Leaked conversations between Brazilian officials reveal the inner workings of a secretive collaboration with the U.S. Department of Justice on a sprawling anti-corruption effort known as Operation Car Wash. The chats, analyzed in partnership with the Brazilian investigative news outlet Agência Pública, show that the Brazilians were extremely accommodating to their U.S. partners, going out of their way to facilitate their involvement in ways that may have violated international legal treaties and Brazilian law.
Operation Car Wash, or Lava Jato in Portuguese, rocked Brazil’s political and business establishment, leading to the imprisonment of former president Luis Inácio Lula da Silva — a move that barred him from reelection and paved the way for a win for far-right Jair Bolsonaro. …
Last summer, members of the U.S. Congress demanded answers from Attorney General William Barr about the scope of the relationship and whether the Justice Department was aware of wrongdoing by their Brazilian counterparts, but they have yet to receive a response. Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Minnesota Democrat who signed the letter to Barr, said it is “deeply concerning” that the Justice Department has not responded. “The United States has a dark history of intervention in domestic Latin American politics,” she wrote in a statement to The Intercept. “Especially given the cozy relationship between the current Brazilian Administration and the Trump Administration, we in Congress need to be sure that our own Department of Justice was not party to this corruption.” The Justice Department declined to comment for this story.
Brazil Wire’s The Atlantic Council & Latin American “Regime Change”
Together with the Americas Society/Council of the Americas (AS/COA), the Wilson Center and other organisations (between which there is a revolving door for personnel), the Atlantic Council has been an international platform and promoter for both the controversial anti-corruption operation Lava Jato (Car Wash), which helped paralyse the Brazilian economy, and underpinned the 2016 removal of the Rousseff Government from power. (Update: Lava Jato then jailed former president Lula da Silva, opening the door for a Bolsonaro presidency).
The organisation insists it is independent from both the US Government and NATO, however it receives the majority of its funding, of an undisclosed total, from various NATO member governments.
It was recently in the news for donating a million dollars, provided by the US State Department, to an opposition group in Venezuela, the latest in an estimated USD$45+ million in US funding to pro-opposition groups since 2008.
Brazil Wire’s links are almost entirely to its own stories. Another Brazil Wire story is:
In July 2017, Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco gave a speech at NATO think tank the Atlantic Council in which he bragged of the Justice Department’s informal involvement in Brazilian anti-corruption operation Lava Jato and its prosecution of former president Lula. FBI personnel involved later boasted that it had “toppled presidents“. Lava Jato prosecutor Deltan Dellagnol described Lula’s 2018 arrest which kept him out of the election he was on course to win, as “a gift from the CIA“. The judge who prosecuted Lula, Sergio Moro, became Bolsonaro’s Justice Minister, and both made an unprecedented visit to CIA headquarters in Langley within months of taking office, whilst the DOJ rewarded the Lava Jato task-force with a $682 million dollar kickback. Lava Jato’s origins can be traced back to 2008/09, where Moro and a blueprint for an operation of its type appear in State Department cables.
Rep. Johnson, Colleagues Ask A.G. Garland for Answers on DOJ Role in Brazil Probe and Persecution of Former President Lula da Silva
June 7, 2021
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Congressman Hank Johnson (GA-04), a senior member of the House Judiciary Committee and Chair of the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet, sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland regarding the role of Department of Justice (DOJ) agents in Brazil’s “Lava Jato” (“Car Wash”) anti-corruption operation and what role, if any, DOJ played in the political persecution of former president of Brazil Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Rep. Johnson sent a letter to the Barr DOJ in August 2019 on the issue but never received an adequate response.
“There is now evidence that the case against Lula was highly politicized and intended to keep him off the ballot in Brazil’s 2018 elections. Lula has now been exonerated. This makes it more important than ever to determine what role anyone at DOJ may have had in Lula’s persecution,” Rep. Johnson said. “This is clearly an important matter in U.S.-Brazil relations.”
FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy in the Media) reports on the double standard of the New York Times in its coverage of Brazilian politics: NYT Worries Brazil Goes Too Far to Fight Far Right. In short, the Times saw little wrong when then candidate Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and other members of the leftist Workers Party were prosecuted in trumped up charges. But now that Lula’s government is prosecuting former President Jair Bolsonaro for real offense, the New York Times is critical.