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Re: INSIGHT - BRAZIL - On military purchases

Released on 2012-02-27 15:00 GMT

Email-ID 971109
Date 2010-10-18 17:14:03
there was a lengthy Economist article just recently about how a German
industrial giant (maybe Siemens) had really turned around after years of
corrupt practices. It is one thing to make it illegal, it is another to
actually clean house and end the practices. So the French may be further
behind the curve on the latter -- also, they're getting desperate on the
Rafale, since they're going to have to start shutting down the line

On 10/18/2010 11:08 AM, Marko Papic wrote:

ATTRIBUTION: U.S. officials in Brazil
SOURCE DESCRIPTION: FSO stationed in Rio, in charge of econ cooperation
SOURCE Reliability : A

Asked a good source of mine in Rio what he thought about our internal
discussion on Brazil and its military purchases. This was a phone
conversation from Sunday, so I am going from memory on a lot of this.
This was his answer:

You are correct to be asking yourself what in God's name Brasilia is
doing. Look, Brazilian navy is shit. It is a joke, and I would know
because I talk to our military personnel at the consulate all the time
about this. That they went for nuclear subs makes no sense. In fact, the
fact they want the Rafale's and Gripen's is a joke too. The F-18 is the
best piece of hardware. We even gave them as much tech transfer as we
give anyone, short of the Israelis. We literally gave them a package
that said "you get everything, shade under the Israeli deal." It is a
great deal and anyone would love to have it. Instead they're looking at
the Rafale, which is overpriced even with price cuts, and the Gripen
which is just shit. You purchase Gripen's if you're Slovakia.

Our thinking, and we are pretty unified on this view, here at the
Consulate and in the wider diplo community is that there are some
serious kick backs going on. Brazil is an astonishingly corrupt country.
However, our Treasury Department forbids us to pad their wallets the way
the French can. That really is it. Remember that deal in Pakistan that
led to the deaths of a bunch of French officials? Guess what that was
about? Sale of three French submarines for $1 billion. The French
supposedly had a kick back deal with Pakistan, which is why Pakistan
bought the subs in the first place. [MP: later the French reneged on
paying the kickback, which -- the theory goes -- resulted in the deaths
of French engineers in 2002].

I can't prove anything, and don't quote me on this, but the purchase of
the submarines is so singularly stupid that it has to be part of some
kickbacks. Lula is probably looking for retirement money. And look, the
purchase came interestingly close to the end of his term. Same with the
jets. Our Treasury Department is really vindictive on bribes. We can't
do any real business because of it in a corrupt place like Brazil. The
French have no such problems [MP: not saying I disagree, but I believe
the French have also made bribing illegal].

So I am sorry that I can't give you some grand explanation that talks of
Brazil's grand strategy. It is our assessment that this is purely about
bribes and the French using strategies they have applied in the past
here in Brazil. The only difference is that Brazil now has money, lots
of it, so it can do this stuff. I mean is it a coincidence that they are
buying so much French stuff? The French know how to bribe.


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Marko Papic

Geopol Analyst - Eurasia


700 Lavaca Street - 900

Austin, Texas

78701 USA

P: + 1-512-744-4094