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Corruption | Mister X, Meet Deep Throat

Privateering2

Source:  Amoral Nato o Blogodita

The newspaper that denounced, in 1997, the buying of votes favorable to an amendment that opened the way for the reelection of Fernando Henrique Cardoso now says that Narciso Mendes, a central figure in the book<“The Prince of Privateering*>, by Palmério Doria, is the same as the figure presented to readers as Mister X in some of its reporting.

* The Brazilian play on words — <privataria> — is difficult to capture. I selected because has the connotation of anarchocapitalist entrepreneurs of violence licensed by the government and paid with the spoils of combat. These are known as “privateers.” It comes to mind because it refers to something very like some present-day outsourcing contracts or a public-private partnership.

Mendes taped federal deputies admitting they received a R$ 200,000 bribe in exchange for their support for reelections. According to the newspaper, this is a “historic” revelation.

In the Watergate case, the identity of Deep Throat, an FBI agent known as Mark Felt, the source of information that took down Nixon, was preserved for 33 years. Thus far, the reelection scandal has produced zero results.

247 – In the final stages of the “payola of the PT” case, Penal Action 470, a remark by Supreme Court minister Celso de Mello called attention to itself. According to de Mello, the treatment of defendant José Dirceu was “benign, to the extent that it involved corrupting state institutions in order to allow a given group to perpetuate itself in power.

Curious. As it happens, this weekend marks the launch of the book , by journalist Palmério Doria, which also touches on the purchase of votes so that a specific group could perpetuate itself in power. In 1997, in order to pass the amendment that allowed the reelection of Fernando Henrique Cardoso, lawmakers were bought,. Some received R$ 200,000. Payment was made using persons currently gaining notoriety for subway bid-rigging scandal.

Tribuna Hoje also touches on this dangerous convergence.

Nothing was done, no one was indicted, and none of the suspects became a defendant. In the same year, the principal source of information on this episode was introduced by the Folha to readers as Mister X, who recorded his conversations with legislators in which the latter admit receiving bribes.

In his book, Palmério reveals that Mister X is businessman and former-lawmaker Narciso Mendes.

In its Saturday edition, for the first time, the Folha confirmed that Mendes was Mister X, or “Deep Throat.” In an article by Ricardo Mendonça, the Folha calls the revelations of Dória — who also writes a column for 247, as “historic.”

In Brazil, Mendes remained incognito for 16 years.

In the U.S. the identity of Mark Felt, the senior FBI official who denounced the Watergate case, remained anonymous for 33 years.

The difference is that there, president Richard Nixon fell from power. Here, FHC commemorates the arrest of defendants who, as Celso de Mello says, corrupted democratic institutions in order maintain a president in power.

Below, the article by Ricardo Mendonça, in which the Folha confirms the ID of its imformant and recalls that the case was never investigated.

Anti-FHC book reveals source that proved vote-buying

“Mister X ” recorded deputies who said they were bribed in 1997

Businessman Narciso Mendes admits his identity 16 years after the scandal that shook the government.

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<The Prince of Privateering> a lampoon <libelo> against former-president Fernando Henrique Cardoso launched today.  Its author, Palmério Dória, makes a historic revelation about the buying of votes in Congress in favor of the Constitutional amendment permitting reelection, a scheme denounced by the Folha in 1997.

Known to readers as Mister X in various articles, the man who made the recordings inwhich vote-buying is confirmed is now assuming his true identity.

He is the businessman and former legislator Narciso Mendes, 67, owner of a newspaper and a SBT network retransmitter in Rio Branco (AC). Over the last 16 years, he had never spoken in public about the episode, and asked the Folha to shield his identity. .

Mendes admits having collected the evidence of vote-buying that are the subject of Chapters 11 and 12 of “The Prince of Privateering> (399 pages, Geração Editorial.)

At the time,Mendes was no longer in office, but maintained connections with other Acre lawmakers. He says he had agreed to secretly record his ex-colleagues and hand the material over to reporter Fernando Rodrigues, author of a series of stories for the Folha on vote-buying, because he was “adamantly opposed” to the amendent.

His only request was the protection of his identity, a condition the Folha honored, in the belief that the journalistic importance of the material outweighed the duty to identify the source of the information. Now that he has identified himself of his own free will, the Folha considers the deal dissolved.

Continued ….

In the Mister X tapes of 1997, two federal deputies from Acre, Ronivon Santiago and João Maia (DEM-PFL) said they voted for the amendment in exchange for R$ 200,000 — R$ 530,000 in today’s quotation.

Three other deputies were cited explicitly in the recordin. The conversations suggested that dozens had participated in the scheme.

The accusation caused a commotion inside the government, but the matter was never investigated. An attempt to convence a parliamentary commission of inquiry (CPI) was quashed. The Procurator-General at the time, Geraldo Brindeiro, did not request an investigation.

On May 21, 1997, 8 days after the publication of the original story, Santiago and Maia stepped down. …

Ten days later, in a panel discussion at the Folha, FHC denied that vote-buying took place, but also said that the operation was not commanded by the government. “The Senator voted for reelection in June [1997]  and 80% were in favor. Was there vote-buying? Probably. Was the federal government involved? It was not. By the PSDB? No. By me? even less likely.”

Despite the scandalous tone of the subtitle — the secret history of how Brazil wasted its resources and FHC won his reeection” — the book offers no exclusive information about the sale of state-owned companes during the Toucan government (1995-2002).

The various accusation sited often in a confused and imprecise form, are reproductionsof news stories from newspapers and magazines of the period. The economic arguments, meanwhile are a collage of articles published in the 1990s by journalista Aloysio Biondi (1936-2000), a former Folha columnist.

The most controversial aspect of the book is not Dória’s text but rather the “Letter From the Editor,” a preface signd by Geração owner-publisher Luiz Fernando Emediato, 

Emediato says that in 1991, when accusations against president Collor de Mello began to circulate, he heard FHC confess, during a flight to New York, the existence of slush funds managed by FHC himself. 

He says he heard FHC say? “The difference betwen us and Collor’s people is that we spend our money on campaigns while they shovel a considerable amount into their own pockets.”

In a written communicaton, press aide Xico Graziano at the Instituto FHC said the former president does not remember ever being with Emediato in the U.S., and classifies the phrase attributed to FHC as “absurd” — “this is not something FHC would have ever said.”