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Truth Commission SP | Who the Hell Was Halliwell?

MPF responsabiliza ex-chefes do Doi-Codi por torturas, mortes e desaparecimentos

I read it in the Estadão.

Ongoing work by federal and state truth commissions related to the military dictatorship of 1964-1985 has turned up the log entries of persons entering and exiting the notorious torture facilities of São Paulo — among them a U.S. diplomat who was a frequent visitor.

U.S. citizen  Claris Halliwell, identified as a regular visitor to S. Paulo’s Department of Social and Political Order — DOPS — during the military dictatorship, was a diplomat working out of the São Paulo consulate as a political attaché.

According to a telegram dispatched in 1973 by the U.S. Embassy to the Department of State, he began to receive threats because of his activities.

The name Halliwell came to light after  a series of  log books or sign-in registers were found in the archives of the defunct department — one of the most significant centers of political repression in Brazil during the 1970s.

A state-sponsored study of these records showed Halliwell spending time at the DOPS building between April 1971 and November 1973. Identifying himself as a “consul,” in 1971 he visited the site twice a month, on average, meeting directly with frontline agents of the political repression, many of them accused of torturing political prisoners.

Contacted for comment by the Estado, representatives of the Consulate São Paulo said they could not confirm Halliwell’s stay in São Paulo because they did not keep records from that far back in time. They might be found, however, in the U.S. National Archive.

But it will not be easy. A preliminary search turns up only a declassified exchange of messages between Brazil and State, detailing the threatening calls targeting Halliwell.



Still, there are a substantial number of results from the 1970s on the keyword “DEOPS.” Download for later reading.

Vi O Mundo provides more detail — although I think is no correct to call Halliwell a «consul». He was one of those attaché sorts of people. 

During the dictatorship, American consul was a frequent Deops visitor.

Ledgers reveal ties between military dictatorship, the U.S. Consulate and FIESP

A list of names is to be released on Monday — February 18 — during a public hearing of the São Paulo state legislature’s Truth Commission. A set of ledgers recording visitors to a detention facility in São Paulo reveals ties with business sector and the U.S. embassy will be produced.

The handwritten annotations indicate the presence of Geraldo Rezende de Matos, who signed himself in as a representative of FIESP, as well the former U.S. consul [sic] in São Paulo, Claris Rowley [sic] Halliwell, were both frequent visitors.

Among the documents of DEOPS — the São Paulo state  department of political and social order, which once operated a detention and torture center for political prisoners on the Largo General Osório in downtown S. Paulo — the Truth Commission found at least eight pen-and-ink, handwritten ledgers listing visitors to the center.

The ledgers record the names of dozens of business leaders who came to meet with Sérgio Paranhos Fleury, a central figure of the political repression in São Paulo.

According to these ledgers, Rezende de Matos and the [sic] U.S. consul visited the location on many occasions, arriving at night and leaving the following morning.

“This is the tip of the iceberg,” said state legislator Adriano Diogo (PT), president of the truth commission of ALESP, the state legislative assembly.

Diogo believes the ledger entries document the promiscuous and direct involvement of business figures in the financing of the political repression, especially during its darkest period, between 1971-1973.

Along with police officials and business figures, the Deops ledgers also document the presence of miliary officers from Operation Bandeirantes (OBAN), headquartered on Tutóia Street in the Southern Zone. Contrary to what the political police led us to believe during the “years of lead,” civilian sponsors and military personnel formed a cohesive organization.

A neat and tidy infographic might be used to illustrate this point.

“We always imagine that the forces of repression were divided.  But that is not true. The ledgers reveal that Deops and Oban cooperated,” says activist Ivan Seixas, a former political prisoner and member of the truth commission. Oban’s commander, the army reserve colonel Carlos Alberto Brilhante Ustra, for example, attended meetings with Fleury and business leaders, according to the ledgers.

The ledgers also record the constant presence of former federal minister Zélia Cardoso de Melo at the Deops facility at the same time as the business leaders.

Zelia would later gain notoriety as the Treasury minister who confiscated the savings of each and every Brazilian in the nervous blink of an eye — and never paid them back. Her announcement of the measure to a live nationwide TV audience deserves the Guinness book: Biggest mass freakout ever.

The future minister was visiting her father, state judicial police official Emiliano Cardoso de Melo, identified by the truth commission as a major figure in the political repression.

The list of business leaders found in the DEOPS ledgers will be released to the public during a public hearing scheduled for Monday, 18 February.  This will be the first chapter in a series of hearings on the role played by the São Paulo business community in raising funds to finance the repression.

The best known of these private sector operators was Grupo Ultragas president Henning Albert Boilensen, who sat in on torture sessions. Boilensen was executed by a guerilla group in 1971 in reprisal for these activities.

A document produced by the (SNI) — the National Intelligence Service — and discovered in the National Archives in Brasília by prosecutor Claudio Fonteles, shows that the military went so far as to create a formal structure for collaboration between the military and the private sector in São Paulo. It was known as the GPMI — the Permanent Group for Industrial Mobilization. According to Fonteles, GPMI was a subsidiary of FIESP.

The alliance between military and the private sector, according to Adriano Diogo, was based on mutual favors: financial support for the hunting down of leftist guerrillas in exchange for favorable treatment that would enable participating companies to grow.  The group included banks, major automotive manufacturers, and most of the businesses and associations represented by the powerful FIESP. The list could produce some suprises.

São Paulo governor Alckmin, meanwhile, tries to stack the commission, not just with sympathetic allies, but with persons accused of the same practices under investigation.

The cara de pau on that guy.

São Paulo – The Truth Commision of São Paulo began work today — February 21 — on the investigation into the kidnapping and disappearance of real estate broker Edgar de Aquino Duarte, in June 1971, by agents of the repression.

The audience comes three days after the state government of Geraldo Alckmin (PSDB) tried to nominate Carlos Alberto Augusto, a state police official from Atibaia accused of the same and other crimes, including torture sessions.

The nomination was greed with a written repudiation from the Commission dated 20 February: state lawmakers on the commission reminded the governor that the police official is a defendant in a case prosecuted by the Federal attorney in São Paulo, and stands accused of participating in the kidnapping of the broker.

Augusto is also accused of involvement in other disappearances and directing torture sessions on the premises of DOPS between 1970 and 1977.

According to the commission, Edgar de Aquino Duarte had no ties to any political organization, but was obliged to go into exile in Mexico because of his participation in the famous uprising of the sailors during the Goulart govenment, 1961-64.  Duarte returned to Brasil in 1968 lived in hiding in São Paulo until 1971, when he was arrested by DOPS &  DOI-Codi, and held until his disappearance in 1973.