The interminable, ghastly telenovela aiming at turning Brazil, the seventh-largest economy in the world, into a Banana Republic of Scoundrels while destroying its economy, is—like the infamous GWOT (Global War on Terror)—a gift that keeps on giving.
Coup in Brazil
No, this would never qualify as a Shakespearean tragedy or even a Monty Python sketch. Neither tragic nor funny; just nasty, brutish and overwhelmingly pathetic.
Center stage once again is Sergio Moro, the puny provincial prosecutor with an Elliott Ness complex in charge of the blatantly one-sided Car Wash corruption investigation. Moro is a pure product of Hollywood screenwriting. He is investigator, judge, executioner; in sum, he incarnates The Law. A Magnum-deprived Dirty Harry, but armed with plenty of cheap suits.
After the golpeachment of Dilma Rousseff, it didn’t take long for Moro to play his joker: Lula in jail by all means necessary.
It started with a—pathetically amateurish—Powerpoint presentation by the provincial crusaders in the southern Brazilian state which doubles as Car Wash’s seat, insisting they are “convinced” Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva is guilty of being the Don Corleone in a vast corruption ring. But they have no proof.
Ooops. They did it again (for the third time, actually). So sub-Elliott Ness had to run back to his handlers—in the belly of the Empire of Chaos—for new “instructions.” Moro, after all, was the lucky recipient of all that savory NSA spying on Petrobras, the Brazilian Energy Ministry and (regime-changed) President Rousseff.
Lula, ever the old fox, nailed it—observing how Moro has built, alongside the ultra-right-wing Globo media empire, a framework according to which Brazilian mainstream media is able to condemn anyone at will: “There are leaks and no one knows who leaked. Before proof is presented on whether the leak is true or false, five headlines are out. Then, you are guilty.”
Lula was referring to Moro’s by-the-book application of the 1990s Italian Mani Pulite proceedings—when all guilty verdicts were media-induced. In the remixed Brazilian version, the Public Ministry, the Federal Police and the Judiciary as a whole have been totally monopolized by political interests—all of them opposed to the Workers’ Party—with full corporate media support. The whole Brazilian political system is astonishingly corrupt to the core; but Car Wash only targets the Workers’ Party.
Will Rats Have Their 9/11?
Immediately after this (third-time-lucky?) “new” condemnation of Lula as Mob chief, the real (judicial) Mob doubled down, ordering the arrest of former Finance Minister Guido Mantega (then quietly revoked three hours later).
The ineptness of the whole thing became even more flagrant when it was proved, by lawyers defending disgraced former billionaire Eike Batista, that Mantega had never asked for hush money linked to the Petrobras racket.
It took a former minister and founder of the PSDB party—the former social democrats turned neoliberal enforcers—to confirm, on the record, Lula’s analysis; “Brazil is now under a regime in which you just need to be accused by someone in trouble with the law for it to be taken to the media and justify a preemptive arrest.”
The gift will continue to keep on giving. The next “police story” will certainly be directed against impeached President Rousseff—who has lost her political immunity. Mantega was hit because he had been chairman of the board at Petrobras. So was Dilma. It will just take another rat to accuse her out of the blue for Dilma to be “condemned.”
The “logic” of the whole enterprise remains inexorable. This is what’s been happening in Brazil in a nutshell. Various factions of the Brazilian parliamentary opposition—threatened by corruption investigations, Car Wash included—went for a new form of Hybrid War, supported to the hilt by the State Department, aiming simultaneously at a golpeachment against Dilma and dragging Lula’s name into the mud.
Golpeachment worked—based on a dodgy reading of a constitutional procedure targeting a “crime of responsibility.” Dilma did not commit any crime—responsibility or otherwise—and still she was impeached. It’s no wonder that no less than 8,000 irate Brazilian jurists have launched a “Campaign for Legality.”
A powerful array of institutional/oligarchic interests is behind the rabid demonization of all things Workers’ Party; virtually the whole judicial system, the Globo media empire, the absolute majority of the Supreme Court.
So it’s no wonder Brazil has been reduced to the slimy status of a Banana Scoundrel so-called Republic, where due legal process, burden of proof, right of defense, presumption of innocence have all been swept under the (rotten) carpet.
Rats scurrying for an escape route underneath now mirror rats mingling in the tower of power. The masterplan—with Moro as poster boy—is vicious; no less than to destroy the whole project—initiated by Lula—of autonomously developing Brazil as a top multipolar leader in parallel with wealth redistribution. It’s no wonder the illegitimate and vastly unpopular Temer The Usurper “government” is already accelerating the destruction of Petrobras and handing out exploitation of the pre-salt oil reserves to foreign corporations.
A Sub-Empire of Rats is in effect. Perhaps not for too long. Before 9/11 I published a story headlined "Get Osama! Now! Or Else" … 9/11 happened roughly 10 days later. Failing to take out Lula—so he’s back to win the 2018 presidential elections – may end up being a 9/11 for the Sub-Empire of Rats.
Pepe Escobar is an independent geopolitical analyst. He writes for RT, Sputnik and TomDispatch, and is a frequent contributor to websites and radio and TV shows ranging from the US to East Asia. He is the former roving correspondent for Asia Times Online, where he wrote the column The Roving Eye from 2000 to 2014. Born in Brazil, he's been a foreign correspondent since 1985, and has lived in London, Paris, Milan, Los Angeles, Washington, Bangkok and Hong Kong. Even before 9/11 he specialized in covering the arc from the Middle East to Central and East Asia, with an emphasis on Big Power geopolitics and energy wars. He is the author of "Globalistan" (2007), "Red Zone Blues" (2007), "Obama does Globalistan" (2009) and "Empire of Chaos" (2014), all published by Nimble Books. His latest book is "2030", also by Nimble Books, out in December 2015. He currently lives between Paris and Bangkok. Follow him on Facebook.