O Jornalista: “Was Veja Scoop a Fabrication?”

Brazilian political and economic commentators perform their analyses before the fact. Before they know that it actually happened, they have an explanation for it. They present opinion divorced from information. –Ricardo Kaufmann (See O Globo: “Chávez Won the Referendum Because He Manipulated the System!”)

Attribution to another publication … cannot serve as license to print rumors that would not meet the test of The Times’s own reporting standards. Rumors must satisfy The Times’s standard of newsworthiness, taste and plausibility before publication, even when attributed. And when the need arises to attribute, that is a good cue to consult with the department head about whether publication is warranted at all.The New York Times, Guidelines on Integrity

“If you get your hands on rumor, pass it along to someone else, quick! After all, it might be a lie!” –Millôr Fernandes (the Ambrose Bierce of Veja magazine), The Bible of Chaos

O Jornalista — O clique de quem se comunica (“the clique for communicators”) — headlines the story: “Was the big scoop nothing but a fabrication?”

Furo não passou de uma armação? Sob o título: A guerra nos porões a matéria publicada pela revista Veja nº 1956, de 17 de maio de 2006, tinha a seguinte chamada:O banqueiro Daniel Dantas tem uma lista com contas em paraísos fiscais que seriam do presidente Lula e do resto da cúpula do PT“. A matéria tida como um grande furo provocou um alvoroso, na época. A investigação, conduzida desde então pela Polícia Federal (PF), concluiu que os pretensos documentos não passam de armações, segundo noticia o site Consultor Jurídico.

The big scoop was nothing but a fabrication? Under the headline “War in the Dungeons” — the article published in Veja No. 1956 on May 17, 2006 had the following coverline — “Banker Daniel Dantas has a list of accounts in tax havens that allegedly belong to President Lula and the rest of the PT leadership.” The article, held to be a huge scoop, created a furor at the time. The investigation conducted since then by the federal police has concluded that the documents are nothing but fabrications, according to Consultor Jurídico.

Which does not say how it knows this, by the way.

The Federal Police has not officially announced it, that I can see. Checking?

Ao finalizar na semana passada o inquérito, a PF indiciou sob acusação de calúnia, enquadrado na Lei de Imprensa, o banqueiro Daniel Dantas, do banco Opportunity, e o executivo Frank Holder, ex-diretor da Kroll, multinacional que atua na área de investigação.

After finishing up the investigation last week, the PF charged Dantas and Holder under the [1967] Press Law …

I have not been able to verify this yet, by the way, either as to “the PF concluded” or as to “brought charges based on [the 1967] Press Law.”

Consultor Jurídico is not, in my judgment, a consistently reliable news source, and the story is not properly sourced.

A revista Veja, afirmou na época, que “para defender-se das pressões que garante ter sofrido do PT nos últimos três anos e meio, Dantas acumulou toda sorte de informações que pôde coletar sobre seus algozes. A mais explosiva é uma relação de cardeais petistas que manteriam dinheiro escondido em paraísos fiscais. Entre eles estão o presidente Lula, os ex-ministros José Dirceu (Casa Civil), Antonio Palocci (Fazenda), Luiz Gushiken (Secom), o atual titular da Justiça, Márcio Thomaz Bastos, o diretor da Polícia Federal, Paulo Lacerda, e o senador Romeu Tuma (PFL-SP). A lista é fruto de um trabalho de investigação feito pelo americano Frank Holder, ex-diretor da agência internacional de espionagem Kroll. Ela apresenta uma série de números de contas, seus titulares, os nomes dos bancos e os saldos referentes ao primeiro trimestre de 2004. Holder disse ter comprovado a existência das contas por meio de depósitos“.

Veja stated at the time that “to defend himself against pressures he says he has suffered from the PT in the last three and a half years, Dantas compiled all the information he could on his tormentors. The most explosive is a report on party “cardinals” who supposedly hide money in offshore tax havens. Among them, [the persons listed, inclluding President Squid] … The list is the fruit of work by the American Frank Holder, former director of international spy agency Kroll.

Kroll describes itself as the risk management consultancy division of an insurance firm.

The report presents a series of accounts, their accountholders, the names of the banks, and the balances as of 1QQ2004. Holder says he has proved the existence of the accounts through deposits.”

//i113.photobucket.com/albums/n216/cbrayton/iraqbrazil14.png?t=1197989948” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
Veja’s Mainardi on the Jô Soares show: “I made nothing up. I reported what I found.” Apparently true: Someone else made it up. Mainardi simply repeated it loudly. See Seen on “The Brazilian Letterman Show”: Diogo Mainardi on the Journalism of Buzz

Segundo a própria revista, ela teve acesso à lista das supostas contas dos petistas em setembro de 2005, com o conhecimento de Dantas. De posse dela, a revista teria feito “um exaustivo trabalho de apuração”.

The magazine says it had access to the list in September 2005, with the knowledge of Dantas. With the list in hand, the magazine supposedly conducted “an exhaustive attempt to corroborate it.”

Na edição 1957, Veja voltou ao assunto com uma nova abordagem: “Documentos desmentem Dantas e derrubam suas versões sobre o dossiê que passou a VEJA“. “Em sua edição passada, na reportagem sobre o arsenal do banqueiro Daniel Dantas contra o governo, VEJA revelou que ele incluía supostas contas de autoridades brasileiras no exterior. Para ilustrar a matéria, a revista publicou a cópia de uma lista (à direita) enviada por ordem de Dantas a VEJA, que tomou o cuidado de apagar o número das supostas contas e o nome dos bancos. Ainda assim, o fato de tê-la publicado causou várias reações. Uma delas foi a afirmação de que a lista não provava nada. De fato não prova – nem VEJA pretendeu o contrário. Ao publicá-la, a revista quis tão-somente mostrar que tinha em seu poder papéis repassados por Dantas. Todos eles foram entregues ao procurador-geral da República, Antonio Fernando de Souza. Ao longo da semana passada, os repórteres da revista empenharam-se em acompanhar os desdobramentos da crise causada pela primeira reportagem“, afirma a matéria.

In No. 1957, Veja approached the topic from a new angle: “Documents belie Dantas and undermine his story about the dossier he passed to Veja.” … “In its last edition, VEJA revealed that the arsenal of Daniel Dantas includes supposed offshore bank accounts belonging to Brazilian officials. To illustrate the material, the magazine published a copy of the list (at right) which was sent to VEJA on the orders of Dantas, who took care to black out the number of the supposed accounts and the name of the banks. Even so, the fact that we published it caused a number of reactions. One was the statement that the list proved nothing. And in fact it does not — nor did VEJA mean [to suggest otherwise].

VEJA did suggest otherwise, in the same article:

Using all legal means, VEJA tried to confirm the veracity of the material handed over by Manzano [and compiled with Frank Holder, with whom they met in Zurich.] Submitted to examination by an expert hired by the magazine, the material presented numerous inconsistencies, but none of them sufficiently strong to completely eliminate the possibility that the papers contained true information. … The magazine made it clear that it could not prove the authenticity of these papers, which could all be a fraud. Even so, it is difficult to believe that the banker would have spent so much time and money to hire and equip international spies only to come away with a bunch of phantom documents. –Veja magazine, May17, 2006

O Jornalista continues quoting VEJA’s follow-up:

On publishing it, this magazine only meant to show that it had in its possession papers passed along by Dantas.

“We were merely passing along a rumor, without taking any critical position on its truth or falsity.”

I actually happen to own a copy of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. I believe it to be bizarre nonsense and do not go around repeating what it says, except perhaps as an illustration of the kinds of bizarre nonsense that have been committed to print since the invention of movable type (by the Chinese).

Todos eles foram entregues ao procurador-geral da República, Antonio Fernando de Souza. Ao longo da semana passada, os repórteres da revista empenharam-se em acompanhar os desdobramentos da crise causada pela primeira reportagem“, afirma a matéria.

All these papers were handed over to the federal attorney, Souza. Throughout the week, VEJA reporters worked hard to follow new developments in the crisis caused by the original report,” the article states.

I bet you VEJA’s libel lawyers worked even harder that week.

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