After the abrupt sacking of a senior state law enforcement official over official corruption to a minor, by local standards, degree, a general sense of unease has fallen over the police forces here.
Mauro Malin says so in the Observatório da Imprensa.
The interview is classic Brazilian journalistic self-panegyric, full of heroism and principle.
On the other hand, statements of the form “Should I turn up dead …” coming from a Brazilian journalists are not automatically absurd on the face of things. Journalists do get whacked with relative impunity here.
It is not only in Rio that state security apparatus harbors explosive conflicts. In the Estado de S. Paulo on Friday, the publication of images from a closed circuit TV system in the Patio Higienopolis shopping mall showed a meeting between Antônio Ferreira Pinto, state secretary of public security, and Mario Cesar Carvalho, a reporter for the Folha de S. Paulo. The story was headlined “Police stalk securitty secretary.”
As quoted in the ESP, the secretary said the meeting at the posh mall concerned the strip-searching of a police clerk. According to blogs that published the imagines, the topicof converations was the irregularities committed by senior aide Túlio Khan, accuised of selling confidential data. The meeting took place on the same day that story appeared in the Folha. One of the blogs I refer to is supposedly written by a policeman. He remains anonymous. It should be remembered that the Constitution of 1988, in granting the right of free speech, recognized no right to anonymity.
Mario Cesar Carvalho gave this, our Observatório da Imprensa, an interview on this episode:
Mario Cesar Carvalho – I have a strong impression that I am being spied on by what I would call the rotten element in the police. By that, I mean senior officers investigated for corruption. There are a number of cases underway now in São Paulo suggesting embezzlement at the motor vehicles department, with traffic cops, and at Denarc, the narcotics squad. I have a very strong impression that these people are following me, listening to my cell phone calls, to the point where they know exactly where I am.
This is taking place in the broader context of an undeclared war, a muffled war, between the state secretary, Antônio Ferreira Pinto, and the transport secretary, Saulo [de Castro Abreu Filho], who headed Security in the government before the current Alckmin regime. Saulo backers were directly affected by measures that Ferreira Pinto adopted in an effort to clean up the police. The reaction of this element in the police department has been to try to blackmail the press, spying on a journalist. The Folha,obviously, does not bow down to this type of intimidation.
According to Malin, the Folha milks the heroic martyrdom angle for all it’s worth, “dedicated over half the Panel page to the episode” today, as well as the cover of the Caderno section.”
Globo has a program called “I, Reporter” featuring investigative journalist Caco Barcellos in a program that makes the reporter and how he reports the center of the story. Trouble is that Barcellos has not investigated anything since his intimate conversations with a Rio drug gang leader, and did the amazing research on death squad practices in the São Paulo police, Rota 66: A Polícia que Mata, in his spare time.
It is a bit nauseating, watching Caco mugging for the cameras, “Look at me, I am journalizing now!” But nothing will ever take away the achievement of Rota 66.
The Folha cites remarks by the secretariate of security in which sources say there are “strong indications that criminal groups used the CCTV images to spy on a ranking public official and a journalist. This conviction jibes with what Carvalho told us.
I translated very carefully there. This was not the Secretary speaking, this was some unnamed person who works at the Secretariate.
The leaking of the footage will be the object of a formal probe, said São Paulo attorney-general Fernando Grella Vieira. The Estado piece also reports that when governor Geraldo Alckmin that no one from the state government requested the tapes, the shopping mall, which previously had said the requests came through “official channels”, started saying the request came from “police agents.”
You should read what the police blogs are saying about this reporter.
The police blogs are quite the phenomenon … and often a terrifying read.
Mario seems to be best-known for his kick-ass, take-names exposé of the tobacco industry published in 2001.
Some very hairy things are about to happen here. Hopefully for the better.