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Lies, Damned Lies, and Veja-El Clarín

Source: Brasil247

Translation: C.E.B.

On May 30, 2015, the Brazilian newsweekly Veja accused Máximo Kirchner, son of president Cristina Kirchner, and ambassador Nilda Garré of maintaining offshore bank accounts.

The story was immediately picked up by the Argentine daily El Clarín, a principal opponent of the Kirchner government.

The problem: It was all a lie, as the very bank where the accounts were supposedly opened confirmed. Read an account of the incident by Marcelo Justo of Carta Maior.

Veja has embarked on these sorts of agitprop campaigns many times before. Consider the phony list of Swiss accounts of government, party and police officials, shown above.  Continue reading

Car Wash Witness | Contrary to Fact Conditional Parole?

"They knew everything"

“They knew everything”

I was leafing idly through the news coverage of Operation Car Wash — a megascandal with dozens of suspects of operating illegally inside Petrobras — thinking of doing a coverage timeline of the scandal,  when I came across a surprising statement.

TV Globo said that its sources did not confirm the version published by Veja, and described the Folha article as “distorted.”

It is very rare to see these particular establishment media outlets criticizing one another in this way.  Normally, stories like this are handled as a three-man tag-team match.

According to Valor, however, the naming of politicians involved in the case will not occur until February — Ash Wednesday, when people finally get back to work.

A tropical W$J or FT in incubation, Valor has published as a joint venture with O Globo and the Folha de S. Paulo — odd bedfellowssince May 2000. With the demise of the Gazeta Mercantil, it represents a relative concentration of the market shared with Brasil Econômico — a cousin to the Rio daily O Dia — and the business pages of the Estado de S. Paulo, along with the weekly Exame (Abril).

Bloomberg, Reuters. AFP, Yahoo News and others add a foreign flavor to the mix. The flow of information from various sources cannot but encourage the market observer.

Rumor and leakage in the Petrobras case do appear to have died down since mid-December as defendants — and officers of the court, including the federal police  — honor the gag order, in the case of defendants on pain of losing their plea deal, and leaky civil servants suffering administrative punishment.

Backgrounders [+]:

  1. Car Wash | Big Brother Is Watching
  2. Nassif on Car Wash | The Tipping Point?
  3. Watergate Braziliense: The Leaky Police on the Leaky Police

Source: CartaCapital (October 30, 2014):

Correction to Youssef deposition is a “lie,” attorney says.

Continue reading

Nassif on Car Wash | The Tipping Point?

fotorcreatedlavajato (1)

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.

Car Wash | Big Brother Is Watching

cccleanhands

Jean Wyllys, an openly gay Big Brother Brasil winner elected in 2010 to the federal congress by the PSOL, writing this week in CartaCapital.

In the Car Wash case, the major corruption schemes – constantly portrayed in the media as proof of the moral degradation of specific individuals and generally associated with the party in power – are shown for what they really are: a fundamental component of a sociopolitical system controlled not by corrupt civil servants but by the companies that corrupt them.

Nine such companies are currently under investigation: OAS, UTC, Queiroz Galvão, Odebrecht, Camargo Corrêa, Iesa, Galvão Engenharia, Mendes Junior, and Engevix. Altogether, they have R$ 59 billion in contracts with Petrobras.

In Rio de Janeiro alone, three companies  (OAS, Camargo Corrêa and Odebrecht) are participating as associates in various consortia building the ten largest public works for the World Cup and the Olympics (Subway Line 4, Maracanã, Parque Olímpico, Transcarioca, Transolímpica, Porto Maravilha etc.) at a cost of R$ 30 billion.

They have contracts with governments of nearly every stripe and color. Some have partnered with government in the privatization of airports and other PAC projects, and some are working on the São Paulo subway, marred by a corruption scandal in which governor Geraldo Alckmin, who also received money from public works contractors for his campaign, is under investigation.

More recently, the state-owned Sabesp [BVMF:SBSP3] —  has fessed up to delaying news about a looming water shortage in the state during the campaign season.

The CEO of Sabesp was overheard on tape telling her colleagues that it was a “mistake” to postpone public announcements on the issue.

If it does not rain by November, there will be outages where now there seem to be discreet adjustments in the middle of the night, the morning paper says.

Both federal and state administrations have made extensive use of the PPP — public-private partnership — to organize Pharaonic undertakings. Is there something endemic about the model, that makes it risk-insensitive?  Continue reading

Traffic and Militia War in Western Zone

Alunos-se-protegem-de-tiroteio-no-Complexo-da-Mare-size-598

Students take cover in the Complexo da Maré

Source: VEJA

Has all the hallmarks of Veja news reporting … the crude appeal to sentiment and the political pointed finger.

War between drug traffic and militia closes six Rio schools

Exchange of gunfire between two groups, at war over territorial control, prevents 2,238 students from attending class in Western Zone of Rio.

The turf wars between the drug traffic and the militia caused six schools to close their doors on Wednesday in the Western Zone of Rio. Due to the fear aroused by the confrontations, 2,238 students missed class. The region is protected by a single Police Pacification Unit (UPP) — even though this policy is a proven failure in areas where it has been implanted, such as the Rocinha slums and the Alemao complex.

Continue reading

AES Eletropaulo and AES Tietê | Two of a Pair

Eletropaulo

What a coincidence: Here I am reading an article on the business practices of AES Eletropaulo and boom! another transformer explosion like the one that ravaged the motherboard of my other machine — the one that runs on Linux.

Windows users, I cannot understand how you can bear it.

Source:  Brasil de Fato.

One of the practices engaged in by most electrical energy distributors in Brazil to increase profits is for different companies to negotiate buy-sell contracts among themselves.

This is the case with contract signed between distributor AES Eletropaulo and generator AES Tietê, both controled by the American AES Corporation. These are the so-called “billion-dollar’ contracts which, shamefully, have been autorized by ANEEL, the federal energy regulator. Continue reading

Globopar and the Virgins | Material Events

globo

Source: Blog da Cidadania

Between 2001 and 2002,  Globo Comunicações e Participações Ltda. (Globopar) organized a financial scheme to acquire the transmission rights to the World Cup of 2002. The federal tax authority found the scheme to be fraudulent and criminal. The company was punished  with heavy fines and other penalties.

Globopar had acquired a company in the Virgin Islands that was dissolved just one year later. The funds traced to this company by the tax authority were used by the Marinho family holding company to pay for the transmission rights.

The tax authority brought charges against the company, finding that the transaction had resulted in the evasion of the Income Tax for Corporations [IRPJ] and demanding the payment of the principal, together with adjustment for inflation and a fine. In all, the company was presented with a bill for some R$ 600 million.

All of this took place at a time when news of Globo’s financial problems were widely reported in Brazil and around the world.

In October 2002,  Globopar, a shareholder and operator of the NET cable TV network — an asset it would later sell to the Mexican group Telmex — announced it would renegotiate the deadlines for settling the debt generated by its participation in NET.

At the time, market experts viewed the manuever as a sort of  [“blank  settlement”] by Globo.

Continue reading