The Chamber of Deputies, who would have thought, is today the largest, and perhaps the only, state body in this country where there is some real, active, and organized force in favor of freedom and against tyranny. Therefore, expect it to be increasingly treated as an enemy of the consortium between Lula, the Supreme Federal Court, and the block of extremists governing Brazil today. For them, there are no political adversaries, legitimate differences of ideas, or the possibility of opposition. Those who are not on their side, or do not obey what they want, must be destroyed – and that is exactly what they are doing in plain sight of the whole world, with illegal arrests, fines of 1 million reais per hour, and a police force that increasingly resembles the Gestapo. Now, after suffering their worst defeat in the Chamber, they will do more. They wanted to approve a censorship project disguised as “rules” for the internet. It was a disaster; they had to flee from the vote after demanding “urgency” for it when they saw they were going to lose badly on the floor. Their automatic reaction was to increase repression. Instead of recognizing the existence of different opinions and the need for more dialogue, they went for revenge. The first to feel it was Jair Bolsonaro. They took his cell phone. They took his passport. They can, if they want, throw the former president of the Republic in jail without him having committed any crime.
This is what Lula and the PT have always done: every time they face a setback, they react by becoming more radical. In the case of the censorship defeat, they went even further in the illegal persecution of the enemies they have been relentlessly making since they came to power four months ago. The Ministry of Justice, this time the most aggressive of Lula’s agents, invented a fine of 1 million reais per hour to punish Google – the company had published a text criticizing the bill, and the minister decided that it is not allowed to do so. Why not, in this case, a fine of 1 trillion reais per minute? Then, the “big techs,” as they learned to say the other day, would be really scared, right? Above all, it is foolish. There is simply no fine of 1 million reais per hour or anything similar in the world – and, anyway, no one will pay anything. Google, obviously, removed the text, just as it would have if it had not received any fine. In addition to being foolish, it is illegal. The “fine” was applied by the consumer defense council, or something of the sort, and with the support of the free competition council. Neither of them is a judicial body; they are just two public offices, now occupied by left-wing militants, and they cannot even issue a traffic fine. Moreover, they have nothing to do with the case.
Mockeries of the law of this size are what make Lula’s Brazil increasingly look like a rogue country in the international community with each passing day – but maybe they really want to be something like that, with their obsession with being part of the Cuba-Russia-China axis, along with the Venezuelas of the world, and breaking with “capitalism.” Worse than that is the mental misery that underlies their thinking – or what passes for “thinking” in the government as a whole. Where is it written, in any law currently in force in Brazil, that someone cannot express themselves against a project that will be publicly voted on in Congress, as Google did? What crime could that be? The Minister of Justice also decided, without any judicial sentence, that Google had to publish a post in favor of the censorship law. That’s right – not only were they forbidden to speak against it, but they were forced to speak in favor. Again: how, outside of a dictatorship, can someone be forced to say the opposite of what they think? Such violence is only comparable to the “spontaneous confessions” of guilt made by those persecuted under Stalin’s dictatorship in communist Russia, or in the general asylum of Mao Zedong’s tyranny in China.
When trying to justify himself, the minister gave a master class in ignorance. He said that “advertising” against must be compensated with “advertising” in favor – something that only happens, if it has to happen in any case, by decision of a judicial sentence, often after years and years of discussion. Since when has the Ministry of Justice become part of the judiciary? Under Lula’s government? The ministry is an organ of the federal administration, nothing more – it does not have, and never had, the power to judge even an eviction action. To make bad even worse, the impression is that the minister does not know the difference between advertising and a set of words that express a point of view or convey information. Advertising is propaganda – it is a commercial action, aimed at selling something, and that is why any publication with a minimum of seriousness makes a point of distinguishing, as clearly as possible, what is paid material and what is editorial content in what it brings to the public.
For the minister, everything written is “advertising.” This is the component that never changes in this whole story of the censorship law and the government’s defeat: falsification upon falsification, one after the other, and a permanent attack on public freedoms, individual rights, and elementary notions of democracy. Perhaps nothing better summarizes Lula’s government march towards dictatorship than the words officially used by the PT to describe the criticisms made to the censorship project by social communication platforms: “Criminal actions.” Here we are, without any disguise – for the Brazilian left, disagreeing with Lula’s government is a crime.
Minister Alexandre Moraes – who has kept the former Secretary of Security of Brasília, a man with serious health problems, in the STF’s prisons for almost four months without providing any minimum legal reasons for his detention – was the first to react after the censorship law fiasco in the Chamber. He had already ordered the presidents of several internet companies to give “testimony” to “explain” the posts they made criticizing the government’s project; like the PT, he believes that giving this kind of opinion requires “explanations”. He based his decision on “studies” from a university in Rio de Janeiro – in this case, a group of declared leftist militants. “Studies?” What do you mean? Since when are university “studies” science or proof of anything? The day after the Chamber’s decision, he made even more dramatic decisions. He ordered the Federal Police to carry out a search and seizure operation at the home of former president Jair Bolsonaro; it seems they are after his vaccination certificate and those of his family members. He tried to seize the former president’s passport, against whom there are no charges in the courts, as if he were a criminal about to flee Brazil – he, who has just returned to the country. And he seized his cell phone. Neither action makes any sense. It is merely a flagrant act of political persecution in the style practiced in Russia by the KGB; there is no possibility of providing a legal justification for any of this.
In the same police frenzy, the minister arrested Lieutenant Colonel Mauro Cid, Bolsonaro’s former personal adviser, on a jumble of absolutely vague suspicions about what would be a sort of national and international plot against the COVID vaccine or something similar. Even if there were any basis for suspecting the existence of such a scheme, there is no way to justify the arrest – any drug trafficker, murderer, or rapist in this country, with a reasonable lawyer, remains free during the investigation of the crimes they are accused of. What danger does the lieutenant colonel (or the former Secretary of Brasília) pose to Brazilian society? The Federal Police’s notes on the case are even more disturbing. “The group’s objective,” say the police, “was to maintain cohesion in the identity element concerning its ideological agenda” and “sustain the discourse aimed at attacks on the COVID vaccine.” It seems written by a PT directory or in a dictatorship commissioner’s office – and more than anything, why would it be a crime to have an “ideological agenda” or not approve the vaccine? If the pharmaceutical companies themselves issue warning after warning about the limitations and other negative aspects of the anti-COVID vaccine, how can one explain that someone is arrested on obscure suspicions of having been, perhaps, a vaccine critic?
Lula and the STF move forward, confident, because they know they have the support of many people. First is the support of the Armed Forces; it’s better for the deputies against the censorship project to stay away from the sidewalks in front of the barracks. It’s well known what happened the last time there were people there, hoping for support and comfort. Brazilian Army officers lied to citizens who were in front of the Brasília headquarters in a legal and peaceful demonstration on January 8th – and 8 kilometers away from the incidents at the Praça dos Três Poderes (or . They led innocent people onto buses, with the promise they were being taken to a “safe place” – and handed them all over to the concentration camp of the police serving the STF.
Lula and the Supreme Court have also long relied on the support of most of the media and, now, to facilitate the service, the National Treasury – they spent 30 million reais on TV advertising to celebrate the “achievements” of the first 100 days of government. Thus, it is understandable that the so-called “major media outlets” have sided in favor of, rather than against, the censorship law – a truly prodigious moment in the history of the national press. The Lula-STF project also enjoys the applause of “civil society” – the various OABs out there, and a truckload of similar entities. If the military society is already like this, just imagine civil society. It’s better not even to do the math.