How WikiLeaks Revitalized Brazil’s Media

Natalia Viana in The Nation:

ScreenHunter_03 Aug. 02 00.00As the Boeing 777 from London arrived at the gate of Guarulhos International Airport in São Paulo on December 2, 2010, its passengers queued up to deplane, many with the local newspaper under their arm. “Brazil fears terrorism at the 2016 Olympics, says US Embassy” blared the headline of the daily Folha de S. Paulo—a front-page story generated from the first of tens of thousands of classified US diplomatic cables obtained and released by the whistleblower website WikiLeaks. Unnoticed among those passengers was a young woman with a backpack slung over her shoulder. Concealed within a bundle of messy clothing inside her bag was a pen drive containing nearly 3,000 sensitive cables to and from the US Embassy and consulates in Brazil between 2003 and 2010—a cache of documents provided by WikiLeaks.

This trove of records covered the two terms of President Inacio “Lula” da Silva’s progressive government and captured the policies, operations and diplomatic efforts of US presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, as well as those of the Brazilian government itself, at a time when the country was on the rise as a world-class economic and political power. As WikiLeaks-generated stories appeared in the Brazilian media in the ensuing months, the cables would reveal how the Bush White House curried favor with the country’s defense minister and military, how Bush tried to persuade Brazil to spy on Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, and how the Obama administration became increasingly uncomfortable with Brazil’s close relationship with Iran. Brazilians would learn some startling details about their own government as well.

More here.