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As Falls Waterfall, So Falls Waterfall Recall

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In the face of wiretap transcriptions implying that Veja magazine served as a conduit for the dissemination of targeted slander campaigns by a hegemonic gambling racket in Goiás, the newsweekly digs up the nearly decade-old scandal of the “big monthly allowance” on its most recent cover, above.

The chatter on this topic is highly confusing — which, as some observers point out, is likely the whole point of this way Brazilian, textbook exercise in shrieking «moral panic».

With another bicameral parliamentary commission of inquiry — CPI — on the agenda of the Congress, it seems not unlikely that lawmakers will not get any legislating done as they swim against the tide of scandalous revelations of another «CPI of the End of the World.»

I believe this is the source of the federal president’s reported opposition to the CPI: «Let the police and courts do their jobs and go pass my gosh-damned amended forestry code and World Cup enabling bill!» Brazil needs to evolve a Move On movement of its own.

It was embarrassing, for instance, to see the World Cup legislation held up over lobbying against a proposed ban on beer at the games in the interest of public safety. A beer manufacturer and the Souza Cruz tobacco firm contributing to the making of a biopic on ex-president Lula in which the rough-hewn former labor leader is constantly smoking and downing brewskies. Embarassingly crude merchandising, I thought

As to the rest of it, my personal axe to grind with Abril are its flagrant abuses of its print distribution monopoly in S. Paulo state. There must thousands of newsstands over which the publisher exercises extensive if sneaky and underhanded monopoly power. I have seen plenty of these bancas where no competing magazines are sold.  This I have witnessed at a fair selection of roadside bancas in what passes for «upstate» here in Sambodia.

Abril is one of those anachronistic oligopolies that the Google guys get press for saying they are trying not to be as evil as.

«Crime Overwhelms Goiás» -- Newly uncovered police report describes how Waterfall manipulated Senator Torres and the governor of Goiás, Cerrillo»

Facebook friend Leandro Fortes of CartaCapital magazine — which saw a recent edition bought up by persons in unmarked vehicles who sought to prevent the circulation of Leandro’s cover story  — has been one of several indy and quasi-indy conduits for the accusations against Veja magzine.

I downloaded the available files and managed to confirm the validity of the passages cited. These are the tropics: Boil before consuming.

" ... Journalism? Veja magazine and the racketeer Charley Waterfall ..."

An anonymous source passed transcripts to the «progressive» bloggers and media in which the central figure in the scandal — the bingo racketeer Charlie Waterfall — boasted of feeding the magazine scandals off the record and on the deep “down low” and “hush hush” — including the 2005 post office bribery scandal that mushroomed into the delirious mess of the “big monthly allowance” scandal, set for final ajudication somethine this year.

Leandro writes, 

The cover story in this week’s Veja is a witness to its desperation, not to mention one of the most pathetic attempts at self-defense  I have ever read in my life. Its pages are suffused with fear, with a horror expressing itself as a subliterary litany whose purpose is to try to inspire public outcry against the «Waterfall CPI» before it reveals the depth of the ties between the bicho banker and Veja’s bureau chief in Brasília, Policarpo Júnior.

Workers’ Party congressman Hamilton Pereira blogs that the government benches will use part of their time in the CPI to subpoena Veja publisher and Grupo Abril owner Roberto Civita about journalistic services allegedly rendered to an ongoing criminal enterprise.

Yesterday afternoon — [April 10] –Globo blogger Ricardo Noblat reported that the formation of a bicameral probe of the Waterfall case has been approved.  One of the first witnesses to be summoned will be Roberto Civita.

This episode on its own should be enough to provoke substantial changes in journalistic practice. Rather than a threat to freedom of expression, it should be viewed as a strengthening it, to the extent that it will lead to the creation of regulatory bodies similar to Conar, the self-regulation body of the advertising industry.

Civita’s misadventure is far worse than that suffered by Rupert Murdoch — the Australian press baron who destroyed a century-old English daily with violations of individual rights. Murdoch’s reporters associated with police to obtain confidential data from ongoing investigations and to facilitate the wiretapping of celebrities.

It was left up to a competing paper, the Guardian. to denounce the scheme. As a result, Murdoch’s paper suffered a fierce boycott by advertisers and a series of prosecutions that led to the jailing of some senior staff.

For its part, the British government promoted significant changes to the regulation of media, finding that the self-regulation body run by media companies had failed to serve its purpose

The English tabloids were once the most shameful publications of any developed economy in the world.  Acting with restraints, they eventually collided with the law. From here on out, there will most certainly be a improvement in the quality of the British press

In Civita’s case, reporters worked not with elements of the police but directly with organized crime in the form of Charley Waterfall’s numbers racketeering.

Quibble: When Veja worked with leaked data only explicable as having come from police sources, it appears to have been provided by criminals infiltrated into state and federal police.

Waterfall helped elect Senator Demóstenes Torres. Veja magazine took it upon itself to build Torres up as an influential public figure with a series of articles extolling his virtues. With the power conferred on him by the magazine, Torres pressured regulatory agencies and elements of the government bureaucracy on issues beneficial to Cachoeira.

An it did not stop there. In one of the transcripts in the Monte Carlos case, Mr. Waterfall is recorded talking about the importanced of having journalists on the payroll and announcing the imminent publication of a report on education.

Nassif ran a note on Cachoeira’s educational interests and its convergence with the interests of Abril, which include owning two leading textbook publishers with huge government contracts. I will try to get to that, too. As we read, it clearly reflects plagiarism on Veja’s part with the appearance of bought and paid for reporting on the cover.

In another transcript, he appears negotiating a school construction program. Very soon after this,Veja runs a cover story extolling the Chinese model of building schools.

It might have been a mere coincidence, or perhaps a partnership in a sector in which both Civita and Waterfall had an interest. Our CPI will discover which.

Mas o trabalho de Civita, através da Veja, não ficou nisso. Quando a Polícia Federal deflagrou a Operação Satiagraha, Veja publicou um conjunto de capas inverossímeis, falsas, em defesa do banqueiro Daniel Dantas. Usou dossiês falsos para atacar Ministro do STJ que votou contra os interesses de Dantas.

Os métodos de Civita chegaram ao auge na reportagem sobre o falso grampo – que teria gravado conversa entre Demóstenes e o presidente do STF Gilmar Mendes – e no dossiê falso sobre contas de autoridades no exterior.

The iG news portal today offers a nice piece of self-explanatory photojournalism: the underground bicho lottery being conducted in kiosks outside the federal congress.