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Brazil | Clicktivism and the Impeachment Question

VejaMostSOcialNetworkImpeachment

It is being reported widely here in  Brazil that turnout for this past weekend’s pro-impeachment demonstrations was markedly lower — by  200% or more in the most visible of urban congregations — than that of the March impeachment rallies, themselves inflated by fancy  camera angles from news photographers.

Some 500 marchers turned out to call for the downfall of the Rousas much asseff government in Salvador, Bahia, for example — an electoral redoubt of the Workers Party since the defeat of Carlismo — a sort of regional Brazilian version of Mexico’s PRI — in recent elections.

The Radar column of Veja magazine suggests that this lack of activism be weighed against what is treated as a significant volume of supporting «clicktivist» chatter on «the social networks» …

But beware the clicktivist fallacy: the notion that computer and network users represent a segment of the population proportional to support for a given proposition.

Factor in the digital divide, in other words.

For example, if 52% of the population uses the Internet, including mobile Internet — 103 million Brazilians — and 48% does not, how representative are half a million Internauts discussing impeachment for good or ill?

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Rio Rackets | Big Wheel Keeps on Turning

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Source: G1

The state attorney of Goias filed charges this week against 28 police officers suspected of affording favorable treatment to the criminal racket commanded by Carlos Augusto de Almeida Ramos — aka Charlie Waterfall.

According to the indictment, these officers were paid in cash and other benefits to overlook evidence or even actively boycott investigation of a gambling and corruption organization revealed by Operation Monte Carlo, a police action dating back to February 2012.

The 28 police were charged with active and passive corruption and  violation of confidentiality policies. Prosecutors say the police group was “the armed faction of the criminal organization.”

The case will be heard by a military court.

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The Life and Death of Juan Moraes Neves

juan-desaparecido-20110629-size-620

Source: Diário do Grande ABC. Image: Veja.com.

File under police criminality and violence.

What is unusual about the case is the successful follow-up by forensic investigators: for decades, the rubric “resistance followed by death” has been used to muddy the waters in police shooting cases.

Crime scenes are almost routinely disturbed by supposed “efforts to resuscitate” the victim — a practice recently discontinued by the São Paulo military police, which is resisting the rule requiring the fire brigade to handle paramedical tasks.

Judge Marcio Alexandre Pacheco da Silva of the Fourth Jury Court of Nova Iguaçu, in the Baixada Fluminense, has scheduled for September 9 the trial of four military policemen accused of involvement in the murder of the minor Juan Moraes Neves, 11 years old at the time of his death in June 2011. The incident occurred in Danon, in Nova Iguaçu.

The case was originally recorded as “resistance followed by death” (death of a suspect in armed confrontation with police) but after an investigation by the state judicial police it was concluded that no armed confrontation took place. The judge expects proceedings to last at least four days.

A jury will decided the fate of sergeants Isaías Souza do Carmo and Ubirani Soares and corporals Edilberto Barros do Nascimento and Rubens da Silva. All have been in preventive custody since 2011. At the time of the incident, the four were assigned to the 20th Battalion  (Mesquita).

The PMs were carrying out an antidrug operation in Danon on the the night of June 20, 2011. During that time, two suspects were killed: 11-year-old Juan and Igor de Souza Afonso, 17  (suspected of having ties to the drug trade). Another two young men, including Juan’s brother, were shot, but survived.

Juan’s body was not located until 10 days after the incident along the margins of the Rio Botas in Belford Roxo, a community neighboring Nova Iguaçu.

A state judicial police expert initially stated that the  the body found in the river was that of a young girl. However, a DNA test comparing genetic material from Juan’s family members with a blood sample taken from a sandal worn by the victim on the day he disappeared proved that the body was that of a male.

The Baixada Fluminense homicide division (DHBF) proved that Juan was killed with bullets from two 7.62mm assault rifles used by the PM officers. Ballistics examinations were performed on shell casings found at the scene.

The four PMs were charged with two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of first-degree attempted murder, and tampering with evidence (concealing of a corpse).

Rio | Beginning of the End for Black Market Taxes?

Judicial Police in action against militia members

Judicial Police in action against militia members, November 2009

G1 reports on the sensational feat  of locking up dozens of military police for organizing themselves into what amount to militia groups — protection racketeering, mostly.

Agents from the Sub-Secretariat of Intelligence of the state security secretariat and the internal affairs agency of the military police, in coordination with GAECO, the state prosecutor’s special organized crime task force, last night began an operation designed to arrest a gang of criminals — most of the military police — who were extorting street merchants and informal van services in Bangu, in the Western Zone, and neighboring areas.

Of the 78 persons charged by the state prosecutor, 59 are policement: 53 from the military police and six from the state judicial police. The policemen involved worked out of different units: the 14 Miltary Police Battalion (BPM)(Bangu), the 9th BPM (Rocha Miranda), the 31st DP (Bangu) and officers assigned to the task force on crimes against intellectual property, designed to combat street vendors.

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The Return of Consciência Humana | Brasil de Fato

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The group releases the above LP in 1997, followed by Agonia do Morro (2003)

A seminal human rights-oriented rap crew is back after a decade hiatus. The report is translated from Brasil de Fato.

After ten years without releasing an album, rap group Consciência Humana will appear on a record titled “Strong and Firm,” due for release in the latter half of this year. With the participation of famous guest rappers, the group promises to launch new ideas while maintaing the same principles.

“As long as there is injustice and police violence, people, we are going to be on top of it. On the day that this is accomplished, we will stop speaking out,” says group member WGI.

The rap group Consciência Humana rose to prominence in 1991 with lyrics that focused mainly on violence perpretrated by the State — violence that intensified in the periferal regions of the city after the demise of the civil-military dictatorship of 1964-1985.

It was in this context that the group produced Now is the Time, which portrays murders committed by policemen of ROTA, an elite patrol unit of the state military police.
Listen to a news story with the group’s music as a backdrop.

The song, based on actual facts, mentions the names of military personnel who are quite well known in such outlying neighborhoods as São Mateus (Eastern Zone), the birthplace of the rappers. One of these is Corporal Bruno, who participated in the so-called “Death squad” charged with at least 50 homicides. Paulo Counts Lopes (PTB), the former head of the ROTA a sitting São Paulo city councilman, is also singled out by the record.

Consciência Humana has forged a powerful identification with São Mateus. In the song «Law of the Periphery», the group recites the main problems faced by residents on a daly basis. Group member Preto Aplick said that these songs are important ways to create a sense of belonging to community residents.

“The newspapers have had only negative things to say about São Mateus. Only bad things emerge from the community, as opposed to such postive examples as athletes and performing artists. All of a sudden, here comes a group of performing artists, a rap group calling attention to all our problems. The population of São Mateus trusted our word and this meana so much to us.”

Consciência Humana recently granted an interview to the TV arm of Brazil de Fato … The Brasil de Fato team traveled to the São Paulo neighborhood of Itaquera where the Só Monstros studio, owned by the group, is located. Ten years after its last recorded release, Consciência Humana is readying a new CD, «Firme Forte» — roughly, «Stand Strong and Firm» — that signifies a new era in the group’s career. This year, the group will celebrate 22 years in the business..

Persecutions

With ROTA patroling the streets of the urban peripheries, terror was inevitable. Created in the 1970s with the mission of sustaining the military government in power, the performance of the duties left traumatic souvenirs. The track «Aplick» brings back many powerful memories of that time.
“We lived running away from them. That was when I wrote my first song, «Terror in São Paulo». From then on I was listening to the ideas of people I met in the dark of night. I passed part of my life in the street. Then I ran straight into them. And so we began writing this history. In the middle of recording that song, I met Conte Lopes. He invaded the shanties, he shot my uncle in the mouth. It was from that experience that “The Time has Come” was created.
Conte Lopes counts declares war
After the song made the radio and achieved excellent ratings Consciência HumanaConsciência Human was interviewed by the Popular Notice magazine. The group recounted the persecution and killing carried out by death squads with military police as members.
Popular Notice shone the spotlight on massacres which, according to the residents of São Mateus, were commando by ROTA commanding officer, Counts Lopes. The policeman, however, denied the accusations and at one point threatened the members of group.
In the introduction of another track called «Gray Rat Scumbag», an audio insert appears to be a recording of Conte Lopes, saying «listen here, it is Magnus and Capitan Conte Lopes … this is the Magnão we like to see,” referring to the singers in the group. Aplick says that the persecutions had increased since then.
“In the Popular Notice daily, he asked people to stop singing this song during concerts unless they wanted problems. But people continued singing along with this song. We are not stopping. It was then ROTA started to lean heavily on our shows.. ROTA would arrive at the show and said “You are not going to sing that song.” They took up positions in front of the stage ane were against our performing,” Aplick recalls.
For WGI, another member of Consciência Humana, taking the hard line influenced the political context. . “At the time, Conte Lopes was running for the legislature and we were making sure that he he lost votes among voters in São Mateus.

Rio | The Return of the New Van Plan

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Black-market van stuffed with 10 armed, ninja-style black-clad corpses, December 2007, Rio de Janeiro

Source: O Globo — Portal ClippingMP.
Translation: C. Brayton

A follow-up to Rio Has New Man With Plan for Van, from 2007.

That year, fierce feuds over turf and market share broke out among the militias and drug traffickers who shake down independent operators of vans and mototaxis for «tolls» and «insurance».

It makes you wonder: are such measures also aimed at undermining the economic base of the milícia — cohorts of current and ex-police who invade territory neglected by the state and impose a mafia-style discipline — in these areas.

Probably. Ferraz, the special secretary of supplementary public transportation, made his bones pursuing the militias of Rio. He is also the author of the novel that formed the basis of the film Tropa de Elite |  Elite Squad 2.  The official announcement, from December 2007:

On December 5. Rio de Janeiro mayor Eduardo Paes announced the creation of a special office of supplementary public transportation, led by state judicial police official Cláudio Ferraz, former commander of the anti-organized crime bureau that has pursued the militias of Rio.

The Ban on the Van Continue reading