The global car wash

Image: David Buchi


The necessary defeat of the terror bandwagon should not be seen only as the defeat of an abstractly authoritarian project.

In late January, the USAID administrator (United States Agency for International Development), Samantha Power, visited countries in southeastern Europe, where she met authorities and “young and enterprising people”. Of these, she said, she heard they were “concerned and dissatisfied with corruption”. From those, she demanded a commitment to “contain and combat corruption”. To the press, she declared that the region “deserves a future without corruption”.

A few days earlier, Secretary of State Antony Blinken had decided to apply sanctions (blocking of goods and assets and banning entry) to politicians in the region accused of “corruption”. Needless to say, all disaffected by Washington or guilty of favoring the interests and “evil influence” of Beijing or Moscow in a territory considered since the nineties as chasse gardee of the USA and its satellites of the European Union and the Five Eyes, which present themselves, without any shame, as the only representatives of the “west” and the “international community”.

The agency directed by the neoconservative Power, disciple of Madeleine Albright and defender of “regime change” operations and “humanitarian bombings” against “corrupt” and “dictatorial” governments, has a budget of 51 billion dollars, nominally destined to help the development, but used in the co-option of local political elites and in the “convincing” of the recalcitrant as to the opportunity of following the White House policies. Thus, according to the “combating corruption” booklet, sanctions and “aid” complement each other, like sticks and carrots, in training client elites around the world.

Indeed, since the beginning of the Biden administration, the use of anti-corruption discourse has been constant, along with the extraterritorial application of domestic legislation and all forms of lawfare, to target individuals, institutions and countries that hinder US economic and geopolitical interests and the commercial interests of US corporations.

As is well known, “corruption” has been a recurring leitmotiv in institutionalist and neoliberal authors such as Thomas Friedman, always being opposed to “democracy”: countries that refuse to adopt the neoliberal program are beforehand less democratic and therefore more corrupt, since, also beforehand, so-called “open”, “democratic” or “transparent” societies are less corrupt, in addition to being more economically successful.

Such “institutionalism” can be seen in action, for example, in the cases of Afghanistan and Iraq, countries subjected for two decades to imperialist occupation, which not only destroyed the institutions that existed there, but also proved to be absolutely incapable of creating new ones. capable of sustaining either economic success or a minimum semblance of democracy.

In addition, the “fight against corruption” eclipses any reference to “development”, a notable absence in newspeak of financial institutions and international “aid”, perhaps because it refers to the leftist and third-worldist rancidity of heterodox economists, Marxists and New Keynesians. After all, as Celso Furtado taught, development can never be heteronomous, imposed from outside.

Nominally international institutions such as the World Bank and the IMF, or openly national institutions such as USAID, avoid “development”, investing instead in capacity building or in the “empowerment of local actors”, whatever that may be, always emphasizing the subjective aspect, in the same way as in Brazil they talk about “employability”, as if unemployment were the result not of the objective, structural inabilities of the system national economy (and the contradictions of the asymmetrical, unequal and combined development of capitalism), but of vices of origin (of education, culture, character or even race) of the Brazilian people.

Ecuadorian sociologist Alejandro Moreano, professor at the Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar, in his The Apocalypse Perpetual (Planet), published after the attacks of the mujahideen trained and financed by the CIA to the World Trade Center and the US invasion of Afghanistan, wrote that “the succession of central categories of social thought – revolution in the 1960s, development in the 1970s, democracy in the 1980s, governability in the 1990s – evidences the continuous passage of academic knowledge from the depths of social life to the demands of order”. And he added: “I fear that soon the central category will be something like “policeability”, that is, the punitive techniques of the forces of law. establishment".

Twenty years later, “policeability” has become the perfect paradigm for action and one of the main components of imperialism's ideological arsenal. In two decades we had the “war on drugs” and Plan Colombia; the “war on terror” and the invasion of Afghanistan; the “war on dictatorships” and the invasions of Iraq, Libya and Syria, in addition to the sanctions against Venezuela and the hybrid wars or “color revolutions” in the territory of the former Soviet Union; and the current “war on corruption”, the ultimate avatar of the endless war against real and imaginary enemies of the Empire.

As it should be, the “war on corruption” on a global scale turns a blind eye to evident and documented cases of corruption (yes, it exists!) around the world and within the US itself, whenever committed by allies and “ good citizens” such as the first son Hunter Biden, buried up to his neck in a millionaire quagmire of influence peddling. It is no coincidence that, when publishing the pandora papers, were solemnly ignored and promptly forgotten the hundreds of mentions of people close to Volodymir Zelensky, Petro Poroshenko, Sebastián Piñera, Guillermo Lasso, Antonio Macri and Paulo Guedes.

One of the most important episodes of the “war on corruption” on a global scale included the coup against Dilma Rousseff, the arrest of Luiz Inácio da Silva and the election of the current tenant of Alvorada, perhaps the only head of state without shame in saluting the flag. american. The inglorious operation “Lava Jato” (sic: it would be too much to ask the hustlers and squires who gave birth to respect the grammar), which made the coup possible, the cowardly imprisonment of Lula and the consequent advent of the Beast, received all kinds of support from various North American agencies, such as the NSA, the CIA, the DIA, the DOI and the FBI.

Even more symptomatic of the ferocity of what we could call “Global Lava Jato” was the case of the conviction of Othon Luiz Pinheiro da Silva. Vice Admiral Othon, at the time president of Eletronuclear, was arrested in July 2015, by order of the marreco de Maringá, whose dispatch, in the words of Miguel do Rosário, of the magazine Fórum, “is a work of legal fiction, political opportunism and human cruelty, insisting on authorizing the use of handcuffs on an almost octogenarian gentleman, the most important nuclear engineer in the country”.

In August 2016, Othon Luiz Pinheiro da Silva was sentenced by judge Marcelo Bretas, a convinced Bolsonarist, to 43 years in prison, the highest sentence in “Lava Jato”, accused of having received about three million reais in bribes from Andrade Gutierrez , money actually paid for consulting services provided when not in public office. At the age of 76, he was forced to abandon his wife, who had Parkinson's disease, and spent two years imprisoned and isolated at the Marine base in Duque de Caxias, where he even attempted suicide, and in the Bangu prison. .

In October 2017, at the age of 78, Othon Luiz Pinheiro da Silva was released by habeas corpus granted by TRF-2, which in February 2022 reduced the sentence from 43 to four years! The delegate who, at the behest of the vile mallard, beat and handcuffed him, was arrested in October 2020, on charges of selling protection to organized crime. A few days earlier, the TRF-2 had applied, by 12 votes to 1, a censure penalty on Bretas for participating in public events alongside the statesman.

According to Miguel do Rosário, the process involved “wild international cooperation” between “Lava Jato” and agencies from other countries: the inquiry was opened based on information given to prosecutors by a lawyer from the American Department of Justice, who, up to a year before worked for the largest law firm serving the US nuclear industry.

Nothing new under the sun: according to Fernando Augusto Fernandes, lawyer for the vice-admiral and author of the book The Geopolitics of Intervention (Editorial Generation), “it is scandalous, the Brazilian Federal Police is largely commanded by the USA. It's proven, including interviews with CIA agents. There are millions sent to indoctrinate police, buy tickets and even money for operations”.

Considered the father of the Brazilian Nuclear Program, Othon Luiz Pinheiro da Silva was primarily responsible for the development of ultracentrifugation technology, used in the production of nuclear fuel for the Angra dos Reis plants, and conducted the first studies for the production of the Brazilian nuclear submarine . At the head of Eletronuclear, he resumed work on Angra 3, which had been halted for 23 years due to pressure from the US. Always closely watched by CIA agents, he even had the spy Ray H. Allar as his apartment neighbor for years. His arrest interrupted the resumption of the Brazilian nuclear program and the construction of Angra 3, abandoned since then.

In interview with Capital letter after his release, Othon Luiz Pinheiro da Silva answered the question about who would be interested in his sentence to 43 years of imprisonment: “It certainly interests the international system, concerned with the strengthening of one of the BRICS countries. The transnational Brazilians were satisfied, who would like to be citizens of other countries, in particular the United States, who do not give importance to national problems and challenges, do not worry about solving them and, for their own benefit, do not mind aggravating them. them”. Bingo!

On the eve of Lula's third election, the supposedly "democratic and progressive" press and social networks insist on circulating the mantra of "self-criticism" that the Workers' Party should owe the country in relation to the "corruption" that occurred in Lula's governments. and Dilma. As if corruption – the real one, and not the phantasmagoria created by the miserable candidate for the Senate by the União Brasil (oh, my salts!) from Paraná – had been invented by the PT, and not raged unpunished during the toucan privataria, to say nothing of the militia gang now installed on the Esplanada. As Totò would say to the “onorevole” Trombetta: “But do me a favor!”

Let us not deceive ourselves: the “self-criticism” that is demanded of us is not and has never been the self-criticism of eventual “corruption”, but the self-criticism of a project, however modest and timid it may have been, of national development and rescue of the majorities. of the Brazilian population from the secular yoke imposed by imperialism, financism, rentism, large estates and private monopolies. The “Lava Jato” operation never targeted corruption, but the BNDES, the BRICS, South American integration, the pre-salt layer and Brazilian sovereignty over the Amazon. Like the “Global Lava Jato”, promoted indiscriminately by Republicans and Democrats, it has not and never has targeted corruption, but above all any and all attempts to question the neoliberal project and US exceptionalism.

The necessary defeat of the terror bandwagon should not be seen only as the defeat of an abstractly authoritarian project. It is not just a matter of defeating the coup plots of a psychopath, but of resisting a project much bigger than the authoritarian outbursts of the clown on duty. Such a project, more than strictly political authoritarianism, aims at maintaining and deepening economic and social authoritarianism, the true “private fascism” that marks people's daily lives and constitutes the very essence of neoliberal dystopia.

Lula's victory must be seen as yet another page in the struggle against the complex of interests and powers, public and private, domestic and transnational, which strive every day to maintain and deepen the condition of the Brazilian people deprived of their "best" ” (the “transnational Brazilians”) within their own country, and the subaltern condition of Brazil before its “best” (ah, the delights of viralism!) of the northern hemisphere.

Despite the opportunistic distance taken in recent months by the US ruling circles in relation to the government of the unspeakable, it is always worth remembering that the different wars – on drugs, terror, dictatorships and corruption – were never more than chapters in the history of a secular project of planetary domination and submission of the peoples of the world, of which the “Global Lava Jato” is one of the most insidious tools.

The third Lula government is called to be a chapter of another history: one that narrates the glories and defeats experienced in the process of emancipation of the Brazilian people, nation and state, two hundred years after the cry of Ipiranga.

*José Eduardo Fernandes Giraudo is a diplomat.


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