Brazil Leak Shows Senate Chief Wants to Halt Corruption Probe

Source:  TeleSUR
May 25 2016

 The latest wiretap adds to proof that suspended President Dilma Rousseff’s political rivals wanted to oust her to stop corruption investigations against them.

brazil protest against michel temer coup govt.jpg

Protesters demonstrate in support of suspended President Dilma Rousseff and against
the interim government of Michel Temer, Sao Paulo, May 22, 2016. | Photo: Reuters
A second major leak hit the political scene in Brazil on Wednesday, revealing that the head of the Senate, Renan Calheiros, planned to negotiate with the Supreme Court about removing suspended President Dilma Rousseff from office while also scheming to change laws governing investigations into corruption.

RELATED: Political Scandal Rocks Brazil’s Temer Coup Gov’t

A way to halt the anti-corruption campaign

In the leaked recording reported by the Brazilian daily Folha de Sao Paulo, Calheiros is heard telling Sergio Machado that all politicians are “afraid” of the corruption investigation known as Operation Car Wash, a series of probes revolving around fraud and bribery in the state oil company Petrobras.

Calheiros is caught on tape saying he wants to change the plea bargain rules, a cornerstone of the investigations, as a way to halt the anti-corruption campaign.

The Senate president, a member of unelected interim President Michel Temer’s PMDB party, and Machado, former president of the state oil company Transpetro, a subsidiary of Petrobas, are both targets of Operation Car Wash.

Scheming  to ensure Rousseff’s ouster

The leak comes after another explosive wiretap earlier this week revealed that interim Planning Minister and then-Senator Romero Juca was scheming with members of the Supreme Court and military command to ensure Rousseff’s ouster.

In the conversation, also with Machado, Juca makes clear that the goal of removing the president from office is to put a stop to the Operation Car Wash investigations, of which he was also a target. Juca has stepped aside from his cabinet post over the leak.

The Calheiros recording also reveals that the Senate chief planned to “negotiate” with the Supreme Court over guaranteeing Rousseff’s “transition.”

The real motivations behind removing Rousseff

The leaks provide the strongest evidence to date that the real motivations behind removing Rousseff from office center around protecting the corrupt political establishment from facing investigations and prosecution—quite the opposite of how the impeachment process has been portrayed as a bid to root out government fraud. Evidence of alleged negotiations with state institutions also make the whole process appear even more like a coup.

What’s more, the implication of the Supreme Court in negotiations with corrupt lawmakers about removing the president and stalling investigations casts a serious shadow on the legitimacy of the institution, which will play a key role in overseeing Rousseff’s impeachment trial.

In response to the leak, Calheiros’ spokesperson told Folha that the recording does not provide evidence that the Senate president intended to interfere with anti-corruption investigations.

RELATED:  Brazil Leak: Corrupt Leaders Seek Protection with Coup

And Supreme Court communications told Folha that Chief Justice Ricardo Lewandowski, who will coordinate Rousseff’s impeachment trial process in the Senate, “never held talks about alleged ‘transition’ or ‘changes in criminal law’ with the people cited,” referring to Calheiros and Machado and their claims in the recording.

According to Folha, Machado’s whereabouts has been unknown since last week.

The new leak comes as interim President Michel Temer has announced plans to ramp up austerity and the privatization of public assets and approved a new fiscal target to lower public expenditures.

It also comes as a Senate committee is set to decide on Wednesday the schedule for the suspended president’s impeachment trial.

Rousseff was suspended from office for 180 days on May 12 through a Senate vote to make her stand trial over allegations of budget manipulations. Interim President Michel Temer will be installed in Brazil’s highest office until 2018 if the impeachment is ultimately approved.

2 thoughts on “Brazil Leak Shows Senate Chief Wants to Halt Corruption Probe

  1. Pingback: Coup in Brazil, British comment | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. There were two bombshell revelations earlier this week that may have the potential to significantly impact the ongoing political crisis in Brazil and perhaps more so the coup that some persons still refer to as the “impeachment hearings ” against the constitutionally elected president Dilma Rousseff.

    The latter ” hearings” are being organized and led by a band of thieves involved in the Petrobras corruption scandal in order to remove the elected president and to shut down the probe into their crimes against the state and the people of Brazil.

    The first of these revelations is that the chief of the Brazilian senate Renan Calheiros was plotting with members of the Supreme Court to remove the constitutionally elected president of the country. The leak is said to lay bare two things. First that the chief of the senate Calheiros who himself is a target of the Petrobras corruption investigation was in discussion with some members of the Supreme Court about two interrelated goals.

    First, to bring about Dilma Rousseff’s “transition” from power i.e. fancy talk for her removal from office as president of Brazil. Second, to change the plea bargain laws to favor himself and the other corrupt politicians involved in the Petrobras scandal. In other words to make it easy for the corrupt to circumvent their corruption charges.

    The second major bombshell that exploded in the news a few days ago is that two other corrupt officials, one a former senator and Temer’s planning minister Romero Junca and the other the former head of a subsidiary of Petrobras, Sergio Machado were also caught on tape plotting to shut down down the corruption investigation and getting rid of the constitutionally elected president, Dilma Rousseff to stop the corruption probe from going forward.

    The common thread that unites both of these revelations are the concerns of the corrupted participants to get rid of Dilma Rousseff and also their determined desire to shut down the investigations into their corruption.

    Their latter concerns and actions should surprise no one who has even a passing familiarity with the unfolding political crisis in Brazil.

    Ordinarily, three key questions that arise in the context of the cited revelations are the following. First, will or can these revelations be used as evidence in the ongoing “impeachment hearings” against the coup plotters to demonstrate that they are led by malicious political intent to impeach the president? Second,shouldn’t the participants in these revelations be brought to trial on conspiracy charges against the elected president? Third, shouldn’t the participants in these revelations be also brought to trial on corruption charges against the state and the people of Brazil?

    These are probably interesting or maybe even strikingly relevant questions in the context of the ongoing political crisis in Brazil particularly as it relates to the ongoing “impeachment” of the president which no serious jurist or legal scholar believe have any constitutional merit to stand on.

    However, in the context of the political economy of the crisis, the interest and even the relevance of these questions are probably inadequate to a band of thieves who are obviously determined to seize power from the Workers Party and the constitutionally elected president, Dilma Rousseff given their inability to win presidential elections at least the last four held since 2003.

    The political servants of the oligarchy and the US empire headed by the most dishonorable Michel Temer seem determined to accomplish four primary goals in the short to medium terms. First, they seem hell bent on coalescing their forces in the various institutions of the state such as the Supreme Court, the chambers of the Congress where their unity seems airtight, the army, police and others so that they can consolidate their power for the inescapable acts of resistance that they will encounter from Brazilians as well as governments and people regionally and perhaps internationally as well. Second, they are desperate and determined to get rid of the elected president of the country and to trample on democracy and the political will of Brazilians who have elected president and her party-the Workers Party. Third, they are also equally determined to shut down the investigations into their involvement in the multi-million dollar corruption scandal which has made them fabulously richer that they already were because of their fear that such investigations would proceed under Dilma’s government than Timer’s. They obviously fear going to prison given the evidence against them and those in the Congress also fear the political consequences of corruption for their political careers as loyal servants of vested interests. Fourthly, they are also determined to impose their neo-liberal economic agenda of austerity for the majority and income-wealth redistribution for the oligarchy and the foreign and local corporations in order to “stabilize” the economy, “restore confidence of the investor class” and “keep Brazil on track” to recover from the economic and political crisis. The latter are all coded expressions for saying to firmly insert Brazil back into the clutches of US monopoly capital and stronghold.

    So in closing, despite the aforementioned bombshell revelations amidst the ongoing political crisis in Brazil, it is very difficult to see what positive impact they will have in changing the balance of forces against the band of thieves including Michel Temer in the absence of two critically required and interrelated mass actions. First, millions of people of all political persuasions including those who may not like Dilma but believe in democracy must take to the streets daily with specific demands as some mass organizations have already indicated such as the charging of the thieves and the arresting of those already charged. Second, to make the country ungovernable for Temer and the other coup leaders in very specific and targeted areas of the country. Third, to demand the complete roll back of the already launched neoliberal agenda to restrict government spending on education and other social programs along with their devastating social consequences for Brazilians particularly those at the bottom of the income chain. Fourthly, and in keeping with the latter to raise as a part of the mass movement resistance to the pernicious institution of slavery in which millions of the poorest Brazilians are trapped.

    It seems more probable that the the political potential of the bombshell revelations cited earlier are more likely to positively impact the political crisis by specifically ending the coup against Dilma, restore her presidency and extend due process to the corrupt only in the context of iron clad mass political struggles in which the thieves feel real heat and come to believe that the price of their coup is too high for them to persist with it against the wishes of the people.

    Indeed, Telesur is reporting that the Minister of Justice in Brazil will be making a decision soon as to whether to charge the disgraced and corrupted senate chief Calheiros on corruption charges. The sooner this thief is charged, tried and sentenced the louder the signal will be to all the other thieves including the most dishonorable Temer that their day in court is coming soon!

    The political struggles to end the farcical impeachment against the elected president and to intensify the demands that all the thieves be charged, tried and sentenced must not ceased until justice is achieved for Dilma, the Workers Party, the thieves and most importantly the indomitable people of Brazil.

    “Who best to fight for freedom than those who know the absence of it.” Mumia Abul Jamar

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