Former Lava Jato prosecutor analyzed committee document from the North American Chamber of Deputies: “Giant feeling of lack of transparency and violation of the principle of legality”

Former federal deputy Deltan Dallagnol (Novo-PR) published on his profile on X (formerly Twitter), on Wednesday (April 17, 2024), what he called “initial legal analysis of the archives of the American Congress”. In Dallagnol’s assessment, the documents show “a terrifying pattern in the decisions of minister Alexandre de Moraes”, from the STF (Supreme Federal Court), to promote censorship in Brazil.

The files to which the former deputy refers were made public on Wednesday (April 17, 2024). In them, the Judicial Affairs Committee of the United States House of Representatives accuses Moraes of “censor” any Brazilian opposition with “a platform for criticism” to the current “left-wing government”, in reference to President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT). It also calls for action to continue with the investigation, which gained strength after the disclosure of the blocking of X accounts in Brazil and a public clash between the platform’s owner, businessman Elon Musk, and Moraes (read more below).

Read a summary of the notes made by the former Lava Jato prosecutor:

  • calls the TSE (Superior Electoral Court) Special Advisory Committee on Combating Misinformation “obscure organ”, which would have guided Moraes’ decisions, unduly assuming responsibilities of the PGR (Attorney General’s Office);
  • questions information about the creation and supervision of the Advisory Committee on Combating Disinformation, its activities and the group of public officials responsible for the activity. According to Dallagnol, because this information is not clear, there is “a huge feeling of lack of transparency and violation of the principle of legality”;
  • questions whether It also states that, “as third party”, X could appeal the decisions;
  • points “blatant illegality” in the account takedown orders issued by the STF, based on the Marco Civil da Internet. In the interpretation of the former prosecutor, “Court decisions can only take down content considered illegal, and there is no provision for taking down the entire account”. It highlights that the excluded publication must be duly specified in the court order.

Dallagnol concluded that “the revelations from the archives of the American Congress are very serious. They shed light on years of systematically abusive decisions against Brazilian citizens, our fellow countrymen, who suffered a serious regime of prior censorship and open and declared violation of fundamental rights in the name of ‘defending democracy’”.

Also according to the former deputy, democracy “served only one side, while demonizing, persecuting and crushing another”. In view of this, he called on Congress to act: “Or will we see tomorrow an even greater escalation of abuses, illegalities and authoritarian orders, with a new decision ordering the inclusion of the American Congress in the investigation into undemocratic acts and fake news? Will we hear tomorrow in the friendly press that the American Congress is part of a collusion with Elon Musk and the global far right, all part of a criminal disinformation organization?”, he questioned.

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Alexandre de Moraes determined on April 7 the inclusion of the owner of X as being investigated in the digital militias inquiry, filed in July 2021 and which investigates groups for conduct against democracy.

The minister also opened a new investigation to investigate Elon Musk’s conduct. The magistrate wants the crime of obstruction of justice to be investigated, “including criminal organization and incitement to crime”.

On April 6, Elon Musk asked why Minister Alexandre de Moraes “No Brazil demands so much censorship”. The businessman responded to a publication by the minister in X on January 11th.

Musk’s comment followed accusations made by American journalist Michael Shellenberger on April 3. According to Shellenberger, the minister has “led a case of widespread repression of freedom of expression in Brazil”.

The critical comments escalated the tone and Musk said that he is thinking about closing Twitter in Brazil and that he will publicize Moraes’ demands that violate laws. He also called the minister “tyrant”, “totalitarian” e “draconiano”saying he should “resign or be impeached”.

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On April 3, American journalist Michael Shellenberger published an alleged exchange of emails between employees of the legal sector of X in Brazil between 2020 and 2022 talking about requests and court orders received regarding content from its users.

The messages would show requests from various instances of the Brazilian Judiciary requesting personal data from users who used hashtags about the electoral process and content moderation.

Shellenberger specifically criticized STF (Supreme Federal Court) minister Alexandre de Moraes, criticizing him for “leading a case of widespread repression of freedom of expression in Brazil”.

According to him, Moraes issued decisions by the TSE (Superior Electoral Court) that “threaten democracy in Brazil” when asking for interventions in publications by members of the National Congress and personal account data – which would violate the platform’s guidelines. The records of the processes mentioned in the case are confidential.

The case was named Twitter Files Brazil in reference to the Twitter Files originally published in 2022, after Musk purchased X, in October of that year.

At the time, Musk delivered material to journalists that indicated how the social network, in the 2020 North American elections, collaborated with United States authorities to block users and suppress stories involving the son of the country’s presidential candidate Joe Biden.

The files published by journalists include email exchanges that reveal, to some extent, how Twitter reacted to requests from governments to intervene in the policy of publishing and removing content. In some cases, the social network ended up giving in.

In the Brazilian case, Musk was not indicated as the source who provided the material, however, the businessman criticized Moraes for a few days.

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