Machine-Gunning the Magistrate: A Note from the Annals of Carlismo


Source: Rede TV News, Bahia.

Separated from the state of Pernambuco by the President Dutra bridge, Juazeiro has long cast, and still casts, a large shadow on the pages of the local and national press as a hotbed of highway robbery, the marijuana trade and a series of summary executions that were never investigated. It was in this context that Olga built up much of her dowry of enemies, among them police delegados José Alberto Braga, Adailton Adam, Cely Carlos and Cristiane Xavier , as well as other state police agents and a number of military police troopers, who were accused by her of crimes ranging from torture of prisoners to death-squad activities.

You can be aggressive in hunting down news, that’s one thing. It is quite another thing to be agressive in a way that disrespects authority. You must not let your authority be disrespected. … In those who have authority, that authority is intrinsic, it is innate. … if you do not respect yourself, journalists will not respect you, just as no one at home will respect you. A single look can generally resolve half such problems. The way you look at them when you answer, and the journalist will not persist in posing a disrespectful question.Antônio Carlos Magalhães (Magalhães on Managing the Media)

In other words, a look that says “I can have you killed.”

The A Tarde daily (Salvador) looks back on the eventful career of a judge in the northeastern state of Bahia.

The context: Globo’s Jornal Nacional recently ran a story to the effect that the judge is being investigated for ties to the drug traffic by the state supreme court.

A Tarde seems to be supporting her struggle against the “folklore of corruption” with this account of her astonishing back story. But Globo claims it has wiretap transcripts of the judge’s husband accepting payoffs from a Colombian drug trafficker arrested in Uruguay with a snowy mountain of blow.

On the quality of journalism fed to the national evening newscast by its TV Bahia affiliate, however — TV Bahia’s shareholders and general manager are all named Magalhães — see

The point being that Jornal Nacional is not above running a gabbling ratfink campaign now and again at the best of its special friends. Boil thoroughly before consuming what comes down Globo’s content pipeline. High sludge content. This case has a high weirdness index that makes me wonder what the hell this is really all about. Setting Google news alert.

The bit here about the libel suit filed on behalf of law-enforcement institutions makes interesting reading alongside a recent case in Rio de Janeiro:

The death-squad charges involved here also invite comparison with

And inasmuch as it provides telling details about the nature of Carlismo — the political machine run by Antônio Carlos Magalhães, “The King of Bahia” — the story makes interesting reading alongside the obituary of the man written by Larry Rohter of the New York Times. See

Rohter suggested that ACM was a delightfully colorful character from the pages of a Brazilian Mark Twain:

To both his admirers and his many enemies Mr. Magalhaes seemed a larger-than-life figure, like a character out of one of the novels of his friend Jorge Amado. On the campaign trail, he seemed equally at ease with the black voodoo priests who repeatedly delivered their congregations’ votes to him as with the white businessmen he made prosperous by steering lucrative contracts their way.

Afro-Brazilians do not practice voudon. Many do practice candomblé, however, and Bahia is the historical homeland of the orixás.

Joseph Conrad might have done the man more justice, really. “The horror. The horror.” But Larry is fond of the “life imitates art” topos. Especially the “life imitates bad TV” topos. Grotesque, media-driven “hookers with hearts of gold” stories in particular.

And so I ask you once again: What in the hell is Larry Rohter smoking?

And who is he smoking it with?

To the newsflow:

Ainda saboreando a surpreendente vitória nas urnas de outubro, Jaques Wagner (PT), governador eleito e em campanha para Lula, que iria enfrentar o segundo turno, foi a Cruz das Almas proferir a aula inaugural da Universidade Federal do Recôncavo. Sentou num dos sofás, viu a juíza Olga Regina, falou:

Still savoring his surprising victory at the ballot box last October, Jaques Wagner, governor-elect and campaigning for Lula, who was going into a runoff election, was in Cruz das Almas to deliver a speech to open the academic year at the Federal University of the Recôncavo. He sat down on a sofa, spotted Judge Olga Regina, and called out,

– Viu que aqueles tirinhos valeram a pena?

“You see how those little gunshots were worth it?”

Os “tirinhos” a que Wagner referia-se em verdade eram centenas de tiros disparados por metralhadoras. Ao alvorecer do dia 19 de agosto de 2001, um domingo, a magistrada estava na Casa do Juiz, em Juazeiro, com os dois filhos menores, quando 60 policiais civis e militares sob o comando do delegado José Alberto Alencar Braga chegaram na porta e gritaram: “Abra, senão vamos arrombar!”

The “little gunshots” Wagner was refering to were, in fact, hundreds of shots fired from submachine guns. At dawn on August 19, 2001, a Sunday, the magistrate was at her official residence in Juazeiro with her two minor children, when 60 military and state policemen under the command of José Alberto Alencar Braga came to her door, yelling: “Open up or we’ll break the door down!”

Dois guardas municipais que faziam a segurança foram espancados e dominados. O terror se instalou. Entraram metralhando telhado, paredes, animais, uma cadela morta, a juíza de camisola, aparvalhada, assistindo a tudo, os filhos paralisados, um deles com um dos olhos fora de órbita.

Two city policemen providing security were beaten into submission. Terror ruled the scene. They came in firing machine guns at the roof, walls, animals, a dog was killed, the judge was in her nightgown, bewildered, watching it all happen, her children frozen, one of them with his eyes literally starting out his head.

On that partial victory over Carlismo — does the zombie corpse of Magalhães still haunt the sertões? — in the last election, see

CHICOTADAS – Na madrugada daquele dia Tiago, um dos filhos da juíza, na época com 16 anos, hoje tenente do Exército (o outro foi morar na Austrália), recebeu um telefonema do 3º Batalhão da PM dizendo que tinha acabado de haver uma reunião e um grupo de policiais estava se dirigindo à casa deles com o intuito de matar Olga. Como as ameaças integravam o cotidiano da família, contou ele, não ligou. Era verdade.

WHIPPING — in the early morning hours of that day, Tiago, one of the judge’s sons, who was 16 at the time and is now a lieutenant in the Army (the other son went to live in Australia) got a phone call from the 3rd Battalion of the state military police saying a meeting had just broken up and that a group of policemen was on its way to her house to kill the judge. Since death threats were a part of the daily life of the judge and her family, she did not think much of it. But it was true.

Dois dias antes, o marido da magistrada, Baldoíno Santana, estava no foco de outro fato de intensa repercussão. Agrediu o promotor Antonio Luciano de Assis, na porta do Fórum de Juazeiro, a chicotadas porque soube que ele havia falado mal da juíza. A invasão da casa, a pretexto de prender Baldoíno (não havia ordem judicial e um salvo-conduto expedido pelo desembargador Lourival Ferreira foi rasgado), foi o coroamento dos turbulentos episódios em que a magistrada se envolveu em Juazeiro como protagonista de proa.

Two days prior, the magistrate’s husband, Baldoíno Santana, was at the center of another sensational event. He assaulted prosecutor Antonio Luciano de Assis at the entryway to the Juazeiro courthouse, whipping him, because he had heard the prosecutor had spoken ill of his wife. The raid on the house, on the pretext of arresting Baldoíno (there was no warrant for his arrest, and a safe-conduct issued by Judge Ferreira was torn up) was the crowning event in a series of turbulent episodes in which the Juazeiro judge figured prominently.

INIMIGOS – Separada de Pernambuco por uma ponte, a Presidente Dutra, Juazeiro carregava e carrega largo espectro no noticiário baiano e nacional como ponto de roubos de cargas, comercialização de maconha e uma sucessão de execuções sumárias sem apurações. Neste cenário Olga construiu a maior parte do seu cabedal de inimigos, entre eles os delegados José Alberto Braga, Adailton Adam, Cely Carlos e Cristiane Xavier, além de outros agentes da Polícia Civil, mais vários integrantes do Batalhão da PM, acusados por ela de crimes que iam desde torturas a presos até a participação em grupos de extermínio.

Separated from the state of Pernambuco by the President Dutra bridge, Juazeiro has cast, and continues to cast, a large shadow on the pages of the local and national press as a focus of highway robbery, the marijuana trade and a series of summary executions that were never investigated. It was in this context that Olga built up much of her dowry of enemies, among them police officials José Alberto Braga, Adailton Adam, Cely Carlos and Cristiane Xavier, as well as other state police agents, as well as a number of military police troopers, who were accused by her of crimes ranging from torture of prisoners to death-squad activities.

Um deles, o policial civil Jorge Santa Fé, morreu sendo obrigado a dar depoimentos semanais num processo em que era acusado de tortura. Era diabético e o fato irritou policiais. A eles agregaram-se os promotores, após o caso de Antonio Luciano.

One of these, state policeman Jorge Santa Fé, died while being compelled to give weekly deposition in a trial in which he was accused of torture. He was diabetic, and his death irritated police, who were joined by prosecutors after the case of Antonio Luciano.

De quebra, mais o então deputado estadual Pedro Alcântara, da base do governo da época, e a secretária de Segurança Pública Kátia Alves. A polícia havia prendido, em Feira de Santana, Wander Dornelles, acusado de roubo de cargas. O deputado admitiu que intercedeu no Tribunal de Justiça em favor dele. Olga entrou no cenário acusando um irmão de Kátia, suspeito de envolvimento com tráfico de drogas, de ter ligações no caso.

Then-state legislator Pedro Alcântara, who was in the government base at the time, and the secretary of public safety Kátia Alves, soon joined the list. The police had arrested Wander Dornelles on hijacking (loadjacking) charges in Feira de Santana. The lawmaker admitted that he interceded with the state supreme court on the man’s behalf. Olga entered the case by accusing a brother of Kátia’s, suspected of involvement in drug trafficking, of having some involvement in the case.

Mesmo com esse elenco de desafetos a juíza não se calou. Ao contrário, soltou a língua. Deu entrevistas as órgãos da imprensa do Estado e nacional, nas quais qualificava os policiais de “psicopatas”, “corvardes”, “sádicos”, “bandidos”. Uma delas, na revista IstoÉ, relatava a invasão ostentando o título: Cangaço chapa-branca. Em novembro de 2001, dois meses após a invasão da casa, foi chamada às pressas para ir ao presídio onde estaria havendo uma rebelião.

But even with this cast of enemies, the judge did not keep quiet. On the contrary, she loosened her tongue, giving interview to state and national news organizations in which she referred to police as “psychopaths,” “cowards,” “sadists,” “bandits.” In one such interview, with IstoÉ magazine, she related the attack on her home under the headline [“The hereditary bandit-state”]. In November 2001, two months after the raid on her house, she was called suddenly to a prison where a riot was supposedly going on.

TRANSFERÊNCIA –Era um blefe. Lá, o tenente Fábio Cândido, hoje delegado em Juazeiro, encarregado de fazer a guarda da magistrada, simplesmente saiu da cena junto com os demais policiais, trancou a cadeia e a deixou no meio dos presos, grande parte dos quais tinham sido condenados por ela. A juíza mais uma vez soltou a língua. “Me deixaram aqui pensando que vocês vão me pegar. Eu tenho medo é deles. ”Aqui ninguém toca na doutora“, gritou um dos detentos. Fizeram um cordão de isolamento em torno dela e começaram a rezar o Pai Nosso.

TRANSFER — It was a bluff. There, Lt. Fábio Cândido, now a precinct captain in Juazeiro, who was incharge of the judge’s security, simply disappeared from the scene along with other policeman in her security detail, locked down the jail and left her in the middle of the prisoners, a good part of whom she had sentenced. The judge once more let her tongue loose: “They left me here thinking you people are going to get me. But they are the ones I’m afraid of.” “No one is going to touch the lady,” one of the prisoners yelled. They created a cordon of security around her and began to recite the Lord’s Prayer.

Entre os desafetos de peso entrou o Ministério Público. Por conta das entrevistas, moveu uma ação por “calúnia e difamação” em nome de 68 policiais, entre eles um major e quatro tenentes, que se julgaram ofendidos. No Tribunal de Justiça, o desembargador Lourival Ferreira, da 1ª Câmara Criminal, recebeu uma carta de Roziana Tomaz da Silva rogando pelo marido, Waldemar José Alves, na qual ela dizia que o marido sofria perseguições da polícia e do Ministério Público por se recusar a dar um depoimento contra a magistrada “com a qual meu esposo nunca teve ligação”.

One of her heaviest-hitting enemies was the state prosecutor. Because of the interviews she granted, they sued her for “slander and defamation” in the name of 68 police officers, among them a major and four lieutenants, who deemed themselves offended. In the state supreme court, Judge Lourival Ferreira of the First Criminal Chamber received a letter from Roziana Tomaz da Silva on behalf of her husband, Waldemar José Alves, whom she said was being persecuted by police and prosecutors for refusing to testify against the judge, “with whom my husband has never had any connection.”

O TJ mandou a desembargadora Celsina Reis a Juazeiro verificar a situação. A conclusão: a juíza, ao invés de algoz, era vítima. O tempo já era outro no TJ, que até o início desta década sofria forte influência política do senador Antonio Carlos Magalhães. Em 2002 a magistrada foi transferida para Cruz das Almas. Deixou em Juazeiro 149 mandados de prisão expedidos, alguns dos quais contra policiais.

The court (the “TJ”) sent Justice Celsina Reis to Juazeiro to investigate the situation. The conclusion: The judge, rather than being a persecutor, was a victim. The TJ, which since the beginning of the decade had suffered powerful political influence by Sen. Magalhães, had already changed in those days. In 2002, the magistrate was transferred to Cruz das Almas, leaving behind 149 arrest warrants, some of them against police.

Again, it is the editorial position of this blog that we do not really care too much whether the folks who get elected to run Brazil in the future are bigger fans of Hayek or Keynes. It is really none of our business (except that we do own property and pay taxes here, of course).

Brazilian voters can figure that out. We are interested to see what they come up with.

We just tend to think that Brazilians will be better off in any event not being run by Conrad’s Col. Kurtz.

You know: The newspaper front pages displaying grotesque altars made of human heads.

That sort of thing.

And we tend think — based on our informal polling of cab drivers, carrouceiros, lesbian football players, people we meet at the mall, neighbors, shirt-tail relatives, Brazilian Homer Simpsons observed getting mad while watching William Bonner, and so on — that there is a fairly broad consensus on that minimum condition of civililty and modernity pretty much across the political spectrum in the gigante por natureza, too.

Bet you a beer on it, even.

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