Cablegate: Counterterrorism in Brazil: Judge Blasts

DE RUEHBR #1493/01 3221245
R 171245Z NOV 08




E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (SBU) Summary: During a conference on international
organized crime held by the Brazil-based International Forum
of Justice in Campo Grande, Matto Grosso do Sul from October
15-17, federal judge Odilon de Oliveira delivered a speech
that was blistering in its criticism of the Brazilian
government's lax posture on confronting terrorism, citing as
examples the failure to pass anti-terrorism legislation,
refusing to treat the Sao Paulo based PCC (First Capital
Command) and other gangs, as well as Hizballah and FARC, as
terrorist groups and turning a blind eye to their activities
abroad as well as domestically (see septel for additional
reporting on the conference). Oliveira and his efforts to
fight international organized crime in Matto Grosso do Sul --
which sees the trafficking of guns and drugs across the
state's borders with Paraguay and Bolivia regularly -- have
gained him immense respect in Brazil and made him an
effective advocate for a vigorous response from the
government and society against the global threat of
terrorism, one whom Post is already working with to spread
his message and expertise more broadly within Brazil. End

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A Lonely Battle Against Terrorism, Money Laundering
--------------------------------------------- ------

2. (SBU) Before his presentation poloff and Embassy's
Resident Legal Advisor (RLA) spoke to Oliveira, who spoke
briefly about his disappointment with recent criticism of his
work and that of the money laundering courts, by Supreme
Court (STF) president Gilmar Mendes (ref A), who compared the
courts to militias because they working together with
prosecutors and special federal police units, something
Mendes considers inappropriate. Oliveira thought the money
laundering courts were one of the most effective tools Brazil
has for fighting organized crime and terrorism, and that only
by working in conjunction with the other elements of the law
enforcement community could they be effective, particularly
as Brazil lacks other legal tools to fight terrorism, such as
an anti-terrorism law. He took Mendes criticism to be
another indication that in Brazil those pursuing criminals
have a higher chance of being punished that the criminals

3. (SBU) With regards to money laundering, RLA raised the
possibility of working together to put together a training
course for the 27 judges in Brazil who specialize in money
laundering, perhaps bringing in judges from Argentina and
Paraguay. Oliveira indicated he would support such an effort
and pledged to participate in it.

Brazil is Turning a Blind Eye

4. (U) Judge de Oliveira started his presentation -- which
was held before a crowd of Brazilian and international
prosecutors and judges, Brazilian police officers from
several states, local law school students, and hundreds of
cadets from the state military police academy -- by defining
terrorism as "the illegal use of physical violence or
psychological intimidation against the state, authorities, or
population motivated by religious, nationalist, moral or
ethnic reasons." In addition to categorizing the different
terrorist groups around the world, such as Al-Qaida,
Hizballah, HAMAS, and FARC, according to their motivation,
he, interestingly, added a kind of terrorism he called
"administrative terrorism", that encompasses gangs such as
the PCC, that seek to attack or replace the repressive police

5. (U) Unfortunately, according to judge Oliveira, Brazilian
national leaders continue to ignore the reality that there is
evidence that all of the groups mentioned, in fact, had or
continue to have, a presence in Brazil. He observed that,

BRASILIA 00001493 002 OF 003

while Brazilian leaders have approved international
anti-terrorism conventions they did so only as a sop to the
international community, not because Brazilians believe in
the threat. "If the government is truly concerned about the
threat", he noted, "why is there no anti-terrorism law?" He
further called on the Brazilian government to pass
legislation to rectify this situation, adding, "how is it
possible that we have not updated the only law we have
against terrorism, which dates to 1984, a time of military
dictatorship?" Further he added, "we have an inadequate money
laundering law that Brazil only grudgingly passed after ten
years of pressure from the international community."

--------------------------------------------- ----------
There is terrorism in Brazil, both domestic and international
--------------------------------------------- ----------

6. (U) Oliveira also noted what to him was the astounding
contrast between Brazil's refusal to recognize the threat
with his observation that Brazil, in fact, "has a tradition
of terrorism within its borders". Noted Oliveira, "there is
extensive evidence of terrorist activity in Brazil," adding,
"I personally judged cases of individuals linked to terrorist
organizations such as Hizballah involved in identity document
fraud and various financial crimes." He further noted that
terrorists involved in various attacks have been in Brazil,
including Marwan al Safadi, who participated in the 1993
World Trade Center bombing, and 9-11 mastermind Khalid Sheykh
Mohammed. "How can it be that their presence in Brazil fails
to move Brazil to action" he protested, "even after knowing
that (the latter) was responsible for twenty Brazilians
losing their lives in the September 11 attacks."

7. (U) Oliveira then showed powerful emotional newsreel
footage that visibly disturbed the attendees showing the
aftermath of terrorist acts, including beheadings, the
attacks in Iraq that killed Brazilian diplomat Sergio Viera
de Mello, and attacks conducted by the PCC in Sao Paulo in
2006. After showing a clip of the aftermath of the 1994 AMIA
bombing, de Oliveira asked, "if Hizballah can attack in
Argentina, why couldn't they attack in Brasilia? We know they
already operate in Brazil and yet we have no solidarity with
our Argentine brothers and refuse to identify Hizballah as a
terrorist group."

8. (U) He also criticized the government for failing to stand
in solidarity with Colombia, another Latin American country
who has suffered from the scourge of terrorism. According to
Oliveira, "Colombia was right when it conducted an attack
along the border with Ecuador against Raul Reyes, and Brazil
should have recognized Colombia's right to defend itself."
But, on the contrary, Brazil is "timid and merciful when it
comes to terrorists." Observing that the FARC has a presence
in Brazil (and showing a newsreel of a Brazilian along the
border with Colombia who claimed to witness FARC movements),
he criticized Brazil for granting asylum to 475 FARC soldiers
(56 during the Fernando Henrique Cardoso era and 411 during
the Lula government). Calling it an insult to the victims of
the group's terrorism, he also decried the asylum granted
Francisco Antonio Cadena (see ref b for more on Cadena's
asylum), FARC representative in Brazil, done with support
from leftist political parties in Brazil who mobilized
against his extradition to Colombia. Going further, he
blasted the government for giving a job to Cadena's wife,
Angela Maria Slongo (Note: According to various news reports,
Slongo was nominated by the Office of the Presidency to a
position in the Special Secretariat for Fisheries. End note.)

9. (U) He criticized what he sees as the government's
ineffectual response to the threat from the PCC and other
gangs in Brazil, who Brazil still treats with kid gloves, but
which, as a result of their evolution from prison gangs into
international criminal organizations that use terrorist
tactics, merit more than business-as-usual countermeasures.
(Note: In discussions with RLA at the margins of the
conference, a Portuguese prosecutor who attended the
conference noted that Brazil's gangs were operating in

BRASILIA 00001493 003 OF 003

Portugal, and that Portugal would be looking for cooperation
from Brazil and the United States in order to learn about the
threat and how to confront it. End note.) The PCC committed
over 1000 criminal actions, including killing 185 people, 115
of which were policemen, according to Oliveira. Today the
group is increasingly active in this state, along the borders
with Paraguay and Colombia, but the government is doing
little about, he noted. (Note: three days before, on 14
October, Matto Grosso do Sul daily Folha do Povo reported
that five Brazilian members of the PCC had been arrested in
Paraguay, close to the border with Matto Grosso do Sul, for
trafficking drugs into Brazil. End note.)


10. (U) Closing his presentation, judge Oliveira outlined a
set of common sense and fairly easy to implement steps Brazil
could take in order to step up its contribution to the fight
against terrorism and implored Brazil's leaders to move
forward on them: enforce Brazilian laws, particularly those
dealing with money laundering and organized crime; enforce
treaties; grant extraditions; enact anti-terrorism
legislation; identify or designate terrorists groups; not
associate in any way with members of terrorist groups; and
finally, not grant asylum to terrorists.


11. (SBU) Our working-level relationship with our
counterterrorism partners within Brazil's law-enforcement
community continues to be excellent. It is nevertheless the
case that at the policy levels Brazil does not see terrorism
as a security issue for the country. Instead, Brazilian
high-level officials couch their counterterrorism rhetoric in
terms of solidarity with those who have suffered from
terrorist attacks and in terms of helping prevent the use of
Brazilian territory for attacks in the United States.
Brazil's failure to deal with terrorism as a matter of
government policy can be attributed in part to the perception
that terrorism is principally a U.S.-based problem, a belief
that is in turn exacerbated by a dearth of independent
Brazilian experts who can criticize the government's position
without being seen as pawns of the United States. Judge
Oliveira, on the other hand is one of a handful of people in
Brazil who have thought seriously about issues related to
terrorism and how they could impact Brazil. Poloff and RLA
discussed and are already working with Oliveira to shed some
light on the issues he raised in his presentation with
different audiences within Brazil, through training courses
and fora. He will be an important and powerful voice in
Brazil that can be added to the project now under way -- with
the help of the Counterterrorism Awareness Program, which
sent two Brazilian International Visitors to the United
States to meet with counterterrorism experts -- to create a
critical mass of experts within Brazil who can argue, more
effectively than post can, why Brazil also faces this global
threat and why Brazil should take steps -- beyond the
operational level -- to confront it. End comment.

© Scoop Media

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