Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Morning News: Fingerpointing Fandango (Cont'd).

No, they haven't fixed anything in the faulty aviation system in Brazil since the disaster over the Amazon just over a year ago (unless you count drastically reducing the number of flights allowed to use Sao Paulo's dangerous Congonhas airport after the July air crash disaster there).

They're too busy pointing fingers, as they have been now for over for a year. Undoubtedly, corruption is rife in the aviation system. But financial corruption had nothing directly to do with why two aircraft were placed on a collision course at 37,000 feet over the Amazon on Sept. 29, 2006, resulting in 154 deaths. And note, in the second item, that action has been taken against an air traffic controller -- for talking to the media.

Some fresh excerpts from the news, translation as usual courtesy of Richard Pedicini in Sao Paulo:

"Via FAB clipping

O Estado de S. Paulo

Controller is under arrest for giving interview

The director of mobilization of the Brazilian Association of Air Traffic Controllers (ABCTA), sergeant Edleuzo Cavalcante, is since yesterday serving in Brasila the eight days of administrative jailing that he received from his heirarchical superiors, for having given an interview, in which he criticized the FAB Command, without authorization from his boss. During the day the sergeant works normally and at night stays at the barracks of the 6th Regional Air Command.


Via Aeroclipping

O GloboVoting of Aviation Blackout CPI report is put off Report referee asks for accusation of 23 people and accuses ex-president of Infraero of heading gang

BRASILIA -- The final report of the Senate Aviation Blackout CPI [my note: that's one of a handful of investigative committees] accuses the ex-president of Infraero, congressman Carlos Wilson (PT-PE), of commanding a "gang" set up in the state-owned firm, accused of diverting close to R$500 million in construction work at 11 airports. The voting of the report, authored by senator Demóstenes Torres (DEM-GO), was put off until Tuesday, after the PT party congressman Jogo Pedro (AM) asked for time to read the report, at the government's direction.

With this, the Planalto [presidential palace] gained time to lay out a strategy to remove from the document the names of directors of Infraero accused of fraud. Despite saying that the supposed scheme of corruptions crosses party lines, the report harshly attacks the management of [now congressman Carlos] Wilson. The ex-president responded strongly accusing Demóstenes of being "long known for the practice of talking loud". The senator talked back, ironically: "(Carlos Wilson) is the St. George of a brothel, seeing everything and doing nothing."

The report recommends the accusation of 23 people, among them Wilson and National Civil Aviation Agency ex-director Denise Abreu. And asks for the Federal Police to trace the bank accounts of 18 contractors and consortiums supposedly benefited by the [airport construction] bids. Though them, almost R$1 billion flowed, the CPI points out.

The document accused the state firm's ex-director of engineering, Eurico José Bernardo Loyo, of "being the patron and intermediary of private interests along with the administration of the Infraero firm."


Folha de S. Paulo

Marcelo Neves: Anachronistic Militarism

I only found five countries, besides Brazil, which maintain total control of air traffic under the reponsibility of the military

THE RECENT crisis in the aviation sector may throw light on the question of the linking of civil aviation, especially air traffic control, to the Air Force. The constitutional consistency and the social adequacy of militarization of this highly globalized sector are questioned.

In relation to the consitutional consistency, it's verified that, as per Article 142 of the Constitution, the Armed Forces "are destined to the defense of the Country, the guarantee of the constitutional Powers and, for initiative of any of them, of law and order".

Within the orientation of the strict delimitation of the attributions of the Armed Forces in relation to the redemocratization set down in the 1988 Federal Contitution, the amplification of its functions on the level of infraconstitutional legislation is debatable.

However, Brazilian legislation led the the hypertrophy of the Armed Forces by means of militarization of a civilian sector in prejudice to the constitutional model of strict delimitization of its functions.

More problematic still is the question relative to the capacity of one of the Armed Forces, the Air Force, to respond to the demands of civil aviation in a complex global society.

In this particular, it's relevant to consider the solution of the problem in comparative law. I only found five countries, besides Brazil, that maintain total control of air traffic under the responsibility of the military: Eritreia, Ethiopia, Somalia, Uruguay, and in transition to demilitarization, Argentina.

Among the developed countries in Western Europe and North America, civil aviation is out of the field of competence of the military sector. Some examples are illustrative.

In the United States, the greatest military and warlike power, the cornerstone of the regulation of civil aviation was set in 1926, when the sector was subordinated to the Department of Commerce. In 1958 was created, in this department's sphere, the Federal Aviation Agency, which had its name changed to Federal Aviation Administration in 1967, when it was linked to the Department of Transportation.

At no time, in the USA, a country which supervalues "national defense," were the Armed Forces given the role of regulating of operating civil aviation, including air traffic control, except for interference in time of war. ..."


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