By now most have seen the incredible video of two Brazilian AirForce pilots in French-made Mirages buzzing federal buildings in its capital, Brasilia at the The Praça dos Três Poderes, or Three Towers Plaza. This happened during a flag-raising ceremony on July 1. At least one of the pilots, it was reported, exceeded the sound barrier sending a massive shock wave throughout the Plaza which contains the Supreme Federal Tribunal (SFT) building, Brazil’s Supreme Court; the National Congress Building and the Palacio do Planalto which is the official work place of Brazil’s president.
Both the SFT building and the Palacio do Planalto were built in 1960, mostly of glass with supporting pillars and frames in between the panes. Reports are that at least 65 panes of the SFT building were destroyed, damage also occurred at the Palacio do Planalto and homeowners and businesses in the area also had damage and are filing claims with the government. The last few seconds of the video show the massive damage to the SFT and firemen on the scene. The double-towered building seen in the video is the National Congress Building which appears to be constructed of concrete which would make it immune.
But in a country such as Brazil, rife with corruption, many times things are not as they seem. Rumors began to surface this action, by at least one of the pilots, was deliberate. As you can see by the video the jets flew very low, extremely fast and made several passes.
If it was deliberate what could be the motive? One rumor heard was the pilot “wanted to send a message to Dilma (Rousseff, the current president, and an avowed Marxist) that her administration and her courts are corrupt.” So where does one go to find out the poop? Not the news sources of course, but just like in the U.S.: the blogs.
I always counsel people when doing investigative reports to always read the comments, as they can give the best pay dirt. And some interesting comments I certainly did find. These are all from the same Brazilian blog, translated from portuguese so meanings can be ambiguous. Note that Brazil puts the “day” first, then the month. So this comment was posted on July 4:
And our resident snarker:
But the one which really caught my eye and started my brain going in overdrive was the next one:
To “honey” or “sweeten” the mensalão. So what is mensalão? It’s one of those made-up words like “LewinskyGate” and refers to the Mensalão Scandal or “big monthly payments” which rocked the former president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s, administration. Lula’s party was the PT, or “Working Party” since he was a unioner. Allegations began in 2005 the PT had made monthly payments of $12,000 to certain members of Lula’s admin in exchange for “voting the correct way,” meaning favoring the PT, or Partido dos Trabalhadores.
In Brazil all charges involving politicians are automatically heard before the SFT and finally after all these years the “trial” of about 30-some politicians was set for August 1 of this year. But here is where is gets better. Back in May the New York Times reported one of the SFT justices, Judge Gilmar Mendes, reported that Lula had approached him requesting a delay of the trial in exchange for not publicizing the justice could be linked to another scandal. Lula has never been implicated in the scandal, but reports are he fears implications could come out during the trial which could cost him his fortune.
So what would be the benefit of having the trial delayed? Two-fold. Two of the SFT justices are going to retire shortly and just as in America, who appoints the replacements? The current president of course, Dilma Rousseff who is of the Working Party and was also Lula’s Energy Secretary. So she could be in a position to appoint justices who may well be able to rule more favorably for Lula and cause him minimal damage.
Time Magazine World ran a similar story but their take on this is that Lula wants the trial delayed until after the Brazilian municipal elections in October in order to retain his legacy as one of ” Brazil’s most popular rulers.”
Apparently the trial will NOT be delayed and is now scheduled for August 2, per Folha de Sao Paulo:
The Supreme Federal Court will judge the Mensalão scheme in august: Pressed by the President of the Court, Justice Ricardo Lewandowski releases the judicial process and after seven years, the biggest scandal of the Lula administration will be judged by the Supreme Federal Court (STF) on August 2nd. The delay of the trial could lead to the prescription of crimes.
2012/06/27 – Folha de São Paulo – P. A4
I would like to think we have some “Fed Up Freedom Fighters” in South America, but since the pilot is “away having observation” we will probably never know what was in his head.
In any event, the SFT is toast but Brazil vows to have it repaired in two weeks at a cost of $35,000. ???? Take your pick. Misjudgement or deliberation? Who is to say.
Crossposted at Conservative Outlooks