ARD, Phoenix, and our "cognitive security"

The lurid ARD documentary “The Destroyer: how President Bolsonaro is damaging Brazil” (Phoenix 30.01.2020) sounds a loud Alarm, but forgets to mention how the ARD promoted Bolsonaro’s self-sustaining rise: by taking sides against the former left-wing government of Brazil. The one-sidedness of the ARD reporting is also to be proven in this documentary. To question is the professionally staged strategic “narrative”. From the new Pentagon strategy of “Cognitive Security” to greenwashing plutocracy in Brazil.

Did ARD promote the shift to the right in Brasilia? Their representation of Latin America generally has shortcomings: 1.conceal various US interventions in left-wing countries, as the classic Eduardo Galeano denounced regarding the military coup against the socialist Allende. 2. talk of reactionary campaigns and coups against Bolsonaro’s socialist predecessors Lula and Dilma. 3. uncritical handling of unsubstantiated charges against Lula da Silva by the Brazilian judiciary. This political justice has deprived the Socialist Workers Party of its leadership. The suspicion: in its Bolsonaro critique, ARD may act less as a broadcaster than as an agency of certain Nato strategists. They had recently proclaimed that Nato states must also provide for the “cognitive security” of their populations, in which they would be “shielded from unwanted Information”.

Bolsonaro’s justice system is currently prosecuting the Brazilian Snowden whistleblower Glen Greenwald in order to shield unwanted information about the political justice system. His blog The INTERCEPT published chat logs showing how law enforcement manipulated the trial of socialist ex-president Lula da Silva to exclude him from the election (which he probably would have won) and put Bolsonaro in power:

“An extensive archive available exclusively The Intercept confirms the long-held suspicion of the politicized motives and fraud of the Brazilian corruption investigators."(“A massive archive exclusively provided to The Intercept confirms long-held suspicions about the politicized motives and deceit of Brazil’s corruption investigators.") THE INTERCEPT

Excellent Propaganda against Bolsonaro

The documentary “The Destroyer: how President Bolsonaro damages Brazil” was produced by Thomas Aders in the service of the ARD studio Rio de Janeiro for the broadcaster Phoenix. It relies less on analysis and background research than on fast video cuts and drastic representations. It begins with an announcement from the Off, accompanied by and followed by a barrage of blatant images and quotes:

“After decades as a parliamentary backbencher, a parachutist makes the political breakthrough. In 2019, Jair Messias Bolsonaro will become president of Brazil, a radical, a supporter of the military dictatorship, an opponent of democracy and the rule of law.“Black and white flashback, the young Bolsonaro 1999:” only a civil war can change anything if we continue the military dictatorship and kill 30,000 people.“Superimposed on Jesus Statue at Sugar Loaf, then on Bolsonaro during the 2003 election campaign, who hurls at a young woman:” I wouldn’t even rape you, you don’t deserve that!“Glare on masked gunmen, the incomprehensible gesticulate into the camera, then to Bolsonaro in the 2018 election campaign, who rages: “a policeman must be allowed to kill every criminal with a few dozen shots and receive a medal for it! Brazil needs a president who is honest and who above all has God in his heart!“An Evangelical priest blesses Bolsonaro, then Bolsonaro, with the presidential sash on 01.01.2019: “Today is the day to break free from socialism is! To free oneself from false values, from state supremacy and from political correctness!”

So much for the two-minute introduction to the ARD Bolsonaro documentary, which also mentions Bolsonaro’s spiritual relationship with Trump as well as the danger to democracy, women, Indigenous people and the nature of the Amazon and concludes with apocalyptic images of burning forests. All this is welcome criticism. Unfortunately, the ARD lacks self-criticism for its silence on prehistory: the judicial coup against Dilma Rousseff and the elimination of Lula da Silva through a political show trial. The German public had to find out about these events predominantly from net media beyond the mainstream and the ARD office Rio continues to conceal important facts in its Bolsonaro documentary.

The Lula case is Brazil’s most sensational political trial and most hair-raising judicial scandal of all time. (Frederico Füllgraf, 2017)

The ARD documentary “der Zerstörer” passes over the scandal of the century in no uncertain terms and almost gives the impression that Lula has been rightly condemned because his party is “involved” in corruption. First of all, however, the ARD must be credited with the fact that its anti-Bolsonaro documentary is an excellent propaganda film against the dangerous fascist at the top of Brazil.

ARD and Nato strategy of " cognitive shielding”

Thomas Ader’s documentary mentions, rather casually, lies by the Bolsonaro side against the leading candidate of the Workers ' Party, Haddad. For example, Fake pictures showing the Lula successor Haddad as a Salesman of huge black Dildos or defaming him as a paedophile: only two of the countless fake news that flooded Brazil’s “Social Media” professionally during the election campaign. However, the depiction of Haddad beaten from the field by Bolsonaro remains extremely scarce.

The ARD does not mention Haddad’s successful social and environmental policy as mayor of the 20 - million metropolis of Sao Paulo, nor does it provide any biographical Details. Fernando Haddad, the philosopher with a doctorate, increased Brazil’s education budget by a good 20% as minister. Protests against Bolsonaro’s brutal cuts to education are briefly shown by the ARD, but it does not mention that a just education system was first established by Haddad or the Socialist-led government.

In a report published in July 2019, the Pentagon complained that Russia had influenced the US elections, thereby increasing its presence in the global Influencer war. The US and Nato must therefore strengthen their strategic capabilities in this area. Could certain one-sidedness of the ARD have something to do with this increased strategic media orientation of the Pentagon?

“In particular, the US should rely on its ability to influence populations, States and non-state actors and minimize Russia’s influence on these actors.“This has been happening for quite some time through a media and communication strategy that is supposedly aimed at combating disinformation, but essentially wants to ensure the “cognitive security” of the population, which is to be shielded from unwanted information. It is also proposed to create “effective narratives” for the contested regions.

Anti-corruption campaigners under corruption charges

Even the Nestor of globalization criticism Elmar Altvater referred to the connection between corruption, neoliberalism and environmental destruction (Altvater 2006). Brazil is currently developing into a drastic example of neoliberal-corrupt politics. Lula da Silva and his successor Dilma Rousseff had begun to fight corruption in Brazil - only in this way could Social and environmental policy, as the Workers ' Party PT aspired to it, become possible. But it proved difficult to shed light on the state, the economy and the judiciary. Since 2015, a total of five cases have been initiated against the two-time Brazilian Ex-president Lula. Since then leading German media like to talk about “corruption entanglements of Lula’s Workers' Party”, but have mostly refrained from examining the false accusations more closely.

The trial mocked all rule of law Standards. The court had no substantial evidence to support the allegation that Lula had been given a luxury apartment for political consideration …

The ARD repeated the accusations against Lula, but the criticism of the political judiciary (which ARD regularly outrages when it takes place in Russia) was written in lowercase. While Mainstream journalists occasionally hinted that the Brazilian judiciary is not entirely kosher, they largely joined the right-wing anti-PT camp in their portrayal and evaluation. According to Bräutigam and Klinkhammer, illuminating both positions in a balanced manner would have been in line with their state broadcasting contracts.

The” ARD dissidents " Volker Bräutigam and Friedhelm Klinkhammer, who as retired ARD people repeatedly criticize their former media establishment as politically right-wing, have also denounced the ARD tendency reporting by the example of Lula. The ARD documentary “The Destroyer” devotes only three sentences to Brazil’s century-long judicial scandal.

Followers of the president (Aders here means Bolsonaro) in the judicial system had ex-president Lula da Silva in prison. The gigantic corruption scandal, in which Lula’S Workers ' Party PT was also involved, had exposed the Brazilian political class. Without the scandal, Bolsonaro might never have come to power.

ARD man Aders suggests here that the judiciary was biased, but then mixes the judicial scandal with the general corruption scandal and practically puts him in Lula’S PT’s shoes. Aders does not mention the many other parties, officials and politicians who have been proven to be really serious corruption, up to President Temer, who came to power through the judicial coup. Rather, he briefly inserts a speech by Lula in order to then quickly transfer back to the broadly balanced topic of environmental destruction. Should the” population be shielded from unwanted information”?

Greenwashing Plutocracy

The ARD documentary showers its viewers with an avalanche of colourful images of forest fires, jungle animals, masked weapons carriers, barbusi Indigenous girls, Homo parades in Rio… Sure, all this is somehow also criticism of Bolsonaro, climate and Environmental Protection are undoubtedly important topics. But they are increasingly being abused to protect those who have earned well from injustice and environmental destruction: Greenwashing Plutocracy, the ecological cloak for corporate profits, covert interventions and power elites. Such PR probably wants to disguise the real political background and power structures. No wonder that today Blackrock and Goldman Sachs are standing next to Greta Thunberg in their PR-even though financial groups made billions in profits under climate destruction.

What happened in Brazil, from which the ARD apparently wants to “cognitively protect” us? The old power elites of Brazil, which rely on military, cattle barons and extreme right-wing Bible Christians, had come under considerable pressure through the anti-corruption policies of Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff, their opposition ranged from the judicial coup to Fakenews. Whether the NSA’s rule over the Internet and its “social media”, which has not been secret since Snowden, played a role?

The greatest success of the reactionary teams behind Bolsonaro was an alleged anti-corruption unit called “Enterprise Car Wash”. They managed to place it under one of their most loyal servants: Judge Sergio Moro is an opponent of Lula’s Workers ' Party (PT). Moro and his alleged crusade against corruption thus almost only affected the PT, although it still seems to be the least involved in the felt around Petrobras, Odebrecht and other corporations. Operation “Car Wash” turned out to be an Operation to cleanse the corrupt right-wing parties of Brazil that wanted to drive the PT from power.

Der ARD unbekannt: lying show trial against Lula da Silva

In 2016, Brazil’s political class came under fire when a list leaked to the press accused hundreds of politicians of corruption. The list was drawn up on 28.03.2016 by the imprisoned Odebrecht CEO, Marcelo Odebrecht, for his own relief. Among the inconsistencies of the charge against Bolsonaro opponent Lula da Silva was that Lula’s Name did not appear in this list at all. Odebrecht gave the names of no less than 300 greased politicians. Among them was the judicial coup President Michel Temer and numerous politicians of his government alliance. Judge Sergio Moro responded by banning the publication of the list. The list did not officially appear until a year later, in April 2017, when Attorney General Rodrigo Janot finally applied for criminal proceedings against about 100 of those listed to the Supreme Court. Charges were then brought by OG Judge Edson Fachin against 8 acting ministers, 3 state governors, 24 senators and 39 deputies.

The ARD documentary reports solely on the alleged corruption of Lula or that his PT is “involved” in the corruption affair. A vague formulation, because the PT would of course be” involved " even if it only had to defend itself against false accusations. That is exactly the case. At the end of September 2016, Lula was charged with owning a luxury apartment in the seaside resort of Guarujá and a country house in Atibaia, in the state of São Paulo. Both, according to the first indictment of the prosecutors of “Unternehmen Waschanlage”, are gifts of passive corruption for the secret order favoring the Brazilian construction company OAS, whose directors have been behind bars since 2016. Lula’s defense team had 72 witnesses present. Today, Lula is again at large, but his (according to polls very promising) presidential candidacy was stolen from him.

What is the purpose of the dirty campaigns against the PT and its leaders, or the ensuing enthronement, first by Temer, now by Bolsonaro? Without the PT, interests of money elites, corporations and the neoliberal strategy of the USA can be better pushed through. The Ard has always reported poorly about this, but should not have kept these backgrounds secret, the ARD critics groom and Klinkhammer think:

In sync with the sentencing, President Temer overturned Lula’s labor laws, the most progressive after Cuba on the entire American continent (north and South), and pushed through a neoliberal “Reform” that amounted to a social regression to Brazil of the previous century. Temer’s and his oligarch clique’s successful intrigue against his predecessor Dilma Rousseff served this goal. With his socio-political objectives, Lula opposes the neoliberal US interests in Brazil. He is also a thorn in the side of the German party foundations, which in Brazil sometimes perform subversive digging.

Political justice against Lula

Hundreds of false reports about the alleged possession of the luxury apartments were illegally leaked to the media during the witness hearing in the Lula case. This staged a campaign with the claim that Lula da Silva is concealing property, according to Frederico Füllgraf (2017): when the tactic of criminalizing Lula threatened to collapse, in early 2017, the prosecutor’s office and Judge Moro persuaded the OAS CEO Léo Pinheiro, who had been imprisoned for two years, to issue a statement with a reduction in penalties. The intimidated Pinheiro explained as ordered that he had been commissioned by Lula to destroy the possession documents, but he could not prove that… the manager’s sentence was promptly reduced from 30 to only three years in prison, his statement leaked to the media.

Later, even the renowned auditing company Ernst & Young could not follow the alleged evidence of the federal prosecutor’s office and attested the possession of the allegedly Lula attributed real estate Pinheiro’s company OAS. After the regional prosecutors São Paulos had accused the federal prosecutor’s office (i.e. Moro and his people) of gross attempts at manipulation, the proceedings were closed in mid-April 2017. But it was quickly resumed by Judge Moro, this time the socialist Lula was accused of having accepted 22 million euros in bribes in cash.

The corrupt coup President Temer only came into office through Judge Moro’s machinations when he and other judges deposed Dilma Rousseff in a coup-like manner in a dubious show trial. Lula da Silva, who was running against Bolsonaro, was subsequently eliminated in the same way. A flood of accusations and charges against Lula poured out of the offices of judge Moro.

“It was the Chronicle of an announced show trial. It began in 2014 with” Operação Lavajato “(”company car wash”) and culminates in the criminalization of Brazil’s most successful and popular president of the past 50 years.“Füllgraf 2017

This paved the way for Bolsonaro, but the ARD-Bolsonaro documentary overcomes all these machinations. It gives the impression that Lula’S party PT is ultimately “involved"in corruption just like others. Thus, the ARD subsequently sided with the corrupt power elites of Brazil, the war profiteers of the military dictatorships, whose Revival is now imminent under Bolsonaro’s presidency.

The ARD outrage over Bolsonaro passes over the heads of the PT. Is one secretly glad to have got rid of a left-wing government in Latin America again? A government whose social successes the ARD in its function of “cognitive shielding” always concealed or seemed to portray as “left-wing populism”? The documentary “der Zerstörer: Wie Präsident Bolsonaro Brasilien beschädigt” (“the destroyer: how President Bolsonaro damages Brazil”), a film by Thomas Aders, produced by ARD studio Rio de Janeiro for Phoenix “mein Ausland” 2020, also shows a similar story.