Book gives Brazil military's version of dictatorship

AFP, Monday 21 Jan 2013

Former military officers are countering accounts of abuses during Brazil's 1964-1985 dictatorship with a new, briskly selling book that takes aim at President Dilma Rousseff, a former guerrilla who underwent torture

"Orvil: Attempted Power Grabs" is going into a second printing after a 3,000 copy first run that initially sold in only four book stores and military clubs and circles in 14 cities, the daily Estado de Sao Paulo reported Thursday. The book recounts abuses during Brazil's dictatorship era 1964-1985, taking aim at president Dilam Rousseff.

Written by former army intelligence officers, the 943-page tome is intended as a rejoinder to Rousseff's creation of a seven-member Truth Commission.

Rousseff, who was jailed for nearly three years by the military in the 1970's and tortured as a member of a banned leftist group, swore in the panel last May.

Tasked with probing rights abuses perpetrated from 1946 to 1988, the commission is notably investigating the disappearance of leftist opponents of the dictatorship.

The perpetrators are protected by an amnesty law upheld by the Supreme Court in 2010.

In the book's foreword, retired General Geraldo Luiz Nery da Silva gives vent to the military's anger over the probe.

"The revenge-seeking leftists rulers, not satisfied with the serious monetary restrictions imposed on the armed forces and with the discriminatory treatment inflicted on the military in all its aspects, mainly financial, had the nerve to create, with congressional backing, what they called the 'Truth Commission.'"

The book is authored by retired lieutenant-colonel Jose Conegundes do Nascimento. Some 30 other officers also contributed but refused to be identified.

"Orvil" -- the title is the Portuguese word for book spelled backwards -- describes the 1964 military coup that toppled then leftist president Joao Goulart.

It also details the activities of armed groups that fought the military regime from 1966 to 1975, and mentions the 64-year-old Rousseff three times.

"Learn about the subversive and terrorist groups and their leaders. Learn about the truth told by members of the intelligence community. Discover the truth which those in power do not want Brazil to know," the authors wrote.

The Brazilian government officially recognizes 400 dead and missing during the military dictatorship, compared with 30,000 in Argentina and more than 3,200 in Chile.

Unlike other South American countries ruled by right-wing dictatorships that committed political abuses and killings from the 1960s to the 1980s -- Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Chile -- Brazil has never put the perpetrators on trial.

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights in November 2010 dismissed Brazil's amnesty law as legally invalid, saying it was incompatible with the American Convention on Human Rights.

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