Our Brazilian correspondent Rocha has translated a fascinating article about the activities of Al Qaeda in Brazil. Here’s what Rocha has to say about it:
Once in a while I see interesting news stories about Brazil. Here is one of them. The writer is Josias de Souza, a columnist who writes for Folha de São Paulo, the biggest Brazilian newspaper.
He is also a leftie, but apart from Reinaldo Azevedo and Olavo de Carvalho, who isn’t in Brazilian newspapers?
And the translated article:
Police chief describes how “terrorism” infiltrates Brazil
- In the past, extremists used the country as a stopover
- Then they adopted children of prostitutes to stay in the country
- After that, they seduced Brazilians with a “radical song”
- Now they prepare actions from here against targets abroad
The revelations above were made by Police Chief Daniel Lorenz. Until the beginning of June he was the director of intelligence of Policia Federal [Brazilian FBI]. A week after leaving his office, he spoke to an audience at the Commission of Public Safety of the House of Representatives.
The session was convened by Raul Jungmann (PPS-PE), president of the commission, with the purpose of identifying the “actions of members of terrorist groups” in Brazil. The reporter received, last week, copy of the transcript from the audience. This Sunday (23), Jungmann published the full text on his blog.
Lorenz measured his words: “As the session is an open one, I will not enter into details in this matter.” Yet he delineated a crystal-clear scene. He said that PF only began to worry about terrorism in 1995.
Since that time the problem has been aggravated. Lorenz divided the crisis into four stages. In the beginning, Brazil was used by terrorists as a stopover. Today, said the Police Chief, the country is already a headquarters for the preparation of attacks on targets abroad.
Below is a summary of the four stages described by the Police Chief:
1. First stage: It was in this stage that PF determined that foreign “extremists” were using Brazil as an stopover. They passed mainly through the region of the tri-border area (Brazil-Argentina-Paraguay).
Lorenz confirmed something that was already in the news. In 1995 Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who would be known as the third man in the hierarchy of Al Qaeda, “entered by Rio de Janeiro and left by São Paulo.” The terrorist stayed briefly in Foz do Iguaçu.
The Police Chief was sorry because he could not go into details. But made it clear that Shaikh Mohammed was not here on vacation. “He was there, evidently, not to drink a beer nor to be a part of Carnaval, much less for the end-of-year festivities.”
Arrested in Pakistan in 2003, Shaikh Mohammed was taken to the yankee prison of Guantanamo and accused of participating in the September 11 attacks.
2. Second stage: Extremists used the laxness of Brazilian laws to “legalize” their permanence in the country. “I will not enter into details, because I can’t talk about it,” was the excuse again for Lorenz. But he specified:
“They sought a permanent visa in the country by means of […] adoption of Brazilians. That is, the adoption of the children of other people. They got close to women of easy living [prostitutes], adopted their children, and gained the condition of permanent residence in Brazil. That happened, that was the result, and that was very much followed by us. That would be the second moment.”
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3. Third stage: PF found that Brazilian citizens began to be co-opted by “extremists”. They were seduced, in the words of Lorenz, by the “radical song that everything is possible, that by being an insane terrorist you could have 72 virgins in heaven.” Lorenz was emphatic: “That already happened, that is still happening.”
At a certain point, Jungmann asked if it was true that Brazilians went to Iran to train in terrorist tactics. And the Police Chief said: “[…] I can say to you that not only to Iran, Not only. Please excuse me, sir, but I cannot give details […].”
4. Fourth stage: That, for now, is “the final degree” of action of “extremists” on Brazilian soil. It involves, said Lorenz, “the preparation” of terrorist attacks on targets located abroad. The Police Chief mentioned the case of “Mister K.”
He is a Lebanese citizen in São Paulo. He is married to a Brazilian, with whom he had a daughter. In May the reporter Jânio de Freitas revealed that K. was arrested, charged with involvement with Al Qaeda [I translated a text from the Reinaldo Azevedo Blog about it a few months ago. — translator].
Minister Tarso Genro (Minister of Justice) hastened to say: “There is no organized terrorist focus in Brazil.” The Lebanese K., he said, was arrested due to “racism”.
The PF charged him with racism because the Brazilian Legislature does not contemplate the crime of terrorism, said Lorenz in the House of Representatives. That’s why he had his prison sentence relaxed [he was freed] after 21 days in prison. Judging by what the Police Chief said, the case of Lebanese K. was not even unique. Lorenz expressed himself in the plural:
“We have the perception of these aliens who are now in Brazil and are evidently not executing extremist actions in this country, but, as exemplified by Mister K., starting recruitment programs, support, training, logistics, and reconnaissance for terrorist actions outside the country.
He added: “They utilize our country as a peaceful place. From it, they leave to help these extremist organizations, of note in this case [that of Mister K.] Al Qaeda.”
Lorenz said that Lebanese K. acted on the internet using encrypted files. But the PF managed to access them, remotely, at the moments that, in use by the author, they were open. Lorenz:
“This Mister K. had two houses in São Paulo, and coordinated what we call a media battalion of jihadists. Initially that was only proselytizing for the goals defended by Al-Qaeda as it transformed itself in a space for recruitment, supply, communication training, and operational security, a place of support, and also a place from which emerged what they called battle orders for actions outside the country.”
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The exposition of Lorenz contrasted with declarations made by minister Jorge Félix [Institutional Security of the Presidency]. Also invited to the session in the House of Representatives, the general minimized the actions of extremists in Brazilian soil.
Félix himself recognized: “[…] Even though there appears to be a problem [related to terrorism], we will solve it — that is our responsibility and duty — and we will not admit that the problem existed.” So in this matter, what the general says cannot be taken seriously.