The Intercept

O povo sírio foi traído por todos os lados

20 April 2017 - 10:59am

Qual é a sua opinião sobre o conflito sírio? A resposta a essa pergunta talvez seja a melhor maneira de descobrir a posição política de alguém atualmente.

Você é de esquerda ou libertário e fica indignado com os bombardeios americanos, invocando a soberania da Síria e a legislação internacional? Ou você é conservador – ou um liberal mais tradicional – e apoia uma ação militar para derrubar o ditador sírio – ou ao menos para proteger seu povo das bombas de barril e armas químicas de Assad?

Você é um muçulmano xiita que defende Assad contra os rebeldes salafistas genocidas respaldados pela Arábia Saudita sunita? Ou um muçulmano sunita que defende os rebeldes contra um regime alauíta genocida apoiado pelo Irã xiita?

Cada um dos dois lados têm uma narrativa que o favorece – o seu próprio conjunto de “fatos alternativos”. Ambos se revoltam de maneira seletiva: na semana passada, os partidários de Assad condenaram o massacre de mais de 120 pessoas por um homem-bomba. Na semana anterior, os inimigos do presidente sírio repudiaram um cruel ataque com gás que matou pelo menos 74 pessoas em uma cidade em poder dos rebeldes.

Os cadáveres sírios se tornaram fantoches políticos, usados com cinismo para sustentar esta ou aquela posição no conflito. Há mentiras por toda parte. Os defensores de Assad – nos dois extremos do espectro político – afirmam que ele é um bastião do secularismo contra o Estado Islâmico, mas esquecem que esse ditador supostamente secular ajudou a enviar “jihadistas” ao Iraque para atacar as tropas dos EUA e civis iraquianos menos de 10 anos atrás. Eles também preferem ignorar que a grande maioria das mortes de civis na Síria foi causada pelo regime de Assad, e não pelo EI ou pelos rebeldes.

Já os críticos de Assad – liberais e conservadores – costumam minimizar os bem documentados crimes de guerra e outras atrocidades cometidas pelos rebeldes apoiados pelos EUA, sem contar a predominância da Al Qaeda e outros grupos terroristas na oposição síria. Muitos afirmam – erroneamente – que o Ocidente “ficou parado” e “não fez nada” para apoiar essa oposição. Porém, de acordo com o jornal “The Washington Post”, a CIA “gasta cerca de 100 mil dólares anuais por cada rebelde sírio” que passou pelo programa de treinamento da agência. O armamento e financiamento fornecido aos rebeldes – “seculares” e “islamistas” – contribuiu para exacerbar este terrível conflito, tornando praticamente impossível uma solução diplomática.

Ao renunciar ao cargo de enviado especial da ONU à Síria, em agosto de 2012, Kofi Annan culpou ambos os lados pela escalada da violência no país. Sua declaração desapareceu completamente da memória histórica recente sobre a Síria. O mesmo aconteceu com o discurso de Joe Biden em Harvard, em 2014, no qual ele descreveu como os aliados dos EUA na região “estavam tão determinados a derrubar Assad e desencadear uma guerra indireta entre sunitas e xiitas (…) que forneceram centenas de milhões de dólares e dezenas de milhares de toneladas de armas para qualquer um que estivesse disposto a lutar contra Assad”.

Enquanto isso, quem sofre é o povo sírio. Eles continuam sendo governados por um criminoso de guerra cujos principais opositores também cometem atrocidades; seu país se tornou um campo de batalha entre americanos e russos, turcos e iranianos, rebeldes chechenos e milícias iraquianas pró-Assad. Em vez de priorizar uma solução diplomática, ou ao menos um cessar-fogo duradouro, todos esses agentes externos passaram os últimos seis anos instigando mais violência – sem sequer aderir de forma consistente ou fundamentada a um dos lados do conflito.

Os governos russo e iraniano reclamam constantemente dos combatentes estrangeiros – chamados de “terroristas” – que violam a soberania síria. Mas será que alguém realmente acredita que Vladimir Putin, que vem desrespeitando sem o menor pudor a soberania ucraniana desde 2014, se importe com o respeito à soberania e às fronteiras da Síria? Ou que a República Islâmica do Irã, que pediu a intervenção do grupo libanês Hezbollah em defesa de Assad e trouxe combatentes xiitas até do distante Afeganistão para lutar contra os rebeldes, esteja preocupada em impedir a entrada de “combatentes estrangeiros” na Síria?

Enquanto isso, a Turquia e a Arábia Saudita exigem que o povo sírio possa escolher seus próprios governantes. Mas será possível acreditar que a Turquia de Erdogan – o país com o maior número de jornalistas presos no mundo – e a monarquia absolutista de Arábia Saudita – que ainda pratica a decapitação – querem realmente ver uma democracia secular e liberal no lugar de Assad em Damasco?

E há ainda Donald Trump, que afirma ter lançado 59 mísseis contra uma base aérea de Assad, no dia 6 de abril, por ter ficado comovido com as imagens de crianças morrendo asfixiadas após o ataque químico de Khan Sheikhun. Ora, devemos mesmo acreditar que um narcisista belicoso que barrou a entrada de crianças refugiadas nos EUA, comparando-as a “cobras”, realmente se importa com as vítimas infantis dos gases tóxicos sírios?

Por que respaldar qualquer um desses líderes desonestos e oportunistas, se todos eles têm as mãos sujas de sangue sírio? Por que trair a sua ideologia política – seja você conservador, liberal, socialista etc. –, permitindo que ela contamine suas opiniões sobre um conflito tão complexo como o da Síria? Por que manchar a sua crença muçulmana – sunita ou xiita – ao confundi-la com o regime ou os rebeldes? (A propósito, existem diversos sunitas do lado de Assad e muitos alauítas e xiitas contra ele.)

A realidade é que “ninguém é santo neste trágico conflito”, como disse o ex-enviado especial da ONU à Síria Lakhdar Brahimi no ano passado. O veterano diplomata argelino, sucessor de Annan de agosto de 2012 a maio de 2014 – quando também sucumbiu à frustração e renunciou ao cargo –, atribuiu uma “grande parte da culpa a forças externas, governos e outros atores que apoiam um ou outro lado do conflito” mas para quem “o interesse do povo sírio nunca foi prioridade”.

Exatamente. Assad pode ser um monstro, mas está longe de ser o único. Portanto, alguns de nós nos recusamos a escolher um lado. Nós nos recusamos a enaltecer o regime em vez dos rebeldes, americanos em vez de russos, iranianos em vez de árabes. Brahimi tinha razão: malditos sejam todos eles. O povo sírio merece coisa melhor do que Assad, mas foi traído por todos, e agora seu sofrimento já dura seis longos anos.

Uma solução política baseada na negociação e no compartilhamento de poder é agora tão utópica quanto a estratégia de derrubar Assad militarmente. A sangria síria vai continuar. Em vez de escolher um vilão para apoiar, prolongando ainda mais o conflito, deveríamos pressionar os governos hipócritas do Ocidente e do mundo árabe a abrirem as portas para os refugiados sírios e a cumprirem as promessas de ajuda humanitária que foram tão alardeadas. A verdade é que existem muitas maneiras de ajudar os sírios sem jogar ainda mais bombas sobre suas cabeças.

Tradução: Bernardo Tonasse

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Republicans Sell Access to Congressional Staffers, Flouting Cardinal Ethics Rule

20 April 2017 - 10:23am

Congressional Republicans are baldly enticing donors with the promise of meetings with senior legislative staff, effectively placing access to congressional employees up for sale to professional influence peddlers and other well-heeled interests.

Documents obtained by The Intercept and the Center for Media and Democracy show that the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee are both telling donors that in exchange for campaign contributions, they will receive invitations to special events to meet with congressional staff including chiefs of staff, leadership staffers, and committee staffers.

While selling donors access to senators and representatives and their campaign staff is nothing new, the open effort to sell access to their legislative staff — the taxpayer-funded government employees who work behind the scenes to write legislation, handle investigations, and organize committee hearings — appears to be in violation of ethics rules that prohibit campaigns from using House and Senate resources in any way.

Congressional ethics rules flatly forbid Capitol Hill employees from engaging in fundraising activities as part of their official duties. Any explicit fundraising work must be done strictly as a volunteer, and there must be a clear firewall separating government work from campaign work.

It’s arguably the last fig leaf left when it comes to giving the appearance that campaign contributions are not directly linked to official acts.

“You can’t use resources that are paid for by the taxpayer to service campaign donors. That’s blatantly illegal,” said Caroline Fredrickson, the former chief of staff to Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.

Senate ethics rules allow for only de minimis, or incidental, overlap between government responsibilities and campaign work. For instance, when a Senate employee receives an unsolicited campaign communication, they may forward it on to the campaign staff.

Source: Senate Ethics Committee

House ethics rules cite a court ruling that “the basic principle that government funds should not be spent to help incumbents gain reelection.”


Source: House Ethics Committee

But a document obtained by The Intercept and the Center for Media and Democracy from the NRSC, the Senate GOP campaign arm, lists the benefits of “D.C. Personal Giving Memberships,” which costs as little as $1,500 a year. Among them: “Invitation to attend events with Republican Chiefs of Staff, Leadership Staff, and Committee Staff.”

Source:NRSC

The NRCC, the House GOP campaign arm, describes its “218” program on its public website as being “comprised of Washington, DC GOP activists committed to a Republican Majority.” The group’s main objectives include providing financial support to the NRCC and targeted GOP candidates; and serving as an advisory group between the DC community and NRCC leadership.”

For as little as a $5,000 annual contribution, members are eligible for monthly briefings that include “House Leadership Staff” and “receptions with Chiefs of Staff, Leadership Staff & Committee Staff” as well as other more customary benefits.

Source: NRCC.org

Its not the first time a major Capitol Hill funding outfit has raised campaign cash using congressional employees. In 2013, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee advertised a “Women on the Hill Dinner” with chiefs of staff to Democratic senators. The event was asked for a suggested donation of $1,000.

But the new Republican effort is more structured, making the exchange of money for meetings with a variety of congressional staffers an official element of the party’s fundraising apparatus, with regular events and tiered levels of access.

“It’s the blatant buying and selling of access,” said Michael Beckel, the research manager at IssueOne, a campaign finance reform group. “Congressional staffers, paid by the taxpayers, don’t have carte blanche ability to participate in political fundraising. A reasonable person could easily conclude that this selling of access would be prohibited under congressional ethics rules because it’s mixing official business with more than a de minis amount of campaign activity.”

“This is the first time I have heard of party fundraisers based on pay-for-access to congressional staff,” said Craig Holman, an ethics expert with the watchdog group Public Citizen. “It raises serious issues of ethics and corruption.”

“This takes money buying access to a new level,” said Jessica Levinson, a law professor and ethics expert at Loyola Law School. “This means that people with money can buy, in a very concrete sense, a meeting with important staffers.”

But Chris Ashby, a Republican campaign finance lawyer, argued that congressional staffers are free to engage in political work as a volunteers, and that simply using their congressional titles in a fundraising appeals does not raise ethical concerns. “We allow members to use their titles in political communications, I think the same allowance fairly applies to staffers,” Ashby said. “What staffers should not do is use or permit the use of their job titles or any other government indicia — such as official seals or office email accounts — in such a way that expresses or implies the support of the government for their political activities.”

According to another NRSC document obtained by The Intercept and the Center for Media and Democracy, Hazen Marshall, a former lobbyist who is now policy director for Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., met with “Article One” donors to the “D.C. Personal Giving” program ($5,000 and up annually). The event was held at the NRSC headquarters, just north of the Capitol building. Hazen is paid $170,000 a year for his government job.

Source: NRSC

The NRCC and NRSC did not respond to multiple requests for comment. Their Democratic counterparts, the DSCC and DCCC also did not respond as well.

Signs of intermingling congressional staff and fundraising activity have previously attracted great interest from ethics investigators.

In 2011, a report by the Office of Congressional Ethics found that several lawmakers regularly brought legislative staff along for meetings with campaign donors. The OCE report charged that the fundraising events may have influenced official actions in Congress, including amendments to a financial regulatory bill.

Lawmakers fought the allegations, claiming the legislative staff had helped raise money strictly as campaign volunteers working outside the scope of their official, government jobs.

The chief of staff to then-Congressman (now Trump’s secretary of health and human services) Tom Price, R-Ga., told investigators that although he had asked donors for money and helped drive Price to fundraising events, his role at the fundraisers was limited to driving the lawmaker, and he was never asked by Price to attend a fundraiser.

The chief of staff to Congressman Joe Crowley, D-N.Y., a member of the Democratic leadership, was found emailing lobbyists for campaign contributions and setting up meetings with potential donors.

The House Ethics Committee ultimately did not take action on the OCE investigation. Its report specifically noted that Price’s chief of staff and legislative assistant “had no official role at any of the events. Nor were they told to attend. Neither of them engaged in any specific discussions with the attendees regarding official business or specific legislation.”

Legislative staffers advertised as attending the NRCC and NRSC events would by definition have an official role and required presence.

“This is really, I have to say, one of the more blatant swamp-like activities that’s going on right now,” said Fredrickson, the former Democratic chief of staff. She is now president of the American Constitution Society. “The indication that they’re there in their official capacity is very troubling.”

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The Syrian People Have Been Betrayed By All Sides

20 April 2017 - 9:55am

Where do you stand on the conflict in Syria? This question has become perhaps the ultimate political  and sectarian Rorschach test of our time.

Are you a leftist or libertarian who opposes U.S. air strikes and waxes lyrical about the paramountcy of Syrian sovereignty and international law? Or are you a very mainstream liberal or conservative who backs military action to remove the Syrian dictator from power — or, at least, to protect his people from barrel bombs and chemical attacks?

Are you a Shia Muslim who supports Assad against genocidal Salafist rebels backed by Sunni-led Saudi Arabia? Or a Sunni Muslim who supports the rebels against a genocidal Alawite regime backed by Shia-led Iran?

Every side has its own self-serving narrative;  its own set of “alternative” facts. Every side engages in selective outrage: last week, backers of Assad were decrying the massacre of more than 120 people at the hands of a suicide bomber; the week before that, opponents of Assad were denouncing the gruesome killing, with poison gas, of at least 74 people in a rebel-held town.

Dead Syrians have became political props, cynically used to bolster this or that stance on the conflict. Myths and lies abound. Defenders of Assad on the far left and far right claim he is a secular bulwark against ISIS while omitting to mention that this supposedly secular dictator was helping funnel “jihadists” into Iraq, to attack U.S. forces and Iraqi civilians, less than a decade ago. They also ignore the fact that the vast majority of civilian casualties in Syria have been caused by the Assad regime, not by ISIS or by the rebels.

Both liberal and conservative opponents of Assad, meanwhile, tend to minimize the well-documented war crimes and other grotesque atrocities committed by U.S.-backed rebel groups, not to mention the dominance of Al Qaeda and its affiliates within the Syrian opposition. Many of them falsely claim that the West has “stood by” and “done nothing” to support that opposition — despite the CIA, according to the Washington Post, “spending roughly $100,000 per year for every anti-Assad rebel” who went through the agency’s training program, and despite the fact that arming and funding Syria’s rebels, both “secular” and “Islamist,” has helped exacerbate this horrific conflict and render a diplomatic solution near impossible.

Kofi Annan’s August 2012 resignation statement as UN special envoy for Syria, in which he laid the blame for the continuing violence both on Assad and on “the escalating military campaign of the opposition,” has disappeared down the Syrian memory hole. So too has Joe Biden’s 2014 speech at Harvard in which he outlined how U.S. allies in the region “were so determined to take down Assad and essentially have a proxy Sunni-Shia war… [that] they poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens, thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad.”

Pity the poor people of Syria. They continue to be ruled by a war criminal whose main opponents also engage in war crimes; their country has become a battlefield for Americans and Russians, Turks and Iranians, rebel fighters from Chechnya and pro-regime militias from Iraq. Rather than focus their energies on a diplomatic solution, or at least a durable ceasefire, all of these outside powers have spent the past six years ratcheting up, rather than down, the level of violence while failing to adhere to any consistent or principled positions whatsoever.

The Russian and Iranian governments constantly complain that foreign fighters (or “terrorists”) have violated Syria’s sovereignty. But does anyone really think that Vladimir Putin, who has gleefully violated Ukraine’s sovereignty and borders since 2014, gives a damn about Syria’s sovereignty and borders? Or that the Islamic Republic of Iran, which asked Lebanon’s Hezbollah to intervene on the ground on behalf of the Assad regime and has also rounded up Shia fighters from as far afield as Afghanistan to fight against the rebels, is committed to preventing “foreign fighters” from entering Syria?

The Turkish and Saudi governments, meanwhile, loudly demand that the Syrian people be able to choose their own leaders. But are we supposed to accept that President Erdogan’s Turkey, which now jails more journalists than any other country on earth, or the absolute monarchy in Saudi Arabia, which still beheads people, want to see a secular, liberal democracy replace the Assad dictatorship in Damascus?

Then there is Donald Trump, who claims to have launched 59 missiles against an Assad airfield on 6th April because he was pained and moved by images of children choking to death in the aftermath of the chemical attack on Khan Sheikhun. Please. Are we really expected to believe that a trigger-happy narcissist who banned Syrian refugee children from entering the United States, and has compared them to “snakes,” cares in the slightest about those same children when they’re being gassed inside Syria?

Why would you want to back any of these mendacious and opportunistic leaders, all of whom have dipped their hands in Syrian blood? Why would you want to traduce your own favored political ideology — be it conservatism, liberalism, socialism, whatever — by insisting it inform or even decide your views on a complex conflict like Syria’s? Why would you want to taint your own sect of Islam — be it Sunni or Shia — by lazily conflating it with either the regime or the rebels? (There are plenty of Sunnis, incidentally, who have supported Assad and plenty of Alawites and Shias who haven’t.)

The reality is that there are “no good guys in the Syrian tragedy,” as former UN special envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, reminded me last year. The veteran Algerian diplomat, who served as Annan’s successor between August 2012 and May 2014 before also quitting in frustration, said he placed “a lot of blame on the outside forces, the governments, and others who were supporting one side or the other” but who never had “the interest of the Syrian people as their first priority.”

Indeed. Assad may be the biggest monster but he is far from the only monster. Some of us, therefore, refuse to pick a side; refuse to glorify regime over rebels, or Americans over Russians, or Iranians over Arabs. Brahimi had it right: a plague on all their houses. The Syrian people deserve better than Assad but they’ve been betrayed on all sides, and suffered as a result, for six long years.

A political solution based on a negotiated, power-sharing deal is now as much a chimera as a military solution in which Assad is forced from power. Syria will continue to bleed. Rather than picking between the various bad guys, and further prolonging the fighting, our time and energy would be better spent on pressuring hypocritical governments in the West and the Arab world to open their borders to Syrian refugees and also to uphold and deliver on their much-vaunted pledges of humanitarian aid. There are, in fact, many ways to help ordinary Syrians without dropping more bombs on them.

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Key Official in Trump-Russia Investigation Will Step Down

19 April 2017 - 5:42pm

Mary B. McCord, who has been helping oversee the Justice Department’s probe into Russian interference in the presidential election, is stepping down from her post as the acting head of the department’s national security division and leaving the federal government in the coming weeks, a source familiar with McCord’s role told The Intercept. The source, who asked not to be identified as McCord’s departure has not been formally announced, said that McCord plans to work in academia after leaving government.

It was not immediately clear who will take over for McCord. “I can confirm that Mary is leaving DOJ next month,” said Marc Raimondi, a spokesperson for the Justice Department, by email. “I cannot provide any additional material at this time.”

McCord did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

McCord will be leaving at a time when Justice is already in disarray. In March, Attorney General Jeff Sessions demanded the resignations of all U.S. attorneys who had served under President Obama and had not already left. As the Washington Post reported this week, nearly all the U.S. attorney positions remain unfilled.

Rod J. Rosentein, Trump’s nominee to be Sessions’s deputy, has not been confirmed. And Trump hasn’t even nominated replacements for the heads of major divisions within the department — including national security and civil rights. McCord was filling in at the national security division until the Senate could confirm a Trump-nominated replacement.

McCord is a career civil servant who became acting assistant attorney general in charge of the national security division in October, when John Carlin, an Obama appointee, resigned. In that role, McCord was responsible for counterintelligence and counterterrorism investigations at Justice. In his testimony before Congress, FBI Director James Comey described the Russia probe as “a counterintelligence investigation” and said it would “include an assessment of whether any crimes were committed.”

“Any major investigation related to counter-intelligence or cyber-related counter-intelligence would fall under Mary’s leadership,” said Luke Dembosky, who served as deputy assistant attorney general at the national security division until last spring.

The Washington Post reported last week that DOJ’s national security division, along with the FBI, obtained a warrant from the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court last summer to wiretap Carter Page, a one-time adviser to Donald Trump’s campaign.

In March, McCord announced the indictment of two Russian intelligence officers and two hackers accused of accessing Yahoo’s network and the contents of webmail accounts. At a press conference, McCord said that Yahoo hacking case was “a separate investigation” from the hacks of the Democratic National Committee. “That’s an ongoing investigation,” she said of the DNC matter.

“This is an extraordinarily sensitive and important position for the national security apparatus,” said professor Alvaro Bedoya, executive director of the Center on Privacy and Technology at Georgetown Law School. “The national security division is often the cooler head in the room in negotiations within the intelligence community.” Bedoya dealt with the division in his previous job as counsel to a Senate judiciary subcommittee.

Comey has been the public face of the federal investigation into Russian meddling with the election, although it is being handled inside the bureau by the counterintelligence division. Sessions has recused himself from the Russia probe, leaving acting deputy attorney general Dana Boente as the top official responsible for the investigation.

Top photo: Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Mary McCord, center, accompanied by U.S. Attorney for the Northern District Brian Stretch, left, and FBI Executive Director Paul Abbate, announcing charges against four defendants, including two officers of Russian security services, for a billion-account data breach at Yahoo in March 2017.

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Donald Trump Expected to Pick Shadow Banker for Key Position at the Fed

19 April 2017 - 4:47pm

The Federal Reserve’s vice chair for supervision is arguably the most important financial regulator in the federal government. No agency has greater oversight responsibility of U.S. financial institutions than the Fed. And the vice chair influences what kinds of trades those institutions can make, how they must prepare for unexpected losses, and what punishment to mete out when banks fail to uphold the law.

Hedge funds and private equity firms are sometimes called “shadow banks” because they exist outside the regulatory perimeter, even though they engage in bank-like lending and investment activities.

They want to keep it that way. And President Trump’s expected nomination of Randal Quarles to the vice chair’s role is about as close a guarantee as the shadow banking sector can get that the feds won’t be bothering them any time soon.

Quarles served two stints in the Treasury Department, under both Bush administrations, but afterward, he moved to the Carlyle Group, the $169 billion private equity giant. Quarles was part of the financial services team, which appears to be registered in the Cayman Islands tax haven.

Randal K. Quarles attends a Senate Banking Committee hearing on hedge fund regulation in 2006 in Washington.

Photo: Chris Kleponis/Bloomberg News/Getty Images

At the time, Carlyle wanted to buy up small and mid-sized banks that failed after the housing bubble collapsed. This was a familiar vulture investor tactic: scoop up a distressed asset the government wants to unload, receive federal subsidies for the privilege, and spin the company out into a major gain.

Carlyle raised $1.1 billion for this effort, and got the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to loosen rules that prevented private equity firms from controlling a commercial bank outright, rather than just owning a minority stake. Quarles was at the forefront of that effort, lobbying government officials and writing op-eds touting the concept of deregulation for private equity.

In 2009, Carlyle purchased BankUnited, a Miami-based lender, with a consortium that included Wilbur Ross, the current commerce secretary. The FDIC gave the group a shared-loss agreement, reimbursing between 80-95 percent of the losses on $11.7 billion in distressed assets. So the government shouldered practically all the downside, while Carlyle and its partners enjoyed all the upside.

The BankUnited consortium took $1.6 billion in shared-loss payments from the FDIC within two years. And then it cashed out through an IPO, more than doubling the investment for the private equity partners — while the government lost $5.2 billion in the second most-costly bank failure in history. The BankUnited deal, similar to what Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin got when a hedge fund consortium he led bought IndyMac and renamed it OneWest, illustrated “private equity’s ability to make a fortune off a government guarantee,” wrote Bethany MacLean in 2011.

Quarles has also gone to bat for hedge funds. In 2006, while still at Treasury, he testified before Congress that hedge funds were unlikely to present a danger to financial markets, and that scrutiny from banks that invest in them was more useful than federal regulation of the industry.

But this style of industry self-regulation failed in the notorious Bernie Madoff scandal, where JPMorgan Chase eventually paid $2 billion for ignoring the Ponzi scheme that wiped out investors.

Currently, Quarles runs another private investment firm, The Cynosure Group, on behalf of a number of wealthy families.

The Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation passed during the Obama administration did add a smidgen of transparency on private equity and hedge funds. Larger entities now have to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and smaller firms are now subject to state regulation. This created some record-keeping and reporting requirements, though there are a number of exceptions.

The so-called “Volcker rule” also limited how much money investment banks can use to sponsor a hedge fund or private equity firm. Quarles, incidentally, opposes the Volcker rule.

The SEC has used information from private equity firms to uncover significant fraud in how they charge unnecessary and illegal fees to investors. And House Republicans have consistently tried to roll back these rules. However, most observers believe that Dodd-Frank did not do enough to bring shadow banking under regulatory oversight, and indeed, the industry has grown significantly while out of that spotlight.

“Reform needs to go further, yet we should be worried Quarles would move us backwards, given his extensive history and financial interests in the industry,” said Mike Konczal, a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute.

At the Fed, Quarles would be able to prevent the designation of shadow bank investment funds as systemically important financial institutions, which face stronger regulation and capital requirements. Quarles could also play a strong role in overhauling the Volcker rule, potentially allowing shadow banks to suck up more money from other financial players. He would almost certainly be an evangelist for the industry from inside Washington. As Quarles told the Financial Times in 2008, “Private equity has become popular to demagogue unfairly but I don’t believe that politicians are succumbing to that temptation.” If confirmed, Quarles would also sit on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, helping guide decisions about interest-rate policy. His wife is the granddaughter of New Deal-era Fed chair Marriner Eccles, after whom the building Quarles would work in is named.

Top photo: A street in New York’s financial district on March 29, 2017.

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Campanha suja, mas sem dinheiro para uso pessoal: afinal, o que envolve Dilma na Lava Jato

19 April 2017 - 2:57pm

A ex-presidente Dilma Rousseff está no centro da Operação Lava Jato desde o já remoto dia 17 de março de 2014, quando policiais federais foram às ruas para cumprir 130 mandados judiciais e prender 18 pessoas. Era a primeira das, até aqui, 39 fases do que se tornaria a maior ofensiva contra a corrupção no país. Com tantas ramificações, é sempre bom lembrar que tudo começou com desvios em diretorias da Petrobras. E Dilma presidiu o conselho de administração da estatal durante sete anos (2003-2010), período no qual a corrupção corroía a empresa, ainda longe dos olhos da polícia.

Três anos e um mês depois, com a operação agora no seu ápice, Dilma sai ilesa de acusações como troca de favores, pedido direto de contrapartidas, recebimento de presentes extravagantes ou mesmo participação em rateio de propina em contratos da Petrobras. Isso inclui suas passagens nos cargos estratégicos de ministra de Minas e Energia (2003-2005) e chefe da Casa Civil (2005-2010).

Mas, embora nada tenha sido dito contra a ex-presidente em relação a esses aspectos pelas dezenas dos mais altos funcionários e executivos da Odebrecht, pesa contra ela a grave acusação de que sabia e, conforme delatores, “orientava” pagamentos para sua campanha. O tema também é tratado pelo TSE (Tribunal Superior Eleitoral) no processo que pede a cassação da chapa presidencial formada por ela e Michel Temer.

João Santana, marqueteiro da campanha de Dilma e preso na Lava Jato, diz que recebeu recursos de origem ilegal.

Foto: AFP/Getty Images

Na Lava Jato, ela agora é alvo de dois pedidos de inquéritos, encaminhados pelo ministro do Supremo Tribunal Federal Edson Fachin para instâncias inferiores. Caso seja oferecida denúncia pelo Ministério Público e o teor das delações se confirmem, ela pode ser condenada não apenas por crime eleitoral, mas também por corrupção passiva e lavagem de dinheiro.

Esse é o cenário desenhado pelo Ministério Público, e agora reforçado pela confissão de João Santana – marqueteiro e espécie de conselheiro político informal de Dilma – de que recebeu recursos de origem ilegal e que foi “cúmplice de um sistema eleitoral corrupto”. Ele fechou, há duas semanas, delação premiada com a Procuradoria-Geral da República. Seus depoimentos tendem a complicar Dilma, ao menos na questão eleitoral.

Por ora, boa parte da peça do MP contra a ex-presidente da República se baseia em declarações de Marcelo Odebrecht, ex-presidente da construtora.

Pagamentos a João Santana e aliados

O que mais implica Dilma nos depoimentos é uma suposta orientação dada por ela para que seu então ministro da Fazenda, Guido Mantega, cuidasse de uma conta mantida ilegalmente pela Odebrecht para bancar campanhas do PT e de aliados – entre elas a sua própria campanha à reeleição, com gordos pagamentos no exterior para João Santana.

Documento da Procuradoria relata o que Marcelo Odebrecht disse em delação premiada sobre conta no exterior.

Reprodução

Marcelo Odebrecht detalhou aos procuradores e disse de maneira resumida ao TSE que, sob a orientação de Dilma, Mantega assumiu o posto de interlocutor com a Odebrecht após a saída de Antônio Palocci do comando da Casa Civil, em julho de 2011. Em seus depoimentos de delação, no entanto, ele não diz especificamente se os pagamentos aos quais se referiu nas conversas com Dilma eram doações ilegais.

Caixa 2 em 2014

Com relação à eleição de 2014 Marcelo afirma que o tesoureiro da campanha da reeleição de Dilma, Edinho Silva, atual prefeito de Araraquara (SP), sabia do acordo para pagamentos diretamente para contas indicadas por João Santana no exterior. E que as contribuições eram um acerto entre a empreiteira, Dilma e Guido Mantega – o que indicaria que Dilma sabia que o dinheiro para João Santana trabalhar em sua campanha era pago fora do país, numa operação irregular.

Além dessa passagem, Marcelo Odebrecht ainda declarou em seu depoimento ao ministro Herman Benjamin, relator da ação que pede a cassação da chapa Dilma-Temer no TSE, que Dilma sabia que boa parte dos recursos repassados para João Santana não vinha do “caixa 1″ do partido. “Ela nunca me disse que ela sabia que era caixa 2, mas é natural, (…) ela sabia que toda aquela dimensão de pagamentos não estava na prestação do partido”, disse Marcelo.

Outro ex-executivo da Odebrecht, Alexandrino Alencar, também cita contribuições da empreiteira nas eleições de 2014. Ele fala de um pedido feito por Edinho Silva, que depois virou ministro da Comunicação Social da Presidência da República, para que a empresa abastecesse partidos da coligação de Dilma com R$ 35 milhões.

Alencar conta que Edinho se encontrou com ele e Marcelo Odebrecht para pedir doações tanto legais como via caixa 2 para cinco partidos que dariam mais de 3 minutos na propaganda eleitoral da coligação. PROS, PC do B, PRB, PDT e PP receberiam R$ 7 milhões cada um para garantir apoio à chapa Dilma-Temer, disse o delator.

“Eu perguntei pra ele [Edinho] de onde é que vinha essa orientação e ele disse que vinha do comitê eleitoral, que depois eu soube que era: João Santana, Rui Falcão, Aloízio Mercadante, Giles Azevedo e ela – ela, a presidenta. Essa negociação dos partidos veio do comitê”, afirmou Alencar.

Em uma declaração que parece ser uma ponta solta em sua delação, Marcelo conta que tentou avisar Dilma, já com a Operação Lava Jato em curso, que sua campanha à reeleição poderia estar contaminada com os pagamentos feitos a João Santana via caixa 2.

A questão é: se Dilma fazia parte do comitê que teria pedido verbas de caixa 2 para a campanha, e se ela sabia da conta “pós Itália”, por que motivo Marcelo precisaria avisar a presidente desses pagamentos tempos depois?

“Las Vegas” e sua relação com a Odebrecht

Uma outra ponta que era uma aposta de adversários de Dilma como “bala de prata” contra ela era a atuação desenvolta de seu assessor de confiança, Anderson Dorneles. Marcelo Odebrecht explica que conhecia Anderson desde “2003 ou 2004″, quando era assessor da então ministra Dilma Rousseff – uma espécie de “carregador de malas”. A proximidade era necessária para que o presidente da companhia tivesse um canal mais direto de comunicação com Dilma.

Por anos, segundo o executivo, Anderson só havia lhe solicitado convites para camarotes dos carnavais de Salvador e Rio de Janeiro. O pedido de dinheiro vivo surgiu em 2012, quando “Las Vegas”, codinome do assessor na lista de pagamentos do setor de operações estruturadas da empresa, pediu uma ajuda a um amigo.

O delator e ex-diretor de relações institucionais da Odebrecht Claudio Melo Filho disse aos promotores que Marcelo o apresentou a Anderson e, posteriormente, o orientou a fazer pagamentos a ele. Melo conta que os três primeiros repasses de R$ 50 mil foram feitos a Fábio Veras. Depois, o amigo que recebeu as últimas quatro parcelas passou a ser Douglas Rodrigues.

Marcelo Odebrecht explica que aceitou fazer os pagamentos porque ficou receoso de que sua relação com Anderson e, respectivamente, com Dilma, ficasse pior. Para deixar mais claro seu ponto, deu um exemplo de como a proximidade com com Anderson o ajudou:

“Uma vez saiu na Folha de S.Paulo uma nota que dizia que meu pai [Emílio Odebrecht] havia falado mal da Dilma em uma festa. Rapidamente eu mandei um email para o Anderson dizendo que aquilo era mentira, e a presidenta foi informada disso. Se eu não tivesse feito esses pagamentos, talvez meus e-mails poderiam começar a não chegar.”

Apesar desses fortes indícios de relação imprópria entre uma construtora e um assessor palaciano, com acesso livre ao gabinete presidencial, não há nas delações menção de que Dilma tinha conhecimento desses pagamentos ou que tenha feito alguma contrapartida direta ou indiretamente.

“É mentira”

Em nota divulgada após a revelação das delações premiadas da Odebrecht, Dilma diz que “nunca pediu recursos para a campanha” ao empresário Marcelo Odebrecht.

“É mentira que Dilma Rousseff tivesse conhecimento de quaisquer situações ilegais que pudessem envolver a Odebrecht e seus dirigentes, além dos integrantes do próprio governo ou mesmo daqueles que atuaram na campanha da reeleição. Ele não consegue demonstrar tais insinuações em seu depoimento. E por um simples motivo: isso nunca ocorreu. Ou seja: o senhor Marcelo Odebrecht faltou com a verdade”, diz trecho da nota.

Edinho Silva, também em nota divulgada nos últimos dias, afirma que seu trabalho como coordenador financeiro da campanha “foi realizado dentro da legalidade e que todas as doações estão declaradas ao TSE, sendo elas analisadas e aprovadas por unanimidade pelo órgão”.

Em nota divulgada em dezembro, Anderson Dorneles já se defendia das acusações. “Nunca solicitei ou recebi qualquer ajuda financeira, nem tão pouco autorizei terceiro que o fizesse em meu nome”, escreveu, ressaltando que nunca foi responsável pela agenda da ex-presidente Dilma.

The post Campanha suja, mas sem dinheiro para uso pessoal: afinal, o que envolve Dilma na Lava Jato appeared first on The Intercept.

U.S. Bombed a Mosque in Syria, Killing Dozens of Civilians, Investigators Conclude

19 April 2017 - 2:08pm

As my colleague Alex Emmons reported last month, Syrian activists and first responders accused the United States of killing dozens of civilians in an airstrike that mistakenly targeted a mosque in the rebel-held village of al-Jinah on the evening of March 16.

After +24 hrs, @SyriaCivilDef teams finished work in AlJenah town hit by airstrikes yesterday, documenting 50 victims & 10s wounded. #syria pic.twitter.com/mXX1eXzNep

— Majd khalaf (@majdkhalaf1993) March 17, 2017

Confronted with these claims, a Pentagon spokesman, Navy Captain Jeff Davis, told The Intercept that they were mistaken. “The area was extensively surveilled prior to the strike in order to minimize civilian casualties,” Davis said. “We deliberately did not target the mosque.”

As evidence, Davis provided an aerial photograph of the building destroyed in the attack, identified by U.S. officials as a “partially constructed community meeting hall.”

A Defense Department photograph showing an area of al-Jinah, Syria, after a U.S. drone strike on March 16.

Photo: U.S. Navy

“The mosque in the left edge of the photo was not targeted,” Davis stressed in a briefing for reporters the next day. “Military officials believe dozens of al-Qaida terrorist leaders were killed in the strike.”

But, as Human Rights Watch reported this week, witnesses in al-Jinah said that the building destroyed by two armed, Reaper drones firing Hellfire missiles was the newly built Omar Ibn al-Khatab mosque, where about 300 civilians had gathered for the Muslim night prayer. At least 38 people were killed in the attack, which included the dropping of a 500-pound bomb.

The rights group’s report was one of three parallel investigations into the U.S. strike on al-Jinah released this week by investigators who specialize in the painstaking analysis of social media evidence of potential war crimes.

In addition to the testimony of 14 witnesses who spoke to Human Rights Watch, video and photographs shared online, compiled by open-source analysts at Bellingcat, provide compelling evidence that the building was indeed a mosque.

The Bellingcat researchers point out that video, “recorded during the construction of the mosque and published on YouTube in November 2014,” appears to confirm that the rooms destroyed in the attack included the mosque’s ritual wash room, toilets, Winter prayer hall and the kitchen.

But perhaps the most convincing case that the U.S. bombing was a deadly error is a richly detailed video report on the strike produced by Forensic Architecture, a research agency, based at Goldsmiths, University of London, led by the Israeli architect Eyal Weizman.

Weizman’s architectural detectives, who have previously investigated potential war crimes in Syria — as well as in Israel, the West Bank, Gaza, Pakistan and Guatemala — produced a model of the building based on images of it before and after the strike, combined with interviews with survivors, first responders and the building’s contractor.

Images of the building featured in the Forensic Architecture report show distinctive features, like a megaphone for the call to prayer, prayer rugs, and a clearly defined mihrab — a semicircular niche in the wall of a mosque that indicates the direction of Mecca — indicating that it was a mosque.

“The architectural reconstruction has also allowed us to understand the sequence of events that took place in and around the mosque following the strike,” the Forensic Architecture investigators explained on their website.

The strike began when two bombs completely demolished the northern part of the building. The layout of the rubble in the deep craters is consistent with ground penetrating bombs. In order to escape, worshippers in the main prayer hall in the south part of the building had to climb over the rubble that partially blocked the doorways and passageways and destroyed the stairs. While people exited the building and immediately afterwards they were targeted by further missile strikes.

Examining images of munitions remains, Chris Cobb-Smith (who assists Forensic Architecture on weapon analysis), Bellingcat, and HRW’s experts identified the munitions fired outside the mosque as likely to be Hellfire missiles. This is consistent with an anonymous US official who, when speaking to the Washington Post, confirmed that “the attack involved two Reaper drones, which fired more than four Hellfire missiles and dropped at least one 500-pound guided bomb in a follow-up strike.”

To U.S. drone operators, the fleeing survivors cut down as they rushed from the mosque perhaps looked identical to the Qaeda militants they thought they were attacking. But, as Human Rights Watch observed, that mistaken impression suggests that their intelligence on the targeted area was woefully inadequate.

“While the U.S. authorities appear to have fundamentally misunderstood the nature of the building they attacked, they also appear to have inadequately understood the pattern of life in the area,” the rights group argued.

A U.S. official said that the attack happened after evening prayer had concluded, implying that civilians had left the area. While it is not clear which prayer the official referred to, U.S. statements about when the attack happened and information from those present at the mosque show that the attack happened at about 6:55 p.m., just 15 minutes before night prayer on that day. The fact that the night time prayer was about to begin is relevant even if U.S. authorities believed that the targeted building was a community hall since they knew that a mosque was nearby. Information about prayer times is easily accessible online and should have been well known by US authorities.

Local residents also said that it was well known in the area that the religious group in charge of the mosque was holding religious lectures in the targeted building every Thursday between sunset prayer and evening prayer, around the time of the attack. Any attempt to gather pattern of life information about the targeted building from people with local knowledge might also have alerted US authorities to this fact.

“The U.S. seems to have gotten several things fundamentally wrong in this attack, and dozens of civilians paid the price,” Ole Solvang, the deputy emergencies director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.

According to the Pentagon’s own data, the U.S.-led coalition bombing Syria and Iraq has killed between 102 and 396 civilians in 18,645 strikes from August 2014 to the end of February. The three new reports on the bombing of al-Jinah suggest that the actual number of civilians killed in American bombing could be far higher.

Top Photo: Syrian civil defense volunteers, known as the White Helmets, dug through the rubble of the newly built Omar Ibn al-Khatab mosque, destroyed in a U.S. drone strike on March 16.

The post U.S. Bombed a Mosque in Syria, Killing Dozens of Civilians, Investigators Conclude appeared first on The Intercept.

Governo apresenta cálculo com erros e omite dados de material para justificar Reforma da Previdência

19 April 2017 - 1:39pm

Vinte especialistas em economia, matemática, engenharia e computação analisaram a metodologia que o governo usou para justificar a Reforma da Previdência. Eis a conclusão: os números fornecidos não apenas contrariam as políticas econômicas traçadas pelo próprio Ministério da Fazenda – como a PEC do Teto de Gastos e a Lei da Terceirização – como também se chocam com princípios básicos de matemática financeira e de estatística.

Em uma audiência pública da Comissão Especial da Reforma da Previdência, no dia 15 de março, representantes do Ministério da Fazenda entregaram aos deputados um CD com explicações sobre os cálculos do famoso “rombo da previdência”. O disco continha três avisos ministeriais em formato PDF e um arquivo em formato Excel com 423 planilhas. O material foi repassado a especialistas da Associação Nacional dos Auditores Fiscais da Receita Federal do Brasil (Anfip), que trabalharam em colaboração com o Departamento Intersindical de Estatística e Estudos Socioeconômicos (Dieese) e com o Sindicato Nacional dos Servidores Públicos Federais na Área de Ciência e Tecnologia do Setor Aeroespacial (SindCT).

Manifestantes tentam entrar na Câmara em protesto contra reforma da Previdência, no dia 18 de abril de 2017.

Foto: Fabio Rodrigues Pozzebom/Agência Brasil

Eles desenvolveram um software para rodar os dados e checar as informações. Em nota técnica enviada aos deputados da Comissão, a que The Intercept Brasil teve acesso, os analistas afirmam que as informações fornecidas foram insuficientes e não permitem estimar nem minimamente os impactos da reforma proposta pelo governo:

“Continuam sem respostas as questões que se referem a como foram realizadas as projeções atuariais da proposta de reforma previdenciária e quais os seus impactos em termos de número de pessoas afetadas.”

Erros levam “rombo da previdência” a ser superestimado

Segundo a nota entregue aos deputados, as estimativas do governo “superestimam a população de idosos e subestimam a população de jovens”. Isso acontece porque a base de dados populacionais utilizada é a PNAD e não as projeções e estimativas da população, ambas feitas pelo IBGE. Para se ter uma idéia da diferença, em 2014 — ano usado como base de cálculo para a maioria das previsões da Previdência — as duas pesquisas davam estimativas divergentes para a população acima de 50 anos prevista para 2060, com uma diferença de 7 milhões de pessoas entre elas.

Policiais protestam contra a PEC da reforma da Previdência em frente ao Congresso Nacional no dia 18 de abril de 2017.

Foto: Marcelo Camargo/Agência Brasil

O economista Claudio Puty, professor da Universidade Federal do Pará e um dos autores da análise, critica a pretensa precisão acerca do futuro. Ele explica que, quando se tratam de previsões a longo prazo, caso da proposta de Reforma da Previdência, o comum é que analistas façam pelo menos três “possíveis cenários”, considerando as variáveis socioeconômicas (por exemplo, saída da crise econômica a longo, médio ou curto prazo). Não é esse o método adotado pelo governo, que usa um tom determinista com apenas um cenário possível:

“Se eles dissessem que estão sendo conservadores para ter um cuidado maior, mas não é o caso. O problema é que você não publica intervalos de confiança, a famosa margem de erro. Você pode imaginar, com uma previsão visando 2060, que a variação de confiança é muito ampla. Mas eles tratam com uma certeza pseudo-científica.”

As estimativas do governo também subestimam o potencial de contribuição a ser arrecadado. O número de desempregados cresceu 9,3% em 2014, segundo a PNAD. Usar estes dados como base de cálculo afeta negativamente o número estimado de contribuintes, puxando para baixo a previsão de receita previdenciária. Além disso, ao usar dados de 2014, a conta ignora possíveis consequência das ações do próprio governo, como a Reforma Trabalhista e a terceirização.

Michel Temer toma café da manhã com deputados e senadores da base aliada sobre Reforma da Previdência, no dia 18 de abril de 2017.

Foto: Marcos Corrêa/PR/Agência Brasil

O cálculo do salário mínimo também apresenta erros. O crescimento anual previsto nos documentos está na média constante de 6%, enquanto a inflação e o PIB caem. Como os dois índices servem de base de cálculo para o reajuste do mínimo, a não ser que fórmula do salário mínimo mude, a conta não fecha.

“Ao manter esse padrão de correção do salário mínimo, as estimativas do modelo atuarial são contraditórias com as mudanças legislativas promovidas pelo próprio governo, como é o caso daquelas oriundas da aprovação da PEC do Teto dos Gastos” criticam os analistas.

O que está faltando nos dados apresentados?

Segundo os analistas, o governo não apresentou as fontes de muitos dos números utilizados, nem explicou quais os cálculos e fórmulas matemáticas foram utilizados para se chegar às previsões catastróficas que justificariam os cortes drásticos na Previdência Social.

Quando se clica no botão “fonte” para saber de onde vieram os números da planilha apresentada pelo governo, a informação não aparece em em muitas das tabelas.

O governo não apresentou as fontes de muitos dos números utilizados

Solon de Carvalho é pesquisador titular do Laboratório Associado de Computação e Matemática Aplicada no Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais e participou da avaliação dos arquivos entregues pelo governo. Ele conta que o formato e a qualidade dos arquivos dificultaram a avaliação dos dados:

“Os três avisos foram escaneados de forma torta e pouco legível. Trabalhamos para analisar na melhor maneira. O arquivo de Excel continha 423 planilhas onde colaram apenas os valores, excluindo as fórmulas que levaram a esses números. Por isso, se tornou um quebra-cabeças matemático.”

Fragmento de um dos avisos ministeriais enviados à Comissão; a tabela reproduzida no documento é ilegível.

Carvalho explica que, nos cálculos do governo, é como se os índices do mercado de trabalho estivessem congelados. O matemático critica duramente essa metodologia, afirmando que ela compromete a credibilidade dos resultados:

“Como é que pode alguém se basear em previsões que têm erros como o congelamento de todas as variáveis econômicas? E por que eles estão usando especificamente os dados de 2014? Henrique Meirelles [ministro da Fazenda] disse recentemente que, se nada for feito, em 2060 as despesas da Previdência subirão para 17,2% do PIB. É o quarto ou quinto número a que eles chegam em poucos meses. Como eles chegam a esses números? E, ainda por cima, na precisão de décimos… O problema não é a previsão, é o determinismo. Então todo mundo sabe de tudo que vai acontecer até 2060? Mas, isso, ninguém explica.”

Aviso ministerial entregue à Comissão em março dizia que as despesas com a Previdência custariam 16,7% do PIB até 2060 mas, um mês depois, ministro Meirelles falava em 17,2%.

Ausência de dados impede cálculos dos efeitos

Os economistas também sentiram falta de uma simulação que mostre os impactos da reforma – para além dos impactos fiscais – caso ela seja efetivada. Eles se dizem incapacitados de fazer esse cálculo porque faltam números no material entregue. Para isso, seria necessário que as planilhas digitais apresentassem um conjunto de informações mais detalhadas.

Relatório ministerial entregue em março à Comissão, não entra em detalhes sobre os impactos socioeconômicos da reforma, com gráficos simples e focados apenas nos resultados fiscais.

Carvalho cita um exemplo: a única análise de renda feita é a diferenciação entre quem ganha um salário mínimo e quem ganha mais do que um salário mínimo. O matemático lembra que o Brasil é muito mais plural que isso. Também explica que uma análise detalhada das demais faixas de renda demonstrá perda significativa do poder de compra da aposentadoria de quem ganha entre dois a dez mínimos.

“Esses dados existem, é claro, porque existe um cadastro da Previdência. Mas eles não dão.”

Outra projeção que faltou foi a do impacto da exigência de idade mínima sobre a contribuição. Algumas pessoas poderiam se sentir desestimuladas a contribuir – uma vez que só poderão se aposentar, no mínimo, aos 65 anos – e passar a investir somente em pacotes de previdência privada.

Michel Temer discute Reforma da Previdência durante café da manhã com deputados e senadores da base aliada, no dia 18 de abril de 2017.

Foto: Marcos Corrêa/PR/Agência Brasil

Os números de novos planos de previdência privada já registraram um crescimento de 26%. Esse percentual é referente apenas ao último mês de novembro, segundo levantamento feito pela Federação Nacional de Previdência Privada e Vida (FenaPrevi). Apenas em novos planos abertos naquele mês, foram acumulados R$ 11,26 bilhões. A FenaPrevi não divulgou novos dados desde então.

Para calcular o impacto da mudança na idade mínima no volume de contribuição seria necessário ter informações detalhadas sobre o tempo e o volume de contribuição por faixa etária, algo que não consta na base de dados. Puty questiona os motivos da ausência de dados e acusa: “Esses dados existem, é claro, porque existe um cadastro da Previdência. Mas eles não dão”.

 

Foto do topo: Policiais protestam contra a PEC da Reforma da Previdência em frente ao Congresso Nacional no dia 18 de abril de 2017.

The post Governo apresenta cálculo com erros e omite dados de material para justificar Reforma da Previdência appeared first on The Intercept.

A Bernie Sanders Campaign Adviser Was a Russian. Now He’s Speaking Out.

19 April 2017 - 8:26am

A high-level adviser and operative for the 2016 Sanders campaign was Vitali Shkliarov, a Soviet-born citizen of Belarus. Shkliarov, who had previously worked on the 2012 Obama re-election campaign and for several other successful Democratic Party campaigns, has also become increasingly in demand as a political adviser and campaign manager in Russia, working for liberal candidates in opposition to President Vladimir Putin.

Possessing a unique background and vantage point, Shkliarov, now that the 2016 election is over, has many interesting observations to express on the state of American politics, the Democratic Party, U.S.-Russian relations, and the impact of rising anti-Russian sentiment in the U.S.

To say that Shkliarov’s background is unusual for U.S. political advisers is an understatement. The 4o-year-old, for whom English is a fourth language, has a Ph.D in Political and Social Sciences from Universität Vechta in Germany. Having spent the 1990s working with various German music industry start-ups, he was first infected with political passion as a volunteer youth organizer for Germany’s Left Party. Shkliarov’s wife is a U.S. State Department consular officer who, after serving years in Asia and Europe, is now based in Brazil, where they live with their five-year-old son.

Shkliarov’s first significant position with U.S. political campaigns was his overseeing the get-out-the-vote operation in Wisconsin for Obama’s 2012 re-election bid, as well as consulting work that year for Tammy Baldwin’s successful Senate run in that state. In 2015, Shkliarov was recruited to work for the Sanders campaign by colleagues he knew from his prior work on behalf of Democratic candidates.

He began by working on the Sanders campaign’s get-out-the-vote effort for Nevada. After Nevada, he became Sanders’ Deputy State Director for Washington, and then moved to the national team, where he worked as a deputy to the Political Outreach Director through the end of the campaign.

His 2012 work with the Obama campaign, and his activism within the community of Russian liberals working in opposition to the Kremlin, has made him a highly sought-after campaign manager in Russia on behalf of anti-Putin candidates. In 2014, he managed the mayoral campaign of one of the leaders of the anti-Putin opposition, Ilya Ponomarev, the only member of the Russian Parliament to vote against the Russian annexation of Crimea, and who now lives in exile. Shkliarov also ran the re-election campaign of one of the Kremlin’s most outspoken opponents in the Russian Parliament, Dmitry Gudkov, a campaign whose ads and messaging just won multiple top awards from the American Association of Political Consultants.

Shkliarov’s anti-Putin bona fides, and his now-entrenched status in both the Russian and American community of liberal and leftist political consultants, makes him a unique voice on a wide range of issues of current prominence, particularly the state of US-Russia relations and the impact of anti-Russian discourse in the U.S. Last week in Rio de Janeiro, I spoke with him about his experiences with the Sanders campaign, his views on Trump’s victory, the dangers posed by rising tensions between Moscow and Washington, and what it’s like now to be a Russian who works in U.S. politics.

Of particular interest is Shkliarov’s analysis of – and his warnings about – the dangers posed from escalating U.S.-Russia tensions (on Tuesday night, the U.S. scrambled jets in response to Russian warplanes flying 100 miles off the coast of Alaska for the first time since Trump became President).

Especially noteworthy are Shkliarov’s concerns about how intensifying anti-Russian sentiment in U.S. discourse is alienating Russian liberals from the U.S. and uniting them behind their own government – as happens in most countries when people, even those who loathe their own government, perceive that their nation is being demonized and targeted by a foreign power.

The transcript of our discussion, edited for length and clarity is below, along with several video clips:

 

The 2016 primary battle

GLENN GREENWALD: Let’s start by talking about the work that you did with the Sanders campaign. Specifically: how – as a Russian who comes from Belarus – did you end up working pretty high up at this campaign, and what you did as part of that?

VITALI SHKLIAROV: Well I started with the first or second, second caucus state, Nevada. We started, there was a huge Ground Operation, and as a director Get Out The Vote,we needed to hire 5000 people, precinct captains, as we called them. We ended up actually being four points down. Like we did a good job.

GG: How did you even end up in a position to work in the Sanders campaign? Did you know someone, and what was your entry into that?

VS: A couple of progressive consultants that worked for progressive campaigns that I used to work for, they knew me, they knew my skill set, and I got a call from a friend of mine who, who has been working for Bernie’s campaign already and who has been really high up.

I knew them from the 2012 Obama campaign – I was actually working for two campaigns back then – for Tammy Baldwin, running for Senate in Wisconsin. And together for a big Get Out The Vote campaign operation in Milwaukee for President Obama.

GG: The Sanders campaign surprised pretty much everybody in terms of the challenge imposed and the excitement that it created, especially among young voters and its ability to sustain itself for so long, with almost no Establishment support. What was it like to work in a campaign like that? What was your experience? The feeling that it gave?

VS: It’s amazing, because Bernie was, from beginning, an underdog, and he always had this startup state of mind fever, like, oh, working really hard, like, 15, 17 hours, we were like all excited, it was like no fatigue, whatever. And all of those progressively minded people were like totally excited about his agenda.

People came as families, they camped, they they had fun, they listened to messages, they listened to bands, to music, so we created as a huge like gathering of people, and, he had up to 35,000 people, 30,000 people events. Free events every day. So it was like just this excitement. Like, first of all the agenda was appealing to me, appealing to my background, to my view of the world, of life.

GG: What about the agenda was so appealing?

VS: Well his views of education, reform of political campaign finances. His ideas about or a vision about foreign policy in America, I liked a lot. And it hit me personally, when I moved to the U.S. and when my wife got pregnant with my first baby – that American women don’t have paid maternity leave. That’s, that’s like so normal for someone who is from Europe, you can as a dad, have like up to a year, 70 percent paid maternity leave or paternity leave.

I wasn’t even aware of that: the richest nation on Earth doesn’t have this. And it was like, wow, I didn’t know that actually. And I believe Bernie vocalized it for the first time, like, like in this manner that everybody heard it. And I believe it was so authentic, so true, and I believe people were thirsty for this type of voice, this type of truth.

And I believe exactly that he gave them, and especially why so many people asks why he was so successful among young people, because I believe my theory is that young people have less tolerance for bullshit, that’s exactly the age when the people, the whole social network, the whole life is based around social connections, and the key is if you’re true or not, if you’re legitimate or not, if you’re telling the truth, if you’re a credible or not person.

Photo: Erick Dau/The Intercept

 

Trump’s victory

GG: So you went from this really exciting, energizing political event, the Sanders campaign, to this shocking outcome for a lot of people – which is still very disorienting: the victory of Donald Trump.

There’s a lot of debate about why Trump won, how could somebody like this, just kind of so retrograde and seemingly from another decade, and political culture, win, especially after two terms of President Obama. And there’s a lot of debate about what the causes were, and why that happened.

What is your view on that question?

VS: Well I believe there’s a lot of arrogance on the side of the Democratic Party, first of all. I believe disengagement, the fact that the Democratic Party, regardless of analytical data, regardless all of perception, regardless all polls and excitement over Bernie, still chose to nominate Hillary, was one of the mistakes.

Moreover, actually even if they ran the Hillary campaign differently, better, she could have won, she actually won the popular vote. But I believe they were killing themselves by being a little bit arrogant and like just dismissing what the American people were looking for.

The Trump campaign used the rhetorical tactics of Sanders, which galvanized him, energized a lot of people. Trump used it on a different spectrum of the political aisle, but he used pretty much the same rhetoric as Sanders. He used, he told—

GG: About inequality, about trade?

VS: Inequality, jobs, and so on, about rich, about foreign policy and wars. So I believe they took Sanders’ approach in a smart way.

 

The U.S. and Russia

GG: Let me ask you about what has happened after the election – particularly the constant focus in the United States on Russia and on Vladimir Putin and the relationship of both the US and the Trump campaign to Russia.

First of all, can you just talk a little bit about the work, the political work you’ve done in Russia. Was it on behalf of Putin? Was it against Putin? And what’s your overall view of the political situation in Russia as it pertains to Putin’s future role in the political process?

VS: Sure. So I was helping Russian candidates – all liberals to run campaigns in Russia. Even though we lost the campaign – have to mention that it’s fairly difficult to win a campaign against the regime, against Putin, against Kremlin candidates, and against money – but still I don’t think with winning one campaign you will change something. I see my approach and my mission in Russia and working in Russia, as being more educational.

No, we said, “look, where is the country right now.” Look at the economic situation. And we explained, with infographics, with easy language, people on the street every day can understand, we have 251 events with, with pretty much like we did with Bernie, like, we did five events a day, reaching a broad audience, explaining what is the status quo of the country, of the the economy, of the rate of growth in the country, of the house budget. And so on.

And the second, as a second step of the campaign we tried to show that there’s the tools, there are tools how to get out of this misery, like by reforming this and that, by, by setting foreign policy a different way, and so on, talking about politics in Russia, I’m not saying that the change is going to happen as soon as Putin’s gone.

But the problem is also in hands of people, the people who has been ruled for 70 years, in a particular manner. So I believe you have to start, to, to talk about Russian politics with an educational approach towards all the Russian people. And I believe the future of activism in Russia lies in this approach, like teaching young people.

GG: As a Russian liberal or somebody in the circles of Russian liberalism, and somebody who has worked against the Kremlin and the Putin government, for their opposition, what is your view of, of what has happened in the United States as it concerns Russia? The way Russia has sort of taken center stage in American discourse, the focus on Putin and the Kremlin as kind of the cause or explanation behind many bad things, including the election of Trump?

As somebody who has been in the United States for awhile, has focused on US politics, what has this change been, and how do you view it?

VS: I believe it’s really bad right now. It’s the whole hysteria in the media. Partly it’s the media’s fault. I believe partly, media, just like, in order to get a lot of views, a lot of attention and audience, like trying to ride this horse and trying to play this card.

Partly I believe the Democratic establishment is a little bit at fault, has fault in all this rhetoric. I mean, it’s true that probably – even though it’s not, there’s no like real facts on the table – but partly the media says that Russian intervention in the highest of American culture, in the American Elections, and that this is a bad thing. Sure.

But, for instance, America does the same. Every country does the same. Like, we all know from the latest from Snowden that everybody does the espionage and it’s part of the job. So, so let’s not go crazy about it. To use Russia as a justification for bad and misery in Election, from the Democratic side, I believe it’s, it’s really dangerous, because, what’s happened if you’re starting to shake this board, like, you can shake it like to a certain degree, and, and at some point it’s going to turn around, and you’re going to sink.

GG: What do you mean by that?

VS: I believe that – look, the situation with Russia is really dangerous. First of all, so we, kind of like in the Cold War 2.0 or 3.0 right now, because, because neither of the sides trust each other, so we don’t communicate. I mean like, Americans and Russians do not communicate anymore. So we cannot get rid of this 60, 70 years-old politics, of, like, that mutual deterrence. You know? That started actually, mid, with 50s and 60s, and it was probably really important back then, but I will be living in the 21st century right now, and then so much has changed.

And I believe, instead of having, continuing trying to establish the politics of distrust, Russia and America should calm down and, and start to talk, because that’s, those are two major nations in the world. Sure. Like, America has 27 percent of world GDP. And Russia has just, fairly two percent. Sure, they’re economically unequal but based on nuclear weapons, based on ego alone, politically like, those two major countries, and I believe if this hysteria doesn’t stop, it’s going to lead to some bad events. Partly because Russia is in the corner. Partly because Russia is economically, because of political instability, in a country, on the knees, and in the corner, and-

Russia doesn’t have much to lose, and that’s what the American politicians underestimate: that belief the Russian intelligence, when, when you look throughout the history, is, is shaped by all these losses, all these wars. And they are like more capable of taking a lot of pain, and a lot of like sacrifice, and once, even as a little, teeny tiny cute dog, if you push them in the corner, you gonna start to bark and you gonna start to bite back.

You know? And I believe like, economically, in the media and in the perception, Russia is like, pushed in the corner right now.

GG: But are there opportunities that you see for the US and Russia to work more constructively, together—?

VS: In 1948 with the Marshall Plan, the U.S. saw the opportunities, the tourists, to restore Europe, easily, even though the distress with Hitler and then Germany was huge. They saw the opportunity, to put a lot of money in the economy [to rebuild German and Europe].

Sure, they tried to get their own products – they had all personal reasons for, like political reasons for it – but still, that helped, that made Germany, Germany. That helped England, that helped later Japan and so on.

Why doesn’t same strategy apply to Russia? Why not helping, why not creating like a partner?

So what happens with Russia right now, it doesn’t matter if you have five icebreakers in the pocket or just one. It’s still dangerous. They, they have a lot of missiles. They have nothing to lose. And they could easily, easily, I believe, they could start the war just to cover up the misery, what’s happening in the country. Just to cover up, just to shift the attention, like so many presidents do, also in America, throughout the history.

GG: I’m really interested in this dynamic in particular, which is that there is a fairly vibrant sector of the Russian intelligentsia that is opposed to Putin, Russian liberals. We’ve seen signs that it’s getting increasingly vibrant, protests, the opposition’s getting a little bit stronger. And yet: one of the things that happens in every country is when people in a country feel like they’re being attacked from the outside, or vilified by an outside power-

VS: They unify.

GG: They unify. Like Iran, right? There was this growing movement against the conservative mullahs, and yet the idea was if the US gets too antagonistic to Iran, they’re going to unite behind the government that they hate.

VS: Absolutely.

GG: Is that, do you think there’s a danger of that happening with Russian liberals or is that already happening, that, this kind of hysteria, this very anti-Russian strain in US discourse, is starting to alienate Russian liberals, and drive them to move away from the US?

VS: Absolutely, I mean, we see it, like all the time. We see it in the media, we see it in everyday’s life. We see it with the war in Ukraine, we see that Putin is trying hard, maybe now less than before, but he’s been trying hard to get to find the love, the appreciation, the recognition he wanted. I believe, deep down, he wanted something good for Russia. It didn’t happen. I believe partly because of the misery of foreign policy of America. I believe it truly.

But partly because Russian corruption as well. And once you try and try and try, and you get always portrayed as a dumb idiot, and some conspiracy theories, tell us that he is getting played, that the West is trying like to push him, like they did in Ukraine with Orange Revolution, so of course you are going to, you’re going to try to do whatever it takes, whatever is possibly to protect yourself, and your country.

I believe the problem is partly, partly of course in Putin, because the President determines the course of the country. But even if Putin’s gone tomorrow, nothing is going to change that quick, believe me, because the country is corrupt, the country is, the infrastructure is dead.

So that’s why I’m saying, when we talk about Marshall Plan, that’s how the Americans helped, first of all to establish, to recover the economy in Europe: that people became monied, that people–the middle class grew, and that people started to live a normal life, and that’s how people change. And that’s how systems change.

People don’t change by getting beaten up. Getting to starve. People doesn’t change by putting some labels on them. People do not change when they are being like pushed in a corner, so I believe – we know that America is, everybody knows that America is so strong economically. We know that America, if tomorrow is a war, nobody is going to survive. So why don’t we just stop for a second, and be a little bit smarter with the first step?

 

Climate in the U.S. for Russians

GG: There was an article in the Washington Post, maybe two or three weeks ago, about how Russians who are either Americans, who became Americans, or who worked in America for a long time, are starting to become really worried about the climate, how they feel personally stigmatized and almost as though people are afraid to even interact with Russians, because of the perception that has been created.

Do you sense that? Have you had any kind of personal experiences with this changing climate, as a Russian?

VS: I totally sense that. I sense it everyday by watching the news and feeling sorry for Russians and for Americans as well  because so many companies suffer. I feel it pretty much everyday while talking to people.

I recently tried to open a bank account in the U.S. for my company. I was denied because it’s an Russian entity. If you talk to people, and try to talk about politics, it’s so toxic. Russia became so toxic that nobody want to touch it.

So many colleagues of mine from DC, like really smart people, are looking for jobs, and having hard time to find a job because nobody all of a sudden needs any Russian experts, or like any Russian people.

GG: Or is almost afraid to interact with Russians?

VS: Afraid. Absolutely afraid. It’s just, just crazy. Recently when I was receiving those prizes in LA, for the campaign, from the American Association of Political Consultants. I was talking to a couple of people and tried to help my colleagues from the European Association of Political Consultants to get speakers, to the conference in Moscow, and people from the Trump Administration said like, “No, we can’t. We just, we going to be tomorrow on the news [if we do that]. Done!”

Like, instead of like learning from mistakes and move on. Come, the election is over, move on guys. Learn. Like, Russia, sure, maybe they did it. Who cares right now? It’s done already. We have a different president, Trump is the president, and now they push this president in a corner to be distanced from Russia.

So he cannot change. Everybody from both sides of the ocean, we are like hoping with a new Administration, it’s going to be a new era of Russian-American relations. And it looked like it’s gonna happen. But now they push him so far in the media, so far to have distance to Russia and to any Russian topic that, it’s getting actually worse. And I believe the media is partly responsible for that.

GG: What about this idea of being cornered, and, and what are the dangers of continuing to ratchet up tensions between these two countries. What are the real dangers?

VS: Well the big danger is to get–like, there’s a couple of dangers. One is to get a new war that could happen because of isolating of this–

GG: Is that a cold war or a hot war?

VS: Hot war.

Second danger is: people make mistakes. We already have situations when they fly jets over navy ships or like, some, some bombs firing in Syria – maybe the next attack could hit a couple of Russian planes, hurt a couple of Russian citizens. Maybe not, but they’re going to claim that, and bang you have a problem!

So I believe that’s a really, really hot iron right now, so, so you cannot drop a lot of water on it.

And I mean, just imagine,: in 2002, there are interviews with Putin who was like, back then on the pinnacle of Russian development. He was like, giving speeches in the Bundestag, in Germany, and he was thinking, he was talking about maybe Russia becoming part of NATO.

So we were that far, and now we are where we are right now.

And I believe for Russia it’s getting existentially dangerous. Not just because of Syria. Partly because of economical sanctions, partly because of infrastructural problems, partly because of the perception of Russia as a son that nobody wants. I believe Russia struggles and Putin personally struggles with that perception, and instead of fighting this, I believe the west should really approach and be wise, you know, like, if two parties, if a couple fights at home, someone has to be wise and stop first and say, “I’m sorry.”

Even if it’s not his or her fault. But that’s the only way to solve the problem and to start the peace, otherwise you’re gonna get the wars. And that’s what we’re doing right now, and the media unfortunately does the same, just keeping putting oil in the fire, instead of saying, like, “Come on. It’s enough.”

Even if Russia did the election hacking: it’s not about that. Like, nobody is sane. Both parties are hiding some skeletons. But the problem is actually the point, my point is, Glenn: not the problem of mistakes that characterize a state or a smart person or a smart government, it is the reaction to the mistakes.

And what I see is the reaction to mistakes made on both sides of the aisle that are just terrible, and that’s how we should judge our politics.

The post A Bernie Sanders Campaign Adviser Was a Russian. Now He’s Speaking Out. appeared first on The Intercept.

Exclusive: Julian Assange strikes back at CIA Director and talks Trump, Russia and Hillary Clinton

19 April 2017 - 8:00am

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is hitting back at Trump’s CIA director Mike Pompeo following a speech last week in which Pompeo accused Wikileaks of being a “hostile non-state intelligence agency” operating outside of the protections of the First Amendment. “We can no longer allow Assange and his colleagues the latitude to use free speech values against us. To give them the space to crush us with misappropriated secrets is a perversion of what our great Constitution stands for,” Pompeo declared, adding an ominous assertion: “It ends now.”

Speaking from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has been living since June 2012, Assange said Pompeo appeared to be issuing a threat. “So how does he propose to conduct this ending? He didn’t say. But the CIA is only in the business of collecting information, kidnapping people, and assassinating people. So, it’s quite a menacing statement that he does need to clarify,” said Assange.

Assange made the remarks during an exclusive interview for the Intercepted podcast. “The reason why Director Pompeo is launching this attack, is because he knows we’re in this series exposing all sorts of illegal actions by the CIA,” Assange said, referring to Wikileaks ongoing publication of secret CIA hacking documents as part of its “Vault 7” project. Pompeo, he said, is “trying to get ahead of the publicity curve and create a preemptive defense.”

When he watched Pompeo’s speech, Assange said he was struck by what he perceived as a lack of gravitas. “We thought it was quite a weak speech in that it put Director Pompeo, it put the CIA, in a position where they looked like they were frightened and worried that we were the better intelligence service,” Assange said.

Regarding Pompeo’s declaration that Wikileaks was not entitled to First Amendment rights, Assange said: “For the head of the CIA to pronounce what the boundaries are, of reporting or not reporting — is a very disturbing precedent. The head of the CIA determining who is a publisher, who’s not a publisher, who’s a journalist, who’s not a journalist, is totally out of line.”

In the wide-ranging interview, Assange discussed the allegations that Wikileaks was abetted by Russian intelligence in its publication of DNC emails, his alleged relationship with Roger Stone and his newfound admirers on the right, from FOX News to Sarah Palin and Donald Trump.

Assange said that if Wikileaks had obtained a cache of RNC emails, it would have published those as well. “Just imagine if WikiLeaks had obtained information that it knew was true about the Democratic party and corruption of the primary process, and it decided that it was not going to publish that information, but suppress it — it would be completely unconscionable,” he said. “We specialize in really big scoops. You can’t go, ‘Oh, we have this massive scoop about corruption in the DNC. Now we need to balance this with a massive scoop about corruption in the RNC.’ These things come along once every few years.”

Questioned about Wikileaks’ aggressive targeting of Hillary Clinton, Assange rejected the notion that he went after her for personal reasons. “I’ve never met Hillary Clinton,” he said. “I think I’d probably like her in person. Most good politicians are quite charismatic in person. In some ways she’s a bit like me, She’s a bit wonkish and a bit awkward. So maybe we’d get along.”

The entire conversation with Assange can be heard on the latest episode of Intercepted.

The post Exclusive: Julian Assange strikes back at CIA Director and talks Trump, Russia and Hillary Clinton appeared first on The Intercept.

Intercepted podcast: Julian Assange speaks out as Trump’s CIA director threatens to “end” Wikileaks

19 April 2017 - 6:01am

Subscribe to the Intercepted podcast on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher,and other platforms. New to Podcasting? Click Here.

 

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange hits back at Trump’s CIA director Mike Pompeo after Pompeo accused Wikileaks of being a “hostile non-state intelligence agency” operating outside of the protections of the First Amendment. This week on Intercepted: We spend the entire show talking with Assange from inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London where he has been holed up since June 2012. In the wide-ranging interview, Assange discusses the allegations Wikileaks was abetted by Russian intelligence in its publication of DNC emails, and the new-found admiration for him by FOX News, Anne Coulter, Sarah Palin and Donald Trump. Also, why Assange believes he and Hillary Clinton may get along if they ever met in person. And we premiere an unreleased song by Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine fame.

Transcript coming soon.

The post Intercepted podcast: Julian Assange speaks out as Trump’s CIA director threatens to “end” Wikileaks appeared first on The Intercept.

Trump’s Indonesian Allies In Bed with ISIS-Backed Militia Seeking to Oust Elected President

18 April 2017 - 9:50pm

Associates of Donald Trump in Indonesia have joined army officers and a vigilante street movement linked to ISIS in a campaign that ultimately aims to oust the country’s president. According to Indonesian military and intelligence officials and senior figures involved in what they call “the coup,” the move against President Joko Widodo (known more commonly as Jokowi), a popular elected civilian, is being impelled from behind the scenes by active and retired generals.

Prominent supporters of the coup movement include Fadli Zon, vice speaker of the Indonesian House of Representatives and Donald Trump’s main political booster in the country; and Hary Tanoe, Trump’s primary Indonesian business partner, who is building two Trump resorts, one in Bali and one outside Jakarta.

This account of the movement to overthrow President Jokowi is based on dozens of interviews and is supplemented by internal army, police, and intelligence documents I obtained or viewed in Indonesia, as well as by NSA intercepts obtained by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Many sources on both sides of the coup spoke on condition of anonymity. Two of them expressed apparently well-founded concerns about their safety.

The Coup Movement

On the surface, the massive street protests surrounding the April 19 gubernatorial election have arisen from opposition to Jakarta’s ethnic Chinese incumbent governor, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, known as Ahok. As a result of pressure from the well-funded, well-organized demonstrations that have drawn hundreds of thousands — perhaps millions — to Jakarta’s streets, Gov. Ahok is currently standing trial for religious blasphemy because of an offhand comment about a verse in the Koran. On Thursday, the day after he hears the results of the very close governor’s election, he is due back in court for his blasphemy trial.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo at the Merdeka Palace in Jakarta on March 27, 2017.

Photo: Goh Chai Hin/AFP/Getty Images

Yet in repeated, detailed conversations with me, key protest figures and officials who track them have dismissed the movement against Ahok and the charges against him as a mere pretext for a larger objective: sidelining the country’s president, Jokowi, and helping the army avoid consequences for its mass killings of civilians — such as the 1965 massacres that were endorsed by the U.S. government, which armed and backed the Indonesian military.

Serving as the main face and public voice of the generals’ political thrust has been a group of what Indonesians call preman — officially sponsored street thugs — in this case, the Islamic Defenders Front, or FPI (Front Pembela Islam). Originally established by the security forces — the aparat — in 1998 as an Islamist front group to assault dissidents, the FPI has been implicated in violent extortion, especially of bars and sex clubs, as well as murders and attacks on mosques and churches. During the mass protests against the governor, FPI leader Habib Rizieq Shihab has openly called for Ahok to be “hanged” and “butchered.”

FPI leader Habib Rizieq Shihab openly called for Ahok to be “hanged” and “butchered.”

Joining Rizieq at the protests atop a mobile command platform have been the FPI’s spokesman and militia chief, Munarman, as well as Fadli Zon, who is known for publicly praising Donald Trump and appeared with the candidate at a press conference at Trump Tower during the opening days of the presidential campaign. Fadli Zon serves as the right-hand-man of the country’s most notorious mass-murdering general, Prabowo Subianto, who was defeated by Jokowi in the 2014 election.

Munarman, who has been videotaped at a ceremony in which a roomful of young men swear allegiance to ISIS and its leader, Abu Bakar al Baghdadi, is also a corporate lawyer working for the Indonesian branch of the mining colossus Freeport McMoRan, now controlled by Carl Icahn, President Trump’s friend and deregulation adviser. Although the Trump connections appear to be very important for the coup plotters, it is unknown whether Trump or Icahn have any direct knowledge of the Indonesian coup movement.

FPI spokesman and corporate lawyer Munarman, indicated with an arrow far left, at a ceremony in which young men swear allegiance to ISIS

Munarman did not respond to requests to comment for this article.

The FPI demonstrations in Jakarta, officially shunned by the country’s top mainstream Muslim groups, have been endorsed in messages from Indonesian ISIS personnel in Syria. The FPI, for its part, has waved black ISIS flags at  Prabowo rallies and has officially endorsed the call of Al Qaeda chief Ayman Al Zawahiri for Al Qaeda and ISIS to pursue their common fight in Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere.

The Snowden archive contains numerous documents related to the Islamic Defenders Front, including an Australian intelligence document describing FPI as a “violent extremist group.” The documents include Indonesian-language intercepts of reports by police officials complaining that the Indonesian public distrusts the police because it uses violent groups like FPI. The intercepted Indonesian police reports also note that although FPI is largely a creation of the state security apparatus, it at times escapes the state’s control, particularly when fomenting mob violence, such as in a well-known case in which a man was beaten to death on videotape because he attended a mosque targeted for extermination by the FPI. In one case of murder carried out by an FPI mob, a memo states, police were unable to arrest and detain the FPI suspects because they were afraid the mob would attack and burn the police station.

Another intercept links FPI figures to an offshoot of Jemaah Islamiyah, the jihadist network implicated in the 2002 Bali bombings, and details weapons training delivered by officers of the Indonesian national police special forces to FPI Aceh members.

The NSA had no comment on the content of the intercepts. The White House did not respond to requests for comment.

Islamic Defense Front (FPI) headquarters in Jakarta, where a portrait of Osama bin Laden hangs on the wall in 2007.

Photo: Thierry Dudoit/Express-REA/Redux

As the FPI’s mass protest movement has proceeded over the last six months, I received detailed information from five Indonesian internal intelligence reports. The reports were assembled by three different Indonesian agencies. Each one was confirmed by at least two current army, intelligence, or palace officials.

One intelligence report asserted that the FPI-led protest movement was being funded in part by Tommy Suharto — son of the former dictator Suharto — who once served time for having a judge who displeased him shot in the head. Tommy’s financial contributions were also affirmed to me by retired General Kivlan Zein. Kivlan, who helped the FPI lead a massive November protest in Jakarta, is currently facing the charge of treason (makar) for allegedly trying to overthrow the government during the recent protest drive. He is also the former campaign chair for Gen. Prabowo, who was defeated by President Jokowi in the 2014 presidential election.

Another report asserted that some funds came from Donald Trump’s billionaire business partner Hary Tanoe, who was repeatedly described to me by key movement figures as being among their most important supporters. Last Friday night when I sat down with a roomful of such figures — none of whom requested anonymity — they expressed excitement about their closeness to Hary and his personal and financial relationship with President Trump, who along with his son Eric welcomed Hary to Trump tower and the inauguration. They said they hoped Hary, who is building two Trump resorts in Indonesia, would serve as a bridge between Trump and Gen. Prabowo. Manimbang Kahariady, an executive of Prabowo’s political party, said he had met with Hary three days before. He and others at the meeting were convinced that Hary is telling Trump about the need to back the movement and remove their adversaries, beginning with Ahok.

Tommy Suharto could not be reached for comment. Hary Tanoe declined repeated requests for comment.

A third report asserted that some FPI movement funds came from former president  and retired general Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) — information that apparently angered President Jokowi, was leaked to the public, and was in turn denied publicly by an angry SBY who asserted at once that the facts were false and that the government had tapped his phone to get them. Nonetheless, seven current or former army or intelligence officials I spoke to said that SBY had indeed given funds but had channeled them indirectly. One official, retired Admiral Soleman Ponto, who is not a supporter of the coup movement, is the former chief of military intelligence (BAIS) and currently advises the state intelligence agency (BIN). Though he declined to comment directly when I asked him about specific intelligence reports, Soleman said that it was “very clear” that SBY, whom he called a friend, helped fund the movement, “giving through a mosque, giving through a school, SBY is the source.”

More broadly, Ponto said, “Almost all the retired military” and “some current military back SBY” in supporting the FPI-led protests and the coup movement. He said he knows this because — in addition to his being an intelligence man — the pro-coup generals are his colleagues and friends, many of whom correspond on the WhatsApp group known as The Old Soldier. The admiral said that for the movement’s military sponsors the Ahok issue is a mere entry point, a religious hook to draw in the masses, but “Jokowi is their final destination.”

As for the tactic of a straight army assault on the palace in a coup d’etat, Ponto said that would not happen. This one would be “a coup d’etat by law,” resembling in one sense the uprising that toppled Suharto in 1998, except that in this case the public would not be on the revolt’s side — and the army, rather than defending the president, would be working to bring him down. The FPI-led protestors, he said, would enter the palace and congress grounds, then try to get inside and set up camp until someone made them leave.

Thousands of the hardline Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) members take part in a protest in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Oct. 14, 2016 to show their disapproval of Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, better known as Ahok, who has been charged with anti-Islamic blasphemy.

Photo: Agoes Rudianto/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

“It would look like People Power” — the people gathered by FPI and their allies, but in this case “with everything paid. The military would just do nothing. They only have to go to sleep,” and let the president fall.

The admiral’s description of the movement’s strategy matched that of a dozen top officials I spoke to, some of them still active in the aparat — some for the coup, some against it.

Another possible scenario was described by another large group of officials: that the FPI-led rallies would get out of hand, with Jakarta and other cities tumbling into chaos, and the army stepping in and assuming control to save the state. This second, more violent, option was discussed in detail when I met in late February, on the record, with FPI leaders Ustad Muhammad Khattath and Haji Usamah Hisyam.

Ustad Khattath had been referred to me by the Freeport lawyer and FPI militia chief Munarman, who had declined to see me. Haji Usamah accompanied the ustad and they gave a joint interview.

(The material in this section is attributed to “they” and presented without quotation marks, because since our interview Ustad Khattath has been arrested and charged with makar (treason), a legal concept that I view as being unjust and repressive and have denounced when it has been used before.)

Barely mentioning religious questions, they said Indonesia’s problem was new style communism, and the army must be able to step in and guide the situation because Indonesia is not mature, not ready for democracy. Jokowi, they charged, was providing a space for communism and the only strong organization that can face up to that is the army.

As to their street protest movement, they said, we civilians must be backed by the military, something they said was indeed happening secretly because now under reformasi the military can’t engage in politics. According to Haji Usamah, “it’s an intelligence operation by military personnel, but the army can’t be out front. They give the strategic view and direction. The army doesn’t like the communists.”

They said there are communists in the legislature and the executive branch. They must be targeted. For the street movement, the key strategic and tactical guidance was given to them by an anticommunist general who works with them. The army can only step in if there is chaos. If there is peace, they can’t do anything.

Ustad Khattath and Pak Usamah told me that they don’t want blood, they want peaceful revolution, but also insisted that not long from now there will be a revolution by the umaat, several weeks in the future. The palace is afraid, they said, they are afraid Jokowi will fall. They said the upcoming street actions would all be with revolutionary steps because peace has not yet brought down Ahok.

Ustad Khattath and Pak Usamah told me that if the president does not accede to their demands there will be more massive action, using a stronger style of pressure, and added that their direct destination will be the president.

They saw the revolution beginning with days-long occupations of the congress and the palace and noted that if the people are hurt by being rebuffed they will take the shortcut outside the law. Anything could happen. There could be millions that take the law into their own hands. Their position was, remind the president not to break the law by failing to jail Ahok or the people will get mad and out of control. It’s a disorderly situation, one that they felt would resolve itself by the army stepping in.

After Ustad Khattath was arrested by police and charged with treason (makar), Usamah texted me to say he had now taken command of the street actions, just as Ustad Khattath had done after FPI leader Rizieq was brought up on pornography and other charges.

An alleged dissident questioned under gunpoint by Indonesian soldiers in 1965.

Photo: Bettmann Archive/Getty Images

1965 Again

Soon after our interview, I received an army document from an officer inside the aparat that could be seen as providing the template for Khattath’s and Usamah’s remarks about the street actions.

Entitled “Analyzing the Threats Posed by the New Style Communism in Indonesia,” it is a series of power point slides used for ideological training at army bases nationwide.

New Style Communism, Komunisme Gaya Baru, abbreviated “KGB,” is a concept whose menace is framed with sketches of Stalin, Pol Pot, and Hitler — and appears to be broadly enough defined to include any critic of the army anywhere.

Referring to such purportedly communist policies as “free healthcare and education programs,” the document denounces “idealizing pluralism and diversity in the social system” as a specific “KGB” threat now rising in Indonesia. Using threat assessment techniques drawn from Western intelligence doctrine and texts — excerpts from which are used, sometimes in English — the document warns of the communist enemy “separating the army from people” and “using human rights and democracy issues while positioning oneself as victim to gain sympathy.”

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The statement about human rights victims is an apparent reference to figures such as the brilliant social justice advocate Munir Said Thalib, my friend, who was assassinated in 2004 with a massive dose of arsenic that caused him to vomit to death on flight to Amsterdam, or the victims of the 1965 slaughter of perhaps a million civilians, carried out by the army with U.S. backing in order to consolidate power after an attempted coup.

The 1965 massacre came up when I sat down with retired Gen. Kivlan Zein, who said that if Jokowi refused to accede to the army’s wishes similar tactics could be deployed again.

Like many officials I spoke with, Kivlan said that the current army-backed street movement and crisis began as a result of the Symposium, a 2016 forum organized by the Jokowi government that allowed survivors and descendants of ‘65 to publicly describe what had happened to them and to discuss how their loved ones died. For much of the army the Symposium was an intolerable outrage and in itself justified the coup movement. One general told me that what most outraged his colleagues was that “it made the victims feel good.” The Symposium, of course, had nothing to do with Governor Ahok or with religious questions of any kind. It was about the army and its crimes.

“If not for the Symposium there wouldn’t be a movement now,” Kivlan told me. “Now the communists are on the rise again,” Kivlan complained,” They want to establish a new communist party. The victims of ’65, they all blame us. … Maybe we’ll fight them again, like ’65.”

I was taken aback by that and wanted to make sure I had heard correctly.

“It could happen,’65 could be repeated all over again,” he repeated.

And the reason?

“They are seeking redress.”

A visitor walks pass a picture of Suharto at the Suharto museum on May 06, 2016 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

Photo: Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images

In other words, Kivlan was raising the specter of new mass slaughter if the old victims did not learn to forget. Kivlan then went on to detail why the ’65 coup was justified. He said that the ousted president, Sukarno, who was by then the army’s virtual captive, had given an order for the army to take over. The army “was handed power” by the congress.

Could that happen again now, I asked?

“It could,” the general said.  “The army could move again now, like Suharto in that era.”

The general told me that last July Jokowi had visited armed forces headquarters in the aftermath of the Symposium and had told the assembled generals that “he was not going to apologize to the PKI [communist party].”

“If Jokowi sticks with that” — the no-apology stance — “he won’t be overthrown. He will save himself. But if he apologizes: [he is] finished, over,” Kivlan said.

I again wanted to be sure he was really saying the army would take action, like ’65 again.

“Yes, it will secure the situation, including like in ’65.”

“No say surrender,” he concluded, in English.

Though Kivlan is regarded as being among the more ideological of the generals, it’s worth noting that many of his colleagues have been toying with ousting Jokowi even if he doesn’t apologize. In that sense Kivlan belongs to the movement’s moderate wing. Remarkably, the idea of a mere apology to the army’s victims is enough to motivate generals to move to overthrow the president.

Kivlan is often credited with helping to create the FPI, after Suharto’s fall. In our conversation he denied to me that he was responsible for setting up the FPI but went on to discuss in detail how the group was just one example of the broader army and police strategy of creating civilian front groups, sometimes Islamist, sometimes not, that could be used to attack dissidents while keeping the aparat’s own hands clean.

He said that days before the massive Jakarta demonstration of November 4 last year he received a text message from retired Major Gen Budi Sugiana asking him “to join and take over the 411 [November 4] movement.”

The mission, he said, was “to save Indonesia,” by joining FPI leader Habib Rizieq on the mobile stage at the demonstration, because “they need someone if [Rizieq] is shot and dead to take over the mass” outside the palace.

In December, Kivlan was arrested by the police for trying to overthrow Jokowi, but as we spoke in late February he remained free and had been traveling outside the country. Indeed, he told me he had been carrying out missions for Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo, the current armed forces commander, attempting to release Indonesian hostages held in the Philippines.

On the question of who privately backs the movement and who precisely the “communists” are, Kivlan spoke both on and off the record, and both precisely and generally. His characterization of his fellow generals’ stances meshes closely with what the other aparat people said, but, unlike most of them, he said it on the record.

“So many retired military — and in the military — are with the FPI. … Because the goal of the FPI is also against the communists.”

After his discourse to me about ousting Jokowi and taking actions like ’65, I asked him: does Gen. Gatot — the current armed forces commander — agree?

“He agrees!”

But he noted that as a younger, still-active officer, Gatot has to “be very careful” in his public stances.

Gen. Kivlan’s on-the-record remarks about Gatot’s role are consistent with those of other generals and coup people, as well as with the purported remarks of President Jokowi himself. When I asked an official with regular access to the president about a claim that Jokowi had said, “Gatot is the main factor in the coup,” the official replied, yes, the president said it, privately. Gatot did not respond to requests for comment.

As for his old boss Gen. Prabowo’s, Gen. Kivlan also echoed what others said: “Prabowo doesn’t want to be close but he does it through Fadli Zon.” If he were openly close to the movement it would be difficult for him, so Fadli Zon is the front. Regarding Gen. Ryamizard, the current minister of defense, Gen. Kivlan claimed that “his heart agrees. He agrees with our goal,” but he can’t “speak candidly.”

Kivlan praised the stance of Gen. Wiranto, saying “Wiranto is good.” Kivlan said Wiranto “wants to build harmony” with the movement, often pressing its case from his current post as coordinating minister for politics, law, and security. It was under Wiranto’s command that the FPI was first created. When Wiranto received the FPI’s Rizieq during the demonstrations he described him as “an old friend.”

Kivlan added that Wiranto, who is himself under indictment for East Timor war crimes has a “good plan” on the army’s pivotal issue. He is pressing Jokowi for “no human rights trials.”

The strategic elegance of the army push for a coup is that the army wins even if it loses. Even if Jokowi stays in office, the generals will be safer than ever — they think — from human rights trials since in order to stave off one group of killers the president has embraced another group of equally murderous generals who have exacted a price.

Foremost among them is General A.M. Hendropriyono, the former BIN chief and CIA asset, who has been implicated in the Munir assassination and a series of other major crimes. Throughout the coup crisis it has been Hendro’s men — army, intel, police, civilian — who have been leading the anti-coup defense of Jokowi against their colleagues. It is mainly Hendro’s people who have organized the treason arrests and hobbled Habib Rizieq Shihab with pornography charges, as well as charging movement financiers with ISIS money laundering.

In exchange, Hendro and his allies have received what they view as guarantees of immunity from prosecution. And under prevailing aparat rules, if they’re safe, everyone else is as well, since there’s a tacit agreement to reject prosecution of colleagues, even if they’re bitter enemies.

In February, under palace pressure, a Jakarta administrative court declared that the Jokowi administration could duck its legal obligation to officially release a government fact-finding report that openly addressed Gen Hendro’s responsibility for the Munir assassination. Munir’s widow Suciwati and Haris Azhar of Munir’s human rights group, Kontras, denounced that verdict as “legalizing criminality.”

In similar fashion, the coup movement has also been helpful for Freeport. Since last year, the Jokowi government, after decades of state quiescence, has been trying to rewrite the state contract with Freeport and has been dialing back their export rights. At the same time, the government has been shaken by the movement led in part by a lawyer associated with the company.

In early April, after the movement launched the first of what the police claimed were four planned attempts to seize Congress and the Palace, the Jokowi administration shocked Indonesia’s political world by unexpectedly giving in to Freeport and green lighting new copper exports. The sudden retreat didn’t end the dispute — deep, long-term contract issues remain — but it suggested, as Jokowi officials later told me, that the government now felt its position had been weakened.

In a story with the droll headline, “Freeport gets red-carpet treatment, again,” the pro-U.S. and pro-business English-language Jakarta Post observed:  “The government has defended its decision, even though there is no legal basis that backs [it]. … Freeport is seen as having dodged the bullet again.”

On April 20, Vice President Mike Pence is due in Indonesia. Jokowi administration officials have been saying privately that they expect Freeport’s demands to be at the top of his wish list. At the meeting of movement figures last Friday one of them looked at me and exclaimed: “Pence will threaten Jokowi on Freeport!”

Freeport Indonesia did not respond to requests for comment.

Jakarta’s Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, also known as Ahok, speaks to his lawyers inside the courtroom during his blasphemy trial at the auditorium of the Agriculture Ministry in Jakarta on April 11, 2017. The first Christian to govern the capital in more than 50 years, Ahok is on trial for remarks he made about the Koran.

Photo: Beawiharta/Press Pool via AFP/Getty Images

Blasphemy as Pretext

Although privately movement leaders and their sponsors spoke incessantly of the army, evading justice, and seizing power, on the streets outside the theme was decidedly religious. Walking among the huge crowd at one action at the Istliqlal mosque near the palace, it was clear to me that although the protest movement was fronted by the FPI, it had drawn a wide swath of people, many of whom were demonstrating simply because they were conservative or felt aggrieved.

The proximate cause of that grievance was Ahok, and his allegedly blasphemy in suggesting that non-Muslims could lead Muslims. (Ahok is also justly criticized for his evictions of the poor.) It was therefore quite illuminating to hear the leaders of the coup movement privately minimize those themes.

Kivlan surprised me when he remarked offhandedly that Governor Ahok had given the movement a “gift,” with his “slip of the tongue” regarding the Koran.

The required public stance of movement leaders was to claim to be forever wounded by Ahok’s remark asking people not to be deceived by rivals trying to use a Koranic verse against him. But here was one of them — with a small smile — acknowledging that strategically Ahok’s statement was welcome, because it had enabled the FPI and its sponsors to shift the balance of power inside the state, elevate themselves from street killers to theologians and alter the cultural climate to boot. And here he was, accepting that the fateful remark was a “slip of the tongue.”

With that, he not only appeared to be conceding that the blasphemy criminal case against Ahok was bogus — as we spoke, Ahok’s lawyers were arguing in court precisely that he had just spoken loosely, intending no offense — but also that the coup movement’s sole big public issue was something that, in private, they did not take seriously.

Beyond that, when I sat with Usamah and the movement leaders whom he half joking called his politbureau, they casually contradicted their position that non-Muslims cannot lead Muslims. They did so while discussing Hary Tanoe, who they all effusively praised as their movement’s top supporter — through direct aid and by means of his TV stations, which were admonished by Indonesia’s broadcast commission for unseemly pro-movement political bias and inaccuracy — and their perceived lifeline to President Donald Trump.

Those in the room all agreed they wanted a Prabowo–Hary Tanoe government, perhaps with Hary as president and Prabowo as vice president, or the reverse, depending on the polling.

The catch, which didn’t seem to bother them, is that Hary, like Ahok, is an ethnic Chinese Christian, which if they believed in their own standards should disqualify him from leading Jakarta, let alone Indonesia.

Top photo: A member of the hardline Islamist vigilante group the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) shouts slogans after burning an effigy of Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, or Ahok, in front of Jakarta’s city hall, Dec. 1, 2014.

The post Trump’s Indonesian Allies In Bed with ISIS-Backed Militia Seeking to Oust Elected President appeared first on The Intercept.

Todos estão surdos – de uma orelha

18 April 2017 - 2:02pm

Nas peças de Shakespeare, o vilão costuma quebrar a quarta-parede e dirigir-se ao público, revelando seus reais planos e motivações por trás das mentiras. Por convenção, assumimos duas coisas: esses solilóquios são naturalmente sinceros e jamais são percebidos pelos personagens em cena. Ainda que tudo seja ouvido pela platéia, o que Macbeth fala em “aside” jamais é escutado pelos outros atores, o que sempre parece meio absurdo – e tem o efeito ambíguo de sublinhar a artificialidade da representação ao mesmo tempo em que nos faz mergulhar nela.  

Não é apenas no teatro elisabetano que encontramos apartes do tipo, mas também em seriados como “House of Cards”, óperas de Bellini, autos de Gil Vicente, filmes de Woody Allen, peças de Molière e, claro, quando Ferris Bueller fala com a câmera em “Curtindo a vida adoidado”. Sim, imagino que os leitores já estejam pensando no ilegítimo e suas confissões sobre o golpe registradas em câmera, mas antes de chegar na deplorável caricatura que é Michel Temer, preciso falar sobre… o Lobo Mau.

Qualquer platéia de crianças, ignorando as convenções do aparte teatral, sempre grita alertando Chapeuzinho Vermelho.

A cena é bastante comum aos que já se aventuraram no submundo pantanoso do teatro infantil: qualquer platéia de crianças, ignorando as convenções do aparte teatral, sempre grita alertando Chapeuzinho Vermelho em cena quando o Lobo em roupas de vovozinha revela seus planos para o público. A depender da encenação, ele fará o mesmo com os porquinhos, que também não escutam jamais. É claro: eles estão no mundo da representação e o único a quebrar a quarta parede é o Lobo. Mas as crianças não desistem. Parte da graça – e a justificativa para o extenso uso do recurso no teatro infantil – é essa.

Ultimamente, viver no Brasil é um pouco como ser essa criança que assiste à peça infantil e grita para os personagens.

Ultimamente, viver no Brasil é um pouco como ser essa criança que assiste à peça infantil e grita para os personagens. O problema é que metade do país parece surda para o que a outra metade está escutando. O fato de que as extensas delações da Odebretch sejam lidas e editadas ao bel prazer das simpatias e acordos dos grandes donos da notícia não ajuda. No perfil do facebook do MBL (ou mesmo na boca de algum opinionista da Globonews) a delação parece ser apenas sobre Lula. Em sites de esquerda, vai parecer que é sobre Temer ou Aécio. Nesse ambiente de verdades tão ostensivamente seletivas, talvez a melhor forma de esconder alguma coisa seja deixá-la a vista de todos.

Michel Temer, um canastrão de si mesmo, parece ser um especialista em apartes do gênero.

Ele já confessou duas vezes que o impedimento de Dilma nada teve a ver com pedaladas fiscais– a primeira numa fala em Nova Iorque, descoberta aqui no Intercept, pelo Inacio Vieira, e ignorada com solenidade pelos jornalões brasileiros, a segunda na entrevista para a Bandeirantes dada no último sábado, dia em que se malha o judas. Não é surpreendente que Temer minimize essas falas, e sim que o país e a imprensa o deixem sair ileso.  

O que une alguns desses vilões da ficção, como Iago, João Doria e Ricardo III, não é apenas o hábito de monologar com sinceridade para a platéia, mas o fato de que, ao longo da peça, eles não mudam. Terminam o espetáculo tão inescrupulosos e desgraçados quanto começaram. 

***

Há uma entrada no “Diário do Hospício” de Lima Barreto em que ele escreve:

“Um maluco vendo-me passar com um livro debaixo do braço, quando ia para o refeitório, disse: – Isto aqui está virando colégio.”

Antes estivesse.  

The post Todos estão surdos – de uma orelha appeared first on The Intercept.

British Prime Minister Wants Election Now, Before Cost of Brexit Becomes Clear

18 April 2017 - 1:52pm

Prime Minister Theresa May, who was actually against Brexit before she was for it, made another dramatic U-turn on Tuesday, declaring that Britain needs to elect a new Parliament in June, three years ahead of schedule, despite her clear promise not to call an election when she campaigned to succeed David Cameron last year.

June 30, 2016 – 'There should be no general election until 2020' – watch Theresa May's election U-turn #GE2017 pic.twitter.com/sKMqSttVyY

— Joe Pickover (@JPickover) April 18, 2017

Her decision to subject Britons to a third national election campaign in just over two years — after the 2015 general election and the referendum on exiting the European Union ten months ago — was met with something less than enthusiasm by many voters.

Oh God it's an election

— Nesrine Malik (@NesrineMalik) April 18, 2017

"NOT ANOTHER ONE!"

Watch Brenda's reaction when I tell her that the PM wants a General Election. Safe to say, she's not impressed.#Bristol pic.twitter.com/IYEdGBryyZ

— Jon Kay (@jonkay01) April 18, 2017

"Like the bit in Titanic where the end of the ship goes up before it actually sinks"

— Daniel Trilling (@trillingual) April 18, 2017

In her address to the nation, May claimed that a fresh election was necessary to keep opposition parties from obstructing her Conservative government during negotiations over Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union.

That argument rang hollow, however, given that the opposition Labour Party had just voted for the government’s bill to begin the process of leaving the E.U. and is not campaigning to overturn the results of last year’s referendum.

What Brexit opponents? If there were Brexit opponents we'd vote for them pic.twitter.com/nKDDSn7eWl

— Graham Linehan (@Glinner) April 18, 2017

Separatist leader vows to crack down on opposition "endangering security of millions" as vote could boost regime with sweeping new powers

— Philip Oltermann (@philipoltermann) April 18, 2017

To most political observers, it was clear that May’s decision was driven by something else: a desire to capitalize on the unprecedented weakness of the Labour Party, which is divided over Brexit, and its own leader, Jeremy Corbyn, and has trailed the Conservatives by up to 21 points in recent polls.

With the PM calling a general election for 8 June, here's YouGov's most recent voting intention
Con – 44%
Lab – 23%
LD – 12%
UKIP – 10% pic.twitter.com/t6v36qPSrn

— YouGov (@YouGov) April 18, 2017

In the history of modern polling, Labour has never – as an opposition party – gone into a general election with a poll rating as low as now. pic.twitter.com/pRm66cB0tR

— Ian Jones (@ian_a_jones) April 18, 2017

As the writer Robert Harris and the broadcaster James O’Brien suggested, it might also be in May’s own self-interest, and that of her party, to ask the nation for a five-year term now, before the costs of Brexit become apparent.

It's almost as if they want to get an election out of the way before the consequences of Brexit start to become apparent

— Robert Harris (@Robert___Harris) April 18, 2017

.@mrjamesob: PM May calling a general election so she can say her plan "to careen into the iceberg at 100 mph is the will of the people"

— Robert Mackey (@RobertMackey) April 18, 2017

Although even many die-hard Labour supporters seemed resigned to defeat, some on the left welcomed the chance to vote against what they see as the potentially disastrous policy of a complete break with Europe.

People saying there’s no-one they can vote for. That's what Tories want. Vote for whoever has best chance of defeating the Tory candidate.

— David Schneider (@davidschneider) April 18, 2017

Paul Mason, a journalist and filmmaker, suggested that Labour should accept that under Britain’s current electoral system, it can no longer win power alone and should form “a progressive alliance” with other center-left parties, including the Greens, Scottish and Welsh nationalists and, perhaps, Liberal Democrats.

Yes please, Theresa May: call an election now so majority who do not want hard Brexit can stop it. Labour: Progressive Alliance now!

— Paul Mason (@paulmasonnews) April 18, 2017

Dear Theresa May – turkeys do not vote for Christmas pic.twitter.com/LK725OkdgE

— Paul Mason (@paulmasonnews) April 18, 2017

This idea was described in detail last year by Jeremy Gilbert, a professor at the University of East London, who argued that it was nearly impossible to see “Labour winning a parliamentary majority without first completely selling out,” as it had under Tony Blair.

“In practice, Gilbert explained on the website Open Democracy, such an alliance “would mean coming to some kind of arrangement with other parties — especially Greens and Liberal Democrats — according to which they and Labour would stand down their candidates in key marginal constituencies in order to give whichever party had the best chance a clear run at beating the Tories.”

“Significantly, such a pragmatist strategy would probably mean accepting that Labour is finished in Scotland, and coming to some kind of arrangement with the SNP,” he added. “For now, most Scots don’t want independence — they want radical federalism. But they also want to be represented both in Holyrood and in Westminster by an unambiguously social democratic party. They do not trust Labour to be that party.”

While such a strategy seemed in line with the first remarks on the election released by the leader of the Scottish National Party, Nicola Sturgeon, it seemed significant that the Labour leader’s statement made no mention of opposing Brexit, the Conservative government’s signature issue and the specter haunting the nation.

The Tories see a chance to move the UK to the right, force through a hard Brexit and impose deeper cuts. Let's stand up for Scotland. #GE17

— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) April 18, 2017

I welcome the PM’s decision to give the British people the chance to vote for a government that will put the interests of the majority first pic.twitter.com/9P3X6A2Zpw

— Jeremy Corbyn MP (@jeremycorbyn) April 18, 2017

as we watch this new clusterfuck unfold, a timely reminder that we’re doing this next month…#brighton pic.twitter.com/SsI1iCC3tj

— ????????? (@erocdrahs) April 18, 2017

Despite the confidence of the bookmakers and pollsters in predicting a Conservative victory in June, not everyone was convinced it would be a rout.

Surely the one thing we should have learned over the last two years is that voters don't always do what everyone so confidently expects.

— Philip Cowley (@philipjcowley) April 18, 2017

“Conservatives will not just win seats. They will also lose them,” observed Ian Dunt, the author of “Brexit: What The Hell Happens Now?”

“The Conservatives are likely to lose most of the 27 seats they took off the Lib Dems in the last election,” Dunt explained, as a result of anger over Brexit from the 48 percent of the country that voted against it. “These are uniquely chaotic and volatile political times,” he added. “If a progressive alliance against hard Brexit could be formed, it would hit the Conservatives. It might not defeat them — but the prime minister needs to massively increase her majority in order to justify this decision.”

In other words, the fact that the U.K.’s major parties were both sharply divided over Brexit makes it hard to predict exactly how an election dominated by the issue will turn out.

“The fact that the leadership of both main parties has disintegrated would under normal circumstances be a big story, but in the current chaos it is no more than a side effect,” John Lanchester wrote in the London Review of Books last year, just after David Cameron resigned.

The deeper problem is that the referendum has exposed splits in society which aren’t mapped by the political parties as they are currently constituted. People talk about Britain being ‘divided’ as if that’s a new issue, but societies are often divided, and the interests of all groups and individuals do not align. If they did, humanity would be the Borg. Political parties are the mechanism through which divisions in society are argued over and competing interests asserted.

The trouble with where we are now is that the configuration of the parties doesn’t match the issues which need to be resolved. To simplify, the Tories are a coalition of nationalists, who voted out, and business interests, who voted in; Labour is a coalition of urban liberals, who voted in, and the working class, who voted out. This means that if a general election were held tomorrow on the single issue of the referendum, the voter wouldn’t know whom to vote for. It wouldn’t be at all clear which faction in either party was likely to prevail when the hugely important details of what Brexit means come to be debated.

The post British Prime Minister Wants Election Now, Before Cost of Brexit Becomes Clear appeared first on The Intercept.

Former Arkansas Death Row Chief Shocked at Execution Binge — “What Are They Going to Tell Their Kids?”

18 April 2017 - 1:18pm

Arkansas had big plans to execute seven men in 10 days beginning Monday night, when Don Davis and Bruce Ward were scheduled to be taken from their death row cells in the state’s Varner Unit and driven roughly three miles to the Cummins Unit, or “death house,” near the small town of Grady.

That didn’t happen, because of a slew of legal decisions on state and federal levels. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the stays of execution granted by lower courts, but delays from the Arkansas Supreme Court remained after the state chose not to appeal a stay given to Ward, and the U.S. Supreme Court decided to maintain the stay given to Davis in a last-minute ruling less than ten minutes before his death warrant expired at midnight Monday.

As of Tuesday morning, there are no legal proceedings blocking the remaining five executions from taking place.

Patrick Crain, who worked for the Arkansas Department of Corrections from 2003 to 2007 and was head of the Varner unit’s death row, told the Intercept that he’s shocked the state of Arkansas wants “to carry out the executions in this crazy way.”

He said he worked with good people at Varner, and hates to see this happening to them.

“What are they going to tell their kids? ‘Hi Johnny, I executed seven people’? Crain asked, his voice tinged with outrage. “That’s ridiculous. They’re going to carry it around inside for the rest of their lives. It’s going to affect them and their families.”

 

Patrick Crain, who formerly worked on death row in Arkansas, now lives in Kansas City, Kansas.

Photo: Christopher Smith for The Intercept

The former death row prison guard, who describes himself as a life-long Republican, was pro-death penalty when he began working for the Department of Corrections. But that changed.

Crain said the case of Damien Echols, one of the “West Memphis Three,” a group of teens convicted in 1994 for the murder of three children in a purported “Satanic ritual,” weighed on him greatly. Echols was at Varner waiting to die when DNA evidence led to his release in 2011.

“We came close to killing an innocent man,” he said of Echols, with whom he’s still in contact.

Crain also explained that he frequently encountered people on death row who seemed incapable of controlling or understanding the consequences of their actions.

“I have questions about the culpability of people who are profoundly mentally ill,” Crain said. “Killing people that are mentally challenged and mentally ill, that’s unacceptable. But I’m sure they’re going to keep at it.”

A study by Harvard University Law School’s Fair Punishment Project reported that Arkansas “will execute several men with serious mental illnesses,” as well as men whose IQs suggest mental impairment.

Don Davis, who was scheduled to die Monday, is believed to have an IQ between 69 and 77, “both of which are in the range of intellectual impairment,” the report states. Bruce Ward has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and appears “not to understand that he is about to die, believing instead that he is preparing for a ‘special mission as an evangelist,’” according to the study.

“For Mr. Davis, all he got was an expert from the state hospital,” said Jessica Brand, the main author of the Harvard report. These experts “often don’t look at health in the same way” as those who could be hired by defense attorneys, she explained.

A case regarding this issue, McWilliams v. Dunn, is to be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court on April 24. If the court decides these men are entitled to independent experts, then their constitutional rights “will have been violated in a fundamentally prejudicially way,” said Brand. “Most of these guys lacked experts who were independent of the state … the idea that they got a fair trial in the first place is a lie.”

Further delays are possible, he added.

The Harvard report found that Ledell Lee, scheduled for execution on April 20, had legal counsel that was habitually inadequate. The Intercept spoke briefly with Lee’s attorney, Lee Short, about further actions. “We’re considering all options,” Short said.

Arkansas scheduled the rapid-fire executions because the state’s supply of midazolam, the sedative in a lethal three-drug cocktail that ends an inmate’s life, expires at the end of the month. The court delays pose a significant problem for the state.

“We’re now in a situation where all the FDA-approved manufacturers of potential execution drugs have put controls in place,” said Maya Foa, director of Reprieve, a human rights organization based in the UK that campaigns against capital punishment.

Once the midazolam expires, she explained, it will be difficult for the state to acquire a replacement. The only way to acquire the drugs will be illegally, and “there are a number of legal avenues that companies can use to enforce the contracts” that pre-empt use in lethal injection, Foa said.

Midazolam was used in several high-profile botched executions in which it appears not to have sedated the condemned prisoners. Oklahoma’s execution of Clayton Lockett in 2014 was the first, and Ohio’s January execution of Rick Javon Gray was the most recent example.

A Federal judge in Ohio ruled against the use of midazolam in executions a week after Gray’s botched execution, saying it violated the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment.

At an April 12 hearing on injunctions against the executions, clinical pharmacologist Daniel Buffington testified for Arkansas that the drug would even be effective past its expiration date. But Dr. Joel Zivot, an expert on bioethics, said “[n]o one knows what expired drugs will do in the setting of lethal injection. It’s clear that the state has some concern about expiration date and the public concern around using expired chemicals to kill.”

The executioners aren’t experts — they are a group of volunteers who are trained shortly before the execution takes place. For Crain, the former head of Arkansas’ death row, the prospects are clear: “They’re going to botch an execution, is what I think.”

Deborah Denno, a professor of law at Fordham University who has studied capital punishment for 25 years, agrees. She told The Intercept that executions are “are being handled by individuals who lack any kind of knowledge base,” and state training seminars aren’t enough to provide that foundation.

State officials have vowed to continue fighting for the executions. But Crain said the concerns should far outweigh any “political points” to be won by politicians, whom he views as the driving force behind the push for  assembly-line executions. He called the saga “a macabre circus.”

The post Former Arkansas Death Row Chief Shocked at Execution Binge — “What Are They Going to Tell Their Kids?” appeared first on The Intercept.

FHC e Lula: dois investimentos certeiros da Odebrecht

18 April 2017 - 12:46pm

Brasília, hoje soterrada por escândalos, surgiu do nada, no meio do nada. Os ousados projetos e maquetes de Oscar Niemeyer e Lúcio Costa tornaram-se concretos por obra de empreiteiras. Em sua autobiografia,o jornalista Samuel Wainer, conhecedor como poucos dos escândalos de uma era em que não havia delação premiada e em que a Odebrecht ainda era uma pequena construtora focada no interior da Bahia, já mostrava que a própria construção da nova capital federal foi toda loteada por Juscelino Kubitscheck a empreiteiros em troca de apoio e favores políticos.

Quase 60 anos depois, Brasília e Odebrecht cresceram, e a relação promíscua entre ambas engoliu o presidente da República, ex-presidentes, senadores, deputados, governadores e prefeitos. Todos entregues pelos corruptores como partícipes de um mesmo esquema.

A origem das trocas de favores, da operação de pagamentos de caixa 2, das propinas atreladas a percentuais de contratos de obras públicas, tudo isso vem à tona pela primeira vez da boca dos integrantes do mais alto escalão da maior construtora do Brasil.

“Não é um negócio de cinco anos, dez anos atrás. Nós estamos falando de 30 anos atrás”, afirmou Emílio Odebrecht, o integrante mais velho do clã e presidente do Conselho Administrativo da companhia, em um dos termos de colaboração firmados com o Ministério Público Federal.

Em sua busca por dar contexto histórico e “propósito” ao maior escândalo de corrupção já descoberto no país, Emílio diz que não se relacionava com políticos apenas como um empresário. Declarou que visava influenciá-los com ideias e projetos, para que eles percebessem “que [ele] tinha uma visão não só de Brasil, mas de mundo”.

Foi sob essa perspectiva que a maior memória viva da Odebrecht apresentou aos procuradores a mais antiga relação construída em sua narrativa (lembrando, o Ministério Público não tinha o objetivo de reconstruir toda a história da corrupção no país, nem da Odebrecht – que tocou obras poderosas no regime militar, como o aeroporto do Galeão e a usina nuclear de Angra dos Reis).

Esse primeiro vínculo exposto aos procuradores não foi com Lula, que é citado na maior parte dos mais de 30 vídeos gravados pelo MPF com Emílio. Foi com o então sociólogo e neófito na política Fernando Henrique Cardoso, depois de seu retorno do exílio, na ditadura militar.

Fernando Henrique tinha boas relações com figuras da política paulista. Diante disso, veio a primeira troca de favores.

Eles foram apresentados na década de 1970 por um amigo em comum, o ex-ministro e hoje vereador de Salvador Waldir Pires. Odebrecht não tinha ainda um peso grande no mundo político de São Paulo, mas tinha ideias que poderiam impactar o desenvolvimento do Brasil. Fernando Henrique tinha boas relações com figuras da política paulista. Diante disso, veio a primeira troca de favores.

Emílio Odebrecht queria alavancar um projeto chamado “Gás Brasil”, para reforçar o braço petroquímico do grupo. Para isso, a ideia era importar gás da Argélia, Bolívia e Argentina, oferecendo em contrapartida a exportação de bens e serviços. Fernando Henrique ajudaria no convencimento da classe política de São Paulo, lembra Emílio. Em troca, o empreiteiro hoje se gaba de ter sido aquele que ajudou a quebrar desconfianças do alto empresariado nacional a FHC, àquela altura ainda muito associado a ideais de esquerda. Essa relação virou cada vez mais de confiança e Emílio diz ter financiado todas as campanhas eleitorais de Fernando Henrique desde a redemocratização, inclusive com caixa 2.

Mas não foi só com dinheiro que a relação de Odebrecht com políticos se desenvolveu. Na era FHC, o empresário revela ter sido um conselheiro privilegiado do tucano, numa relação que, junto com recursos de caixa 2 fluindo no mesmo período para as campanhas de Fernando Henrique e aliados, poderia ser interpretada da mesma maneira pela qual hoje a Procuradoria-Geral da República acusa figuras do alto clero do Legislativo.

Odebrecht contou ao Ministério Público ter “sugerido a redação de projetos de lei, à época em que [FHC] foi senador e também presidente, relacionados a várias políticas públicas”:

Relato de Emílio Odebrecht ao MPF sobre relação com Fernando Henrique Cardoso.

Reprodução

O trânsito fluido de Emílio com representantes da social democracia brasileira incluiu também Mário Covas, ex-governador de São Paulo morto em 2001 e ainda hoje içado como baluarte da ética pelo PSDB.

A História é cheia de ironias, e uma delas foi exposta por Emílio aos procuradores. Foi Covas quem o apresentou a Lula. No fim dos anos 80, o petista tinha recém-fundado o PT e ainda atuava como sindicalista. Na época, uma greve dos trabalhadores do Pólo Petroquímico de Camaçari, na Bahia, onde a Odebrecht tinha forte presença, perturbava o sono de Emílio.

Covas perguntou a Emílio: “Você conhece o Lula?”. O empresário só conhecia de ouvir falar. Dias depois, Covas chamou Emílio e Lula para um almoço em sua casa. O papo durou nove horas, lembra o dono da Odebrecht.

Ali começou a relação que também seria alimentada, segundo depoimentos de Emílio e outros executivos da construtora, com troca de favores, informações privilegiadas sobre políticas de governo, derrame de milhões de reais, legal e ilegalmente, nas campanhas de Lula e aliados.

“Onde a gente apoiava tinha caixa 2″

Esses grupos políticos e seus líderes são protagonistas de décadas de lua de mel com a Odebrecht, guarnecida por valores na casa das centenas de milhões de reais. Os montantes tinham dois objetivos claros: de um lado, garantir o lucro e a expansão da empresa corruptora financiando políticos corrompidos; de outro, manter no poder grupos que aceitaram fazer o jogo da corrupção cedendo ao lobby da empreiteira.

Financiar a política e seus atores virou com o tempo não apenas consequência das small talks de empresários e políticos em confortáveis gabinetes e salas de jantar. A atividade se tornou parte de um fluxo empresarial, racionalmente controlado e nascido, como se depreende dos depoimentos dos vividos dirigentes da Odebrecht, bem antes da chegada do PT ao poder.

Marcelo Odebrecht, ex-presidente e herdeiro do grupo, declarou aos procuradores que tinha a preocupação de que o dinheiro que ia para corrupção saísse das divisões da Odebrecht onde as operações fossem rentáveis, ou onde não houvesse prejuízo. Os resultados foram positivos. No início dos anos 2000, com o aumento das obras conquistadas pela empresa e da capilarização de sua influência no meio político, o faturamento  da empreiteira saltou de R$ 17,3 bilhões em 2003 para R$ 107,7 bilhões em 2014, conforme os balanços oficiais.

Não faltaram projetos para isso. Por todo o Brasil, desde a ditadura militar, a construtora esteve envolvida em enormes contratos com o setor público, em todas as esferas da União e nas três divisões de poderes. Via de regra, as obras eram facilitadas pelo financiamento da campanha ou mesmo pelo simples suborno de políticos, com pagamentos atrelados a percentuais de contratos públicos.

“Nos locais onde tínhamos presença forte, com toda certeza apoiávamos [os políticos]. E onde a gente apoiava tinha caixa 2. O caixa 1 era uma parte pequena da nossa contribuição”, disse Marcelo em sua delação.

Exército da propina

Para evitar os efeitos da concorrência ou qualquer outra atividade ou ambiente desfavorável para os negócios nas esferas de governo, ainda havia na empresa, segundo seu ex-presidente, executivos responsáveis por negociar a troca de favores em cada Estado e com cada tipo de político — poderia ser um vereador, um governador ou até um presidente da República. Um desses funcionários, espécie de emissário, era o ex-diretor Alexandrino Alencar, ligado a um departamento da companhia específico para isso e próximo de figuras do PT.

Na sua job description, o empresário poderia dizer que procurava políticos que pudessem atuar em favor do lobby da empreiteira. Como disse nos depoimentos ao MPF, a relação dele com autoridades, iniciada ainda nos anos 90, sempre teve o objetivo de “trazer negócios para a organização [o Grupo Odebrecht]”. Ele declarou que procurava candidatos, caciques partidários ou servidores públicos com quem a construtora poderia criar um vínculo no curto, médio ou longo prazo para se beneficiar com a aprovação de projetos.

A conduta era chancelada pela orientação dos superiores, de acordo com Alexandrino. “Às vezes, o próprio Marcelo me dizia: ‘precisamos conhecer mais, ter um relacionamento melhor com fulano de tal’. E eu ia buscar os canais competentes. Era uma demanda da empresa buscar essa interlocução”, disse. Entre essas vias de diálogo, o ex-diretor relatou trânsito com entidades de classe, troca de favores, como empréstimo de dinheiro, e o fato de conhecer muitas pessoas em cargos importantes de empresas ou governos.

Mas a tarefa não era exclusiva dele. “Era uma coisa muito difusa. Às vezes, você tinha 100, 200, 300 funcionários lidando com candidatos em todos os níveis”, complementou Marcelo, no depoimento ao MPF. Segundo ele, havia também políticos e candidatos que procuravam a empresa. Estes ganhavam um padrinho dentro da Odebrecht que cuidava da distribuição de propina ou de dinheiro (ilegal ou não) para as campanhas.

Essa estrutura, que pode parecer confusa ou difícil de administrar, era rigorosamente profissional. Ela cabia ao setor de operações estruturadas, o mesmo de onde vieram as planilhas com os apelidos já incorporados ao folclore político nacional e sempre associados a altas somas de dinheiro.

O “departamento da propina”, como ficou conhecido, foi criado em 1995 para que as práticas de corrupção da empresa fossem, ao mesmo tempo, desburocratizadas para trazer resultados, e controladas, de modo que não dessem prejuízo. Nele, tinham autorização para atuar normalmente pessoas de confiança, que tinham permitido o uso do dinheiro da Odebrecht, sem que precisassem requisitar a superiores. Os valores seriam oriundos de offshores da companhia para que, pelo próprio modo de operação, deixassem o mínimo possível de registros.

Tudo estava tão institucionalizado nas relações da empresa com o Estado brasileiro, que, quando as investigações da Operação Lava Jato foram deflagradas, em 14 de março de 2014, os políticos e empresários envolvidos foram todos pegos de surpresa. “Com o tempo, a ilicitude estava em como se acertou o valor. Tratava-se o caixa 2 como uma coisa necessária. Caixa 2 virou uma coisa que ninguém mais tratava como crime”, disse Marcelo nos seu termos de colaboração com a Justiça.

“Não conheço nenhum político no Brasil que tenha conseguido fazer qualquer eleição sem caixa 2.” Com um silêncio constrangedor por parte dos procuradores do MPF que lhe tomavam o depoimento, Emilio descreveu a situação da seguinte maneira. “Não exime em nada a nossa responsabilidade. Não exime em nada que nós passamos a olhar isso com normalidade, porque 30 anos [de duração dessas práticas] é difícil. As coisas passaram a ser normais”, afirmou. Ou seja, lobby, caixa 2, propina, corrupção, pareciam aos envolvidos nestes esquemas formas inerentes do funcionamento do Estado no Brasil.

A situação se tornou tal que muitos dos políticos que outrora participaram da redemocratização do país, podem estar envolvidos até as calças no lamaçal das práticas ilícitas e imorais. “Não conheço nenhum político no Brasil que tenha conseguido fazer qualquer eleição sem caixa 2”, afirmou Marcelo.

“O cara pode até dizer que não sabia, mas recebeu dinheiro do partido que era caixa 2. Não existe. Um político que disser que não recebeu caixa 2 está mentindo. Esse crime eleitoral todo mundo praticou”.

The post FHC e Lula: dois investimentos certeiros da Odebrecht appeared first on The Intercept.

France’s Bernie Sanders Started His Own Party and Is Surging in the Polls

18 April 2017 - 9:12am

Jean-Luc Mélenchon, an insurgent left-wing candidate for France’s presidency, is surging. His candidacy, organized under the newly-established party La France Insoumise (“Unsubmissive France”) has gone from a quixotic bid to a viable challenge in just a few months. 

Railing against growing economic inequality, participation in foreign wars, and political corruption, Mélenchon has skyrocketed in the polls from distant fourth to within a hair’s breadth of the frontrunners. (This rise has been accompanied by the release of a web-based video game called “Fiscal Kombat” where Mélenchon fights corrupt politicians and bankers.)

The Financial Times demonstrated his surge through an aggregation of French national opinion polls:

Source:Financial Times

Because no candidate is expected to get a majority of the vote, the national election on April 23 is, for all practical purposes, an elimination round. The top two vote-getters will then compete in a run-off on May 7. So in order to win the presidency, Mélenchon has to oust either centrist Emmanuel Macron or far-right Marine Le Pen, both of whom are running slightly ahead of him and conservative François Fillon.

Many have drawn comparisons between Mélenchon and Bernie Sanders. Raquel Garrido, a spokesperson for Mélenchon’s campaign, told Jacobin Magazine in early April that, like Sanders, Mélenchon is embracing a populist platform that seeks to speak to every portion of society, not just the traditional left.

“I think we are similar to Bernie Sanders in that way, who rarely spoke about ‘the Left,’ but about the people against the 1 percent or the billionaire class,” she said.

Mélenchon’s supporters have circulated a meme on social media comparing Le Pen to Trump and Macron to Clinton. “To beat Trump it would have been necessary to support Sanders,” it reads. “Let’s not make the same mistake!”

Source:mélenshack.fr

But there is a major difference between Sanders and Mélenchon. The American chose to run within an existing political party, while the Frenchman seeks to compete against them. That’s why, unlike Sanders,Mélenchon is still in the running at this late stage,  as the voters are souring on the candidates of the far-right and co-opted center.

Prior to announcing his bid for the White House, Sanders had to choose between running as an independent, as he did in his Senate races in Vermont, or within the Democratic Party. He openly struggled with that choice in an interview in March of 2014 with The Nation. “There is today more and more alienation from the Republican and Democratic parties than we have seen in the modern history of this country. … In that sense, running outside the two-party system can be a positive politically,” he noted.

“On the other hand,” he went on, “given the nature of the political system, given the nature of media in America, it would be much more difficult to get adequate coverage from the mainstream media running outside of the two-party system. It would certainly be very hard if not impossible to get into debates. It would require building an entire political infrastructure outside of the two-party system: to get on the ballot, to do all the things that would be required for a serious campaign.”

For those same reasons, when Sanders lost the Democratic presidential primary to Hillary Clinton, he chose not to keep running as an independent, even though he had long argued that he had a much better chance of beating Donald Trump than Clinton had.

If it was easier in the U.S. to run outside the two-party system, Sanders could more easily have run as a third-party candidate, and conceivably could have made an argument as election day approached that Clinton would have been the “spoiler” — the candidate draining votes from him, rather than the other way around.

Mélenchon is probably looking at the ruling Socialist Party candidate Benoît Hamon — polling at eight percent — and wondering if Hamon’s voters will prevent him from going to the second round of voting. Mélenchon was once a junior minister in the the Socialist Party, which is France’s version of the Democrats. But as the Socialists moved towards neoliberalism, he left the party and for a long time was in the political wilderness. When he announced last year that he would be challenging the mainstream parties in France’s presidential election, he was considered a non-factor.

Mélenchon is not only advocating for left-wing policies like higher taxation, but also for remaking the French political system itself.

There are many ways  countries elect their national parliaments, but they can be roughly grouped into two categories. There’s the system that the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and a few other countries use, which is based on apportioning seats by single-member constituencies. Each district is winner-takes-all, so theoretically one party could win 51 percent of the vote in every district, and 100 percent of the parliament. That creates a powerful inducement for gerrymandering — and it also makes it particularly hard for new parties to get a toehold. In practice, this leads to domination of the political system by just a few parties, with voters typically cluster into two parties, both vying to top the other one.

The alternative is called proportional representation (PR). Under a PR system, the electorate casts its votes nationwide for whatever political party they choose, and then seats are distributed by percentage. You don’t have to win the majority of votes in any one geographically-bound district to enter the parliament. This allows for the rapid growth of minority parties, and more political diversity. So, for instance, in PR-using Israel, there are 10 political parties in the Knesset. PR-using Sweden has eight parties represented.

Justin Trudeau, Canada’s Liberal Prime Minister, won election in 2015 with a promise to shift Canada towards a proportional system (a promise he soon turned his back on). Canada’s The Globe & Mail made a video explaining how PR would work:

France, unlike most other countries in Europe, elects it parliament from geographical districts, like the U.S. and U.K. This leads to gerrymandering and a stunted political system where it is very difficult to form new political parties.

So for instance, in the 2012 French legislative elections, the radical Left Front got 23 percent of the national popular vote, but just 2 percent of the seats in the Assembly.

Mélenchon wants to change that.

He is calling for a constitutional convention and a transition to a full proportional representation system (both Le Pen and Hamon have voiced support for shifting to PR as well).  France is currently in its “Fifth Republic,” a form of constitutional system established in 1958; Mélenchon wants to establish the “Sixth Republic,” by shifting to proportional representation and making other changes to the government’s structure.

Bernie Sanders spoke of a “political revolution,” but made his project moving the Democratic Party in a more populist direction. Mélenchon, on the other hand, believes that the big changes necessary in French society can only come by displacing the current political parties.

Speaking of the state of the current political parties in France to Jacobin, Mélenchon spokesperson Garrido was blunt. “They will die together with the Fifth Republic,” she said. “They are organized to hold power within the Fifth Republic. There will be a new political terrain. The idea is not to recompose or repair the damaged parties of the Fifth Republic, but to allow new instruments to organize.”

An American Mélenchon?

What would an American version of Mélenchon’s plan for French democracy look like?

It’s impossible to know exactly what would result from, for instance, converting the U.S. Congress into a proportional system. But we do know that the current system is far from popular, while also very hard to dislodge. In 2016, members of the U.S. House had a 97 percent re-election rate; and yet the latest Gallup poll puts Congress’s approval rating at 24 percent.

A shift like the one Mélenchon is proposing in France would also require Constitutional changes, which are very difficult to implement. But the same could be said for many of the ideas Sanders ran on, like a Constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.

Both Mélenchon and Sanders understand that the ideas circulated in political discussion should not be limited to what can be immediately implemented — and that introducing and advocating for radical ideas is one way to move the center of political gravity. After all, there was a time when being a democratic socialist, like Sanders is, would banish you from national politics. Today, he is the most popular serving politician in America.

And big changes often come where you least expect them. Just ask the people of Maine. The sleepy state, not known for its radicalism, was the first in America to adopt a ranked-choice voting system after a referendum in November 2016. Under this system, voters will now be able to rank their preferences among various candidates and parties, rather than simply casting one vote for each office. If no candidate receives a majority of first-preference votes, then second-preferences are accounted for, and so on, until one candidate has a majority. It’s not a proportional system, but it’s a step towards empowering minority parties and breaking up the traditional two-party monopoly.

Perhaps America is growing a little unsubmissive as well.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon giving a campaign speech in Paris on April 17, 2017.

The post France’s Bernie Sanders Started His Own Party and Is Surging in the Polls appeared first on The Intercept.

Aécio pulverizou pagamentos em contas no exterior, diz delator

17 April 2017 - 4:59pm

O então governador de Minas Gerais Aécio Neves, o empresário Alexandre Accioly e o jornalista Diogo Mainardi (que nega este relato) jantavam no restaurante Gero, um dos mais conceituados do Rio de Janeiro, em algum momento entre o fim de 2007 e começo de 2008. No mesmo salão, mas em outra mesa, estava um velho conhecido de Aécio, Henrique Valadares, então diretor da área de energia da Odebrecht. Valadares achava normal encontrar o mineiro em Ipanema, onde o tucano se habituara a passar seus finais de semana quando era governador.

Isso já faz quase dez anos, mas o representante da Odebrecht diz não se esquecer desse dia até hoje. É que, dias depois, o ex-diretor de Furnas e homem de extrema confiança de Aécio no setor elétrico Dimas Toledo procurou Valadares no escritório da Odebrecht na Avenida Pasteur, no Rio. Não era a primeira vez dele ali, nem seria a última. Dimas levava consigo um pedaço de papel com algumas informações sobre dados bancários. Era uma conta bancária em Cingapura, identificada como “Accioly”.

Valadares não teve dúvidas e até hoje afirma que a conta era do amigo de Aécio. Depois de um tempo, disse o diretor em um de seus depoimentos no acordo de delação premiada, ele viu Accioly também com Dimas, o que reforçou sua convicção. Nessa conta, foram depositados algo em torno de R$ 2 milhões, disse Valadares.

Usina Hidrelétrica de Santo Antônio, no Rio Madeira, cuja obra foi facilitada por meio de propina a políticos.

Foto: Beethoven Delano

Mas a história, conforme conta o delator, não começa nem termina aí. Em fevereiro de 2008, Henrique Valadares e Marcelo Odebrecht marcaram um encontro com Aécio Neves. A conversa foi na residência oficial do governador, o Palácio das Mangabeiras, num ponto alto de Belo Horizonte. Com os três sentados nos confortáveis sofás do palácio, com vista para a cidade, a noite foi de conversas sobre a situação política e econômica do país, mas em tom de amenidades. Na saída, Aécio falou rapidamente com Valadares, sem dar maiores explicações: “O Dimas vai te procurar”.

O delator afirma que não presenciou o pedido de propina durante a noite. No entanto, ao entrar no carro com Marcelo, Valadares – sempre segundo seu depoimento aos procuradores da Lava Jato – foi informado do grande fato da noite: eles tinham acertado um pagamento de R$ 50 milhões para Aécio. Era uma contrapartida a ações que o tucano, hoje senador e presidente do PSDB, iria tomar, usando sua influência como governador, em favor do consórcio que a Odebrecht formou com a Andrade Gutierrez pelas obras da Usina Hidrelétrica de Santo Antônio, no Rio Madeira.

As empreiteiras  queriam resolver questões em relação ao leilão da usina de Jirau, que aconteceria dali a três meses. Daqueles R$ 50 milhões, R$ 30 milhões caberiam à Odebrecht pagar. O restante da propina seria executada pela Andrade Gutierrez.

Dias depois, Dimas Toledo foi mesmo ao encontro de Valadares, no Rio. Não perdeu tempo. Já levava consigo um cronograma de pagamentos a serem feitos. Antes de cada data prevista para os repasses, Dimas voltava ao diretor da Odebrecht e entregava um pedaço de papel com informações sobre o destino de cada remessa. Pelo que se recorda Valadares, todos os pagamentos, sempre da ordem de até R$ 2 milhões, eram feitos para contas no exterior (embora ele admita que pode ter havido alguma conta também no Brasil). Considerando que foram R$ 30 milhões pagos, teriam sido indicadas cerca de 15 contas bancárias diferentes para os depósitos.

A respeito disso, o que as delações da Odebrecht mostram é que o padrão da empresa para pagamento de contribuições irregulares de campanha era por pagamentos em dinheiro vivo para emissários indicados dentro do Brasil. Pagamentos no exterior, em tese, teria como objetivo final enriquecimento pessoal. Valadares disse em depoimento não saber para que o dinheiro era usado.

Todos os R$ 30 milhões que teriam sido pagos pela Odebrecht, no acerto com Aécio Neves, foram desviados do contrato da Usina de Santo Antônio, conforme relato de Henrique Valadares.

O acerto do total de R$ 50 milhões para Aécio chama atenção também por um outro motivo. Na mesma época, segundo narrou Valadares aos procuradores, o mesmo valor foi acertado pela Odebrecht e Andrade Gutierrez também para o então deputado Eduardo Cunha, que passou a exercer forte influência no setor elétrico a partir do governo Lula, e também com o objetivo de garantir facilidades para o consórcio no projeto das usinas do Rio Madeira.

Relato do Ministério Público sobre o depoimento de Henrique Valadares.

Reprodução

“Fôlego” de R$ 15 milhões

Corta para 26 de setembro de 2014. Aécio saiu do governo de Minas Gerais com alto cacife político. Quase disputou as eleições de 2010, quando tinha mais de 70% de aprovação da população de Minas Gerais ao seu governo, conhecido pelo “choque de gestão”. Acabou perdendo a disputa interna no PSDB para José Serra e foi disputar uma vaga no Senado. Depois, com a derrota de Serra para Dilma Rousseff, conseguiu prevalecer internamente e foi eleito presidente do partido, encaminhando-se como nome natural para disputar o Planalto em 2014.

Naquele dia, em declarações a jornalistas, Aécio bateu mais uma vez no PT. Segundo ele, o partido de Dilma “era complacente com a corrupção” e tinha “absoluto desprezo pela ética”. Aécio estava preocupado, porque a eleição estava na reta final do primeiro turno, e ele corria risco de ficar de fora do segundo turno com a ascensão de Marina Silva.

Foi por isso que, dias antes, Marcelo Odebrecht foi procurado por Aécio. O candidato foi atrás de “um fôlego”. Pediu R$ 15 milhões, que, por motivos que Odebrecht acaba não detalhando em seu depoimento, acabaram não sendo pagos.

Mas a Odebrecht já vinha financiando ilegalmente a campanha de Aécio desde o primeiro semestre, como conta Marcelo. Só naquele mês de setembro, quando o candidato criticou a falta de ética do PT, sua campanha e de aliados próximos tinham recebido três pagamentos de R$ 1 milhão, segundo delatores. Antes, os repasses em dinheiro vivo – doze ao todo – eram de R$ 250 mil e vinham ocorrendo desde maio daquele ano. O dinheiro era entregue para emissários indicados por Aécio: Dimas Toledo e Oswaldo Borges da Costa, tesoureiro informal de Aécio e presidente da Companhia de Desenvolvimento do Estado de Minas Gerais (Codemig).

Colaboração: Alline Magalhães, Bruno Pavan, Jéssica Sbardelotto, Guilherme Zocchio, Kleyson Barbosa, Lúcio Lambranho e Renan Antunes de Oliveira.

The post Aécio pulverizou pagamentos em contas no exterior, diz delator appeared first on The Intercept.

Empreiteiros Odebrecht ignoraram trajetória da família ao crescer ancorados em políticos

17 April 2017 - 2:31pm

O nome Odebrecht sempre representou “poder, riqueza e dignidade”, conforme dezenas de depoimentos e documentos exibidos no livro “Cartas de Família”, de 2006, um ensaio biográfico sobre os primeiros da família a chegar ao Brasil. Não é só papel, nem papo furado: seu significado está gravado em bronze no brasão da família, dona de 500 anos de história e origem na Pomerânia, hoje Alemanha.

Emílio Odebrecht foi o maior deles. Tinha ojeriza a políticos. Sempre lutou contra eles, queixando-se de represálias da  “militärdiktatur” brasileira. Trabalhou 36 anos no Ministério da Agricultura e nos Correios, sem manchas – no fim, quiseram lhe negar aposentadoria. Aposentou-se com regras piores do que as que o governo Temer desenha: levou seis anos para receber, sem os atrasados do período.

Ele escreveu um dia que “a situação do Brasil é extremamente triste, a falência do Estado é iminente. Estão demitindo funcionários, precisaremos vários anos para que esta máquina emperrada volte a funcionar”.

Emílio Odebrecht, pioneiro da família no Brasil.

Foto: Reprodução

Embora o cenário pareça atual, estamos falando do pioneiro, o imigrante alemão que legou o nome à empresa hoje no olho do furacão. Na certidão de nascimento era Emil, mas adotou o abrasileirado Emílio. Morreu em 1912, aos 77 anos, 56 dos quais no Brasil, do final do Império até a ditadura militar de Floriano Peixoto. Proibiu os 15 filhos de entrarem no funcionalismo ou na política, lançando as bases da extraordinária carreira da família na iniciativa privada.

Um neto dele, Emílio 2º, faliu ao pegar um contrato para uma ponte em Santa Catarina. Enchente e inflação arrasaram com sua microempresa, aumentando o desprezo da turma por negócios com o governo.

Envergonhado com o fracasso, Emílio 2º se mudou com a família para a Bahia, onde recomeçou do zero – até falir de novo, nos anos 40, com a ida às alturas do preço dos materiais de construção importados da Europa, à época incendiada pela Segunda Guerra Mundial. Ao afundar de vez, passou tudo o que lhe restava para o filho Norberto, bisneto do patriarca.

Foi ele que criou a Norberto Odebrecht Construções, dando o grande salto. Só que, na sua vez, fez tudo nas costas justamente do governo, ignorando o conselho dos mais velhos.

O primeiro passo para reerguer a empresa foi obter apoio de banqueiros. Depois, obras públicas, inicialmente em Salvador e interior da Bahia, como cais e estaleiros. No fim, entregou um império em expansão para Emílio 3º, pai de Marcelo, hoje preso em Curitiba e mais sujo do que pau de galinheiro.

Emílio e Marcelo são as estrelas da hora na TV, na maior lavação de roupa suja empresarial e política do país: o enredo tem poder, riqueza e indignidade à beça.

“Uma mancha sobre a família”

Os pomeranos pronunciam “Ó-debr-‘ê’-cht”,  com a sílaba tônica no “o” e com o “e” fechado. Em Santa Catarina, berço brasileiro da família, se diz “odebréqueti”, por influência italiana.  Significa “aquele que herdou fortuna”. Odebréchti é criação do Jornal Nacional.

O primeiro Odebrecht pisou no Brasil em 1856 com a roupa do corpo, contratado pelo colonizador Herr Blumenau. Juntos, ergueram a cidade hoje muito conhecida pelas cervejadas da Oktoberfest, a 150 km de Florianópolis.

Ele tinha 21 anos e habilidades de um engenheiro. Fazia mapas com extraordinária precisão, até hoje usados no Sul. O historiador Moacyr Werneck de Castro detalhou em livro a contribuição dele ao Brasil: ajudou o Barão de Rio Branco a conquistar um naco de território na demarcação de limites com a Argentina.

Sua maior obra foi a família, hoje com mais de 1500 descendentes, 100 deles ainda vivem em Blumenau. O sobrinho-neto Rolf e sua mulher Renate Sybille montaram a árvore genealógica publicada no “Cartas de Família”, um belo livrão de 580 páginas, vendido a R$ 100 na Fundação Cultural da cidade.

O Grande Odebrecht escreveu centenas de cartas aos seus, na Alemanha. Não há relatos de maracutaias. Deixou um nome tão honrado que, nos anos 70, o pessoal do lado baiano foi à Justiça contra os parentes de Blumenau para que não o usassem como marca nos seus negócios catarinenses – os “baianos” queriam todas as honras.

No fundo, fica uma mancha sobre toda famíliaA parentada pobre ficou indignada, porque dentro dela havia muitos engenheiros e pequenos construtores em atividade. No fim, eles ganharam o direito a usar o próprio sobrenome. Esta decisão hoje enche alguns de vergonha: “No fundo, fica uma mancha sobre toda família”, diz o empresário Marcos Odebrecht.

O crescimento do lado baiano foi tanto que o nome de qualquer um da família tem fama de milionário, mas a bonança sobre os Odebrecht ficou concentrada na linhagem Emílio-Edmund-Emílio 2º-Norberto-Emílio 3º-Marcelo. O resto se vira nos 30.

Ninguém fala muito de um tio-avô de Norberto que se embrenhou na mata, feriu o pé com um machado, foi salvo por uma ex-escrava e viveu com ela numa choupana por 50 anos. Pobre e doente, foi recolhido pela família – que deixou a mulher na mesma maloca.

Donos da Petrobras

Prédio da sede Petrobras no Rio de Janeiro.

Foto: Getty Images

A Odebrecht  atuava no nordeste há 46 anos  quando chegou ao Rio de Janeiro em 1969, durante outra militärdiktatur, construindo…adivinhem? O prédio da sede Petrobras na cidade – e isto talvez explique por que eles tratavam a empresa como coisa sua.

Ao contrário da suposição corrente, não foi Lula quem exportou a Odebrecht para a África e confins do globo. O crescimento internacional da empresa se deu na farra promovida depois da morte de Tancredo Neves, em 1985, com José Sarney de presidente. A festa durou até a Constituição de 1988 que, por sua vez, criou o Ministério Público Federal, instituição à época tão raquítica que nem de longe parecia ameaçadora.

Os marqueteiros da empresa logo reescreveram a história da família, dando pouco crédito ao Emílio pai e ao avô Edmund, pintando tudo como obra de Norberto. Não há registro familiar de que Norberto tenha visitado Blumenau depois do sucesso. Nem Emílio, nem Marcelo.

Os dois blocos da família se reencontraram em 2006 para comemorar os 150 anos de imigração do patriarca – coube ao lado pobre a cortesia de viajar à Bahia para a festa.

Ajudando a desenvolver o Brasil

As cartas que Emil deixou mostram como o pioneiro Odebrecht via o Brasil e achava que no país só existiam “indolentes e aproveitadores”. Nelas, descrevia seus subordinados como “gente que fica de pantufas nos hotéis esperando o salário”, enquanto ele ia a pé pelos grotões mapeando a região.

O chefe dele, Herr Blumenau, queixava-se ainda no Império de que só conseguia alguma coisa das autoridades em Florianópolis se pagasse suborno, prática que Odebrecht repudiava, conforme deixou nas cartas.

O homem parecia de fato um idealista. Não temia riscos. Mal assumiu a nacionalidade brasileira e foi lutar na Guerra do Paraguai como voluntário. Como recompensa, ganhou do Império vagas cativas para seus filhos no Colégio Militar do Rio de Janeiro, mas já conhecia tanto o Exército Brasileiro que não aceitou a oferta.

Casa dos Odebrecht em Blumenau.

Foto: Renan Antunes de Oliveira

O berço dos Odebrecht em Blumenau ainda existe. A casa original era de tijolos secos ao sol e se esboroou. O terreno ficou nas mãos de Rolf, hoje com 97 anos. É um bosque atrás do terminal de bus do bairro Garcia, ao lado da Igreja Luterana.

Nele há uma casa dos anos 60, fechada, guardada por um pastor alemão. Já esteve alugada, mas o locatário abriu um bordel e acabou despejado por Rolf, que não queria tal desonra para o nome Odebrecht.

Apesar de manter correspondência com os pais na Pomerânia, o primeiro Odebrecht fez uma só viagem à terra natal, depois de aposentado. Logo voltou para Santa Catarina. Dizia gostar tanto daqui que não deu a nacionalidade de origem aos filhos, os queria “ajudando a desenvolver o Brasil”.

A falta de algo que não custa nada

Não se sabe o ponto exato em que os Odebrecht deixaram de ajudar no desenvolvimento para se tornar saqueadores confessos dos cofres públicos, corrompendo quase 300 políticos.

Uma prima que vive em Blumenau conta da tarde de sarau na Bahia no reencontro familiar com Norberto (morto aos 93, em 2014): “Ele se queixou que os políticos o achacavam” – o que faz a prática da propina mais antiga do que se possa apurar.

A parentada em Blumenau, Apiúna e Indaial prefere ser lembrada pelas virtudes atribuídas durante séculos aos pomeranos, registradas no livro histórico da família. Frederico o Grande, rei da Prússia, dizia que seu povo “não tem o prazer de exagerar”. O poeta Bruggemann escreveu que ele “odeia lisonjas”. O chanceler Otto von Bismarck via num soldado pomerano “mais valor do que em todo exército inimigo”, em termos de lealdade.

Onde foi que as coisas deram errado, jogando o nome no lixo?

Emílio 3º tem sido reprisado na TV se dizendo chocado que “todos os poderes, a imprensa, (estejam) tratando como se (o pagamento de propinas para tanta gente) fosse surpresa. Me incomoda isso. Não exime nossa responsabilidade”. Foi o mais perto que ele chegou de um mea culpa, até bater no peito e dizer que sua propinolândia era velha de 30 anos.  Arrematou com “as coisas passaram a ser normais”.

Quem oferece uma resposta mais aproximada da realidade é o alemão Markus Blumenschein, presidente da Câmara de Comércio e Indústria Brasil-Alemanha, encontrado na última quinta, véspera do feriadão de Páscoa, pesquisando sobre o tema na biblioteca de Blumenau.

Ele analisou os dois lados da família e ajudou a construir esta reportagem.  Para ele, o que faltou na relação da gigante Odebrecht com os 300 políticos comprados  “foi uma coisa fácil de encontrar e que não custa nada”.Neste ponto fez um pequeno teatrinho de suspense, até completar: “O que faltou foi ética”.

The post Empreiteiros Odebrecht ignoraram trajetória da família ao crescer ancorados em políticos appeared first on The Intercept.

Os desconhecidos que receberam os segredos de Snowden pelo correio

17 April 2017 - 12:45pm

A história de Snowden e de sua revelação dos segredos da NSA à imprensa foi contada e recontada em livros, filmes e inúmeros artigos. O que ainda não foi noticiado é o papel silencioso de dois jornalistas que receberam material de Snowden, literalmente enviado em uma caixa de papelão.

Em um novo artigo na revista Harper’s, a dupla finalmente conta a sua história de criptogrfia de nível iniciante, códigos intrincados e paranóia extrema. Eles também revelam que não são as únicas pessoas que receberam arquivos de Snowden sem o conhecimento do público.

Dale Maharidge é um jornalista premiado e professor universitário de jornalismo, mas só foi envolvido no vazamento de informações de Snowden por causa de uma festa numa casa no Brooklin, à qual ele compareceu numa noite em dezembro de 2011, e onde conheceu a cineasta (e cofundadora do The Intercept) Laura Poitras. Os dois criaram um laço rapidamente por causa de seu trabalho em comum e, ao longo do ano seguinte, à medida que seus respectivos projetos de reportagem e filmagens permitiam, passavam o tempo juntos em Nova York e na casa de praia “muito remota” de Maharidge, em Northern California. Então, quase no início de 2013, Poitras foi contactada por uma fonte anônima alegando possuir materiais que revelariam o alcance da vigilância norte-americana. Ela confiou isso a Maharidge:

Conversamos sobre a fonte durante o jantar, e Laura me contou que uma pessoa queria um endereço físico para usar caso (como a fonte disse) “algo aconteça com você ou comigo”. Especulamos que talvez essa pessoa pudesse enviar a ela um pacote. Cópias impressas? Dados? Não era claro. Não é preciso dizer que o material não poderia ir diretamente para Laura: sua correspondência estava certamente sendo remexida. Nem eu poderia receber, por causa da nossa conexão. Ela disse que precisávamos de uma terceira parte, alguém que não estaria no radar da NSA.

O tempo todo, Poitras e Maharidge se comunicaram usando códigos – mas, o que é interessante, nenhum meio de criptografia digital:

Chamávamos a fonte não nomeada de ‘o arquiteto’ e nos referíamos à entrega misteriosa como ‘material de arquitetura’. O destinatário do pacote era chamado de “pia”. Se fosse comprovado que aquela pessoa não estava disponível, eu achava uma segunda opção, a quem chamávamos de “outra pia”. A NSA ou o FBI eram chamados de “conselho de cooperação” – um tributo à natureza truculenta desses conselhos em Nova York. E se algum de nós escrevesse “o carpinteiro se demitiu”, significava que era hora de começar de novo com outro plano.

Maharidge sugeriu que sua amiga Jessica Bruder, uma repórter e professora de jornalismo, recebesse o pacote da fonte. Ele seria então repassado a Maharidge e, finalmente, a Poitras, reduzindo o risco de que a polícia ou outra falta de sorte interviesse no processo de envio. A ansiedade da espera pelo misterioso pacote coberta de confusão; Poitras e Maharidge algumas vezes ficavam confusos sobre se estavam falando de uma fonte de denúncias de segurança nacional ou da reforma que Poitras estava fazendo, de fato, em seu loft, escreveu Bruder.

Finalmente, a caixa de Snowden chegou ao prédio de Bruder – onde pacotes são frequentemente roubados – e então à sua porta.

Eu peguei a caixa. As palavras ‘mat. de arquitetura’ estavam rabiscadas em letras de forma na frente. ‘Por quanto tempo isso ficou aqui?’, eu me perguntei. Depois de entrar no apartamento, olhei mais de perto. Nada sobre o pacote parecia incomum a princípio. Ele tinha sido postado em 10 de maio em Kunia, Havaí, e enviado via correio expresso. Eu balancei a caixa delicadamente, como uma criança adivinhando o conteúdo de um presente. Algo lá dentro tilintou. Fora isso, não revelou mais nenhum segredo.

Então, eu notei o endereço do remetente:

B MANNING
94-1054 ELEU STREET
WAIPAHU, HI 96797

Incrivelmente, com todo o esforço de Poitras para estabelecer um canal discreto de entrega, Snowden enviou o pacote com um endereço de remetente que era quase o mesmo da sua verdadeira localização em uma pequena cidade do Havaí, alterado apenas por um número de rua. Bruder escreveu que ela estava ‘espantada’ e preocupada por Snowden, no meio de tanto cuidado extremo, ter usado um endereço tão próximo ao seu próprio, junto com o nome de alguém famoso por vazar informações – Bradley Manning, que ainda não havia se tornado Chelsea Manning – enquanto estava no processo de vazamento por meio do nome e endereço verdadeiros de Bruder. Os dois ainda não sabem por que Snowden teria dado um passo tão excepcional e potencialmente desastroso para testar a sorte, além de que esse tenha sido, talvez, o equivalente a uma risada nervosa diante da possível ruína.

Da porta de Bruder, a caixa foi repassada a Poitras, que, por sua vez, confiou a Maharidge uma cópia de seu conteúdo: arquivos da NSA enviados por Snowden. Maharidge agora tinha que decidir o que fazer com uma cópia dos arquivos mais perigosos que alguém poderia imaginar naquela época, uma cópia que ninguém deveria descobrir que estava em sua posse. O material fez uma jornada tortuosa, desde ser escondido sob a vista de todos como bagagem de mão em linhas aéreas até ser colocado secretamente no topo de uma árvore de mais de 20 metros de altura, até, nas palavras de Maharidge, ser selado “dentro de um barril de quase 100 litros com coisa velha” no subsolo de um anexo.

Maharidge e Bruder também afirmaram que pelo menos três outras pessoas receberam cópias de backup do material de Snowden:

Das três pessoas que receberam cópias, uma continua desconhecida para nós. Outra pediu para permanecer em segredo. A terceira era Trevor Timm, um advogado, jornalista e ativista que é diretor executivo da Freedom of The Press Foundation (Fundação pela Liberdade da Imprensa).

Trevor recebeu um pacote sem descrição em 2013, cujo remetente era alguém que ele conhecia. “Ninguém disse que um pacote estava chegando para mim”, ele nos contou.

Finalmente, Maharidge decidiu manter os arquivos no alto da árvore, onde eles foram incorporados ao ninho de um pássaro; hoje, estão em uma nova localização secreta. “Por que ficar com isso?”, Bruder e Maharidge se perguntam. “Há sempre a possibilidade de que o pacote possa ser confiscado como evidência. Ainda assim, mantemos esses itens.” Com toda a ansiedade causada pela caixa, nenhum deles parece pronto para terminar seu papel na história.

Foto em destaque: o hotel Mira em Hong Kong, onde Edward Snowden esteve hospedado (11 de junho de 2013).

The post Os desconhecidos que receberam os segredos de Snowden pelo correio appeared first on The Intercept.

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