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Leading Brazilians Condemn U.S. Surveillance Against the Nation (O Globo, Brazil)


From the arts to sports to academia, Brazilians speak out about the justifications and consequences of American espionage against the nation.


By Audrey Furlaneto, Flávio Freire, Leonardo Cazes, Leticia Fernandes, Nice De Paula, Rodrigo Fonseca, Sanny Bertoldo, and Silvio Essinger


Translated By Brandi Miller


July 14, 2013


Brazil - O Globo - Original Article (Portuguese)

Former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, from his Facebook page:"I never knew of CIA spying on my administration, as I would only have known if it was done with our government's knowledge, which it was not. If such activities existed, if they were done, as with all espionage, it was outside the law. I find it unacceptable that there were no court orders issued permitting the monitoring of communications between people (…). To my knowledge, the only episode concerning agreements with the American government were made by then-Minister of Justice Nelson Jobim, and referred to an understanding with the DEA - the American Drug Enforcement Administration - which existed before the minister sought my authorization, and when he asked me to rescind it, which I immediately did.


It is up to the Brazilian government, when such a complaint is made, to formally protest such invasions of sovereignty, and stop these rights violations from occurring, even knowing that current technological means endow the state, as well as private organizations, with instruments that empower them to try and escape legal oversight."


Jorge Gerdau Johannpeter - CEO, Grupo Gerdau:"It is the height of absurdity that a country like ours is under surveillance. This is an unsustainable situation."







Carlos Langoni - director of World Economics Center at FGV [Getúlio Vargas Foundation] and former president of Brazil Central Bank:"Information technology has become an instrument of power, and the disadvantages that emerging countries face in relation to the superpowers are brutal. Brazil is completely vulnerable to cyber attack … The problem goes beyond privacy. We live in a world in which digital technology advances at an astonishing pace, and governments are unprepared. And those who possess this technology use it as they wish … . It is very unlikely that a resolution to this can be arrived at through international agreements."


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Torben Grael - Two-time Olympic sailing champion:"It's incredible. If it were a company - an individual doing this, it would be a gigantic scandal. But since it is the United States, it's different. It seems that there is a tendency to cover this up a bit, especially on the part of European nations. People must have their privacy respected."




Marcos Nobre - philosopher and professor at Unicamp:"This surveillance program that has now hit Brazil exposes a political dispute over the Internet, in the sense of a political dispute over Net neutrality. There is a very strong association between the Internet giants and the state, in such a way that it is impossible to maintain neutrality. There is also a two-front dispute about the logic of the Internet. On the one hand, there is the logic of consumption, in which Internet companies can pay people for their data, and on the other, the logic of network solidarity."


Beatriz Milhazes - painter:"What scares me are the methods of control over the use of the Internet and communications via satellite. The digital system is vulnerable and that's frightening. I have no idea how to handle this in a way that is solely positive and that will prevent this type of crime."




Roberto Cabot - artist that pioneered use of the Internet in his work:"I'm not really a 'nationalist,' but having our digital traffic completely controlled by another country seems like a disadvantage to me. It never ceases to amaze me to see how honest people seem to be divided on this state of affairs. Nor do I believe we have any choice but complete transparency for everything and everyone. Privacy as it existed up to the end of the 20th century is over. The only defense against transparency of the individual will be complete transparency of things and institutions."


Carlos Affonso Souza - professor of law at FGV:"In political terms, it is important for Brazil to hold a strong position on this issue. The level of disapproval and the degree of repudiation the government shows will demonstrate the importance and relevance of privacy. This is a call for all governments to realize that the Internet is not just a network of freedom, but it can also be a network of control."


Cacá Diegues - filmmaker:"This episode also exposes to us the tragedy of the control over the contemporary life of each person, from the end of the right to privacy, to the submission of our identity to the large companies of this industry. ... Aside from the political boldness of one country meddling in the business of another, we also have to think about how to ensure the victory for freedom represented by the Internet, given the dependence of liberty's instruments on the interests of big business. Personally, I think that the correct digital education should not involve teaching our young people to go on YouTube, but to show them how to create original alternatives to YouTube."


Paulo Skaf - president of the Federation of Industries in the State of São Paulo:"Any type of spying is reprehensible, an abuse, whether it is against individuals or companies, and whether it is committed by any government. The Brazilian Constitution guarantees the right to confidentiality of communications. The Brazilian government has asked the American government for explanations. This we must do, and wait to hear back from the United States - if they in fact are able to explain what happened. But Brazilian oversight shouldn't stop there. The issue has to be better understood. You can't keep snooping around and not offer an explanation. The American government will have to make up for this somehow.

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Pedro Serrano - professor of constitutional law at PUC-SP:"It is not enough to express regret. This is an act of aggression, of profound disrespect. The Brazilian government must act with virulence. If it doesn't, all rights and guarantees of Brazilians are being disrespected. Brazil must summon the ambassador to Washington and denounce the United States in global courts. If there is an American agent that has carried out espionage in Brazil, we cannot let him leave the country. ... We must produce tougher legislation for the foreign agents that work here. This rupture in the confidentiality of communication by foreigners on Brazilian soil must not be subject to delays, because it took us years to discover it."


Camilo Tavares - director of O dia que durou 21 anos [The Day that Lasted 21 Years], about the CIA-engineered coup d'état conspiracy to topple President João Goulart in 1964"I can say, based on documents recently made public, that at least since 1962, the United States has had a contingency plan for Brazil, which means a precious archive of secret information exists on the Brazilian government. … This could only have been compiled by agents that have infiltrated and/or with espionage systems. … This information is included in communications from military attachés - as was the case with Vernon Walters (during the João Goulart era). ... And I have no doubt that when we receive U.S. technology ... we also end up importing their monitoring systems."


Ziraldo - writer and cartoonist:"The thing Brazilians should not do is worry. We need to find out who facilitated life for Americans here in Brazil. … Without that, nothing can move forward. They are very powerful. We cannot, and do not know, how to master this virtual life. This has been happening for many years. During the dictatorship, they had complete freedom to photograph anything in the country - and Brazilians knew this. Are we to be frightened now?"




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Posted By Worldmeets.US June 14, 2013, 12:54pm