Sternstunden & Eigentore
Swiss Bankers - & Tax Laws - Evolve
QI, BSI, SWIFT and other foot-shootings
Qui protège "les intérêts essentiels" de la Suisse?
Revisiting Das Kapital while some dance on the Titanic
TEURE SELDWYLEREIEN oder: Der Fluch der bösen Tat
Zum Bilateralen Vertragsnetz der Schweiz (annotiertes Teilverzeichnis)
QUELQUES TRAITES D'ACTUALITE CONCLUS PAR LA FRANCE
Was ist aus dem "begründeten Verdacht" & andern Rechtshilfe-Voraussetzungen
geworden, welche im CH/USA Rechtshilfevertrag von 1973 festgeschrieben worden sind?
Eine hübsche Steuergeschichte ... (Autor unbekannt)
..INDICATORS FOR A REVISED, ACTIVE KURD POLICY
J.A.Keller, Secretary, Good Offices Group of European Lawmakers - 28 February 1992
In view of the Iraqi Government's outright rejection of the UN Security Council Resolution 688, and in light of its persistent practices which are seen to be compatible neither with humanitarian law nor with Iraq's statutory and other international obligations, the Office of the UN Secretary General's Executive Delegate is looking into the "interesting possibilities" outlined by Kurdish leader Sardar Pishdare, has taken note of hisplan (2) "to demonstrate the technical feasibility of making these wells [located in Kurdish-controlled Iraq North of the 36th parallel] produce, and of applying the proceeds to Iraq's humanitarian needs" and is awaiting "the technical feasibility results" (letter of Nov. 19, 1991).
NOTE: Apparently in
response to this non-military enforcement of humanitarian UN Resolution
706, the Iraqi Petroleum Minister Oussama al-Hitti, at a Baghdad press
conference December 25, 1991, revealed the Iraqi government's conditional
willingness to consider applying this "non-applicable" - and thus repeatedly
rejected - key UN Resolution 706; nevertheless, he wanted it to be re-negociated
by the Iraqi Foreign Minister in line with Iraqi policy. Yet, a corresponding
February meeting with UN officials in Vienna was called off unexplained
The sudden collapse of Communist
dogmas, institutions and networks comes at an unexpected moment in history
on top of basic questionings and re-orientations notably among Muslims
living in societies which, due to economic or social gradients, have not
been noted for their stability. Like in the case of Algeria and some former
USSR republics, the free flow of things might thus aggravate already volatile
political, economic and social conditions - to the point of entirely uncontrollable
developments possibly affecting the basic regional setup and, for some
years at least, Western oil supply interests. The clear-sighted search
for and the determined promotion of a generally and mutually stabilizing
catalyst for the Mideast is thus urgently called for.
NOTE: Traditionally pragmatic, open and Western-friendly Muslims, the Kurds with their strong European roots, in most relevant ways, would seem to avail themselves best for this key rôle, even from the point of view of their Iranian, Turkish and Arab neighbors. The powers that be might thus want to consider supporting the above-mentioned "UN feasibility study" regardless of what actions and inactions the Iraqi Government may pursue ... and to seek inspiration from the somewhat analoguous case of Switzerland where, in 1815, the powers that were agreed to what is still valid and mutually beneficial (3).
"Dominent Middle East oil reserves critically important to world supply"
Oil & Gas Journal, 9/23/91, p.62
(2) Indications are that all Kurdish tribes and leaders (Massoud Barzani, Ali Homam Ghazi, Jalal Talabani, etc.) support both this plan and Sardar Pishdare's leadership for its development and execution.
(3) Austria, France, Great Britain, Prussia, Russia, at the Paris Congress on November 20, 1815, adopted the time-tested Swiss neutrality formula devised by Charles Pictet-de Rochemont:
UN Resolution 688:
A Mandate for "Exceptional Responses"
SOLUTION: Baghdad-independent alternative or
complementary legal instruments to those now in place, ie. 688 and the
MOU. The latter will run out automatically 30 June 1992. It should not
be prorogated, even if Baghdad deigns to extend it, lest the people it
is designed to protect are to be left without effective protection and
minimum human rights standards, and the world community be subjected to
still further humiliations and complications. Such new legal instruments
may consist of corresponding Security Council texts which may be making
creative use of existing texts, such as the UN Statute on Trust Territories,
in combination with the still valid IRAQI
DECLARATION of 30 May 1932. And
they may be brought to bear in the sense of the "exceptional response"
recommended by the Special Rapporteur of the UN Human Rights Commission.
That Commission, on 5 March 1992, with 35 votes for and Iraq's vote against,
adopted a resolution condemning human rights abuses in Iraq, and requesting
its Special Rapporteur "to develop further his recommendation for an exceptional
response" notably to the policies of "genocide-type" treatment of the Kurdish
people by the Iraqi authorities. Measures short of formally withdrawing
recognition from the present Iraqi Government: enforcing
international minority rights and protection guarantees with Human Rights
Monitors, National Sponsorship
for Non-Self-Governing Territories, Trusteeship
System, UN troops, Neutralized
Zones, etc; Security Council review of the conditions under which Iraq
gained independence, under which the League of Nations attached the Mosul
Vilayet (northern region) to Iraq rather than to Turkey, and under which
Iraqi oil property rights were - or were not legally - acquired by the
State of Iraq; etc.
The Iraqi Government has thus been allowed to encroach on the prerogatives
of UN officials in Baghdad and the field who, in the execution of their
tasks, now depend to an unhealthy degree on the goodwill of Iraqi officials.
Some of the adverse effects of this state of affairs have been described
lucidly by David HIRST in The Guardian (e.g. "Kurds stuck in UN Mud",
11 December 1991), and by Paul KORING in a series of articles of The Globe
and Mail (e.g. February 12: "Mass graves reflect Hussein's horror",
February 14: "Once-mighty protective shield shrinks", February 15:"Catastrophe
feared after UN pulls out").
(2) see notably the Report of the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights (S/23685, 18 February 1992), and the "FURTHER REPORT OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL ON THE STATUS OF COMPLIANCE BY IRAQ WITH THE OBLIGATIONS PLACED UPON IT UNDER CERTAIN OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTIONS" (S/23687, 7 March 1992).
Granted, there is good reason for the texts
[the ICRC's] Dr. Sassoli was asked
to play up. Granted every private initiative risks to succede before established
apparatus rev up. Which can explain the intense unhappiness of some officials
who may see themselves as gardians if not of the Holy Grail then of some
monopoly in humanitarian affairs. That is what
happened in the Falklands/Malvinas
conflict, the hostage
affairs in Teheran, Kuwait/Baghdad and, most recently again, in
Afghanistan and Peru.
What is less understandable, what is saddening and less than acceptable
- and what the public and their elected representatives grow less and less
tolerant about with correspondingly reduced willingness to support solidarity
projects - is that the real objectives of all humanitarian efforts thus
become overshadowed, if not jeopardized, by petty turf objectives, with
the victims additionally victimized at the hands of their purported saviors.
That's what happened with our initiative for helping some Palestinian deportees,
with our St.Moritz meeting and with related efforts. They were all brought
to nought, not least with penal threats against the organizers who were
taken by surprise by the long arms of some purported monopoly holders and
their allies in many quarters. In a noted silent protest, a one-to-one
reproduction of Andy Warhol's "Last Supper" was thus exhibited prominently
over the frozen Lake of St.Moritz during January 1993 - as a silent message
for the well-fed to be reminded of their less fortunate fellow human beings.
ICONOCLAST, Editor's Introduction
Only future generations of historians can tell whether the private Swiss-based research group CORUM and its complement on the political scene, the Good Offices Group of European Lawmakers, have been more than generators of unfulfilled hopes. Whether it was all justified, i.e. the attention arosen by their work (e.g. nuclear disarmament negotiators in the Kremlin in 1968 had sought to vilifiy what made the rounds then as the "red poison in green covers"), the probably unintended honor of being branded "diplomatic mercenaries"by some bad-tempered diplomats, and the UN's obliging honor to be formally associated with spies and modern Robin Hoods. Whether, in retrospect, their often seemingly lost-cause efforts amounted to more than a waste of time and of scarce resources. And, in the event, to what degree they have in fact served their designed purpose.
To be sure - and in as much as, in those functions, the editor was able to help it and was not undercut from without or from within - the objective has always been to help provide vision and guidance in an era of increasing confusion, to offer discrete, rapid and reliable documentary and intellectual muscle for conflict analysis and non-governmental services, and to avail informal political testing grounds for ideas aimed at avoiding or, as the case may be, obtaining a negotiated settlement of political conflicts of an international nature.
Having been involved in both groups, the editor prefers to let the record speak for itself. And to concentrate his comments on current and foreseeable headaches and on ideas, elements and pathways which, conceivably, might contribute to avoid - if at all possible and desirable (1) - the currently re-appearing logique de guerre particularly in the Mideastern and the European theatre.
After completion of our ground-breaking research on political and economic implications of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (2) - which was as much vilified in Moscow, Washington and Berne as it was appreciated in Brazilia, Delhi, Paris, Teheran and elsewhere - we had been invited to lend our omni-directional expertise notably in the Teheran hostage crises of 1979/1981 and in the Falklands/Malvinas conflict. An informal network of lawmakers from numerous countries thus availed itself for corresponding services when Iraq, on 2 August 1990, had invaded Kuwait and prevented thousands of stranded foreign nationals to leave either Iraq or Kuwait. As director of CORUM and long-time adviser to Swiss and foreign parliamentarians, the editor became directly involved in those hostage-release and related efforts. In turn, he was personally entrusted with minority protection missions for Northern Iraq and Yugoslavia,with good offices mandates in the constitutional crises in Algeria and thehostage affairs in Kashmir,Bosnia-Herzegovina, Afghanistan and Peru, and with the representation of the International Committee for European Security and Cooperation ICESC (non-governmental organization in consultative status with ECOSOC and UNESCO).
Some of these outgrowths have left their traces in statements made by representatives of both governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to various UN bodies - from working groups over the International Court of Justice up to theUN Security Council. Those most relevant to currently still unresolved issues - Algeria, Baltic minorities, hostage-takings (e.g. in Kashmir), Iraq, Yugoslavia, etc. - find reflection in the present record of communications, with some documents being published also in the official UN collection (UN codes: E/CN.4/Sub.2/1992/NGO/27; E/CN.4/Sub.2/1993/NGO/27; E/CN.4/Sub.2/1993/NGO/29; E/CN.4/1994/NGO/48; E/CN.4/1994/NGO/54; E/CN.4/Sub.2/1995/NGO/27; E/CN.4/1995/NGO/47; E/CN.4/1995/NGO/51; E/CN.4/1995/NGO/52).
Covering a wide spectrum in the field some call paradiplomacy, related de-classified communications eventually may form the core and central archive of this netsite (for the time being, the complete index on the Mosul Vilayet subject will be maintained at the web address: http://www.solami.com/mvcindex.htm, while on the subject of ex-Yugoslavia it will be accessible at: http://www.solami.com/93-29.html). Unavoidably, the subjects thus covered often overlap and with each reader having his own agenda, a generally useful classification may here be found only in a strictly chronological order. Beyond that, the extensive name and subjects indexes should cover related deficiencies, as may the wonders of the net, e.g. fine-tuned hyperlinks.
The following communications are focussed on the Mosul Vilayet and cover the period of 1990 to 1998. As in the case of other sections of this site, most of its elements have been selected for their value to shed additional light on its central subjects, i.e. mankind's common roots in monotheism and effective minority protection as universally agreeable vehicles for unlocking the increasingly evident - and dangerous - gridlocks in the Middle East, the Balkans and elsewhere, and for opening pathways towards mutually beneficial New Horizons, not least for Jerusalem. Of course, the relevancy of these elements is not always apparent to "instant historians", and it will become so to the untrained naked eye only when looked at from a certain time distance and when considering parallel developments which may have no obvious links. Moreover, even people in highest places - some say those even more so than others - are not always at ease with ideas running against the grain and the party line but who, as history shows abundantly, are often the only truly helpful ones. Granted, in very tight situations it takes indeed an independent, visionary and bold mind to think and act unswervingly in line with the insights which can be gained from the universally applicable philosophy underlying our logo (i.e. the puzzle of the square with nine stars the solution to which requires you to break out of worn-out tracks by drawing one line beyond the square into the surrounding space and by turning around out there in order to cut across two stars).
Thus, together with these additional explanations, we have now added these further elements. Sometimes despite the editor's reservations. The texts originating from third persons have been integrated notably for reasons of comity, balance or fairness. In so doing, the editor implies neither his agreement with or support of the statements thus made by others, nor does he otherwise engage his responsibility. His sole objective is to avail this unique communication platform for documents and statements he considers to be useful and to advance the debate - if possible without adding to the confusion and complication of things, and hopefully for helping along certain developments which may benefit from such plugs.
All this being said, and as the rising sound of war drums pierces through the cold winter nights even this far away from its origin, the editor cannot but deplore the - only perhaps inevitable - neglect on all sides of practical, reasonable and dignified pathways out of the current mess in the Middle East and in the very cradle of Europe. E.g. it appears that the leadership of thePalestinians never seriously considered - or perhaps was not even informed by their subordinates and friends about - some efforts made on their behalf in 1990 and 1992, and advices transmitted to them in 1992, 1993, 1994, 2006:
2. study carefully the lessons to be drawn from the demise of the former Soviet Union whose leaders actively deprived their enemy of an enemy and thus lived to see their enemy disappear and disintegrate under its own weight, and watch out for Y2K;and
3. dig out your deepest cultural and other roots, analyse them thoroughly, and rid your people of all burdens, traditions and structures which are neither helpful nor in line with your - probably - monotheistic Egyptian roots.
To this effect, principled men and women of goodwill anywhere are solicited to do all that is in their power. Of course, even with the best of intentions and the most powerful forces at hand, the reverse side of Victor Hugo's medal still applies: "no force is strong enough to push through an idea whose time has not come!" Yet, "corriger la fortune" is no French monopoly, and anyway, the test of the pudding lies in its eating. Indeed, and particularly in a moment like this the lithmus test of real leadership cannot pass he who uses his muscles divorced from his dignity, his moral fibres and his brainpower, he who uses them for selfish purposes while neglecting historic opportunities to help others, and he who in words and deeds doesn't recognize himself as being no more than a channel of and a servant to our all One God.
From almost all socially, culturally, economically and politically relevant
points of view, and in the absence of genuine substitutes for the defining
functions of war, peace may be something less than desirable.
This is the seemingly preposterous yet well researched and defended conclusion
of the more-than-ever re-readable study commissioned by President John
F. Kennedy: Leonard C. Lewin (editor),
MOUNTAIN REPORT - On the Desirability and Feasibility of Peace",
Dial Press New York, 1967 (traduction française:
"La Paix Condamnée",
Calman-Lévy, Paris 1968; deutsche Übersetzung: "Verdammter
Friede", Econ, 1968).
(2) A.Keller, H.Bolliger, B.Kalff, "On the Economic Implications of the Non-Proliferation Treaty", Revue de Droit International, de Sciences Diplomatiques et Economiques (International Law Review, Sottile), I, 1968: this research report of 47 pages, bound with a green cover, was also very acidly commented on by Radio Moscow in early 1968) ; Anton Keller, Paul Bähr, Peter B.Kalff, "The Nonproliferation Treaty in Light of Nuclear Energy Developments", Revue de Droit International, de Sciences Diplomatiques et Economiques, III, 1975. The editor acknowledges the numerous contributions made to these and related papers byElizabeth Young and Lord Kennet.
ICONOCLAST, Editor's introduction
Eventually, the latest Gulf conflict - on the surface at least - was "resolved". The Iraqi troops were forced out of Kuwait and the war had been stopped - albeit by politicians and not when the generals were satisfied. Which is the way it is supposed to be when democracies go to war. Of course, the President of the United States may also have wanted to be remembered as the winner of the 100 hours war. For most of the world, it was a spectacle, an orgy of "smart bombs" - and an unprecedented deception. With its "life coverage", CNN provided what millions across the world watched in awe, i.e. a demonstration of 21st century "clean" war technologies which supposedly avoid body bags - for one's own camp and for the moment that is. To be sure, there is no substitute for genuine leadership. Gimmicks of "no-casualty" strategies, methods and materiel are just that. And as professional errors and shortcomings can be hidden only in the make-believe world spies are used to, the victor of the 100 hours war was also lucky, sort of: he was merely not re-elected and that spared him a likely impeachment procedure. For while he succeeded admirably in mounting and leading history's biggest war coalition and Armada against a modern Nebuchadnezzar, the jury is still out on why he failed to utilize the formidable instruments at his disposal to keep an effective check on this modern interpret of ancient forms of violence who continues to upset regional peace and security.
The story behind that failure is only now coming to light, at least partially. It is a story told by Gulf war veterans, their families and friends (incidently: why is it that French and Czech Gulf war veterans do not seem to be suffering from the conditions which reportedly have already gained well over half of their British and American comrades?). It is a story told by scientists who checked the records of the development, procurement, export and use of radiological, biological and chemical weapons or parts thereof, as well as of anti-dotes; they begun to worry where all this may lead to, in the former war theater no less than in neighboring countries and back home. And it is a story which, with ever-growing impact, is made to unfold by politicians who have felt obliged to question the bureacrats' official answers, their brief, related policies and on-going actions and inactions. U.S. Senator Don Riegle chaired extensive hearings on the subject and he is on record for saying:
Accordingly, the attentive discerning reader may thus come to more enlightened insights and conclusions when taking into consideration some of the apparently unrelated elements developed elsewhere on a parallel site - e.g. SASEA bancruptcy, EMRK-Beschwerde, Vorwort zum politischen Hintergrund des SASEA-Konkurses. All of which is to put things into perspective and is by no means intended to say that the world, in this writer's opinion, should have caved in to blackmail - wherever it came from.
So, the thousands of Baghdad's hostages had finally been released, apparently without the undignified discriminating merchandising initially proposed and carried out by some who let themselves be guided by fear. The war was over and out of the headlines. Not really put to rest were its undercurrents - i.e. essentially the ethnic, religious, language and nationalistic wounds which have been left festering for generations since the breakup of the Ottoman Empire, including the neglected minority rights of the Alewites, Armenians, Assyrians, Christians, Jews, Kurds, Palestinians and Turkomans. They had been the subject of particular attention of our research group and its lawmaker friends in Europe and elsewhere. But there were many hurdles for continuing the related research - or to seek to further develop, test and eventually implement the results obtained so far. And as a new war - in Yugoslavia - had broken out, since June 1991 our energies were essentially concentrated on that front. For we had been mandated in that and other contexts to bring to bear our experience and whatever talents we were able to muster (UN documents: E/CN.4/Sub.2/1992/NGO/27: E/CN.4/Sub.2/1993/NGO/27; E/CN.4/Sub.2/1993/NGO/29; E/CN.4/1994/NGO/54; E/CN.4/1995/NGO/47; E/CN.4/1995/NGO/51; E/CN.4/Sub.2/1995/NGO/27).
our once urgently solicited behind-the-scenes non-governmental efforts
to help to lastingly and peacefully resolve the Iraq/Kuwait conflict had
drawn more attention in U.S. governmental circles than the key beneficiaries
of our labors cared to show appreciation. Once the Iraqi army was driven
out of Kuwait, its
Representative in Geneva had amicably reminded us of how not
to help a people in need. Thus additionally reluctant to provide professional
services for the beauty of the art, we were all but favorably inclined
to lend a helping hand when two American colleagues, Patrick
Martin and Philip Wainwright, brought
an exiled Kurdish leader [Mr.Sardar Pishdare]
into contact with the editor in May 1991. Here again, the jury is still
out on whether or not we should have followed our gut reaction.
Editor's Note - January 1998
Mr. Pishdare wasn't convincing when, in the summer of 1991, he first defined his objective at the UN in Geneva, i.e. to speak - "if only for five minutes" - at the UN Commission on Human Rights. Speaking to any UN audience - and being filmed - is often seen by inexperienced actual or future leaders from under-represented, discriminated or disinherited peoples to convey them an important, perhaps decisive political edge at home. However, the resulting footages are more often than not misleading. In the case of the Kurds, our research had shown that their history is full of deceptions, lack of unity, unfocused and unrealistic objectives as well as inadequately prepared plans of actions. Naturally, we didn't want to be a vehicle for more of the same - or to get involved in a cause we did not consider to have a proper background for and to have sufficient knowledge and understanding about.
Pishdare had a quick mind and was a fast learner. He understood that while
the UN may be the right audience for bringing about desired changes, he
didn't have a fighting chance to make a dent unless he wised up to the
intricacies of the system. So instead of polishing up for a premature speaking
exercise, we entered that summer into a mutually fruitful learning curve,
where we, too learned to fill our respective white spots. In our case,
it was particularly interesting to learn that the professional maps
on Iraqi oil fields were incomplete in that the white spots dotting the
Allied-protected and UN-controlled area of Northern Iraq cover in fact
many hundreds of readily exploitable oil fields. This then became the
element with which to
interest the Allies and the UN directly. What
wasn't known then, was that with this we apparently hit a politically supersensitive
spot which risked to upset a few hidden agendas and has been fought accordingly
Editor's Summary - January 1998
Having obtained in writing the UN's green light to demonstrate the technical feasibility to pump oil from non-government-controlled Northern Iraq for meeting humanitarian needs (1) Sardar Pishdare proceeded forthwith to the area to prepare the terrain and organize the local leader's support for the implementation of his "Project Backdoor" (English for Pishdare - sic!). An American oilman Gina Lewis introduced to us,Al Hickerson, had come to Geneva to advise us on some fundamentals of the petroleum industry and to give us a hand in our venture. Nobody had been able to answer his recurring question "Who owns the oil in the Kurdish region of Iraq?" Nevertheless, Al promised to bring in the necessary equipment on his own as soon as he knew what the situation is really like on the ground. So Sardar, accompanied by an expert, had gone to the area fairly packed over the Christmas and New Year's holidays.
Meanwhile, in Geneva,Sadruddin Aga Khan had returned from Iraq. The "explosions" inside his hard wood-panelled UN office could almost be heard across town. We were made to understand that Project Backdoor was seen as upsetting existing plans and the order of things as decided by the powers that be, so that it had no chance of ever taking off the ground, no matter how rational and effective this project promised to be for addressing the urgent humanitarian needs there. Piqued by this non-sensical turn-around and attitude of the UN bureaucracy, we leaned back and - with Al's persistent property question still echoing in our ears - we took another look at the area in question in an old German historical atlas (2). There, mention of the "Mosulgebiet" (about double the size of and covering all of the "liberated Kurdish area") immediately raised our intense curiosity. For our experience in international matters and our instinct told us that there must be interesting and probably still valid documents about the conditions under which the League of Nations had attached this territory to the then-dependent Kingdom of Iraq. The libraries being closed over the holidays and the League of Nations archives as the most authoritative source opening only after its annual inventory on January 16, we were left to wait a little longer. In summary, here is what we then found (for detail, see official documents):
1. The Mosul Vilayet was an integral part of the Ottoman Empire. South, it borders on Iraq's Baghdad Vilayet, to the West on Syria, to the North on Turkey and to the East on Iran. It includes the Diala District, as defined in the League of Nations inquiry of 1925. According to the last available census (1920), its surface is 91009 km2, and its inhabitants were 579713 Sunnites, 22180 Shiites, 14835 Jews and 55470 Christians (Report by HM's Government to the League Council on the Administration of Iraq for the year 1929, p.71).
2. The Council of the League of Nations conditionally attached the Mosul Vilayet in 1925 to the Kingdom of Iraq, rather than to Turkey, and provided for international protection to the Mosul Vilayet'sethnic and religious communities. The Kingdom of Iraq, by decision of the League of Nations' General Assembly, gained its independence on 3 October 1932. As a condition of its independence, Iraq had made its formal Declaration of 30 May 1932 vis-à-vis the League of Nations (E/CN.4/Sub.2/1992/NGO/27). Iraq thus incurred international obligations which it could not alter unilaterally, and from which it could be relieved only by the League of Nations or, in the event, by the United Nations acting as the League's succesor in accordance with UN General Assembly resolution 24 (I) of 12 February 1946.
3. The conditions under which Iraq obtained its independence have never been altered. The circumstances which gave rise to these international minority protection and other obligations have essentially remained. According to testimony published by the UN Human Rights Commission's Special Rapporteur on Iraq (e.g. E/CN.4/1993/45, §§89-126; E/CN.4/1995/138, p.8), past and present human rights conditions in Iraq have provided no justification for abrogating any of Iraq's related international obligations.
4. The UN Secretariat, in its "Study on the Legal Validity of the Undertakings Concerning Minorities" of 1950 (E/CN.4/367, p.51) had concluded:
7. H.E. Tariq Aziz, as Foreign Minister of Iraq, declared to the UN Special Rapporteur on Iraq: "Iraq would be the first to recognize Kurdish independence" (E/CN.4/1992/31, §108). Since 1991, Iraq de facto has withdrawn its control, administration and protection from most parts of the Mosul Vilayet. In order to avoid a regionally destabilizing vacuum and to enhance the credibility of international minority protection rights and obligations, setting up an unprejudicial effective interim administration for the Mosul Vilayet has become important.
8. The leaders of the Mosul Vilayet's Assyrians, Kurds and Turkomans thus founded the Mosul Vilayet Council in May 1992 as the Mosul Vilayet's "supreme secular authority of the Mosul Vilayet, wherein all indigenous Arabs, Armenians, Assyrians, Kurds and Turkomans have the right to be equitably represented by their own leaders"(Declaration of Separation from Iraq, 20 October 1992). All of its autochthone tribes and political, religious, ethnic and other constitutive groups have since joined this undertaking to responsibly exercise their right to self-determination by signing the Unity Declaration of 31 May 1994.
of 19 November 1991, signed by Henrik Olesen, Director of the then-absent
Sadruddin Aga Khan's "Office of the Executive Delegate of the UN Secretary-General
for a UN Inter-Agency Humanitarian Programme for Iraq, Kuwait and the Iraq/Turkey
and Iraq/iran border areas"
(2)Atlas zur Weltgeschichte, 2, Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, München 1966, S.166
In the course of over 20 years of service to clients of Swiss financial institutions, SIPA, the Swiss Investors Protection Association (Association Suisse de Défense des Investisseurs ASDI; www.solami.com/gold) has had the opportunity to look inside a sphinx - Switzerland's banking establishment. We were thus able also to appreciate the roots, values and principles which, over centuries, have made private Swiss banking the extraordinary success story it is. This also sharpened our senses for developments which are not in harmony with the fundamentals of reliable, effective and timely client protection and other indispensable ingredients for successful banking. Thus, we have come to be in the vanguard of corresponding battles on the legal, fiscal and political front both inside and outside of Switzerland.
As is not unusual when you have the honor and responsibility to represent individuals and to defend their particular interests, other interests - sometimes claimed to be bigger or more legitimate - stand in your way. Of course, our association's own terms of reference have made it incumbent upon its representatives never to loose sight of, and in fact always to seek also to safeguard and promote Switzerland's and its financial community's wider interests at stake. Nevertheless, in many of our efforts, we have not really seen eye-to-eye with some of the bigger names in Switzerland's financial and fiduciary community. We have in vain looked out for them in the long-coming conflict with lex americana universalis, even when the Swiss Government - for once and with a widely-appreciatedamicus curiæ intervention of its own - saw fit to take a principled stand in the precedent-settingAerospatiale case where the U.S. Supreme Court saw its ruling universally criticized. As if the US Flat Earth Society had many members even in high places, bounty hunting and other Wild West methods of thought-to-be bygone times, manifestly, are thus still very much alive and at work, as Richard Anderegg reported under the title "The American fiscal authorities have difficulty understanding that US law isn't valid in the whole world" (AGEFI, 5/27/02). So, in order not to increase, and inasmuch as possible to limit the damages caused by some indelicate, myopic and/or gullible colleagues, we have more and more found reason to either remain silent, or to look for and support appropriate counter-measures.
With the wider and the macro-economic interests always on our radar, we have come to share the view that some of these "peanut gnomes" and their allies in Bern and elsewhere not only deserve but must be "shaken down and out". Though somewhat weakened recently, the Swiss penal code still threatens with prison even high officials who – intentionally or not, i.e. by mere arrogance, stupidity and/or incompetence – may have committed diplomatic treason (art.267 CP). This has yet to dawn on those who, as Anderegg pointed out, have led the Swiss Federal Council "to capitulate and replace the Penal Code with American fiscal regulations in the case of certain foreign investments in Switzerland [re: art.271]", op.cit. With Swiss bankers thus mainly themselves responsible for the decline of the Swiss banking culture to the level of foreign judges' and bureaucrats' visions and agendas, bank clients are more than ever well advised if they follow their own nose and, as a rule, keep away from the big names. Of course, that is no guarantee against bad experiences either. But it is likely to help in an environment which - sometime despite of your banker - has been left to deteriorate under influences not favorable to the individual client. This is because the Swiss legal practice evolved in a way which - as the client sees it - looks pretty much rigged against him (both the Marcos family and the Philippine government could tell something along that line, if they wouldn't be afraid of the gag rules which, over now more than 15 years of unnecessary and sterile court fights, prevented them from going public with their complaints).
Thus, when the story of the holocaust victim families and their allegedly looted Swiss bank deposits resurfaced in early 1996, most observers weren't impressed. Expecting the matter to dissipate again in the sand in the course of the normal minimum five-year secretive proceedings (with the victims once again taken for a ride; see our relatedamicus curiæ), SIPA again blew the whistle, even worked out a genuine alternative solution, providing for a prompt global one billion dollar settlement. Intriguingly, that was turned down by the very people who allegedly spoke for the victim families (which raises the specter of these lime-lighted warriors pursuing hidden agendas, and thus being more part of the problem than of the solution). At any rate, the subsequent developments still proved one important point: the legal, the court path is neither the only nor the most effective road to a satisfactory claim settlement - at least not in cases involving the big Swiss banks.
The question thus arose:what other generally applicable lessons can be drawn from this experience - for you and other claimants (including victims of some past wrongs) and other holders of bad debts? The answer is the PILLORY, SIPA's debt exchange, which consists of a continuously updated list (www.solami.com/pillory). Except for the B Claims growing out from allegedly non-settled trusteeship functions with varying degrees of political implications (e.g. the stealthily outsourced, long-hidden and now re-surfacing foreign IG Farben assets apparently controlled by some Mideastern sources), this list, nick-named the Pillory, is meant to be illustrative of the kind of debt claims which might thus find an inexpensive and prompt out-of-court settlement.
The Pillory is designed to provide for
both private and public debt claims to be settled out-of-court promptly
and inexpensively. Inspired by the Lynux model, the
serving as general coordinator of the project, solicits critical comments,
suggestions and other relevant input. And he entrusts the evolution
and further development of the Pillory to each and everyone anywhere who
is capable and willing to contribute to its protection and genuine usefulness
for both the individual and the other members of the global village.
to the Global Ivory Tower homepage
back to the investor protection homepage back to the main index
Die an der Genfer Börse kotierte SASEA Holding AG war ein in den Achtzigerjahren vom ehemaligen Finanzdirektor der italienischen Erdölfirma ENI, Florio Fiorini, entwickeltes schweizerisches Finanzkonglomerat mit ca. 300 Zweigfirmen u.a. in Belgien, Frankreich, Grossbritannien, Holland, Italien, Luxembourg und Spanien (Beilage 25). Die u.a. mit dem Vatikan und der Banco Ambrosiano liierte Firma war ursprünglich auf dem Agrarsektor tätig. Insbesondere über Zweigstellen in den Seychellen und Monaco wurde u.a. Fiorinis Spezialität, das internationale Erdölgeschäft, betrieben und sind dabei auch Verbindungen mit Lybien weiterentwickelt worden (u.a. via GATOIL). Darauf gestützt und z.T. in Zusammenarbeit mit westlichen Geheimdiensten sollen (*) auch irakische Erdöllieferungen an das damals unter UNO-Sanktionen stehende Südafrika, sowie belgische, englische, französische, italienische und spanische Waffenlieferungen besonders an Irak erfolgt sein. Dies unter jeweils entsprechendem, zumindest ministeriellem Schutz bei entsprechenden Gegenleistungen zugunsten der jeweils massgebenden politischen Parteien(Beilagen 64-71).
Mit der irakischen Invasion von Kuwait wurde der bis dahin staatlich geförderte massive, geheime und lukrative Waffenexport nach Irak gestoppt. Das zog, mit unterschiedlichen Verzögerungen, den Zusammenbruch der darauf aufgebauten internationalen Finanz- und Beeinflussungs-Strukturen nach sich (Milliardenkonkurse BCCI, Maxwell, Polly Peck, etc.). Durch massive, wirtschaftlich kaumbegründbare (**)Finanzinfusionen durch die französische Staatsbank Crédit Lyonnais (CL) wurde der schon 1991 fällige (Beilagen 74 und 75) SASEA-Konkurs bis Herbst 1992 hinausgeschoben. Und nachdem der französische Steuerzahler entsprechend zur Kasse gebeten worden war, behinderte der Staat - hier und dort - auch die diesbezügliche strafrechtliche Durchleuchtung dieses mit einer Konkurssumme von SFR 5 Milliarden (***) grössten Konkurses der Schweizer Wirtschaftsgeschichte unter Hinweis auf die Staatsräson(Beilage 77).
Auf diesem politisch brisanten Hintergrund unterstand die Abwicklung des SASEA-Konkurses in Genf der besonderen Aufmerksamkeit einflussreicher interessierter Kreise, welche nichts dem Zufall überliessen. So fiel schon die richterliche Wahl der Mitglieder der provisorischen SASEA-Konkursverwaltung auf Genfer Sachverständige (ATAG Ernst & Young), welche auch mit der Abwicklung des GATOIL-Konkurses betraut waren (Beilagen 35, 67). Scheinbar unbedeutend: Fiorini soll u.a. über die GATOIL-Nachfolgerin TAMOIL Geschäftsbeziehungen zum lybischen Staat fortgeführt haben*, und der Genfer Rechtsvertreter der Crédit Lyonnais soll auch persönlicher Rechtsvertreter des irakischen Präsidenten gewesen sein*.
Unter diesen besonderen Umständen war die Berufung eines entsprechend qualifizierten Interessenvertreters in den SASEA-Gläubigerausschuss geboten. Diese Wahl fiel auf den Redaktor. Er war bemüht, dieses öffentliche Mandat strikte im Sinne des Gesetzgebers auszuüben, d.h. zusammen mit seinen Ausschusskollegen schnellstmöglich eine weitestgehende Gläubigerentschädigung herbeizuführen. Dies erwies sich schnell als im Widerspruch stehend zu den Bemühungen jener welche auf maximale Geheimhaltung/ Staatsräson bedacht waren. Der vorliegende Streitfall, welcher mit der nachfolgend wiedergegebenen Beschwerde vom 15.Juli 1994 bis nach Strassburg weitergezogen worden war, lag in diesem Zielkonflikt begründet. Für die Menschenrechts-Kommission in Strassburg handelte es sich hier hingegen um eine vorrangig verwaltungsrechtliche Auseinandersetzung, für welche sie sich als nicht zuständig erklärte; dementsprechend wies sie die Beschwerde 1995 ab. Übrig blieb - und bleibt - sodann die allfällige Berücksichtigung der einschlägigen Erkenntnisse anlässlich einer kommenden SchKG-Revision. Denn diese gerichtliche Austragung ergab neue, dem gesetzgeberischen Willen entgegenstehende und jedenfalls vom Gesetzgeber nicht aktiv gebilligte Regeln bezüglich des Zugangs der Gläubiger zu den Akten und zu den Gerichten, der Überwachung der Konkursverwaltung, sowie der Kompetenz und der Voraussetzungen für die Amtsenthebung eines Mitglieds des Gläubigerausschusses.
gemäss Recherchen von Journalisten und Spezialisten, privaten Mitteilungen,
(**) François d'Aubert, "L'ARGENT SALE", Plon Paris 1993, Kapitel 5 & 11 (der Autor ist Mitglied der Crédit Lyonnais-Untersuchungskommission der französischen Nationalversammlung); cf: Einvernahmeprotokolleder Crédit Lyonnais-Verantwortlichen, (Beilage 75); Thierry Jeanpierre, Pascal Auchelin, "Crédit Lyonnais: l'enquête", Fixot Paris 1997.
(***) durch "Rückzüge", etc. soll die Summe inzwischen auf rund SFR 1,3 Mia geschrumpft sein.
Phone Tapping -24 January 1998
Editor's post scriptum
1. The "Pick-up sign" disappeared in the entry of most banks in the subsequently published telephone books, raising questions of the legality of the routine telephone monitoring by banks, particularly with today's coming into force of a revised penal code art. 179 (Leonardo Cereghetti,Patrick Umbach, "Heikle Aufnahme von Telephongesprächen - Handlungsbedarf bei Banken und Brokern", NZZ 30.Dezember 1997; Yves Lassueur, "Ecoutes illégales dans nos banques", Le Matin, 13 janvier 1998).
2. Following publication of the above SIPA letter in the Wall Street Journal, the pressure for disclosing the full extent of governmental and privateeaves-dropping in Switzerland grew rapidly and seems to have contributed to the discovery of illegal telephone and other surveillance practices involving some 900,000 Swiss residents - one of Switzerland's biggest political scandals. After being given the opportunity, during some 5 years, to check one's own surveillance files (and how huge amounts of taxpayers' money were thus squandered - often with highly questionable motives, means and results), the Swiss Citizen generally is seen to have only partially regained confidence in the institutions charged with safeguarding his/her safety and welfare. Things were supposed to become more transparent and otherwise improve with the privatisation of Switzerland's telecom which, since 1 January 1998, has operated in competition with other service providers as a de-monopolized private company under the name of SWISSCOM.
3. Thus was touched a
more-than-eversensitive cord when the Sonntagszeitung
of 28 December 1997 revealed that SWISSCOM has also taken over a clandestinely
implanted system providing for an apparently unauthorized massive monitoring
and storing of telecommunications data on users of mobile phones.
This was not exactly helped when, under the weight of public reactions,
the fig-leave wide justification invoked (billing purposes) was
later complemented by prophylactic and therapeutic police purposes.
And when the end-of-the-year big bank letters
sent to some if its local clients informed them that, for some years now,
their calls to their bank may have been taped and stored for security purposes
for some six months. It would be interesting to find out if and,
in the event, on what legal basis any of these tapes actually found their
way to local and/or foreign law enforcement officials. Well yes,
we finally left theannus horribilis
Orwell+13 behind us but, having apparently lost our will and/or our
capacity to keep in check those charged with serving rather than spying
on and controlling the only
sovereign there should be, i.e. the upright Citizen, he/she will henceforth,
too get what he/she deserves.
UBS/SBC Merger - 20 March 1998
The By-Laws of the Union Bank of Switzerland, as in force on the date of its Extraordinary General Meeting of 3 February 1998, provided notably for (§ 11):
All of which casts a serious cloud over the shareholders' decision to dissolve the present UBS through a merger with the Swiss Bank Corporation. But the way things have gone so far, the competent juge of Zürich may not even be given an opportunity to examine the case and so it may or may not start to rain even without his blessings. For Swiss company law provides for legal challenges of decisions taken by shareholder meetings within 60 days. And, after another Swiss daily sat on the story for some two weeks, it is unlikely that a serious court challenge can and will be mounted in the time left - or, for that matter, that it would have a real chance of success.
Nevertheless - and not
least for reasons of principles, because of the legal questions
thus raised and in light of the wider
interests at stake - it appears important that the remaining repair
opportunities be anyway seriously considered both by the competent surveillance
authorities and the merger candidates themselves (who might call for new
shareholder meetings designed to straighten out in particular this
otherwise possibly endlessly harmful merger flaw). On which
occasion they may also discover that the stone of wisdom lies elsewhere
and that, in the event, there are serious alternatives available to the
incest solutions pursued so far.
Zu Thomas Kindler's UBS-GV-Kritik im Tages-Anzeiger - 20.März 1998
vom gleichen Tag: "Sturm im Wasserglas", denn
1. Art.11 al.2 der UBS-Statuten betreffe nur eine Auflösung der Gesellschaft mit Liquidation,
2. jetzt gehe es aber um eine Gesellschafts-Auflösung ohne Liquidation, gemäss GV-Beschluss um eine "Auflösung der Gesellschaft durch Fusion" gemäss OR 748, 749, und
3. dabei seien die entsprechenden OR-Bestimmungen, welche für Fusionen ein qualifiziertes Mehr der an der GV vertretenen Aktien vorsehen, zwingend und substitutiv anzuwenden.
Diese von Kollega Kindler vorausvermutete und oben z.T. bereits kommentierte UBS-Position findet weder in der derzeitig gültigen OR-Fassung, noch in Lehre und Praxis hinreichende Abstützung. Ein Blick in die Vergangenheit, in die Genesis und die Materialien, lässt sogar einen entgegengesetzten gesetzgeberischen Willen unmissvertändlich in Erscheinung treten.Der Schutz der "wohlerworbenen Rechte" ebenso wie die Vertragsfreiheit waren und sind für den Gesetzgeber seit jeher besondere Anliegen. So bestimmt z.B. schon Art.627, al.2 des alten OR ausdrücklich:
La Mégafusion entre la Société de Banque Suisse
(SBS) et l'Union de Banques Suisses (UBS) peut être contestée
juridiquement. Selon l'avis d'un expert paru vendredi dans le Tages-Anzeiger[iconoclast:après
deux semaines de "reflexions", un autre "grand" quotidien du coin n'a
jugé ni opportun ni indiqué par les devoirs de la profession
de publier cette information], l'assemblée générale
de l'UBS a violé les statuts lors de l'accord de fusion. Ce
trouble provient de la formulation peu claire des statuts de l'UBS [iconoclast:
de cache-sexe si on se référe au texte statutaire
qui est d'une clarté sans équivoque pour tous ceux qui sont
à la recherche de la vérité et non des excuses).
1. Voire aussi la réponse du publiciste suisse Klaus Stoelker, publiée dans l'édition européenne du Wall Street Journal du 28 avril 1998.
2. Curieusement, ce reproche tombe en parallèle et se trouve accentué dans le dernier rapport du notoire Comité 8 de l'autrement très sérieuse Organisation pour la coopération et le développement économique, OCDE, de Paris qui - après son échec total, dans les années 80, avec son projet orwellien INTERFIPOL d'une convention d'assistance administrative en matière fiscale - persiste à confondre la criminelle évasion fiscale avec l'évitement fiscale. Nonobstant que ce dernier constitue un facteur essentiel de l'économie du marché et de la souveraineté fiscale de tout Etat indépendant et digne de ce nom. Tant que les autorités politiques n'auront pas effectuées les changements qui s'imposent dans le cahier de charges et dans l'orientation de ce comité de l'OCDE, ce sera lui et non le secret bancaire autrichien, luxembourgois, suisse ou autre qui causera des effets pervers et en effet fortement dommageables non seulement pour les fiscs mais surtout pour les contribuables des pays qui continueront à souscrire à des thèses opportunistiques et depuis longtemps discréditées de quelques apparatchiks myopes et irréductibles (voir Paul Coudret etAntoine Bosshard, "L'OCDE s'attaque au 'braconnier' fiscal suisse",Le Temps, 29 avril, 1998).
3. En effet, on est loin où, dans les années 80, sous la direction de Seth Lipsky et dePeter Keresztes, le Wall Street Journal Europe (WSJE) et d'autres journaux étrangers - mais non les grands journaux suisses proches des banques, et très peu d'autres journalistes suisses - avaient mené combat contre les différentes lex americana. C'était en vain qu'ils ont imploré les parlementaires et banquiers suisses de se dresser sans vergogne contre toutes pressions émanent de la SEC et d'autres sources américaines. Et qu'ils ont conseillé de maintenir avec dignité, détermination et force leurs spécificités et leurs cultures bancaires, y compris notamment le secret bancaire suisse. Or, il se trouve que le WSJE n'est toujours pas sorti des chiffres rouges et que quelques membres de la famille des propriétaires pourraient donc être ouverts à des nouvelles idées. Voilà donc une occasion pour une nouvelle alliance vers de nouveaux horizons qui s'ouvre aux vrais entrepreneurs visionnaires et soucieux de l'avenir du marché financier suisse.
Y2K Immunization Through Comprehensive Measures Towards a Controlled Temporary Shutdown of the Electric Grid on 31 December 1999
The Year 2000 (Y2K) computer problems are unique in their nature, dimension and implications. Like in the case of radioactivity, the Creator endowed us with no natural sensors but "only" with brainpower to recognize its existence indirectly, to contain and protect us from its adverse effects, and even to benefit from it. Unlike radioactivity, Y2K problems are unprecedented and manmade and thus perhaps that more difficult to be properly recognized and to be tackled on normal tracks and with ordinary means. Moreover, no electronic gimmick, no magic trick is in sight - or can reasonably be expected - to shield any of our computer-dependent societies from the havoc entailed in embedded chips, personal computers and main frame systems which, on their own, will not make the year 2000 turnover, or which will fail in reaction to systems which are not Y2K compliant. Potentially worse yet, the countries affected by the COCOM embargo are known, from the beginning, to have built particularly their security apparatus, strategic means and essential services with computer systems and software based on eight rather than six date digits (whereby each year is defined with four, rather than two digits, as, until recently, has been customary in Western-built computer systems), thus being essentially spared the uncertainties of the millenium bug.
On this background, not only international organizations (notably the International Telecommunication Union, the Bank for International Settlements, the EuropeanUnion, etc.) and government agencies (in the U.S. notably the Federal Reserve Board and the Securities an Exchange Commision, etc.) but also lawmakers in different countries (notably U.S. Senator Robert Bennett, U.S. Senator Alfonse D'Amato, U.S. Senator Michael B.Enzi, U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel, U.S. Representative Steve Horn, Ständerat Carlo Schmid-Sutter, etc.) have started to take seriously the tocsin which some alert specialists (notably the Center for Strategic & International Studies, Frank J.Cilluffo, the Gartner Group, Peter de Jager, Alan Simpson, Taskforce 2000, Edward Yardeni, etc.) had sounded in the desert for quite some time. At the CSIS Y2K seminar held in June in Washington, an eye-opening "report card" on "Year 2000 Progress for Federal Departments and Agencies" was presented by the Office of the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Government Management, Information, and Technology" of the U.S. House of Representatives. Its conclusion: "Overall Grade is F", with the Departments of State, of Transportation, and of Energy projected as still failing the year 2000 turnover, and even the Department of Defense having improved only inadequately from F to D (sic!).
In Switzerland, the Federal Council, in its reply of June 8, 1998, to a parliamentary interpellation focusing on embedded chips (98.3073), confirmed the need for urgent actions to be taken on every level of society. Indeed, all concerned are called upon to do everything in their power which is likely to facilitate the earliest and most comprehensive possible recognition, minimalization and overcoming of the economic, social and strategic consequences of the Y2K problems - and to refrain from doing anything which might have contrary effects. To this end, all suitable measures in preparation of Y2K emergency situations should not only be prepared, but those placed in position of responsibility for the well-being of others may not rise to their task unless they actually procede on the worst-case assumption. And unless they promptly heed the recommendations given by their professional associations, Y2k specialists and officials, and can be seen to actually carry out in their own backyard what is still possible in order to avoid panic and to reduce the impact of Y2K.
Built, equipped and trained over decades for countering nuclear and other physical threats by way of providing Switzerland's thousands of small communities with a high degree of independence from national networks with regard to basic services and food distribution, the Swiss civil defense system appears uniquely suited to help in the Y2K tasks ahead. A reliable miminum supply of electricity being recognized as crucial for keeping the country running, an idea inspired by the Swedish change-over from driving on the left to driving on the right, is presently being examined by the responsible Swiss authorities (see text of the Motion Schmid below). Thereby, instead of running the reportedly high risk of the internationally entangled electric grid being anyway shut down by some non-containable Y2K-related problem occuring anywhere in Europe in the first moments of the new Millennium, the Swiss grid would be deliberately unhooked on the eve of the year 2000. For the duration of a few days, Switzerland would thus be put on an emergency footing 31 December 1999, with all essential services reliably running on the correspondingly prepared emergency power sources. Isolated from the international electric grid, and depending on how the situation evolves, the Swiss grid, made Y2K compliant until then, could and would then be gradually put back into normal operation.
Assuming this idea to be feasible, adopted and successfully implemented,
it would only be natural for the Swiss authorities to continue Switzerland's
traditions of genuine solidarity with the generous offer for corresponding
good offices and services Ständerat Schmid explicitly called far.
These should be available to foreign firms and organizations who may want
to set up additional contingency measures, safeguards and fallback positions
and whose clients might be interested in their offer for additionally securising
essential client data, assets, etc. by way of corresponding Swiss services.
To be sure, such Y2K-related contingency services are already available,
while additional ones are understood to be under development. Some
observers have welcomed these services notably as a chance to effectively
avoid or stem panic and corresponding bank runs.
Year 2000 - Computer Problem (Y2K), Emercency Measures
1. The Federal Council is invited to delay until an appropriate date in 2000 or later all legislative and administrative measures on all levels of the federal administration as well as all projects which are subject to federal approval, unless it is demonstrated that such measures or projects are Y2K-neutral, i.e. unobjectionable from the point of view of the year 2000 computer problems.
2. The Federal Council is invited to act in consequence of the fact that for the date of 01.01.2000 a breakdown of essential services cannot be excluded, notably not with regard to electric power, gas, water, telephone, transport, etc., and to take all appropriate measures, including the mobilization of the civil defense and all other suitable organizations and infrastructures, so that, for a period of several days starting on 31 December 1999, essential services will effectively be provided to the Swiss population.
3. The Federal Council is invited also to bring into being the necessary legal conditions which will facilitate and promote the development and provision, by Swiss firms, of services which may also help foreign enterprises and organisations in particular to overcome their year 2000 computer problems, e.g. by way of safe haven storage of their data and backup systems in Switzerland, free of custom duties and under conditions effectively providing notably for telecommunication, lawyer and bank secrecy.
June 26, 1998
Y2K-Immunisierung durch umfassende Vorbereitung der kontrollierten vorübergehenden Stromnetz-Abschaltung am 31.12.1999
Angesichts der Dimensionen, Unwägbarkeiten und Einmaligkeit des von Menschenhand geschaffenen und weltweit wirksamen Jahr 2000 Computerproblems (Y2K), zu welchem der Bundesrat in seiner Antwort vom 8.Juni 1998 auf die Interpellation Müller 98.3073 dringenden allgemeinen Handlungsbedarf bestätigte, sind alle Betroffenen aufgefordert, alles zweckmässige vorzukehren, was die weitestgehende und frühestmögliche Erkennung, Minderung und Überwindung der wirtschaftlichen, gesellschaftlichen und strategischen Folgen dieses Problems begünstigt, und alles zu unterlassen, was dem entgegenstehen könnte. Dahingehend sind geeignete Massnahmen für den Ernstfall nicht nur vorzubereiten, sondern es ist vom Eintritt des Ernstfalls an der Jahrtausendwende auszugehen.
Ein magischer Schutzschirm, welcher das Schweizer Territorium von den Folgen ungenügender Y2K-Massnahmen bewahrt, ist nach übereinstimmender Expertenprognose weder zeitlich noch technisch möglich. Das kann und darf aber für niemanden Ursache sein, nicht alles zu erwägen und das Zweckmässige vorzukehren, was in seinem Einflussbereich zur Verminderung oder Einschränkung der Y2K-Konsequenzen möglich ist. Hierzu gehören Massnahmen, welche die Fachverbände ihren Mitgliedern auf der technischen Stufe empfehlen, und solche welche der vom Bundesrat eingesetzte "Mister 2000" an der Öffentlichkeitsfront anregen mag.
Darüber hinaus, und für alle Staats- und Gesellschaftstufen gültig,
anerbietet sich das konsequente Vorbereiten der kontrollierten vorübergehenden
Stromnetzabschaltung und Ausweichung auf lokal verfügbaren und netzunabhängigen
elektrischen Strom am 31.Dezember 1999. Dies als Mittel zur weitestgehenden
allgemeinen Bewusstseinswerdung und zur "Immunisierung" der gesamten Schweizer
Bevölkerung und aller Teile der Wirtschaft als Voraussetzung eines
möglichst geordneten und panikfreien Eintritts ins neue Jahrtausend.
Dahingehend haben Schweizer Parlamentarier - u.a. Ständerat
Carlo Schmid-Sutter - politische Vorstösse unternommen, und sind
nun die entsprechenden Organisationen und Dienste aufgefordert, dem Schweizer
Bundsrat sowie den kantonalen und kommunalen Behörden bei der Umsetzung
dieses Programms behilflich zu sein.
Jahr 2000 - Computerproblem,
1. Der Bundesrat wird eingeladen, jegliche Erlassprojekte auf allen Stufen der Bundesverwaltung sowie alle Vorhaben, welche der Bewilligung durch die Eidgenossenschaft bedürfen, bis zu einem geeigneten Zeitpunkt im Jahr 2000 oder danach zurückzustellen, soweit nicht nachgewiesen ist, dass diese Projekte und Vorhaben unter dem Gesichtspunkt der Jahr 2000 - Computerproblematk unbedenklich sind.
2. Der Bundesrat wird eingeladen, den für den 01.01.2000 nicht auszuschliessenden Zusammenbruch der Grundversorgung des Landes, insbesondere im Bereich von Elektrizität, Gas, Wasser, Telephon, Transport etc. zum Anlass zu nehmen, unter Einsatz der Zivilschutzorganisationen und aller übrigen hiezu geeigneten Organisationen und Einrichtungen alles Notwendige vorzukehren, um ab dem 31.12.1999 die Grundversorgung der schweizerischen Bevölkerung für eine mehrtägige Dauer zu gewährleisten.
3. Der Bundesrat wird eingeladen, soweit notwendig auch die rechtlichen Voraussetzungen zu schaffen, damit die Entwicklung und der Einsatz von Dienstleistungen für die Überwindung der Jahr 2000 - Computerprobleme durch schweizerische Anbieter insbesondere auch für ausländische Unternehmungen und Organisationen erleichtert und gefördert werden, wie namentlich Entgegennahme und sichere Verwahrung von Daten bzw. von Datenträgern und Gewährleistung der Zollfeiheit, des Telekommunikations-, Anwalts- und Bankgeheimnisses etc.
Année 2000 - Problèmes informatiques, Mesures d'urgences
1. Le Conseil fédérale est invité de différer tous les projets de textes législatifs à tous les échelons de l'Administration fédérale, ainsi que tous les projets nécessitant l'approbation de la Condfédération, jusqu'à une date appropriée dans le courant de l'année 2000 ou plus tard, s'il n'est pas prouvé que ces projets ne posent aucun problème en relation avec le changement de millésime.
2. Le Conseil fédéral est invité de saisir l'occasion présentée par le risque, qui ne peut être exclu, d'un effondrement de l'approvisionnement de base du pays, notamment dans les secteurs de l'électricité, du gaz, de l'eau, du téléphone et des transports, en faisant appel aux organisations de protection civile et à toutes les organisations et institutions appropriées, afin de prendre toutes les dispositions nécessaires pour assurer l'approvisionnement de base de la population suisse dès le 31 décembre 1999 pour une durée de plusieurs jours.
3. Le Conseil fédéral est invité à crèer aussi les bases juridiques nécessaires afin de faciliter et de promouvoir le développement et la mise en oeuvre, par des entreprises suisses, de services destinés notamment aussi aux entreprises et organisations étrangères et devant permettre de maîtriser les problèmes informatiques posés par le passage à l'an 2000. Ces services devront également comprendre la prise en charge et la sauvegarde de données ou de supports de données, et ils devront bénéficier d'une franchise douanière, l'inviolabilité du secret des télécommunications, d'avocat et des banques, etc. étant garantie.
26 juin 1998
*S*L*M* - Outline of a Linguistic, Cultural and Religious Common Denominator
Salome, Salima, Solomon, Suleiman, Salem, Shalom, Jerusalem, Suleimanyia,
Islam, etc. are self-explanatory names and terms. One question
thus arising and which everybody can seek to answer for himself is:
what do these names and terms have in common other than their common roots,
i.e. the consonants S, L and M? The
Center seeks to address
this and related questions, with contributions solicited without discrimination
from leaders, scholars and laymen from all religions, nations and communities.
For the time being, they may be sent either by e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
or by snail-mail to: CORUM, box 2580, CH-1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland.
Unless specified otherwise, the editor considers himself authorized to
reproduce these contributions notably on this website free of charge
and with full credit to each author, and/or to utilize the material
thus received as the editor sees fit in the course of the evolving studies,
debates and conferences.
Towards Regaining Stability and Dignity in the Cradle of Europe - 9 March 1999
Item 1: Skanderbeg - the Albanians' national hero - doesn't seem to have any particular bearing on the current Kosovo conflict. Yet, he is widely credited with having blocked Turkey's onslaught on Europe for some 25 crucial years. Namely after the Serbs who, under King Lazar, in 1389 and precisely in Kosovo, though defeated, had succeded at least to slow the Islamic thrust into the heart of Europe. Thus both the Serbs and the Albanians (many of whom were of Serbian descent) had rendered an invaluable service to Europe as a whole. All this is recognized and venerated not only by nostalgic Serbs, but by other European Christians with a memory. As in these and other cases, a better, unbiased knowledge of our common past might bring to light much needed common ground. And go a long way to inspire the negotiators - currently meeting at Rambouillet - to achieve a dignified, practical and lasting solution to a conflict in Europe's currently most pressing trouble spot.
Item 2: Be they Albanians, Macedonians, Serbs, Tzigansor whatever, the inhabitants of Kosovo are not known for their particular depedency on computers. And yet, on the international scene, they are all in the front row to draw substantial benefit from a problem other societies are increasingly nervous about, i.e. the year 2000 computer bug (Y2K). This is so, because if they manage to prolong the cease-fire in Kosovo into the next year, they have a chance to work out by themselves well-founded and lasting solutions meeting above all their own and not foreign interests. For by that time, the chancelleries of all OECD countries can be expected to be overly busy with other - and not least their own - problems.
Item 3: Our mandate of June 1991 solicited our "good offices ... towards a peaceful, early and lasting resolution of the crisis" of Yugoslavia which then started to unravel at the seams. It hadn't occurred to us that the results of our efforts could one day become helpful in the search for a viable solution of the Kosovo conflict. Until the negotiators at Rambouillet seemed to be dead-locked in their search for common ground. And it suddenly appeared that what, over the past seven years, we have assembled in our ivory tower just might help to do the trick - i.e. when looked upon with the help of the Internet.
convinced? Then look for yourself on these pages and
elsewhere and start clicking whenever it itches you! And if you
need further details or explanations, or if you can contribute from your
own stock of data, experiences and insights, or care to make critical comments
or suggestions, please feel free to contact us (CORUM,
box 2580, 1211 Geneva 2), preferably
by e-mail (email@example.com).
Man-made, man-maintained and dangerously growing simmering conflict and humanitariandisaster zones in former Yugoslavia increasingly - and at immeasurable costs in various forms - threaten theinterests of peace, stability and respect for human rights in all of Europe. In these circumstances, a radicallynew approach is called for in order to effectively influence the course of events there. That is, if genuine peace is to be given a chance, and those called upon to bring it about will not only remember but heed the lesson from Chamberlin's costly for self-deluding and indeed very short-lived "peace for our time".
Inspired by both modern European developments and all-too-long forgotten, yet decisive historical elements, given a chance the peoples concerned might opt for a joint European option. For all the peoples who lived on the territory of former Yugoslavia, this could involve, e.g., an early joint, one-voice-only but full membership in the European family of nations, be that the European Union as it currently evolves on its worn-out peculiar tracks, or the European Confederation or Commenwealth for which Presidents Havel and Mitterrand laid the foundations in Prague already in 1991.
Special arrangements, including eventually redrawn international borders, might thus be worked out particularly for some past, present and future hot spots of that part of Europe. In every such case, a new minority is created. Each minority - whether reframed, displaced or newly resettled - carries with it the seeds of future conflicts, as many still unresolved minority cases resulting from the First World War show, e.g. the Baltics, Greece, Iraq, Palestine, Romania, Turkey, ex-Yugoslavia, etc. One of the cardinal lessons to be drawn from these and other still festering conflicts is that each uprooted or otherwise destabilized minority must not only be given adequate paper guarantees in the form of international minority protection rights. Also indispensable are effective means, notably adequate representation, to promptly notify and seek redress against rights abuses with the help of those guaranteeing these international rights.
In any case, for many decades, the constituant peoples of former Yugoslavia have enjoyed one of the most elaborate, generally respected and thus beneficially working national minority rights legislation. Fiddling with that delicate structure did not really benefit anybody when, in the power vacuum left to the successors of the in many ways irreplacable President Tito, the minorities question surfaced again. Not least from the point of view of regional stability in the longer run, it could be important now to devise a generally stabilizing solution to the Balkan minorities question. Currently, it is the Kosovo situation which, in this sense, offers an opportunity to look beyond the immediate problems. And here once more, we find an opportunity to look beneath the national minorities legislation of former Yugoslavia, where we discover a body of amazingly fashionable minority rights which, although of an international nature, most everybody seems either to want to ignore or simply to have forgotten. We are talking, of course, about the Treaty of St-Germain-en-Laye of 1919 which gave birth to the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, i.e. former Yugoslavia, and the corresponding minority protection instruments of the League of Nations.
In his memorable Sorbonne address of October 1992 by Sadruddin Aga Khan, the former UN High Commissioner for Refugees, had this to say on this matter:
2. Recognition of Kosovo and Metohija as the First European Arena by the European family of nations (Council of Europe, European Union, OSCE) in memory of those who, in times long past and since, paid the ultimate price in the defense of Europe against foreign aggressions, with the citizens and residents of Kosovo and Metohija being granted special privileges in some countries and re-assured of the special political rights agreed upon by the signatories of the Corfu Pact of 20 July 1917 and the international minority protection and related garantees enshrined in the Treaty of St Germain-en-Laye of 10 September 1919 to be reliably exercised with the help of duly elected Representatives and Minority Protection Monitors.
3. Establishment of the Interim United Nations Trust Territory of Kosovo and Metohija at the request of and under the terms agreed to by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the UN Charter and the General Assembly Resolution 24 (I) of 12 February 1946.
4. De-militarization and self-policing of the Kosovan Canton of Skanderbeg, with police and security forces drawn mainly from Kosovo and Metohija residents placed under UN command (command officers, enlisted personnel and special security units only from non-NATO countries, such as Estonia, Finland, India,Nepal, Russia, South Africa, Sweden, Ukraine, Zimbabwe, etc.).
5. Freedom for all
refugees from Kosovo and Metohija to return to their homes or, in the
event, to receive fair compensation and to move to the canton of their
choice for rebuilding their life in security and dignity with meaningful
reconstruction assistance particularly from abroad. A census
is to be held within 12 months of the start of the implementation of this
6. Prosecutions of war crimes - in as much as the overriding objective of cantonal and national reconciliation cannot be served better with an ordinary post-war amnesty - are to be carried out by cantonal, national or suitable third-country courts.
7. Prompt resumption of the negotiations on the economic and political re-integration of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia into the European family of nations in particular (including full membership in the European Union), on the return to their ancestral lands of those who found refuge in this Republic, as provided for in the Dayton and other agreements, and on other unsettled issues related to the break up of former Yugoslavia. These issues shall also be treated at an early follow-up to the European Confederation Conference which Presidents Havel and Mitterrand had organized in Prague in 1991 on the future of Europe.
of a draft agreement on Kosovo and Metohija - on the web at: http://www.solami.com/Kosovo.htm
- has been in circulation among the parties to the conflict and numerous
lawmakers since 24 April 1999. Like the explanatory
"The Saint Germain-en-Laye Treaty - a Vehicle for Kosovo?",
on the web at: http://www.solami.com/1919t.htm
- it has been developed in cooperation with numerous scholars, diplomats
and NGOs on the basis of the mandate to provide "good
offices ... towards a peaceful, early and lasting resolution of the crisis
which has arisen among the European Republics and Provinces which, after
the Second World War, have constituted the Socialist Federal Republic of
Yugoslavia". Entrusted to the Good
Offices Group of European Lawmakers (box 2580, 1211 Geneva 2 -
prior to the break up of Yugoslavia, in June 1991, by the Presidency of
the Upper House of former Yugoslavia, this mandate is reproduced in full
in UN document E/CN.4/Sub.2/1993/NGO/29,
Of course, the powers that be may be content with the free flow of things regarding the renovation, if not replacement of the old world order. For those who are not, one opportunity to more effectively address the current political and humanitarian problems in the Balkans - and also to avoid the spread of current conflicts, calamities and wars to Montenegro, Vojvodina, Serbia and beyond - seems to avail itself by avoiding political terms where clear legal terms are available and indicated. This calls for clarification of the following points before the UN Security Council adopts its anticipated resolution on Kosovo and Metohija:
1. As used in the conflict resolution principles which have been proposed by the G-8 and which are now accepted by the Yugoslav authorities, the term "Kosovo" is a highly symbolic and thus pationately debated historical and political term. As such it is unsuited for a legal document which requires generally recognized and agreed legal terms - if it is to effectively help to bridge gaps and to contain and eventually resolve a given conflict. Indeed, the very dimensions of "Kosovo" vary by thousands of square kilometers, depending on who talks and, e.g., on whether the communes of Medvexha, Bujanovc, Presherë, Leposavic and Zubin Potok are included or excluded. The Serbian Constitution of 1968 brought about the "Province of Kosovo and Metohija". And though there were efforts to change its name in order to give preference to its demographic realities over its historic and religious roots, the ancient and official appellation of this province still applies, as evidenced by the "Political Framework for the Solution of the Situation in Kosovo and Metohija" of 13 October 1998. Concluded between the President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) and the Special American Representative, Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, this document consistently refers to this province either with its official name of "Kosovo and Metohija" or with its abreviation "Kosmet". Under the circumstances, use of the partisan political term "Kosovo" is not seen to be helpful; in fact is has introduced new uncertainties which, if not corrected in time, may become a complicating additional subject of contention.
2. Metohija covers a large part of what is popularly referred to as "Kosovo". As the signatories of the G-8 document explicitly recognized the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, this document, therefore, is not seen to lend itself to produce opposite legal effects. Thus, the unofficial term "Kosovo", in international law, cannot take precendence over, or have the same legal effect as the official term "Kosovo and Metohija". Accordingly, the territory of Metohija appears not to be included in the G-8 document and it may be necessary and in the interests of all concerned to promptly seek agreement on the territorial limits of "Kosovo".
3. The prompt and secure return of all refugees to all of the FRY Province of Kosovo and Metohija appears to be generally agreed to as both a humanitarian and a political priority. The concerns of some countries willing to contribute national contingents to these effects might then best be met by way of concluding UN-sponsored agreements for stationing these troops in "Kosovo" on the one side and on the other in "Metohija" and related Serb-dominated communes. This may provide for NATO and other UN-mandated security forces to be stationed promptly in a Kosovan-dominated Canton of Skanderbeg, i.e. in "Kosovo", while Belarussian, Russian, Ukrainian and further UN-mandated security forces may be stationed in "Metohija" and related Serb-dominated communes, forming a Canton of Lazar (as initially suggested by the Good Offices Group of European Lawmakers: http://www.solami.com/Kosovo.htm).
Wissous (Paris) - e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
7 June 1999
ICONOCLAST- 6 December 1999
WEALTH PRIVACY – Project Billiard
Situation The OECD Working Party #8 on Tax Evasion and Avoidance (WP8) is the hidden force behind the long-standing efforts at OECD and the EU in Brussels to "harmonize" - i.e. plain-leveling – the tax regimes in the industrialized world by fighting such cleverly made-believe dangers as "harmful tax competition", and by deliberately confusing illicit activities with the very linchpin of entrepreneurial activities, i.e. tax avoidance. Most confusingly, WP8’s official French name is: "Group de travail sur la fraude et l’évasion fiscales". In its publications the OECD regularly translates "tax avoidance" with "évasion fiscale". The OECD thus persistently misrepresents and undermines a key pillar of the free market. Along-side "Brussels", the OECD, thereby, reveals itself as another surviving unreformed bastion of Kremlin-type ideologies and structures.
This is a far cry from protecting and beneficially exercising the fiscal sovereignty as an integral, even key part of each nation’s sovereignty. Self-servingly, many OECD and EU models, guidelines and recommendations are designed to enhance the transnational snooping powers of the members of the international brotherhood of gabelous. With its entrenched tentacles and allies the world over, this secretive OECD working group has already succeeded to bring into force the INTERFIPOL (OECD/Council of Europe Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Fiscal Matters) and to equip itself with an enforcement arm, the FATF (Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering). Not surprisingly, the FATF has already shed all pretense to be limited to drug-related crimes. Unless checked in time, it is likely to unfold awesome transnational police powers. This will be both on its own and through local laws, apologetes and handymen (in Bern, the local handywoman was successfully sent up the international ladder, but in Geneva, hélas, a less damaging playground has yet to be found for the local handyman). In short, if the line is not now drawn with vision, courage and determination, what future is there for the banker’s ability to live up to his traditional roles and responsibilities vis-à-vis his clients and society, i.e. to reliably and effectively act as a confidant, refuge and fiduciary for the world’s increasingly harassed citizens and the fruits of their labor?
REMEDY In order to effectively take both the power and the sting out of this OECD working group - and indeed to re-orient its activities in favor of financial privacy, tax competition and bank secrecy - the U.S. influence in and over WP8 can be brought to bear accordingly. E.g. by way of a credible threat to cut off U.S. funding of OECD. Unless and until this working group’s terms of reference are fundamentally changed to bring it back in line with the OECD’s statute which, nota bene, specifies the promotion of entrepreneurial liberties and activities, naturally including tax avoidance. Particularly in the run-up to the U.S. presidential election of 2000, this threat to cut off funds can be brought about by a political critical mass in the U.S. Congress (building on the group which, last March, forced an administrative about-face on the "Know Your Client" rules). This requires a hands-on cooperation and networking with suitable persons and institutions notably in Washington, whose efforts are to be supported by corresponding media contributions.
VEHICLES and MEANS "Politically correct", yet effectively trend-reversing, even visionary terms (financial privacy, health and wealth privacy, wealth basics, right to undisclosed private property, etc.) are to be identified, fine-tuned and introduced in the public debate. To this effect, close cooperation with the media, professional associations and suitable non-governmental are to be effectuated (a.o. through direct inputs, participation in debates, financial contributions, and sponsorships). Until November 2000, the key objective of a correspondingly changed WP8 mandate can be either attained or brought clearly into sight.
As the law and the available
documents suggest, the Federal Banking Commission has or should indeed
have been aware of such generally harmful practices which Spielmann rightly
denounced as geriatric problem-solving.
Having for years observed at close range, and having been formally alerted
to what's going on at BSI, there can indeed be no escaping or hiding from
the question: Why did the FBC not intervene so far more effectively?
Is it because the cases which have come to light are considered to be too
small (involving "only" already damage-weakened clients)? Or, on
the contrary, because some of these BSI cases forebode even bigger problems
ahead, similar to the proverbial tip of the iceberg? Have foreign
regulatory authorities, notably the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission,
not - yet - shown an interest in the matter? The cases of the Nazi
gold, those of the dormant accounts from the Second World War period, those
evolving under the heading of apartheid claims, those involving
what's called "politically exposed persons", and others are symptomatic
- and not encouraging at that. They seem to suggest that currently
the Federal Banking Commission's strength lies less in its independence
from foreign influences (www.solami.com/swissbanks.htm#STAMM),
less in its foresight, and less in its sensitivities to and perception
of macro-political & economic realities, aberrations and opportunities
(.../swift.htm ¦ .../hedge.htm).
And this at the very moment when the global economic and political environment
visibly degenerates into non-productive, self-rightuous and increasinly
parasitic bureaucratic jungles, where the increasingly over-bearing,
paralyzing and harmful compliance mode becomes the
of formally sovereign nations and citizens (.../oecdmandate.htm).
entrepreneurship, courage and self-responsibility,
heeding of time-tested principles and liberated citizens are
more then ever called for (.../costbenefit.htm).
And when, instead of hiding behind formalistic excuses for overlooking
malpractices, the Federal Banking Commission could and should be in the
vanguard of cleaning houses where and when necessary (.../swissbanks.htm#54th).
Moreover, there is work to be done for giving back to our bankers the conditions
to protect and serve the homo oeconomicus from all over the world
with competence, reliability and trustworthiness (.../salt.htm).
Instead of pushing them - under whatever fashionable pretext - to become
agents even of foreign fiscal authorities. Which, in the end, merely
amounts to fooling ourselves and others with unhelpful, wasteful and even
counter-productive activism, i.e. something even worse than E.F.Schumacher's
"rearranging of the desk chairs on the Titanic."
"If millions of people are desperate to buy and millions more
desperate to sell,
the trades will happen, whether we like it or not"
The profit motive may be universal but virtue is not
The world we live in offers vast economic opportunities. But these are
not limited to production and trade in what we consider good. They include
production and trade in "bads": narcotics; counterfeits; stolen artefacts;
arms; slaves and organs. And with these go their consequences: money laundering,
corruption and political subversion.
Governments are trying to separate the Siamese twins of licit and illicit trade, in order to kill off the latter. They are failing. This is the thesis of a remarkable new book by Moises Naim, the editor of Foreign Policy*. Today's world, he argues, offers growing opportunities for profit in illicit activities. The metastasising networks of brokers, financiers and corrupt officials and politicians are very successful in exploiting them.
Consider some of the evidence.
• Seizures by drug-enforcement agencies nearly doubled in volume between 1990 and 2002, but the street prices of illegal narcotics seem to be as low as they have ever been.
• Traffickers are estimated to move at least 4m people a year as slaves and are helping to move a far greater number of people as illegal migrants.
• Traders in small arms have supplied almost 50 wars since 1990, while the network controlled by Pakistan's Abdul Qadeer Khan promoted nuclear proliferation.
• Counterfeiters supply perhaps 8 per cent of the world market in drugs (beneficial, ineffective and lethal), faked parts and copies of branded products, to an aggregate value of some $500bn (£288bn, €428bn) a year.
• Pirates distribute tens of millions of illegal copies of DVDs, software and books.
• Money-launderers pass perhaps as much as $3,000bn through the world's financial System.
What unites these activities is that they are immoral, illegal and highly profitable. Today's world makes very valuable a host of things that cost little to supply. Intellectual property right regimes turn goods that are cheap to make - a medicine, a DVD or a bootlegged software programme - into items of high market value. So do prohibitions on the sale of narcotics, arms, endangered species or the services of prostitutes. So, again, does the cachet of Luis Vuitton or Rolex.
The biggest underlying source of opportunity, however, is the combination of borders with the ease of crossing them. What makes borders permeable is licit commerce, legitimate movement of people and new communications technologies. All countries are now neighbours. What makes borders economically signiflcant is the gulf in real wages and incomes across them. These gaps create huge incentives to move people, providers of illicit services, such as prostitution, and highly demanded, albeit illegal, products, such as narcotics, across borders.
It is Mr Naim's contention that dynamic entrepreneurs have been seizing these opportunities on a growing scale. "For if nature abhors a vacuum and greed is part of human nature, then greed too abhors a vacuum. That is why profit opportunities never go untapped for too long, not even when it is illegal to seize them."
Since the early 1990s, argues Mr Naim, illicit trade has transformed itself: it has grown immensely m value; it has extended its scope in terms of both products and activities; and "the different illicit trade / specialities of old have come together, with brokers and intermediaries taking the ascendancy over suppliers".
Illicit trade intertwines closely with licit activities. This is most true of money laundering. The abolition of exchange controls, more competitive financial markets and information technology have all made money laundering easier. Floods of illicitly earned wealth flow not just through offshore financial centres, but through London and New York as well.
Illegal activities do not merely subvert governments, but have, in many cases, become their principal businesses. Transdniester, an enclave of Moldova, is "a family-owned and operated criminal smuggling enterprise", writes Mr Naim. He lists parts of Colombia, Russia, Afghanistan, Mexico and many places in Africa and Asia as locations where "traffickers of illicit goods who are connected to larger global networks have a defining role in economic, political and military affairs".
How, if at all, are the growth in illicit trade and its most malign consequences to be managed? I stress "managed", not eliminated. One must start with a truth: as Mr Naim notes, "no government agency can fight the law of gravity". If millions of people are desperate to buy and millions more desperate to sell, the trades will happen, whether we like it or not.
The first response, then, is to stop indulging in unbridled moralism and concentrate on harm reduction. It is what most states have, rightly, decided to do with alcohol. It is what they should do with narcotics and prostitution. We should focus efforts on the most harmful trades - nuclear proliferation or large-scale coercive trafficking in children and women.
The second response is to abandon infantile "wars" on suppliers. There is no war on drugs. There is, instead, a war on poor suppliers that raises the profits to be gained from the trade. If illicit trade is to be reduced, it can only be by lowering its profitability. If one wanted to halt illegal immigration of workers, for example, the only plausible mechanism would be harsh penalties on those who employ them.
The third response is to design enforceable property rights. Regimes that reward inventors with temporary monopolies will, for example, be unworkable if the monopoly cannot be protected.
The fourth response is to make govemments work better. We have to "defragment" bureaucracies, both within countries and among them. We must also make international co-operation more effective. To achieve that we must be more successful in tackling state failure, capture of weak states by criminals and pervasive official corruption.
Mr Naim reminds us, rightly, that the profit motive is universal. So, then, are the forces that underpin all illicit trades. Tighter barriers to supply of undesirables are not themselves the solution; by raising the return to circumvention, they are, too often, the source of the problem. Since we cannot compel universal virtue, we must concentrate our efforts, instead, on reducing the profitability of the trades that are most destructive. Not least, we must recognise our enemy: he is not "them"; more often, he is us.
*Illicit: How Smugglers, Traffickers, and Copycats are Hijacking the Global Economy (New York: Doubleday, 2005)
FATF: OECD mission-creep & Piper of Hamelin bureaucratic lawmaking
(url: www.solami.com/oecdmandate.htm) - According to the Swiss Bankers Association press release of 29 April 2005, "Switzerland's plans to implement the FATF's revised recommendations go too far and they need to be reworked by financial professionals with practical experience." For The Economist though, mere corner cutting wont wash in light of the FATF's all-around failures & costs. It concluded: "...to curb terrorism by stopping the flows of money that sustain it, must be judged a failure. Complex and unwieldy regulations have been imposed, but are not working, indeed arguably were always misguided. They should be scrapped and resources concentrated more productively elsewhere." (see also: "Turf Wars Hinder U.S. Attack on Terror Cash, Agency Says", New York Times, 29.11.05). And if the even more fundamental question of why & on what basis is asked, the same answer becomes even more urgent. Following is the FATF's background & an outline of how best to stop this buraucratic wildcat train which is causing an unprecedented compliance pandemic.
to the market economy & to "the preservation of idividual liberty",
Organization for Economic Cooperation
and Development OECD, is "to reduce or abolish obstacles to the exchange
of goods and services and current payments and maintain and extend the
liberalisation of capital movements" (art.2, Convention).
As pointed out earlier (.../hijack.htm),
the OECD has evolved from a pro-market institution to an anti-competition,
anti-sovereignty & anti-privacy instrument
in the hands of unelected
bureaucrats. Under US influence, though, its Council of Ministers,
in 1971, explicitly prohibited it to engage in any work directed at social
& economic engineering (i.e. in "work on the use of fiscal policy
for demand management purposes",
§2). Yet ever since 1977, the secretive OECD
Committee & its Working Party #8 on Tax Avoidance and Evasion
(WP8) have found themselves able & willing to pursue their self-fabricated
mandate for "combating tax avoidance"
Moreover, the WP8's French name is:
"Group de travail sur l’évasion
et la fraude fiscale". This is no accident. All related OECD publications
in fact contain misrepresentations, i.e. "tax
avoidance and evasion" is always translated into "évasion
et fraude fiscale", thus persistently & self-servingly
confusion & pretexts for liberty-eroding initiatives
These, then, have been the hidden forces & methods behind the long-standing efforts at OECD, the UN and at the EU in Brussels to "harmonize" the tax regimes in the industrialized world. This is being done by fighting such cleverly made-believe dangers as "harmful tax competition", by both fabricating & seeking to enforce new global taxes and anti-money laundering standards, and by deliberately confusing illicit activities with the very linchpin of entrepreneurial activities & the market system, i.e. tax avoidance.
All of which calls into question the fiscal arm of the OECD - including the Financial Action Task Force FATF which was hastily set up in 1989 in the wake of the OECD's defeat on its project for an Orwellian INTERFIPOL (Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters). For in the case of the FATF in particular, we are not only faced with an uncontrolled, costly & ill-founded OECD outgrowth with its more than questionable aims, means & effects, as even The Economist found out belatedly (22-88 Oct. 2005). But it consists mostly of self-appointed, myopic & mutually back-scratching international taxmen causing significant damage to the world's productive forces & financial community, not least in the form of a compliance pandemic (see the self-fabricated "remit", i.e. mandate substitute?!, of the "beautifully dressed" but in fact naked Emperor). For the loosers of the INTERFIPOL battle, without a legal basis, initially had formulated 40 primarily self-serving recommendations on anti-money laundering measures reaching far beyond the original domain of drug crimes. And when they met no resistence, they extended their "remit" to mere civil "offenses that generate a significant amount of proceeds", shedding even the pretence of drug or other serious crimes (ATF IA.188/2005). This train of particularly harmful and objectionable aberrations of international bureaucratic lawmaking can and needs to be stopped in its track - lest it further inspire other international bodies in search for work & taxpayer money, and who have yet to be made appreciative of the true costs of the administrative hassles they cause!
Ergo: replace FATF & other
bureaucratic lawmakings with self-regulatory measures!
1. by encouraging US lawmakers to suspend the $70m/y US contribution to the OECD budgetuntil the OECD will have stopped, retracted & corrected all work, links & support which are not in line with the OCED's original intent & purpose and its Convention (notably its Fiscal Committee's mandate, its false translations of "tax avoidance", and its WG8's fixture on tax avoidance, harmonization & competition), and until the FATF will either have acquired treaty status with effects limited to members, or be shut down,
2. by arming US & other,notably CH lawmakers with arguments & briefs for related work,
3. by networking and publication of corresponding contributions in suitable journals,
4. by promoting and participating in suitable professional meetings, i.e. the Oxford and the Cambridge International Symposium on Economic Crime, and
5. by denying FATF official recognition and build-up (e.g. by replacing ambassador with observer).
Untangling Mideastern Gridlocks
Iconoclast, Good Offices Group of European Lawmakers, Geneva (email@example.com) – 12 January 2004
3. With the current Israeli Government elected and apparently thriving on a security platform providing for the maintenance and continued ordinary development of most settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, and with the Quartet’s official road map and the private Geneva initiative at least not yet, or in the foreseeable future meeting the reality test for a practical way out of the generations-old political gridlock of overlapping land claims, the Palestinian leadership might be offered to negotiate a mutually beneficial temporary exile in Iraq – with President Arafat perhaps more influential when acting from abroad, e.g. with a temporary sabbatical or medical leave in Geneva. The conceivable deal:
5. Swiss Parliamentarians, in the event, are prepared to
facilitate the realization of the above efforts. With regard to the proposal
to invite qualified Iraqi athletes for Olympic training in Switzerland,
the Swiss Government has already agreed to support the Swiss Olympic Association’s
related efforts (www.solami.com/mvcolympia.htm).
A Palestinian athlete currently prepares himself under difficult circumstances
for a spot in the swimming category. His integration in the Swiss solidarity
Olympic program may be mutually acceptable and beneficial.
Sehr geehrte Frau Bundesrätin,
Ich danke Ihnen für Ihre Erläuterungen vom 14.9.05 zum geplanten Schweizer Beitrag an den Kohäsionsfond der EU. Meine damaligen und inzwischen ergänzten Anregungen dürften Ihnen vor allem im Hinblick auf den nicht auszuschliessenden Ablehnungsfall behilflich sein. Heute möchte ich Ihre besondere Aufmerksamkeit aber auf eine Gelegenheit für adäquate Gute Dienste der Schweiz zur Entspannung des m.E. höchstexplosiven Israel/Iran/USA-Mittelost-Komplexes richten. Dazu liess ich dem libanesischen Präsidenten das beigefügte Memo 4 "Si vis pacem para bellum!" zukommen, welches offenbar auch bei ihm auf Interesse gestossen ist.
Wie auch Sie aus verlässlichen Quellen vernommen haben dürften, würde die vielfach in Bedrängung geratene Bush-Administration es ausserordentlich begrüssen - und auch entsprechend honorieren - wenn die Schweiz der UNIFIL Soldaten für Dienste im Libanon gemäss UNSCR 1701 zur Verfügung stellen würde. Grundsätzlich teile ich die dagegen vorgebrachten vorwiegend neutralitäts-politischen Bedenken gegen solche Engagements im Ausland; im vorliegenden Fall, und unter Voraussetzung eines gesamtschaulichen qualifierten Vorgehens, anerbiete ich Ihnen aber meine volle Unterstützung für einen entsprechenden Schweizer Beitrag. Im Sinne eines allseitig hilfreichen diplomatischen und politischen Katalysators könnte dies etwa so aussehen (siehe auch:www.solami.com/annan.htm#offensive):
1. Das Eintreten auf das amerikanische Begehren für ein Schweizer UNIFIL-Kontingent wird abhängig gemacht von der amerikanischen undisraelischen Zustimmung zum iranischen Begehren um Schweizer Gute Dienste zur Einberufung einer internationalen Konferenz bezüglich der Rechte und Pflichten zur Entwicklung und Nutzung der Kernenergie gemäss NPT (.../iran.htm).
2. Das iranische Begehren wird gekoppelt an die eigenständigen Schweizer Auflagen wonach die iranische Regierung a) die umstrittene Urananreicherung ohne Präjudiz bis zum Abschluss dieser Konferenz suspendiert (.../3103.htm), b) im USA/Irak-Konflikt ihre Guten Dienste zur Verfügung stellt, allenfalls in Verbindung mit denjenigen der Schweiz, zur schnellstmöglichen Entwicklung und Verwirklichung einer Verhandlungslösung (.../recres.htm), und c) im Israel/Libanon-Konflikt Hand bietet und besorgt ist für die schnellstmögliche und - durch geeignete Drittstaaten, inkl. der Schweiz - kontrollierte Verwirklichung der permanenten Feuereinstellung gemäss der ONE STATE, ONE LAW, ONE GUN (army) Formel, sowie des Gefangenenaustauschs und der Aufnahme von Verhandlungen über die offenen Territorial-, Souveränitäts- und Wasserfragen.
3. Der Schweizer Beitrag zur Analyse und Lösung der untereinander eng verflochtenen Israel/Iran-, Iran/USA-, Israel/Libanon-, USA/Irak-, und Israel/Palestina-Konflikte erfolgt in der Regel hauptsächlich auf der Ebene der offiziellen Diplomatie und in Form adäquater Guter Dienste; im Falle des Israel/Libanon-Konflikts beschränkensich diese Guten Dienste wesentlich auf die Inventarisierung der in Milizhänden befindlichen strategischen Offensivwaffen und deren Übertragung auf die zuständigen Institutionen des libanesischen Staates mittels Schweizer Soldaten in- oder ausserhalb der UNIFIL, sowie gegebenenfalls um Direktunterstützung beim entsprechenden Ausbau der libanesischen Armee.
In der Hoffnung, Ihnen und Ihren Ratskolleginnen und -kollegen damit dienlich zu sein, stehe ich Ihnen für weitergehende Fragen gerne zur Verfügung und verbleibe, mit besten Wünschen
Betreff: IST DIE NEUTRALITÄT FÜR
DIE SCHWEIZ NOCH VON BEDEUTUNG?
z.B. im Nahen Osten & im UNO-Sicherheitsrat
Eine vergangenheits-bewusste und zukunfts-orientierte Schweiz ist nah und fern umso geschätzter, als sie sich selber treu bleibt. Und als sie weder den modernen Rattenfängern von Hameln nachläuft, noch den Zumutungen und Pressionen missionarischer Anhänger der Flat Earth Society Vorschub leistet. Nicht Abseitsstehen bekommt ihr und ihren Bürgerinnen und Bürgern, sondern wohlbedachtes kalibriertes Engagement ihrer Kräfte im Sinne von politischen und diplomatischen Katalysatoren.
Im Falle Libanons schliesst das Schweizer Soldaten an den Grenzen
zu Israel und Syrien aus, nicht aber Schweizer Spezialisten zur Entminung
libanesischer Gebiete, resp. zur treuhänderischen Überprüfung
der vereinbarten Übergabe der strategischen offensiven Waffen an die
libanesische Armee im Sinne des ICESC-Memorandums "Si vis pacem para
Im Falle des höchst-explosiven Streits der belagerten Bush-Administration und verunsicherten israelischen Politiker (.../masada.htm) über die Vereinbarkeit gewisser iranischer Nuklearprojekte mit Irans Verpflichtungen aus dem Atomsperrvertrag (.../NPT.htm) sind adäquate Gute der Dienste der Schweiz nicht nur gefragt, sondern u.U. von entscheidender Bedeutung (.../iran.htm).
Und in Sachen einer allfälligen Mitgliedschaft der Schweiz im
UNO-Sicherheitsrat muss am Gebot einer verlässlichen
permanenten Neutralität festgehalten werden. Dies könnte auf dem Weg über eine institutionalisierte Abstimmungsabstinenz sichergestellt werden. Zur Anreicherung der Sicherheitsrats-Debatten im Sinne einer adäquateren Handhabung der mit diesem Instrument zu vermeidenden und gegebenenfalls zu bewältigenden Konfliktfälle ist im Rahmen der anstehenden UNO-Reform an eine dortige permanenteVertretung nicht nur der neutralen Staaten, sondern auch der Zivilgemeinschaft (NGOs) und der Wissenschaft (Nobelpreisträger) zu denken.
by Anton Keller, Secretary,
Investors Protection Association,
International Symposium on Economic Crime, Workshop 28, 8 September 2006
url: www.solami.com/crime.htm ¦ .../costbenefit.htm¦ .../oecdmandate.htm ¦ .../gold.htm ¦ .../tagwach.htm
Geneva, 4 Sep 2006 - In September of every year since 1983, a group of by now over 900 distinguished scholars, officials and lawmakers from all over the world has converged in an exclusive conclave at the venerable Jesus College of the University of Cambridge. The success of the Cambridge International Symposium on Economic Crime in the global law enforcement field is such that its creator, Professor Barry Rider, must occasionally wonder where his brainchild is heading. Whether the thus promoted global fight against economic crime has not already peaked and - like the Prohibition in the twenties - has started to become counter-productive, even unsustainably and dangerously so. Also cause for concern: whether the real threats of terrorism and the laws enacted to fight it are not being hijacked here and there in order to short-cut fundamental liberties, garantees & the Rule of Law. Be it by such outgrowth of purely bureaucratic lawmaking as the OECD's Financial Action Task Force FATF, or the EU's Arrest Warrent, by such over-reaching laws as the USA Patriot Act, or by the UK/US Extradition Treaty. They all offer ready-made - and exploited - opportunities for bureaucratic abuses. As shown by the British businessmen extradited to the US on other than terrorism charges, that is at the expense of indispensable liberties & rights of individual citizens.
To wit, there may be something like a Rider Curve which warns those
in the business of keeping society on a sustainable moral track of the
limits and possibly adverse effects of their impositions, just as the
Curve has a message for those seeking to maximise fiscal revenues.
This raises fundamental questions which deserve our all attention. Examples:
Whether the constitutional lawmakers of a Rule of Law society, without
undermining its own foundation and future, can allow bureaucratic lawmaking
anywhere to catch roots either at home, at the UN, the EU, or the OECD
under whatever pretext. Whether the thus fostered and more and more generalized
mode is not dangerously undercutting the individual citizen’s sense
and ability to act as a responsible, risk-taking and wealth-creating force.
Whether society’s remaining productive non-governmental forces may thus
not unwittingly be overwhelmed by well-intended, over-equipped and market-blind
"public servants". And whether our societies' way forward can really be
found with citizens who are not allowed to grow up, who are faced with
constraints and state tutelage, and who thus are deprived of the opportunity
to deploy their full potential for the common good by developing and practicing
their highest sense of individual and social responsibility. In memory
of our founding President, Jean-Jacques Griessen, I have gone back to some
of his writings and wonder whether they are really out of date.
Some months ago, I also came across a most informative, eye-opening and in many ways saddening study "How Americans Lost Their Right To Own Gold And Became Criminals in the Process". This while doing research on the evolution - from ancient time til now - of the citizen/state relationship as reflected in their ability to effectively challenge each other (ie. citizen vs state) for acquiring, holding onto & utilizing such private property as gold, land, information, etc. (www.solami.com/goldies.htm)
this peculiar perspective, the history of man takes on a look, dimension
and content which in many ways are different from what we ordinarily discuss.
It may be summarized as a history of ego-, gut- or intelligence-driven
resources redistribution by conquest, looting or imposed sharing, i.e.
of endlessly changing fortunes - for both the citizens and the community
they live in. And it seems to offer rare insights into the mechanics of
mankind and its component parts, from the individual human as an integral
part of the devine creation, to their combinations in the current form
of national states which are organized and governed in line with the current
dominent understanding of devine design, be it - as in pharaonic times
- by devine birth, or by way of the current, more or less
vox dei". To wit:
- The Pharaoh who introduced monotheism may not have done so for "religious", but primarily for political & economic reasons. For that may have been the most effective, if not the only way to overcome the resistance of his economy-controlling priests - i.e. the thus powerful earthly representatives of a plethora of gods. Contrary to the Pharaoh's own intuition and foresight, his priests didn't want to hear of Joseph's [in fact Horemheb's?] prophesy about the imminent 7 years of agricultural abundance which were to be followed by 7 lean years. For that would have entailed sacrifices from them by way of a raise to 20% from their traditional 10% of the harvest contributions the thus "nationalized" religious estates were to deliver to Pharaoh's national graneries. By no longer recognizing their gods, he thus drew the carpet from under his egocentric priests and freed his hands to successfully execute his visionary plans (www.solami.com/a1.htm).
- The French kings - and their more recent republican successors - may have regranted their citizens the right to anonymous gold possession only when their war-depleated treasuries could be filled again by amnesties for past & current gold hoardings.
- Some - particularly Western - U.S. states, as well as Turkey, Tajikistan and other countries are known to have adopted the Swiss Civil Code of 1907, where the first ten articles reflect fundamental principles and achievements of civilized society, perhaps drawing inspiration from the Avesta, the Ten Commandments and other ancient writings. Also, the universally postulated presumption of innocence until proven guilty, provides a helpful guideline when considering the above question of citizen/state relation - not least in fiscal matters. Yet, when looking around, I find myself to travel on the wrong train, and perhaps even to live in the wrong time period with my view that taxmen here and there, preposterously, have managed over the last decades to stealthily shove the burden of proof from their office onto the taxpayers' shoulders. For a Swiss employee, e.g., it isn't sufficient anymore to turn in his tax declaration in time and, with his signature, to engage his penal responsibility for false declarations; the law now obliges him to attach a salary certificate (.../lohnausweis.htm) as proof of what he declares, thus not only diminishing his signature but also - in law & effect - submitting him to state tutelage. This is seen to be in direct contradiction to article 8 of the Swiss Civil Code, which explicitly provides that it is incumbent on each party to prove the facts from which it deducts its claims. And it is all but clear why, of all entities, the relatively much more powerful state should be exempted from this fundamental rule, particularly in fiscal matters.
- On a related subject, I am not sure what, if any influence a more benevolant reception of the ancient - e.g. interest-prohibition - and more modern monetary ideas of Silvio Gesell and others might have had on the course of events leading up to and beyond the demise of the Weimar Republic. But neither can I rule out a link between both academia's and the national monetary authorities' manifest failure to-date to explore and develop those ideas and such watershed events as the Prohibition, the 1929 Crash (.../1929.htm), Roosevelt's 1933 bank holiday & gold criminalization, Hitler's comprehensive looting of Jewish properties culminating in the Holocaust, Nixon's 1971 closing of the gold window, Bush's disaster-prone "policies" on Iraq, Iran, Palestine & elsewhere, and the forthcoming man-made & other tsunamis and the ensuing political upheavals.
As in most other cases, the inavoidable metastatic effects of the ill-considered Prohibition measures forced the powers that be to abandon the religiously-inspired but blue-eyed and intolerably counter-productive anti-alcohol track. However, in light of the concurrent Depression's vast numbers of unemployed, the authorities could ill afford to enlarge the already destabilizingly long unemployment queues with police professionals which, during the Prohibition, had been kept busy chasing the Al Capones and lesser bootleggers. As happened in earlier times with customs, fiscal and other officials made redundant by redrawn political borders and other changes brought about by wars, evolutions and technological leaps, the powers that be wanted to keep the state's loyal servants on board. And when no productive or other common good employment was found for them, the path of least resistance has often been the invention & prosecution of new crimes, e.g. gold possession, alcohol commerce, drug traffic & consumption, tax evasion & avoidance, insider dealings, money laundering, corruption, etc. All of which seemed to strengthen the state - or a particular state with global ambitions pursued with flat earth visions. No matter what real or artificial danger may be invoked, this has not enhanced the citizen's respect for the state anywhere. Or, for that matter, his/her capacity and willingness to recognize the related policies, goose chases and enforcement measures as justified, legitimate and more than a self-harming pursuit of modern Pipers of Hamelin.
individual, for a society to succeed, freedom of action, privacy and
responsibility are as indispensable as unimpeded visual contact with
the horizon is necessary for a sunrise to be observed. Indeed, just as
the properties of water, air & light prevent a fish from ever seeing
a sunrise, both the hereditary (e.g. Dow syndrome) or legal constraints
imposed on a person are formative for, and can severely limit and condition
his/her perceptions. With correspondingly diminished or inoperative
sensors, a citizen may thus essentially never grow beyond a zombie-like
existence, i.e. never rise to the level of his/her built-in potential.
Not with regard to entrepreneurial capacities. Not with regard to his/her
capabilities to responsibly assume risks. And not with regard to his/her
contributions to the economy and society as a whole. For sovereign states
with a future,
genuine privacy of their citizens must thus be not
an option but an imperative (remember Glasnost, which provided
transparency of the state in favor of reanimated citizens,
but which, by the banner-turned-pall-bearers of the "free" states
was corrupted into transparency of the citizens in favor of an ever
stronger opaque state?). Indeed, individual integrity is threatened
but, as a rule, must not be allowed to be undermined by state tutelage
of citizens, as is increasingly the case. Despite of some of the risks
involved to either the individuals or society, criminalization of market
practices often entails disproportianlly costly social & political
numbness, risk-aversity and compliance mentality. It is in everybody's
interest when each citizen's sense of responsibility is boosted by all
means available to the state. That includes effective guarantees for his/her
privacy in particular vis-à-vis the state. And that calls naturally
for reactivation of
the basic right to anonymous private property by way of bankers
which - like their doctors and priests - are a citizen's allies and
not the agents of the state.
Following 9/11, the US threatened to bomb Pakistan "back to the stone age" (President Pervez Musharraf, BBC, 22 Sep 06: www.solami.com/stoneage.htm). Except for the blue-eyed admirers of the naked emperor, that's no surprise for anybody blessed with related sensors, a memory and a sense of genuine sovereignty. To be sure, a clear-sighted Swiss ambassador alerted his superiors early on of the creeping US "economic warfare" against Switzerland (Interpellation 03.3487). And Jean-Pascal Delamuraz dared, in early 1997, to publicly label some of Stuart Eizenstat's utterings as "blackmail". Notwithstanding such increasingly rare examples of sovereign competence and individual courage, ever since 1981, hardball-playing SEC, IRS and other US officials have seen fit to draw Swiss bankers over the table, to make them dance to their tunes, and to oblige them to circumvent or even violate Swiss bank secrecy - courtesy of a particularly friendly former Swiss attorney general. Essentially based on the same advice - and in spite of the mutually binding contrary Swiss-American conventions regarding legal assistance in penal matters - a Swiss firm involved in the Swiss-led good offices operations between the US & Iran for the release of the US hostages in Teheran, Marc Rich & Co AG, in 1982, was leaned on to pay $50000/day for as long as it did not produce documents sought in relation with, a.o., the US Trading-with-the-enemy-Act. Repeatedly, even the NZZ sounded the tocsin on US practices and Swiss responses, already in 1987 under the title: Schweizer Antworten auf amerikanische Ideen (.../walderbsi.htm#Hohn).
Thus accustomed to
and even premature Swiss legal assistance, US officials didn't take
kindly to Swiss resistance, as expressed in e.g. its noted amicus curiae
briefs of 1984 and
And when, encouraged by a critical
mass in Parliament, Switzerland's first lady Federal Councillor finally
drew the line, she paid her courage with her own downfall. Notwithstanding
punctual successes on the fiscal
and the nuclear front,
insider, money laundering and other lex americana copies have brought
the universally acclaimed Swiss banking culture to the level of US visions
and opportunism. Thus, from allies of their clients, Swiss banks have "volontarily"
accepted to become QIs by
the good grace of the US IRS (qualified intermediaries: .../QIcirc.htm).
Nationalrat Luzi Stamm had raised the yellow card
with his letter of
13 December 2000 to the Swiss Bankers Association, he has yet to draw
the courtesy of a substantial answer (SBA: .../swissbanks.htm#STAMM).
Not surprisingly then, when another emmissary of the US Government, the Under-Secretary of the US Treasury Stuart Levey, recently delivered the latest US desirata - i.e. to cut off all Swiss bank dealings with Iranian banks, starting with Saderat ("Washington invite les banques suisses à couper les liens avec l'Iran",Yves Genier, Le Temps, 21 sep 06: .../swissbanks.htm#Saderat) - his listeners in Berne "didn't notice any pressure". Probably not unlike the greenhorns in the US State Department who, in 1941, didn't notice Japan's declaration of war couched in the diplomatic language of another generation. At any rate, the "routine exchange of views" reportedly caused no alarm. And the way things have been going, the visitor may not even have been told that Switzerland's current good offices on the US/Iran nuclear conflict can only be as successful as both parties refrain from undermining our position as a neutral and credible facilitator. Indeed, a permanently neutral country must not favor either side in a given international conflict - not militarily, not politically and not commercially (see also: Report by the Federal Council on Swiss Foreign Relation, annex on neutrality, 1993 [*]). Sanctions, even if decided by the UN Security Council, must not be allowed to impede a neutral country's normal trade and other relations; however, and beyond the "courant normal", it must not allow either its infrastructure to be used for sanctions-busting. Even more compellingly, essentially the same and further principles apply if a state is to effectively lend its services as a mediator, as an honest broker, including good offices for seeking to resolve an international conflict, small or big. Accordingly, Switzerland's international credibility is all but favored if even the mere suggestion of Swiss banks joining a banking boycott against a conflict party is no longer rejected out of hand - and may in fact already be officially favored.
Of course, the experiences & conditions thus brought into
focus, so far somewhat have found their balance with more enchanting instances
of genuine cooperation between two
sovereign people sharing common values. Yet, officials, bankers &
entrepreneurs interested in successfully dealing with our American friends
must not allow themselves to be blinded by their sympathy for their American
relatives and friends, but may want to reflect seriously upon the following
1. Until proven otherwise, Americans have grown up in, are thoroughly used to and, as a rule, have their sensors not trained to an environment different from one of - often reckless, if not ignorant - hardball-playing competition. The Israeli example continues to show: fully appreciated, respected and honored is only someone who - even under an unfavorable rapport des forces - responds to such Americanisms with hardball, better even with diamantball. Thus, someone who is seen to curry favors with niceties and softball, deservedly - in the American mindset - is routinely treated with contempt, disrespect and abuse.
2. Fertile chaos being a dominant feature of US society and politics, there is no such thing as a unified policy on almost anything. Hence, hire & fire, social mobbing, friendly fire, collateral damage and ill-considered & ill-advised "policies" are not the exceptions but the characteristics of daily events in all segments and power levels of US society, be it in the domains of the economy, religion, politics, armed forces, etc. Checks & balances, effective supervision, respect for Treaties and the Rule of Law reflect less reality than constitutional aspirations of the Founding Fathers who thus labored to temper such dominant human motivators as greed, self-rightousness and opportunism. Even at the top of the power hierarchy, this deeply enrooted Wild West, bounty hunting & Flat Earth mindset today still translates into "shoot first, ask questions later", "you're either for or against us", "in case of doubt, bomb them", "war on terror", "get me that scalp called Swiss bank secrecy", "shut down non-compliant Swiss banks", etc. To be sure, in most cases this is not merely heavy-handed clumsiness & benign hilly-billy ignorance, but society-permeating viciousness, as evidenced by Robert Ringer's best-seller "Winning through intimidation". All of which adds up to a mockery and abuse of democratic agendas and institutions - as if we were faced with the 4th Reich. And it results in real power vacuums at high and highest offices which can, have been and, if the past is any guide, will continue to be exploited by baby-faced, yet reckless office holders - in as much as they are being helped, accomodated or not sent back to go fly a kite and consult first with their colleagues in other departments.
3. Good, mutually respectful and beneficial Swiss-American relations are not only desirable, but possible. As demonstrated by the Joint Resolution of the US Congress of 1985, they are readily recognizable also by our American friends as being crucial not only to Swiss but to US interests. However, they deserve and need to be moored in a better understanding of both our existing treaty rights & obligations, genuine US roots, values & interests, and on-going operations here & there. Also, there are corresponding lessons to be learned from essentially self-inflicted damages, including the "diplomatic treasons" (art.267 CP) apparently committed by various lex americana promoters, such as Swiss attorney generals - both former and current.
In summary, instead of blissfully heeding whatever American official
visitors transmit as the latest US desirata, principled, visionary and
well-considered initiatives of our own
are called for, if the Swiss financial market, Swiss products & services,
and Swiss sovereignty is to have a future. All of which indicates a political
willingness and calls for adequate support measures for exploring
and eventually realizing such mutually beneficial projects as:
1. Swiss Good Offices for resolving the current nuclear disputes between the US (Israel) and Iran (.../iran.htm¦ .../nptmotion.htm¦ .../3103memo.htm ¦ .../3103.htm).
2. Installation, notably in Swiss bank tresors, of monitoring equipment as a key Swiss contribution to the US/Russian Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism - in return, sine qua non, for conditions where lex helvetica, and not lex americana, is again genuinely the law of the land.
3. Development and application of methods and vehicles to effectively combat "soft law" bureaucratic lawmaking at the UN, EU, OECD (FATF), etc (.../oecdmandate.htm ¦ .../merz.htm ¦ .../crime.htm ¦ .../GAFI.htm).
thinking is called for! (3[ parts 1 & 2 censored
by JP, reproduced below in green & cornered brackets])
ICONOCLAST - Switzerland 01/09/2007 14:02
[1. Unlike most ME countries, Israel is a one-nuke state, e.g. it could be turned into uninhabitable wasteland by one nuke. And while the security of its people, its territorial integrity & its freedom from radiological & other existential hazards are fundamental concerns of its leaders, the same applies to any other civilized state. The objective of any conflict analysis & resolution must thus provide for a joice other than pre-emptive strikes reflecting the recklessness of «après moi le déluge».
2. This student of the NPT genesis (www.solami.com/NPT.htm) is thus reminded not only of the «Masada complex» (.../masada.htm) but also of the defeatistic slogan «better red than dead» of a thought-to-be bygone time. A more helpful approach to key regional conflicts has been offered – and is being practiced - by those digging for and exploring the truth about the joint monotheistic roots of the people now living in the Middle East, notably Israël Finkelstein, Neil Asher Silberman & others.
3. ]Yes, archeology concerns roots preceding Judean, Christian & Islamic traditions (.../slm.htm); yet it's relevant for today’s & tomorrow’s Israelis, Palestinians, Iranians, Iraqis & Egyptians (.../a1.htm). Moreover, as shown by Swiss lawmakers (.../3103.htm), even in the security-sensitive nuclear r&d, mutually helpful diplomatic solutions may be found with imaginative initiatives building on the recognition that the earth isn’t flat & that nobody has a monopoly for good ideas (.../iran.htm).
Reflections & questions on Iraqi's common denominators
Mohammad Siddiq Mahmoud - the lawyer & poet who,
before turning into a leader of the US-betrayed Kurdish uprising of 1991,
had served mainly as jester at the court of Saddam in such official functions
as agriculture minister, governor of Dohuk and presidential adviser - has
destilled his experiences, insights, and visions into a non-partisan appeal
to "all Iraqis and their friends at home & abroad".
For those who have lost confidence in the free flow of things and wish to take matters into their own hand, I recommend his attached one-pager "Iraqi Peace, Security & Independence" as food for thought (it is also available on my subsite: www.solami.com/opinions1.htm and is currently translated into Arabic and Kurdish; these versions will also be available in doc format). To be sure, there are some who have their doubts on the timeliness of any related initiative while the clothless Emperor is still in power and - though ever less but still - continues to draw applause for his pretended-to-be nice cloths. Who see the Piper of Hamelin still very very active - and up to no good. And there are those who, moreover, have not forgotten Siddiq's still unresolved 1996 arrest at the Geneva airport "for deportation to Baghdad" by zealous Swiss handymen [for yet to be determined reasons, the questions publicly raised in the Swiss Parliament ahead of its general elections - 07.5328 - have been sanitized]. Who have not since seen much evidence either of Switzerland's "independence of all foreign influence", i.e. its neutrality credo, to be competently and reliably practiced. And thus who still have to be convinced that, in the future, Swiss foreign policy - apparently driven in part by some officials of the Federal police acting as local vassals - will no longer be part of Iraq's problems and will in fact again be in the vanguard of the search for road-holding diplomatic solutions, e.g. by heeding Siddiq's proposal of a well-prepared new Lausanne Conference à la 1923.
[adapation d'un courriel à Monsieur le Conseiller fédéral Christoph Blocher dont la réponse mérite réflexion]
Suite à votre succès parlementaire d'aujourd'hui, permettez-moi de vous soumettre quelques reflexions qui m'ont amené à inviter mes amis parlementaires de renvoyer au Conseil fédéral, ou à la Commission, le projet 06.069 visant à compléter l'actuel traité d'entraide judicaire en matière pénal avec les Etats Unis de 1973. Cela d'autant plus que les associations faitières n'ont pas pris position - malgré le fait que leurs membres et leurs clients sont gravement touchés par les procédures non-constitutionnelles ainsi introduites en catimini. Le cas échéant, je leur proposerais de veiller à ce que ce nouveau traité soit accompagné des mesures adéquates. Vue les multiples et persistantes doléances qui s'étendent au domaine de la justice, ces mesures devraient aller au-delà d'un monitoring par la Commission de gestion. Il convient en effet d'envisager une réactivation de la commission consultative qui était créée en application du traité en vigueur. Elle était chargée de sauvegarder la souveraineté, la sécurité et d'autres intérêts essentiels de la Suisse, mais elle ne pouvait pas faire ses preuves face à des fonctionaires trop zélés de l'administration fédérale, appuyés par un Tribunal fédéral plus soucieux de la forme que de la constitutionnalité de l'entraide solicitée.
Je suis étonné. Je m'inquiète. Et je m'interroge.
Avec son Interpellation 02.3528 du 2 octobre 2002, le Groupe de l'Union démocratique du centre a vertement critiqué l'''Operative Working Arrangement" (OWA) que le ministère public de la Confédération avais conclu et que le Conseil fédéral a mis en vigueur derrière le dos du parlement. L'UDC s'inquiétait notamment "que de tels accords favorisent l'érosion de nombreuses libertés, telles la liberté personnelle, la protection de la sphère privée (notamment le secret bancaire) et le droit d'être entendu".Les réponses du Conseil fédéral voulaient être rassurantes; il disait notamment: "La coopération policière envisagée est conforme au TEJUS et aux dispositions légales en vigueur dans chaque Etat. Les autorités judiciaires et policières suisses et américaines s'échangent des informations en agissant souverainement sur leur territoire respectif. Aucun agent américain ou suisse n'enquête donc sur le territoire de l'autre Etat." Maintenant, on sait que c'est inexacte - mais c'était déjà à l'époque de sable dans les yeux.
Une année plus tard, la Commission de politique extérieure a introduit la Motion 03.3577 visant un examen par notre Parlement de l'"Operative Working Arrangement". Le 9 mars 2004, le Conseil national l'a adopté, par l'écrasante majorité de 144 contre 8, avec l'ancien chef de fil de l'UDC au peloton de la majorité. D'après ce texte clé du Conseil national, cet arrangement avec les Etats-Unis "touche à des aspects tels que les droits civiques, la protection des données, la surveillance d'Internet, l'entraide judiciaire ainsi que la réciprocité et l'égalité des droits dans les relations de la Suisse avec une grande puissance. Cet accord revêt ainsi une grande importance d'un point de vue de politique intérieure aussi bien qu'extérieure et ne peut pas être qualifié de traité technique ou administratif de portée mineure. La coopération très poussée qu'il prévoit entre les parties signataires ne saurait être regardée comme politiquement incontestée."
Par contre, le Conseil fédéral a insisté auprès du Conseil des Etats: "L'OWA ne touche donc pas les droits civiques ou d'autres droits dans une mesure incompatible avec le droit applicable en Suisse, il ne fait que rappeler des règles de procédure d'entraide et de préciser des points de détail. La transparence requise n'impose pas au Conseil fédéral de soumettre les "traités bagatelles" tels que l'OWA à l'approbation du Parlement." Et les sénateurs l'ont suivi, malgré l'avertissement sec de Carlo Schmid: "die USA sind im Moment kein Rechtsstaat nach unserem Standard. Von daher muss man aufpassen, was man macht. Es ist ein heikles Thema, ein heikles Gebiet. Die USA dehnen ihre Kompetenzen enorm aus und fahren die Rechte der Betroffenen enorm zurück. Hier sind wir mit unserer Auffassung natürlich noch "altmodisch", und daher ist die Aufsicht über dieses ganze Thema von extremer Bedeutung."
Sur cet arrière-plan, il faut admettre que le changement de la composition du Conseil fédéral en 2004 nous a aussi apporté une occasion d'examiner un substitut à l'arrangement de 2002. Seulement - et c'est ici que le bât blesse, comme les critiques de Peter Popp, Dominique Poncet & Vincent Solari, Martin Schubarth et d'autres émminent juristes suisses nous le confirment - notre pratique en matière d'entraide pénale notamment vis-à-vis des Etats-Unis a actuellement atteint un niveau inquiétant, aussi du point de vue des garanties constitutionnelles. Et contrairement aux affirmations officielles, le nouveau traité permettrait aux agents américains de prendre connaissance, et d'analyser sur notre territoire des documents même du domaine secrêt avant que ne pourraient être mobilisées les protections juridiques disponibles selon le droit national et le traité de 1973. De surcroît, les leçons et les alarmes lancés notamment par notre propre Commission d'enquête parlementaire CEP semblent déjà oubliés: "Es ist nicht übertrieben, in diesem Zusammenhang von einer geradezu willfährigen Haltung der Bundesanwaltschaft gegenüber der [amerikanischen Drug Enforcement Administration] DEA zu sprechen. (89.006, BBl 1990 I S.753)."
En effet, la durée de notre mémoire semble en diminution permanente, comme en témoigne les multiples interventions récentes de la part d'Alexander Baumann et d'autres collègues au sujet d'entraide juridique, le dernier exemple étant l'adoption, il y a 10 jours, par le Conseil national de la Motion 06.3006 de sa Commission économique et redevance CER "Entraide administrative et judiciaire. Exigences et principe de la double incrimination", motion qui me semble peu compatible avec le nouveau traité. Mais pour ceux qui ne partagent pas l'idée que le monde est plat, il y a aussi d'autres signes actuels à prendre en considération: nous venons d'apprendre de sources officielles américaines que le FBI et d'autres services américains ont gravement abusés les compétences extraordinaires dont ils étaient investis suite aux attaques terroristes de 2001. Il va donc de nos intérêts fondamentaux de ne pas élargir - sous aucun prétexte - le champ d'application d'entraide en matière pénal au-delà des limites strictes du traité de 1973 en vigueur avec les Etats Unis.
Finalement, la crédibilité d'une politique dépend aussi des paroles et actions cohérentes. Sous cette angle, il convient non seulement de saluer l'initiative de l'UDC visant à inscrire le secret bancaire dans la Constitution - campagne qui a abouti à la Motion 06.3006 de la CER. Mais on est également en droit d'attendre un suivi et une application globale de cette même importante Motion par la partie qui a sû developper une position d'avant-garde en matière de souveraineté, sécurité et d'autres intérêts essentiels de la Suisse. Or, en vue de signes inquiétants, force est de constater que des ténors de cette même partie semblent de plus en plus baisser leur garde notamment vis-à-vis de nos amis d'outre-mer - sans raison apparente, et cela même dans une année d'élection. Dans ces circonstances, je me permets de poser la question au Monsieur le Conseiller fédéral, à savoir quel est l'intérêt majeur de la Suisse en cause que vous juger supérieur à ceux que je viens d'invoquer. Je note que l'UBS, d'après son communiqué de presse du 12 décembre 2006, a un contentieux avec le procureur général de New York State qui s'élève à environ 7 salaires du président de l'UBS. Je tiens à être assuré que la position du Conseil fédéral en matière de ce traité contesté n'est nullement inspiré par un quelconque lien avec une quelconque affaire privée.
Can anybody demonstrate where much of the easy money for subprime mortages and loans really came from? Asked differently: can it be excluded that the email offers all of us were annoyed with daily were not the outer sign of the globally some US$ 1 trillion "illicit" drug, tax evasion, etc. black funds the IMF estimates is generated annually, is seeking recycling into the "white economy", but finds itself blocked by ill-considered anti-money laundering rules cooked up by international bureaucrats (FATF) answerable to no one? (www.solami.com/ponzi.htm) 8/11/2007 5:37:17 AM
It's encouraging to have a former US President giving substance to and enhance the credibility of what the powers that be usually dispise, namely "competition" from parallel diplomacy. Happily, the late Edouard Brunner, a former Swiss Secretary of State, played it masterfully - and successfully at that - while still in office (www.solami.com/edouardbrunner.htm ¦ .../diplomacy.htm ¦ .../palestineinexile.htm). Perhaps the Elder Statesman and Peace Nobel Prize Winner Carter now regrets that, while in office, he wasn't leaning enough on his high-riding advisers and officials in order to fully benefit from what official and parallel Swiss good offices were doing and could have done for the principled, prompt and mutually benefitial release of the US hostages in Teheran. And perhaps that and other experiences will one day effectively serve those in power to genuinely recognize that nobody has a monopoly for good ideas. And that, therefore, communication channels even to weak voices - as President Nixon once wisely advised - should always remain not only open but need to be protected. Also and particularly against the pathetic gesticulations and saturating signals and noises produced by the apprenti-sourcerers and other flat earth adepts who will be remembered most for having given foreign policy a bad name.
iconoclast, peace talk for the galleries or for real?
of monopolists for good ideas!
Steven Mufson and his colleagues' tell-tale account (Discord on Economies In a World Of Trouble, WP 2 Nov 08) on the preparations for the upcoming G-20 emergency meeting in Washington reminds me of the then-blinding joy and general confusion which gripped every chancellery everywhere when, in 1989, the Berlin Wall fell - nota bene in our direction if I remember correctly, some current bureaucratic lawmaking appearances to the contrary notwithstanding. Then as now, having lost the political magnetic field, our leaders everywhere were and are seen to be trying in vain to read their magnetic compass as their main guiding system, to engage in empty gesticulations designed to show that they are on top of things, rather than admit ignorence and look out for new sources of inspiration and guidance, e.g. time-tested principles and intuition. And though all that's not now the subject of my foremost concerns, that other truly historic event may actually have deeper and stronger links to current events in the financial and political world than the surface of things seems to suggest.
Not Keynes or Hayek, but genuine competition between differing, even opposing views will help our leaders and the citizens to recognize the origine of current failed policies, to clear their rubble for more lasting and individually rewarding common good approaches, and thus to save the world from an even more destructive sequence of events. Not more state control vs more sovereign citizens, but more recognition and respect for, e.g. - state-controlled and universally appreciated - Swiss Railways and, on the other side, for the equally exemplary global achievements of a privately-owned global player like Nestlé. That's essentially what I took away from Roger de Weck's Sternstunde interview of this Sunday with Hansjörg Siegenthaler on Swiss TV.
And if the interview had lasted a bit more, some rare and potentially helpful information pearls might also have been aired. Notably on the Swiss lawmakers' ill-considered, world-widely copied - and now proven-to-be devastating - legal innovations of the 80ies for pension managers. For the latter were thus formally authorized and encouraged to look for "market-level returns" rather than low-risk family-father investments. To look for big companies as a measure for greater security (sic! e.g. ENRON). And even explicitly to venture into the unfathomably sophisticated derivatives & "securization" casino, i.e. the back-office of the stock-market which is supposed to serve and not to undermine the real economy. Also, other insights might have come out, some of which have been collected systematically since the FED, in March 2006, intriguingly, stopped publishing its M3 figures ( www.solami.com/capitalism.html ). One such potentially helpful insight is the fact that all laws are basically designed for individuals and/or small units. Indeed, lawmakers all over the world regularly rely on those in charge of macro-economic units to be able and to have vision, character and sense of common good responsibilities - all of which are required for effectively arbiting conflicting interests on their macro-economic level where short-term exploiting or even abusing unintended but anyway mostly inevitable legal loopholes are counter-indicated, for harmful to the common good. These managers and financial service partners are thus expected to have the intelligence at least to remember and strictly heed the insight that in finance, too, there is no such thing as a perpetuum mobile - claims to the contrary by fast-talking algorithm fans, greed gurus and other apprentice-sourcerers not withstanding.
All that and other insights might, helpfully, have had a second chance
at said G-20 meeting. Except that the traditionally low-key Swiss - which
are said to be trustees for and help manage about a third of the world's
private funds - are understood not to be part of the G-20 and thus not
to figure on Bush 43' farewell photo op. We'll see whether this
is because some Swiss lawmakers have already staked out alternative tracks,
like a de-coupling of the Swiss Franc from the US dollar, a return to real-value
currencies, and a stop to all further Swiss gold sales for propping
up the American currency ( www.solami.com/083718.htm
). And we'll see whether staying at home will be a blessing or a curse
for those interested in genuine solutions to fundamental problems. In either
case - like most of his partners abroad - hopefully Bush's successor doesn't
believe in the world to be flat. Hopefully, he has no claim to a monopoly
for good ideas. And, hopefully, perhaps he thus may actually find it opportune
and possible to set aside the hen-and-egg debate, the Keynes or Hayek dogmas,
and instead get the genuine debate going on what lessons to draw from the
still evolving financial, societal and political tsunamis.
Congratulations to President-elect Barack Hussein Obama, the beacon of hope for the peoples of America and the world.
Yes, after 8 years on the road of darkness and to the IV Reich, after so much betrayal of the American dream and promises, I too look forward to be able again to identify with the American reality. Where I can say whole-heartedly: I'm with you and, in my corner, will do my part for the common good - both on the way back to real-value currencies (www.solami.com/brink.htm#monopolists) and towards a regionally-stablizing solution of the Iraq quagmire (www.solami.com/rebirth.htm).
A special thank goes to those who, with their actions - even "over-reaction"
- and inactions, so far succeded to keep the flat-earth bullies and apprentice-sorcerers
here and there from unleashing Armageddon in the Middle East. I'm holding
my breath and pray that the 44th US President will actually have the opportunity
and, in this, will be supported by all men of good will, to bring us all
back from the brink and help us achieve our individually and mutually beneficial
objectives. Salve Obama!
Designed to accomodate pension fund &
other savings without harm to the Swiss currency & economy,
three ill-considered legislative novelties of the 80ies complemented the US de-mooring of the 70ies
Did steam-rolled Swiss lawmakers unleash the financial tsunami?
Roger Ferguson may be up to something. And if some of his proposals ("It's Time to Rethink Our Retirement Plans", WSJ, 13 Nov 08) suggest an attentive and fruitful study of the 60 year old Swiss AVS pension system, so be it - our forefathers were also happy to draw inspiration and adapt the suitable parts from the US Constitution.
Nonetheless, I submit a reservation for consideration: due to the current financial crisis, the AVS's $30 bn equilibrium fund suffered losses of some $4 bn. Not devastating in a system where the monthly pension payments, essentially, are funded by the workers' and the employers' monthly contributions. But a painful, if late, yet no less instructive demonstration of chicken coming back to roost. For it was the Swiss lawmaker, in the early eighties, who was steamrolled by commission-hungry and/or myopic "experts", fiduciaries and pension fund managers into adopting pension fund investment rules which were promptly copied all over the world, and which are seen to have started the avalanche that now resulted in theon-going world-wide financial tsunami (www.solami.com/brink.htm).
pension fund managers everywhere thus found themselves formally authorized
and encouraged to look for the-sky-is-the-limit "market-level returns"
rather than low-risk family-father investments. To look for big companies
as a measure for greater security (sic! e.g. ENRON). And even explicitly
to venture into the unfathomably sophisticated derivatives & "securization"
casino, i.e. the back-office of the stock-market which is supposed to serve
and not to undermine the real economy.
Thus, with Ferguson's comprehensive pension plans, the new US Administration may find it possible and indicated under the circumstances to reverse gear by setting investment standards for pension funds which respect time-tested principles, organic limits and Calvin's trade-off of the lifting of the blanket prohibition of taking interest with the enforcement of a ban of usuric interest rates. It may thus help bring us back from the abyss - essentially created by the ill-advised de-mooring of the US currency whose inflationary and other adverse effects on the real economy can no longer be controlled by accounting gimmicks, such as the tell-tale suppression of the crucial M3 figures by the FED sind March 2006 (.../M3.htm). It may take the lead back onto the road of covering the long-term needs of the real citizens and the real economy - instead of accomodating apprentice-sorcerers, greed gurus and other myopic and ill-advised short-termists who recklessly pursue the illusion of financial perpetuum mobiles. And in doing so, pursuing the difficult course suggested by more visionary Swiss lawmakers towards re-moored and thus universally stabilizing and discipling real-value currencies (.../083718.htm) it may even help and prod their colleagues - whose predecessors are seen to have originated some current aberrations - to admit the co-responsibility for those original Swiss errors as a precondition for correcting them, and for others to promptly follow suit.
Die Nationalbank verschacherte weitere Teile unseres "Eingemachten", d.h. unseres Goldes. 21 Millionen Tell- und Rütlischwur-Goldmünzen wurden im Herbst 2008 eingeschmolzen - um "liquide" zu sein (lies: um den US-Begehren nachkommen zu können, z.B. bezüglich der Bereitstellung von über 50 Milliarden Dollar zur "Rettung" der helvetischen Titanic). War die Nationalbank überhaupt noch zahlungsfähig im herkömmlichen Sinne? D.h. ohne Abstützung auf morsche MMM-Krücken (MMM = monopoly monkey money, wovon China über eine Billion verfügte, und womit es weltweit massiv reale Werte, wie Agrarland, Minen, etc. aufkaufte solange der US Dollar als Zahlungsmittel noch akzeptiert wurde).
Die UBS hatte sich verpflichtet gegenüber der siegestrunkenen, weil erfolgreich erpresserischen amerikanischen Steuerbehörde IRS, Kontodaten von weiteren 4450 Bankkunden offenzulegen. Und im Ausmass von über 700 Millionen Dollar Bussgeld für angebliche Verletzungen amerikanischer Gesetze zu bezahlen. Obwohl die UBS im Jahre 2000 und zuvor der IRS massgebend an die Hand gegangen war beim Aufbau ihres verfassungswidrigen weltweiten Systems mit über 7000 Qualified Intermediary QI-Banken. Für diese Hintertreppen-Beihilfe zur Verwirklichung des grössten Geldwasch-Systems der Welt hatte die UBS gewisse Krümel in Form von IRS-Zusicherungen und Spezialvereinbarungen erlangt, welche von den nachfolgenden IRS-Verantwortlichen aber nicht mehr honoriert wurden.
UBS und Credit Suisse hatten sich im Jahr 2005 von den amerikanischen Behörden zur Befolgung der US-Sanktionenpolitik in die Knie zwingen lassen (z.B. gegenüber dem Iran, Kuba, Libyen und Syrien). Hinzu kamen entsprechende Besuche in Bern von zwar hochrangigen aber oft ebenfalls der US Flat Earth Society nahestehenden US-Emissären. Statt diese zu besseren Erkenntnissen zu führen oder nötigenfalls denselben mit Nachdruck die Stirne zu bieten, war dabei schon allzuoft amerikanischen Zumutungen und Eingriffen in Schweizer Hoheitsrechte Vorschub geleistet worden.
Die Credit Suisse hatte 2009 mit US-Behörden eine Vergleichszahlung von über 500 Millionen Franken vereinbart "wegen Beziehungen zu Staaten, die Ziel von US-Wirtschaftssanktionen sind". Sie habe, so das US-Justizministerium, "von Mitte der Neunzigerjahre bis 2006 illegale Transaktionen von mehr als 1,6 Milliarden Dollar abgewickelt", hauptsächlich mit Iran, Kuba und Libyen. All dies offenbar unbeachtet der Schweizer Neutralitätspolitik, von welcher nicht zuletzt die US-Regierung profitierte in Form der traditionellen Guten Dienste und Vertretung der US-Interessen in Teheran und Havanna. Wie schon im Fall Marc Rich, welcher rückgratkräftiger - und für die Schweiz entsprechend erfolgreicher - erledigt worden war, ging es dabei aber auch um die Aushöhlung des neutralitätspolitisch wichtigen wirtschhaftlichen courant normal. D.h. die Schweiz leistete keinerlei Schützenhilfe zur Durchführung oder Durchbrechung von Sanktionen gegen Drittstaaten; sie führte ihre Handelsbeziehungen aber auf Normalniveau weiter. Dessen ungeachtet gingen die Guthaben Irans bei der UBS und CS von 2005 bis 2009 von 1,34 Milliarden um 96% auf 61 Millionen Franken zurück, und im Falle Syriens wurden die Guthaben innert Jahresfrist von 4,89 Milliarden um 98% auf 118 Millionen Franken reduziert.
Die "Wirtschaftliche Kriegsführung der USA gegen die Schweiz" war nicht neu, wie schon mehrfach im Parlament in Erinnerung gerufen (z.B. Interpellation 03.3487, Motion 09.3452). Schon während des 2.Weltkriegs waren die Guthaben der Schweizer Nationalbank in den USA völkerrechtswidrig beschlagnahmt worden. Die mit Tiefgang und Weitblick ausgerüsteten, nicht oder weniger blauäugigen Schweizer Unterhändler und Politiker begegneten ihren amerikanischen Partnern und Freunden dann auch stets mit Kompetenz, Nachhaltigkeit und equitabler Härte. Dies sicherte ihnen zumindest Respekt und oft auch Erfolg - im Gegensatz zu den Respektlosigkeiten, Missachtungen und Tiefschlägen, welche ihren naiveren und unbedarfteren Kollegen regelmässig zuteil wurden. Aehnliches galt es zu beachten wenn es sich um die Aussenwirtschaftsbeziehungen insbesondere mit Nachbarstaaten und der Europäischen Union handelte. Sowie um Normen, welche von internationalen Dienstleistungsorganisationen vorgespurt wurden, d.h. von Institutionen wie G-20, FATF und OECD, welche sich zusehends als bürokratische Gesetzgeber gebärdeten, denen jedoch meist jede demokratische Legitimation fehlte.
Die Zukunft der Schweiz war so weniger denn je gesichert - der freie Lauf der Dinge führte nicht nur wirtschaftlich, sondern auch gesellschaftlich und politisch in die Wand, wenn nicht gar an den Abgrund. 2009, annum horribilis der Orientierungslosigkeit, der Flatterhaftigkeit und der nicht abreissenden Bussleistungen und Entschuldigungen urbi et orbi durfte sich nicht wiederholen. Voraussetzung dazu war, dass das Schweizer Volk sich vermehrt auf seine Grundwerte und darauf besann, woher es kam, wohin die Reise gehen sollte, was sich bewährt hatte, und was es zu bewahren und weiter zu entwickeln galt - nötigenfalls auch gegen den Strom. Und dass das Tun & Lassen seiner Exponenten und Wirtschaftsführer ihrem jeweiligen Verantwortungsniveau entsprach, statt die unvermeidbaren Lücken der meist auf Krämer zugeschnittenen Gesetzgebung zulasten des Allgemeinwohls auszuschlachten. Das geschah weitgehend.
Aus der Sicht des Jahres 2030 erwiesen sich folgende Ereignisse und Entwicklungen als wegweisend:
2009 Konrad Hummler von der ältesten Schweizer Privatbank Wegelin, und der NZZ-Kolumnist Beat Kappeler bliesen zum Rückzug aus dem US-Markt. Strukturierte Steaks und Finanzprodukte verloren Marktakzeptanz.
2010 Die helvetische Titanic wurde noch rechtzeitig abgebremst, zurückgestutzt, und neu als Genossenschaft vorrangig auf die Bedürfnisse der in- und ausländischen Privatkunden und KMU ausgerichtet.
2010 Die Credit Suisse zog sich ebenfalls aus dem US-Markt zurück; verstärkte dagegen ihr Netz in Russland.
2010 Wiederbelebung des russisch-schweizerischen Handels- und Niederlassungsvertrags von 1872.
2010 Roman Polanski - wie vormals Marc Rich - wurde nicht an die USA ausgeliefert. Motion Lex Helvetica wurde überwiesen. Die illegal erlangten Bankinformationen wurden rechtlich sterilisiert, der fremden Hehlerei von Staates wegen so ein Riegel geschoben. All dies erneuerte das Vertrauen in die Schweiz und ihrer Institute.
2010 Das Goldkartell brach auseinander, was eine tiefgreifende, die Weltwirtschaft erschütternde Währungskrise, Hungersnöte und Chaos auslöste, und zu grundlegenden gesellschaftlichen und politischen Umwälzungen führte; Pensionskassen bekamen Casinoverbot; strikte Trennung von Realwirtschaft & Casino; Boni in MMM ausbezahlt.
2010 Der Internationale Währungsfond IMF präsentierte sein Alternativmodell zum diskreditierten amerikanischen QI-System, womit es schliesslich gelang, zugunsten der realen Wirtschaft einen hilfreichen Teil der in die Parallelwirtschaft abgedrängten Gelder, nämlich jährlich mehr als 500 Milliarden Euro, zurückzugewinnen.
2010 190000 Unterschriften zur Bankgeheimnis-Initiative eingereicht; Gegenvorschlag beschlossen.
2010 Suspendierung aller DBA-Zusatzabkommen bis zur Volksabstimmung über die Unterstellung des Eigentums unter den verfassungsmässigen Schutz der Privatsphäre (Art.13 BV).
2011 Weltweit massiv überwiegend positive Reaktionen auf Schweizer Initiative re Privatsphärenschutz für Eigentum; ähnlich Minarett-Initiative welche als Auslöser des Dammbruchs zugunsten eines modernen Kreuzzugs zur Befreiung von Jerusalem schliesslich zu einer christlich-muslimischen Allianz führte.
2012 Nationale Referenden in F, GB, I, NL, PL über die Fortführung der Mitgliedschaft in der EU; britisches Referendum über den Beitritt zu den Vereinigten Staaten.
2015 Volk lehnte die Ratifikation des schon allzulange verdeckt praktizierten Status der Schweiz als 54. Staat der USA ab, befürwortete aber volle Einbindung in die ihrem Modell nachgebaute Europäische Konfoederation als real-demokratische EU-Nachfolgerin; Rückanbindung des Schweizer Frankens und des Rubels an Gold; Schweiz wird internationale Gold- & Handelsplattform insbesondere für Russland, China & Südafrika.
2015 Ersatz der Tiger und F/A-18 Kampfjets mit russischen Sukhoi SU-35 und israelischen Drohnen.
2015 Landwirte mutierten en masse zu Wasserwirten. Reaktivierung der grossen Freizone um Genf.
2020 Genf wurde Hauptstadt der Europäischen Konfoederation. Einweihung des Internet Weltarchivs in Genf.
2025 Einweihung der Eurometro-Startstrecke Lyon-Satolas-Annecy-Genf Cointrin-Nyon-Thonon-Evian-Lausanne
wurde von der Organisation für Regionen und einheimische Völker
ira et studio
(on Robert Morgenthau, The World's District Attorney)
If it were not for the respect commanded by his reported Methusalem retirement age of 90 years, I’d be less compassionate and more critical. And, over the past some 30 years, having gotten to know only through press reports about the feats and fumblings of the „World’s District Attorney”, aka Robert Morgenthau, I must admit to having anyway mostly been torn between tipping my hat and wishing to read him the riot act. So, in the interest of the universally shared values at stake – and perhaps as an additional candle for both Manhattan’s new DA and his open-minded colleagues -, I wish to avoid shooting at the man. And instead, I intend to briefly focus on what, from a non-American perspective, are seen to be real issues. Such as the disproportionate powers accruing to the Manhattan DA notably under the current forfeiture laws and the ways jurisdictional authority is being arrogated. But also the persistent apparent lack of knowledge of and respect for other peoples’ values, rights and legitimate aspirations. All of which is seen to be most harmful not only for the future of New York and the welfare of the United States as a whole, but also for the Rule of Law and mutually beneficial relations with foreign sovereign countries.
As an illustration, let me concentrate on the case mentioned in Freeman’s commendable interview and on which I know a thing or two. I’m referring to the case of Iran and related alleged sanction-bustings by Credit Suisse which the US Treasury wisely sought to quietly dispose of with, at most, some civil penalties, but which, under threat of criminal indictments, the more narrowly concerned DA saw fit to turn into a $536 mio windfall, regardless of political and other costs to New York, Washington and other involved parties.
In a way, history repeated itself. For on September 19, 1983, an equally ill-advised and reckless US Assistant Attorney – a certain Rudolph Giuliani – took on the high wire by publicly accusing a Swiss-based American trader, Marc Rich, of “trading with the enemy” and 50 other counts, thus threatening him with up to 325 years of jail. Of course, and already then, the feds and Washington knew better. For Marc Rich and his Swiss company had been instrumental in getting the Teheran hostage crises resolved peacefully by way of the good offices provided by neutral Switzerland in the form of its invaluable and unique services for representing US interests in Iran since 1979 (for details see: www.solami.com/edouardbrunner.htm#Iran ¦ www.solami.com/marcrich.htm ).
To be sure, Swiss neutrality allows neither participation in, nor assistance to bust trade sanctions by or against third parties, but it provides for strict maintenance of its economic “courant normal”, i.e. Switzerland and Swiss firms not only have a right but an obligation to maintain their universal commercial relations at the normal level. No country in the world, no international organization, and no DA anywhere has any business interfering with this time-tested, well-moored and mutually beneficial and thus universally recognized basic setup.
Accordingly, the US Treasury was wise not to press, and even to oppose the manifestly ill-founded, ill-considered and ill-advised “sanctions-busting case” against Credit Suisse, and to discourage Manhattan’s DA to risk breaking the back of the camel. For the clarion calls to withdraw from the US market in the wake of the IRS’s equally ill-founded, ill-considered and universally rejected QI aberrations have already visibly begun to make a dent (www.solami.com/wegelin265pr.htm ¦ www.solami.com/USvsUBS.htm ). And if a mutually harmful stampede is yet to be prevented effectively, the office holders here and there may be well advised to wield their powers with more and proper consideration of the local and universal effects of their actions and inactions.
Keller, Secretary, Swiss Investors
Protection Association – firstname.lastname@example.org
re: Y2K myths: "It’s Always the End of the World as We Know It"
There was more to it than met the eye. Whilst unreported, due to the very real Y2K bug, real satellite failures did occur because system remediation couldn't be done. Following a discrete Swiss initiative, Europe's electrical grid was temporarily put on a no-export-no-import mode which prevented several local grid failures to spread (www.solami.com/y2k.htm). Ukraine and others needn't worry: they benefited from the 4 digit year definition adopted throughout the communist bloc.
Also gone unnoticed: UBS' central role in the Fed-driven efforts by the world's central bankers to secure the banking system's Y2K compatibility. Which called for upgrading the involved some 2600 banks' IT systems - with corresponding photo and other opportunities for compromising clients' privacy. And which is seen at the heart of the IRS' illegal global QI system of hunting down tax avoiders.
Keller, Secretary, Swiss Investors Protection Association
+4122-7400362 mob: +4179-6047707 email@example.com
Gläserner Bürger oder gläserner Staat?
(Kommentar zu: SVP soll helfen, das Bankgeheimnis zu retten, 20 Minuten, Lukas Mäder, 7.Januar 2010)
Vor dem Fall der Berliner Mauer war die Antwort weltweit noch klar: GLASNOST sollte den Bürger gegenüber dem überhandnehmenden Staat stärken. Seit 1989 verliert der Bürger aber zusehends an Boden, und die Bürokraten-Gesetzgebung (OECD, EU, UNO) ist zulasten der Freiheitsrechte überall im Vormarsch. So, als ob die Berliner Mauer in die andere Richtung gefallen wäre! Als Schutzschild auch gegenüber fremden Richtern gilt es den verfassungsmässigen Privatsphärenschutz auszubauen. Die Bankgeheimnis-Initiative bietet dazu Gelegenheit (Unterschriftenbogen: www.solami.com/BV13d.PDF).
Lex Helvetica, statt Lex Americana!
(Kommentar zu: Nach dem Bundesverwaltungsgericht: Jetzt müssen Taten folgen, NZZ, Zoé Baches et al.)
Nach den unwürdigen Kniefällen unserer Regierung und Wirtschaftsführer ist es an der Zeit, dem Entscheid des Bundesverwaltungsgericht an allen Fronten Nachachtung zu verschaffen. Das betrifft besonders auch die anstehenden Entscheide zur Auslieferung von Personen (Polanski) und geschützten Bankkundendaten (UBS) an die USA. Im Parlament gilt es dazu die Motionen 09. 3452 "Lex Helvetica" und 09.4269 "Landesschädigung durch Missachtung bilateraler Verträge" als Leitplanken zu überweisen. Auch gegen den Widerstand der Verwaltung & des Bundesrats (www.solami.com/2030.htm).
Ist steuerhinterzogenes Geld Diebesgut?
Zugegeben: Manch einem ist Glasnost kein Begriff mehr, ist weder aufgefallen noch in Erinnerung, dass die Berliner Mauer in unserer Richtung umgefallen ist. Kaum bekannt ist ausserhalb der Schweiz auch das besondere Staatsverständnis vom souveränen Bürger, vom gläsernen Staat, und vom verfassungsmässig garantierten Schutz besonders der wirtschaftlichen Privatsphäre (Art.13 BV; BVG-Entscheid i.S. FINMA, 5.1.10, E. 4.1). Womit erhellt, was in Art.8 ZGB festgeschrieben, und davon abzuleiten ist. Grundsätzlich bestimmt demnach der Stimmbürger den Steuertarif. Und soweit er einer Umkehr der Beweislast nicht zugestimmt hat, obliegt diese dem Staat. Mit der Steuererklärung erklärt er verbindlich was Sache ist, was von seinem Eigentum er mit dem Staat teilen will. Es obliegt sodann dem Staat zu beweisen, dass ihm mehr als deklariert zusteht. Bis zu diesem Nachweis, der zufolge des Hehlereiverbots nicht auf illegal beschaffte Daten abgestützt werden darf, erscheint der Begriff Diebesgut für vorenthaltene Steuerbeträge als verfehlt. Anwendbar ist er hingegen auf unrechtmässig erhobene Abgaben, sowie auf die Geldentwertung durch staatlich bewirkte Inflation.
Zugegeben: Manch einem ist Glasnost kein Begriff mehr, ist weder aufgefallen noch in Erinnerung, dass die Berliner Mauer in unserer Richtung umgefallen ist. Kaum bekannt ist ausserhalb der Schweiz das besondere Staatsverständnis vom souveränen Bürger, gläsernen Staat und verfassungsmässig garantierten Schutz auch der wirtschaftlichen Privatsphäre (Art.13 BV; BVG-Entscheid i.S. FINMA, 5.1.10, E. 4.1). Das dem Staat anvertraute Tun & Lassen, ja dessen Existenzberechtigung ist stets auf des Bürgers Wohl auszurichten. Womit erhellt, was in Art.8 ZGB festgeschrieben und davon abzuleiten ist. Grundsätzlich bestimmt der Souverän, dh der Stimmbürger den Steuertarif. Und soweit er einer Umkehr der Beweislast nicht zugestimmt hat, obliegt diese dem Staat. Mit der Steuererklärung erklärt er verbindlich was Sache ist, was von seinem Eigentum er mit dem Staat teilen will. Der Staat hat zu beweisen, dass ihm mehr als deklariert zusteht. Bis zu diesem Nachweis, der zufolge des Hehlereiverbots nicht auf illegal beschaffte Daten abzustützen ist, erscheint der Begriff Diebesgut für vorenthaltene Steuerbeträge als verfehlt. Anwendbar ist er hingegen auf unrechtmässig erhobene Abgaben, sowie auf die Geldentwertung durch staatlich bewirkte Inflation.
Womit erhellt, was in Art.8 ZGB festgeschrieben, und davon abzuleiten ist, nämlich „Wo das Gesetz es nicht anders bestimmt, hat derjenige das Vorhandensein einer behaupteten Tatsache zu beweisen, der aus ihr Rechte ableitet.“. Grundsätzlich bestimmt der Souverän, d.h. der Stimmbürger den Steuertarif. Und soweit er einer Umkehr der Beweislast nicht zugestimmt hat, obliegt diese dem Staat. Mit der Steuererklärung erklärt er verbindlich was Sache ist, was von seinem Eigentum er mit dem Staat teilen will. Es obliegt sodann dem Staat zu beweisen, dass ihm mehr als deklariert zusteht. Bis zu diesem Nachweis, der zufolge des Hehlereiverbots nicht auf illegal beschaffte Daten abgestützt werden darf, erscheint der Begriff Diebesgut für vorenthaltene Steuerbeträge als verfehlt. Anwendbar ist er hingegen auf unrechtmässig erhobene Abgaben, sowie auf die Geldentwertung durch staatlich bewirkte Inflation.