…. get a load of what is happening in Brazil. The Intercept has published, along with major Brazilian media, a series of articles that constitute a brutal expose of how the current justice minister Sergio Moro, supposedly an anti-corruption crusader as a judge, engaged in utterly distorting the judicial system in order to convict political opponents, including former president Lula, on corruption charges. The scandal was triggered by the leak of a massive trove of secret documents from an anonymous source, a la Edward Snowden.
Glenn Greenwald and Victor Pougy give a blow-by-blow account of how the scandal has blown up the Brazilian political system and the administration of right-wing ‘populist’ president Jair Bolsonaro, who is a soul-mate of Donald Trump.
ON JUNE 9, the Intercept began reporting a series of exposés about unethical and corrupt behavior by then-judge Sergio Moro, now the powerful Justice Minister for President Jair Bolsonaro, based on a massive archive of secret documents provided to us by an anonymous source. As the Guardian reported on Wednesday regarding retaliatory investigations launched by Moro’s Federal Police against us in an attempt to intimidate and punish us for this reporting, our articles “have had an explosive impact on Brazilian politics and dominated headlines for weeks.”
An op-ed in the New York Times this morning by Contributing Writer Vanessa Barbara – headlined: “Where Do You Turn When the Anti-Corruption Crusaders Are Dirty?” – illustrates how rapidly and radically Moro’s reputation has fallen both in Brazil and internationally. The article summarzies the crux of our reporting this way: “All in all, the leaks reveal an immoral judge, who teamed up with electorally-motivated prosecutors, in order to arrest and convict individuals that they already considered guilty. Their only question was how best to do it.”
Perhaps even more significantly is the magazine’s extraordinary “Note to Readers,” in which they explain why they concluded it was their journalistic duty to expose Moro’s corruption after years of applauding him; detailed the journalistic methods used to authenticate the material; and unflinchingly described why Moro’s conduct as a judge is a grave threat to the rule of law and the pillars of democracy.
On the front page of its widely read site, the magazine accuses Moro not merely of engaging in unethical or improper acts – the words we have used thus far to describe his behavior – but also “illegal” ones. That Brazil’s largest center-right magazine, in partnership with the Intercept, is now explicitly accusing Bolsonaro’s Justice Minister of “illegalities” – based on detailed accusations proven by Moro’s own words in secret – is as significant as journalism gets.
The Brazilian government has unleashed an investigation and smear campaign against Greenwald and the Intercept in order to intimidate and punish them, and the government’s supporters have issued various threats as well showing the strong resemblance they have to Trump supporters.. This has caused another furious backlash.
Brazil’s Bar Association, journalists and opposition lawmakers have reacted with outrage to reports that the country’s federal police plan to investigate the bank accounts of an American journalist who published leaked conversations between prosecutors and the graft-busting judge who is now Jair Bolsonaro’s justice minister.
The leaks have enraged Bolsonaro’s supporters – crowds of whom demonstrated across Brazil on Sunday in support of Moro.
Greenwald and his husband David Miranda, a congressman for the leftist Socialism and Freedom party, have faced a barrage of threats, slander and homophobic abuse.
“This is what Bolsonaro and Moro are now doing: using the Federal Police they control to investigate me in retaliation for my reporting,” Greenwald tweeted.
But Greenwald and The Intercept are not backing down.
That – transparency for the corrupt acts by powerful officials – continues to be our governing value and primary objective in this reporting. The threats from Moro and the Bolsonaro government – including the abuse of the Federal Police commanded by Moro to investigate our finances – will, needless to say, not deter the reporting in the slightest.
This why we need independent, investigative, fearless reporting coupled with mechanisms that allow concerned people to secretly leak documents that expose corruption.