It is becoming increasingly evident that the process that led to the imprisonment of Lula da Silva and the suppression of his political rights, was from the very beginning permeated with the most reprehensible fraud. The fraudulent behavior which took place under the governance of Operation Lava Jato (Car Wash), and notably Sérgio Moro, only confirms the proposition that ‘lawfare’ was waged, that the right used this legal operation as a political weapon.
The conversations that went back and forth over social networks for weeks have not only demonstrated just how much of a ruse Lava Jato was. They also testify to how the upper echelon of the bourgeois State is, in general, made up of people who are either from the middle class or directly from ruling class strata, and that these people have nothing but contempt for those who were not born in the social cradle from which they come. This is the basis on which they ridicule the figure being investigated, as well as lie, con, and manipulate both the judicial processes and the resulting sentences.
In short, the latest revelations of the conversations between the ‘lavajatista’ prosecutors, and in particular, those between the then Chief Prosecutor Deltan Dallagnol and lead judge Sérgio Moro (the mastermind of the fraudulent sentences), not only unveil the viscera of the operation, but reaffirm the urgency of calling for ‘suspeição’ against the former judge of Curitiba and the return of Lula’s political rights.
How and why Lula was convicted
Those who follow ‘Esquerda Online’ (Left Online) will most likely know how critical we are of ‘petista’ (PT – Workers’ Party) governments and their politics of conciliation with the right, as well as our belief in the need to build an alternative based on class independence here in Brazil. However, we have emerged from within the political camp of the left to denounce Lava Jato, a legal operation that never actually had the fight against corruption as its objective. The photos of Moro with some of the most corrupt figures of the Brazilian right, notably those from the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB), and his talk in support of former Brazilian PSDB president “FHC” Cardoso, all reveal the political leanings of the former judge that, in the final analysis, helped guide him in his sentencing of Lula, and help to explain the subsequent appointment of the ‘Executioner from Maringá’ as a minister in the Bolsonaro government.
After the parliamentary coup against PT President Dilma Rousseff in 2016, the bourgeoisie and its representatives sought to consolidate this step, which they did by excluding Lula da Silva from the 2018 presidential elections – elections that paved the way for the rise of the far-right. To make this happen, they forged evidence, committed illegalities, and used what was a juridical-political farce. This certainly would not have been possible without the support of the mainstream media, which likes to pose as professional journalism. There was coordination between the accusations of the Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office (MPF), the decisions made by Sérgio Moro, the actions of the Federal Police, and the media spectacle. None of this was left to chance.
As they say, a lie repeated a thousand times becomes the truth. On the basis of this old and sad axiom, the media, and the Globo network in particular, turned Lula into the most corrupt figure of the Republic without having the slightest evidence. Amid this storm, Chief Prosecutor Deltan Dallagnol even sat down with João Roberto Marinho, the vice-president of the Globo group, where they most likely agreed upon the communication strategy of Lava Jato-Globo. It was in this way that the deception was built, step by step, until it reached its conclusion with the capture of the main leader of the Brazilian left. The political imprisonment of Lula da Silva had an immediate objective: to prevent him from being a presidential candidate. The outcome of this farce was a rigged election in which Jair Bolsonaro was elected. Meanwhile, Lula remained a political prisoner until he completed 580 days in a prison cell.
During all this time, Esquerda Online has not shied away from making its space an instrument of the ‘Lula Livre’ (Free Lula) struggle. Now it is necessary to consolidate the victory that was obtained through his freedom, which means ensuring the ‘suspeição’ against Moro, annulling the sentences imposed on Lula, and returning to the PT leader his political rights.
The new revelations show class prejudice and a juridical-political swindle
The speech by prosecutor Januário Paludo is a lesson in class discrimination. In his words, “Without doubt, the place belongs to Lula, because the women’s clothes were very tacky. Horrible decor. Many types of liquor. Good quality wines, but badly kept. I found the place depressing ….”
Aside from the total lack of “proof”, the class nature of the whole process is in no way an accident. The people who occupy key positions in the Brazilian justice system investigate and issue judgments in the light of their social and racial background, their way of life and their ideological leanings; however, in the case of Operation Lava Jato, what must also be emphasized are the political demands of the large capitalist groups and the castes of Congress, the Armed Forces, the mainstream media and the judiciary that, with absolute certainty, played a central role in the criminal operation directed from Curitiba. Getting Lula out of the way was a powerful demand.
The constant references to the former metalworker’s nine fingers – “the nine is increasingly fragile”, “the shovel-load of lime is on the nine” wrote Deltan Dallagnol – show that social prejudice is a very real characteristic of public officials, who are in large part of bourgeois origin. In fact, the ideologies that discriminate against blacks, the poor, women, small farmers, and workers are inseparable parts of a tradition that, since the beginning of land colonization and enslavement of indigenous peoples and blacks, have accompanied over 500 years of history.
Such reactionary ideological inclinations appear repeatedly in the discussions of the prosecutors and the former judge. As important as examining them is, just as important is observing how each movement was designed to politically annihilate the enemy, who, although defending a program of admittedly moderate reforms, had become an obstacle to the bourgeoisie’s plans to regain direct control in order to embark on a program of the destruction of social rights.
As a result, this political swindle first prevented Lula from becoming Dilma’s minister, then incriminated him through the production of false evidence from those who sought ‘delação premiada’ (immunity from prosecution), such as those from construction company OAS and Dilma’s former Chief of Staff Antonio Palocci, and finally saw Lula imprisoned and his political rights annulled, which prevented him from running for the presidential position.
For Mr. Deltan, “the legal issue is just filigree within the greater political context”. His words are a confirmation of the ‘lawfare’ that took place, and make it crystal clear that the Lava Jato task force was at the service of a political struggle to remove the PT from power, imprison Lula, and open the door for an ultra-neoliberal political economy that could be applied far beyond anything previously, and above all else, for a right-wing government.
The talks that took place between Sérgio Moro and Deltan Dallagnol were at all times permeated with suspicious strategies that aimed to confine the main leader of the left to a cell and change the course of politics in the country. And to achieve these primary objectives, they counted on the services of authorities from imperialist countries, and in particular the United States, thus demonstrating that within Brazil, Lava Jato became an arm of very powerful international interests. “The inquiry merits direct contact with the US authorities,” says Moro in a discussion with Deltan Dallagnol.
But leaving aside issues that are not easy to look at in-depth here, the fact is that the irregularities and arbitrariness are laid bare in the Telegram conversations that were first revealed by ‘The Intercept’, and then in the messages gathered by the Federal Police in Operation Spoofing. In one of these chats, Mr. Deltan even deliberates on subpoenaing a possible witness based on “apocryphal news”, that is, spurious and inauthentic reports, thus revealing that he had safe conduct to tear down the procedural rules and practice any kind of abuse.
When prosecutor Januário Paludo says that “we will if necessary use the tactic used by the US in World War II to force the capitulation of Japan”, he reveals the purpose of the task force, which was to use weapons of mass destruction against Lula and the PT. According to the words of prosecutor Isabel Grobba, Lava Jato was the bulkhead for Sérgio Moro which allowed the former judge to act as the mafia ‘capo’ of an organization that used and abused clandestine wiretaps, intercepted the telephone calls of even the President of the Republic, manipulated judicial practices and fostered the figures of “vulture journalists”, who according to one prosecutor, should do no more than “play their role”, that is, lie to the entire country.
There is no just solution except for the restoration of Lula’s political rights
We are not discussing here what we think of ‘petista’ program and strategy. Neither are we debating electoral tactics for 2022, since the focus of the tactic we defend does not lie in a happy 2022, but in ‘Fora Bolsonaro’ (Bolsonaro Out), and now.
None of this erases our political and programmatic differences, but here and now, the main point of discussion is the return of what was stolen from Luís Inácio Lula da Silva: his political rights. Rights that were devoured in an operation of criminals known as Lava Jato, which with the blessings of the media, Congress, the Federal Supreme Court (STF), and “market forces”, wiped legal due process off the map.
The trail left behind by the Curitiba task force throws the door wide open on the partiality of Mr. Sérgio Moro and his team of prosecutors, highlights the political character of the Federal Police, and finally dismantles the theory that Lava Jato was an anti-corruption criminal operation, as it has revealed itself to be a criminal and deeply corrupted operation.
If anyone has the political authority to judge the ‘petista’ governments of class collaboration, it is not the bourgeoisie or the judiciary and its rotten procedural rites. It is the working masses before whom Lula must submit, and this is only possible with a ruling on the partiality of Sergio Moro, the annulment of the sentences against Lula, and the full restoration of the former trade union leader’s political rights.
* ‘Suspeição’ (Suspicion): A legal process that challenges the independence and impartiality of a judge or other legal arbitrator, in particular their subjectivity and state of mind to preside over a matter. Only a relative presumption of partiality (juris tantum) is required for a ruling of ‘suspeição’.
This article is an English translation of “Pela suspeição de Moro e restituição dos direitos políticos de Lula”, Esquerda Online (EOL), 08/02/2021.
Translation: Bobby Spark