Brazil

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Re: Brazil

Post by blindpig » Fri Oct 25, 2019 3:31 pm

Save our Shores: The Oil Disaster in Brazil’s North East
ENERGY ENVIRONMENT NORTH EAST
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By Nate Allen.

“This is the biggest (marine) environmental disaster in the history of Brazil, if we consider the length of the coastline that has been affected”, said biologist Flavio Lima. Brazil’s Northeast 2,000 km shoreline has been splattered with oil, from large swathes to millions of tiny blobs that are the size of a pebble. Scientists estimate it will take decades to recuperate. And yet for over a month, deliberate inaction was the response by Bolsonaro. If the Northeast receives 20,000+ soldiers/workers with additional little shovels & dust pans for the local population, it can greatly reduce the long-term negative impact on species and communities. Immediate international pressure is once again needed on Brazil’s federal government to quicken up this slow cleanup.

On the riverbanks and the edges of the mangroves, time is simply running out to pick up much of this oil. As biologist Francisco Kelmo stated, “The first step is removing this oil as fast as possible. The faster we remove it, the easier the recuperation process.” Oil removal from rivers, mangroves, and corals should be top priority.

I live in Sergipe, the state at the center of the oil spill that has hit all nine Northeast states in Brazil. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been scoping out the oil debris on the beaches, rivers, and mangroves nearby. Unfortunately, due to the mass amount of oil and inaction by Bolsonaro, most of this oil has been sitting out for weeks. On the beaches, millions of pebble-like oil debris is drying out and breaking apart into even smaller pieces, becoming a permanent part of the same sand where our families make castles. In the riverbanks and mangroves, the oil is fading quickly into rocks and disappearing within the mud. What especially complicates the cleanup of riverbanks and mangroves is the often less than two-hour period to access them during low tide. We need to delicately remove as much of this oil debris as fast as humanly possible. Machines won’t work in most places. Humans with small shovels will.

The first state hit by the offshore oil spill was Paraíba on August 30th. The second was Pernambuco on September 2nd. Despite a second attack, Bolsonaro did not mention it or attempt to act to prevent and minimize the oil spill. As his silence in September rolled on to October, so did the oil onto the beaches of all nine Northeast states. Beyond the ecological damage, the public health concerns of this oil spill on beachgoers were obvious, especially on children. Yet no words or action came out from Brazil’s capital. Brazil went from an August of Amazon Fires Raging to a September Silence on a Northeast Oil Spill.

Bolsonaro’s silence was finally broken on October 5th, a day after a giant oil patch hit here in Aracaju, Sergipe. The oil spill was now too big to ignore. He finally publicly addressed the spill and opened an investigation, led by the Marines & Federal Police. Since then, he has almost exclusively focused on blaming Venezuela for the spill and given near zero attention on prevention (e.g. water barriers) and cleanup (soldiers/workers), only releasing a few thousand soldiers/workers to help out. Over the past two months, most of the cleanup has been done by volunteers, municipalities, and states.

Bolsonaro later stated that he knew of the spill since September 2nd, yet he chose to stay silent on it for an entire month. He also said he had received confidential chemical analysis by the Navy and Petrobras of the oil showing it had Venezuela’s “signature”. When did he find this “signature” info out? I ask because he seems to care far more about blaming Venezuela than preventing and cleaning up. It’s almost as if he wants more damage done to the Northeast so that he can use it as ammunition against Venezuela. Maybe he thinks it might end up helping his political idol win in Florida.

Bolsonaro has also had a longstanding open war with the Northeast. The Northeast was the only region that voted against him, and by a huge ratio of 2-1. Here in Sergipe, he lost in every one of the 75 municipalities. During the past week, I’ve heard many say that if this oil spill came to the south (e.g. Copacabana, Ipanema, Buzios, etc.), the federal government and military would be on the shores immediately picking it up.

U.S. oil sanctions on Venezuela might be partly responsible for this oil spill, though Bolsonaro is trying to spin it the other way around. U.S. sanctions on Venezuela and Iran are leading to many oil transporters turning off their signal when transporting their oil from those locations in order to avoid being tracked by U.S. satellites. These ships are called “ghost ships” or “dark ships”. Russia usually ships Venezuela’s oil, but Southeast Asian countries also are among the only other countries in the world that still buy Venezuelan oil, despite the U.S. sanctions. One hypothesis, which was also mentioned by Brazil’s environmental minister, is that this spill might have come from a Bangladesh ghost ship delivering oil from Venezuela to Asia, when in the South Atlantic it either sunk or was involved in a leaky ship-to-ship oil transfer. This hypothesis is based on the fact that two barrels recently showed up on the shore of Sergipe on October 11th. The Hindi word “Ekata” was written on them. “Ekata” is also the name of a decommissioned ship, whose last position was in Bangladesh in 2017. These barrels also had a lubricant label manufactured by Shell, although an analysis by Federal University of Sergipe showed it had the same oil that was found on the beach, not the lubricant marked on the label. Even if this Asian Ghost Ship Hypothesis turns out correct, then U.S. sanctions may have played a role, as that ship might have gone through the Panama Canal instead.

As Bolsonaro was busy blaming Venezuela yet completely ignoring the cleanup, questions were raised on why he wasn’t implementing the National Oil Spill Contingency Plan (English summary here), which was established in 2013. It outlines strategies, responsibilities, actions, locations, etc. for an oil spill. This plan is especially important as Brazil’s oil & gas offshore fields account for 94% of its total production (95% oil & 80% gas) from nearly 700 offshore fields. We now know why Bolsonaro was ignoring the plan. Last April, he apparently dismantled the committee in charge of implementing the plan! By the way, Bolsonaro is currently expanding offshore drilling into more controversial areas that have a higher risk of spill, making such a plan and committee that more vital.

A month late and without a plan or committee, what was Bolsonaro’s response for an oil spill that spanned 2,000 km and nine states? He only sent 1,583 soldiers to help, less than 0.5% of ~350,000 active. The state-owned oil company Petrobras provided 1,700 environmental agents. To put this help in perspective, the state of Sergipe alone needs that number of extra workers. Since I live in Sergipe, I’ll share what we’ve been through, as each state has their own unique challenges with this oil spill.


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Aracaju (Oct. 25). Nate Allen.

In late September, Sergipe started getting oil, but it wasn’t until October 4th when it started to get out of control. Two days later, Sergipe declared a state of emergency. All of the state’s beaches had gotten badly hit by oil. It was nearly impossible to walk on most of the beaches without stepping on oil. There were millions of little oil blobs the size of pebbles.

There was also a huge fear in Sergipe that the oil would move into the mouth of the rivers and mangroves as well. During high tide, the salt water from the ocean often reverses the water flow at the mouth and ocean water overflows into the surrounding mangroves. This high tide brings the oil into the mouth of the river where it can potentially devastate the unique ecosystems and economies that depend heavily on fish and seafood, especially crabs. Sergipe’s famous tourist attraction is a giant crab statue.

The day after Sergipe declared a state of emergency, Brazil’s environmental minister came here to see it firsthand. Many assumed that after he left, he would send massive amount of resources and workers to the state. Yet a week later, Sergipe had received little help from the federal government, with less than 100 federal workers sent. It barely made a dent. The environmental minister was also denying Sergipe buoys (water barriers), despite our state being highly dependent on many rivers which empty out into the Atlantic, including the big São Francisco.

To the north, the São Francisco River makes up Sergipe’s border with Alagoas. Unfortunately, the mouth of the São Francisco River has already been contaminated with oil debris. The horror was reported in BBC News Brasil article, “Arrival of oil threatens fauna, flora and sustenance of families at the mouth of the São Francisco River.” Even though the article is in Portuguese, the images get the message across. One of the local merchants said, “The oil debris has turned into a thick paste, descending to bottom where it becomes invisible. That is, it’s sinking”. This sinking oil is exactly what Sergipe had been fearing.

The amount of oil debris sinking in the mouth of São Francisco could have been diminished. It wasn’t until last week (Oct. 14) when the federal government finally decided to increase the amount of water released from the huge upstream reservoir that passes down the hydroelectric dam Xingu (800 to 1300 m³/s). This extra water flow lessens the amount of oil debris entering the river’s mouth. Actions like this that could’ve been taken a month ago, but are just now being undertaken. I’ve taken the ferry across the mouth of the São Francisco, between Piaçabuçu (Alagoas) and Brejo Grande (Sergipe). It is breathtaking. It is also home to the Quilombo of Brejão dos Negros. To think that these communities and this ecological treasure could be permanently contaminated with oil is heartbreaking.

To the south, just down from the Sergipe-Bahia border, the Itapicuru River had already been contaminated with oil debris. In the town of Conde where the Itapicuru River meets the Atlantic, Brazil’s oil company Petrobras had earlier trained forty residents earlier on managing the buoys. Yet a week went by, but no buoys arrived by the time it got contaminated. The rivers in this region of Brazil are beloved by many of its citizens, as it is a source of nourishment for the tummy as well as the soul. In fact, just a few months ago, I helped spread the ashes of my late father-in-law in the Itapicuru River. It is where he had requested his remains to flow when he died. The rivers are a sacred place to many.

Since oil had already entered in the rivers to both the north and south of Sergipe, we were desperately trying to get more buoys for our other major rivers. Yet the federal environmental minister was denying us buoys. His excuse was that the buoys available were designed to stop thinner oil, not the thicker oil which we were receiving that tends to drift near the bottom. Yet the director of Sergipe’s environmental agency responded, “We’ve seen results from the buoys we’ve already put in. We know that they won’t guarantee 100%, but they can considerably decrease the amount of oil debris in sensitive areas.”

We were being blocked by our own federal environmental minister in receiving buoys that could help block some of the oil! But Sergipe didn’t back down. A federal prosecutor in Sergipe sued the federal government for more buoys, and a federal judge in Sergipe gave the federal government a 48-hour deadline to deliver the buoys, or else they would get fined daily. The lawsuit woke up the nation to the inaction by the federal government. The smallest state had just charged straight at the federal government. This lawsuit also encouraged other Northeastern states to sue the federal government too.

With his back against the wall, the environmental minister finally released more buoys. The next day, one of the buoys was pulled away by the strong currents. Yet instead of finding solutions to help the state hold these barriers in place, the environmental minister went to twitter to make fun of Sergipe for losing it. Yes, in the middle of an environmental catastrophe, our environmental minster mocks us while attempting to hold back resources. This same minister is now alluding to Greenpeace being the potential source for the oil spill. I can’t imagine there is a more sinister environmental minister on the planet.

Unfortunately, the buoys came too late and the oil already made its way up most of the rivers and into the mangroves. To be clear, oil would have likely reached the mangroves with the extra buoys, but likely a lot less. Oil has moved kilometers upstream through a primary tributary (Poxim River) onto the riverbanks of a city park (Parque dos Cajueiros). This means kilometers of mangroves have already been contaminated. This is a tragedy. We need people cleaning up this oil around the edges of the mangroves (and where possible inside), before this oil becomes further integrated into the mud of the mangroves. I’ve already noticed the changes in just one week. Before, much of the oil on the riverbanks and mangrove edges stuck out with shiny liquid which reflected brightly the sunlight. Whereas now, much of this same oil debris is hard to see as it is becoming darker and sinking deeper into the mud. Every day that this oil is allowed to remain on the shore, the harder it becomes to find.

Speaking of hard to find – President Bolsonaro has yet to visit the greatest marine catastrophe in Brazil’s history. Super Minister Moro, who oversees the Federal Police investigating the spill, has also not visited. Instead, Bolsonaro and Moro traveled last week to the south of the Brazil, where they played around with their favorite toy. They shot guns in a new rifle training center.

Bolsonaro then left the country to start his overseas trip, which he is currently on. His absence makes the vice president the acting president. What did the acting president do in his first 48 hours with the new powers he had? He activated 5,000 Army soldiers to help clean up the shores! Although this additional 5,000 is far short of the 20,000+ soldiers/workers likely needed in the Northeast, it is double what Bolsonaro did in two months.

Bolsonaro’s no-to-slow response to this oil spill is identical to the Amazon fires. On August 10th, the infamous “Day of Fire” started the intentional setting fires to show support for Bolsonaro’s agricultural agenda. Two weeks later he said, “Forty men to fight a fire? There aren’t the resources. This chaos has arrived.” Two days later, after an intense international cry and threats of boycotts over his deliberate inaction, he sent over 40,000 soldiers to fight the fires, which was 1,000 times more than what was previously unaffordable. This costal oil spill in the Northeast is in need of similar help – tens of thousands of soldiers/workers with small shovels as well as extra shovels and supplies for local volunteers.

Please put more pressure on Brazil’s federal government to help clean up the oil spill in the Northeast before more of it becomes permanently stuck in our shores, which kills marine animals like turtles and crabs as well as risks the water we drink and swim in, and contaminates the sand we make castles out of.

http://www.brasilwire.com/save-our-shor ... orth-east/
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Re: Brazil

Post by blindpig » Fri Nov 01, 2019 6:00 pm

Satellite imagery reveals 330km2 Oil Slick off Bahia coast
ENVIRONMENT NORTH EAST SCIENCE
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Scientist says slick appears to be from drilling accident. Bolsonaro administration ignores data, tries to blame Venezuela

On October 30th, two days before Brazilian Federal police moved to investigate a Greek oil tanker for the oil spill which has poisoned over 2000 km of Brazilian coastline, researchers at the Federal University of Alagoas published satellite images showing a 55×6 km, half-moon shaped oil slick, 54km off of the coast of Southern Bahia. In it’s zeal to blame Venezuela for the environmental disaster, the Brazilian federal police have ignored the information. Despite evidence to the contrary, the Brazilian government is still insisting that one tanker is responsible for the problem.

After weeks of analyzing satellite imagery, Humberto Barbosa, from Alagoas Federal University’s Laboratório de Análise e Processamento de Imagens de Satélites (Satellite Imagry Processing and Analysis Laboratory/Lapis ) announced the findings. “The imagery shows that the origin of the spill could be below the ocean surface. With this, we raise the hypothesis that the pollution could be caused by a huge leak in a petroleum drilling operation. Due to the location of the slick, it could have even originally taken place in the Pre-salt region.”

Barbosa explained that, due to the location of the oil and the size of the slick, it had to be caused by something much greater than a leaky oil tanker. “The leak is taking place at the ocean floor, as a consequence of drilling,” he said.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has been criticized by environmentalists for failing to respond to the disaster, which is damaging tourism in the Brazilian northeast, a region in which he lost the presidential election by a 2–1 margin. Although the disaster began in August, he failed to mention it publicly until October 5th, and then, only to blame the incident on Venezuela.


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Many of the volunteers cleaning oil from the Northeastern beaches are getting sick

Shortly after taking office in January, President Bolsonaro dismantled the national contingency plan for oil spills, which had been established by the Dilma Rousseff administration in 2013. The government provided no assistance for weeks after the spill was discovered. Instead, thousands of volunteers began manually removing the oil from 283 beaches. Many of the volunteers have been complaining of headaches, nausea and diarrhea.

The oil is currently drifting towards Abrolhos National Marine Reserve, which is home to some of the Brazil’s largest coral reefs and is a breeding ground for Humpback Whale.

http://www.brasilwire.com/satellite-ima ... hia-coast/
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Re: Brazil

Post by blindpig » Mon Nov 04, 2019 12:12 pm

Guajajara leader killed in Maranhão
November 3, 2019

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Paulino was murdered inside indigenous land; “Bolsonaro government has indigenous blood on its hands,” says APIB

Brazil of Fact | Sao Paulo-SP)

Paulo Paulino was part of a group of indigenous forest agents known as “Guardians of the Forest” / Sarah Shenker / Survival International / Reproduction
The indigenous Paulo Paulino Guajajara was murdered by loggers last Friday (1) in the region of Bom Jesus das Selvas, in the Maranhão. Paulo, who was also known as the “Big Bad Wolf”, was part of a group of indigenous forest agents known as the “Forest Guardians”.

According to information from the entities, the group was allegedly ambushed within its own territory, between Lagoa Comprida and Jenipapo villages, in the Araribóia Indigenous Land. Paul was reportedly shot dead in the face after "intense confrontation." Paulino's body was said to have remained at the place of his death for a long time because of the impossibility of being removed due to the situation of violence against indigenous people in the area.

Another guardian, Laércio Guajajara, was injured and is hospitalized in stable condition. One of the loggers who carried out the ambush would also have been killed - the body is still missing. The National Indian Foundation (Funai) and the Maranhão Public Security Secretariat sent agents to the place.

Guardians Paulino and Laercio had drifted away from the village to fetch water when they were surrounded by at least 5 gunmen, who had initially fired two shots at the Indians, according to one witness.

In a statement, the Brazilian Indigenous Peoples Association (APIB) stated that the case confirms that “the Bolsonaro government has indigenous blood on its hands, the increased violence in indigenous territories is a direct reflection of its hate speech and measures against indigenous peoples of Brazil ”.

"Our lands are being invaded, our leaders murdered, attacked and criminalized and the Brazilian State is leaving the abandoned people to all sorts of luck with the ongoing dismantling of environmental and indigenous policies," the text continues.

“We no longer want to be statistics, we want measures from the Government, the bodies that are increasingly scrapped precisely not to protect the people who are paying with their lives for doing the work that is the responsibility of the state. We demand urgent justice! ”Declared the indigenous leader Sônia Guajajara.

Soon more information.

Edition: Rafael Tatemoto

https://pcb.org.br/portal2/24234/lider- ... -maranhao/

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Re: Brazil

Post by blindpig » Tue Nov 05, 2019 5:45 pm

Disaster: Brazilian government can’t find oil spill source
AUTHORITARIANISM ENVIRONMENT NORTH EAST
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2 months into the largest spill in Brazilian history, after gutting environmental protection agencies and silencing scientific research institutes, the government can’t figure out where the oil is coming from. With 2100 km of beaches already poisoned, far right President Bolsonaro says, “the worst is yet to come.”

First he blamed the communists. Why not? As fans of Jordan Peterson and Steve Bannon, right wing extremist President Jair Bolsonaro and his corrupt sidekick Sérgio Moro love the resuscitated Nazi-trope of cultural Marxism, which provides a handy tool to label all political enemies as communists. Weeks after the oil started arriving on Northeastern Brazilian beaches, before the government had even begun any serious effort to contain the spill, Sérgio Moro’s federal police found a culprit: Venezuela. It was, they said, a Greek tanker hauling oil from “communist” Venezuela that has just destroyed the tourism and fishing industries in the Brazilian northeast. However, at the same time they announced that the alleged culprit, a tanker called the Bouboulina registered with Delta Tankers Ltd, had a shipping capacity of 1 million barrels, the Federal Police estimated the total size of the spill at 2.5 million barrels. Despite the saber rattling against Venezuela, by their own admission, the Bouboulina could not have been the main culprit in the spill. To further discredit the Sérgio Moro’s federal police, Delta Tankers proved that the Bouboulina arrived in port in Malasia and unloaded 1 million barrels of petroleum on schedule, and that there was no evidence, satellite based or otherwise, that the ship had, “stopped, conducted any kind of ship-to-ship operation, leaked, slowed down or veered off course, on its passage from Venezuela to Melaka, Malaysia.”

Two months into what may turn out to be the worst environmental disaster in Brazilian history, as Bolsonaro finally starts sending the Navy in to try to contain the spill the government’s only theory, the ideologically motivated story that Venezuela caused it has crumbled.

Silencing the scientists

Not only has the Bolsonaro government, which has a Trump-like mistrust of Science, systematically ignored all of the satellite data, it’s given a gag order to scientists. As the oil leak spun out of control, scientists in the National Space Research Institute (INPE) were ordered not to make any public statements about the disaster, because “it would make the government look like the bad guy.”

Nevertheless, researchers in the INPE (whose director Bolsonaro fired earlier this year for warning that fires were burning out of control in the Amazon) and the Satellite Imagery Processing and Analysis Laboratory of Alagoas Federal University (LAPIS) have warned that evidence points to multiple origins, including a possible a drilling accident, possibly caused by one of the many foreign companies that have benefited by the post 2016 coup “price of bananas” oil reserve auctions, none of which have Petrobras’ technical know-how in deep water drilling operations. If this turns out to be the case, the oil is still coming and Brazil should brace for the worst. Recent statements by Bolsonaro himself, uttered between paranoid rants nervously denying he had anything to do with the murder of Rio de Janeiro city councilwoman Marielle Franco, uphold this thesis. “The worst is yet to come,” he said during an interview on Sunday night to the evangelical christian television network, Record.

According to the Brazilian Petroleum Workers Union Federation (FUP), the Federal Government has not only been ignoring scientists, its been lying to the public about the effects of the oil spill. Tourism Minister Marcelo Álvaro Antônio and Vice President Hamilton Mourão have both announced that the oil poses no risk to bathers, but scientists say otherwise. Legions of volunteers who, in the absence of a coherent government response to the spill have been cleaning oil on their own, are complaining of nausea, diarrhea and migraines, and 17 have been hospitalized. According to the FUP, the quality of information given to the Brazilian public on the oil spill is so bad that it has had to rely on conflicting information in the media.

Among the largest beneficiaries of the privatization of Brazil’s offshore oil fields are: Shell, Exxon Mobil, BP, Chevron and the Chinese company CNOOC.

http://www.brasilwire.com/disaster-braz ... ll-source/
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Re: Brazil

Post by blindpig » Fri Nov 08, 2019 12:21 pm

Ruling paves way for Lula’s freedom: People’s movement in Brazil scores major victory
By Silvio RodriguesNov 07, 2019

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Lula's supporters, including PSL members, at a demonstration demanding his freedom outside the Brazilian consulate in Los Angeles. Photo: Ben Huff.

With the latest ruling from the Brazilian Supreme Federal Tribunal, Former Brazilian President Luís Inácio Lula da Silva should soon be set free.

In a 6-to-5 vote, Brazil’s highest court has reversed its position allowing imprisonment after a conviction following a first appeal. The decision means those convicted of non-violent crimes cannot be imprisoned until all their appeals are exhausted. Lula falls squarely within this category.

This ruling by the country’s highest court should not have been controversial. The Brazilian Constitution of 1988 unambiguously states that one cannot be imprisoned until all appeals are exhausted. The Brazilian Order of Attorneys, which represents lawyers over the entire country, has advocated for no imprisonment until the exhaustion of appeals, as have several other organizations representing Brazilian lawyers.

What is the real issue?

The controversy was not legal, but political. Tossing aside the constitution, the Supreme Federal Tribunal affirmed its support for imprisonment before exhaustion of appeals in February 2016. This was at the height of Car Wash operation that sought to crush the Worker’s Party and, more broadly, the entire Brazilian left. The impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff of the Workers Party unfolded in the background. The Brazilian right wing that would eventually bring Bolsonaro to power was emboldened, mobilized and on the rise.

The Car Wash operation yielded great power by combining early imprisonment with “delação premiada”, a legal provision for awarding sentence reductions to defendants who incriminate other individuals. The threat of imprisonment before exhausting appeals gave a much stronger incentive for defendants to tell investigators whatever they wanted to hear — be it truthful or not — in order to save their own neck.

These “legal instruments” put the Car Wash operation on par with the Spanish Inquisition. Accusations squeezed from defendants and convicted individuals took center stage while an unquestioning corporate media whipped up public discontent and support for new convictions even when material evidence was lacking or absent.

These legal tactics provided the basis for convicting Lula without proof and sending him to prison, removing him from the presidential race which he was nearly certain to win and paving the way for a Bolsonaro victory.

Ruling on Lula’s freedom a victory for the people’s movement

The shift in the Supreme Federal Tribunal’s latest ruling is not accidental. It comes amid a changing political tide in Brazil.

The reputation of the Car Wash operation was dealt a severe blow by The Intercept’s publication of messages exchanged between Judge Sérgio Moro and leading Car Wash prosecutor Deltan Dallagnol. The messages showed that Car Wash prosecutors were deeply concerned with preventing a victory for the Workers’ Party in the 2018 presidential elections. Worse yet, they revealed Moro worked hand-in-hand with prosecutors to help them build the case against Lula rather than functioning as an impartial arbiter. Moro is now the Minister of Justice in Brazil, rewarded by Bolsonaro for making his electoral victory possible.

While the Car Wash operation unravels, the Free Lula campaign has mobilized worldwide support. In Brazil, left and progressive forces from a broad array of political parties and organizations have joined hands in demanding freedom for Lula. At its core, the campaign is a repudiation of the abuse of Brazil’s legal system for political ends. In a country where the memory of military dictatorship is still alive, the call for Lula’s freedom is a defense of the right of Brazilians to choose their own leaders via democratic means.

Despite great pressure from military generals, congressional representatives, and ardent supporters of Bolsonaro from Brazil’s extreme right targeting the Supreme Federal Tribunal, the new correlation of forces caused the scale to tilt on the side of justice. The Supreme Federal Tribunal’s ruling does not exonerate Lula, but should result in his release while his appeals are pending.

Lula’s freedom will be an immense victory for the Brazilian left and an unprecedented defeat for the Car Wash operation whose legal power has been largely unchecked up until now. It comes at a moment when the reactionary Bolsonaro government is struggling to keep its footing. Coming on the heels of progressive popular uprisings in Chile and Ecuador, it stands to bring new energy into the mass popular movements of Brazil and Latin America.

https://www.liberationnews.org/ruling-p ... rationnews
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Re: Brazil

Post by blindpig » Mon Nov 25, 2019 4:20 pm

Brasil’s fascist “green hens” are back

During the 1930s, Brazilian fascists, called the “Green Hens” by their opponants, beat up communists and praised God, family and liberal economic policies. In this article Wilson Luiz Müller says they’re back.

By Wilson Luiz Müller*

This is not a “Back to the Future” style science fiction story. If a Brazilian was frozen during the 1930s and woke up in 2019 he would be shocked. Immediately recognizing the prevailing fascist ideals and practices, he would certainly say something like, “I would have bet my life that the green hens would never have become political force representative of society. Who would have predicted that they would end up running the nation! Can you send me back to the past? It was much better exchanging harmless punches with the green hens.”

Intercept Brasil journalist João Filho writes that Jair Bolsonaro’s new political party, Aliança pelo Brasil (Alliance for Brazil) is Brazil’s first neo-fascist political party. He says the party’s founding manifesto is an assortment of fascist buzzwords. “There is nothing there that resembles a national project, that preaches conciliation, that presents proposals for the economy and social development. […] The words ‘God’, ‘homeland’ and ‘family’ are prominently featured in the party’s presentation to the public. It does not seem like a coincidence that these words formed the slogan of the Integralists. […] Inspired by Italian fascism, Integralists were an ultra-reactionary movement created in Brazil eight decades ago advance fascist ideas. The Ação Integralista Brasileira (Brazilian Integralist Action) and its sympathisers played a key role in the 1964 military coup and currently support the Bolsonaro government. ”

The symbol of Integralism (featured on the armbands worn by its uniformed supporters) was the Greek letter Sigma (∑). Given its inspiration from the remote past and ideals of preserving tradition, one can imagine Bolsonaro’s party adapting a symbol based on Sigma, with a small adjustment. They could turn the symbol clockwise, staying faithful to the grotesque aesthetics while enabling it to form an “M” for militia. The legs of the M could curve inwards into a map of Brazil like two vampire teeth. It would be the final expression of the Integralist vision – imposed by force – of a walking and venomous swastika, adapted to a tropics that is victimized by lies and infamy. The symbol would also serve well to represent Integralist collusion – the collusion of the green neo-hens with the economic and political elite and its servant plutocracy that feeds off the State as the country goes down the toilet. This symbol would fit like a glove on a party for which the concepts of fatherland, god, and family are offered like bottles of snake oil that promise to cure all evil while poisoning their naive patients.

Although the letter Sigma is the most appropriate symbol for the family party, during its launch it featured another image: the stylized symbol of a horseshoe studded with cartridges and machine gun bullets. This also comes in handy, as it accurately represents the goals and worldview of the new party. During the neo-fascist inauguration party the crowd rhymed “we need signatures”, referring to a requirement for party registration, with, “we want to kill leftists.”

As it turns out, the green neo-hens are no longer interested in trading punches with “communists”. Now they prefer a faster and more definitive solution. The new neo-fascist party’s ballot number says it all: 38. We are lucky that the MDB party already uses 15. Otherwise it would be AR 15 to represent the most popular non-Russian assault rifle. The main goal of this new coalition is to fight against the terrible communists. It’s a difficult task. After all, where can you find communists these days?

Integralists were known as green shirts for the uniforms they wore at public demonstrations, but their opponents called them “green hens”. They favored economic liberalism over anarchism and communism. There were many street fights during the 1930s in which the green hens clashed with the anarchists and communists. During the 1930s, the number of Integralist/fascists was estimated at between 600,000 and one million.


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The largest Integralista manifestation in history took place in conservative Curitiba, home of the Lava Jato investigation, in 1937

On Sunday, November 17, thousands of Morominions and Bolsominions took to the streets to show their non-conformity with democracy. In some places they marched to the sound of hymns praising the dictatorship and saluted the Havan department store Statue of Liberty, while shouting insults against the Supreme Court and its justices.

“Men in green will rise if needed,” the leader of one of these protests shouted, in a very peculiar Portuguese, as he asked the crowd visualize the idea that they were stomping on the head of Supreme Court Justice Gilmar Mendes. Mendes is the chosen Christ of the hour – a symbol of all that is negative in a minimally civilized bourgeois democracy. According the medieval vision of the green hens, Gilmar Mendes is the symbol of that damn Supreme Court which just repealed the the Lava Jato investigation’s 2016 exception to the Brazilian Constitution. The court’s ruling had a side effect (look at that!) of releasing Lula and other people, who were imprisoned without honoring the constitutional right to appeal in freedom. There was no evidence that all the troops who marched around the Havan statue of liberty were able to synchronize the idea in their head with the movement of their hooves – oops, feet – due to the lack of rhythm of the protesters, but the thought of crushing Gilmar’ skull visibly caused them to stamp harder on the asphalt.



Bolsonaro supporters salute copy of statue of liberty in front of Havan department store

All of this may have sounded irrelevant if it were not for the fact that we are living in a time, as journalist Nassif says, when ignorance has been raised to the condition of virtue. In the article “Bolsonaro is the revenge of the common man,” Nassif says that “Bolsonaro was the ultimate expression of this state of mind, not for intrinsic qualities of Statesman, but for representing pure barbarism. […] Bolsonaro It is the very embodiment of the stupidity of the common man. Bolsonaro’s direct identification with stupid people from all walks of life produces unprecedented phenomena of solidarity. When their lack of qualifications is highlighted, the average Bolsonaro supporter feels personally offended. When an ignorant Bolsonarist is disqualified by an expert, all ignorant supporters feel afflicted, the ignorant businessman, the ignorant taxi driver, the ignorant country member of the middle class. Ignorance generates the most universal inferiority complex that exists because it catches all sorts of people, regardless of their social class.”

There are those who will say that these pathetic acts do not deserve to be taken seriously. Really? The fact that these grotesque people were not taken seriously has ended up causing a lot of problems for serious and sensible people. And as a reward for their lack of shame in exposing themselves as the synthesis of all that is most grotesque in the human condition, these people have gained control over the Republic. The marchers in that protest will surely become the militants of the new neofascist party that is being organized by the Bolsonaro clan. Once they have the machinery of the Republic at their disposal, they will no longer seem pathetic. With power in their hands, the pathetic and grotesque are not funny at all.

The most optimistic will say that Bolsonaro is isolated without the necessary support from other parties. Does he need this to achieve his purposes? He is likely to reform his cabinet – defending some of the notorious ministers who haven’t been able to do anything decent – during negotiations with his former party, the PSL. He will choose new ministers of equal caliber but it will be a year or so before the slavish corporate media begins to make occasional criticism. As long as Paulo Guedes’ economic agenda – in the interests of big financial capital – continues to be implemented, nothing indicates that Bolsonaro and his gang, now 100% in tune with the dictatorial purpose, will have any problems moving towards regime closure and destruction of Brazilian democracy.

Celso Rocha de Barros writes, in Folha de São Paulo, that, “creating the Alliance for Brazil is another step in the plan to destroy democratic institutions […] As in the case of several other Bolsonaro measures it is either a scam or an unprecedented level of stupidity – and I don’t think Bolsonaro is dumb. The Alliance for Brasil makes no sense as a democratic governing party, but as a coup move it is so typical that it is boring. Eduardo Bolsonaro will run the machine for his father. The son of a powerful dictator becomes a cliché. Eduardo makes no secret of his sympathy for the authoritarianism of Viktor Orban’s Hungarian government and is the Brazilian representative of the charlatan bum Steve Bannon. ”

The fact is, however, that the dictator’s son will not be representative of the charlatan Steve Bannon, but of Queiroz’ organized crime militia.

“But the institutions will not allow it”, the hopeless optimists will insist. The institutions have been co-opted!

Do not expect the institutions to ban people from doing pathetic things. Protests like the ones we’ve seen so far, whether by the green hens or not, exist under every regime in the world. That is not what brings us to the door of fascism. The risk comes precisely from institutions of the democratic rule of law losing their ability to enforce the Federal Constitution. When the institutions allow their principal agents, by sympathizing with the green hen agenda, to no longer do their jobs enforcing the law and act according to their political-ideological beliefs, the State itself opens the door to fascism. Fascism walks in, settles down and merges with the very structure of the State. By combining acts and omissions, state agents enable and stimulate the advance of the green hens agenda within the institutions, demoralizing them. This generates a poor awareness level of democratic dysfunction and advances an ideology that leads to the death of democracy.

When they praised the dictatorship and the killing of political opponents, we said they were controversial.

When they wrote that it is impossible to do what is needed for Brazil in a democracy, we said they had bad grammar and could not express themselves properly.

When they drew out their world view, we said their aesthetics were grotesque and ours were more elegant and universal.

Since we still don’t understand, they are making signs studded with images of bullet shells didactically announcing what they want to do. We respond by calling the images tacky.

When the time comes that we need to use the right words to define the facts, we may no longer be allowed to.

When are we going to start using the right words?

When are we going to start calling fascists fascists? When will we start complaining that they want to install a fascist dictatorship in our country?

*Wilson Luiz Müller – Member of the Tax Inspectors Collective for Democracy.

This article orginally ran in GGN, was translated by Brian Mier, and can be seen in its original portuguese here.

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Re: Brazil

Post by blindpig » Wed Dec 04, 2019 3:30 pm

The subsoil also produces coups, revolutions, spy stories and adventures in the Amazon rainforest
The imperative need for strategic minerals, essential to safeguard the military and atomic power of the United States, is clearly linked to the massive purchase of land, by generally fraudulent means.

Author: Eduardo Galeano | internet@granma.cu

December 3, 2019 23:12:25

Image
Mouth, work of Ramón Piaguaje. Photo:

In Brazil, the splendid iron deposits of the Paraopeba Valley overthrew two presidents, Janio Quadros and João Goulart, before Marshal Castelo Branco, who assaulted power in 1964, kindly ceded them to Hanna Mining Co. Another former friend of the United States ambassador, President Eurico Dutra (1946-51), had granted the Bethlehem Steel, some years before, the 40 million tons of manganese from the state of Amapá, one of the largest deposits in the world, in exchange for 4% for the State on export earnings (...). Moreover, out of every hundred dollars that Bethlehem invests in the extraction of minerals, 88 correspond to a courtesy of the Brazilian government: tax exemptions in the name of the "development of the region."

The experience of the lost gold of Minas Gerais - "white gold, black gold, rotten gold," wrote the poet Manuel Bandeira - has not served, as you can see, for nothing: Brazil continues to shed its natural sources of development for free.

For his part, the dictator René Barrientos seized Bolivia in 1964 and, between massacre and massacre of miners, granted the company Philips Brothers the concession of the Matilde mine, which contains lead, silver and large deposits of zinc, with a law 12 times higher than that of the American mines. The company was authorized to take the raw zinc, to make it in its foreign refineries, paying the State no less than one and a half percent of the sale value of the mineral.

In Peru, in 1968, page 11 of the agreement that President Belaúnde Terry had signed at the foot of a Standard Oil subsidiary was mysteriously lost, and General Velasco Alvarado overthrew the president, took the reins of the country and nationalized the wells and the company's refinery.

In Venezuela, the large oil lake of Standard Oil and the Gulf, has its seat the largest US military mission in Latin America. Frequent coups by the State of Argentina explode before or after each oil tender. Copper was by no means foreign to the disproportionate military aid that Chile received from the Pentagon until the electoral victory of the leftist forces, headed by Salvador Allende; American copper reserves had fallen by more than 60% between 1965 and 1969. In 1964, in his office in Havana, Che Guevara taught me that Batista's Cuba was not just sugar: the large Cuban nickel deposits and of manganese they explained better, in their opinion, the blind fury of the empire against the Revolution. Since that conversation,

The imperative need for strategic minerals, essential to safeguard the military and atomic power of the United States, is clearly linked to the massive purchase of land, by generally fraudulent means, in the Brazilian Amazon. In the 1960s, numerous American companies, led by professional adventurers and smugglers, fell down in a feverish rush over this gigantic jungle. Previously, under the agreement signed in 1964, the United States Air Force planes had flown over and photographed the entire region.

They had used speedometer equipment to detect deposits of radioactive minerals by the emission of light waves of varying intensity, electromagnetometers to radiograph the subsoil rich in non-ferrous minerals and magnetometers to discover and measure iron. The reports and photographs obtained in the survey of the extent and depth of the secret wealth of the Amazon were put in the hands of private companies interested in the matter, thanks to the good services of the Geological Survey of the United States government.

In the vast region, the existence of gold, silver, diamonds, gypsite, hematite, magnetite, tantalum, titanium, thorium, uranium, quartz, copper, manganese, lead, sulfates, potassium, bauxite, zinc, zirconium, chromium and mercury was proven. .

The sky opens so much from the virgin jungle of Mato Grosso to the plains of southern Goiás that, according to Time magazine delirious in its last Latin American edition of 1967, you can see at the same time the bright sun and half a dozen thunderstorms different. The Government had offered tax exemptions and other seductions to colonize the virgin spaces of this magical and wild universe. According to Time, foreign capitalists had purchased, before 1967 at seven cents an acre, an area larger than the territories of Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. "We must keep the doors open to foreign investment," said the director of the government agency for the development of the Amazon, "because we need more than we can get."

In Latin America it is normal: resources are always delivered in the name of lack of resources. The Brazilian Congress was able to carry out an investigation that culminated in a voluminous report on the subject. It lists cases of sale or usurpation of land for 20 million hectares, spread so curiously that, according to the investigating commission, "they form a cord to isolate the Amazon from the rest of Brazil."

The National Security Council states: "Cause suspects the fact that the areas occupied, or in the process of occupation, by foreign elements, coincide with regions that are undergoing campaigns of sterilization of Brazilian women by foreigners."

Indeed, according to the Correio da Manhã newspaper, «more than 20 foreign religious missions, mainly those of the Protestant Church of the United States, are occupying the Amazon, being located in the richest points in radioactive minerals, gold and diamonds ... They disseminate various contraceptives on a large scale, such as the intrauterine device, and teach English to catechized Indians ... Their areas are surrounded by armed elements and no one can penetrate them.

It is worth noting that the Amazon is the area of ​​greatest extension among all the deserts of the planet habitable by man. Birth control was put into practice in this great empty space, to avoid the demographic competition of the very few Brazilians who, in remote corners of the jungle or the vast plains, live and reproduce.

For his part, General Riograndino Kruel said, before the investigative commission of Congress, that "the volume of contraband of materials containing thorium and uranium reaches the astronomical figure of one million tons." Some time earlier, in September 1966, Kruel, head of the federal police, had denounced "the impertinent and systematic interference" of a consul of the United States in the open process against four US citizens accused of smuggling Brazilian atomic minerals. In his view, that 40 tons of radioactive ore had been found was enough to condemn them. Soon after, three of the smugglers escaped from Brazil mysteriously. Smuggling was not a new phenomenon, although it had intensified greatly. Brazil loses more than one hundred million dollars every year,

But in reality, smuggling only becomes necessary in relative measure. Legal concessions comfortably remove Brazil's most fabulous natural wealth. Not to mention more than another example, new account of a long necklace, the largest niobium deposit in the world, which is in Araxá, belongs to a subsidiary of the Niobium Corporation of New York. From the niobium come several metals that are used, for their high resistance to high temperatures, for the construction of nuclear reactors, rockets and spacecraft, satellites or simple jets. The company also extracts, along with the niobium, good amounts of tantalum, thorium, uranium, pyrochlor and rare earths of high mineral grade.

Source: Fragments of Open Veins of Latin America

http://www.granma.cu/pensamiento/2019-1 ... 9-23-12-25

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Re: Brazil

Post by blindpig » Thu Dec 05, 2019 5:48 pm

Notorious U.S. Intelligence Official Visits Lula Appeal Court

The controversial TRF-4 (4th Regional Federal Court) in Porto Alegre has been hit by fresh scandal, one which re-opens the question of United States interference in Brazilian law enforcement, and its judiciary, for political ends.

On Tuesday 2nd December 2019 Willard Tenney Smith, former DIA and CIA intelligence official and now political advisor at the U.S. Embassy in Brasília, was recieved in Porto Alegre by Judge Victor Luiz dos Santos Laus, President of the TRF-4 regional court in Porto Alegre.

The timing of the visit has caused concern, given the TRF-4’s handling of appeals by former President Lula da Silva.

The court’s official explanation for the visit was that it was part of an effort on Tenney Smith’s part to understand the workings of the Brazilian Judiciary. The official was accompanied Rebekah Martinez and Aline Vecchia, advisor and assistant for Political and Economic Affairs of the U.S. Consulate in Porto Alegre.

Dos Santos Laus said he considered it important for bodies such as the U.S. Embassy to be able to approach the Brazilian Judiciary and Courts which, he said, enabled greater integration and articulation between the institutions. Such informal collaboration between U.S. agencies and Brazilian prosecutors was admitted by acting attorney general Kenneth Blanco in 2017, who boasted of Lula’s prosecution as a success story. This contact and collaboration, which bypassed the foreign ministry and ignored a 2001 decree on cooperation between the two countries on criminal issues, was presented to the TRF-4 by former President Lula’s defence as grounds for annulment of the so called “Triplex” case, which the court oversaw in early 2018. The TRF-4 rejected the evidence and their judgement led directly to Lula’s arrest and thus the prevention of his candidacy in the October election he was on course to win. This in turn left the field clear for a Bolsonaro victory.

Facing widespread criticism of political partisanship on November 27th the TRF-4 voted to defy the Supreme Federal Court and augment the sentence for a case against Lula involving the a country farmhouse owned by wealthy friends of his family which had already been discredited. Judge Gebran, who has a longstanding personal relationship with Lava Jato judge turned Bolsonaro Justice Minister, Sérgio Moro, was criticised for using political rather than legal points in his arguments, including a derided claim that the “real owner” of a property is the person who frequents it most.

In October 2015, William Tenney Smith was posted to the U.S. Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela as a political advisor. He was immediately outed by Diosdado Cabello Rondón, Speaker of the National Assembly, as a former United States Department of Defense intelligence agent.

“Willard Tenney Smith joined the United States Foreign Service after having worked as an intelligence officer for the Empire’s Department of Defence. He has seen service in Mexico, Peru, Jordan and Guyana,” Diosdado revealed.

At that time, as U.S.-backed regime change efforts in the Oil-rich South American country were intensifying, the Venezuelan Government insisted that they would closely observe the activities of Willard Tenney Smith and report any behaviour that was not befitting his official status.

A former Missionary in Argentina, a decade earlier Tenney Smith was one of the U.S. Government officials most associated with the depiction of Venezuela as “Narco State”. At that time he was director of the Narcotics Affairs and Law Enforcement Section in Caracas. According to his own biography his objectives were “…to interrupt the transit of narcotics through Venezuela, to promote rule of law through support of local law enforcement and the judicial sectors, and to positively influence public opinion through funding of community-based projects.”

William Tenney Smith’s proximity to those involved in Lula’s case has raised widespread alarm.

The Lava Jato / Odebrecht Corruption case, part of a U.S.-backed “War on Corruption”, has already had far reaching political impact across South America. Tenney Smith said he intended to update himself on Lava Jato cases, and that he was following the progress of Federal Supreme Court judgments, such as that which ruled on the sharing of sensitive data between financial control agencies without prior judicial authorization.

There are currently two (1, 2) pending U.S. congressional inquiries into Department of Justice role in Operation Lava Jato, led by progressive Democratic lawmakers. In particular they demand answers on the politically-motivated prosecution of former President Lula. In addition, Lava Jato has been found, via leaked conversations published by the Intercept, to have intentionally manipulated impeachment proceedings against Dilma Rousseff which led to her ouster in 2016.

Operation Lava Jato is thus central to the political shift of Brazil to the far-right and explicit U.S. alignment. The U.S. role in Lava Jato has been widely ignored by English language international media.

Lula’s recent release from jail pending further appeal has rallied a demoralised left in Brazil, and Tenney Smith’s visit to the TRF-4 comes days after Mike Pompeio’s statement that the United States would assist its favoured governments in Latin America to control popular unrest, and thus prevent repetition of the Chilean uprising in other U.S.-aligned countries, such as Brazil.

Image
TRF-4 President Judge Victor Luiz dos Santos Laus with U.S. Embassy Political Advisor Willard Tenney Smith. 3/12/2019


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Re: Brazil

Post by blindpig » Thu Dec 19, 2019 6:26 pm

Chief Justice Toffoli says Lava Jato tried to destroy Brazil
ECONOMY LAVA JATO LAWFARE
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Dias Toffoli, Chief Justice of the Brazilian Supreme Court, accuses the US DOJ-backed Lava Jato investigation of destroying the national construction and petroleum industries.

by Vanessa Grazziotin

Last Monday (16), the Estado de S. Paulo newspaper published an interview with Supreme Court Chief Justice Dias Toffoli, which deserves to be read by everyone.

The headline reads: “Toffoli says Lava Jato destroyed businesses and the Public Prosecutors Office didn’t act transparently.” In other words, the Chief Justice admited what we have been saying for a long time.

The Lava Jato investigation was not effectively created to fight corruption – it was created to implement a policy based on the interests of international capital in Brazil, especially US interests. The fight against corruption is something that has to be conducted by the judicial, legislative and executive branches of government together, and primarily by society as a whole. This fight has to be permanent because corruption, unfortunately, is an integral part of the capitalist society that we live in where commodities, money and property matter more than people. The fight against corruption should never be confused with a fight against the business sector, whether public or private. But this is exactly what happened in Brazil under the guise of a fight against corruption.

The Lava Jato investigation had two primary goals. The first was to criminalize the political opposition and make it impossible for the left to continue governing Brazil. The second was to destroy strategic Brazilian companies and economic sectors such as oil and gas. But they did not only destroy Petrobras. Lava Jato also destroyed Brazil’s most important construction and engineering businesses, which were operating worldwide.

This is exactly what Chief Justice Dias Toffoli says in his interview. What happened in Brazil would have never happened in the United States or Germany. There, entrepreneurs are punished, but companies aren’t normally punished. The State will subsidize and even even nationalize private companies to prevent them from folding.

These two aspects of the Lava Jato investigation should never be forgotten. Today, the man who is reminding us of this is the President of the Supreme Court, who makes another criticism about Lava Jato that I also agree with – that there is a lack of transparency in the Federal Public Prosecutors’ Office.

Toffoli directly criticizes the National Public Prosecutors’ Council. There has never been a moment in history with so many accusations and so much material evidence against public prosecutors without the application of any effective means of punishment.

I hope that Chief Justice Toffoli’s comments, together with everything that The Intercept has already revealed about crimes committed by the Lava Jato task force in the Vaza Jato scandal, will help the Brazilian population understand what the real goal of the Lava Jato investigation was. It was never a fight against corruption, but a fight against a national development project and social inclusion.



This article was translated and edited from Brasil de Fato by Brian Mier. It can be seen in its original Portuguese here.

https://www.brasilwire.com/chief-justic ... oy-brazil/

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Re: Brazil

Post by blindpig » Mon Dec 30, 2019 4:20 pm

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Meet the Intellectual Founder of Brazil’s Far Right
December 30, 2019 orinocotribune Brazil, far right populism, Jair Bolsonaro, olavo de Carvalho, playing with fear, police repression, violence
Olavo de Carvalho’s anger has inspired a number of Brazilian far-right politicians, the country’s president among them.

By Letícia Duarte

Editor’s Note: This article is part of our “Democracy Undone” series about the erosion of liberal democracy around the world.

PETERSBURG, Virginia—Talking with Olavo de Carvalho can be an exercise in self-restraint. As I walked into his house for an interview recently, he was sitting behind his desk, his gray hair neatly combed back. More than 100 smoking pipes were lined up on a rack, and thousands of books were stacked on the shelves of his home office alongside at least 20 rifles. He greeted me with a deep frown and wide eyes before pointing at a printout of a recent article I had written and bellowing, “What the fuck is that?”

So began our second meeting.

Sitting across from him, I saw that he had already set up his computer to film our exchange, his laptop camera framing my face. (He records all his interviews with reporters, whom he calls “enemies of the people,” often releasing them on YouTube. These are then spread by his followers, with titles such as “Olavo humiliates journalist.”) His wife, daughter, and a handful of other relatives and friends sat on a couch behind me, eating Burger King and smoking cigarettes, like an audience waiting for a show.

I had been trying for months to get back in touch with him, and just two hours earlier, he had agreed to meet. He had read my story about him and wanted a chance to respond. Before long, he was extending his right arm and pointing his index finger at my face. “You’re very malicious, naughty, a liar—you are defaming me!” he shouted.

“You’re a slut,” he went on, wagging his finger. “You come to my house with this cynical smile … You’re worth nothing, woman!”

His language could be disregarded if they were random attacks, if he were an eccentric from the political hinterland. But Olavo de Carvalho is something else: Known simply as “Olavo” across his native Brazil, the former astrologist, former communist, and former journalist has become the most virulent voice against the left in Brazil. His commentary immediately reverberates across the country, propagated by his more than 1 million followers on YouTube and Facebook. Worshipped by the right and ridiculed as an extremist by the left, Olavo and his beliefs are discussed almost daily in Brazil, everywhere from threads on Twitter to long magazine articles.

He is powerful for another reason. The 72-year-old is the architect of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s far-right vision. A self-educated philosopher who never completed high school, Olavo has formed a new generation of conservative leaders in Brazil through an online philosophy course he has taught for 10 years. He estimates that about 5,000 students are currently enrolled in his program, and 20,000 people have watched his classes, including members of Bolsonaro’s cabinet.

Now, from his ranch-style home in this rural county south of Richmond, he’s at the center of an anti-intellectual ideology shaping the policies of a nation of more than 200 million people, providing inspiration for one of the world’s most extreme leaders and, in so doing, turning fringe beliefs into government action.

It would be easy to liken him to another, better-known, right-wing ideologue who offered guidance to a surprising presidential winner. Yet Olavo bristles at the comparisons to Steve Bannon, or at least he used to. When I first met Olavo, a year ago, Bolsonaro had been elected but not inaugurated, and Olavo had not yet met Bannon in person. He told me at the time that he didn’t take Bannon seriously. Much has changed since then. Two weeks after Bolsonaro’s inauguration in January, Bannon met with Olavo at his Petersburg home, and a couple of months later, Olavo was the guest of honor at an event hosted by Bannon at the Trump Hotel in Washington, where the former White House chief strategist introduced him to a select group of about 100 conservative guests. “Olavo is one of the great conservative intellectuals in the world,” Bannon has said.

The day after Bannon feted Olavo, it was Bolsonaro’s turn. During a visit to Washington—the Brazilian leader’s first international trip as a head of state—Bolsonaro hosted a formal dinner at the residence of the Brazilian ambassador. Olavo sat on Bolsonaro’s right, Bannon on his left. Bolsonaro said in a speech that he had long dreamed of setting “Brazil free from the nefarious leftist ideology.” Then he looked at Olavo and said, “The revolution we are living, we owe in large part to him.”

It was not the first time that Bolsonaro had publicly honored Olavo. In his first speech to the nation after his election, the former army captain placed four books on his desk: the Bible, Brazil’s constitution, Winston Churchill’s Memoirs of the Second World War, and a book by Olavo—The Minimum You Need to Know to Not Be an Idiot. “What I want most is to follow God’s teachings alongside the Brazilian constitution,” he said. “I also want to be inspired by great leaders, giving good advice.”

Image
A supporter of Jair Bolsonaro salutes during a celebration in front of his residence after he was declared the winner of the election runoff, in Rio de Janeiro, in October 2018. (LEO CORREA / AP)

Bolsonaro met Olavo in person only after his election victory, but their relationship started almost a decade ago, when Olavo’s online accounts came to the attention of Bolsonaro’s children, who are themselves politicians. In 2012, the Brazilian leader’s eldest son, Flavio, who was a representative in Rio de Janeiro’s state assembly, traveled to Olavo’s house in Virginia to award him the Tiradentes medal, the legislature’s highest distinction. Five years later, another son, Eduardo, a national legislative representative, broadcast a video from Olavo’s house wearing a T-shirt that read olavo tem razão (“Olavo is right”). Protesters chanted that same slogan in street demonstrations against the federal government before Bolsonaro’s election, decrying the corruption scandals that helped propel him to power.

These days, when Olavo speaks, Bolsonaro listens. The president took Olavo’s recommendation in appointing as foreign minister a conservative Christian who has called climate change a “Marxist conspiracy.” Those running Bolsonaro’s “hate cabinet,” charged with maintaining a tone of anger on social media and in his public appearances, appear to have taken inspiration from Olavo. A former student in his online philosophy course is now Brazil’s minister of education and has set about converting its teachings into government policy: To combat “cultural Marxism,” the government has slashed operational funding for federal universities—considered centers of leftist indoctrination—by 30 percent.

Olavo’s stated hatred of communism, however, perhaps most strongly informs Bolsonaro’s policies within Brazil. It forms the core of both men’s beliefs, providing a rationale for “law and order” policies in which the president has facilitated civilian access to guns and encouraged a police crackdown in the favelas; offering a critique against “leftists” who argue human rights are being trampled; and allowing for a defense of Brazil’s military dictatorship, interpreted in Olavo’s worldview as a “revolution” that saved the country from communism in the 1960s. In his 27 years as a congressman, Bolsonaro frequently spoke out in favor of the dictatorship, saying its biggest mistake was that it stopped at torturing dissidents, rather than simply killing them.

When I quoted some of these public statements to Olavo, he dismissed them. Bolsonaro’s remarks, he said simply, were often “full of hyperbole and jokes.”

Bolsonaro and members of his cabinet are followers of Olavo’s—in August, he was awarded Brazil’s highest diplomatic distinction, for “service and merit”—yet his reach actually stretches further, thanks to his online presence.



Olavo first came to the United States in 2005, to work as a Washington correspondent for Diário do Comércio, then a financial print newspaper. He told me that although he was previously in close contact with American politicians and journalists, he soon “lost interest” because “they are a bunch of boring people.” He found his calling on the internet.

In 2009, he created his online course to tackle what he had diagnosed as the main problem facing Brazil: the “leftist dominance” of the country’s media and universities. He told me that he hoped to build a conservative political class in 30 years. In reality, it took much less time.

In his lessons, he spreads the falsehood that the Nazis were a left-wing party (rhetoric used by Bolsonaro’s supporters against their political opponents), teaches his students that disrespecting the enemy is a basic principle required to defeat the left, and often uses sexually charged language to garner attention—in our initial meeting, Olavo described Bolsonaro’s election as a “premature ejaculation.” He argues that dissidents should be intimidated and, in one video posted by a supporter on YouTube, instructs viewers on how to use personal attacks to intimidate “communists.” His followers should, he says, use “all bad words from the Portuguese language” against critics. “It’s not about destroying ideas,” Olavo continues, “but destroying the careers and the power of people. You have to be direct, and without respect—that’s very important.”

Our conversation in his home office reflected that strategy. I quoted multiple examples to him of his public support for Brazil’s dictatorship: his statements that the regime was “too soft,” that its “mildness” allowed “leftist lies” to perpetuate. He dismissed them all and instead shifted focus, saying I was ignoring people that communists “are killing every day” around the world. Then he became angry, accusing me of trying to paint the right as evil. “Don’t you have any real thoughts?” he asked me. “Do you just want to seem cute? Is your life only that?”

As our 90-minute interview came to an end, Olavo said he was barring me from publishing any of his quotes—despite the entire conversation’s having been on the record (indeed, recorded by us both)—and threatened to expose me on the internet, although he has not yet uploaded the video of our interaction to his YouTube channel.

After a brief pause, his tone suddenly turned solemn: “I wanted you to know that you disgusted my whole family.” Then it rose again as he stood up and snapped, “Get out!”

As I left his home and walked back down the narrow road surrounded by pine trees and American flags, past an old Dodge van with a rear-bumper sticker that read commie hunter, and got into my car to go home, I marveled at him—our meeting had been a master class in his philosophy and style: hate speech targeting the press, doubt sown about historical facts, and threats to weaponize his online following to cow his critics.

Olavo proudly told me that through his teachings he has created a “genius factory” online. “My influence on Brazil’s culture is infinitely bigger than anything the government is doing,” he said. “I am changing Brazil’s cultural history. Governments go away; the culture stays.”

Leticia Duarte is a Brazilian journalist based in New York. She is a global reporting fellow with the GroundTruth Project and a Global Migration Project Reporting fellow at Columbia Journalism School.

https://orinocotribune.com/meet-the-int ... far-right/

'communists', huh? Five will get ya ten he was a trotskyist. Obviously a hustler in the tradition of LaRouche and L Ron Hubbard. All of a piece.
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

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