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Murder on Amazon: Did the Mafia Order the Death of Sir Peter Blake?

Whether a Brazilian mafia figure played a role in the killing of Sir Peter Blake in the Amazon is a topic in the new documentary film Garden of Evil. Photo / NZME

The murder of Sir Peter Blake in the Amazon and the potential connection of the Mafia, and the attempt to kill Kiwi environmentalist Pete Bethune in Brazil, are investigated in a powerful new film-length documentary. I am.

Blake was shot after an armed bandit boarded the Seamaster exploration vessel deep within the Amazon in December 2001. He was investigating global warming and pollution and sailing to raise awareness of environmental attacks along the Amazon.

A member of a pirate group, locally known as the “River Mouse,” was later arrested, charged, and convicted of his death. But was the group acting alone, or was it hired by a mafia person trying to silence anyone who could reveal illegal gold mining, forestry, and drug trafficking in the area? The question remains.

Sixteen years later, Pete Bethoon was fortunate enough to survive a knife attack on the streets of Brazil, conducting his own investigation into whether Blake’s killing was related to someone involved in illegal gold mining.

A Brazilian federal police boat surrounds the Seamaster, a break expedition ship attacked by a pirate who killed Sir Peter Blake. Photo / AP
A Brazilian federal police boat surrounds the Seamaster, a break expedition ship attacked by a pirate who killed Sir Peter Blake. Photo / AP

In addition to highlighting the plight of the Amazon environment, searching for more information on both attacks is the subject of The Garden of Evil. A documentary written, produced and directed by veteran Kiwi journalist Larry Keating.

It took four years to produce, including three prominent research journalists, Donal MacIntyre, Sam Kaui, and Caio Vilela, who worked on location in the Amazon.

“The film reveals the threat of ruthless protectionism, greed, unlimited street crime and river piracy,” Keating said at the World Premiere at the DocEdge Film Festival in Auckland tonight. Said prior to.

The Garden of Evil (left-to-right) crew members Jake Bryant, Neil Stichbury, and Larry Keating took pictures with environmentalists Emanuela Evangelista and locals in the village of Xixuaua.Photo / Attachment
The Garden of Evil (left-to-right) crew members Jake Bryant, Neil Stichbury, and Larry Keating took pictures with environmentalists Emanuela Evangelista and locals in the village of Xixuaua.Photo / Attachment

“Sir Peter Blake and Pete Bethoon are examples of thousands of organized criminals in the Amazon in recent years. In fact, more than 200 rainforest guardians were killed during the creation of The Garden of Evil. It was. “

After seeing the death of the hero, Keating first considered working on a documentary about Blake’s death. An episode of the BBC’s award-winning Mac Intyre Investigates.

McIntyre planned to ride the Seamaster on the night of the attack to produce a pre-planned documentary about Blake’s life and conservation efforts, but he and his crew because they missed a flight from Central America to Brazil. The arrival of the members was delayed. ..

When McIntyre travels late to the Amazon, the death of the hero follows McIntyre.

Sam Kaui, Left, and Kaiobilera with armed prison guards before talking to Sir Peter Blake's murderer in prison.Photo / Attachment
Sam Kaui, Left, and Kaiobilera with armed prison guards before talking to Sir Peter Blake’s murderer in prison.Photo / Attachment

“He knew that most of the environmental activists killed over the years were outsiders, and I think the world knew. Most of them were killed by organized crime. In a sense, whether it’s a farmer logging to take land or a mafia who manages a lot of timber and drugs from the Amazon. “

In 2017, Kaui interviewed Ricardo Tavares, who was sentenced to 38 years in prison for deadly shooting Blake. Tavares told British journalists that he had more to say about the attack on the Seamaster.

Brazilian media had previously speculated that a mafia person was behind the attack.

Keating traveled to London to meet McIntyre and discussed the benefits of his idea, which would later become the Garden of Evil.

“He believes it’s very likely that someone is behind him and will lead the research team. He himself, Sam Kaui and our fixer, Caio Vilela, could. We actually delved into what it was, “Keating said. ..

Tavares will agree that Kaui will be interviewed on the camera.

But when given the opportunity to provide fresh information about Blake’s death, and when someone else was involved in planning it, Keating said Tavares was “stuffed, he was his childhood. I wanted to talk more about his belief that he might have been a great football player. “

He also told Kaui that his lawyer “instructed him not to speak at all.”

Sam Kaui interviews Ricardo Tavares, who killed Sir Peter Blake in a Brazilian prison while filming The Garden of Evil.Photo / Attachment
Sam Kaui interviews Ricardo Tavares, who killed Sir Peter Blake in a Brazilian prison while filming The Garden of Evil.Photo / Attachment

“As Donal McIntyre says, the man isn’t really going to point to anyone. If he were grass, his life would be at stake in prison,” Keating said. It was.

“There is still a lot of confusion [over whether Blake’s killing had been ordered]Given that almost everyone killed in Amazon is chasing or exposing illegal trade in wood, drugs, or whatever. [killed by] Organized crime trying to protect their territory. “

Keating said The Garden of Evil was “very challenging.”

In addition to investigating the potential motivations behind the attacks on Blake and Bethune, The Garden of Evil sheds light on the reality of the environmental battles facing Amazon and the locals who live alongside it. I started to hit.

“As for the message Sir Peter left, I felt that the world probably needed to put off saving the Amazon.

“When thinking about what Blake’s message was, it was about hope. It was an adventure and we shared our experiences so that others could love the environment.”

A drone shot from The Garden of Evil deep inside the Amazon.Photo / Attachment
A drone shot from The Garden of Evil deep inside the Amazon.Photo / Attachment

Before shooting, Blake’s son, James, was invited to join the production team. It was rejected.

During their trip, Keating said it was clear that “a very, very high level of corruption was widespread.”

“It’s a pretty lawless part of the world,” he said.

“We were talking to the police chief. The police officer working for him put on a hat and another hat at 5 o’clock after chasing the men who were causing corruption at a very high level in Amazon. And they go and work for the very people they were chasing during the day. “

Keating said security was a top priority during his stay in Brazil, as well as traveling on the Amazon.

Kiwi eco-warrior Pete Bethoon was lucky enough to survive after suffering a nearly deadly puncture wound while investigating the death of Sir Peter Blake.Photo / Provided
Kiwi eco-warrior Pete Bethoon was lucky enough to survive after suffering a nearly deadly puncture wound while investigating the death of Sir Peter Blake.Photo / Provided

He revealed that they were worried about their well-being only when they brought Bethune back to the area where he was about to be stabbed in 2017.

Bethoon was attacked by two men in the daytime. Including the person who stabbed him in the chest.

During the creation of The Garden of Evil, the crew and Bethune were about 20 meters from “the point where he actually fought for his life” when the guards ordered him to leave immediately. ..

“We were discovered. It was a pretty tense moment,” Keating said.

Sir Peter Blake's murderer Ricardo Tavares was filmed during an interview at The Garden of Evil.Photo / Attachment
Sir Peter Blake’s murderer Ricardo Tavares was filmed during an interview at The Garden of Evil.Photo / Attachment

Keating said he believes Blake is well aware of Amazon’s security risks prior to his fateful voyage. His crew included a former US Navy seal responsible for security.

Blake spoke in a Blake Expeditions documentary about the potential dangers of working at Amazon and “the need to be secure 24/7.”

But in a tragic fateful twist, former U.S. Special Forces operators were among the crew members dropped from the Seamaster to reduce the weight of the ship before navigating the less deep Amazon stretch. I was there.

The guards and other crew members continued to climb the river on another boat and rejoined the break.

“I guess they guess [Blake Expeditions] “I was convinced they had climbed the river far without any problems,” Keating said.[But] The trouble last night met them. “

Murder on Amazon: Did the Mafia Order the Death of Sir Peter Blake?

SourceMurder on Amazon: Did the Mafia Order the Death of Sir Peter Blake?

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