Spy eye

Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

There's bad news for illegal loggers, diamond miners and drug runners. A huge radar system called System for the Vigilance of the Amazon or sivam would scan 5.2 million square kilometres of the dense Amazon rainforest and keep track of the activities going on inside it. A labyrinth of 25 radars, control towers and vigilance planes would also help in cataloguing the wildlife.

Even though the system's potential cannot be denied, the us $1.4 billion system designed by defence contractor Raytheon Co of usa has been in the thick of controversy. It is alleged that the us intelligence, with the help of Brazilian officials, obtained inside information to secure the contract for Raytheon. Its objective: a greater say in managing Amazon's wealth under the garb of drug-fighting. Sources say that Raytheon had details of a rival bid by France's Thales. However, Brazil's Aeronautics Ministry denies it favoured Raytheon or that it promised the us access to sivam data.

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