“Content Unavailable”: Globo’s Linha Direta on Death Squads and Grilagem

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“Content not available”: On death squads and grilagem, nothing is revealed. Ecce Globo.

Linha Direta is a true-crime call-in show — think America’s Most Wanted, with John Walsh — on the Rede Globo in Brazil.

Linha Direta, for example, was credited with the arrest — and the grotesque mass-media perp walk — of “one of the killers of [TV Globo reporter] Tim Lopes” recently.

See

Rumor has it that the show — which makes heavy use of docusoap techniques and mixes crime stories with ghost stories — will soon be taken off the air and replaced with (the utterly masturbatory, autohagiographical) “Profession: Reporter.”

The Rede Contra Violência noted in late September, for example:

Jornalistas e funcionários da Globo, envolvidos com a produção do programa que vai ao ar às quintas-feiras, adiantaram a informação (ainda não oficial) a familiares de vítimas de chacinas e outros casos de violência policial. O “Linha Direta”, embora originalmente dedicado mais a casos poucos conhecidos, crimes passionais, etc; nos últimos meses têm se dedicado a casos conhecidos de violência policial e execuções sumárias. Apesar de algumas falhas nas abordagens e relatos, tem servido como veículo de denúncias e visibilidade da situação de violência policial sistemática nas favelas e periferias pobres.

Globo journalists and employees involved in the production of the show, which airs on Wednesday, told the families of massacre victimes and other cases of police violence (the information is unofficial) [that Linha Direta will be cancelled.] Though originally dedicated to little-known cases, such as crimes of passion and so one, the show has dedicated more time in recent months to well-known cases of police violence and summary executions. Despite some flaws in its treatment and reporting, it has served to publicize these cases, lending visibility to the situation of systematic police violence in the shantytowns and impoverished urban “peripheries.”

Some TV industry gossip columns recently started hitting the same note: Linha Direta will be taken off the air, “sources say.”

I thought it would be interesting to document the trend these TV watches noted, so I went to the program’s Web site. Sure enough, the top case at the moment involves death squad activity against rural workers in the Northern state of Pará.

The program’s video segment on the phenomenon indicates “content unavailable,” however.

And why is that, exactly?

There is this brief blurb:

O Estado do Pará lidera as estatísticas do país no que diz respeito a conflitos agrários e assassinatos no campo. O epicentro dos conflitos está no sul do estado onde, segundo a Comissão Pastoral da Terra, mais de 700 trabalhadores rurais foram assassinados. Somente no município de Rio Maria três presidentes do Sindicato Rural foram assassinados em uma década, fora outros dirigentes. A família Canuto, com oito integrantes, tem sido o principal alvo dos capangas dos grileiros: três mortos, um sobrevivente e quatro ameaçados.

The state of Pará leads the nation in statistics relating to agrarian conflict and assassinations in rural areas. The epicenter of these conflicts is the southern portion of the state, where, according to the Pastoral Commission on Land, more than 700 rural workers have been assassinated.

In what period of time?

In the township of Rio Maria alone, three presidents of the Rural Syndicate have been assassinated in the last decade, as well as other leaders. The Canuto family, with eight members, has been a principal target of hired guns in the service of grileiros: three dead, one survivor, and four with death threats against them.

Grileiro you might translate as roughly equivalent to “claim jumper,” if you remember your history of the Old West. Wikipedia provides a decent rough intro to the phenomenon:

Grileiro é um termo que designa quem falsifica documentos para de forma ilegal tornar-se dono por direito de terras devolutas ou de terceiros ou ainda quem está na posse ilegal de prédio ou prédios indivisos, por meio de documentos falsificados.

Grileiro is a term that designates someone who falsifies documents in order to illegally claim legitimate rights to [“devolved” lands] or the property of others, or who claims title to a building or buildngs by means of forged documents.

O termo provém da técnica usada para o efeito, que consiste em colocar escrituras falsas dentro uma caixa com grilos, de modo a deixar os documentos amarelados e roídos, dando-lhes uma aparência antiga e, por consequência, mais verosímil.

The term comes from the technique used for this purpose, which consists in placing forged documents into a box with crickets [grilos], so as to leave the documents yellowed and gnawed, givin them the appearance of antiquity, and therefore, greater verisimilitude.

A grilagem é quando uma pessoa consegue várias procurações falsas de pessoas desconhecidas, geralmente camponeses que assinam os papéis para seus “patrões”. Com estes documentos falsos é realizada a compra de várias propriedades vizinhas, como se fosse um grande loteamento. Porém, na verdade estas várias propriedades unidas formavam um grande latifúndio.

Grilagem is when a person arranges various affidavits from persons unknown to him, generally peasants who sign the papers for their “bosses.” With these phony documents, neighboring properties are purchased as if under various owners. However, in reality these various properties together form a large latifúndio.

A grilagem é um dos motivos agravantes do exôdo rural no Nordeste. Além de graves disputas de terras no Centro-oeste e Amazônia.

Grilagem is an aggravating factor in the exodus from the rural areas of the Northeast and in serious land disputes in the Middle-West and the Amazon region.

Want to see what looks an awful lot like a case of electronic grilagem, perpetrated by Globo affiliate TV Bahia and aired nationally on the Jornal Nacional? See

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