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Rio, Zona Sul: Death of a Motoboy

Argentine tourists posted this and similar photos to Flickr in 2007 from their trip to Rio. They wound up in the newspaper. Handing your assault rifle to a tourist is not something you would see an NYPD Hercules cop doing.

Armas de PMs que estavam no Morro Azul são recolhidas para a perícia: G1/Globo reports.

A Polícia Civil recolheu as armas dos PMs suspeitos de terem feitos os disparos que mataram o motoboy Edson Vaz do Nascimento para fazer perícia. Moradores do Morro Azul, no Flamengo, na Zona Sul do Rio, onde o motoboy vivia, acusam policiais militares de serem responsável pela morte Edson [sic]. Quatro PMs prestaram depoimento na madrugada deste domingo (20) na 9ª DP (Catete).

The state judicial police apprehended the weapons of the military police who may have fired the shots that killed motorcycle deliveryman Edson Vaz do Nascimento in order to perform ballistics tests. Residents of Morro Azul, in Flamengo, Southern Zone, where the “motoboy” lived, accuse military police of being responsible for Edson’s death. Four PMs gave sworn statements at the 9th Precinct (Catete) in the early morning hours of Sunday.

The Rio military police have suffered a number of high-profile public relations setbacks recently that tend to reinforce the common wisdom that they are trigger-happy and incompetent, at best. See also

The Rio police seem to have been in crisis since a change of command in February:

But what exactly happened? We have to turn to the Folha de S. Paulo for a more detailed account:

A assessoria da Polícia Militar informou que PMs abordaram dois homens da comunidade e apreenderam quantidade de drogas. Logo em seguida, um tiro, que segundo a assessoria teria saído do alto do morro, atingiu o motoboy. Com a confusão formada logo a seguir, o outro homem conseguiu fugir.

The press office of the PM said that the troopers approached two men from the community and seized a quantity of drugs. Soon thereafter, a shot, which the press office said came from up the hillside, hit the motoboy. In the ensuing confusion, the other suspect managed to flee.

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Moral Panic in Bolivia: “Beware The Venezulean Superfraud Squad!”

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Infinitely guileful Venezuelan fraud squad on the loose! Massive heavy weapon shipment seized! Press liberties under siege! Moral panic in the El Diario (Bolivia) today. Click to zoom.

EL DIARIO (Bolivia) brings us a shocker of a headline today:

“The Venezuelan fraud wizards may be operating in Bolivia!”

Bolivia has scheduled a national vote of confidence on the government of Evo Morales and 9 provincial governors — 6 of them of the separatist persuasion that opposes Morales.

I do not give much credence to this story, except as a possible example of ORVEX-style disinformation, orchestrated out of Miami. It is sourced exclusively to a “U.S.-based lawyer and journalist” (read blogger), for example.

The thing that bothers me is: Are my tax dollars financing this nonsense?

I have not yet seen any credible evidence that claims of massive government-orchestrated fraud in the December 2007 Constitutional referendum in Venezuela are true.

In fact, you might even point to the fact that the government position LOST THAT VOTE as evidence that it is unlikely — although there are certainly enough gibbering wing nuts out there with an explanation for that fact.

An explanation generally invoking the folklore of infinite Communist guile, these people — very much in vein of Diogo Mainardi’s knowing, winking allusions to “those old Trotskyite propaganda tactics” and the like, in fact.

I mean that quite literally. I am not exaggerating for effect. See also

Existen indicios serios de que personal del gobierno venezolano habrían “accedido y manipulado” los registros de identidad bolivianos con la finalidad de construir una gigantesca maquinaria de fraude electoral, al igual que ocurriera en ese país donde se descubrió electores de más de 100 años, de personas que murieron o de 37.000 miembros de una misma familia con apellidos maternos y paternos similares.

There are serious indications that Venezuelan government personnel may have “accessed and manipulated” the Bolivian national ID registry for the purpose of constructing a giant electoral fraud apparatus, just like the one that operated in that country, where persons over 100 years of age were found voting, along with persons who had died and 37,000 members of the same family with similar surnames.

The gentleman may be thinking of Mexico, where public officials were convicted of selling the entire voter registry database  — 65 million records — to agents of the United States government.

One of the political parties — the one that won the presidential elections — was later discovered to have illegal access to the database, through a tech company hired by the Mexican election authority to publish election results.

The company, Hildebrando, is controlled by the brother-in-law of the winning candidate, who was advised by U.S. political consultant Dick Morris on his campaign

El periodista y abogado radicado en Estados Unidos, Hernán Maldonado, aseguró que el proceso de dotación gratuita de cédulas de identidad fue “entregado” por el Gobierno boliviano a los “magos chapistas [sic] expertos en inflar registros electorales”. Recordó que la masa de electores de Venezuela creció de 10 a 16 millones en sólo una década aspecto que le “garantiza siempre el triunfo al petrodictador”.

U.S.-based journalist and attorney Hernán Maldonado assured us that the process of free distribution of ID cards was “outsourced” by the Bolivian government to “Chavist wizards who are expert at packing voter registration rolls.” He recalled that the voter rolls in Venezuela grew from 10 million to 16 million in just a decade, “guaranteeing the perpetual triumph of the petrodictator.”

The “petrodictator” lost his last election, although if you are a reader of the Folha de S. Paulo or O Globo here in Brazil — or the Reuters news service — you may have been informed otherwise.

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“Internationalization of the Amazon: Lula’s Surprise Counterattack”

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There’s gold in them there iron mines: Carajás, in Pará.

GEOLOGO.COM.BR is a groovy little international news service, in Portuguese, on the global mining sector.

It noted in June:

Nos últimos anos aumentou, exponencialmente, a pressão de várias entidades internacionais no sentido da internacionalização da Amazônia. Esta pressão, infelizmente, consegue influenciar uma série de decisões governamentais, nem sempre boas para o País. Sempre que o assunto é abertura de estradas, barragens, minas ou qualquer obra de porte na Amazônia, estes mesmos grupos aplicam pressões e o Governo Brasileiro, frequentemente, titubeia e acaba sucumbindo com medo das repercussões internacionais.

Pressures from various international bodies have mounted exponentially in recent years with respect to the proposed internationalization of the Amazon region. This pressure, unfortunately, has influenced a series of Brazilian government decisions, not all of them good for the country. Every time the topic of constructing new roads, levees, mines or any other large-scale infrastructure project in the Amazon arises, these same groups pressure the Brazilian government, which often vacillates and winds up giving in, fearing international repercussions.

Do ponto de vista da geologia a Amazônia encerra um potencial mineral e econômico simplesmente gigantesco. Estamos falando de petróleo e gás, do ferro, manganês, alumínio, cobre, níquel, ouro, cromo, tântalo, estanho, caulim, zinco, chumbo, prata, nióbio, terras raras, platina, diamante e das gemas…enfim de um elenco de metais e minerais de profundo interesse econômico que povoam os recantos amazônidas como o Carajás, Tapajós, Pitinga, Amapá, Roraima, Rondônia, Mato Grosso….e por aí afora. Todos ainda inexplorados, a espera de um minerador que possa converter este sonho em realidade.

From the geological point of view, the economic and mineral potential of the Amazon is simply vast. We are talking about oil and gas, manganese, aluminum, aluminum silicates, copper, nickel, gold, chromium, tantalum, tin, zinc, lead, silver niobium, rare earths, platinum, diamonds and gemstones … in short, a long list of metals and minerals that are of profound interest to the people of Amazonian regions like Carajás, Tapajós, Pitinga, Amapá, Roraima, Rondônia, Mato Grosso … and so on. All still unexplored, just waiting for a mining concern to turn the dream into a reality.

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“The Wheat and the Chaff”: Nassif Replies to Mainardi

Editor: a person employed by a newspaper, whose business it is to separate the wheat from the chaff, and to see that the chaff is printed. –Elbert Hubbard (1856–1915

Luis Nassif responds to Diogo Mainardi of Veja magazine and his two most recent columns with a post titled “Journalism and the yellow press.”

On Mainardi’s recent literary adventures, see

In his print column, Mainardi proves Godwin’s Law of Nazi Analogies:.

In almost every heated debate, one side or the other—often both—plays the “Hitler card”, that is, criticizes their opponent’s position by associating it in some way with Adolf Hitler or the Nazis in general. This move is so common that it led Mike Godwin to develop the well-known “Godwin’s Law of Nazi Analogies”: “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.”

It amazes me that Mainardi would identify Nassif by name in the print edition of Veja, which runs off and circulates (the numbers are somewhat fuzzy) a million copies or so.

I doubt the online version of Mainardi gets that much exposure. Mainardi has just made Luis Nassif — Inspector Javert to his Jean Valjean — much more famous than he was before, it seems to me.

If Nassif is a “banana,” then it would simply not be worth mentioning his name in print. On the Internet, words are cheap. But it costs a lot of money to put names into print, on glossy paper.

I support Nassif’s project and point of view, by the way. I am not quite straight on the argument presented here about the “Italian dossier,” but it is interesting to note that an attempt by Dantas and his attorneys to introduce Veja magazine reporting to this effect as evidence of the “political persecution” of Daniel Dantas was thrown out of court in New York under the Article 11 rules of evidence, as gabbling hearsay.

Some Brazilian parliamentary commissions of inquiry seem to be run by people who never learned the concept of “hearsay” in law school. And it is not that Brazilian legal education is deficient in this regard.


On “political persecution” as a trademark Dantas — and Mainardi — defense, I think Nassif is exactly right. See also

I translate.

Journalist Kennedy Alencar, in his most recent Web column for the Folha, makes a start on the essential task of distinguishing between serious journalism and the yellow press.

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Dantas’ Inferno: “Feds Eye Mining Interests in Pará”

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There's gold in them there iron mines: Carajás, in Pará.

SINOPSE DE IMPRENSA: PF rastreia projetos de Dantas no Pará: Citing the Estado de S. Paulo Sunday edition and BBC Brasil, Último Segundo reports that mining investments by the Opportunity Group in the Amazonian state of Pará are also being scrutinized by federal police.

SÃO PAULO – A Polícia Federal (PF) rastreia investimentos feitos pelo banqueiro Daniel Dantas em áreas de mineração no Pará, localizadas em terras de preservação ambiental e em reservas indígenas. O relatório do delegado Protógenes Queiroz, responsável pela Operação Satiagraha, levanta suspeita sobre a “idoneidade dos projetos de exploração de minérios” e faz referência à “grande quantidade de áreas de preservação indígena ou ambiental”. Para ele, “há indícios de lavagem de capitais na aplicação desses recursos”. As informações são da edição deste domingo do jornal “O Estado de S.Paulo”.

The federal police is tracing investments made by banker Daniel Dantas in mining areas in Pará, located in environmental preserves and on indigenous reservations. The [final] report by investigator Queiroz, who led Operation Satyagraha, raises suspicions about “whether the mining projects are aboveboard” and refers to “the large quantity of indigenous and environmental preserves” involved. In his vew, “there are signs of money laundering in the investment of these funds.” Or so reports the Sunday edition of the Estado de S. Paulo metro daily.

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