• June 2011
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Satanic Mills and The Pigs of Steel

A black-hat carvoaria in Piauí — entire debt-enslaved families engaged in illegal deforestation and the defrauding of carbon-steel production standards.  

It is a shame that Brasil Econômico is hiding today’s report on the black-market carbon industry behind its pay-to-play firewall.

Although it has taken some time to get up steam, the BE — which takes the place of the late, lamented Gazeta Mercantil — thoroughly explores the proposition that specialty steels used by automakers could not be produced sustainably without Brazilian slave and child labor and black-market carbon manufacture.

To be precise, the coverage is largely based on a 7-year study by the Observatório Social, whose methods and means are closely scrutinized. The Observatório titles its report “The Steel of Devastation.” It is itself a steely-eyed and devastating document.

The Observatório describes how companies dedicated, pro forma, to the use of legally produced carbon in their production of pig-iron are really just overlooking the illegal back-door introduction of slave labor-based, environmentally predatory carbon production into the supply chain of “certified” carbon producers.

The illegal facilities are generally located some 10km from the Potemkin villages that front for them — far enough away for plausible deniability, close enough for midnight runs with unmarked trucks with no onboard manifest.

Steel producers — unlike industries that scream for the economic sense and moral rectitude of “self-regulation” — claim that oversight of standards and practices is not their responsibility, Brasil Economico reports.

Again, the real grabber here is the claim that the entire industry would not be sustainable under any other regime now practicable — such as eucalyptus plantations for carbon production — if it were not for slave labor-produced predatory deforestation.

This report really ought to be Englished, and Englished proficiently, o quanto antes.


Sambodian Insurance | Beware The Paraguayan Policy

More tales of the mad Black Hatter

Never mind the Madoff of Minas Gerais, which is a whole other story about people and places you have never heard of.

Portal ClippingMP reports, and I clip the report to my true crime file.

More than 100 insurance companies operate illegally in Brazil, taking in R$ 3 billion  per year on forged policies and bilking consumers.

Lacking the resources and capital reserves to back their policies, these groups generally operate in auto insurance, involving 500,000 cars, but also exploit poor Brazilians who invest in funeral insurance.

The misery of poor Brazilians cheated out of their funeral insurance by sharpers is painful to contemplate. The miserable Brazilian is by far the most miserable miserable person I have ever met, never having lived in other recovering Third World hell holes. But gradually, the Law is shaking the dust off its robes, I am happy to say.

In the first five months of this year, the private insurance regulator, Susep, fined  29 of these firms, many of them of foreign origin, a total of R$ 110 million. Using documents and identification identical to those used by legitimate insurers, the pirate insurers managed to deceive their customers. Treasury minister Guido Mantega ordered Susep to step up its vigilance, purge the illegal operators and gurantee the credibility of the insurance sector.

.Honest to god, I have actually been thinking about writing a financial thriller set in Brazil, with a less than hard-boiled Brazilian CPA who finds his inner Sam Spade when he stumbles across a money laundering operation.