Where Are Don & Bruno?

The worrying disappearance of Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira.

(Please note that the links in this post, themselves contain many further links all of which are well worth perusing).

The sad and worrying disappearance and possible execution of Dom Phillips, Guardian Journalist, and Bruno Pereira a former FUNAI official, is another Brazilian tragedy.
Dom is collateral damage in what is really a war to protect the Indigenous peoples from encroachment, illegal fishing, mining, logging and drug trafficking in the Western Amazon region, which is pretty much a ”Terra sem Ley”.

An Explainer: Crime, impunity surge in Amazon’s Javari Valley

Bruno Pereira is an Indigenous rights defender described as caring, dedicated and totally committed to the traditional peoples of the Amazon.
He was removed from his position as FUNAI’s point man for uncontacted tribes in what was seen as a politically motivated move soon after far-right president Jair Bolsonaro came to power. His firing in late 2019 came shortly after his team had helped make one of the biggest illegal mines in the Amazon region inoperable. Pereira went on to work with the Observatory for the Human Rights of Isolated and Recent Contact Indigenous Peoples (OPI), an umbrella organisation of the 26 Indigenous groups in the Vale do Javari, a remote area on Brazil’s western border with Peru.
“The atmosphere has got so much worse in recent years because you have a president who foments violence,” said Fábio Ribeiro, OPI’s executive coordinator.

His friend Dom Phillips is a 15 year veteran of reporting on Brazil for The Guardian, The Intercept, Financial Times, Washington Post, New York Times, Time, Bloomberg among others.

The Bolsonaro appointed head of Funai, (his second choice, the first was a crusading Evangelical) Marcelo Xavier da Silva, is a federal police officer with strong connections to agribusiness, According to the forner FUNAI president Gen Franklimberg de Freitas: Garcia “froths hate” for indigenous people and that he sees Funai as “an obstacle to national development”

Andrew Fishman writes on Twitter: in Jan 2021, @domphillips announced he won the prestigious Alicia Patterson fellowship  to write a book about the Amazon & was stepping away from daily reporting. It seems he deleted the thread, so I’m going to post a draft version of his selection of his favorite reporting.

Jill Langlois  has also compiled a list of Dom’s wonderful reporting.

The disgraceful initial reaction from the authorities was disinterest. Amazon Command stated they were on stand by but were waiting for further instructions from higher up their pyramid.
They then sent an an armed launch to search for a couple of hours. A helicopter was confirmed and then cancelled.
as Chrisopher Harig points out: So, it apparently took days until Brazilian authorities sent a helicopter to the Amazon for searching the missing @tuyu_bruno and @domphillips ?
An army helicopter once delivered a Playboy magazine to a coronel who was stuck in the jungle for a military exercise.
It should be noted that this is same armed forces which recently spent US$700,000 on Viagra and penis implants.
It’s as if the authorities don’t want them found. No coordinated Search and Rescue, No helicopter. No drones, no thermal imaging, no heat sensors, no satellite phone tracking.
Satellite imagery is being coordinated, not by the authorities but by Tasso Azevedo, from MapBiomas & SEEG initiatives who is the former Chief of the Brazilian Forest Service.

The major search operations until today, some 5 days on has been coordinated by highly concerned Indigineous leaders.
A government that has done little to protect Indigenous lands is now doing even less to assist the search for Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira, who’ve been missing since Sunday.
AmazoniaReal reports that the Brazilian indigenist and British journalist documented, with images, locations of invasions of the Vale do Javari Territory, which thwarted criminals linked to drug trafficking. (Original Portuguese)

As Lucy Jordan, Brazilian correspondent for Greenpeace Investigative journalism  writing in the Guardian says:
The disappearance of journalist Dom Phillips in Brazil should leave you incandescent with rage.

2022.06.11 Andrew Downie profiles a friend and fellow journalist Dom Phillips as a selfless, stylish writer at home in rave culture and the Amazon.

Dom Phillips article from August 2018 about his first visit to the Javari Valley with Bruno Pereira and photographer Gary Carlton (gallery)

Translated BBC interview with Dom’s wife Alessandra Sampaio.
“Dom understood the complexity of the Amazon and did not see prospectors simply as villains……The problem is not exactly who is there destroying it, but who is providing all these structures for this destruction to happen. He said that there was no point in ending the mining without offering any option”. (Portuguese)

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