Brazil Is Now Effectively Run by a Military Junta

brazil-is-now-effectively-run-by-a-military-junta

25-02-19 10:05:00,

It was a little more than 45 days of the most bizarre power experiment in Brazilian history, but it’s over. The Jair Bolsonaro government, as the victorious power arrangement that won at the ballot box in 2018, no longer exists. A new phase two is beginning, of a regime that is ending the period of the people’s Constitution of 1988. A military junta is taking power in a government in which it already dominated. There are four generals encapsulated in the Presidential Palace: Augusto Heleno, Hamilton Mourão, Carlos Alberto dos Santos Cruz and Eduardo Villas Bôas. In the next few days, the Junta may incorporate General Floriano Peixoto Neto, who is slated to substitute General Secretariat Minister Gustavo Bebianno, Bolsonaro’s campaign coordinator who was recently ousted on money laundering charges.

It is not exactly a coup d’état. The coup took place in 2015-16. They were already there. Now they occupy all of the key positions in the government. They have taken the power that was left vacant by the cartoon caricatures of Bolsonaro and his sons. Captain Jair may continue living in the Presidential Palace and even play video games in his office in the Capital building. All he has to do is obey his commanding officers, the generals.

The most prominent member of the Military Junta will probably be Villas Bôas. He was the great strategist, the negotiator, the man who took the initiative to betray democracy, ordering the Supreme Court to block Lula’s freedom and impeding the ex-President’s candidacy and with this, guaranteeing the rise of a new regime. The decisive role of Villas Bôas, which should have remained in the shadows, turned public in a pathetic manner – like everything in this process – by the clumsy Jair Bolsonaro. During the January 2 inauguration ceremony for Defense Minister, General Fernando Azevedo e Silva (one more general), the now zombie President publicly mumbled, “General Vilas Boas, what we spoke about privately will remain a secret. You are one of the people responsible for me being here.”

Villas Bôas is like a post-modern Augusto Pinochet, at a time when coups are no longer mobilized with military troops, bombings or blood on the streets – for now. Nominated by Dilma, as Pinochet was nominated by Allende, he will probably now be the boss of the Military Junta.

 » Lees verder

Brazil Dam Collapse: Vale, the Private Giant Responsible, Has a History of Flouting Rules – Global Research

brazil-dam-collapse-vale-the-private-giant-responsible-has-a-history-of-flouting-rules-8211-global-research

11-02-19 08:08:00,

The Brumadinho dam burst, the most recent instance in Vale’s long list of regulatory violations, has resulted in 121 deaths so far, with the number expected to rise

***

With the death toll in the Brumadinho dam disaster in Brazil rising to 121, and another 226 people still missing after 11 days of the collapse, there is little hope that anyone else will be found alive. According to reports, no one has been found alive since the day after the collapse on January 25. This has surpassed Brazil’s worst environmental disaster in terms of human casualties, the 2015 Mariana dam burst, for which the same multinational private giant, Vale, was responsible.

The Brumadinho dam, in the state of Minas Gerais, was a tailing dam used to store mining waste and sludge, with a capacity of 1 million cubic metres. When it burst, the dam released 11.7 million cubic metres of toxic mining waste which went crashing into homes in Brumadinho and also the Vale office. The family members of the missing people have been lining up at the rescue operation site for more information, but Vale has not yet said anything about what went wrong.

Lessons learnt from 2015 disaster?

This disaster comes just three years after the Mariana dam burst in which 19 people lost their lives due to the 62 million cubic metres of toxic mud that was released. The dam was jointly owned by Vale and the English Australian BHP.

Both the dams were constructed using the same “upstream” technique, in which the wall of the dams are built using tailings, and are designed to grow as more waste is pumped in. It is the cheapest method of constructing tailing dams, and also proven to be the least safe. In Chile, this method of construction is banned.

Even the cause of this disaster is likely to be the same as the previous one. Minas Gerais’ deputy minister for environmental regulations, Hildebrando Neto, told Reuters that the dam is likely to have collapsed due to liquefaction, when the solid constituents of the structure, such as sand and dried-mud, lost strength and started behaving like liquids.

Thus, Vale does not seem to have learnt any lessons, and little has been done to hold it accountable and change the conditions of regulation of dams in Brazil.

 » Lees verder

Brazil: Fascism on the Verge of Power? – Global Research

brazil-fascism-on-the-verge-of-power-8211-global-research

17-12-18 04:55:00,

The extreme right-wing candidate Jair Bolsonaro won the Brazilian presidential elections on 28 October in the second round with a margin of 11 million votes (all in all about 58 million or 55 per cent) against the candidate of the Workers’ Party (PT) Fernando Haddad with 47 million votes, representing 45 per cent of the vote. Another 40 million Brazilians did not vote or cast empty ballots instead. What is to be expected from the incoming presidency that starts on January 1, 2019? And why did voters turn to the radical right after 13 years of governments led by presidents from the PT plus two years of an interim neoliberal government that came to power via a parliamentary coup?

The spectacular fact is not what is visible at first sight – that the PT candidate Haddad lost – but that the traditional right-wing parties, the Brazilian Democratic Movement (PMDB) and the Brazilian Social Democratic Party (PSDB), sank into meaninglessness. Their candidates, Meirelles of the PMDB, the traditional party of rural elites and the incumbent president Michel Temer, got 1.2 per cent in the first round of the elections, and Geraldo Alckmin of the PSDB, the party of urban elites and the middle-classes, got 4.8 per cent of the votes.

The PMDB and the PSDB have never been mass parties with a fixed ideology, but rather, elite formations that moulded their ideology from left to right and back again, and all the while exercising a staunch right-wing agenda in practice. Thus, Bolsonaro was able to replace the traditional right by being a member of a nano-sized party, the Partido Social Liberal (PSL), that he had joined only on January 5, 2018.

The PT defended its position as the main opposition party, and as the biggest party bloc in parliament, despite fierce anti-PT propaganda from Bolsonaro and from all other opposition parties. The strongholds of the PT are the regional states in the poor Northeast, where Haddad obtained victories in both rounds and where regional governors from left-wing parties were elected.

Corruption, Crime, Family Values

One basis for the success of Bolsonaro was the anti-corruption movement that had swept the country with massive demonstrations in 2015 and 2016 and which formed the popular basis for the impeachment of president Dilma Rousseff in 2016.

 » Lees verder

In Bolsonaro’s New Brazil, Far-Right Evangelical Billionaire Edir Macedo’s Media Empire is Being Exploited to Investigate Journalists – Including The Intercept

In Bolsonaro’s New Brazil, Far-Right Evangelical Billionaire Edir Macedo’s Media Empire is Being Exploited to Investigate Journalists – Including The Intercept

20-10-18 06:29:00,

Edir Macedo is projected on a screen displayed outside a replica of Solomon’s Temple during its inauguration ceremony in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on July 31, 2014.

Photo: Paulo Fridman/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The highly likely ascension to power of far-right extremist Jair Bolsonaro is already unleashing a climate in which journalists who are critical of him and his movement – including several writing for the Intercept – are being subjected to an aggressive campaign of personal investigation, attempted intimidation, and thuggish scrutiny of family members.

These attacks are being orchestrated by the media outlets owned by a far-right, scandal-plagued, evangelical pastor-billionaire, Edir Macedo (universally known as The Bishop and founder of the sprawling Universal Church of the Kingdom of God), who is now an explicit supporter of Bolsonaro. Macedo’s vast media empire – one that includes the nation’s second-largest TV outlet (Record), online portals (R7) and various other news agencies – is now being flagrantly abused to impose punishment and retaliation against journalists for the crime of reporting critically on Bolsonaro, his movement, and Macedo’s companies.

On Saturday (Oct. 13), The Intercept published, in Portuguese, an exposé on how journalists inside R7, a huge online portal owned by Macedo, are “hostages” to their owner’s agenda, barred from publishing negative stories about Bolsonaro and generally forced to sacrifice their journalistic integrity to serve Macedo’s extremist political agenda. Written for the Intercept by the Brazilian journalist Leandro Demori, the article was based on reports from distraught R7 journalists who spoke anonymously. The article went viral in Brazil, quickly becoming one of the most widely read Intercept articles of the year. On Thursday, in the wake of that reporting, the long-time chief of Record TV’s flagship news program, Luciana Barcelos, resigned.

Throughout 2018, The Intercept has published some of the most aggressive and widely read investigative reporting in Portuguese that has been critical of the Bolsonaro movement. Indeed, long before a Bolsonaro presidency was even thinkable, when he was still a fringe member of Congress, The Intercept has been critically covering him; in a 2014 article, after he told a female colleague in Congress that she was too ugly to “deserve” his rape, we pronounced him “the most misogynistic,

 » Lees verder

Brazil’s Bolsonaro channels MAGA message to sweep first round election results (Video)

Brazil’s Bolsonaro channels MAGA message to sweep first round election results (Video)

13-10-18 11:43:00,

Via Strategic Culture

On October 2nd, 2018, Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was allegedly killed inside Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Turkey. The sequence of events seems to show that the murder was premeditated. Two days before his death, Khashoggi went to the Saudi embassy in Istanbul to obtain documents pertaining to his divorce in preparation to remarry in the United States.

The Saudi embassy instructed him to return on October 2nd to collect the documents, which he duly did. He entered the embassy around 1pm on October 2nd but never exited. Khashoggi’s fiancée, after waiting several hours, raised the alarm as Khashoggi had instructed her to do should he not reemerge after two hours.

It is from here that we should start to reconstruct this story that resembles a science-fiction novel even by Saudi standards, a country that does not hesitate to kidnap heads of state, as was the case with the Lebanese prime minister, Saad Hariri, about a year ago.

Jamal Khashoggi is a controversial figure, a representative of the shadowy world of collaboration that sometimes exists between journalism and the intelligence agencies, in this case involving the intelligence agencies of Saudi Arabia and the United States.

It has been virtually confirmed by official circles within the Al Saud family that Khashoggi was an agent in the employ of Riyadh and the CIA during the Soviet presence in Afghanistan.

From 1991 to 1999, he continued to serve in several countries like Afghanistan, Algeria, Sudan, Kuwait and other parts of the Middle East, often maintaining an ambiguous role in the service of his friend Turki Faisal Al-Saud, the future Saudi ambassador to Washington and London and later supreme head of Saudi intelligence for 24 years.

Khashoggi was named editor of the leading English-language magazine in Saudi Arabia, Arab News, from 1999 to 2003. In late 2003, he transferred to Al Watan, one of the most liberal, Western and pro-reform newspapers in the country.

His job lasted only 52 days, with him being removed strongly criticizing the Wahhabi clerical extremist Ibn Taymiyyah. Khashoggi had turned into a critical voice of the Saudi regime following the internal struggles between King Abdullah and Turki Faisal Al-Saud.

One of the main criticisms of Khashoggi coming from factions loyal to Abdullah was that he had recruited and paid several journalists on behalf of the CIA during his time as an editor.

 » Lees verder

MST Open Letter on Brazil Election – Global Research

MST Open Letter on Brazil Election – Global Research

08-10-18 05:53:00,

Comrades and Friends of MST around the World,

We would like to share some of our views on this delicate moment of Brazilian politics in the last week of the election campaign:

1. This election is very special because it can mean the victory or defeat of the coup against democracy started in 2014, which continued with the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff, extended into the illegitimate government of Michel Temer. For us, the coup is not just the moment of impeachment. The coup is the project that the elites and the financial capital did not have the strength to conquer in the elections and that needed to use the force and the illegality of other apparatuses like the media and the judiciary to execute. Thus, the coup is also the reforms of withdrawal of rights, the promotion of unemployment and, mainly, the political imprisonment of president Lula, without evidence and at a fast pace, to prevent that the favorite candidate of the population disputed the elections.

2. We further understand that the coup is a symptom of the profound economic, social and political crisis that affects not only Brazil, but the whole world, as a result of the hegemony of international financial capital and the accelerated destruction of natural assets, social rights and State around the world. It is important to have this understanding, because the elections will not solve this crisis and probably, even with the victory of the popular forces, we will have the continuity of the crisis and the confrontations that marked this period.

3. The Brazilian population understood that there was a coup and that it was necessary to defeat it. But it did not choose the path of the streets and mobilizations. With the exception of the victorious general strike that blocked the pension reform. In this way, the people chose in Lula’s candidacy the way to express its discontent and desire for change. The MST defended Lula’s candidacy as far as possible. We made a beautiful march to register his candidacy and with other popular movements we made a hunger strike that lasted 26 days and denounced the manipulations of the Judiciary System. And we have kept the Camp Lula Livre in front of the Federal Police’s jail in Curitiba as a living testimony of our conviction of the president’s innocence.

 » Lees verder

Brazil’s Marielle Franco Denounced Three Murders in the Days Before Her Assassination. These Are the Stories.

Brazil’s Marielle Franco Denounced Three Murders in the Days Before Her Assassination. These Are the Stories.

21-03-18 09:01:00,

Marielle Franco’s killers were not out to rid themselves of a 38-year-old member of Rio City Council who dedicated her days to pressing political causes. They wanted to silence an idea.

Franco was killed in a nighttime ambush with no chance to react. It’s the same cowardly way that people are killed in impoverished favelas across Rio de Janeiro and the rest of Brazil — places where the mail isn’t delivered, the electricity is spotty, the water is polluted, and schools close when gunfire begins. In these parts of town, residents’ main point of contact with the government are armored personnel carriers — known as a “Big Skull” — who enter their neighborhood with a license to kill.

In her first campaign for public office in 2016, Franco ran from a scrappy, progressive political party, and still won the fifth-highest vote total out of her colleagues on Rio de Janeiro’s City Council. A black, lesbian single mother, born and raised in a favela, Franco was a rare face of representation in an overwhelming white and male political landscape. And with two degrees from one of Brazil’s most elite universities and over a decade of experience in politics, she was an undeniably powerful charismatic force in the growing movement to confront the epidemic of violence perpetrated or perpetuated by the state. Last year, Rio saw only slightly fewer killings by police than in the entire United States, which is itself a dramatic outlier.

“It was a message,” came the refrain from mourners. But what were Franco’s killers trying to say? And to whom?

Stunned mourners filled the streets of downtown Rio de Janeiro last Thursday to grieve and protest Franco’s death. “It was a message,” the oft-heard refrain came from the crowd. But what were Franco’s killers trying to say? And to whom? The killers seemed to shout in a whisper: “Don’t you dare mess with the systems around you.”

It is too early to know whether Franco’s murderers took her life in retaliation for her activism against police violence. A few scant facts have emerged in the days since her assassination suggesting that perhaps Franco’s murder shares similarities with the killings she regularly denounced. Police investigators traced bullet casings found at the crime scene to a purchase made by the Federal Police.

 » Lees verder