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Brazzil - Technology - August 2003

Who Sabotaged the Brazilian Rocket?

Brazilian authorities say they are not dismissing the possibility
that the accident that killed 21 Brazilian space technicians in
the Alcântara Space Base was an act of sabotage. Who would
benefit from this crime? The US and its allies. No one has
the right to think Brazil is a country of inept technicians.

Carlos Chagas


After being thought and spoken hypotheses cannot either be forgotten by the brain that thought them out or silenced by the voice that pronounced them. They don't belong to their creators anymore and they become a patrimony of society, little mattering if for better or for worse. What have they thought and told the press, the Science and Technology Minister, Roberto Amaral and Brigadier Tiago da Silva Ribeiro, general coordinator for the launching of the Brazilian rocket that exploded in Alcântara, state of Maranhão, killing 21 space technicians? That they don't dismiss the hypothesis of sabotage in the incident?

The world sabotage was also used three years ago when the first rocket also exploded the same way as this one, sidetracked apparently by radio signals sent nobody knows by whom or from where. The Brazilian Air Force intelligence service had been investigating for two weeks new and unknown radio signals, which prompted the postponement of the launching.

As dangerous and explosive this reasoning might be, we need to go ahead and investigate the hypotheses raised by the Minister and the Brigadier. If they don't dismiss the idea of sabotage it's because they admit its possibility. Who would be interested in sabotaging the Brazilian rocket euphemistically called "satellite launcher", but in reality a missile with a reasonable range?

All you need is to add two and two. This would interest the powers that detain the most sophisticated missile technologies and that watch over time how more and more nations enter this little club they would love closed for ever. There's special mention to the hegemonic power, which has become alone and absolute in its domination of the planet, imposing its interest by all means it can line up. The more other countries are able to have missiles, the more vulnerable they and their allies will be.

Russia, Ukraine, China, India, Pakistan, Iran and North Korea forced the door of the club where France, England and others had, under the US presidency, titles of athlete members.

Why not present Brazil, the country where placidity was imposed by force? In the early 1990s they forced then President Fernando Collor de Mello to renounce any nuclear tests, signing non-proliferation treaties that they will never sign themselves. The humiliation was even worse. Collor had to go to Serra do Cachimbo, with an ample and embarrassed retinue of attendants, to symbolically seal with cement a chimney that could be used for underground explosions.

They knew the Navy was working in the field and they compelled the government to abandon every thing. Who did it? Ironically and in writing, it was then President George Bush, father of the present White House tenant.

The Government Should Investigate

In the missiles case, the situation is more complicated. How can you coerce in the open a country so that they won't launch their own artificial satellites, an absolute must for the century that just began? This way, sabotage, turns up as a solution if the rocket, with small alterations can be transformed into a defense or attack missile.

It will be as hard to prove sabotage in Alcântara as it is to believe that the recent attack to the UN compound in Baghdad was the work of the unknown and histrionic group "Mohammad's Soldiers." Saddam Hussein's followers may be fanatic, but stupid they aren't. Why would they attack the UN headquarters precisely under the high commissioner's window, knowing that he was in favor of the withdrawal of the invading coalition troops and their replacement by other nations' soldiers?

We need to ask the question asked in detective stories: who would benefit from this crime? Who wins and who loses with the inevitable delay in our space program after the explosion of the second rocket? No one has the right to think Brazil is a country of inept, amateurish and irresponsible technicians. Quite the contrary, if we show capacity in a number of other sectors, from agriculture to industry, it would be ludicrous to imagine that we are stupid in the aerospace sector, despite the natural economic-financial difficulties that put the First World in the vanguard.

To the powerful the backyard must continue backyard. A mere region to export raw material, destined to receive the crumbs of obsolete technologies. In decades past we became one of the largest producers of weapons, selling tanks to Libya, the Middle East and Far East countries. Where did our rising war industry end up if not strangled by the big powers? We are faced with conjectures that cannot be silenced. If our authorities admit sabotage in Alcântara, the least we can do is try and investigate it.


Carlos Chagas writes for the Rio's daily Tribuna da Imprensa and is a representative of the Brazilian Press Association, in Brasília. He welcomes your comments at carloschagas@hotmail.com

This article appeared originally in Tribuna da Imprensa - http://www.tribuna.inf.br




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