Impeachment – This Too Shall Pass

Even though the impeachment of Dilma has temporarily come to a reality, this cannot last. The situation, both in Brazil and in the wider world, is unsustainable. The Vice-President of Brazil stepping in has a very low degree of support within the country, and this will become increasingly evident in the coming days.

This absence of a any foundation for the stand-in government is not just political, it is also economic. The Vice-President’s economic policy rests on cutting back social policies that bring the less well-off into the mainstream of society, and cutting back on employment related benefits, in favour of the large industry organisations that helped organise and finance the coup.

This short-termist point of view, seeking gain for themselves to the detriment of others has to and will backfire, because it is against the laws of the Universe. When we fail to recognise others as similar to ourselves, as human beings, we really are acting against our own best interests, but it does inevitably take time for us to realise this.

But, there is no free lunch, however much anyone says or believes to the contrary.

The capitalist position is that money must rule or dominate the discussion, and this one has dominated the world stage ever since Margaret Thatcher took power in 1979. Just as there have been Marxist dictatorships in the east, so we are now under capitalist ones in the west.

The Marxist position is that labour must revolt because the capital will never cede its position.

Both these positions are to say the least, narrow-minded, each being blindly opposed to the other and not ceding their own point of view.

The true facts are that we are in this together and have to negotiate. The two sides have to get around the table and communicate. The situation illustrated in Brazil is that labour is being denied the right to be represented in government, because their position is that money should rule, that they should not support  government through paying taxes because the money is theirs, and that they have the right to take power.

But none of these governments with illegitimacy last, because eventually they realise that things are not working as they expected. Democracy is ultimately about sharing power, not taking it simply because you are unable to understand how the other feels. So neither the coup by force nor the revolution of the proletariat can work and last or be sustained.

In a coup of the right or revolution of the left, neither of these sides is recognising the existence of the right of the State to exist, a State which can hold the balance between the two sides. Once the two sides recognise that, a degree of harmony can be reached that is beneficial to all parties.

I am encouraged by the fact that the wider world is looking on with a certain degree of objectivity, seeing what is really happening and even outlets that can be let us say attached to or identified with a monetarist position, such as the weekly magazine The Economist, can see the absence of what we have come to expect from a democratic liberal state, the rule of law.

A story comes to mind that is useful in such situations.

A powerful king, ruler of many domains, was in a position of such magnificence that wise men were his mere employees. And yet one day he felt himself confused and called the sages to him. He said, “I do not know the cause, but something impels me to seek a certain ring, one that will enable me to stabilize my state. I must have such a ring. And this ring must be one which, when I am unhappy, will make me joyful. At the same time, if I am happy and look upon it, I must be made sad.”

The wise men consulted one another, and threw themselves into deep contemplation, and finally they came to a decision as to the character of this ring which would suit their king.

The ring which they had devised was one upon which was inscribed the legend:

THIS TOO SHALL PASS

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A Saída para Brasil, e para nós

O Brasil está amordaçado ou bloqueado por um grupo que busca dar um golpe contra a democracia. Se estas pessoas que conspiram a favor do golpe dissessem realmente a verdade do que se encontra por trás de tudo isso, inclusive suas relações promíscuas com a imprensa, grupos estrangeiros e empresários locais, de acordo com a legislação brasileira, eles ficariam presos por muitos anos. Cometeram diversos crimes contra a economia e conspiram abertamente contra um governo eleito de forma democrática. Creio que a única chance destas pessoas seria de dar uma anistia contando abertamente a toda a verdade, do que realmente for dito atrás das portas fechadas.

Eles já tem as rédias de diversos poderes da república, tendo inclusive em suas mãos muitas das alavancas destes e querem tomar o resto para se salvarem, até da própria liberdade. Eles estão reagindo com animais selvagens na sua própria defesa, muito compreensivelmente, embora que suas manipulações aparecem muito grotescas para uma pessoa olhando de fora, como na votação no Congresso para a impeachment da Presidenta eleita democraticamente, Dilma Rousseff.

Outros exemplos desse desespero são a discussão na coluna de cartas dos leitores do jornal, The Guardian, sobre o em regimes da mídia oligopólio no Brasil, e do anúncio da condenação de José Dirceu pela operação Lava Jato antes mesmo da defesa ser ouvida. Era essa operação que levou a esse confronto entre o governo e um complô que busca derrubar o governo. Os golpistas estão mostrando cada vez mais desespero ao perceberem que eles terão seus privilégios contrariados caso a verdade e a democracia prevaleçam.

A saída para o Brasil ou qualquer país que está passando por uma situação similar, por exemplo o Reino Unido e os Estados Unidos, é a criação de uma Comissão Cidadã da Verdade, ou seja, uma comissão legitimamente instituída, com ampla participação de todos os setores da sociedade, especialmente da opinião pública, no sentido de fazer um acordo com os supostos envolvidos, ou seja, “nos digam a verdade e ganhem a liberdade”. Teriam que abrir publicamente suas contas bancárias, onde quer que se encontrem, devolvendo aos cofres públicos o dinheiro obtido a partir de atividades ilícitas.

Dizer que existe um Estado de Direito democrático em regimes nos Estados Unidos, no Reino Unido e no Brasil não é verdade mais. Se parar para pensar por cinco minutos verá isto como um fato. Quem está no poder tem antes de mais nada um primeiro objetivo : fazer tudo o que seja possível para encobrir qualquer ato ilícito. Partido desse pressuposto, só nós podemos pará-los através do que propus acima. Não tem mistério. É uma questão de bom senso. É só aplicar.

BRICS Under Attack: The Empire Strikes Back In Brazil

By Eric Draitser

Washington Launches Its Attack Against BRICS. The Destabilization of Brazil and Argentina

Global Research, April 22, 2016

Having removed the reformist President of Argentina, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, Washington is now disposing of the reformist President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff.

Washington used a federal judge to order Argentina to sacrifice its debt restructuring program in order to pay US vulture funds the full value of defaulted Argentine bonds that the vulture funds had bought for a few pennies on the dollar.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jun/27/us-vulture-funds-argentina-bankruptcy

These vultures were called “creditors” who had made “loans” regardless of the fact that they were not creditors and had made no loans. They were opportunists after easy money and were used by Washington to get rid of a reformist government.

President Kirchner resisted and, thus, she had to go.  Washington concocted a story that Kirchner covered up an alleged Iranian bombing in Buenos Aires in 1994. This implausible fantasy, for which there is no evidence of Iranian involvement, was fed to one of Washington’s agents in the state prosecutor’s office, and a dubious event of 22 years ago was used to clear Cristina Kirchner (image right) out of the way of the American looting of Argentina.

In Brazil, Washington has used corruption insinuations to get President Rousseff impeached by the lower house.  Evidence is not necessary, just allegations.  It is no different from “Iranian nukes,” Saddam Hussein’s “weapons of mass destruction,” Assad’s “use of chemical weapons,”  or in Rousseff’s case merely insinuations. The Secretary General of the Organization of American States, Luis Almagro, notes that Rousseff “hasn’t been accused of anything.” The American-backed elites are simply using impeachment to remove a president who they cannot defeat electorally.

In short, this is Washington’s move against the BRICS.  Washington is moving to put into political power a rightwing party that Washington controls in order to terminate Brazil’s growing relationships with China and Russia.

The great irony is that the impeachment bill was presided over by the corrupt lower house speaker, Eduardo Cunha, who was recently discovered to have stashed millions of dollars in secret Swiss bank accounts (perhaps his pay-off from Washington) and who lied under oath when he denied having foreign bank accounts.  You can read the sordid story here:

http://www.globalresearch.ca/us-complicity-after-vote-to-remove-brazils-president-key-opposition-figure-holds-meetings-in-washington/5521059

Kirchner and Rousseff’s “crimes” are their efforts to have the governments of Argentina and Brazil represent the Argentine and Brazilian peoples rather than the elites and Wall Street.  In Washington these are serious offenses as Washington uses the elites to control South American countries.  Whenever Latin Americans elect a government that represents them, Washington overthrows the government or assassinates the president.

Washington is close to returning Venezuela to the control of the Spanish elite allied with Washington.

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2016/04/new-coup-plot-hatched-in-venezuela.html

The presidents of Ecuador and Bolivia are also targeted.  One reason Washington will not permit its British lapdog to honor the asylum Ecuador granted to Julian Assange is that Washington expects to have its own agent back in as President of Ecuador, at which time Assange’s asylum will be repealed.

Washington has always blocked reform in Latin America.  Latin American peoples will remain American serfs until they elect governments by such large majorities that the governments can exile the traitorous elites, close the US embassies, and expel all US corporations. Every Latin American country that has an American presence has no future other than serfdom.

Washington’s Dog-Whistle Diplomacy Supports Attempted Coup in Brazil

By Mark Weisbrot, on Huffington Post

The day after the impeachment vote in the lower house of Brazil’s congress, one of the leaders of the effort, Senator Aloysio Nunes, traveled to Washington, D.C. He had scheduled meetings with a number of U.S. officials, including Thomas Shannon at the State Department.

Shannon has a relatively low profile in the media, but he is the number three official in the U.S. State Department. Even more significantly in this case, he is the most influential person in the State Department on U.S. policy in Latin America. He will be the one recommending to Secretary of State John Kerry what the U.S. should do as the ongoing efforts to remove President Dilma Rousseff proceed.

Shannon’s willingness to meet with Nunes just days after the impeachment vote sends a powerful signal that Washington is on board with the opposition in this venture. How do we know this? Very simply, Shannon did not have to have this meeting. If he wanted to show that Washington was neutral in this fierce and deeply polarizing political conflict, he would not have a meeting with high-profile protagonists on either side, especially at this particular moment.

Shannon’s meeting with Nunes is an example of what could be called “dog-whistle diplomacy.” It barely shows up on the radar of the media reporting on the conflict, and therefore is unlikely to generate backlash. But all the major actors know exactly what it means. That is why Nunes’ party, the Social Democracy Party (PSDB), publicized the meeting.

To illustrate with another example of dog-whistle diplomacy: On June 28, 2009, the Honduran military kidnapped the country’s president, Mel Zelaya, and flew him out of the country. The White House statement in response did not condemn this coup, but rather called on “all political and social actors in Honduras” to respect democracy.

This dog-whistle signal worked perfectly; most importantly the coup leaders and their supporters in Honduras, as well as every diplomat in Washington, knew exactly what this meant, even as statements condemning the coup and demanding the restoration of the democratic government came pouring in from around the globe. Everyone knew that this was, in diplomatic code, a clear statement of support for the coup. The events that followed over the next six months, with Washington doing everything it could to help consolidate and legitimize the coup government, were pretty much predictable from this initial statement. Hillary Clinton later admitted in her 2014 book, “Hard Choices,” that she worked successfully to prevent the return of the democratically elected president.

Tom Shannon has a reputation among Latin American diplomats as an amiable fellow, a seasoned career foreign service officer who is willing to sit down and talk with governments that are at odds with U.S. policy in the region. But he has had a lot of experience with coups. Some of Hillary Clinton’s released emails shed additional light on his role in helping to consolidate the Honduran coup. He was also a high-level State Department official during the April 2002 coup in Venezuela, in which there is substantial documentary evidence of U.S. involvement. And when the parliamentary coup in Paraguay took place in 2012 — something similar to what is happening in Brazil but with a process that impeached and removed the president in just 24 hours — Washington also contributed to the legitimation of the coup government in the aftermath. (By contrast, South American governments suspended the coup government in Paraguay from MERCOSUR, the regional trading bloc, and UNASUR [the Union of South American Nations).] Shannon was ambassador to Brazil at that time, but was still one of the most influential officials in hemispheric policy.

The U.S. State Department responded to questions about Nunes’ meetings by saying, “This meeting had been planned for months and was arranged at the request of the Brazilian embassy.” But this is irrelevant. It merely means that Brazilian embassy staff were, as a matter of diplomatic protocol, involved in arranging the meetings. This does not imply any consent by the Rousseff administration, nor change the political message that the meeting with Shannon sends to the opposition in Brazil.

All of this is of course consistent with Washington’s strategy in response to the left governments that have governed most of the region in the 21st century. They have rarely missed an opportunity to undermine or get rid of any of them, and their desire to replace the governing Workers’ Party in Brazil with a more compliant, right-wing government is fairly obvious.


Mark Weisbrot is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C., and the president of Just Foreign Policy. He is also the author of the new book “Failed: What the ‘Experts’ Got Wrong About the Global Economy“ (2015, Oxford University Press).

The Brazilian crisis and world geopolitics – Leonardo Boff

From Jornal do Brasil

Leonardo_Boff.jpg

The theologist, Leonardo Boff publishes an important article denouncing the action of the U.S.A. in the coup against the Dilma Rousseff government.

It would be a mistake to think the crisis in Brazil arose only in Brazil. It comes within the balance of global forces of the so called new cold war involving principally the U.S.A. and China. The U.S. espionage, as revealed by Edward Snowden, included Petrobras and the pre-salt oil reserves and did not exclude President Dilma. This is part of the Pentagon strategy of covering all the spaces under the slogan ”one world under one empire”. Here are some points for us to reflect on.

In the global context there is a visible rise of the right throughout the whole world, from the U.S.A. itself and in Europe. In Latin America, one cycle of progressive governments is ending that lifted the social level of the poorest and that affirmed democracy. We are now seeing a rise of the right-wing that has already triumphed in Argentina and is pressuring all the South American counties. They speak, as we do, of democracy, but in fact they seek to make it insignificant to give way to the place of the market and internationalization of the economy.

Brazil is the principal target and the removal of President Dilma Rousseff is only one chapter of a global strategy, especially of the large corporations and by the financial system articulated with the governments of the developed world. The large Brazilian businesses want to see a return to the level of gains they had only under the neo-liberal policies prior to Lula. The opposition to Dilma and the support for her removal have the backing of big business. The São Paulo Federation of Industry under Paulo Skaf, the Federation of Industry of Rio de Janeiro, the São Paulo Federation of Commerce, the Brazilian Association of Electronic and Electrodomestic Industries (Abinee), business organisations of the states of Parana, Espirito Santo, Para and many business networks are openly campaigning for her removal and for the end of the kind of social democracy implanted by Lula-Dilma.

The strategy tried out against the “Arab Spring” and applied in the Middle East and now in Brazil and in Latin America, in general consists of destabilizing the progressive governments and aligning them to the global strategies as aggregated partners. It is symptomatic that in March 2014, Emy Shayo, an analyst of J.P. Morgan coordinated a round-table with Brazilian public relations professionals linked to the neo-liberal macro-economy under the theme ”How to destabilize the Dilma government”. Arminio Fraga, a probable Minister of Finance in a post-Dilma government comes from J.P. Morgan (Juarez Guimarães blog, ”Why the bosses want the coup”).

Noam Chomski, Moniz Bandeira and others have warned that the U.S.A. will not tolerate a power such as Brazil in the South Atlantic that has a project for autonomy, linked to the BRICS countries. The presence of a growing China, principal contender, in the various countries of Latin America, especially in Brazil, is of great concern to the U.S. foreign policy. Confronting another anti-power that the BRICS signify implies attacking and weakening Brazil, one of its members with unparalleled ecological wealth.

Perhaps our best analyst of international politics, Luiz Alberto Moniz Bandeira, author of “The Second Cold War – geopolitics and the strategic dimension of the United States” (Civilização Brasileira 2013) and this year’s “International Disorder” (from the same publisher) can help us understand the facts. He brought details of how the U.S.A. acts, ”It is not just the CIA… especially the NGOs financed by official and semi-official money such as USAID, the National Endowment for Democracy, act by buying journalists and training activists”. Also “The Pentagon’s New Map for War & Peace” enunciates the forms of economic and social destabilisation through the media, newspapers, social networks, businessmen and infiltration of activists. Moniz Bandeira clearly states that “I am in no doubt that in Brazil, the newspapers are being subsidised…and that journalists are on the pay list of  the bodies mentioned above and many police and chiefs of police receive money from the CIA directly in their accounts” (Jornal GGN by Luis Nassif 09/03/2016). We can even imagine which newspapers these might be and the names of some journalists, completely aligned with the destabilizing ideology of their bosses.

The pre-salt oil field, the second largest oil and gas reserves in the world, is especially in the sights of global interests. The sociologist, Adalberto Cardoso from UERJ, in an interview to the newspaper Folha de São Paulo (26/04/2015) was explicit, “It would be ingenuous to imagine that there are no international geopolitical interests from the Americans, Russians, Venezuelans, Arabs. In this case, if the monopoly of exploration ends, the rules change. The impeachment is in the interest of forces that want changes in Petrobras: the big oil companies, international agents wanting to profit from the exit of Petrobras from the exploration of oil. Some of these agents want to remove Dilma“.

We are faced with the thought of a conspiracy, as we already know how the Americans acted in the military coup in 1964, infiltrated into social and political movements. It is not for nothing that the US Fourth South Atlantic Fleet is close to our waters. We must be aware of our importance in the world scenario, to resist and try to strengthen our democracy that represents less the interests of business and more the demands so long forgotten of our people and the construction of our own path to the future.

Brazil and BRICS – Geopolitics and the wider picture

Ever since Luis Ignacio Lula da Silva, the ex-President of Brazil, won power in 2002, the foreign policy of this once slumbering giant changed the face of global geopolitics.

The battle for the impeachment of the current President, his chosen successor, Dilma Rousseff, is also about attempting to reverse this policy.

Lula’s foreign policy was to strengthen ties with neighbours in Latin America, and to forge strong ties with the BRICS countries, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. This has created a much stronger more active Mercosur, the Southern Common Market. President Lula’s and Dilma’s foreign policy has led to the admission of Venezuela, soon to be followed by Bolivia, with associate countries Chile, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Suriname.

Perhaps more importantly, in terms of the global balance of power, is the co-operation between Russia, China and Brazil, who have formed the backbone of an alliance that unseats the Washington Consensus as the basis of international politics.

An  agreement in 2015 set up an alternative international bank of finance to the World bank, the New Development Bank, which members and other emerging or developing countries may apply to for funding of infra-structure and sustainable development projects, thus sidestepping the World Bank-I.M.F. monopoly of international finance. Together with the weight of India, this has become a viable multi-polar alternative to the unipolar imbalance that the U.S. has held since the fall of the Soviet Union.

Thus China is able to obtain the raw materials it badly lacks in its domestic production, such as oil and gas from Russia, minerals and food from Brazil. In exchange, China invests in infra-structure projects, such as the rail link between Russia and China, the trans-continental rail link from the Brazilian eastern Atlantic seaboard to the Pacific and the second Panama Canal, bypassing the U.S. hegemony of the first canal.

These agreements and trade deals have outplayed the U.S. at their own game, who are more used to getting their way through the C.I.A. interference in national and regional interests, than by sitting down to negotiate. They prefer pressure tactics to negotiating. Latin America learned the hard way that assassinations, coups, torture and manipulation of the media through U.S. trained and placed editors of newspapers and media outlets was not the way forward. With their independently minded view, the U.S. has reacted strongly to defame it.

The discovery of the first mega-oil field off the coast of Brazil since the North Sea in the 1970’s, called the pre-salt because it is buried in ultra-deep waters beneath a layer of salt deposits, means that Brazil has become a strategic player and target because of this. Just as Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan became targets of the oil industry and so-called U.S. interests, supposedly of terrorism, so has Brazil become the target of a campaign to unseat the progressive Worker’s Party government, which holds a state controlled oil industry giant, and which has refused to conform to the U.S. calls for a deregulated oil industry.

This has led to renewed interest by the U.S.A. in the Latin American region, which had been receiving less attention after the invasions into Afghanistan and Iraq. The Fourth U.S. Navy Fleet was reformed after many years of being disbanded, when the U.S. had its military dictatorships in place, who would do their bidding with no arguments. More recently, more independently minded governments have been elected who do not always agree with or cede to what the U.S. wishes. The free-trade zone of the Americas, ALCA, is a prime example, which was roundly rejected by Latin America. Presidents Kirchner in Argentina and Lula in Brazil, have strengthened the Mercosur economic community and implemented policies to lift the poor out of poverty and distribute wealth. This has not sat well with the traditional elites or the ruling neo-liberals in the U.S. who are more used to compliant southern neighbours, implementing corporation friendly policies.

In Argentina, Cristina Kirchner had managed to implement the Ley dos Medios, or Media Law, regulating the media industry. There was a big outcry that this was to limit freedom of the press, led by Clarin who would have to share their qausi-monopoly in the diversified media market. There are calls for the same to be implemented in Brazil where the Globo private domination of 16.2% of the print media , 56% of broadcast TV and 44% of the paid TV market. These media outlets have been leading players in the calls for corporation friendly governments and have called unfair when regulation is discussed. That, with other associated reasons as outlined in this series of articles, is why the coup against Dilma has been launched.

Brazil, although not alone in this, has been targeted by forces not wishing that their domination be challenged, hence the move for impeachment.