space Research (INPE), which monitors deforestation and forest fires using satellites, released data showing an increase in deforestation of 90.7 June this year, and 277.9% for July, when compared to the same periods in 2018.

The number of fires identified by the agency in the Amazon region so far this year is 58,814, about 104% higher than the average for the first eight months of 2018, and is about 34% higher than the average for the first eight months of each year, since 2010. The number of fires identified by satellite in the Amazon so far this month is the highest since 2010, when climate phenomenon El Niño caused a severe drought (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1: Temporal analysis of fire spots in Brazilian Amazon. The numbers for 2019 are 104% higher than the same period of 2018, and is about 34% higher than the average for the first eight months of each year, since 2010.

These alarming numbers should give strong reasons for Brazilian government to take actions in order to prevent the expansion of fires and consequent deforestation. However president Bolsonaro has publicly discredited the accuracy of INPE’s reports and promptly fired the director of the Institute last July, physicist Ricardo Galvão, a renowned scientist with a strong international reputation. Data produced by INPE is widely used by several Brazilian institutions such as IBAMA, IBCBio and other regulatory agencies as well as NGOs that depend on this information to carry-out their work on the ground. Moreover, data about monitoring Amazon are freely available at INPE’s webpage, which means that anyone around the world is assess the extent of deforestation in real time. Bolsonaro’s attitude denying the accuracy of data from Brazilian governmental agencies followed by the dismissal of INPE’s director shocked the whole academic community in Brazil.

It is one of several instances this year when the government has systematically accused academic community of ideological manipulation in order to garner public support for the deregulation of environmental governance.The discussions about these events were at the time of Dr. Galvão’s ousting mostly restricted to academic circles , with not much appeal to public opinion. However, when the smoke from the fires in the Amazon traveled south about 2,790 km and reached the largest city in Brazil, São Paulo, transforming a sunny afternoon into a dark evening at 3 pm, people began to get a better idea about the severity of situation of fires in the Amazon rainforest (Fig. 2).

Fig. 2: Satellite image showing aerosol dispersion in South America: The heatmap shown biomass aerosol transportation in the air (red) from Amazon area towards southeast in Brazil. As a consequence, around 3:00 p.m. the sky suddenly blackened, and day became night in São Paulo.
This is the equivalent distance between Stockholm and Crete, in Greece. While darkness at 3 pm may sound quite normal in winter time in Sweden, it is something unthinkable in a tropical country like Brazil. Swedes from an older generation may well remember the acid rains that travelled from Chernobyl towards Scandinavia in the 1980s.

As an immediate consequence, data about the fires produced by government agencies was placed at the core of passionate debates in Brazil, mainly due seasonal nature of fire events, which in our opinion aims to both normalize or relativize the scenario.Such news reporting buys into Bolsonaro’s argument that allegedly seasonal fires are being used to negatively affect his government, thus shifting the focus of the debate from the gravity of fires and its consequences to nature and human health.

However, scientific data from satellites does not support this hypothesis. In addition, the gravity of such fire events in the Amazon rainforest has been confirmed by other international aerospace agencies, including NASA (1).

Later, we learned that the fires were caused by a coordinated action by illegal loggers and farmers called the “Fire Day” on August 10th. This group, organized through the messaging app Whatsapp, had warned the government about their intention to set fire to the forest. They were motivated by the President’s statements supporting the deforestation of Amazon to promote the economic development of the region.

The Amazon rainforest contains about 40% of the world’s remaining tropical rainforest, covering 5.5 million km2, corresponding to 61% of the area of Brazil, stretching over to neighboring countries of Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and French Guyana. It is the largest and most species-rich biome of the planet. The continental expanse of the Amazon basin is about 22% larger than the entire European Union.

Thus, it is not very difficult to understand that this region plays a vital role in maintaining biodiversity, climate equilibrium, terrestrial and underground carbon storage. Adding even more complexity to scenario, biomass burning emits significant quantities of known pollutants hazardous to health, including several compounds able to induce DNA damage and genetic mutations. These mutations accumulated over the years may generate cancer.

Several studies conducted by Brazilian scientists indicate that the population is potentially exposed to an increased risk for lung cancer and other diseases (2-5). Depending on the intensity and frequency of exposure to biomass of burning pollutants, cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases, premature mortality, and adverse birth outcomes, may occur. (6)

While it is early to evaluate if fires in Amazon will continue over the next months, the lack of practical actions by Bolsonaro’s government and its disregard for scientific evidence are enough to set off the alarms about the future of the Amazon.

Marcos Felipe de Oliveira Galvão. PhD
Postdoctoral Researcher, Karolinska Institutet

Isabel Löfgren. PhD
Lektor i medie-och kommunikationsvetenskap, Södertörns högskola

Paola Sartoretto, PhD. Associated Researcher, Stockholm University

Marcelo F. Montenegro. PhD
Senior Researcher, Karolinska Institutet

(1) ... a-in-smoke
(2) de Oliveira Galvão, M.F., et al., 2018. Biomass burning particles in the Brazilian Amazon region: Mutagenic effects of nitro and oxy-PAHs and assessment of health risks. Environ. Pollut. 233, 960–970.
(3) de Oliveira Alves, et al., 2017. Biomass burning in the Amazon region causes DNA damage and cell death in human lung cells. Sci. Rep. 7, 10937.
(4) de Oliveira Alves, et al., 2015. Biomass burning in the Amazon region: Aerosol source apportionment and associated health risk assessment. Atmos. Environ. 120, 277–285.
(5) de Oliveira Alves, N., et al., 2014. Genetic damage of organic matter in the Brazilian Amazon: A comparative study between intense and moderate biomass burning. Environ. Res. 130, 51–58.
(6) International Agency for Research on Cancer, 2013b. IARC Scientific Publication No. 161. In: Straif, K., Cohen, A., Samet, J. (Eds.), Air Pollution and Cancer. IARC, Lyon, France, 2013. ... ot-normal/
"We ask no compassion from you. When our turn comes, we shall not make excuses for the terror."

User avatar
Posts: 4128
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2017 5:44 pm
Location: Turtle island

Re: Brazil

Post by blindpig » Tue Sep 10, 2019 4:06 pm

Rondonization: World Bank, Dictatorship and the Amazon
The development philosophy behind the fires in the Amazon is based on the World Bank funded, Dictatorship era Polonoroeste project, which killed thousands and devastated Rondonia’s rainforest. To Bolsonaro and his military aids, there was nothing wrong with it.

by Brian Mier

During the 1980s a series of shocking images and films appeared of massive devastation underway in the Amazonian state of Rondonia. There, an area of old growth rainforest roughly equivalent to the size of Great Britain was being ripped down at record rate. As the fires generated huge smoke clouds, thousands of indigenous people who had been living in the forest died off at the hands of the ranchers and farmers, gunned down, poisoned or deliberately infected with smallpox.

This devastation, portrayed in landmark documentaries such as “Decade of Destruction” by Adrian Cowell, was being financed by the World Bank, who had convinced the unelected, authoritarian Brazilian Military dictatorship that ripping down a large part of the rainforest would be good for the economy. The result of this partnership was the notorious, 1981, Polonoroeste project. With Polonoroeste, the World Bank lent around $440 million (around $1 billion) to and provided technical support for an authoritarian military dictatorship, known for committing acts of genocide against indigenous tribes in the Amazon, to pave dirt highway 364, (impassable during rainy season at the time), connect a network of service roads cutting into the rainforest for 100km on either side of the highway, and provide infrastructure for the arrival of 30,000 migrant families from Southern Brazil. Brazilian taxpayers, who had no say in the matter, would be forced to pay back the loan with interest for decades to come while neoliberal Presidents like Fernando Henrique Cardoso used Brazil’s debt as an excuse for not adequately funding the health and education systems. 0.19% of the project’s budget was allocated for environmental protection.

In the academic paper Boulevard of Broken Dreams, Robert H. Wade analyzes internal communications inside the World Bank during the implementation of Polonoroeste. Programs Division Chief Robert Skillings had been in the World Bank since 1947, and considered the project to be his final masterpiece before his retirement. In case after case, he had every bank technocrat who criticized the operationality, ethics, human rights and environmental strategies removed from the project. Many people inside the bank knew that an environmental and human rights disaster was underway, but their criticism was silenced. As international outcry grew, he replaced the director of the Brazil Department with a protege of aggressively ideological neoliberal Bank Vice President and Chief Economist Anne Kruger.

“He couldn’t understand all the fuss about Indians,” Wade writes, “he remarked. ‘They wear T shirts and sneakers just like everyone else’. He openly disparaged [his predecessor’s] work on Amerindian protection. ‘It’s all bullshit’, they heard him say.”

To the World Bank, the bottom line was that ripping down trees, just like burning petroleum, helps short term GDP growth. It still does. Treating environmental damage as an externality remains one of the biggest problems with monetarist/neoliberal economics to this day. If mid and long term environmental damage were calculated into their development models, they would collapse.

The debacle in Rondonia led to the emergence of international environmental NGOs as important players on the international stage. As a result of the failure of Polonoroeste, the World Bank began consulting NGOs on all of its future development projects in the 3rd World, although they would often give them little more than lip service.

Satellite images today show Polonoroeste’s legacy on the rainforest in Rondonia

Polonoroeste represented one of the last large scale development projects by the Military Dictatorship, which was deposed in 1985. To this day, Military officials from the time refuse to admit that it was failure. Afterall, Rondonia is now one of the nations top producers of GMO Soy and Beef for international markets, and, although these activities are low labor intensity, they make a lot of money for the big ranchers and agribusiness value chain suppliers and the international corporations who profit off of them, like Cargill, which is currently expanding its capacity to export GMO soy from its Porto Velho grain terminal from 3.5 to 6 million tons per year.

I traveled up to Rondonia during the final week of July. While I was there I learned that a group of geographers at the local federal university has coined a term to describe the Bolsonaro government’s plan for neighboring Amazonas state, which still had 98% forest cover as of 2018. They argue that the government is planning to duplicate Polonoroeste in Amazonas through a process which they call, “Rondonization”.

When Dilma Rousseff was President, Highway 319, connecting Porto Velho to Amazonas state capital Manaus, was a dirt road that was impassible during the rainy season. After the 2016 coup, Michel Temer cut funding to Ibama, the environmental protection/policing agency, by 51% and began paving highway 319. The 120 kilometer stretch of highway between Porto Velho and the Amazonas town of Humaitá, which is currently the epicenter of fires burning in Amazonas, is now paved. Before, it could take up to two days to get there from Porto Velho. Now, as the droves of international journalists swarming to the area have discovered, it is reachable in a matter of hours. The Bolsonaro government has further gutted Ibama and rendered it dysfunctional, firing the superintendents in 22 states and ordering them to halt all activities unless they are approved in Brasilia, by enemies of environmentalism connected to international agribusiness.

The government is moving forwards with paving the rest of the highway up to Manaus, and plans to lay in a network of similar service roads which, as local activist Ramon Cajui told me, work as “veins sucking everything out of the forest.”

During the time that the Military Dictatorship and World Bank worked together on the ecological and human rights tragedy of Polonoroeste, Jair Bolsonaro was an Army Captain. 16 of his cabinet ministers are retired Generals who also worked in the Dictatorship. They don’t think there was anything wrong with the project, either from an environmental or a human rights perspective. This is why they are now setting out to “Rondonize” the rest of the rainforest. ... he-amazon/
"We ask no compassion from you. When our turn comes, we shall not make excuses for the terror."

User avatar
Posts: 4128
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2017 5:44 pm
Location: Turtle island

Re: Brazil

Post by blindpig » Tue Sep 17, 2019 2:25 pm

Michel Temer: “It was a Coup”

During a television interview on September 15th, 2019, former Brazilian President Michel Temer referred to the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff as a Golpe (Coup).

Dilma Rousseff’s former VP, of the conservative MDB party, told interviewers: “People said ‘Temer is a Golpista (Putschist)’ and that I supported the Coup. It was different, I never supported or made a commitment to the Coup.” He continued to insist that he “did not imagine that he would become president by these means”.

He also said that if former President Lula da Silva had been allowed to take his appointment as Dilma’s Chief of Staff, that her impeachment would not have happened. Intercept leaks have revealed that disgraced former Lava Jato judge, turned Bolsonaro Justice Minister Sérgio Moro illegally colluded with the federal police and public prosecutors to selectively leak illegally recorded conversations between Presdident Dilma and Lula, which were intended to block his appointment to Chief of Staff.

Manuela D’Avila of PCdoB, who ran as vice to Fernando Haddad at the 2018 election, responded on social media: “Temer already recognized that it was a Coup. And you?”.

This was not the first time that Michel Temer’s own words have revealed what was really behind Rousseff’s ouster. Three years prior, with Dilma freshly removed from office he was in New York, at the headquarters of Wall Street Lobby Council of the Americas (AS/COA) where in a press conference he admitted that Rousseff had been removed for her refusal to implement their “Ponte paro o futuro” (Bridge to the future) ultra-neoliberal policy platform.

Since early 2015, Brasil Wire has published multiple analyses of a tendency in both Brazilian and English-language media to refuse or refute the word Golpe (Coup) to describe the ouster of Dilma Rousseff.

What we observed looked and felt editorially like a wartime propaganda campaign, as did the blanket coverage of Operation Lava Jato which was the backbone to the Coup; for both its anti-corruption pretext and the sabotage of Brazil’s economy it caused in 2015, causing an estimated 2.5% GDP contraction and 6-8 million job losses, which was used to further justify Rousseff’s removal.

The master narrative of Coup denial originated from the protagonists and supporters of it, in both Brazil and abroad. As with many coup d’états in history, refusal to acknowledge that it was happening was an central pillar of its own propaganda.

We must ask why the most prominent US, UK, and Canadian journalists did nothing to question or break the wall of denial, or even proactively argued for it. Although many of their tweets from the period are now deleted, there is ample published material which demonstrates a wilfully disingenuous, false reading of unfolding history.

Some of the most notorious coup-deniers in the Anglo media pack, such as Reuters/Americas Quarterly’s Brian Winter, Bloomberg/New Yorker’s Alex Cuadros and others, continued to maintain that position since, as this article from 2018 explained.

We also know firsthand that in 2016, as Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment unfolded, that employees of large international news agencies were forbidden from using the words Golpe/Coup, in published work, or even on their own personal social media accounts.

Meanwhile, post-coup Foreign Minister José Serra, previously the US-backed Presidential candidate had launched an international media offensive through its embassies worldwide, aimed at obscuring what had happened to Brazil’s democracy.

In 2019 thanks to Petra Costa’s documentary ‘The Edge of Democracy’ and the Intercept’s Vaza Jato leaks which have further exposed Operation Lava Jato as a lawfare-basedregime change strategy, international awareness of 2016’s coup is far greater than it was. In 2016 it was falsely claimed that “only Dilma Rousseff supporters think it is a coup”. Over time, only its protagonists (including those in the media continued to deny it.

Now we have Michel Temer, Rousseff’s actual usurper, admitting it himself.

Incompetence or lack of information is no excuse – we at Brasil Wire and elsewhere were publishing it. The major platforms and individual journalists made a choice, and picked a side: the anti-democratic, right-wing authoritarian one. We have to repeatedly ask why that happened, and how outright deceit on what was actually going on in Brazil was incentivised, until we get an answer.

It is time for accountability from those, whom by working to erode international solidarity at Brazil’s moment of greatest need, helped sink an emerging power, for the ultimate benefit of foreign oil, agribusiness and mining interests.


Media Watch: The Strange Return Of Coup-Denial

Two competing narratives on Brazil: one says Dilma Rousseff was deposed in a procedural Coup d’état and Lula’s imprisonment is to stop him becoming President again. The other says that all of the above is totally legit.

One of these narratives has Wall Street and Big Oil right behind it. Can you guess which?

Coup-Denial in Anglo Media went away for a while, but now, with a historically pivotal election looming and its leading candidate in jail on trumped up charges, it is back amongst full spectrum corporate propaganda. With award-winning Documentary ‘The Process’ (O Processo) emphatically exposing the actual nature of Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment, it seemed like we had seen the end of this rhetoric.

Here we look at some of the worst culprits, and the vested interests behind them.

When the “Fake News” scare first broke in 2016, a graph circulated across social media in its wake, ostensibly showing comparative reliability of Anglo media platforms, their political positions and so on. But the graph itself was in essence “Fake News”, with no data, no qualitative analysis to corroborate itself, and based on facile assumptions about establishment media reliability. For example, newspapers which openly lied in unison to build public support for the Iraq invasion were lauded for their accuracy and honesty.

The graph was received as it had been created, dripping with confirmation bias – the “filter bubble” in action. A Brazilian version also circulated which gave the infamous likes of Globo and Veja far too much credit for their impartiality and accuracy.

Now as anyone watching the rapid ethical decay of corporate media should know, fake information is rarely how false narratives are spun there, at least now. Censorship by omission is far more subtle and effective, and cannot be “fact-checked“.

So as the horror of Temer’s Wall Street-friendly programme was revealed in the hours, days and weeks after he took control, it was clear to observers that this had not just been a coup against a Brazilian President, but against the Brazilian people, yet this was not reflected in Anglo media coverage of the country.

As Arthur Ponsonby famously wrote: ‘When war is declared, truth is the first casualty’. What is happening in Brasil and Latin America isn’t business, politics or media as usual (and never really was). It is a form of warfare, “war by other means“, a war with the same rewards, a war in which the Atlantic powers never sleep. When that is as clearly understood in media as it is in academia and the unions, perhaps the level of mainstream discourse will improve. But right now, if you want a career in journalism down old South America way, be prepared to pretend that Empire does not exist, and/or to actively promote it.

As ever, processing Anglo media coverage of Brasil and Latin America is made easier by looking behind the curtain. For example, understanding that anything significant and consequential in say, BBC coverage, will be to some extent, led and/or vetted, by the UK Foreign Office – this is part of the BBC’s international remit after all. Its then correspondent, previously embedded with so called “moderate rebels” during the UK-led destruction of Libya, flat out denied that the events of 2016 constituted a coup. It is an unfortunate coincidence then, that one of the principal foreign beneficiaries from regime change in both Brasil and Libya was the British Petroleum industry, and that it, and a UK Government which serves its interests, were discreetly in favour of Dilma Rousseff’s removal. More recently the BBC has been caught promoting Brasil’s most notorious “fake news” organisation, associated far-right activists, and enthusiastic supporters of Fascist Candidate Jair Bolsonaro.

There’s an informal mini industry in Brazilian coup-denial, and corporate media distortion across Latin America in general. This is interconnected via corporate media platforms, think tanks, philanthropic funding, corporate PR / intelligence companies or directly to Big Oil, Pharma, GMO/Pesticides, Minerals, Banking and other interests. It is surprisingly straightforward. These networks are for the most part hiding in plain sight, yet with most journalists seemingly oblivious to their role, in denial of it, resigned to it, or in some cases, actively collaborating with them. Unfortunately, journalism isn’t an industry with much room for manoeuvre in 2018, and investigative journalism is almost non-existant. Corporate / Political PR is a far more lucrative and stable path.

Neoliberalism is not fond of Democracy when it doesn’t go its way, and over-reliance on the financial press, which doesn’t face the same crisis of funding that other media platforms do, is a widespread problem. Until recently, the Wall Street Journal was openly defending Chiles 1973 Coup and Pinochet’s Neoliberal Dictatorship, but Bloomberg is, with some distinction, the most worthless Brasil news platform. Its coverage is predicated on an unquestioning belief in market forces, yet unlike the Economist, Bloomberg’s position is undeclared. If you’re a futures trading Libertarian sociopath, it is for you. If you have a human soul, avoid exposure to it.

Reuters has been criticised for its coverage of Latin America’s recent history such as this instance when it tried to bury a horrific story involving a US DEA agent’s harrassment of a Brazilian Woman. It actually appeared to improve briefly, after the 2015 exit of Brian Winter (@BrazilBrian on Twitter). Winter moved to Wall Street Lobby and Neoliberal Think Tank AS/COA, where he leads policy, writes for and edits Americas Quarterly magazine. He left Reuters following the “We can take this out if you think better” (“Podemos tirar se achar melhor”) scandal, where he was accused of censoring the US-favoured PSDB party’s involvement in the Petrobras corruption schemes that pre-dated Lula and PT’s period in office. This briefly risked bringing down an entire narrative being so carefully constructed, that PT were the de-facto “party of corruption“.

In June 2018, Reuter’s published this, which claimed that fascist Jair Bolsonaro was “leading the polls” with a footnote that Lula was unable to run due to a “corruption conviction”. Both of these assertions were demonstrably incorrect. Lula led by over 10% already (he leads now by 20%). If and when Lula is prevented from running, by whatever judicial means, it hasn’t happened, and Reuters were in no position to depict that it had in June. This “Lula can’t run” falsehood has been repeated verbatim all over the right-wing media. TV Globo now effectively pretending that there is no Workers Party candidate in the election. The UN Human Rights Commission has warned in early August that the Brazilian Government that Lula must be allowed to run, and have access to the media.


It seems to be predominantly from Bloomberg and Reuters that new waves of coup denial are coming, which is unsurprising, as they were its perpetuators prior to and during Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment, and their personnel are tightly connected, professionally, socially, and ideologically.

Their staff could be seen pushing the synchronised narratives that were a feature of 2014’s election and the lead up to 2016’s coup, and they were complicit in infantilisation, gaslighting, through to the complete erasure of Brasil’s left in English. This was one of the reasons Brasil Wire was originally founded.

When the coup-denialist “Brasil’s institutions are working” mantra became untenable, for example with the release of Senator Romero Jucá’s “A big agreement, with the Supreme Court and everything” (com Supremo, com tudo) recording, most of these commentators went silent on the subject, and with good reason, their credibility would have been obliterated.

Now, with 2016 what they hope is a distant memory, and an election looming with its leading candidate jailed after a kafkaesque, politically motivated trial, Anglo-Brazilian Twitter looks very much like March 2016 all over again, and they’ve doubled down on the coup-denialist depiction of of the now farcical Operation Lava Jato as an essential stage in the country’s moral development. Regardless of the illegal US DoJ involvement, damage it has done economically and politically, their schtick is that this painful process will bring “political renewal”, of the spurious variety promoted by RenovaBR, which is in practice the eradication of the left and centre left from positions of power, leaving the old structures intact, with a handful of photogenic conservative youngsters up front (as seen here in the NYT). These candidates are spread across traditionally Wall Street-favoured PSDB, Dictatorship-heir party Democratas and Itau bank’s Libertarian Partido Novo, the latter two also home to prominent young fascists, dressed up in the language of liberalism. These were the some of the same faces splashed across media in 2015/16 to give the coup an appearance of youth and modernity.

August 22 DataFolha poll had former President Lula 20% ahead of nearest rival, fascist Jair Bolsonaro, and on brink of a first round victory
In early August 2018 the Anglo corporate deniers began to put their heads above the parapet. In unison the scare quotes returned around the word “Coup” although now they were using the Portuguese “Golpe”. Did they perhaps want to avoid using “Coup” altogether?

A Bloomberg hack’s complaint that the word Golpe had been “banalised” was enthusiastically picked up by a Reuters-connected writer, and long time critic of the Brazilian left. He attempted to argue that this vindicated those who refused to use the word in 2016.

Also originating at Bloomberg was a suggestion that the the Workers Party engaging in realpolitik (making state or city level election alliances with parties of which some deputies supported the impeachment), somehow proved that it wasn’t a coup.

Former Reuters Brasil chief Winter then had Americas Quarterly publish what he called “a more honest” version of Lula da Silva’s NYT op-ed, in which the former president had articulated the slow motion coup in progress these past years, up to and including his own politically motivated prosecution and imprisonment, widely understood as intended to stop him running in, and winning, the 2018 election (in which he currently leads by 20% with 39% of voting intention). There was no irony lost in a professional ghostwriter for right-wing, US-allied Leaders across Latin America (such as Colombia’s Alvaro Uribe and Iván Duque, and Brasil’s own Fernando Henrique Cardoso), whose job it is to construct Wall Street-friendly narratives on the region, accusing the jailed Lula da Silva of conjuring his own.

With astounding arrogance, Winter followed this by actually forcing edits in the published Lula NYT op-ed, perhaps helped by the influence of colleague Juliana Barbassa, who had recently moved from editing Americas Quarterly to take over the Latin America desk at the “paper of record“.

One thing is certain, since the UN Human Rights Commission ordered that Lula must be allowed to stand for President, Wall Street and its allied local elites are again terrified of a Lula presidency, to the point that all powerful TV Globo are erasing the Workers Party candidacy altogether.

Reuters and Bloomberg, especially the latter’s veteran Mac Margolis (a grandmaster of bad Brazil takes), are the closest outlets to AS/COA, and most prone to picking up and running with its boilerplate corporate narratives. This is part institutional, part personal, and the likes of The Guardian and Washington Post also tag along – Democracy dies in darkness, indeed.

Promotional video made by AS/COA for the US-led “War on Corruption” in Latin America.
AS/COA corporate members have been amongst the biggest beneficiaries of the Temer Government’s unmandated Neoliberal turn. ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP, Monsanto, BlackRock, Microsoft, Boeing and others have all reaped the rewards. AS/COA and its magazine Americas Quarterly exist solely to represent those interests, and influence local politics in ways which benefit them. Prosecutor General Rodrigo Janot told Davos in 2017 that Operation Lava Jato – which is supposedly politically neutral – was “Pro Market”. The Atlantic Council’s Latin America wing has also been reinforcing these kind of narratives since 2013, in particular, bizarrely disproportionate and uncritical Anglo media coverage of Lava Jato, which resembles an orchestrated international PR campaign (see above video).

When this kind of embedded PR combines with Journalists who freely call it a coup in private but won’t publicly for whatever reason, there is left a gaping hole in the narrative on Brasil which is why the present conjuncture makes so little sense to outsiders.

And that confusion is useful, it enables deniability and reduces the coup to a matter of opinion. To put that in context there are currently around 40 universities running courses on the Coup of 2016, and a dozen or so scholarly book publications on the subject.

Publicity for University of São Paulo’s course on the Coup of 2016 – one of around 40 nationwide.

The Coup is taken for granted amongst most progressives, and not only with Petistas, but PSOL, PCdoB, and other parties, sitting and ex-Presidents from Latin America and Europe, academia, and the international organized labour movement, as is the political nature of Lula’s imprisonment (his polling numbers speak for themselves). It has not even been subject to debate for two years. The burguesa centre-left are often the kind of people Anglo journalists based in Brasil socialise with, and they understand this, yet when taking to twitter or in print, they depict, by omission or otherwise, the exact opposite of their understanding.

Another coup-denier, ex-Bloomberg writer, who once even tried to cast doubt upon US involvement in the coup of 1964, was anointed go-to guy for supposed neutral positions on Brasil in 2016, written for opinion forming magazines such as New Yorker and the Atlantic, and the New York Times itself. This was just enough to obfuscate the situation in the eyes of an influential readership. As her impeachment neared its conclusion, with crowds of resistance in the streets being teargassed and shot with rubber bullets. he claimed that “only Dilma Rousseff supporters thought it was a coup”, which was false. He later discreetly apologised on social media for his “imprecision”.

There is ample material on the coup of 2016 in Portuguese. Little or none of this information makes it into Anglo media.

Any notion that the coup was some kind of fantastic and elaborate PT cover story devised for their own protection mimics the rhetoric of the coup perpetrators themselves and its right wing supporters. Every coup in modern history has been denied by its perpetrators, and every political prisoner is officially jailed for another reason. The putschist mantra of 2016: “We won’t have a Coup, we will have an impeachment” is now replaced by “A politician in prison is not a political prisoner”.

Not only is the coup-denial of corporate commentators easily countered with uncontroversial information, this renewed spin is deeply disrespectful to colleagues who risked dismissal for so much as using the word.

Indeed, Anglo apologism for the coup is even darker, as it tacitly endorses all the far-right rhetoric, quasi-legal manipulation, censorship, oligarchic media distortion, spectacle arrests, authoritarianism, violence and repression which surrounded Rousseff’s removal, and continue since. And the witch hunt against Lula and the Workers Party, in which they have been complicit, spawned a monster in the form of fascist Jair Bolsonaro, currently in second place behind the former president in the polls.

In her book United States Penetration of Brasil, which blew apart the official US Government narrative on what had happened from 1962-76, Jan K. Black quotes Brazilian journalist Genival Rabelo, whose generation faced the same professional dilemma, but at least recognised it: “This is the sad choice: to swim against the current, standing firm on a legacy of convictions… or to leave ourselves at the mercy of the current, fattening ourselves like pigs for – who knows? – the inexorable sacrifices of the great feast of the conquerors.”. In the book, rare but essential reading on Brazilian history, Black, a Professor and former CIA researcher, forensically recorded a myriad of processes, the methods of institutional penetration in a sovereign country, that look extremely familiar in 2018.

Overlooked in Anglo media was that many of the 2016 coup’s main protagonists were the children and grandchildren of 1964, and at the time it was reticent to acknowledge the nature of 1964’s coup. Instead it was called a “Democratic Revolution”, a phrase used by supporters of its 2016 counterpart. Indeed soon to be defeated Presidential Candidate Aécio Neves even used similar words publicly in April 2013 to describe what happened 50 years prior.

Likewise, mediocre hacks, self-appointed gatekeepers on Brasil for the English-speaking World, with absolute disregard for its national sovereignty, are unlikely to acknowledge the Coup of 2016-18 nor foreign involvement in it, at least until the coast is clear – who knows, perhaps in 10 years they’ll write a book on the subject and cash in. At the same time they’ll then be able pretend to their leftish friends back home to have been on the right side of history all along.

It is insufficient for progressive forces to simply conflate these kind of influences, interests and relationships within a nebulous notion of “transnational capital”, as if some natural force. Instead it is essential that they are properly explored, investigated and documented. Only then can these networks be resisted and broken.

There is an enormous amount at stake in Brasil, the most resource rich nation on the planet, and the intensity of corporate propaganda surrounding it isn’t difficult to understand.

You only need to follow the money. Same as it ever was.
"We ask no compassion from you. When our turn comes, we shall not make excuses for the terror."

User avatar
Posts: 4128
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2017 5:44 pm
Location: Turtle island

Re: Brazil

Post by blindpig » Sat Oct 05, 2019 1:52 pm

Operation Walopali / Curare XI Dismantles Illegal Mining Outbreaks in Yanomami Indigenous Land
Posted on October 04, 2019
walopali operation 1A major action to dismantle illegal mining in the Yanomami Indigenous Land (TI) reached the final stage last Thursday (03). Operation Walopali / Curare XI addressed more than 30 gold mining outbreaks, caught several IT illicit acts and removed hundreds of intruders for 12 days.


Walopali, which in the Yanomami-ninam language means "jaguar spirit" and designates places of spiritual shaman strength, is also the name of the Ethno-Environmental Protection Base (BAPE) that Funai is reactivating on the Mucajaí River. in line with the operation.

walopali operation 2About 75 Funai agents, Brazilian Army, Federal Police, Ibama, ICMBio, Division for the Eradication of Slave Labor of the Ministry of Economy (Detrae), Roraima State Environmental and Water Resources Foundation (FEMARH) and Roraima Civil Police divided into three fronts in the western IT region and in the Roraima National Forest, along the Mucajaí and Couto Magalhães gutters, one of the main outbreaks of large-scale illegal mining.

The infiltration took place by air, river and land transportation. A helicopter, eight boats and nine vehicles were used.

The removal of the invaders was accompanied by the dismantling of dozens of engines, dredger pumps, generators and suction equipment used in ravine miners, locally called "tatuzão". A helicopter was seized and two illegal goldfield airstrips were destroyed. The seizure and destruction of machinery occurred in accordance with current legislation, to prevent misuse and use.


walopali operation 3

TI Yanomami is the largest indigenous land in Brazil, with an area of ​​about 9.6 million hectares, home to about 26,000 indigenous people of the Yanomami and Ye'kuana Peoples. The territory also contains the confirmed reference of an isolated indigenous people, as well as six other references under study.

It is estimated that about 7 to 10,000 prospectors are invading the Indigenous Land, causing huge social and environmental impact, causing the expansion of disease, violence, deforestation, siltation of rivers and mercury contamination in communities.

According to Public Civil Action No. 1000551-12.2017.4.01.4200, three Funai Ethno-Environmental Protection Bases, structures that aim to ensure the protection of isolated and recently contacted indigenous peoples, must be reactivated in the Yanomami Indigenous Land. To this end, the General Coordination of Isolated and Recent Contact Indians (CGIIRC) has promoted interinstitutional articulation to trigger operations to combat gold mining, which is necessary for the establishment of bases.

General Coordination of Isolated and Recent Contact Indians and Communication Advisory

Operation Walopali / Curare XI Dismantles Illegal Mining Outbreaks in Yanomami Indigenous Land
class =A major action to dismantle illegal mining in the Yanomami Indigenous Land (TI) reached the final stage last Thursday (03). Operation Walopali / Curare XI addressed more than 30 mines, performed the blatant ... ... a-yanomami

Google Translator


Br~gov~non stop horror show: Funai, indigenous affairs agency fired Bruno Araújo from isolated indigenous sector after he sucessfully coordinated operation that expelled hundreds of illegal miners and destroyed their equipment.


Courtesy Márcia W. @marciadabliu
"We ask no compassion from you. When our turn comes, we shall not make excuses for the terror."

User avatar
Posts: 4128
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2017 5:44 pm
Location: Turtle island

Re: Brazil

Post by blindpig » Tue Oct 08, 2019 6:49 pm

Convivial War: How Wall Street Recolonized Brazil. Part One.

Part One: Park Avenue’s dirty, deadly Amazonian secrets

In September 2019, Brazilian Minister for Foreign Affairs Ernesto Araújo met US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington D.C. and the pair announced a new U.S.-Brazil bilateral agreement to open up the Amazon Rainforest to private sector development. Araújo called the agreement “…the Holy Grail of Brazil’s foreign policy, at least for the private sector”.

Behind this announcement is the story of how U.S. state and corporate power successfully captured political processes in the South American giant in order to deliver a submissiveness necessary for such a neocolonial project.

The Amazon region’s agricultural potential and mineral wealth have long been coveted, and its sovereignty is a debate as old as the Brazilian Republic itself. Levels of access to it for foreign capital under the Wall Street friendly far-right government of Jair Bolsonaro are unprecedented.

To justify this, an entreguista false dichotomy has co-opted the nationalistic talking points of sovereign development, and pits prosperity directly against the protection of Brazil’s rainforest and its inhabitants.

Prior to taking office, Bolsonaro remarked in an interview that the Amazon does not “belong” to Brazil anymore, yet foreign rhetoric over the 2019 forest fires has perversely allowed him to appear as a defender of Brazilian sovereignty – the very opposite of what he, who during his election campaign saluted the U.S. flag at an event in Miami, actually was.

Many of the US and Multinational companies benefitting most from Bolsonaro’s scorched earth strategy in Amazonia share something important, and overlooked, in common: they’re members of Wall Street Lobby and Think Tank, Council of the Americas (AS/COA). Headquartered at 680 Park Avenue, New York, it is also the publisher of its own in-house magazine, Americas Quarterly.

Of its members invested in the Brazilian Amazon, the biggest is so called invisible giant, Cargill, Incorporated. With $115bn in yearly sales, it is the largest privately held company in the world. It is one of the foreign companies most active in Amazonian agribusiness, with the slogan: “helping the world thrive”.

Minnesota-based Cargill arrived in Brazil during 1965, following the U.S.-backed Coup the previous year. Its present day activities include the growing of Sugar Cane for Ethanol biofuel, Cocoa, Cotton and key concern, Soybean cultivation and processing, with its own infrastructure of terminals spread across nine Brazilian states.

U.S. Congress member Henry A. Waxman recently called Cargill “The Worst Company in the World” in an extensive report on its destructive activities, in particular related to Soy cultivation. “The people who have been sickened or died from eating contaminated Cargill meat, the child laborers who grow the cocoa Cargill sells for the world’s chocolate, the Midwesterners who drink water polluted by Cargill, the Indigenous People displaced by vast deforestation to make way for Cargill’s animal feed, and the ordinary consumers who’ve paid more to put food on the dinner table because of Cargill’s financial malfeasance all have felt the impact of this agribusiness giant. Their lives are worse for having come into contact with Cargill.” said Waxman.

The report notes that those displaced by plantations, “have experienced sharp increases in cancer, birth defects, miscarriages, and other illnesses linked to pesticides and herbicides used to grow soy.”

Over a decade ago, Cargill faced another damning report, that time from Greenpeace, over the Santarém Soy Terminal in the Amazonian state of Pará. It was then that it began to invest heavily in PR campaigns and this new look Cargill would be depicted as a “custodian”, rather than destroyer of the rainforest. It would promote projects such as small scale organic cocoa cultivation to deflect from its destructive principal activities. Crucially it would make a high-profile pledge, along with fellow Council of the Americas members Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) and Bunge, not to source Soy from deforested land. At the time this was a PR Coup. There was a loophole however: they were free to source from deforested land that contained mixed crops.

In 2018, once it was clear that former President Lula da Silva would be prevented from running for President, and literally weeks before Jair Bolsonaro’s election in October, Cargill revealed plans for expansion. These included building a brand new Soy Terminal at Porto Velho, in the state of Rondonia.

The new facility would be on the edge of highway BR-319, where the so called “ring of fire” was burning out of control the following winter in neighbouring Amazonas state. At that time of announcement it made little sense logistically. It was as if they were betting on imminent deforestation, the opening up of indigenous and forest reserves, to make it viable. This is precisely what has happened. Bolsonaro had run on a platform that was explicit in its intent to strip Indigenous peoples of their reserves.

With the extreme-right President in office, Cargill announced explicit support for deforestation in an open letter to soybean producers in Brazil, and its opposition to environmental protection projects in the irreplaceable Cerrado Savanna biome. The 2019 Mighty Earth report also presented evidence of merciless deforestation, led by demand from Cargill, Bunge Limited and ADM, on an industrial scale in the Cerrado. COA member Goldman Sachs is also heavily invested in Sugar Cane/Ethanol in the region which contradicts their stated policy, namely that they “will not finance any project or initiate loans where the specified use of proceeds would significantly convert or degrade a critical natural habitat.”

In 2012, Bunge’s sourcing of Sugar Cane from ancestral lands of the Guarani­ indigenous people, became a worldwide controversy with Oxfam and Survival International campaigning to force fellow COA corporate member Coca-Cola to cease using crops from those areas of Southern Brazil. Pesticides from their cultivation was damaging the health of inhabitants, and their chief Marcus Vernon had been murdered while resisting theft of ancestral land.

Cargill, Bunge, ADM and Goldman Sachs are just four corporate members of Council of the Americas that are active in the Brazilian Amazon and Cerrado, and linked to the fires raging across the region, which were started intentionally to enable expansion of available land, principally for Soy cultivation and Cattle.

Other current or recent members of the Council actively or historically invested in the Transmazonian region include, from agribusiness: Continental Grain Company. From finance: BlackRock, BNP Paribas, J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Scotiabank, Citigroup, Inc, Santander. From Seeds and Pesticides: Bayer-Monsanto, Dow Chemical. From Oil and Gas: Chevron, ConocoPhillips. From the mining sector: Barrick Gold Corporation, Rio Tinto, Hothschild Mining, and so on.

Americas Society / Council of the Americas has an estimated $10M in annual revenue. In corporate memberships alone, Council of the Americas earned in excess of $30 million dollars between President Dilma Rousseff taking office in January 2011, and the inauguration of Jair Bolsonaro in January 2019. This is small change for the companies it represents. In addition it has extended funding from patron members Chevron and HSBC.

Intriguingly it also has a dedicated, separately funded anti-corruption working group, which features, according to its website “AS/COA corporate, Chairman’s International Advisory Council, Board of Directors and President’s Circle members.” This group is bankrolled “by corporate members and foundations”, and is “an action-orientated network focused on producing concrete results and contributing to the reduction of corruption in Latin America. The AWG navigates Latin America’s evolving anti-corruption movement by convening the region’s top corruption figures and corporate leaders who are determined to see the historic crackdown on graft continue.”

Given what has been revealed about the shadowy political motives, judicial malpractice, blackmail, bribery and inherent corruption of their principal example to the continent: Brazil’s Operation Lava Jato (Car Wash), Council of the Americas’ anti-corruption working group itself is suspect by association. Lava Jato had significant responsibility for both the removal of elected President Dilma Rousseff, and the prevention of her predecessor Luis Inacio Lula da Silva from returning to the Presidency in 2018.

It is essential to put newly reset corporate and government relations between the U.S. and Brazil into the context of what has happened over the past decade, the hand of Washington and Wall Street in the political shifts across the region, and the fraternity of power at an organisation like Council of the Americas.

Council of America’s centrepiece event is their annual Washington Conference of the Americas, held at the U.S. Department of State each May, which it calls “the premier Washington event on the Western Hemisphere, will bring together senior officials from the U.S. administration and distinguished leaders from across the region to focus on the major policy issues affecting the hemisphere.”

With the election of Barack Obama, and Hillary of Clinton as Secretary of State there was a shift in the tone of relations between the U.S. and Latin America, but also a definite continuity in the pursuit of long term foreign policy goals. On May 13, 2009, Clinton delivered a speech to Conference of the Americas about the way forward for Latin American democratisation: “As Jim Steinberg said earlier, democratic elections are now the norm throughout our hemisphere, but the ballot box alone is not enough. This is something that we feel very strongly about, and it comes with our deepest commitment to democratic ideals, but our recognition that sustainable democracies do more than just have elections. So we have to join together in 21st century partnerships to build vibrant civil society, to demand accountability from democratic institutions, to insist on the rule of law, to help build independent and capable judicial systems, and respect for human rights.”

At this very moment a Coup d’état in Honduras was well in motion, one which Clinton – whose 2016 campaign team had also lobbied for COA member Monsanto – later admitted that she and her administration had supported.

The ousted President Manuel Zelaya was given refuge in Brazil’s Tegucigalpa Embassy, which was besieged by U.S. trained Honduran Military, and even targeted with what was described as a “Neurotoxic” hydrogen cyanide gas attack, leaving Zelaya, his assembled allies, and embassy employees complaining of symptoms. The new U.S. supported post-coup regime threatened to close the Brazilian embassy altogether, in what was a major test for Brazil’s diplomacy under the government of Lula da Silva, and an early flashpoint with the new Obama administration. Clinton was already in conflict with Brazil, over its brokering of an Iranian nuclear deal, one which the new Obama administration were unhappy with, specifically how Brazil was able to negotiate without them. Brazil was also unique in the global south in that it had both mineral Uranium and the proprietary technology to process it. Only the United States and Russia shared this capability.

A decade later the politically imprisoned Lula would remark that “Obama was much harder towards Brazil” than his predecessor George W. Bush, and that “I am sure that Hillary Clinton does not like Latin America.”

In response to the degenerating human rights situation in Honduras, protesters invaded a Council of the Americas meeting at their New York headquarters. In a video of the incident, a demonstrator is violently ejected after accusing the Council of funding the Honduran Coup, and of complicity in the murder of activists Berta Caceres and Nelson Garcia. “Emotional issues, ladies and gentlemen.” responds AS/COA Vice President Eric Farnsworth, as the young activist is manhandled away down the corridor.

Honduras was a harbinger of things to come for Latin America, but such brute force made way for more sophisticated processes, and far tighter control of optics.

The then senior editor of Americas Quarterly, Jason Marczak, went on to found the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center in 2013, along with Peter Schechter of CLS Strategies, who had been contracted by the post-coup interim government of Roberto Micheletti to improve the Honduran regime’s image in the United States. NATO adjunct Atlantic Council would later throw its full weight behind Brazil’s Operation Lava Jato.

Months after Clinton’s 2009 speech at COA, Judge Sérgio Moro would appear for the first time in leaked State Department cables, at a Rio de Janeiro event conducted in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Justice. The event was part of the so-called project bridges, in which Brazilian prosecutors would learn “best practices” from their U.S. counterparts, such the utilisation of plea bargain testimony, and the formation of prosecution task-forces – specifically in Brazil’s hard-right strongholds of Curitiba and Campo Grande.

Three years later in 2012, Bunge, whose then CEO Alberto Weisser sat on Council of the America’s board, were accused, along with fellow members Cargill, Monsanto, ADM and others, of acting behind the scenes in the buildup to the Coup which removed Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo, with the U.S. Government’s tacit support. U.S. Ambassador Liliana Ayalde had already stepped down following the release of leaked State Department cables which showed her discussing a future coup plot against him, several years prior.

In Paraguay, as Brazil, Soy, and the land upon which to grow it, was the key, and with COA members like Bunge, Monsanto, and Cargill’s interests well served by the removal of Lugo, a Liberation Theologist whose sympathy for peasant struggles was a nuisance for the multinational producers. Lugo’s VP from right-wing coalition partner PLRA, Federico Franco, assumed the Presidency and insisted the impeachment was fully in accordance with the Paraguayan constitution.

Some in Brazil already feared that Paraguay was an omen for what would befall them. They were right.

Whilst regional trade bloc Mercosur suspended Paraguay, calling Lugo’s impeachment illegitimate, Americas Quarterly was on hand to justify the Paraguayan coup, interviewing a representative of the so called Human Rights Foundation, who denied any such coup had taken place, insisting that everything was in accordance with the constitution. HRF organises the Oslo Freedom Forum, and has been criticised by Latin American scholars for criticising only left wing governments in the region, whilst late Canadian writer Jean Guy Allard called HRF a “CIA front”. HRF was founded by Libertarian Thor Halvorssen, the cousin of far-right Venezuelan politician Leopoldo Lopez, and supporter of multiple coup attempts in that country. Halvorssen has described socialism as a violation of human rights and his HRF is part of the Atlas Network, which has been involved in right-wing regime change operations across Latin America, with predominantly U.S. funding.

Four years later, Agribusiness was a principal supporter of the coup to overthrow Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, and the later election of far-right Jair Bolsonaro which it created the conditions for. The Atlas Network’s Movimento Brasil Livre (MBL) was one of the organisations which campaigned for Rousseff’s illegitimate impeachment. The other, was a bigger yet more discreet group called Vem Pra Rua (Come to the street). It was founded by Rogério Chequer, who had come from the world of investment banking, first at COA member Deutsche Bank, and then new vehicles he co-founded: Discovery and the unrelated in all but name, Atlas Capital Management. He returned to Brazil in 2012 after fifteen years in the United States investment banking sector to work in “corporate communications”, and emerged as a high-profile leader of the ultimately successful movement to impeach Dilma Rousseff.

Following her removal, Rousseff’s VP from centre-right coalition partner PMDB, Michel Temer, assumed the Presidency and insisted the impeachment was fully in accordance with the Brazilian constitution.

Americas Quarterly was back to provide a corporate friendly sheen for the collapse of Brazil’s Democracy, to the delight of its jubilant patrons, and Ayalde was again the U.S. Ambassador in charge.

Following the Coup, Ambassador Ayalde would move to Southern Command, as it worked to establish the first US Military presence on Brazilian soil since the second world war. Brazil is to also poised to become an associate member of NATO, like its neighbour Colombia. Her predecessor in Brazil, Tom Shannon, has since said that the governments of Lula and Dilma represented obstacles to US plans for the continent. These plans included the FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas), a Council of the Americas promoted, continent-wide successor to NAFTA, to which Lula was vehemently opposed, and along with Argentina’s Nestor Kirchner and Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, defeated at the 2005 Mar del Plata conference.

Such long term plans, which span Democrat and Republican administrations, can be traced back decades, in documents such as the National Security Study Memorandum 200, adopted as policy in 1975, and classified until the 1990s. Principally a study on how population growth could jeopardise the supply of strategically important minerals from resource rich “less developed” countries such as Brazil, it warns specifically against the dangers of a growing young population who may at some point adopt anti-imperialist ideology.

With Dilma gone, Americas Quarterly would run a special issue called ‘Fixing Brazil’. This was a mammoth business opportunity, masked in the language of progress. Whereas Honduras and Paraguay had been openly called coups in Northern media, a herculean PR effort went into denying that what had happened in Brazil had constituted one. This was conducted in tandem with Brazil’s embassies under the command of new foreign minister José Serra. Serra, like Michel Temer and Sérgio Moro had appeared in a key State Department cable, which reported that he had promised Patricia Padral, director of Chevron Brazil, that he would change the rules to favour foreign Oil producers if elected President in 2010. He lost to Rousseff.

Within months of Rousseff’s ouster six years later, Council of Americas companies were amongst the first to benefit from the immediate policy shift; Chevron themselves, ExxonMobil and Shell from Serra’s promised abandonment of the pré-sal law protecting Brazilian involvement in Oil & Gas exploration; Boeing from the cut-price sell-off of Embraer; Dow and Monsanto for liberalisation of elsewhere illegal pesticides and further consolidation of their seed monopoly.

Senator Aloysio Nunes (PSDB), a State Department point man at that time, who visited US officials and corporate representatives within hours of Rousseff’s removal, later admitted that Operation Lava Jato had manipulated her impeachment.

In September 2019 Temer would casually refer to the impeachment as a Coup on live television… ... -part-one/
"We ask no compassion from you. When our turn comes, we shall not make excuses for the terror."

User avatar
Posts: 4128
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2017 5:44 pm
Location: Turtle island

Re: Brazil

Post by blindpig » Thu Oct 10, 2019 8:48 pm

Rondonia indigenous affairs post destroyed by loggers
A FUNAI inspection post built inside the Karipuna reservation in Rondonia was destroyed by loggers and land thieves. The building had equipment in it including an electrical generator, furniture and a mechanics garage. The building hadn’t been used since the Dilma Rousseff presidency.

An inspection post belonging to the National Indian Foundation (Fundação Nacional do Índio/Funai) inside Karipuna territory in Rondonia was destroyed by illegal loggers and land thieves connected to international agribusiness supply chains. The reservation, which still had nearly 100% forest cover as of 2014, has lost 20 km2 of forest this year at the hands of the big ranchers and farmers, who have been encouraged to cut down forest in national parks and indigenous reservations by the far right government of Jair Bolsonaro. The inspection post cost around $200,000 and was built in 2016, during the final days of the Dilma Rousseff Presidency, after a private company was ordered to build it in compensation for illegal logging.

According to the Karipuna and CIMI, the Catholic Church’s indigenous rights organization,which is currently under espionage from the federal intelligence agency (ABIN), FUNAI agents worked at the post for the first few months after it was built, then the Temer government cut funding and it was abandoned. Since then, it was looted and now, according to health agents who were visiting the reservation, completely destroyed.

FUNAI itself, which was defunded during the coup government of Michel Temer, has now been nearly completely paralyzed in the Bolsonaro administration. One of Bolsonaro’s first moves upon taking office last January was to transfer control over FUNAI from the Ministry of Justice to the newly created Ministry of Family, Women and Human Rights, Damares Alves. Alves, an evangelical preacher who lied about having two university degrees and later claimed that they were “biblical diplomas” has been accused of kidnapping indigenous children and converting them to evangelical Christianity. Since being transferred to her jurisdiction, FUNAI has essentially been inoperative.

Chief Adriano Karipuna

Speaking from the CIMI headquarters in the Porto Velho archdiocese, tribal leader Adriano Karipuna said, “Bolsonaro is opening precedents for appropriating indigenous lands, and for the Karipuna reservation to be invaded by the Agribusiness barons. The Karipuna will resist but we know its going to be very hard.” ... y-loggers/
"We ask no compassion from you. When our turn comes, we shall not make excuses for the terror."

User avatar
Posts: 4128
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2017 5:44 pm
Location: Turtle island

Re: Brazil

Post by blindpig » Mon Oct 21, 2019 11:14 pm

Convivial War: How Wall Street Recolonized Brazil. Part Two.

In September 2019, Brazilian Minister for Foreign Affairs Ernesto Araújo met US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington D.C. and the pair announced a new U.S.-Brazil bilateral agreement to open up the Amazon Rainforest to private sector development. Araújo called the agreement “…the Holy Grail of Brazil’s foreign policy, at least for the private sector”.

Behind this announcement is the story of how U.S. state and corporate power successfully captured political processes in the South American giant in order to deliver a submissiveness necessary for such a neocolonial project.

Part Two: Smiling Assassins

In the 1970s, it was the World Bank that originally convinced Brazil’s Military Dictatorship (which President Jair Bolsonaro would seek to emulate) that Amazon deforestation would be positive for the economy. In 1981 it launched a programme called ‘Polonoroeste’, for road network construction and the resettlement of cattle ranchers in the state of Rondonia. As Adrian Cowell documented in his film “Decade of Destruction”, before international pressure forced the World Bank to cancel the project in 1986, thousands died and an area of rainforest the size of Great Britain had been decimated.

The World Bank’s private-sector arm is the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a Council of the Americas elite member, which more recently gave its approval to development projects led by investment group Blackstone, with devastating consequences. As reported by the Intercept, after coming to power the Bolsonaro Government announced that Blackstone-owned Hidrovias would partner in the privatization and development of hundreds of miles of the B.R.-163 highway through the rainforest.

Amazonian deforestation had been on a generally downward trend under the Workers Party governments of 2003-2014. REDD+ carbon emission targets had been met a decade early, and Brazil had been lauded internationally as a success story, albeit with criticism of hydroelectric projects such as Belo Monte. Under Temer and Bolsonaro, with the agencies that protected the Amazon rainforest and its indigenous populations either shut down or under violent attack, it accelerated.

One of the more disturbing stories concerning Council of the Americas members of recent times was that of Chevron’s activities in the Ecuadorian Amazon. It was found to have used powerful corporate intelligence agency Kroll to recruit young journalists to join a spy network, which was working to undermine a $27 billion environmental lawsuit for what experts believe is the worst oil-related catastrophe on the planet. It was a concerted effort to undermine the rule of law in Ecuador, by a company which has admitted to intentionally dumping over 18 billion gallons of toxic waste into the Amazon from 1964 to 1990.

Dropping the Chevron lawsuit was one of the demands for granting of the 4.5bn IMF loan which now has Ecuador in the throes of an uprising against their conditional, enforced austerity, delivered by President Lenin Moreno. U.S.-backed Moreno, whom former Foreign Minister Guillaume Long calls a Shakespearean traitor, was former President Correa’s Vice President, and came to power with his support only to immediately shift to the right and begin reversing his predecessor’s policies. With hindsight, Wall Street had two dogs in the race at the 2017 Election, and like Brazil, Ecuador has since been the subject of a US-backed lawfare campaign aimed at preventing Correa, and the left as a whole, from returning to power. It is part a transnational investigation into Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht – an internationalised Lava Jato – which already jailed Correa ally Jorge Glas. The streets of Quito are currently flooded with protesters from across the country, and Moreno has been forced to move the seat of Government to the coastal city of Guayaquil.

Kroll was also contracted to work for the Parliamentary Commission Inquiry into Petrobras, investigating individuals of interest until August 2015. Other COA members such as Monsanto (Now Bayer-Monsanto) and Dow Chemical also use private spy agencies to attack critics, manipulate media and control political outcomes. And their own chemical products play a lethal role in Brazil, mass poisoning the population and even being weaponised as a kind of “Agent Orange” against indigenous communities.

The lines of corporate and state power have always been blurred, and Council of the Americas is where the State Department, Intelligence and U.S. business interests in Latin America convene.

To understand Council of the Americas modern functions its origins must also be understood. It was created in the early 1960s as “Business Group for Latin America” by David Rockefeller, then of Chase Bank, at the request of President John F. Kennedy..

In Safe for Democracy: The Secret Wars of the CIA (2006), John Prados writes:

“One such project came directly from the president. Kennedy, attending a meeting of Harvard’s Board of Overseers, spoke to fellow member David Rockefeller about enlisting big business to fight Castro. Spurred by Kennedy administration guarantees of investments, Rockefeller formed the Business Group for Latin America, which ultimately enlisted more than three dozen multinational corporations. In the same way the CIA conducted relations with labor or cultural groups, Langley assigned a case officer full time to handle the Business Group (the first of these left to work directly for the organisation). The Business Group provided cover for CIA officers and contributed to political action, serving as a conduit for agency funds.”

Business Group was to fund candidates opposed to President João Goulart at Brazil’s 1962 parliamentary elections, and bankrolled the “anti-Communist” Institute of Research and Social Studies (IPES) and Brazilian Institute for Democratic Action (IBAD) before being formalised in 1963 and restructured in 1965 as Council for Latin America.

IPES and IBAD, under the auspices of Business Group/COA, propagandised, organised civil society and helped foment the coup of 1964. Faced with a parliamentary inquiry, they tried and failed to destroy evidence of their foreign links before being shut down by court order in the desperate final months before Goulart was overthrown. At a Military conference on Latin America at West Point months later, David Rockefeller said that it had been decided early on that Goulart was not acceptable to the U.S. banking community, and that he would have to go. Then, as now, the emphasis was not ideology, but on combating economic and resource nationalism.

The modern successor organisation to IBAD and IPES is Instituto Milenium, which was founded by Bolsonaro’s Chicago-school Finance Minister Paulo Guedes (pictured) in 2005. Guedes now proposes the merger of Banco do Brasil with principal Council of the Americas corporate member, Bank of America. To enable this he has introduced a “foreign exchange liberalization” bill, which crucially allows foreigners to acquire Brazilian banks. Guedes also championed Wall Street’s long-coveted, Chilean-style pension reforms which would force many Brazilians to work until their deaths.

This prescient 2012 investigation compared “the defunct IPES / IBAD complex, created in 1961 by civilian and military groups, and the Millennium Institute created in 2005. These groups have very similar ways of spreading their conservative ideologies in society through their strong connections with sectors of the mainstream media and Brazilian elites. The IPES / IBAD complex was of paramount importance in legitimising the 1964 coup, by curbing social demands….just as the Millennium Institute aims to limit the activities of the state in this area, using strong ideological propaganda.”

Created in response to Lula’s election, Milenium’s influence across Brazil’s oligarchic media grew to become a key component in the propaganda campaign behind Lava Jato and efforts to remove Dilma Rousseff and the Workers Party from power. What Milenium, like its Atlas counterparts across Latin America have done, is work tirelessly to make modernity and ultra-neoliberal policy synonymous and inseparable, as had happened elsewhere since the 1970s. This means the establishment of a capitalist realism, to insist that there is no alternative in countries which had attempted egalitarian alternatives to liberal economic orthodoxy.

Americas Quarterly was breathless in its amplification of AS/COA speaker Guedes’ credentials: “To the attendees of the World Economic Forum: This week in Davos, you will meet a man who seems destined to change Brazil for the better. Brilliant and disciplined, he has put together a truly first-rate team. In just three weeks in office, he seems to have correctly diagnosed what ails the world’s most disappointing large economy of recent years. There in the Swiss Alps, he will present his plan for fixing it; you will likely be dazzled. This man’s name is Paulo Guedes.” enthused Editor in Chief, Brian Winter.

Guedes notoriously said of his time in Chile during the early 1980s that “I knew there was a dictatorship, but for me this was irrelevant from an intellectual standpoint.”

Americas Quarterly was uncritical of his Chilean associations: “Guedes didn’t stay long, but all around him was what Milton Friedman called the “miracle of Chile….This was decades ago, but the link to today resides in his vision for Brazil’s economy. Guedes may now have a chance to lead his own dramatic neoliberal economic transformation.”

By 1970 Business Group/Council for Latin America had become Council of the Americas. By then, over $600 million of U.S. government funds had been been diverted for Chilean purposes alone as “investment insurance”. Having already interfered in its elections to bring Eduardo Frei Montalva to power, it would go on to facilitate payment of bribes to Chilean parliamentarians in an attempt to block President Salvador Allende’s inauguration, on behalf of its members ITT and Anaconda Copper. They would go on to be key actors in the bloody 1973 coup d’état which saw Allende dead and the “Neoliberal” dictator, General Augusto Pinochet installed. Suddenly the World Bank and IMF considered Chile to be a country they could do business with.

In Price of Power, Seymour Hersh wrote about Council of the Americas role in Chile and its seamless integration with the CIA’s activities:

“The principal contact in Chile for the CIA as well as for the American corporations was the organization of Agustín Edwards…who was the owner of the conservative El Mercurio newspaper chain in Chile and a focal point for the opposition to Allende and the left. The CIA and the Business Group, which by 1970 had been reorganized into the Council of the Americas, relied heavily on Edwards to use his organization and his contacts to channel their moneys into the 1964 political campaign. Many of the ties between the Business Group and the CIA in 1964 remained in place long after the election. For example, Enno Hobbing, a CIA official who had initially been assigned as liaison to the Business Group, eventually left the CIA and became the principal operations officer for the Council.”

The Pinochet regime that followed left over 40,000 killed, tortured or imprisoned, with a further 200,000 driven into exile. And its supposed economic “miracle”, which is regularly used to justify such horrors, has been comprehensively debunked.

Many people have died in Latin America as a direct result of decisions made at 680 Park Avenue, New York.

Council of the Americas staff are conspicuous in that they do not publicly commemorate Chile’s 9/11, the anniversary of that 1973 coup, as Latin America commentators generally do.

According to its own marketing material, Council of the Americas Corporate Members “are a premier group of over 230 private sector organizations which share a commitment to economic and social development, open markets, rule of law, and democracy in the region. Corporate member benefits are extended to employees across the Americas.”

So what do Council of the Americas’ corporate members get for their money today?

Elite Members enjoy, at the cost of $30,000 a year: “Exclusive invitations to substantially all private programs with world leaders. Preferred invitations for select senior executives to off-the-record, private meetings with government officials, business and cultural leaders. Assistance in establishing contacts to further business interests. Invitations to over 200 complimentary private programs throughout the region. Opportunity to sponsor private programs, working groups, series, and conferences. Opportunity to join COA working groups. Memberships in our Young Professionals of the Americas (YPA) initiative for rising young leaders.”

At a basic level Council of the Americas facilitates US business’s lobbying access to political power in the south, and grooms future Latin American leaders to favour those US business interests. In effect it enables the capture and control of Latin American political decision making processes by its members, such as Cargill. Even Smartmatic, the company which handles sensitive electronic vote count data for various Latin American countries, including Brazil, is a Council of the Americas member.

In September 2016, at a Council of the Americas event in New York, just weeks after Dilma Rousseff’s final removal, post-Coup President Michel Temer candidly admitted that the she had been impeached, not because of corruption, or the state of the economy, as had been depicted, but because she refused to implement their extreme Neoliberal programme “Bridge to the future”. This included a 20 year constitutionally enforced freeze on public education and health investment. The document caused controversy because appeared to have been translated from English and economist Marcio Pochmann noted similarities between “Bridge to the Future” and the “Government Economic Action Plan”) which followed the Coup of 1964. There was whispered speculation that it may have been drafted by Council of the Americas itself.

A classic economic hit job of a prescribed wrong policy at wrong time, Bridge to the Future’s “austericide” has not delivered any measurable benefit to Brazil, it has however enabled the sell off of its assets and strategic companies to Council of the Americas members.

A decade prior, Michel Temer had confidently told the U.S. State Department that whoever won the election later that year would need the support of he and his PMDB in order to govern. He also spoke of a desire to reformulate a conservative broad front, or even merge right-wing parties into a modern UDN, such as had existed prior to, and supported the 1964 Military Coup.

Far from changing the country like he promised his voters, the subsequent Bolsonaro Government’s programme has been a continuation and extension of “Bridge to the Future”, and once again Brazil’s minimum wage is threatened, as it was under Dictatorship.

Between 1964 and 1978, there was a 40% decline in the real wages of Brazilians, and foreign debt spiralled. As Peter Gribbin wrote at the time in Counterspy:

“The reason for the seeming paradox between a country so rich in natural resources yet one whose people suffer life-long misery is quite simple, however: for capitalists, both Brazilian and foreign, the masses are looked upon as costs, not customers: the lower their real wages, the higher the profits from selling to the local upper class and the international market.” and talked of “the intimate role the CIA has played in making Brazil one of the most repressive and, not surprisingly, one of the “safest” investment climates in Latin America.”

AS/COA also produces media propaganda to forward the interests of its patrons, directly and indirectly, published in their own magazine Americas Quarterly, through its own members such as Bloomberg, guest appearances on television news networks, and quotes to ostensibly “Liberal” newspapers such as the New York Times and Guardian, and a network of aligned journalists and commentators.

This has created a layer of what Professor Kathy Swart calls “fossilised propaganda” over the historical record of recent events, obfuscating popular memory. What was made to appear uncontroversial was very often demonstrably wrong, and has rarely been subject to correction since.

A prime example of this was years of breathless support for the now discredited anti-corruption operation Lava Jato (Carwash) which has resulted in an unprecedented windfall of accumulation and acquisitions for Council of the Americas’ corporate members. The organisation was effectively acting as an international publicist for Lava Jato, which was responsible for rigging the 2018 election by its jailing of electoral frontrunner Lula da Silva. This was a brazen, politically motivated move which opened the door for Bolsonaro, who gifted the judge who jailed Lula, Sérgio Moro, a new Super-Ministry of Justice and Security. Over the course of operation Lava Jato, U.S.-trained Moro would make various appearances at and visits to Council of the Americas, gracing the cover of their magazine and sharing an apparent friendship with its editor.

As Lava Jato judge, Sérgio Moro received multiple military honours in appreciation of his work. The Peacemaker Medal, which is reserved for “Brazilian or foreign military or civilian personnel who had provided services to the Army.” which he received in August 2016, just as Dilma Rousseff faced her final inevitable impeachment proceedings, and the Order of Military Merit, the Army’s highest award, with to date only around one hundred recipients, as Lula faced imminent prosecution in mid 2017. Leading the selection committee was General Sérgio Etchegoyen, post-coup head of institutional security, who weeks prior to Lula’s conviction held a meeting in Brasilia with the local CIA chief, Duane Norman which was accidentally revealed by Government officials. Etchegoyen was also the architect of the 2018 Military intervention in the state of Rio de Janeiro which was called a “laboratory” for the rest of Brazil.

Head of the Armed Forces General Villas Boas issued a statement intended to warn the Supreme Court against granting Habeas Corpus to former President Lula. The deciding vote was of Minister Rosa Weber, who said that it was being cast against her own opinion. Although further legal means were exhausted, Lula would not be allowed to run for President, prevented through a succession of rulings made under state of exception. From this perspective, operation Lava Jato and the Military appear closely allied.

Beyond Southcom itself, Military interaction between the United States, Brazil and Latin America as a whole is carried out through the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC), which was formerly the notorious School of the Americas. Based at Fort Benning, Georgia, the change of name was considered a distancing from human rights abuses associated with SOA. In this 2007 article, Lesley Gill describes how WHINSEC “forms part of a hydra-headed repressive apparatus—encompassing armies, police forces, paramilitaries, arms manufacturers and think tanks – that consumes ever-more public resources as cold war pretexts give way to neoliberal policies generating widespread discontent.”, “More than just military instruction, the School imparts a particular political orientation and acculturates trainees into a specific world of values that it defines as “American.” Associated privileges ensure a steady stream of recruits seeking social mobility and political power, while the U.S. emphasis on regional militarization guarantees constant demand. These privileges largely secure the collusion of officers with the U.S. imperial project. The SOA also instills loyalty by flaunting the technological sophistication and expertise of the U.S. military as evidence of innate U.S. superiority. Many trainees fortify their positions vis-à-vis local competitors for power through access to this technology and esoteric information, even though this makes them more dependent upon the United States.”

In its educational programmes for Latin American militaries that for decades have been glorified police forces, not only is alignment with the United States part of the curriculum, but an emphasis on the superiority and inevitability of Neoliberal economics:

“The School further tantalizes students with the “American way of life”—the commodity-filled, suburban lifestyle of the white middle class. Officers in the SOA’s flagship Command and General Staff Officers Course enjoy a comfortable, consumer-oriented existence. They also learn English, educate their children in U.S. schools, earn part of their salaries in crisis-proof U.S. dollars and acquire commodities for personal consumption or sale as contraband. Little wonder many graduates end up viewing themselves as separate from, and superior to, civilians. In some countries, separate neighborhoods and social clubs for officers and their families reinforce this detachment.”

As intercepted air-traffic control communications showed Lula’s Military handlers making death threats to “throw this garbage out of the window” as he was transported by air to prison in Curitiba, Americas Quarterly personnel were on hand to whitewash his politically-motivated prosecution, which included publishing an edited version of the former President’s op-ed in the New York Times ostensibly to make it “more honest”. Subsequently AQ would normalise the extreme-right, genocidal rhetoric of Jair Bolsonaro by calling him simply an “Arch Conservative”, and relay investor opinion that there was “no room for feelings” over his potential election – which was a direct result of Lula’s jailing.

Lawyer Valeska Martins has described the lawfare attack on Lula in terms of its sheer violence. Unnecessary raids and confiscations, media spectacle arrest, freezing of even modest assets, and the the death of his wife Marisa, which was attributed to that torment.

Subsequent leaked conversations have decimated the Council of the Americas narrative on Lula, and corroborated the defence team’s insistence of the political nature of his prosecution, Judge Sérgio Moro’s connivance with prosecutors, as well as Operation Lava Jato’s collaboration with pro-impeachment protest groups, media, and those identified in conversations simply as “the Americans”.

In July 2017, then acting assistant Attorney General, Kenneth Blanco had boasted publicly during a speech at an Atlantic Council event about the U.S. Department of Justice’s informal collaboration with Brazilian prosecutors, on the Lava Jato investigation, citing the Lula case as a success story.

As well as its documented, publicly admitted collaboration with the U.S. Department of Justice, which is now subject to multiple congressional inquiries in Washington, Operation Lava Jato, the de-facto lawfare front of regime change in Brazil, employed lawyers from legal companies such which were also COA Corporate Members, such as Mattos Filho, Veiga Filho, Marrey Jr. e Quiroga Advogados, which worked on its early and highly controversial plea bargains – a startling promiscuity of vested interests.

Evidently COA membership does not grant access merely to Latin America’s politicians, but also its Judiciary. Beyond regular visitor Sérgio Moro, the Council also regularly entertains high-ranking members of the Brazilian Judiciary, such as the Supreme Court’s Edson Fachin, and former Prosecutor General Rodrigo Janot, who when addressing the World Economic Forum in 2017, described the “politically neutral” Operation Lava Jato as “Pro Market”.

In their book ‘War by other means’, published in 2016, Council on Foreign Relations fellows Robert D. Blackwill and Jennifer M. Harris proposed that in answer to future problems for U.S. hegemony in Latin America posed by the growing strength of the BRICS development bank and Brazil’s own BNDES, that the U.S. should “Treat corruption as the systematic geoeconomic weapon it often is”. They continue:

“The next U.S. President could, for example: direct the Department of Justice to indict corrupt foreign officials with greater regularity; order various federal agencies to cooperate with foreign corruption proceedings, supplying prosecutors with evidence on a case-by-case basis.”

By the time of the book’s publication this was already happening in Brazil.

Council of the Americas’ most high profile figure in Brazil is Brian Winter, Vice President of policy, and Editor-in-chief of its magazine Americas Quarterly, whose editorial board features ex-US Ambassador to Brazil Tom Shannon Jr, and former IMF economist Monica de Bolle, who described the 2018 election between Social Democrat Fernando Haddad and Neofascist Jair Bolsonaro as “a very difficult choice”.

A key plotter in Venezuela’s failed 2002 Coup and overseer of war crimes in Central America, Council of the America’s Chairman Emiritus John D. Negroponte, then outgoing US Director of Intelligence, warned in 2007 that democratisation of Latin America was a threat and/or challenge to the United States national security, alongside Iranian & North Korean nuclear programmes and the economic and military modernisation of China.

What Council of the Americas does beyond media propaganda, conferences and so on, is behind closed doors, and falls under an ambiguous definition of lobbying – or Negroponte describes as “people to people diplomacy”. It is unclear if this definition of “people to people diplomacy” includes bribery, such as that of Chile’s congress in the 1970s. At COA we see the perverse spectacle of legalised corruption in the form of a hemisphere-wide corporate lobbying operation, acting in tandem with the spurious public pursuit of corruption in order to control political outcomes in Latin America.

Council of the Americas’ predecessors were of whom Pablo Neruda spoke in his 1940 poem ‘Standard Oil Co’:

“Their obese emperors from New York are suave smiling assassins who buy silk, nylon, cigars, petty tyrants and dictators. They buy countries, people, seas, police, county councils, distant regions where the poor hoard their corn like misers their gold: Standard Oil awakens them, clothes them in uniforms, designates which brother is the enemy. The Paraguayan fights its war, and the Bolivian wastes away in the jungle with its machine gun.”

Neruda died on September 23 1973, less than two weeks after his close friend, Salvador Allende. Subsequent investigations and the exhumation of his body showed that his death was most probably caused by poisoning or injection of toxic bacteria. CIA involvement in the Coup which killed them both has been a matter of public record for forty years, as has the role of Council of the Americas.

In March 2019, newly inaugurated Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, and his Justice and Security Minister Sérgio Moro would make an unannounced and unprecedented visit to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, as if it was the most natural thing in the world… ... -part-two/
"We ask no compassion from you. When our turn comes, we shall not make excuses for the terror."

Post Reply