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Brazil rejected US oil request

Samizdat | May 10, 2022

The US asked Brazil in March to increase its crude oil output to curb soaring prices amid international sanctions against Russia, but Brazil refused, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

US government officials approached Brazil’s state-run oil company Petrobras, the outlet quoted its sources as saying, as crude prices started to rise against the backdrop of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine and the ensuing international sanctions.

The officials came away empty-handed, however, as Petrobras said that output levels were determined by business strategy rather than diplomacy and also that a significant short-term production boost would not be logistically possible, Reuters says.

Brazil is the world’s 11th largest oil exporter, with most of its crude going to China, the US, and India, according to the Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC).

Also in March, the US approached Venezuela, which has the world’s largest proven oil reserves, offering to ease some of the sanctions on the country in exchange for increased oil exports to the US. However, Washington later backtracked on the issue.

Washington banned the import of Russian oil in early March, with US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm saying that the country was on “war footing,” and calling on domestic producers to boost output. Last year, the US got 8% of its total petroleum imports from Russia, according to the US Energy Information Administration, with other major suppliers being Canada, Mexico, and Saudi Arabia.

May 10, 2022 Posted by | Economics | , | Leave a comment

Google complains about Brazil’s “fake news” bill, says it ignores “negative and unintended consequences”

By Cindy Harper | Reclaim The Net | March 17, 2022

Despite, in many cases, making itself the arbiter of what is and isn’t true, Big Tech giant Google is now concerned that Brazil’s proposed anti-fake news bill will do more harm than good.

The bill has previously been criticized by other online platforms, including Facebook and Twitter, as well as free speech groups.

In an open letter, Google Brazil’s president Fábio Coelho, criticized the proposed legislation, whose purpose is to handle “misinformation” and disinformation on platforms with more than 2 million users.

“We recognize the importance of debating solutions to this problem, but we are concerned that Congress is doing so without considering the negative and unintended consequences the bill could bring,” Coelho argued.

According to Coelho, the bill, which is yet to be voted by Congress, would make it easier to spread fake news.

The bill includes rules that would require platforms like Google to reveal how their algorithms work. These rules make Google’s services less secure, according to Coelho, and would have a negative impact on how small companies market their products.

He said that the rules Google would need to comply with could “significantly impair Google’s ability to combat abuse and spam and protect our users from scams.” He also argued that complying with the rules could “make search engines less secure for everyone and more susceptible to abuse and fraud.”

Coelho also warned that by exposing how its systems work, Google would provide malicious actors instructions on how to bypass its protections and harm the quality of search results.

He explained: “With this, they could manipulate this information to obtain a better position in our search ranking, harming in the process those who produce reliable and relevant content.”

In a joint letter published in February, Facebook, Twitter, and Mercado Libre, an online marketplace, also criticized the proposed legislation.

They said the bill had the potential to,”restrict people’s access to diverse and plural sources of information; discourage platforms from taking steps to maintain a healthy online environment; and negatively impact millions of small and medium businesses looking to connect with their consumers through advertising and digital services.”

March 18, 2022 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance | , | 2 Comments

NY Times Claims Brazil Is Turning Into Desert, As Foliage Growth Surges

By James Taylor | ClimateRealism | December 6, 2021

The New York Times published an article Friday titled, “A Slow-Motion Climate Disaster: The Spread of Barren Land.” The article claims global warming is causing drought in northeastern Brazil, turning the region into a desert. Objective satellite measurements of vegetation, however, show increasing vegetation in northeast Brazil and throughout Brazil as a whole, not the other way around. The Times article is merely another example of agenda-driven fake climate news.

In its subtitle, the article claims, “Brazil’s northeast, long a victim of droughts, is now effectively turning into desert. The cause? Climate change and the landowners who are most affected.” The article adds, “Climate change is intensifying droughts in Brazil’s northeast, leaving the land barren. The phenomenon, called desertification, is happening across the planet.”

NASA satellite instruments have precisely measured the amount of vegetation throughout the Earth since the early 1980s. NASA reported its findings in an article titled “Carbon Dioxide Fertilization Greening Earth, Study Finds.” According to NASA, “From a quarter to half of Earth’s vegetated lands has shown significant greening over the last 35 years largely due to rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide.” Most of the rest of the land shows little change one way or the other, while a very small amount of land shows a decline in vegetation.

As a whole, “The greening represents an increase in leaves on plants and trees equivalent in area to two times the continental United States,” NASA reports.

In the chart below, provided by NASA, you can see that nearly all of Brazil, including nearly all of northeast Brazil, is enjoying a significant increase in vegetation. Only a few, very small areas of Brazil and northeast Brazil are seeing a decline in vegetation.

The Times is right that where farmers or ranchers are deliberately removing rainforest and replacing it with farms or rangeland, vegetation declines. But that is not due to climate change, and those are about the only places in Brazil where vegetation is not increasing as the Earth modestly warms.

The simple, undeniable truth is that vegetation is increasing virtually everywhere in Brazil. The New York Times, in order to promote a fictitious climate crisis, is telling provably wrong lies to sell newspapers and to sell alarm.

December 9, 2021 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | , | 1 Comment

The 1964 Coup in Brazil

Tales of the American Empire | November 11, 2021

In March 1963, American President John Kennedy proclaimed “We’ve got to do something about Brazil.” He said: “I think we ought to take every step that we can, be prepared to do everything that we need to do.” Kennedy believed Brazilian President Goulart was too friendly with anti-American radicals in Latin America. “Operation Brother Sam” was the code name given to Kennedy’s military plan to “prevent Brazil from becoming another China or Cuba.” After Kennedy was assassinated, President Lyndon Johnson instructed his staff to send a naval task force and aircraft to Brazil to support a coup organized by the CIA with Generals in the Brazilian military.

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“Brazil Marks 50th Anniversary of Military Coup; James Hershberg; National Security Archive; April 2, 2014; https://nsarchive2.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSA…

November 15, 2021 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

Brazilian court clears ex-President Lula of corruption charges in another legal win

RT | June 21, 2021

Brazil’s former leftist president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, scored a fresh legal victory on Monday after a federal court acquitted him of passive corruption charges relating to alleged political favors, citing lack of evidence.

In 2017, Lula was accused of having granted political favors to automobile companies in exchange for donations of 6 million reals (around $1.2 million) to the campaign of his Workers’ Party (PT). The charges against the ex-president and other officials were filed after ‘Operation Zelotes’, which was launched by police to investigate alleged fraud and bribery in the sector.

But on Monday, federal judge Frederico Viana ruled that the case against the former president “lacks elements” that can substantiate any conviction against him and the other defendants.

“It is prudent and reasonable to pronounce an acquittal” of the ex-president, his former chief of staff, Gilberto Carvalho, and five other officials and businessmen, the judge said.

During his testimony last year, Lula denied the accusations, insisting that he never did any favors for the automobile firms.

In March, the court annulled all sentences handed to the 75-year-old political veteran under ‘Operation Lava Jato’ (‘Car Wash’) – a major anti-graft investigation in which three ex-presidents and numerous officials were indicted.

That ruling gave Lula the right to run for president again in 2022. He hasn’t yet announced plans to join the race, but recent polls put him ahead of Brazil’s current leader, Jair Bolsonaro, by 41% to 23% in the first round.

Lula remains highly popular in the country, which underwent a period of rapid economic growth during his years in office from 2003 to 2010, and saw millions escape poverty through his welfare programs.

June 21, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , | 4 Comments

Will Congressional quest for answers on Brazil’s Operation Lava Jato reveal it as yet another CIA coup?

By Kit Klarenberg | RT | June 9, 2021

For years, the anti-corruption probe Lava Jato was hailed as the dawn of a new Brazil, in which democracy and the rule of law reigned supreme. Now, it’s clear it was a shameful set-up – with the US involved every step of the way.

On June 7, a coalition of Democratic lawmakers wrote to US Attorney General Merrick Garland requesting answers about the role of the Department of Justice (DoJ) in Operation Car Wash (Lava Jato in Portuguese), the grand Brazilian anti-corruption investigation launched in 2014 that ignominiously collapsed in February this year.

Noting it to be a “matter of public record” that DoJ representatives supported Brazilian prosecutors involved in the operation, they stated that an agreement was “evidently” reached between Brazilian and US authorities providing for a “substantial share” of the fines rendered from prosecuting Brazilian companies under the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act to be given to the very prosecutors and judges involved in Lava Jato, and to fund the creation of a “private foundation in Brazil totally administered and controlled by the same Brazilian prosecutors.”

The lawmakers concluded, “We are particularly concerned that the income produced from the enforcement of important US legislation dedicated to fighting corruption, could have ended up going to ends not entirely consistent with democracy, rule of law, equal justice under the law, and due process – not to mention Brazilian legal and constitutional requirements.”

That Washington was involved in Lava Jato, which saw more than 1,000 warrants issued, 429 people indicted and 159 convicted, and numerous high-profile business leaders and politicians – most notoriously Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, president between 2003 and 2010 – jailed, had been clear since 2016, when US federal courts levied record fines against state energy company Petrobras.

However, this suspect element of the probe was completely ignored by Western news outlets, as were clear indications from its inception that prosecutions were being pursued on dubious, if not non-existent, grounds.

For instance, Lula’s July 2017 conviction for money laundering and corruption charges was based entirely on the coerced testimony of a sole individual – and in his sentencing, presiding judge Sergio Moro failed to define a specific crime of which the former president was guilty, basing the verdict purely on his own “conviction” that Lula had done “something.”

As a result, Lula was precluded from running for the presidency in 2018, paving the way for the election of Jair Bolsonaro, who subsequently appointed Moro as minister of justice and public security. It was a move enthusiastically received both within and without Brazil, for his crusading efforts had made him something of a media sensation – in 2016, he was named one of Time Magazine’s “100 most influential people,” despite local news outlets that same year having exposed his illegal wiretapping of Lula’s defense team.

It was not until June 2019 that the judge’s mainstream fortunes finally took a turn for the worse, when journalist Glenn Greenwald began publishing a series of articles based on leaked Telegram conversations between individuals involved in Lava Jato.

The communications showed that Moro had provided insider information to prosecutors, helped direct their legal actions, briefed them on their media strategy, and requested that operations be launched against relatives of witnesses, to ensure convictions were secured. In November that year, Lula was finally released from prison after 580 days.

More recent leaks have revealed that the Lava Jato team conducted scores of secret, illegal meetings with FBI operatives throughout the seven-year probe. However, Moro’s ties to US state agencies have been a matter of public record since 2010, when WikiLeaks published a State Department telegram related to a week-long US Embassy-sponsored course laid on for judges, police, and prosecutors in Rio de Janeiro.

The document notes that many attendees expressed an interest in receiving further training from the DoJ on prosecuting money laundering cases, and were keen to collaborate with Washington in this field, contrary to Brasilia’s official position, under the auspices of the “fight against terrorism.”

Moro wasn’t a passive presence at the event, leading a talk on the “15 most common issues” he encountered in Brazilian money laundering cases. The telegram goes on to outline a dedicated program, “Projeto Pontes” (Bridges Project), to “bring together US and Brazilian law enforcement in different venues” and “build on our relationships and exchange best practices.”

The following month, Brasil Wire records that he and prosecutor Karine Moreno-Taxman – who was then based in the US Embassy in Brazil, and helped select participants for the week-long training course – were both present at the Brazilian Federal Police Agents Association’s fourth congress in the north-eastern city of Fortaleza. Moro was lead speaker in a panel discussion on corruption and organized crime arguing for changes in the law and more judicial autonomy in investigating crimes against public administration.

Moreno-Taxman then led a panel of her own, which viewed from a present-day perspective gives every appearance of setting out a clear blueprint for the subsequent Operation Lava Jato. For one, she proposed that Brazilian authorities maintain an informal system of collaboration with their US counterparts, circumventing formal cooperation structures as set out in international treaties.

Another key suggestion was manipulating public opinion in prosecutions of high-profile figures to engender loathing of those under investigation. “Society needs to feel that that person really abused the job and demand that he be convicted,” Moreno-Taxman is reported to have said, a message she’d been propounding across Brazil at a variety of US-sponsored events for two years by that point. It seems likely these lobbying efforts formed part of “Projeto Pontes.”

When Lava Jato collapsed earlier this year, further leaked Telegram conversations exposed how prosecutors cheered Moro’s decision to incarcerate Lula on April 5, 2018, as it prevented a Supreme Court vote that would have allowed defendants to be spared jail pending appeal. The operation’s chief, Deltan Dallagnol, dubbed the news “a gift” from the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Had that motion been successful, Lula would have been free to run for president that year – and victory seemed assured, for he was polling 20 points ahead of Bolsonaro.

Today, polling for the 2022 general election places him in much the same position – perhaps unsurprisingly, given that during his initial seven-year spell in office, Brazil’s economy became the world’s eighth-largest, more than 20 million were raised out of acute poverty, and annual economic growth reached up to seven percent. As Lava Jato is estimated to have damaged foreign investment to the tune of $33 billion and wiped out 4.4 million jobs, a great many Brazilians will be hoping Lula makes a triumphant return to the Palacio da Alvorada.

Seemingly undeterred by the operation’s unceremonious unravelling, at a June 3 White House press conference a nameless “senior administration official” revealed that “components of the intelligence community,” includingthe director of national intelligence and CIA, would be fundamental in “establishing the fight against corruption as a core US national security interest.”

“We’re just going to be looking at all of the tools in our disposal to make sure that we identify corruption where it’s happening and take appropriate policy responses,” the official said.

It’s unclear whether an “appropriate policy response” will entail the covert selection and grooming of a fresh anti-corruption taskforce in another foreign country, although legal apparatchiks overseas would do well to think twice before accepting clandestine offers of fame and fortune in return for fitting up troublesome political figures for crimes they didn’t commit. The once-celebrated Moro is now utterly disgraced, and under investigation for seven separate counts of felony judicial bias. Still, the mainstream media seems oblivious, and that’s the main thing.

Kit Klarenberg is an investigative journalist exploring the role of intelligence services in shaping politics and perceptions. 

June 10, 2021 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

White House admits CIA involvement in “War on Corruption” which jailed Lula and elected Bolsonaro

Brasil Wire – June 3, 2021

In a White House ‘Background Press Call by Senior Administration Officials on the Fight Against Corruption’, a Biden administration official admitted that the CIA and other parts of the U.S. intelligence apparatus were involved in assisting the “War on Corruption” which jailed former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and elected Jair Bolsonaro.

Read the full transcript here.

The admission will come as an embarrassment to a media who has for the most part omitted, minimised or denied U.S. involvement in anti-corruption actions across Latin America, despite it being a matter of public record for years.

In July 2017, Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco gave a speech at NATO think tank the Atlantic Council in which he bragged of FBI personnel informally involved in Brazilian anti-corruption operation Lava Jato and its prosecution of former president Lula. FBI personnel involved later boasted that it had “toppled presidents“. Lava Jato prosecutor Deltan Dellagnol described Lula’s 2018 arrest which kept him out of the election he was on course to win, as “a gift from the CIA“. The judge who prosecuted Lula, Sergio Moro, became Bolsonaro’s Justice Minister, and both made an unprecedented visit to CIA headquarters in Langley within months of taking office. Lava Jato’s origins can be traced back to 2008/09, where Moro and a blueprint for an operation of its type appear in State Department cables.

The role of anti-corruption as U.S. foreign policy tool in Latin America has expanded gradually since the 1990s, and has continued through successive Democrat and Republican administrations. Lava Jato was central to the ouster of president Dilma Rousseff, and pivotal to the election of Jair Bolsonaro, which were both undeniably advantageous to the United States government and business/banking sector, which is represented in Latin America by lobby and think tank Council of the Americas.

The June 3 press call was to mark a new national security study memorandum or NSSM on “Establishing the fight against corruption as a core U.S. national security interest“, which is being renewed under the Biden administration, and held by unnamed “senior administration officials”.

The following exchange left little to the imagination.

Journalist: “As you know, anti-corruption activists periodically urge the U.S. government to use its various assets and capabilities, including the intelligence community, to expose specific cases of corruption overseas, to name and shame corrupt officials — and the arguments they make are familiar — but also include not only, you know, a deterrent to corruption, but also a possible contribution to the promotion of democracy. Does the memorandum — does the program include any component that connects with that?”

Senior Administration Official: “What I can say on that front is that the memorandum includes components of the intelligence community. So, the work on that front, in part, remains to be seen, but they are included — the Director of National Intelligence and Central Intelligence Agency.”
 
“And so we’re just going to be looking at all of the tools in our disposal to make sure that we identify corruption where it’s happening and take appropriate policy responses.”
 
“And I’ll take the opportunity to mention that we’re also going to be using this effort to think about what more we can do to bolster other actors that are out in the world exposing corruption and bringing it to light.”
 
“So, of course, the U.S. government has its own internal methods, but, largely, the way that corruption is exposed is through the work of investigative journalists and investigative NGOs.”
 
“The U.S. government — to my point earlier, in terms of the support we’re already providing — in some instances provides support to these actors. And we’ll be looking at what more we can do on that front as well.”

The journalist asked for clarification: “What does the word “support” mean in that context?”

Senior Administration Official: “Well, sometimes it boils down to foreign assistance. There are lines of assistance that have jumpstarted investigatory journalism organizations. What comes to my mind most immediately is OCCRP, as well as foreign assistance that goes to NGOs, ultimately, that do investigative work on anti-corruption, as well.”

Evidence of the very nature that the official describes above has been dismissed by supporters of partisan anti-corruption campaigns for years.

The official was asked by a journalist specifically about Vice President Kamala Harris’s upcoming trip to Latin America, and: “if there were any corruption measures associated with that, or any, sort of, additional push related to that?”

The unnamed official responded: “I’m not going to characterize the views of the prior administration, but I would say, to your point: The essence of the memorandum we’re going to release today is that the U.S. government is placing the anti-corruption plight at the center of its foreign policy, so we very much want to prioritize this work across the board.”

The latest admission of CIA involvement in the U.S. led “fight against corruption”, of which Operation Lava Jato (Carwash) was the high-profile centrepiece, has grave implications for Brazilian democracy, and that of wider Latin America.

Brasil Wire has been covering this subject in depth since 2015: All articles on Lawfare in Brazil and U.S. involvement in it, 2015-2021.

June 7, 2021 Posted by | Deception | , , , , | 1 Comment

Switch to Remote Learning Caused Large Increases in School Dropout and Learning Losses in Brazil

By Noah Carl • Lockdown Sceptics • May 28, 2021

Back in April, I wrote about a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which found that Dutch students made “made little or no progress while learning from home”. Now researchers have reported a similar finding in Brazil.

As in the Dutch study, the researchers used rigorous methods to gauge the impact of remote learning on student outcomes. In other words, they didn’t just compare outcomes in 2020 to those the year before.

In São Paulo State (where the study was based) state schools switched to remote learning only at the end of the first quarter, and they continued to teach remotely thereafter. This allowed the researchers to compare the change in outcomes between the first and last quarters of 2020 to the change in outcomes between the same two quarters of 2019.

They looked at two different outcomes: high dropout risk (i.e., whether the student had any math and Portuguese grades on his school record in the relevant quarter), and standardised test scores.

When comparing the change in 2020 to the change in 2019, the researchers found large increases in school dropout and learning losses.

Furthermore, they exploited a natural experiment to gauge the impact of switching back to in-person learning. In the fourth quarter of 2020, some municipalities allowed high-schools but not middle-schools to switch back. This allowed the researchers to compare middle- and high-schools in those municipalities with respect to the change in 2020 versus the change in 2019.

Consistent with the previous result, they found that switching back to in-person learning was associated with higher standardised test scores.

In the authors’ own words, their results show that “the societal costs of keeping schools closed in the pandemic are very large”. As such, they argue that “the public debate should move from whether schools should be open or not to how to reopen them safely”.

May 28, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , | Leave a comment

“A Sign Of Progress”: How A Tiny Corporate Media Clique Inverted Reality During Brazil’s 2016 Coup

BRASIL WIRE | APRIL 17, 2021

On the fifth anniversary of Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment, the role foreign media played in propagandising for it still warrants further investigation.

Little of international media coverage of Brazil’s 2016 coup and its centrepiece, the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff, has dated well. But one opinion piece in US newspaper the New York Times stands out as emblematic of the inverted reality being presented to the world, as Brazil’s first female president was facing a right-wing plot to remove her and her progressive government from office.

Written by Op-Ed contributor, the Associated Press Rio correspondent, Juliana Barbassa, it was headlined “Why Brazil’s Corruption Scandal Is a Sign of Progress”. It was published on March 15, 2016, one month before the first congressional vote to impeach Dilma Rousseff and with the campaign against her at full tilt.

At this point it was already apparent to any serious analyst that something was very wrong. Anti-Coup protests were occurring in equal frequency and numbers to the yellow and green demonstrations for Dilma’s impeachment, yet the article begins: “Hundreds of thousands of Brazilians took to the streets over the weekend to protest their government and to send a message to the country’s political class: No one is untouchable. Brazil’s politicians should take that to heart. The Federal Police temporarily detained Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the former president, for questioning earlier this month in connection with a huge — and expanding — graft investigation. President Dilma Rousseff, Mr. da Silva’s handpicked successor, could be next.”

Media consumers who consider themselves engaged with world affairs would have no doubt seen an article like this one in the paper of record, taken it at face value, and have had no idea how wrong it was, nor how incestuous its conception.

They might consult multiple trusted sources and see this inversion of reality corroborated. They wouldn’t know that the most prominent English language reporters were meeting regularly and sharing notes. For example, on the very same day, the Guardian published an editorial calling for Rousseff to resign.

They could look at news agency Reuters, and see something broadly in line with what they had read in the NYT.

They wouldn’t know that Brian Winter, until recently the Reuters Brazil correspondent, now worked indirectly on behalf of Chevron, one of the principal lobbyists for, and beneficiaries of the coup. They wouldn’t know that both Winter and Brazil bureau chief Todd Benson had recently left Reuters following a scandal in which it was seen to have censored information that was considered favourable to Dilma and the Workers Party.

They wouldn’t know that the Reuters correspondent had got the NYT pieces’ author, Juliana Barbassa, a job at oil, agribusiness, banking and mining industry lobby Council of the Americas‘ in-house magazine Americas Quarterly, from where she became the New York Times’ Latin America and Caribbean desk editor.

They wouldn’t know that the author’s husband Chris Gaffney, was a primary source for Dave Zirin’s character assassination of Lula, Dance with the Devilwho, living in a penthouse apartment on Rio’s Botofogo bay, used the World Cup as a platform to attack the PT from a radical left standpoint.

They wouldn’t know that the Brazil bureau chief at Associated Press, Brad Brooks, was personally forbidding staff from use the word Coup/Golpe to describe what was happening in Brazil, regardless of their belief, and even on their private Facebook pages.

They wouldn’t know that a group of young and influential Brazilian reporters, including those from AP, had been taken on all expenses paid trips to the US, for briefings at the State Department, to learn about “sustainable funding models”.

Finally, they might look for opinions from across the political spectrum.

They wouldn’t know that ostensibly leftist voices they may have followed in Brazil were funded by corporate philanthropy from Ford Foundation, Pierre Omidyar and OSF, nor that they were closer professionally and socially to this same group of corporate reporters than they were the actual Brazilian left. This promiscuity can be confirmed by reading hundreds of friendly bar-setting twitter engagements with AS/COA Americas Quarterly editor and Alvaro Uribe / FHC biographer Brian Winter, by journalists such as New Yorker’s Alex Cuadros and LA Times correspondent Vincent Bevins during Dilma’s impeachment, and in the lead up to Lula’s arrest two years later.

This appearance of consensus fed into foreign television, as US comedy writers used the NYT as their principal source. Brian Mier writes: “Even John Oliver made a joke about Dilma Rousseff and Petrobras corruption. It wasn’t based on facts, but helped his liberal US audience feel comfortable about the illegal impeachment of Brazil’s first woman President and subsequent US corporate oil grab.” Daniel Hunt adds “Don’t ever doubt the cumulative effect foreign media coverage can have on the actual political scenario inside a country like Brazil, which is uniquely fixated with how it is covered abroad. All the liberals were sharing this nonsense at the time of Rousseff’s impeachment.”

It was only after the April 2016 congressional vote, from which Jair Bolsonaro launched his 2018 presidential bid that the hand-wringing began, from a cluster of mostly US media professionals who had shown no critical analysis as the campaign against Dilma raged, from her re-election in October 2014, right through to her impeachment.

Maybe a fascist elected as president wasn’t the outcome they imagined, but with no tanks on the street, the 2016 coup was staged in the media, which late Brazilian journalist Paulo Henrique Amorim labeled, The 4th Power. Brazil is living with the deadly consequences now, and every journalist who endorsed, normalized and enabled a subversion of democracy, who went along with the narratives of right-wing regime change, holds a degree of culpability.

Not only did their often brazen propaganda actually influence opinion within Brazil’s media classes, together they created a screen of editorial cover which stunted international solidarity for Rousseff and her centre-left government in their hour of need. This was no unfortunate accident; it was an ethical and journalistic disgrace, with observers as actors.

There is no “They wouldn’t know” on the reporters’ part, and this is not hindsight. Some people were paid to be wrong.

April 19, 2021 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

Papers reveal US-backed Brazil’s role in installing and supporting Pinochet in Chile

By Kit Klarenberg | RT | April 1, 2021

Washington’s involvement in the violent overthrow of the democratically elected government of Chile in September 1973 is by this point well known. The pivotal role played by Brazil has not been as clear until now.

On the anniversary of the 1964 US-backed coup that led to Brazilian President Joao Goulart being replaced by a military junta, the National Security Archive has published a trove of previously classified documents showing the role that junta later played in subverting democracy in Chile, and its subsequent support of General Augusto Pinochet’s brutal repression of political opponents.

The file trail begins September 22, 1970, 18 days after Salvador Allende of the Popular Unity alliance narrowly won the Chilean presidency. A document, prepared for General Emilio Garrastazu Medici – then the third president of Brazil’s military dictatorship – summarizes a recent meeting between the US ambassador to Chile, Edward Korry, and his Brazilian counterpart.

Following Allende’s victory, Korry, a veteran diplomat during the administrations of Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon, vowed that “not a nut or bolt shall reach Chile” under the socialist’s rule, and if and when he took office in November that year, the US would “do all within our power to condemn Chile and the Chileans to utmost deprivation and poverty.”

Accordingly, the summary makes clear US plans to undermine Allende were well underway by the time the two ambassadors met.

“Following direct orders from the White House,” Korry was said to be “insinuating to all relevant sectors” that Chile would have “difficulties” – including a shortage of foreign credit and military aid – should the country’s Congress confirm Allende as leader. He also noted the US Embassy was distributing written material warning of the dangers of an Allende government to Chilean military commanders, the very elements that would brutally take power three years later.

Korry’s message was clearly received loud and clear, for in March the next year – five months after Allende’s confirmation – Chilean ambassador to Brasilia Raul Rettig submitted a troubling report to his foreign ministry, titled ‘Brazilian Army possibly conducting studies on guerrillas being introduced into Chile’.

Rettig – who, two decades later, chaired the country’s first ‘truth commission’, which investigated human rights abuses during Pinochet’s rule – had heard from multiple sources that the Brazilian regime was extensively evaluating how to instigate violent insurrection in Chile and overthrow the Allende government via an “armed movement.”

Plans were well developed already, with the military having established a dedicated ‘war room’, with maps and models of the Andean mountain range along the Chilean border, to plan infiltration operations. A number of Brazilian secret agents had also reportedly “entered the country as tourists, with the intention of gathering more background on possible regions where a guerrilla movement might operate,” Rettig’s report revealed.

Brasilia was highly confident of success. In a November 1971 meeting at the White House, President Medici assured Richard Nixon that Allende “would be overthrown for very much the same reasons that Goulart had been,” and Chile’s military was up to the task. He added that Brazil had been “exchanging many officers with the Chileans, and made clear that Brazil was working towards this end.”

In return, the US president pledged “to be helpful in this area,” such as providing “discreet aid,” on the basis that “we must try and prevent new Allendes and Castros and try, where possible, to reverse these trends.” A contemporary CIA intelligence memorandum noted that, to Brazilian military top brass, Washington “obviously” wanted Brasilia to “do the dirty work” in Chile and elsewhere in Latin America.

By July the next year, Brazil had established back-channel communications with Chilean army officers, covertly flying them into the country to meet with high-ranking authorities and begin plotting the downfall of Allende. An August 1973 Brazilian intelligence report details a summit at an airbase in Santiago, at which high-level Chilean military officials were given extensive briefings on Brazil’s own military coup nine years earlier, in the process learning “useful” lessons for their own impending action.

So, it was that, on September 11, 1973, the Chilean military stormed the presidential palace and took power by force. Ground troops were assisted by British-made Hawker Hunter aircraft, which bombed the building and suppressed rooftop snipers. Allende also died in the fighting, and while investigators have ruled it was suicide, some still question that conclusion, arguing that he was in fact murdered.

In the process, Chile – hitherto an aberrant beacon of democracy and stability in a region typified by dictatorships – became a military junta, led by General Pinochet. Death squads immediately set about rounding up thousands of known or suspected Chilean leftists in the country, imprisoning up to 40,000 people in the country’s National Stadium.

The new files make it clear that Brazil moved very quickly to legitimize the new regime, racing to become the first country to officially recognize Pinochet’s despotism, and drafting speeches for the government’s representatives at the United Nations General Assembly to palliate the bloodshed unfolding in Santiago.

Plainclothes Brazilian intelligence agents also secretly assisted Chilean officials in conducting interrogations, torture, and executions at the National Stadium. Among those detained were US citizens, and Brazilians residing in Chile, at least three of whom were of such interest to Brasilia that officials were attempting to arrange their return home.

Comparable hands-on support persisted for many years thereafter. In August 1974, Colonel Manuel Contreras, chief of Chile’s Direccion de Inteligencia Nacional (DINA), requested official passports for 12 officers for a trip to Sao Paulo, in order that they might receive training from their Brazilian counterparts.

Humberto Gordon, who later headed DINA, is named among the officers, as are individuals later involved in the assassination of Orlando Letelier in Washington DC, which was directly ordered by Pinochet.

In the wake of the coup, Letelier – a Chilean economist, politician, and diplomat during Allende’s presidency – was held for 12 months in several concentration camps, along the way being severely tortured, being released only due to international diplomatic pressure. He fled the country and took refuge in the US, becoming Pinochet’s most prominent overseas critic.

On September 21, 1976, Letelier was killed via car bomb – much of his lower torso was blown away and his legs severed. Documents previously unearthed by the National Security Archive indicate that US officials had foreknowledge of the assassination, but transmission of a State Department communiqué warning the Chilean government against carrying it out was blocked by then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. … Full article

April 1, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Economics, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Guaidó creates a parallel consulate in Brazil

By Lucas Leiroz | October 8, 2020

A “parallel” Venezuelan Consulate in Brazil was condemned in a recent statement by Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza. In late September, supporters of the Venezuelan opposition leader, the self-proclaimed “interim president” Juan Guaidó, announced that they would form a new consulate in Brazil. Basically, the objective is to create a parallel Venezuelan diplomatic representation, which meets the interests of the opposition – which is supported by the Brazilian government. The decision has received strong criticism from the Venezuelan government, which considers it illegal. However, despite the criticism, the consulate is starting its operations this week in the Brazilian state of Roraima – a region strategically chosen because it borders Venezuela.

Jorge Arreaza, head of the Bolivarian government’s foreign relations, reinforced his criticism and published an official statement warning the international community against the activities of the opposition, which he classified as fraudulent. According to Arreaza, there is an attempt to usurp the legitimate consular power of the Venezuelan government – which, in legal terms, is correct, considering that Guaidó is not actually the president of Venezuela.

Guaidó’s initiative in Brazil continues a series of clashes between the government of Jair Bolsonaro and representatives of Nicolás Maduro. Last month, the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs declared Venezuelan diplomats as “persona non grata” after setting a deadline in April for them to leave the country – which did not happen due to a later decision by the Supreme Court. Now, with the appointment of new “diplomats” by Juan Guaidó, the situation between both countries is even more tense, since the Brazilian government will publicly recognize the role of the opposition’s parallel diplomatic service, while denying maintaining relations with the Venezuelan official diplomacy.

No specific date has been set for the opening of the parallel consulate, and it has just been announced that from this week on the agency would be fully operational. In fact, Guaidó’s “diplomats” are already acting freely in Brazil and even distributing documents to Venezuelan citizens in Brazilian territory. The Maduro government has already stated that such documents have no validity, but the Brazilian government recognizes the actions and cooperates with the oppositionist Consulate. It is also important to emphasize that the employees of the parallel consulate have no diplomatic training, being political militants chosen by Guaidó to represent his interests in Brazil.

Brazil is making a serious mistake in accepting the formation of an illegal consulate in its territory. This represents a total violation of good customs in international relations. Although Brazil is directly opposed to the Venezuelan government, recognizing the legitimacy of an illegal “consulate” and allowing parallel diplomats to act in its territory sets an undesirable precedent in bilateral relations between these states. According to the Montevideo Convention, a State is constituted by the presence of territory, government and diplomatic relations. Therefore, when recognizing a new diplomacy, Brazil is, in practice, recognizing the existence of a Venezuelan State parallel to the Bolivarian Republic. The Venezuelan case, moreover, illustrates an absolutely inappropriate international behavior among the nations that oppose Maduro. To recognize a deputy as president for the simple fact that there was political opposition to the legitimate government had already been a serious violation of international customs. Now, with the creation of parallel consulates, the situation is likely to get even worse, mainly due to the fact that Brazil may not be the only country to receive “Guaidó’s diplomats”.

Interestingly, the inauguration of the parallel Consulate in Brazil takes place a few weeks after the visit of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to four countries in South America. The head of American diplomacy met with Brazilians including Brazil’s minister of foreign affairs Ernesto Araújo and Venezuelan immigrants precisely in the state of Roraima. The secret talks between Pompeo and Araújo still remain obscure. When called by the Senate to clarify the content of the meeting, Araújo gave no details and mentioned only generic aspects of the conversations he had with Pompeo. The other countries visited by Pompeo were Colombia, Guyana and Suriname – countries strategically chosen to form a siege against Venezuela. Considering that Pompeo’s visit to Brazil was most likely decisive for the Brazilian government to agree to cooperate with Guaidó’s parallel diplomacy, it is possible to foresee that sometime soon some of the other countries visited by Pompeo will also announce a similar decision, receiving “diplomatic missions” coming from the self-proclaimed and illegitimate government of Juan Guaidó.

It remains to be seen what the consequences of these acts will be going forward. The parallel consulate is already acting freely in Brazil, consolidating an historic act of violation of Venezuelan state sovereignty perpetrated by the Brazilian government. However, the US – the world power that promotes the crusade against Maduro – has not yet made such a bold decision and does not publicly have “diplomats” in the service of Guaidó. In fact, Brazil is acting as the laboratory of a great experiment, where the limits of the violation of Venezuelan sovereignty are being tested. Depending on the reaction of Caracas and its allies, other countries will receive – or not – such “diplomats”.

Lucas Leiroz is a research fellow in international law at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

October 8, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | Leave a comment

Brazil Slum Residents Organize Without State To Fight Virus

teleSUR | April 2, 2020

The packed living conditions, poor sanitation, lack of healthcare and flouting of lockdown measures make Brazil’s slums – home to around 11 million people or 6 percent of the population – particularly vulnerable to the virus.

Emerson Barata draws a circular map of Sao Paulo’s largest slum, Paraisopolis, and begins to mark confirmed coronavirus cases in blue ink. At the center of the favela of around 120,000 people, which crowds between luxury apartment blocks and high-walled mansions, he draws four dots.

“It’s going to get a lot worse,” the 34-year-old tells an assembled medical team, adding another two dots to the favela’s outer districts. “The surge hasn’t hit yet.”

Barata is leading the coronavirus response in this labyrinth of red cinder block homes where, beyond the six confirmed cases, his team suspects another 60.

He is not connected to the Brazilian state, and nor is the medical team around him. The former minor league soccer pro is part of an association of Paraisopolis residents whose deep distrust of government has led them to take things into their own hands.

The residents’ association has hired a round-the-clock private medical service including three ambulances, two doctors, and two nurses, as well as drivers and support staff.

While President Jair Bolsonaro has dismissed the virus as “a little flu” and told Brazilians to get back to work, Barata is sleep-deprived trying to get his favela ready for what he describes as a “war.”

Barata declined to say how much this would cost or how it was being funded, beyond saying some was covered by donations. Much of it still needs to be raised, he said. The medical team is on an initial 30-day contract, likely to be extended.

“Favelas are going to be hit the worst,” he said, standing in a parking lot outside a mechanic’s workshop that doubles as a base for the medical team. “The places that are already neglected by the state will be neglected even more.” Public health experts agree.

Paraisopolis is likely to be on the front line. Many of its residents work in the nearby wealthy neighborhood of Morumbi, ground zero for the outbreak in Brazil. Across Latin America, many of the first cases were diagnosed in those affluent enough to travel abroad, but the virus is expected to hit the poorest hardest.

Brazil is Latin America’s worst affected nation by the coronavirus so far, with nearly 7,000 confirmed cases and 240 deaths.

The Paraisopolis residents who have tested positive include two who work in the nearby Albert Einstein Hospital, a private medical facility that diagnosed the first case in Latin America. Another was a live-in nanny.

The population density in Paraisopolis is about the same as Manhattan, although most buildings are just two or three stories tall. Residents complain the water runs dry after 8 p.m. and rubbish piles up along the tight, damp alleyways that weave through the community.

“I think it’s going to get ugly… This is a ‘little flu’ that kills,” said Luiz Carlos, a short, grey-haired doctor who is part of the hired medical team.

Roberto de Souza, 41, believes he caught the virus through his job in a pharmacy – despite wearing disposable gloves and a facemask when serving customers. He developed terrible pain in his legs and a constant cough soon followed.

After testing positive he isolated himself in a cramped second-floor flat in Paraisopolis.

“What hurts the most is being locked away, alone,” he said through a facemask, in between coughing fits. “I have to worry, not just about myself but about not giving it to the next person.”

De Souza lives by himself. In Paraisopolis that puts him in the minority.

Reuters visited one cramped home where a woman was self-isolating, sick with coronavirus symptoms. But her three children, mother and brother had nowhere else to go, so continued to live with her.

To address that challenge, the residents’ association is looking to use two local schools – closed due to the outbreak – to house up to 500 suspected and confirmed cases without life-threatening symptoms, removing them from tight living quarters.

Despite all the preparations, Barata is worried residents are not taking the threat seriously enough. Unlike in the rest of Sao Paulo, where a lockdown is in place, most bars and shops remain open in Paraisopolis. The streets bustle. Parties pound.

Barata fears many will change their attitude only once a parent or a friend dies. By then it might be too late.

“We’re trying to get the message out: This is no joke,” he said.

April 3, 2020 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism | , | Leave a comment