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Sambodian Power and Light | Turn Me Off, Dead Volume

O Operador Nacional do Sistema Elétrico faz parte de uma complexa rede de instituições e agentes, que desempenham diferentes funções no setor elétrico brasileiro. A figura a seguir ilustra as principais instituições do atual modelo setorial

O Operador Nacional do Sistema Elétrico faz parte de uma complexa rede de instituições e agentes, que desempenham diferentes funções no setor elétrico brasileiro. A figura a seguir ilustra as principais instituições do atual modelo setorial

Just posted by the Estadão.

The National System Operator  (ONS), which regulates the electrical sector, has determined that various energy distributors in the Southeast and South reduce the supply of energy during part of the afternoon today.

Distributors Eletropaulo (metro São Paulo), CPFL Energia (inland São Paulo), Copel (Paraná), Light and Ampla (both operating in Rio de Janeiro) confirmed receipt of the instruction.

Continue reading

Amigos S.A. | The New Sheriff in Western Zone Shantytown

FANFARRÃO 2

Col. Alexandre Fontenelle Ribeiro de Oliveira, CEO of the death-dealing COE

In September, Rio de Janeiro’s Secretary of Public Security (SSP) released something of a bombshell for Brazil crime analysts: the city’s infamous militia groups have expanded dramatically over the past decade. —Insight Crime

Source:  EL PAÍS (Brazil edition).

An item for my clipping file on the death-dealing police. WordPress is misbehaving at the moment, however, which is very frustrating.

The story translated here dates back to mid-September, with a fresh round of warrants in early November.

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Brazilian SLAPP Suits | Je Suis Nassif

nassifbeef

A strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) is a lawsuit that is intended to censor, intimidate, and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense until they abandon their criticism or opposition. —Wikipedia

The Globo executive‘s latest SLAPP suit, in a series of nine over the past several years, targeted our blogging colleague and mentor, the economic journalist Luis Nassif.

Je suis Nassif. Continue reading

Taiana Bares All | Brazil’s Operation Car Wash

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Photo: Autumn Sonnichsen/ Divulgação Playboy

Wearing high heels and covered in dollar bills, the former lover of the currency trader [Youssef] appears on the cover of the January edition of Playboy posing in hotel rooms and private jets. She told the magazine that she was “the first person he messaged after he was arrested.”

As I have noted before, every knock down drag out political scandal has its muse or poster child — a figure, usually an attractive woman who, to coin a phrase, “lays bare the facts” or some such analogy as that.

As Veja and Playboy are both Abril publications, it is not difficult to imagine how Taiana became the Goddess of Truth. Create a poster child with scandalous overtones  Divert attention from other significant  aspects of the case until you can measure the results and decide how — and against whom — to proceed.

Mountains of Money

This meme is a close cousin to the Mountain of Money concept in South American news media, itself a corollary to  the Perp Walk — a standard procedure for Brazilian police.

In Ecuador several years ago in an election won by the leftist Rafael Correa, the viciousness of the smear campaign by the local media was astonishing. Mobilized against Correa,  Ecuadoran TV and radio in general have to be seen to be believed , as is, or was, the case in Venezuela.

A case I remember well was an anti-Chavist talk show host who displayed a parking lot full of colorful HMMVVVs and identified them as constituting bribes to members of the government. A clever researcher was able to pin down the exact location of the photo — a HMMMVV dealership in Southern California. A sign was crudely Photoshopped in an attempt to identify the parking lot as government property in Venezuela. Grotesque.

Continue reading

Nassif on Car Wash | The Tipping Point?

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Operation Car Wash is on its way to becoming a pivotal moment in the political history of Brazil, decisively dismantling a political, judicial and economic model that flourished over the past four decades.

Starting with the financial liberalization of the 1970s, an enormous gray zone of banks in fiscal paradises sprouted up, fed with the proceeds of financial crimes, narcotraffic, the trafficking of persons, political corruption — an enormous archipelago of corruption from which investment banks, currency traders and offshore funds pontificated [on matters financial].

***

In this period, various forms of public corruption germinated, the crudest of which had always to do with tenders for public works and government spending.

More sophisticated schemes were practiced during the era of privatization, with the manipulation of municipal bonds, the exchange of privileged information on currency and tax rates as part of [“pump and dump”] operations in  the stock market.

An ecosystem flourished in which all the political and governmental groups could feed their appetites. Denouncing these schemes only made the headlines in the service of opportunistic political games — all in all, a vast spectacle of hypocrisy.

***

The reaction to this trend had its beginnings in the central nations, with their anti-money laundering (AML) and corporate corruption laws.

In order to arrive at our own Operation Car Wash, we had to run a veritable obstacle course, with previous operations that were aborted by the powerful influence of special interests in all branches of the government — the executive, the judiciary, the legislative and the establishment media.

The congressional inquiry (CPI) of the Municipal Bonds ended in a cozy deal, as did the CPIs of Banestado,  Satiagraha and Sand Castles, because they would have exposed politicians of all political parties, powerful corporate lobbies, and financiers.

***

The status quo changed little with the inauguration of Lula in 2003.

Major investment banks continued profiting from their participation in municipal fixed-income contracts, betting on new world champions, while the strategy of the PT was to assign its best operators to negotiate with the underworld behind the grandest business groups which, to date, had only opened its wallets for the PSDB.

***

Whether the needs of governability really required this strategy, future historians will have to say.

What is important is that Car Wash has broken the cycle of impunity under the current way of doing politics.

None of the major parties will escape this web of corruption. There is no room for opportunistic maneuvers. The leading figures of the PSDB are just as involved as the operators of the PT. The advent of the social networks has put an end to the heavy armor the party has reliably provided it.

I was shocked when I read that a Supreme Court Justice criticized by Nassif and the staff of Carta Capital had taken the time out of the official reading of his decision in the ratification of campaign accounts to personally assail Nassif.

I am an occasional Web interlocutor of Nassif — I have read his “The Spreadsheet Heads” and his series on the corruption of journalistic ethics at Veja magazine — but I have to say it: His site is a little unsightly and does not look like an A-list blog. It is mostly just another Ning community of the kind your local children’s soccer team might set up in 15 minutes. But it works.

And so it is a grand day here in Sambodia when the little boy tells his mother that the emperor wears no clothes. Your character, the character of your enemy, that sort of thing.

***

Here, then, some complex paradoxes arise.

If it is partial (partisan) and not complete, and if it permits opportunism, the results of the operation will be less trusted.

If it heats up the iron and investigates everyone, no matter who gets hurt, it will shut down national politics.

***

It is not up to prosecutors and police officials to define the limits of the Car Wash affair. It is the prerogative of political actors to offer ways out of the grandest political impasse in the democratic history of Brazil.

It is urgent that these proceedings result in radical proposals in election law, the criminal code, and the Constitution itself.

May the gods of wisdom guide attorney-general Geral Rodrigo Janot and his courageous team through the Car Wash case.

swatch

You can also read about Watch Dog Journalism in South America for a much more reasonable price.

Deep Float | Petrobras Underwater, Fire

A napkin outline of the Pasadena scheme

A back of the napkin outline of the Pasadena scheme

Item.

There is curiosity today as to the identity of a “deep throat” witness in the Petrobras corruption megascandal.

One month after Operation Car Wash was carried out, in the middle of this year, a career public servant with 30 years of service approached federal agents in charge of the task force and denounced Petrobras for ignoring “signs of criminal behavior” and “intentional mismanagement” inside the state-run petroleum giant “in order to divert funds without awakening the suspicions of auditors and inspectors.”

Together with the acquisition of the Pasadena Refinery in the U.S. – the most emblematic of the charges involving the case — the witness named former Mines and Energy minister Edson Lobão as the “godfather” of one of the suspects and [alleged that] current Petrobras CEO Graça Foster was responsible for the nomination of two other senior executives in the foreign trade division, supposedly responsible for a sale of assets to Nigeria that had led to losses for the company.

charge-latuff-obama-petroleo_0-preview

Was it a note with awful grammar from some General Nigeriano Ubuntu offering you a handsome sum for laundering some huge amount of cash through your account?

This is the Nigerian Third World Corruption scam. Purge it from your e-mail client. A variant is the wealthy but oppressed damsel in distress, for those more responsive to an emotional stimulus, and might be called the Rwandan Woman in Fear for her Life gambit.

During a four-hour closed session held on April 28 in Rio de Janeiro, – the transcript was appended to the Car Wash case file on Tuesday — the «informant», whose name will not be released during continuing investigations, described six cases of alleged criminal misconduct, chief among them the acquisition of  Pasadena, initiated in 2005. The deal, valued at US$ 359 million at the outset, wound up cost US$ 1,2 bilhão, causing Petrobras to suffer a US$ 793 million, according to the federal accounting tribunal (TCU).

[ … translation to come …]

Continue reading

Toucan in a Toga — CartaCapital

Screenshot from 2014-12-07 09:59:38

We Yankees have Antonin Scalia. … The Brazilians have Gilmar Mendes.

Minister Gilmar Mendes of the federal Supreme Court (STF) has been selected at random as the rapporteur of a criminal charge brought by the PT against Aécio Neves (PSDB), charging Neves with slander.

In an interview on a TV program on Saturday, the defeated presidential candidate Aécio Neves stated that he had been defeated by “a criminal organization.”

Coincidentally, Mendes, as a minister of the federal elections tribunal (TSE) is also the rapporteur of the campaign finances of Dilma Rousseff and her campaign.

Some alt.media observers see in this an effort to recreate the conditions of a “Paraguyan coup d’etat” in Brazil.

Illustrating his “iron fist in a velvet glove” approach to the bench, Mendes recently prevailed in a slander case against Carta Capital magazine, which has frequently questioned his ethics, e.g., calling for him to recuse himself in the «payola of the PT case» because his name appears on a spreadsheet as a recipient of the illegal distribution of funds to PSDB candidates, of which the magazine has published excerpts (the Furnas List.) Aécio Neves also appears on the Furnas list as a congressional candidate, which is believed to date back to the race for the governship of Minas Gerais in 1998, if not farther.

Also dubious to the gringo eye is his ownership of a school of constitutional law located in the Federal District. Imagine William Rehnquist plastering subway cars and telephone poles with little tear-off slips advertising her after hours gig: Marketing LSAT preparation courses.

Edited by Mino Carta and Leandro Fontes, Carta Capital, which has been ordered to pay R$ 180,000 for five articles that make public a spreadsheet supposed to keep the books of the «payola of Minas Gerais», known as the Furnas List, in which Gilmar Mendes appears as a beneficiary of the black-market funding scheme that helped reelect Eduardo Azeredo in 1998.

As to Carta Capital, on December 4, the TJ-DF (appeals court) doubled the sum to R$ 360,000. On appeal, the articles were found deficient in not obtaining and publishing the other side of the issue or presenting concrete pieces of evidence and their provenance.

Carta Capital continues:

Mendes and the PT have a long history together. Not merely due to the judge’s constant, controversial, and vehement statements against party members, but also for his systematically handing down of decisions damaging to the PT.

In a session of the elections tribunal, Mendes went so far as to insinuate, during a case heard in October, that ex-president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was drunk during a campaign rally in Belo Horizonte (MG), during the campaign. On the same day, he mocked the history of President Dilma’s opposition to the military dictatorship.

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Dilma Rousseff confronts a military tribunal in 1970

 

His Honor has pulled an agitprop exercise worthy of the late Larry Rohter out of his hat — it was Rohter who touched off the Lula is the drunken Communist scandal. It failed.

As an elections magistrate, Gilmar was also responsible for denying the PT, on appeal, the right of response previously conceded to the party against Veja magazine during the campaign. In a monocratic finding, Mendes ruled against the majority of his colleagues, who had found that the magazine did not commit abuses of this nature.

Even now that elections are over, Mendes makes an effort to demonstrate his power over the PT.

Responsible for an analysis of the president’s campaign books, Mendes created a commotion in the news media with the news that he had summoned the federal tax authority to study in sharp detail the companies that donated to the campaign. He also said he would request an investigation into the documents by the Federal Accounting Council (Conselho Federal de Contabilidade | CFJ).

Justice – In the case against Aécio, the PT want it clarified whether Neves was referring directly to the PT in the statement he made during the interview. If found guilty of defamation, he can also be charged with criminal libel. According to the court filngs of PT lawyers, the Toucan damaged the honor not only of the party, but “the entire system of representative democracy and democracy itself.”

An excerpt of the article in question, in which CC appears to merely repeat what Neves said.

In an interview with Globo News, former PSDB presidential candidate Aécio Neves stated that he lost the elections “to a criminal organization.” “I didn’t lose to a political party, I lost it to a criminal organization that has wormed its way into the hearts of certain Brazilian companies, patronized by this political operation they have going,” Aécio accused.

Roberto D’Avila, who was interviewing Aécio, asked how he prepared himself for the “the most difficult elections since 1989.” “This campaign will go down in history for two diametrically opposed reasons. First, protagonized by our opponents, was characterized by sordid libel, defamation, insults and the use of civil servants, including blackmailing the poor by saying we would do away with all the social programs. (…) The sordid depths to which these people will go to maintain themselves in power is one reason this election will be remembered,” he said.

The second quality of this election, Neves said, was represented by his campaign,  which was carried out by “those who have never had a party membership or protested, but who believed in a better Brazil, and so they picked up the banners and hit the streets.”

This seems hysterical to me, but it is a fact that the PT defeated the PSDB in the fundraising area, and PSDB has listened to too many political consultants about the Web as a campaign tool, an echo of that first great migration to the Web under Howard Dean. Of course, Dean lost the nomination. Distributing campaign literature by offering it for download did not seem to produce the explosion

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