To mark 3 years since the registration of brasilwire.com on 12th August 2014, this is a selected chronology of some of our most read and/or most important stories. Our emphasis was on missing pieces, obscured context and hidden history. These articles often covered subjects that were not touched by mainstream Anglo media at the time, nor since in some cases, with facts and analysis which went against accepted Washington-consensus narratives. (An important message to our readers).
On 13th August 2014, a day after work on the site commenced, news broke that Presidential candidate Eduardo Campos had crashed and perished in Cessna 560XL PR-AFA on attempted landing in Santos. His last words in a Globo TV interview before boarding his plane were “We’re not going to give up on Brasil”.
This shocking event made it more imperative to us that we got the site up and running as soon as possible. It was a story which came too early for us to cover, and would become a foreboding of the many troubles to come.
Our first article, published on September 1st 2014, a few weeks after the site’s conception, was to our knowledge the first article anywhere in English dealing specifically with the PMDB, which had gone from dictatorship’s official opposition to the most powerful party in Brasil – one which no other could govern without.
One of our earliest publications, it explored the country’s notorious concentration of media ownership and chronic conservative bias. It was inspired by and included the 1993 UK Documentary “Beyond Citizen Kane” by Simon Hartog which explains in detail the history and power of the massive Globo network.
This piece explored the McCarthy-like Anti-Communist hysteria at the heart of the campaign to overthrow Dilma Rousseff and the PT/Workers Party.
In this piece we documented bias and master narratives running through international media coverage of the 2014 Presidential Election.
Originally published in April 2015, this was one of the earliest instances where we suggested that the opposition’s failure to accept the election result was the beginnings of a Coup in progress – we wish we had been wrong.
This story – our translation of a piece by the excellent Agencia Publica – is notable in that no mainstream journalists picked it up at the time – despite documented evidence of foreign funding for groups campaigning for the impeachment of recently re-elected President Dilma Rousseff, it was glibly dismissed as “Conspiracy theory”.
Now, thanks to the in-depth investigation for the Intercept by Lee Fang, the story of U.S. Right-Wing interference in Latin American democracies is getting the attention it deserves.
This article was inspired by the work of U.S. historian, writer and occasional Brasil Wire contributor Jan K. Black PhD, who wrote one of the first and most important books on her country’s role in the Coup of 1964 “United States Penetration of Brazil” in the late 1970s. A fundamental failure of Anglo/International media on Brasil and Latin America as a whole is the pretense that the U.S. and allies do not have a foreign policy towards them. This piece detailed the record of U.S. Ambassador Liliana Ayalde through an attempted Coup in Bolivia, a successful one in Paraguay and the coming one in Brasil, all of which came on her watch.
Anti-Corruption operation Lava Jato’s blueprint was Mani Pulite or “Clean hands” of Italy in the 1990s, which destroyed the post-war constitution and enabled the rise of Silvio Berlusconi. Mani Pulite as suspected by some Italian politicians to have been a foreign intelligence-led operation – later confirmed by the ex-U.S. Ambassador.
You would imagine that Anglo journalists would consider relevant that an opposition politician was caught red-handed in negotiation with Chevron and the State Department to push through legislation which would fully open up Brasil’s enormous offshore Oil Reserves to foreign corporations, especially given that the overthrow of Dilma Rousseff’s government would almost certainly guarantee its passing. Apparently not.
“Only a crisis, real or perceived, produces real change.” – Milton Friedman.
This story demonstrates in a nutshell the scant regard which Atlantic powers hold for Brasil’s population, sovereignty and territorial integrity.
This piece explains how so many foreign journalists being based in Rio de Janeiro, which may be an important city, but not synonymous with Brasil as a whole, leads to a misleading and false image of the country projected abroad.
Brazil’s most popular news magazine, the hardline conservative Veja, was frequently cited by Anglo media as a primary source, despite its inherent bias – equivalent to the Daily Mail in the UK.
Following return to partial democracy in 1985 and direct elections in 1989 following 21 years of Dictatorship, one of the fundamental misconceptions in coverage of Brasil is that those forces relinquished their power and influence.
Sections of international media found it hard to disguise their excitement at the possibility that Rousseff might be removed from office and a Neoliberal programme rejected by voters introduced.
In March 2016, with impeachment looming, more independent sections of English-language media broke ranks and began to talk openly about the situation in Brasil resembling some kind of coup d’etat, in stark contrast to mainstream press mantra that “institutions are working” and insistence that the process was fully constitutional.
In this essay from March 2016, historian Colin Snider explores the circumstances, narratives, myths and misinformation around impeachment, comparing it to other crises in Brasil’s history.
Historian Rafael R. Ioris talked about the grave problems for Brasil’s Democracy that the removal of Dilma Rousseff could create for the future.
Professor Alfredo Saad Filho explored the impeachment of Brasil’s President from the context of class, in what is a profoundly unequal country.
Writer Bruno de Oliveira explained the Coup in context of age old struggle between the Oligarchy “Big House” and the “Senzala” (Slave Quarters).
Vice Brasil’s Marie Declercq reported as she watched the ugly scenes at the Congressional vote for Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment from a feminist perspective.
Fernando Horta: “Suddenly Brazil found itself in a seventeenth-century Salem Witch Trial, and the Government were beaten trying to use modern arguments against faith, preconceptions and magical thinking”
In our partnership with Le Monde Diplomatique we published this English version of Marta Rodriguez de Assis Machado’s article on the ascent of Alexandre de Moraes, from the hardline PSDB Security Secretary in the State of São Paulo, responsible for Police repression of Anti-Coup demonstrations, to Justice Minister in Temer’s Post-Coup Government, and the threat the right to free assembly.
Further to this piece, 6 months later, following the suspicious death of Supreme Court’s Teori, he ascended further still to fill the dead judges position, where he would effectively provide protection for Michel Temer from prosecution.
One of the most disappointing episodes of mainstream Anglo media coverage was a near complete erasure of the Brazilians who regularly took to the streets in hundreds of thousands to resist the Coup throughout 2015 & 2016.
They did however give extensive coverage to Right Wing protests calling for Dilma Rousseff’s illegitimate impeachment.
An important piece by Outras Palavras on shocking and unexplained death in a plane crash of Supreme Court judge Teori Zavascki, who was about to release documents which could have brought down Michel Temer and many other members of the Post-Coup administration. His son had previously warned of threats to his father’s life.
A breakdown of what was and wasn’t then known about the U.S. role in Brasil’s Coup of 2016.
We exclusively revealed the hidden history that the United States Government discussed a possible Coup d’etat in Brasil should Leftist Leonel Brizola – a veteran of the deposed 1964 Government – win the 1989 Presidential Election.
This interview with Sean T. Mitchell talked about Brasil’s North-Eastern launch base, its history, controversies, and Post-Coup giveaway to the United States Military.
As resistance to the Coup was ignored, so was the fight against the resulting Post-Coup Government of Michel Temer, who spared no time in imposing brutal Neoliberal reforms, which had been 4 times rejected by the Brazilian electorate. This included an unprecedented 20 year freeze in public health and education spending, enforced by the constitution. The enormous nationwide 15M demonstration was practically ignored by Brazil-based Anglo media – a censorship by omission that we documented here. Later many of the same journalists who ignored this demonstration would report “apathy” towards Michel Temer.
Brasil Wire has frequently been the only English language platform covering left wing, working class street demonstrations.
The international media ignored the implications of Attorney General Janot’s speech to the World Economic Forum in Davos, in which he described anti-corruption operation Lava Jato as “Pro-Market” – a clear political position it was never supposed to have.
Another identifiable corporate media taboo is the effect of Operation Lava Jato on the economy, and with it a massive surge in unemployment – this is crucial to Brasil’s story as it was used as a principal justification for the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff. For all the envisaged long-term benefit of the anti-corruption operation, only zealots now remain publicly enthusiastic, given its effect on Brasil’s bottom line and demonstrable bias.
Within hours of David Rockefeller’s death we published this critical obituary, based on existing research. It became one of the most read pieces since Brasil Wire began. It is of particular interest regarding the history and role of his ‘Council of the Americas’ Think Tank from 1962 to the present day and the nature of the relationship between U.S. State & Corporate power in the implementation of foreign policy.
In this essay we explore and hypothesise about the various regional independence movements in Brasil, their differing objectives, philosophies and their interactions with the outside world.
In this we set out to explain the various components to the Coup of 2016, and documented the kind of censorship by omission and outright manipulation talked about elsewhere above, in what should be remembered as one of the worst international media failures since NATO intervention in Libya or the Iraq invasion.
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