Who are responsible for the terrorist acts in Brasilia?

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By LUÍS FERNANDO VITAGLIANO*

Political agreement is when you are in the arena of politics. There is no political agreement with illegality and terrorism

Three important words need to be applied in the case of Brasilia on January 08th. Investigation, accountability and punishment. They are not political acts. They are acts of breaking policy. Negotiation ended and war entered. For the democratic rupture, the laws, as well as the way of acting are specific.

As the current Bolsonarist opposition did not win by the rules of the game, it wants to win by force. This is a clear rupture of the democratic process and there is no longer any political mediation to the case. From now on, it is a case that must be dealt with in the sphere of criminal law and not in the mediation of politics. Therefore, mediation by the National Congress is not possible; who was also a victim of the actions and can bring justice against the aggressors – including against the aggressors who are also politicians, but who left politics aside to use illegality.

On the part of the government, it is up to act within the tools that legality gives it. And there are many. For that we have the constitution, state and national laws, codes, and the anti-terrorist law itself. It should not rule out any, just as the evaluation of acts should not be political. Act within the constitutional legality yes, but not politically, but legally.

Political agreement is when you are in the arena of politics. There is no political agreement with illegality and terrorism.

What actually happened in Brasilia cannot be dealt with by Congress, this is a crime against national security and we must include authorities who demonstrate and have demonstrated insubordination to the democratic rule of law. No agreements, no mediation and no tolerance.

No accepting excuses, agreements or compositions. The law applies. Let's not be naive: without exonerations and legal penalties, nothing will change. On the contrary, the anti-democratic escalation tends to increase with impunity. Within the rules and attributions of the authorities, everything can be duly investigated and punished. Therefore, it is necessary to decide to provoke the judiciary, seek the responsible institutions, hold those responsible and remain attentive to misconduct by public authorities.

With regard to the civil servants involved, it is the responsibility of the executive power, when it is subordinated to its structures. On social media there is, for example, an army captain taking a picture with his wife in front of the esplanade in flagrante delicto. There is no possible mediation to such a position of a public official.

Concrete fact. Brasilia suffered an attack on democracy. With the participation of the Governor of the Federal District, who must be charged with responsibility for crimes against national security. He is not naive. He is not incompetent. He is part of the process. He put all three powers at risk: the seats of the legislative, executive and judiciary with the highest authorities in the country were put at risk.

The federal government then must have an inward look and an outward look. When it is subordinated to the fulfillment of its attributions, it is necessary to demand that public servants who committed crimes be treated as criminals and exonerated. When applicable, externally activate other servers and authorities without mediation. What is not the responsibility of the federal government, it itself must trigger measures that can certify its security through the Judiciary. The Chamber of Deputies can do the same. But let it be clear that this is not a process of political negotiation between the legislature and the executive. Both suffered a coup that failed and must seek to punish those responsible so that it does not happen again.

Obviously, there are many people willing to ideologize the process and the process is complex because we also have those who will want to disrupt; as was the case of judge Wauner Batista Ferreira Machado, who authorized the return of the tents in front of the army barracks in Belo Horizonte (in a clear act of insubordination and challenge to the STF). This public servant needs to be activated so that he can defend himself legally in the accountability of his action in the seriousness of his act.

The DF government had enough time to arrest the vast majority of those present. But how will the arrested terrorists be framed? How will the DF police indict them? Vandalism? Well, let the issue be nationalized and framed in the anti-terrorist law. Are we going to wait for another connivance of politics to act and allow impunity to the allies of the coup d'état?

The situation is so serious that we can consider that part of these acts are indirectly financed within the government itself, to the extent that holders of public office want to sabotage the results of the polls.

No compulsory retirement. No layoffs. Either those responsible are treated with the necessary rigor, without passing cloth or alleviating, or the escalation of the losers will make the democratically elected government impossible. The federalization of the case and the action of legislation on national security with support from the anti-terrorist law and not political mediation should subsidize government actions from now on. This implies dismissals, removals and loss of positions. The links must be sought and anyone who is involved with the process must be called upon by the Federal government.

We know that internal inquiries end up softening in favor of corporatism. Internal administrative processes must be brought into the national security sphere because that is what the case is about. In the middle of Friday, in São Paulo, on Avenida Paulista and surroundings, Bolsonaristas in a motorcade – not much more than a hundred – were escorted by the military police who stopped traffic so that they could do their act, which was a mixture of kidding and show of strength. It is not possible to say that the entire Military Police of São Paulo is conniving with this. But, the escort order came from somewhere. The displacement of the troops was ordered by an officer. The disposal of cars and motorcycles was not a dispersed act by the staff. These officials who are cancerous to democracy must be found and held accountable. Either we stop the hypocrisy and leave it at that, or it could get worse.

The response to the crisis must, first and foremost, demand accountability from the state governor. The discourse that peaceful and democratic demonstrations turned sour – no longer fits. The movement gave a clear sign of coup d'état and institutional rupture. Any act that confabulates with this, from now on, is an action of adhesion to the coup.

See by contrast, a relevant fact that the institutions were steadfast in complying with the law. When Lula's arrest warrant was issued in 2018, it was close to 18 pm on a Friday. Surgical so that the forms of reaction were overlooked for the weekend. Lula, who joined the metallurgist union, was awaiting negotiations to fulfill his mandate. Promptly, military police troops along with the shock moved to the region. The then governor of São Paulo, Márcio França, was not moved by the human cordon of more than 30 people defending the site. And he threatened to use the Shock Battalion to enforce the will of those people to prevent Lula's arrest. Márcio França made it very clear that the order would be carried out.

It is not exclusively about the terrorism of January 08th. It is the body of work that has Brasília as its focus. For those who do not accept the democratic rule of law, let the law be obeyed and those who cannot enforce the law should not hold public office.

Operationalization, incredible as it may seem, is simple as long as the decision to use all available legal elements without political mediation is taken. With a three-column Excel spreadsheet, it is possible to scale and monitor the problem. Column 01: Where is the terrorist group concentrated? What civil or military authority is responsible for demobilizing him? What's your deadline? – Monitoring the result is simple: Did you meet the deadline? Remains in charge. Didn't meet the deadline? Change command. It is not very difficult to get this mapped and held accountable.

In Brazil, generally speaking, this is allied to impunity for those who are corporatist. This is because, in addition to those who invaded and terrorized the institutions in the three power square, there are cases of omission and insubordination on several occasions that have already extrapolated all democratic limits. The country needs to turn this page and these people who are in crisis with democracy must leave their public office – for good or by force of law.

Regarding the question that gives title to this article. As a citizen who abides by the social rules established by the rule of law in this country, I want to see a response in the coming days. From the federal government, I demand that no agreement or leniency be made. That the judiciary be capable of judging and punishing those responsible, as this is not a situation that belongs to politicians, it is a case of a concrete fact of violation of norms and democratic rupture in which public officials are encouraging and even participating. And that Brazil can continue with new challenges and problems to walk.

*Luis Fernando Vitagliano political scientist and university professor.

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