You can’t tell the players without a program: social network analysis of the postal service scandal, the CPI dos Correios, here in Brazil.
Privatization of the state is a system under which a state functionary has replaced the law, and different rules are applied to different people. Civil servants use the offices of the state for their personal enrichment and state functions are either not performed at all or performed for the benefit of those who use the state for illicit purposes.
–Vladimir Brovkin, “Fragmentation of Authority and Privatization of the State: From Gorbachev to Yeltsin”
The most important thing here is to look into the possible overlap between industrial espionage and political espionage, brokered by a state agency, the Brazilian Intelligence Agency (ABIN). –CPMI dos Correios, Final Report, Vol. I, Section 5, “Espionage in the Postal Service”
The story so far: An MIT- trained economist and Brazilian venture capitalist, Daniel Dantas of Opportunity, gets into trouble in Brazil for hiring Kroll (the “risk management” arm of the MMC Companies) to spy on government officials, business competitors and business associates.
The espionage activities focus specifically board members of Brasil Telecom, many of them representing pension funds for federal employees. The wrongdoing charged involves illegal wiretapping, among things — a phenomenon that appears to be rampant in Brazilian political life, if the case against the late Senator Magalhães, which forced his temporary withdrawal from office several years ago, is any indication.
A former CIA agent known as Frank Holder worked the case for Kroll.
Also involved in the case is the director of ABIN, the “Brazilian CIA,” Mauro Marcelo de Lima e Silva, who resigned during the joint congressional investigation of an alleged political slush fund scheme in which Dantas was also implicated. I need to understand better the reason given for that resignation, and the circumstances. Lucas Figueiredo’s The Ministry of Silence, on the history and prehistory of ABIN, only takes us up to 2005.
After Dantas and associates are arrested, indicted and put on trial for illegal wiretapping and related charges — in a federal police investigation known as Operation Jackal — Dantas approaches Veja magazine with a “dossier” on members of the government, a prominent opposition politician who is a former head of the federal police, and the current head of the federal police, Paulo Lacerda.
The “dossier” charges that these officials have secret, illegal offshore bank accounts into which bribes have been deposited.
Veja fact-checks the dossier, finds that it cannot be corroborated and may well be fraudulent, and yet runs it anyway, under the argument that despite the lack of solid evidence for them, it nevertheless finds the allegations “plausible.”
More recently, a number of publications, including Consultor Jurídico and most especially IstoÉ Dinheiro, have revived the theory according to which Telecom Italia bribed senior government and law enforcement officials and then framed Dantas to hush the matter up. See
Meanwhile, Lacerda has left the federal police and been named to head ABIN, even as the federal attorney, as CartaCapital is complaining at the moment, has yet to issue a finding on the question: Did Lacerda take bribes and funnel them into Swiss bank accounts?
In Brazil, the wheels of justice often grind slower than the fossilization of amber — and exceedingly gross.
Romeu Tuma, a former federal police chief himself and now a federal senator from São Paulo, whose name appeared on the Dantas-Holder list of senior officials with illegal offshore bank accounts, recently left the opposition DEM-PFL party and went over to the PTB (which is currently renegotiating the terms of its support for the government benches in the Senate.)
Harvard Law professor Mangabeira Unger published an op-ed in the Folha de S. Paulo in October 2005 in which he summed up the charges against the Lula government:
He [Lula] meddled, and let those close to him meddle, in private disputes and businesses. And he commanded, with one eye open and one eye shut, a political machine that traded money for power and power for money, and then tried to buy, with budget allocations, political support to interrupt the investigation of his abuses.
Mangabeira formerly represented Daniel Dantas on the board of Brasil Telecom — and indeed, reportedly petitioned the government ethics board to continue doing so while serving in the cabinet.
The Harvard theory of “innovation in public administration” in action: Those are not conflicts of interest! Those are innovation synergies! See
Late appointed to a cabinet-level planning post, Mangabeira retracted those statements and apologized. The theme of his inaugural speech: “Let us look to the future, not the past!”
What to make of all this? This byzantine affair makes the Hewlett-Packard “pretexting”scandal look like a straightforward case of Nelson Muntz shaking down the other kids for their lunch money.
But the feature that interests me most, I guess, is the suggestion that sectors of the Brazilian news media has lent itself wholeheartedly and whole hog throughout to information warfare on behalf of certain of the warring parties.
And further, that the affair reflects a certain Putinesque struggle to seize state assets and funnel them into private hands — from whence they flow back to political actors who have committed to protecting those private interests.
It strikes me that many of Mr. Brovkin’s observations on the formation of a “criminal corporatist oligarchy” in Russia, operated by and for the benefit of members of the state intelligence apparatus controlled by Putin, do seem to apply in some ways, mutatis mutandis, to the Brazilian situation.
Readings in Wanderley Guilherme dos Santos and Elio Gaspari tend to reinforce that tentative and preliminary hypothesis, filling in some of the historical background.
In Brazil, the theory goes — very roughly put, in a “for dummies” version, mind you — there is the State — a vast Indonesian archipelago of bureaucratic latifúndios controlled by what Luis Nassif calls “the permanent operators”– and then there is the so-called Government de plantão — the idiots elected by the idiot electorate to keep up the appearance that democracy is in full force.
State actors of a certain mentality do not recognize the Government as their legitimate employer. If they do not like the government’s policy initiatives, the Government can, not to put too fine a point on it, go fuck itself.
These actors can rely on the mass media to back their play. With the amplifier turned up to eleven. A likely example:
This is how the story shapes in my head at this moment, but mind you, I am going on incomplete information here and still slogging through the factual background.
Which is why I am trying to slog through the report of the CPMI dos Correios, whose 1,857 pages represent the most concerted attempt to date to produce detailed fact-finding into the activities of the Ben Hur-sized cast of characters in this tropical parapolitical Jacobean revenger’s tragedy.
Today, my mind wanders to the question: So, how did this whole mess begin, anway?
With the astonishing confessions of a PTB lawmaker named Roberto Jefferson, who, accused of (and later impeached over) running a bribery scheme in the national postal service, charged senior government officials with would later become the “big monthly” scandal. On whom, see
A gravação da fita de vídeo, em que o funcionário dos Correios, Maurício Marinho, é flagrado recebendo R$ 3.000,00, foi resultado da chamada espionagem industrial ou comercial. No entanto, o mais importante é analisar a possível imbricação entre a espionagem industrial e a espionagem política por intermédio de um órgão do Estado, a Agência Brasileira de Inteligência (ABIN).
The videotap in which Postal Service employee Maurício Marinho is caught taking a R$3,000 bribe was the result of so-called industrial or commercial espionage. However, the most important thing here is to look into the possible overlap between industrial espionage and political espionage, brokered by a state agency, the Brazilian Intelligence Agency (ABIN).
Antes de se passar à descrição dos fatos com a respectiva análise que lhes dê inteligibilidade, é necessário explicitar que a atividade de inteligência envolve dois conceitos básicos: primeiro, a compartimentação das informações, que possibilita às pessoas com interesses diversos e sem a informação de todo o processo participarem da atividade de inteligência, muitas vezes sem o saberem; segundo, a estória-cobertura em que nenhuma atividade é desenvolvida sem uma estória crível, porém nem sempre veraz, pensada e discutida no âmbito da agência de inteligência, para ser usada em caso de descoberta da atividade.
Before going on to recount the facts, with an analysis that might lend them some intelligibility, it is necessary to explain that intelligence activity involves two basic concepts: First, the compartmentalization of information, which makes it possible for persons with diverse interests and with only partial information about the process as a whole to participate in intelligence-gathering, often without even knowing it; and second, the principle of the cover-story, according to which no intelligence activity can be engaged in without a credible, though not necessarily true, story to explain it, a story planned and debated within the intelligence agency to be used in case the activity is discovered.
Também é importante perceber que a espionagem para ser desvendada por inteiro requer a chamada contra-espionagem ou simplesmente a delação. Portanto, qualquer interpretação que dê inteligibilidade aos fatos poderá sempre ser acusada de “teoria da conspiração”. Todavia, uma análise é superior a outra, na medida em que explica o maior número de fatos com maior economicidade no paradigma.
It also important to note that espionage, in order to be completely uncovered, requires either so-called counterintelligence or else simple whistleblowing. For that reason, any interpretation that might explain the fact might be accused of being a “conspiracy theory.” Nevertheless, one analysis is better than another one, to the extent that it explains a greater number of facts with a greater degree of theoretical simplicity.
Occam’s Razor, in other words.
I might have added that the true test of a hypothesis is its predictive power in light of future evidence.
The direct observation of black holes with many of the properties predicted by Special Relativity strengthened that theory. Observation of other properties not contemplated by SR led to efforts to refine and extend that theory. Work continues.
Which actually helps to explain how to do a rough sorting out of legitimate investigative hypotheses and “conspiracy theory.”
I always thought Source Watch did a very good job of explaining how to filter signal from noise in a rough and ready but useful way:
What is commonly called a “theory” is more properly called a “hypothesis”. A “conspiracy theory” is actually a class of hypothesis. Another, somewhat intersecting, class is that of unfalsifiable hypotheses. If I believe there are aliens in my cupboard, but only when no-one is looking, that is unfalsifiable. One can never verify it. Similarly, if I believe that Tony Blair and George Bush are aliens that only come out of their people suits in secret meetings, that is similarly unfalsifiable.
Loudly and repeatedly labeling falsifiable hypotheses as “conspiracy theory” is frequently used to undermine the credibility of persons trying to develop and test rational hypotheses.
Preventing debate of the inobvious and covert by condemning it as conspiracy theory does undermine discussion of the secret actions of government and other organizations. This may mean that people who consider themselves reasonable may discount narriatives other than those presented explicitly and explicitly by corporate-owned news channels and the groups that supply them with “information” (see fake news and others).
Its flip-side, meanwhile, is David “Fear and Misinformation Abound” Sasaki-style “fear, uncertainty and doubt” rhetoric, which in extreme form is expressed as a metaphysical principle of extreme skepticism.
Whereby nothing, in an ultimate sense, is knowable.
The Popperian epistemology of the “community of scientific enquirers” is a Communist plot!
For all of which reaons is why it is important not to leap to conclusions and engage in speculations.
Unless you are intentionally engaged in disinformation campaigning, in which case that is exactly what you should do, with great enthusiasm and at maximum volume.
This is “journalism 2.0” as practiced by Veja magazine — which is actually a throwback to Lacerdist black propaganda rather than any sort of “innovation” — and Global Voices Online, and public relations as practiced by J.J. Rendón. On whom see also
The theory of generalized Masonic domination of the New World Order, or the ZOG theory, are gibbering conspiracy theories, for example.
My grandfather was a Mason, for example.
I may well be pursued and assassinated in a mysterious and ambiguous manner for revealing this — avenge my death! — but all those old farts ever really did behind the veil of secrecy was convene for five minutes to discuss sponsoring Little League teams and March of Dimes walkathons — resolved by unanimous huzzahs! — and then adjourn early to the open bar.
The role played by members of Propaganda Due in the Banco Ambrosiano affair, or the DoD-AIPAC-Mossad affair currently before a U.S. court, are not.
They are legitimate hypotheses that can be, and have been, or are in the process of being, falsified or upheld to a reasonable degree of certainty by the facts subsequently discovered.
Or not, insofar as the facts required are not forthcoming. In which case the matter winds up in Daivd “Fear and Misinformation Abound” Sasakiland.
O presente relatório tem como base os depoimentos prestados na CPMI, bem como na Polícia Federal, e os relatórios sigilosos confeccionados pela ABIN e enviados pelo Gabinete de Segurança Institucional. O Gráfico abaixo mostra os vínculos e as conexões dos envolvidos.
The present report is based on testimony taken by the CPMI, as well as by the Federal Police, and from reports prepared by ABIN and forwarded by the presidential Institutional Security Cabinet. The graphic below shows the relationships and connections among those involved.
Interesting, that line connecting Jairo Martins to the “press.” Who, allegedly, in the press?
A maleta e os autores materiais da gravação foram contratados pelo empresário Arthur Washeck que tivera interesses contrariados, legitimamente ou não, pelo Sr. Maurício Maurinho, que por sua vez possuía vínculos informais, pelo que disse e pelas indicações que teve, com o PTB presidido pelo Sr. Roberto Jefferson.
The [bribe money?] and the technicians were hired by businessman Arthur Washeck, who felt his interests had been damaged, whether legitimately or not, by Maurício Maurinho, who in turn had informal ties, according to his own words and evidence in the matter, with the PTB political party presided over by Roberto Jefferson.
Arthur é um dos donos da empresa Comam Comercial Alvorada de Manufaturados Ltda., que fornecia material de saúde e informática para os Correios.
He is one of the owners of Comam Comercial Alvorada de Manufaturados Ltda., which supplies health supplies and IT equipment to the Brazilian postal service.
Maurinho was a postal service official who had the power to decide who got such contracts. He was videotaped putting three thousand reals into the pocket of his suit jacket and issuing a greay little shit-eating grin.
O Sr. Arthur Wascheck detinha vínculos pessoais com o Sr. Arlindo Gerardo Molina, que se dispôs a mostrar a fita ao então Deputado Roberto Jefferson e de fato falaram sobre o assunto na reunião que tiveram no dia 03.05.2005.
Washeck had personal ties with Arlindo Gerardo Molina, who was willing to show the tape to then federal deputy Roberto Jefferson, which he did, in a meeting they had on May 3, 2005.
O Sr. Arthur Wascheck disse em depoimento que o Sr. Arlindo Molina, ex-professor do Colégio Naval, o apresentou para algumas pessoas da Marinha para apresentar um produto. Fato negado pelo Sr. Molina. Ambos se conheciam desde 2001 e conversavam frequentemente. Para ajudar o Sr. Molina, que estava em dificuldades financeiras, o Sr. Arthur Wascheck transferira para aquele, a partir de 09.05.2005, cerca de R$ 20.000,00.
Washeck said in his testimony that Molina, a former professor at the Naval War College, introduced him to some Navy personnel for the purpose of pitching a product. Molina denies this. The two have known one another since 2001 and talk frequently. To help Mr. Molina, who was in financial difficulties, Washeck transferred some R$20,000 to him, starting on May 9, 2005.
Como na fita há acusações contra o Sr. Roberto Jefferson, as motivações do Sr. Arthur Wascheck podem ser diversas, como abaixo explicitadas, indo desde o achaque a até mesmo a simples denúncia política a quem presidia o partido que patrocinou a indicação do Sr. Mauricio Marinho, por meio do Diretor dos Correios Sr. Antônio Osório e do Deputado José Chaves (PTB-PE).
Because the tape contains accusations against Roberto Jefferson, Mr. Washeck’s action may be explained by a number of different motives, as set forth below, ranging from an attack [on Jefferson] to simple whistleblowing against the president of the party that sponsored Marinho for the job, through postal service director Antônio Osório and federal deputy José Chaves (PTB-PE).
O Sr. Arthur Washeck participava de licitações no setor público não apenas nos Correios, mas, por muito tempo, para as Forças Armadas, especificamente o Exército e a Marinha, sendo que fora apresentado ao Sr. Fortuna, outro participante de concorrências nos Correios, que fora agente da ABIN, quando se chamava SNI, por um Coronel do Corpo de Bombeiros do Distrito Federal. Durante o período de gravação das fitas o Sr. Fortuna estava sendo utilizado como fonte pelo Sr. Edgar Lange, analista de informações da ABIN e Coordenador de Operações Sistêmicas, conforme este declarou em depoimento.
Washeck bid for public contracts not only with the postal service, but also, for a long, long time, with the armed forces, specifically the Army and Navy, and had been introduced to Mr. Fortuna, another participant in postal service contract competitions. Fortuna had been an ABIN agent when it was still known as the SNI. They were introduced by a colonel in the Federal District fire brigade. During the recording of the videotapes, Mr. Fortuna was being used as an informant by Mr. Edgar Lange, an ABIN intelligence analyst and coordinator of Systematic Operations, as he told this commission.
And then there is Jairo Martins:
Como policial militar estava licenciado sem remuneração desde o final de 2004, obtendo rendimentos de uma empresa de alarmes em sociedade com seu irmão e o pai dele, que por sinal é Subtenente de Reserva do Exército, tendo atuado no Centro de Inteligência do Exército durante 33 anos. Observe-se ainda que o Sr. Jairo Martins possuía vínculos políticos e fora assessor parlamentar do Bispo Rodrigues, um dos beneficiados do “Mensalão”, tendo trabalhado na liderança do Partido Social Liberal (PSL) e também já participara da gravação do ex-Deputado André Luiz.
He had been suspended without pay from the military police since late 2004, his income deriving from an alarm systems company he ran in partnership with brother and his father. His father is apparently an Army Reserve 2nd Lieutenant and worked in Army Intelligence for 33 years. We observe that Jairo Martins had political ties and had been an aide to Bishop Rodrigues, one of the alleged beneficiaries of the “big monthly” [under-the-table money pipeline], having been part of the leadership of the Social Liberal Party (PSL) and having participated in the recording of former federal deputy André Luiz.
Luiz, of the Rio de Janeiro PMBD, was accused of trying to extort a big fish in the jogo de bicho rackets.
O deputado teria tentado extorquir R$ 4 milhões para excluir Cachoeira do relatório final da CPI da Loterj (Loteria do Estado do Rio), criada pela Assembléia Legislativa do Rio.
The deputy was accused of trying to extort R$4 million from “Charlie Waterfall” in exchange from keeping his name out of the CPI of the State Lottery, a commission of inquiry in the Rio state legislature.
Conhecera o empresário Arthur Wascheck em um restaurante em Brasília por intermédio do Sr. Cássio Bittar, familiar do Sr. Carlos Ramos, vulgo Carlinhos Cachoeira, que patrocinou a gravação do Sr. Waldomiro Diniz, e para quem o Sr. Jairo Martins trabalhou na gravação do Deputado André Luiz, na tentativa de extorsão sofrida pelo Sr. Carlos Ramos …
He, Jairo, had met Wascheck [sic] in a Brasília restaurant through Cássio Bittar, a relative of Carlos “Charly Waterfall” Ramos, who had contracted the secret recording of Waldomiro Diniz, and for whom Jairo had worked on the project to record Luiz as he tried to extort “Charley Waterfall.”
Washeck or Waschek?
Diniz was an aide to Casa Civil minister and PT stalwart Zé Dirceu who was accused by Charley Waterfall of soliciting campaign contributions for government-backed candidates.
Wikipedia has this summary of the incident:
Na gravação Waldomiro Diniz aparece extorquindo Augusto Ramos para arrecadar fundos para a campanha eleitoral do Partido dos Trabalhadores e do Partido Socialista Brasileiro no Rio de Janeiro. Em troca Waldomiro prometia ajudar Augusto Ramos numa concorrência pública.
On the recording, Diniz is seen extorting Augusto Ramos to kick in campaign contributions for the PT and PSB in Rio. In exchange he promised to help Ramos win a public auction.
On Carlos Augusto Ramos, from O Globo (May 11, 2005, not longer available in its online archives):
BRASÍLIA. A Polícia Federal apreendeu ontem documentos e computadores em 19 casas e escritórios do bicheiro Carlos Augusto Ramos, o Carlinhos Cachoeira, e José Ângelo Beghini, de dois servidores públicos e de outras pessoas suspeitas de envolvimento numa tentativa de importação ilegal de máquinas caça-níqueis. Entre os investigados estão também dois funcionários da Receita Federal acusados de envolvimento na fraude. Do jornal O Globo, 11/5/2005
The feds seized documents yesterday (May 10, 2005) and computers from 19 homes and offices belonging to the bicho banker Carlos Augusto Ramo, “Charlie Waterfall,” and José Ângelo Beghini, as well as from two public employees and other persons suspected of involvement in an attempt to illegal import gambling machines. Among those investigated are two employees of the federal tax authority accused of involvement in the fraud.
These people own judges, cops, regulators, the tax man, everybody. This is what that crucial term that David Maurer introduced to common parlance, from his study of criminal argot, refers to: “The Fix.”
The Diniz affair takes into the territory of another congressional probe, the CPI dos Bingos, which in turn, in some general sense, might be said to have contributed to unleashing the current war on the bicho, bingo and caça-níquel rackets that we are seeing now.
Or vice-versa. Hard to know. David Sasakism abounds.
As to the Diniz case itself, this is precisely the point at which my poor brain gets overwhelmed with all the screaming noise with which the case was covered in the press. As far as I know, the case has yet to be resolved. Have charges even been brought? Googling will not help you find that out.
This happens a lot in Brazilian journalism: First, the press lynches you.
The guilty can be lynched as well the innocent, remember. Everyone I know thinks Renan Calheiros is guilty as sin of something or other, for example. Hell, even I tend to think that. But no one can explain to me exactly what he might be guilty of, mind you. Not based on any credible, independent evidence.
That is precisely what a lynching is: Let us string somebody up without bothering to establish their guilt or innocence first.
After the media lynching, “justice delayed” generally never gets around to reality-testing what the press said about you, providing any legal certainty about the validity, or partial or utter lack thereof, of the accusations against you.
At any rate, that is much as my poor brain can take today.
If anything, you get a little glimpse at how the political “game with frontiers” gets played in Brazil, I think.
Donald “Ratruck” Segretti, Nixon’s USC Law School-trained dirty tricks man?
These people would eat Donald Segretti for cafe da manhã, on toast, and still have room for some nice mamão com mel.
Principally because they have more institutional backing and money behind them.
Congress and the Judiciary stood up to Nixon in the name of institutional integrity.
Here, the judiciary apparently takes sides in the political game, and the legislative branch has parapolitical and mob-infiltration problems, whose dimensions are hard to know because lawmakers making legitimate charges of corruption are likely to end up on the receiving end of a corruption prosecution themselves.
When on the hot seat yourself, make loud corruption charges against all and sundry, whether founded or not.
As Elio Gaspari says, “The folklore of corruption is good business — for the corrupt.”
Imagine the various referees in the Santos-Corinthians classic have all been paid off to produce a different outcome for the match.
An honest representation of the contest might be to just put those crooked referees in the Ultimate Fighting octagon and let them fight it out.
Except that a good soccer match is actually more interesting to watch, and is what the spectator paid to see.
As Brazilian fans know, after the actual officiating scandal along those lines, in the professional football leagues here a couple of years back.
One gentleman, I remember reading, wound up winning a refund in court on those very grounds: Because the matches I paid to watch were thrown, the seller did not deliver the product advertised, which was genuine competition in which anything could happen, depending on the skills and actions of the players.
Well, just a random snippet from my ongoing reading. Next, maybe I will translate a bit of an interesting little study of the Diniz affair by some UMESP graduate students (PDF).