Brazil's Federal Supreme Court (STF) Justice Alexandre de Moraes Thursday said: digital militias allegedly linked to President Jair Bolsonaro were planning to spread fake news ahead of the 2022 elections, it was reported.
Justice De Moraes, who is in charge of the fake news case within the STF and is also a member of the Superior Electoral Court (TSE), said that had been the case in 2018 when Bolsonaro was elected.
De Moraes received this week a request from the Senate to suspend Bolsonaro's Facebook, Instagram and YouTube accounts, following a video through which the head of state streamed comments linking COVID-19 vaccines with HIV.
The magistrate is investigating the President and his son, Carlos Bolsonaro, who allegedly heads the so-called Hate Cabinet, which would function in the Planalto Palace and from where in 2020 and 2021 fake news and coup mongering campaigns were reportedly launched. In 2018 Carlos Bolsonaro was an advisor to his father, then a candidate, on the communication strategy through social media. Moraes said Thursday that there is a cabinet of hatred, of course, it was even a minister of State who said here next door is the cabinet of hatred.
The judge said that the digital militias of 2018 were still active to date. These digital militias continue to prepare to spread hatred, conspiracy, fear and to influence the elections next year when Bolsonaro runs for his second term. In De Moraes' view, these groups seek to destroy democracy. He also claimed they had been trained by the fascist extreme right” of the United States from where they were sent “first to Poland and then to Brazil, said De Moraes.
Moraes' remarks came at a TSE hearing Thursday in a case brought forward by the opposition Workers' Party (PT) against the ticket Jair Bolsonaro-Hamilton Mourao, which won the 2018 elections. The PT claimed, “millions of fake news had been disseminated, which would have influenced the elections' outcome.
But the TSE unanimously acquitted Bolsonaro because no evidence had been produced to link him to the dissemination of false news. However, all 7 judges agreed social media were used irregularly, especially WhatsApp.
Justice Felipe Salomao, the case's rapporteur, maintained that there was an improper use of the WhatsApp application by Bolsonaro's team, but not enough evidence had been supplied to convict the president.
TSE Chief Justice Roberto Barroso also voted for Bolsonaro's acquittal but pointed out that the ruling leaves as jurisprudence a series of theses that the Court will apply to the 2022 elections against those who carry out mass shooting [of fake news] to deceive voters.
De Moraes is to succeed Barroso in chairing the TSE in 2022. Justice is blind but it is not stupid, everyone knows what happened in 2018, the mechanism used in the elections, said Moraes, who warned that if in next year's elections the irregularities of 2018 are repeated, those guilty [of it] will go to jail.”