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Sun Oct 18, 2020, 12:06 PM

Bolsonaro Sent Spies W. Climate Negotiators In Order To Intimidate And Record Contacts At Summit

Brazilian newspaper Estadao revealed this week that four Brazilian secret agents were part of the country’s delegation, in a sign of president Jair Bolsonaro’s hostility to activists and the climate agenda. Three sources confirmed to Climate Home they had seen evidence of spy presence at the summit, which made Brazilian negotiators unusually wary of talking to campaigners. The sources asked not to be named, for fear of reprisals against them or their employers.

The Brazilian Intelligence Agency (Abin) agents presented themselves as “analysts”. Speaking anonymously, one agent told Estadao that the team’s goal was to pick up criticism of Brazil’s Amazon policy. Bolsonaro has sought to open the rainforest up to mining and ranching, removing environmental protections. The agent claimed environmentalists had not been registered although he said that their campaigns were a “cause for concern”.


The environmentalist told Climate Home this was “strange but not surprising” as they were expecting the government to make it “a hostile environment” for NGOs. There was a rumour that the Brazilian civil society pavilion was bugged so some discussions were held outside of it as a precaution. The source said that people they suspected were GSI/Abin agents were taking it in turns to sit in meetings and take notes. They said this intelligence-gathering was so obvious it was “funny”.

According to two other campaigners, government delegates were scared to be seen speaking to them, which had not been the case at any previous talks. They believed this was the first time Abin or the GSI had attended climate talks. One climate campaigner said they had approached one of the negotiators, who they had known for a long time. “He never looked at me while he walked,” they said. “And all of a sudden, near the sofas between pavilions, he jumps aside and hides behind a pillar. ‘I have already told you I can’t be seen with you, goddammit!’ That was their level of stress.”



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