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Lula and the BRICS in a fight to the death

By       Message Pepe Escobar       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink

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Reprinted from RT

Former Brazilian president Lula defiant after detention
Former Brazilian president Lula defiant after detention
(Image by CCTV News, Channel: CCTVNEWSbeijing)
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"BRICS" is the dirtiest of acronyms in the Beltway/Wall Street axis, and for a solid reason: the consolidation of the BRICS is the only organic, global-reach project with the potential to derail Exceptionalistan's grip over the so-called "international community."

So it's no surprise the three key BRICS powers have been under simultaneous attack, on many fronts, for some time now. On Russia, it's all about Ukraine and Syria, the oil price war, the odd hostile raid over the ruble and the one-size-fits-all "Russian aggression" demonization. On China, it's all about "Chinese aggression" in the South China Sea and the (failed) raid over the Shanghai/Shenzhen stock exchanges.

Brazil is the weakest link among these three key emerging powers. Already by the end of 2014 it was clear the usual suspects would go no holds barred to destabilize the seventh largest global economy, aiming at good old regime change via a nasty cocktail of political gridlock ("ungovernability") dragging the economy to the mud.

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Myriad reasons for the attack include the consolidation of the BRICS development bank; the BRICS's concerted push for trading in their own currencies, bypassing the US dollar and aiming for a new global reserve currency to replace it; the construction of a major underwater fiber-optic telecom cable between Brazil and Europe, as well as the BRICS cable uniting South America to East Asia -- both bypassing US control.

And most of all, as usual, the holy of the holies -- connected with Exceptionalistan's burning desire to privatize Brazil's immense natural wealth. Once again, it's the oil.

Get Lula or else

WikiLeaks had already exposed how, way back in 2009, Big Oil was active in Brazil, trying to modify -- by all extortion means necessary -- a law proposed by former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, known as Lula, establishing profitable state-run Petrobras as the chief operator of all offshore blocks in the largest oil discovery of the young 21st century; the pre-salt deposits.

Lula not only kept Big Oil -- especially ExxonMobil and Chevron -- out of the picture but he also opened Brazilian oil exploration to China's Sinopec, as part of the Brazil-China (BRICS within BRICS) strategic partnership.

Hell hath no fury like Exceptionalistan scorned. Like the Mob, it never forgives; Lula one day would have to pay, like Putin must pay for getting rid of US-friendly oligarchs.

The ball started rolling with Edward Snowden revealing how the NSA was spying on Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and top Petrobras officials. It continued with the fact that the Brazilian Federal Police cooperate, receive training and/or are fed, closely, by both the FBI and CIA (mostly in the anti-terrorism sphere). And it went on via the two-year-old "Car Wash" investigation, which uncovered a vast corruption network involving players inside Petrobras, top Brazilian construction companies and politicians from the ruling Workers' Party.

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The corruption network is real -- with "proof," usually oral, rarely backed up by documents, obtained mostly from artful dodgers-cum-serial liars who rat on someone as part of a plea bargain.

But for the "Car Wash" prosecutors, the real deal was, from the beginning, how to ensnare Lula.

Enter the tropical Elliott Ness

That brings us to the Hollywood spectacular enacted last Friday in Sao Paulo that sent shockwaves around the world. Lula "detained," interrogated, humiliated in public. This is how I analyzed it in detail.

Plan A for the Hollywood-style blitz on Lula was an ambitious double down; not only to pave the way for the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff under a "guilty by association" stretch, but to "neutralize" Lula for good, preventing him from running for office again in 2018. There was no Plan B.

Predictably -- as in many an FBI sting -- the whole op backfired. Lula, in a political master class of a speech beamed live across the country, not only convincingly clad himself as the martyr of a conspiracy, but also re-energized his troops; even respectable conservatives vocally condemned the Hollywood show, from a minister in the Supreme Court to a former justice minister, as well as top economist Bresser Pereira, one of the founders of the PSDB -- the former social democrats turned Exceptionalistan-allied neoliberal enforcers and leaders of the right-wing opposition.

Bresser actually stated the Brazilian Supreme Court should intervene on Car Wash to prevent abuses. Lula, for instance, had asked for the Supreme Court to detail which jurisprudence was relevant to investigate the accusations against him. Moreover, a lawyer on center stage during the Hollywood blitz said Lula answered all questions during the almost four-hour interrogation without blinking -- questions he had already answered before.

Lawyer Celso Bandeira de Mello, for his part, went straight to the point: the Brazilian upper middle classes -- which include a largely appalling lot wallowing in arrogance, ignorance and prejudice, whose dream is a condo in Miami -- are fearful and terrified to death that Lula may run, and win again, in 2018.

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Pepe Escobar is an independent geopolitical analyst. He writes for RT, Sputnik and TomDispatch, and is a frequent contributor to websites and radio and TV shows ranging from the US to East Asia. He is the former roving correspondent for Asia (more...)
 

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