In the Name of National Security - Maria Helena Simões Paes

In the Name of National Security - Maria Helena Simões Paes

In the Name of National Security: A Critical Analysis of the Brazilian State's Response to Terrorism


In her groundbreaking book, "In the Name of National Security: A Critical Analysis of the Brazilian State's Response to Terrorism," Maria Helena Simões Paes offers a comprehensive and thought-provoking examination of Brazil's approach to combating terrorism. Drawing upon extensive research and analysis, Paes argues that Brazil's counterterrorism policies have often been counterproductive, undermining the very security they seek to achieve.

A History of Counterterrorism in Brazil

Paes begins by providing a historical overview of Brazil's counterterrorism efforts, tracing their evolution from the country's military dictatorship to the present day. She highlights the key moments and turning points in Brazil's response to terrorism, including the 1964 military coup, the 1970 kidnapping of the Swiss ambassador, and the 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States.

The Legal Framework for Counterterrorism

Paes then delves into the legal framework that governs Brazil's counterterrorism efforts. She analyzes the various laws and regulations that have been enacted to combat terrorism, assessing their effectiveness and their compliance with international human rights standards. Paes argues that some of these laws are overly broad and vague, allowing for the arbitrary detention and surveillance of individuals without sufficient evidence.

The Role of the Military in Counterterrorism

Paes also examines the role of the military in Brazil's counterterrorism efforts. She argues that the military's involvement in counterterrorism has often been counterproductive, leading to human rights abuses and alienating the very communities that the government seeks to protect. Paes calls for a more balanced approach to counterterrorism, one that emphasizes civilian oversight and the rule of law.

The Impact of Counterterrorism on Civil Liberties

Paes goes on to discuss the impact of counterterrorism policies on civil liberties in Brazil. She argues that these policies have led to increased surveillance, restrictions on freedom of expression, and the erosion of due process rights. Paes warns that these measures not only undermine the fundamental principles of democracy but also make it more difficult to effectively combat terrorism.

The Way Forward

In the final chapter of the book, Paes offers a series of recommendations for reforming Brazil's counterterrorism policies. She calls for a more balanced approach that emphasizes prevention, intelligence-gathering, and international cooperation. Paes also stresses the importance of respecting human rights and civil liberties, arguing that these are essential not only for the protection of individual freedoms but also for the effective prevention of terrorism.


"In the Name of National Security" is a must-read for anyone interested in Brazil's response to terrorism. Maria Helena Simões Paes provides a comprehensive and critical analysis of Brazil's counterterrorism policies, offering valuable insights and recommendations for the future. This book is a timely and important contribution to the ongoing debate about the balance between security and liberty in the face of terrorism.