All speech is vain and empty unless it be accompanied by action –Demosthenes
The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. –Marcus Aurelius
Justice Roberts tells the Washington Times that Supreme Court deliberations are being bugged by some rogue COINTELPRO-style operation within the FBI. Time magazine and ABC News uncritically endorse the accusation.
Justice Scalia chimes in, charging a plot to throw members of the Federalist Society to the lions.
A Warren Commission is empaneled.
The accusations turn out to be completely baseless.
Here in Brazil, O Globo publishes the outcome of a similar episode in a three-sentence footnote on an inside page of a skeleton-crew holiday edition — without repercussion in the rest of the national news media, as is customary.
A search on Google News for grampo — wiretap — turns up no reference to the story, while the same search on Google Blogs turns up a number of citations of a note by journalist Luis Nassif on the episode.
In the note, Nassif is a wee bit unfair to Globo journalism to the extent that O Globo designated blogger Ricardo Noblat offers an extended analysis of the episode as well.
Lei & Ordem reproduces Noblat’s online column — translated excerpt follows.
THE FEDERAL POLICE have concluded that there was no illegal wiretapping of the telephones of Supreme Court Chief Justice Gilmar Mendes in the episode in which a conversation between the justice and Senator Demóstenes Torres [DEM-GO] wss made public.
The feds concluded there was no interception of fixed-line or wireless telephones of the high court The Senate police had already reached the same conclusion.
Furthermore, the 10 electronic “suitcases” of ABIN, the national intelligence agency, were not used for purposes other than those for which they are intended One was used in a kidnapping case in Paraguay. A technical report by the Army attests that this equipment is not capable of intercepting telephone calls.
So where does that leave us?
There was an unforgettable uproar when Demóstenes and Gilmar confirmed to VEJA magazine that they had in fact had the conversation that appeared in print. VEJA does not have the audio of the conversation. Neither do the Senator or the former Chief Justice, for that matter.
The chief justice threatened to go on national radio and TV to denounce the emergence of a police state. He considered maintaining the high court in permanent session until the matter was cleared up. He requested a meeting with the federal president in which he spoke in harsh terms .
After this meeting, on the advice of Defense Minister Nelson Jobim, the president removed the leadership of ABIN. When things cooled off, no evidence was found of ABIN involvement, nor of any wrongdoing by federal police. Jobim’s statement that ABIN possessed equipment capable of wiretapping was refuted .
On the eve of the presidential elections in 2006, Marco Aurélio de Mello, chief justice at the time of the federal elections tribunal, announced that his telephone was bugged. It was not.. He had based his statement on an ambiguous report from a security consultant hired to sweep the court for bugs.
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