From the nostalgic 90s: President Collor as media-made … and media-unmade … man
Select outlets of the Brazilian press celebrate a World Bank database on corruption cases that names two notorious figures — ex-São Paulo mayor and governor Paulo Maluf — Maluf! — and the media and telecoms venture capitalist Daniel Dantas.
Meanwhile, the congressional commission examining the scandal of Mr. Waterfall drones on as efforts continue to quash the wiretaps on which the case is founded. This essential legal detail gets very little coverage, however.
The senior federal judge in charge of analyzing the motion has already voted in favor of throwing out the evidence on the grounds of insufficent cause for the warrant. Two other judges on the panel — roughly equivalent to a federal appeals court — have yet to weigh in.
And a former Supreme Court justice, Gilmar Mendes — scrutinized over travels on a private jet allegedly paid for by the Waterfall organization — has already demonstrated, in spades and ex parte, a similar distaste for a supposed «police state» based on court-ordered wiretaps.
In fact, Mendes famously claimed that he had been the victim of some infinitely sneaky wireless war driver in his chambers, who allegedly captured a conversation with Senator Demosthenes Torres of the DEM — a central figure in the current scandal .
At the time, Veja amplified the allegation, but when the federal police found absolutely no evidence of such activity it issued no mea culpa.
An excerpt from today’s news flow, and I translate …
Goiás governor Marconi Perillo (PSDB) spoke for nearly 9 hours this Monday before the congressional commission investigating the numbers racketeer Charlie Waterfall. Summoned in the capacity of a witness, the politician responded to questions about his relationship to Carlos «Charlie Waterfall» Ramos – his nickname provided the commission with its name — and irregularities committed by the public works contractor Delta in the Center-West of Brasil.. Senator Fernando Collor (PTB-AL) and representative Cândido Vaccarezza (PT-SP), on the other hand, preferred to criticize the news media.
The questions from ex-President Collor to Perillo referred to the Editora Abril publishing company and its man in Brasilia, editor in chief Policarpo Junior of Veja magazine. The PSDB governor said he was familiar with the editor by name but knew nothing of any relationship with Mr. Waterfall. Responding to this denial of the journalist’s involvement, Collor went on the attack.
“Policarpo Junior was in the middle of this criminal organization, coordinating with Waterfall. Many of his scandalous scoops were coordinated with the gambling racketeer. Mr. Waterfall welcomed the result of these published stories,” Collor said, without referring to a finding by two Federal Police agents who told the commission that the journalist’s relationship with the racketeer was a matter of a journalist in relation to a source.
Collor went on to say that Editora Abril was also involved in illegal activity. In his view, Veja was Mr. Waterfall’s content provider. Collor criticized «Radar»columnist Lauro Jardim. “He is a [smoke and mirrors man]”, Collor complained. Regarding Collor’s remarks, Veja columnist Reinaldo Azevedo published a series of cover stories from the time of Collor’s presidency and impeachment. “Twenty reasons for Collor to hate Veja,” the blogger writes..
As a matter of fact, Veja did quite a bit to construct the mythical image of Collor as a an anti-corruption «hunter down of maharajahs» — public servants growing rich as parasites on the body of the State.
Last month, Vaccarezza was outed – by the SBT network – sending a message to Rio governor Sergio Cabral, reassuring him about the congressional probe. “You are our guy and we are yours,” said the SMS text message. During Perrillo’s testimony, Vaccarezza did not cite this episode, but did criticize the press. He said part of the media “produces fake news” about the PT political party, and that it is «pure invention» to cite former president Lula as the mentor of the congressional commission into racketeering by business and political figures..