On My Vigilante Consumer Target List for Loud and Colorful Kvetching

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Moving and traveling can be a real nightmare.

Here are three firms that have added considerably to our personal nightmare:

  1. Home Depot
  2. Citibank
  3. Booking.com

I list them in ascending order in Dante’s Inferno. That is, the higher the ranking, the lower the circle of hell reserved for them — the lowest circles being reserved for purveyors of false representations, as you will recall.

I will explain when I get a chance.

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Rio de Janeiro: The Kurious Kareer of General Kruel

Capt. Guimarães (l.) with Rio mayor Cesar Maia (second from left): Fat Tuesday and the Rede Globo meet the hog heaven of the hard men.

General Kruel, indicted in 1959 on charges of official corruption, involvement in the jogo do bicho numbers racket, drugs, pimping, and illegal casinos, among other things, wound up resigning as police chief. But he continued his military career and in March 1964 was commanding the Second Army in São Paulo, supporting the coup d’etat and betraying the confidence of the federal president.

Chefe da policia pelo telefone mandou avisar / Que na Carioca havia uma roleta para se jogar (“The chief of police called me up on the telephone to let me know they had a new roulette wheel to play down at the carioca club”) — “Pelo Telephone,” the first popular samba recorded in Brazil.

I’m going way down South where a man can be free … –“Hey, Joe”

A follow-up to

When you see these amateur videos on YouTube celebrating the feats of death-dealing feats of Rio’s BOPE — the subject of former BOPE Captain Rodrigo Pimentel’s fictionalized memoir Elite da Tropa — consider this selection from an ongoing translation project of mine.

And aside from the connection between the death squad with the culture industry — Polygram was founded by Philips, the President of whose Brazilian subsidiary underwrote the Cansei astroturf “movement,” while the Globo network has exclusive rights to broadcast the carnival societies of LIESA, controlled by Captain Guimarães — consider also the kurious kareer of General Kruel. And compare

The Associated Press and others want you to believe that the problem of militias in Rio de Janeiro is a new phenomenon. “It is emergent! It is a spontaneous response to (recent) state failure! It is enabled by new technology!”

This is utter, gabbling horseshit.

Not only is it not a new phenomenon, or a phenomenon merely analogous to the anos de chumbo, as O Globo seems to want us to believe, it is a phenomenon that is literally and substantially continuous with a long tradition of parapolitical corruption, warlordism and antidemocratic ultraviolence.

Are you starting to get the picture now as to why the busting of jogo do bicho mafias all over Brazil may be a much, much more significant anticorruption story than the Moscow show trial of the PT 3?

(It was interesting to see the federal prosecutor tell the Estado de S. Paulo today, in an aside buried several paragraphs in, that he will, in fact, bring charges against all alleged clients of the Belo Horizonte Baldy slush fund pipeline. On which see

The leading light of the “For a Decent Brazil” coalition resigned from the presidency of the leading opposition party and admits that his campaign exploited the same money-laundering conduit for political purposes starting in the mid- to late 1990s.

He does not admit, however, that he should be held resp0nsible for illegal acts committed on his behalf, but without his knowledge, as he says, from which he may have benefited politically.

If I were covering this story, I would basically report it this way: The current government complains of a double standard in this respect. See

Fine. Let’s fact-check that proposition.

Are they paranoid or do they have a point? Larry “Hooker with a Heart of Gold” Rohter assures us they are paranoid. But in terms of information put on the public record by public legal proceedings, and five years after many of the facts alleged, we still simply do not know. And will not know for at least another two and a half years of the PT 3 trial — and, if the federal attorney keeps his promise, the High-Tech Borking of the Toucan X as well.

And I mean, come on: If we discovered that Jack Abramoff happened also to be dealing with corrupt Democrats, what would we want to see happen? Speaking for myself, I would want to see the bastards thoroughly borked. Wouldn’t you? Regardless of party. Without fear or favor. People like that should not be earning a living on taxpayer money. Do you really think most Brazilians feel any different than you would?)

To the history lesson, Part III.

In Rio de Janeiro, the 1960s witnessed the rise of the Special Assignments Service (SDE) Scuderie Le Cocq, the Golden Boys, the “Olaria Winter,” and other groups that would represent the face of the death squad up until at least the end of the decade. This was the phase of the death squad during which “(…) the policeman became a hero after killing the bandit, and recounted his feats of derring-do with undisguished pride, piling horror story on horror story.”

At the end of the 1960s, greater and greater numbers of mutilated corposes with signs of torture and no signs that the victims had been involved in a gunfight, began showing up dumped along roadsides and in isolated places.. The killing carried out by various groups generically referred to as “death squads” grew at an alarming rate. But from that point on, the perception also gained ground that, behind the PR and marketing facade of the death squad were to be found corrupt police tied to crime, extortion and drug trafficking.

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Brazil: Truth, Reconciliation and Hysterical Coup Noises

Decorative mosaic, Conjunto Nacional (1958) office block and shopping mall, Avenida Paulista at R. Consolação, São Paulo, Brazil.

If anything characterizes our times, it is a sense of pervading chaos. In every field of human endeavor, the windstorms of change are fast altering the ways we live. Contemporary man is no longer anchored in certainties and thus has lost sight of who he is, where he comes from and where he is going. — The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property, quoted in my Spinning the World Backwards.

A government clipping service notes the O Globo report.

A follow-up to

The New York Times’ latest report on the PT 3 matter, however, is causing waves once again. Some local observers thought it reprised the gabbling “folklore of corruption” of the Los Angeles Times’ “Lula is the Teflon Don” hit piece that ran a while back. I will translate some reactions in a bit.

And compare

Coup noises are getting made. It is really, really amazing to me how frequently and loudly coup noises get made in Brazil. Larry Rohter’s job, of course, is to tell you the Brazilians are paranoid on this point. (Or it was, at least. Maybe his replacement has the same assignment — and the same two masters, and the same lunch partners from the Consulate. I hope not.)

But just imagine if Senator Clinton or Schumer (or Craig or Specter) got up on their hind legs on C-SPAN today and screamed for the glorious patriotic forces to pour out of the barracks into the streets and purge the nation of the forces of subversion and corruption that occupy the White House today!

Tanks ringing the White House. You would plotz. I would plotz. Wavy Gravy and Pat Buchanan would join hands and plotz jointly.

But that sort of rhetoric is heard every day in the Brazilian new media. It never fails to blow my mind.

Com a ausência dos três comandantes militares – que foram convidados, mas não apareceram – e na presença de ex-ativistas políticos que lutaram contra a ditadura, o presidente Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva lançou ontem o livro que faz balanço dos 11 anos de trabalho da Comissão de Mortos e Desaparecidos Políticos e negou se tratar de revanchismo. Na solenidade, coube ao ministro da Defesa, Nelson Jobim, falar em nome dos militares. Ele afirmou que as Forças Armadas consideravam o lançamento do livro natural e que não esperava reações, mesmo que isoladas. Mas alertou que, se houver, não serão bem-vindas.

In the absence of three military commanders — who were invited but did not attend — and the presence of former political activists who fought the dictatorship, president da Silva yesterday launched a book that summarizes 11 years of work by the Commission on Political Deaths and Disappearances, denying that it was a form of “retributionism.” At the ceremony, Minister of Defense Nelson Jobim spoke for the military. He said the Armed Force consider the release of the book normal and expect no reactions, not even isolated ones. But he warned that if there were, they would not be welcome.

See also

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“Spies and Mafias” Columnist on Telephoto Globo and the See-Through Supremes

Kicking back and reading Maierovitch, São Paulo, Brazil. At left, Justice Mendes, from the
Carta Capital story on the Extra-Large Pizza With Everyone On It? case — which is, again, a major factor in the mad, mad Maluf matter.

As long as it is believed that representatives should be accountable, then there are clear advantages to having them deliberate in public, but as long as it is also believed that representatives should exercise a degree of independent judgement in making decisions, then transparency can also have costs … recent discussions of transparency in government have often overlooked the fact that it can have both costs and benefits. –David Stasavage, “Public versus Private Deliberation in a Representative Democracy”

Ironically, we as journalists dug our own hole on this issue. The restrictions go back to a landmark trial in 1965, the case of Billie Sol Estes v. Texas. Journalists and photographers covering that trial acted so outrageously that the Supreme Court slammed the door on cameras in the courts. If the Supreme Court is to open its doors to cameras, it has to be convinced that journalists will behave themselves and act professionally, recognizing the serious business of justice takes precedence over “good TV.” –Al Tompkins, “A Case for Cameras in the Courtroom” (Poynter Institute)

The condemnation of O Globo’s publication of the photos is a totalitarian, arbitary and oligarchical attitude.” –Albert Dines.

I have tended to have a rather bloodthirsty reaction myself to the O Globo “scoop” on instant messages intercepted by telephoto lense at the historic political show trial of the PT 3 +37. The Order of Brazilian Attorneys called it “shocking and criminal.”


But Walter Maierovitch of the Instituto Brasileiro Giovanni Falcone, a former “drug czar” and “spies and mafia” columnist for the generally pro-government CartaCapital — but see the magazine’s “The Dark Side of the PT” issue, which sets forth some interesting caveats — disagrees.

His general angle of attack generally being that the judiciary should be Job One in a general clean-up of Brazilian dysfunctional governance. He thinks judges need more adult supervision and sunshine than they do privacy at this point. See also

Interesting guy, in a position to know what he is talking about, and with unquestionable moral authority to have an opinion subject, writes cogently. Not a Moonie of any kind, as far as I can tell. I translate pra inglês ver.

Como faço todas as quintas feiras, rumei, por volta das 20.30 hs, à redação da revista Carta Capital.

As I do every Thursday, I cruised through the newsroom of CartaCapital around 8:30 pm. Continue reading

Brazil: “Tupis Get New William Colby”

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The Tupi CIA fairly recently adopted the
araponga as its symbol — an attractive scavenger.

The replacement of the current ABIN director, Buzanelli, ought to decrease military control over ABIN, according to the O Globo report.

Lacerda troca Polícia Federal por chefia da Abin: Lacerda swaps the federal police for top job at the national intelligence agency. I clip to file pra inglês ver.

BRASÍLIA – O diretor-geral da Polícia Federal, delegado Paulo Lacerda, assumirá a chefia da Agência Brasileira de Inteligência (Abin). Para seu lugar na PF irá o delegado Luiz Fernando Corrêa, atual secretário nacional de Segurança Pública, do Ministério da Justiça. O diretor da Abin hoje, Marcio Buzzanelli, foi informado de que está fora pelo ministro-chefe do Gabinete de Segurança Institucional, general Jorge Armando Félix.

The federal police director, Lacerda, will take over the Brazilian National Intelligence Agency (ABIN). Replacing him at the PF will be the current National Public Safety Secretary from the Ministry of Justice, Luiz Fernando Corrêa. The current ABIN director, Marcio Buzzanelli, was informed that he was out by the head of the Institutional Security Cabinet, Gen. Jorge Armando Felix.

Corrêa is something of the midwife to the PRONASCI program, the “PAC of public safety” (referring to the economic stimulus package known by that acronym.) Or so I gather. Roughly speaking.

As mudanças nas cúpulas da PF e da Abin foram decididas ontem à noite pelo presidente Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, em reunião com o ministro da Justiça, Tarso Genro – que vinha defendendo a nomeação de Corrêa para a PF. Corrêa é ligado ao PT, foi indicado para a secretaria pelo ex-ministro José Dirceu e tem respaldo das bases corporativas da polícia. Não conta, porém, com o apoio da maioria dos delegados.

The changes were decided on last night by President da Silva in a meeting with the Minister of Justice, who had been defending Corrêa as a good choice for the federal police. Corrêa has ties to the PT, was nominated for the security post by former minister Dirceu, and is backed by associations representing federal agents. He does not, however, have majority support from the delegados, their supervisors.

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Brazil: “The Chief of the Politicized Gestapo Speaks”

CC (Brazil) from mid-june: “Disneyland of Wiretapping. Outlaw it, no. Stop leaks, yes.” The siege of the President’s brother united government and opposition in criticism of federal police methods, but this should not be used to impede investigations. A Ministry of Justice proposal would widen the use of surveillance.” See also Behind the Music: The Estadão on the Leaky Police and Brazil: Globo and the Leaky Police. Again.

]Divulgar ações da PF interessa à sociedade, diz Lacerda: ELDER OGLIARI of the Estado de S. Paulo briefly interviews the outgoing head of the Brazilian federal police, Paulo Lacerda.

He will move on to head “the Brazilian CIA,” ABIN.

Which is actually quite an interesting development. He had been talked about as the new head of the Brazilian EPA (sort of), IBAMA.

A former ABIN chief was implicated — in some murky way, along with moonlighting U.S. security consultants, as I recall — in helping Daniel Dantas in his bid to control Brasil Telecom. You should read Lucas Figueiredo’s book on the history of the agency, The Ministry of Silence.

Some of the things the agency’s predecessor, the SNI, got up to were just jaw-dropping. The bungled attempted agitprop bombing of a concert venue with 20,000 people inside, for example, at the outset of “redemocratization.” Concerns, albeit muted ones, have long been voiced over the agency’s loyalty to the new constitutional order.

I call Mr. Lacerda, tongue in cheek, the head of “a politicized Gestapo” simply because the phrase has been heard many times in reference to the federal police — in particular over the famous raid on the Daslu luxury boutique, where the daughter of former São Paulo governor Geraldo “My opponent is in cahoots with the drug traffic and FARC” Alckmin worked as a senior buyer.

Alckmin’s state treasurer told a legislative commission under oath that Alckmin’s daughter arranged a meeting with Daslu officials to lobby for an exception from accounting rules. They wanted to use the same sort of accounting principles that Enron “innovated,” I think it is roughly fair to say.

Harvard Law professor Mangabeira Unger famously echoed this meme in a Folha de S. Paulo op-ed modeled on Zola’s famous “j’accuse” editorial in which he called the Lula government “the most corrupt in the history of Brazil.” He has since apologized — “I made the mistake of believing what I read in the newspaper,” he argued, astonishingly — and been appointed to a second- (or possibly now third-) tier strategic planning post in the Lula cabinet. See

Apparently they are firmly committed to Veritas 2.0 — the Pontius Pilate worldview, you might say — over there at Harvard Yard these days.

Most recently, Veja magazine ran an “exposé” reporting that members of the Supreme Court “suspected” that a “rotten element” inside the federal police was conducting illegal surveillance as a part of a political dirty-tricks campaign to pressure the court over a high-profile case.

Last year, Veja ran another exposé accusing Lacerda of having illegal offshore bank accounts. The source: Daniel Dantas, apparently.

Veja‘s defense of the story was pure Judy Millerism: “You are only as good as your sources.”

You see, the thing is that Veja magazine simply out and out lies. As a foreign correspondent friend of mine from another South American country whispered to me once. “No!” I exclaimed, in mock surprise.

It is a Donald Segretti-style ratfink machine for rent. Cheap.

In my observation, the federal police has done quite a credible job of policing itself, however. Corrupt feds are falling left and right. Whether they are getting all of them, or the right ones, or are merely engaged in selective “political persecution” and a Claude Raines-style “show of efficiency,” as some conspiracy theorists insinuate they might? Time will tell.

But you also need to understand the epoch-making significance of their busting the jogo do bicho of Rio de Janeiro, I believe. Any coverage of the issue that omits that topic — such as the Los Angeles Times hit-piece on Lula as “the Teflon president” — is not briefing you properly on the current scenario.

One case still pending: The curious career of Edmilson “Bruno Surfistinha” Bruno.

Lacerda replies to critics of the agency he headed.

PORTO ALEGRE – O diretor-geral da Polícia Federal (PF), Paulo Lacerda, defendeu nesta quarta-feira, 29, a instituição das acusações que sofre, entre as quais as de fazer pirotecnia e de exagerar nas buscas em escritórios e nas escutas telefônicas em suas investigações. Durante palestra na Federação das Associações Comerciais e de Serviços do Rio Grande do Sul (Federasul), em Porto Alegre, Lacerda afirmou que as críticas não se sustentam. “Desvio de milhões dos cofres públicos é fato”, sustentou, para explicar que, nesses casos, a divulgação de informações interessa à sociedade.

The director of the federal police, Paulo Lacerda, yesterday defended his institution against accusations it has suffered, among them that it engages in “fireworks” and commits excesses in the search of law offices and the use of wiretaps in its investigations. During a lecture to the Federation of Commercial and Service Associations of Rio Grande do Sul, in Porto Alegre, Lacerda said those criticisms do not hold up. “Misappropriation of millions from the public coffers is a reality,” he said, explaining why, in these cases, the publicizing of information is of public interest.

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Son of TupiTube: The Week in Screaming Memes

The latest from NMM(-TV)SNB(B)CNN(P)BS

Reflections — in some cases extremely dim ones — of recent media-manufactured realities in South American YouTubery. “The O Globo newspaper spies on the Supreme Court”; Public safety in TV according to TV Caos; The manifesto of the pirate broacaster “Cooty TV”; an ORVEX course in economics for dummies; “Contra Chávez,” the video game; Brazilian evangelicals complain of press coverage; the ratfinking of an independent-minded Globo pundit, primary documents. Plus cameo appearances by the sex Senator’s baby mom — appearing soon in the Grupo Abril’s Playboy Brasil — and Larry Rohter. In general, more specimens of the rhetoric of hysterical virginity. NMM(-TV) … does not endorse the views, implicit or explicit, of clips displayed here for discussion purposes.

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