Tuesday, September 02, 2008

How ... Quaint

Now, here's a real stunner, and I didn't even have to go over to Watching America in order to find this Reuters article published in the NY Times. It seems there is at least one country with the wheels still attached (sorta kinda) to their democracy.

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva suspended the entire leadership of Brazil's intelligence agency on Monday after it was accused of spying on the Supreme Court chief and members of Congress. ...

Veja, the country's leading news magazine, reported on the weekend that the Brazilian Intelligence Agency, or Abin, spied on Supreme Court President Gilmar Mendes and tapped his telephones. It published what it said was a transcript of a private telephone conversation Mendes had with a member of Congress.

An Abin agent who provided the transcript said such illegal phone tapping of authorities was common and also included the head of the Senate and two cabinet members, Veja reported.

Lula held urgent talks for most of Monday with Mendes, the Senate speaker and several Congress members who expressed their concern and demanded those responsible to be punished. ...

"There is complete lack of control in the state apparatus," [Supreme Court President]Mendes told reporters.

Most of the legislators suspected of being spied on are in opposition parties, and Mendes is presiding over a high-profile case involving a prominent banker, politicians and businessmen.

"The rule of law has been broken, the credibility of our democratic institutions has been damaged," said Sen. Jose Agripino of the DEM party.
[Emphasis added]

Let's just parse this story for a moment. First of all, the press reported a story of illegal domestic spying, and the victim was a Supreme Court official.

Second, the reporting caused such a furor that President Lula da Silva, someone who just recently dodged an impeachment bullet, was put in the position of having to do something about the illegal behavior and actually did something.

Third, the Brazilian Congress, especially the opposition parties, expressed their outrage and opened investigations into the matter of an intelligence agency running wild.

Wow.

So that's how it's done.

Maybe we should collect some money for scholarships and send folks down to Brazil so that they can learn how democracy works when people who actually care about democracy do their freakin' jobs. You know, people like journalists and congress critters (I hold no hope for the current administration and, besides, I don't want them leaving the country to escape subpoena powers).

Just a thought.

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3 Comments:

Anonymous larry, dfh said...

Jimmy Carter tried something like that, and consequently we heard all about how he was chased around a golf course by a bunny rabbit, how gauche he was because he wore a sweater in the winter, and what a lecherous beast he was. JFK also tried to do this, and caught a few bullets for his efforts. It seems obvious that the Brazilian 'intelligence' agency is so inept it can't even buy the appropriate news reporters to present the trooth. Send 'em ben bradlee and his hag wife; they'll show 'em how it's done.

6:43 AM  
Anonymous chris said...

What a contrast to the way we do things. Just yesterday it was announced in a report that AG Gonzales mishandled classified documents, taking them home and leaving them places where uncleared staffers could read them. The result: nothing. They won't even file charges against him. Not even a fine and a slap on the wrist.

No wonder the rest of the world is rushing past us. The US is hardly a democracy any longer.

8:27 AM  
Anonymous larry, dfh said...

Wen Ho Li was chained to a bed for 23 months for doing less than that.

4:28 PM  

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