External resources relating to Brazil

A police operation in a Rio favela has left at least eight people dead amid allegations that some of the victims were innocent residents executed in a revenge mission after a police officer was killed there this week. Police said they were attacked by drug gangsters.

The bloody operation in the Rocinha favela, located near postcard beaches like Leblon, came six months after the army briefly occupied the favela following a week of gun battles between rival drug gangs, and five weeks after president Michel Temer put the military in charge of Rio security.

 

Brazilian president Michel Temer has signed a decree putting the military in charge of security in Rio de Janeiro, following a rise in street crime and drug gang violence.

Massed robberies and gunfights during carnival, followed by a storm that killed four and caused chaos, have heightened a sense that the city is slipping out of control.

“I am taking this extreme measure because the circumstances demand it,” Temer said after signing the decree on Friday. “Enough.”

The army has operated in Rio during the last year and did so during the Olympics and the World Cup.

How did tear gas became the go-to weapon in riot control, what are its real health implications, and why should we trace the money when it comes to understanding the increase in crowd-control weapons around the world?

The world was stunned when rifle-toting police officers in masks and body armour rolled up in Ferguson, Missouri, in armoured vehicles, to stop the 2014 street protests over the police shooting of black teenager Michael Brown.

Following the public backlash, then-president Obama signed an executive order in 2015 limiting police access to equipment that belonged "on the battlefield".

Fast forward two years to Donald Trump. This week the US President promised to make it legal again for surplus military equipment, including grenade launchers and tanks, to be passed on to law enforcement agencies.

Israeli military companies such as Elbit Systems appear invincible, yet Israel’s arms industry is more vulnerable than it seems. Al-Shabaka guest author Maren Mantovani and Policy Advisor Jamal Juma’ examine both national and global trends and identify avenues for human rights activists to pursue to hold Israel accountable under international law.

Israel’s biggest military companies last year rang alarm bells over a decline in international contracts, citing smaller budgets, more competition, and less desire for Israeli-made products as among the reasons. Is this an indicator that Israel’s arms industry might not be as invincible as it seems? What led arms deals with Israeli companies to fall through? What was the role of the Palestinian-led movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), which has called for military sanctions as part of its campaign to promote human rights? 1

In this Al-Shabaka policy brief, Maren Mantovani and Jamal Juma analyze some of the trends facing Israel’s military industrial complex with a particular focus on the campaign against Elbit Systems. The brief examines the tough times facing the industry, the myth of Israeli technological superiority, the industry’s local and global shifts, and the alliances emerging to reverse the militarization and securitization of societies. Based on this analysis, they draw valuable lessons and identify avenues for the global Palestine solidarity movement to pursue.

This image shows South American state-owned companies that produce law enforcement equipment, providing information on the goods they produce, transfers, commercial alliances and promotional activity.  Company ownership provides states with additional control over the manufacture and trade of law enforcement equipment, but also comes with human rights obligations.

In this epoch of economic and security crises, Brazil has embarked on the enormous task of hosting the 2016 Olympic Games. To improve its security issues, and consequently draw foreign direct investment, Brazil has expanded its security forces. Over the last decade, these forces have carried out numerous extrajudicial killings. The increase in their numbers has therefore heightened the potential for more police brutality, and Brazil is neglecting its obligation to protect the lives of its citizens.

The International Institute of Strategic Studies earlier this year called Mexico the third most deadly conflict in the world. While the war is purportedly between the state and drug traffickers, Mexican police, military and civilian institutions are deeply involved in protecting drug trafficking organizations, and many of those killed, tortured, or disappeared are Mexican and Central American families who have nothing to do with the drugs trade. European and U.S. governments and arms producers are well aware of the Mexican government’s involvement in widespread abuses, which is well documented, but the weapons kept flowing...

Meet the Israeli company that has a contract with the Organizing Olympic Committee for the 2016 Games in Rio / Conheça a empresa israelense que tem um contrato com o Comitê Organizador dos Jogos 2016 no Rio. [En/Pt]

Latin America is witnessing a steady movement toward the militarization of the police, with the armed forces taking over many of the day to day functions of community policing.  But given Latin America’s past troubles with military governments, this development is raising serious concerns. In the 1960s and 1970s a spate of coups across the region brought harsh right-wing regimes to power, with the governments of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay deploying their militaries as internal security forces, purging their countries of domestic political opponents, real and imagined. Now many fear that we may be heading back toward the bad old days, with unbridled militaries running riot over the citizenry...

Across the hemisphere, we have recently seen violent clashes between protesters and militarized police forces. Tipping point events—such as the clashes in Brazil in the summer of 2013 and in Ferguson, Missouri last month—have provoked public outrage and calls for “de-militarization” of police forces. While the outrage is sometimes too fleeting to compel change, the events make the public and the media aware of conditions that affected populations have known for decades. While the roots of police militarization in Brazil differ from those in Ferguson and other U.S. cities, the consequences are the same.

Across the hemisphere, we have recently seen violent clashes between protesters and militarized police forces. Tipping point events—such as the clashes in Brazil in the summer of 2013 and in Ferguson, Missouri last month—have provoked public outrage and calls for “de-militarization” of police forces. While the outrage is sometimes too fleeting to compel change, the events make the public and the media aware of conditions that affected populations have known for decades. While the roots of police militarization in Brazil differ from those in Ferguson and other U.S. cities, the consequences are the same...

The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) has called for this campaign for ISDS and other companies complicit with Israeli apartheid to be banned from the Olympics, for pressure until the Olympics will be free of apartheid.

The report, Preach What You Practice: The Separation of Military and Police Roles in the Americas, from the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) provides a background briefing on key distinctions between military and police functions. It calls on the Obama Administration to change direction, and stop encouraging the military forces of other countries to take on roles that would be illegal for the U.S. Armed Forces to carry out at home. The authors, a team of WOLA’s regional security experts, set out specific steps to be taken by both United States and countries in the region.

Israeli military exports to South America have been on the rise in the recent years. Brazil is gearing up to become the gateway for Israeli military technology and companies. Israel continues to be a top supplier of the Colombian military. Ecuador, while not having extensive military ties with Israel, has recently purchased drone aircraft. Chile, already a buyer of Israeli arms, also has expressed interest in similar drone technology.

It is the goal of this report to analyze these trends, both in light of recent events and also as they relate to the history of Israeli involvement in South America. We will highlight that it is impossible for South America’s democratic governments to reconcile protection of human rights - whether at home or abroad - with military ties and arms trade with Israel.

Any military ties with Israel support the state’s policies of occupation, apartheid and ethnic cleansing, policies whose sustainability depends on Israeli military capacities and the profits deriving from its military industry,  and adversely affect the Palestinians and their struggle. Israel has developed an indigenous military industry that produces much of the equipment used by its military.  International buyers help ensure the survival of the Israeli military industry.

The annual Security & Policing (S&P) exhibition is marketed to both sellers and buyers by the Home Office, the department responsible for MI5, as a “closed” gathering from which the public and media are barred. All visitors must receive official approval prior to entry. Officials insist that the sensitive nature of some of the equipment on display – from mobile phone interception devices to sonic crowd control instruments – in the vast Farnborough International conference centre make it necessary to prevent any external scrutiny. But documents seen by i show that Britain has nonetheless thrown open the door to delegations from countries known to have poor human rights records. A list of the 61 countries invited to the show, obtained under Freedom of Information rules, includes six countries which feature of the Government’s own list of “human rights priority” countries, among them Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Colombia. It also includes Brazil, Hong Kong, Kenya, Nigeria and Thailand – all countries where there have been recent allegations of police abuse.

The militarization of police units has been a longstanding policy in Latin America well before it received attention from the U.S. media. U.S. bilateral assistance to countries in Latin America has encouraged the adoption of military equipment and military training for local police forces.   While the U.S. prohibits the armed forces from assisting police forces at home, the practice of technology transfer and military training in-country has been a cornerstone of U.S. policy in Latin America and the Caribbean for years. The logic is that crime and violence have overwhelmed local police forces—weak and corrupt to begin with—and therefore the armed forces are necessary for the state to provide security.   But that comes with huge risks...