which find themselves assaulted in their several ideological forms through the media of the implanted bugs of the Swiss police, and travelling around France with the Author, Marx, et Companie, who register illuminating travelogues of Provence, as well as a scurrilous discussion of the Swiss record of anti-Nazism in World War II, Swiss military theory, Swiss materialism, and the horrifying proposal of the Author to discover and replevy the secret bank accounts that originated from Third World Debtor countries.
THE COW has been shown to be the especial favorite of the goddesses who correspond to the planet Venus, and when we say that the "cow jumped over the moon," we children are speaking in sublimation and humorously of some nasty period of dim antiquity. At least you can find some fairly intelligent and resourceful scholars like Marx and myself to argue this thesis.
The cow is sacred to Switzerland -- its totem animal, an anthropologist would say. I had a lot of experience with the best and most ancient cows of Switzerland who roam the Alps of Valais. I have confronted them eyeball to eyeball, and that takes some nerve, because they are not the sweet-faced beasties that you find on an American farm.
When I established a college in Valais one time with several of my students and the help of Levi Fournier, a plain Swiss native of the Alps, I pulled off a neat trick. Considering the care with which the Swiss treat money and banking, you would not believe it. The college was very poor because it had wonderful revolutionary ideas of education and changing the world. It was planned to charge a single fee to cover tuition, meals, and lodgings. The fee was $1500 for 3 months, the year was 1970.
To maximize the freedom of the students and college community in general to eat much or little and to visit cafes, as well as to protect the diffuse small businesses of the area, I cast about for a method of letting our folks make purchases wherever they pleased.
The thought occurred to me to print script money, persuade the restaurants and shops of the area to accept it as good Swiss francs, and to issue each week to the students and faculty their quota of the currency. I considered the design of the money and decided upon the head of a real Swiss Alpine Cow. Très bien. It was thus printed in several denominations.
I did not ask for permission of the authorities, but after talking with several people of the area I got the notion that we should not be jailed for printing money. Further, when I displayed the lovely face of the cow, no one had the heart to holler for the Federal prosecutors.
The scheme worked. The whole community of Swiss and University immediately took to calling the script "vaches," and each week anyone having vaches to cash in would drop by the school office and pick up his Swiss francs in exchange.
The School banked whatever small gain in interest was earned for the time between the issuance of the "cows" and their cashing. The students and faculty managed to lose some vaches and sent some home too, as souvenirs, so there was a sizeable gain here as well.
All in all, I found most Valaisan Swiss easy to deal with, a little slow in experimenting, rather innocent but not arrogant regarding new ideas of education and world affairs, and even charmed and tolerant vis-a-vis the most disconcerting two hundred hell-raisers and iconoclasts that ever left the Union of States in one bunch.
The sorry ending came from a lack of sympathy among money-givers in the States for the unique non-communist, non-capitalist, non-fascist pragmatic revolutionary school. A sudden 10% drop in the value of the dollar and a schism in the community hurt also. Working strongly against us was a rapidly consolidating reactionary movement in the area, and of this something needs be said here. This sentiment lay behind the sole newspaper of Valais, which slandered and libelled the school and myself.
In 1971, Monseigneur Marcel Lefebvre, who had labored long in Africa and Paris, set up his traditionalist or integralist apostasy (as it is now called) a few miles away from where we were working to establish our University. His headquarters became Ecône, ours Haute-Nendez.
This priest's litany became a scandal to the liberal conscience. "To vote (French) Socialist is to vote against God. The Socialist program makes one shudder for the souls of the children. Sin will spread everywhere."
"Rome is infested with modernism," he also declared. "John-Paul encouraged false religions to pray to their false gods." Lefebvre would have nothing of Judaism, Islam, Protestantism, or any but the purest of Latin Catholicism, including of course, retaining the Mass spoken in Latin.
He was of the old cult of Marshal Petain, condemned for collaboration with the Nazis. He favored Jean-Marie Le Pen, the leader of the neofascistic French Party of the National Front. He was anti-semitic, against the rights of women, against the marriage of priests, while being hostile and punitive toward homosexuals.
Why do I say all this? To show how hate and fear (paranoia and patrimania are compounds of these) can succeed easily with masses of people. They are the most effective sentiments around which to organize and energize the masses.
Lefebvre gathered adherents in Valais, who could give him local support and funds. He attracted followers from France, Germany and Switzerland. Then from other countries. He implanted seminaries to train priests, without the approval of the Vatican once it became plain what he was up to. He ordained hundreds of priests, established an international network of seminaries, and claimed half a million sympathizers for his Sacred Fraternity of St. Pius X.
The Fraternity was later put under the ban of the Church Authorities. Lefebvre himself has since 1976 been forbidden to conduct the Mass and dispense the Sacraments; he has persevered nevertheless.
As I write these lines, he is about to consecrate three bishops, and the Vatican appears about ready to excommunicate him; there would be no one to ordain new priests upon his death, so long as his movement boasted of no bishops. But, like Ayatollah Khomeini, he has held a firm grip on life.
FLASH! Marcel Lefebvre has just been excommunicated!
Our democratic experiment in education for a new world in Switzerland was shattered in the birth-throes of the Lefebvre Apostasy. The Grand Experiment cracked up and dissolved like the snows of summer on the sweet alpine meadows. Valais lost its chance to have its first institution of higher learning, one granted it without cost, of high quality, and of reputability and attraction to the outer world. The reactionaries of Swiss Valais could welcome and patronize the kind of higher education that they preferred.
This was a story of long ago and I made slight reference to it when talking with Christoph Marx about Switzerland, but it rankles in my heart, and I will have these people one day. The bug in Marx's car would have picked up the Valaisan story at some point, and the Police would have been alerted to the presence once again of a famed trouble-maker in their country.
I do not mind this and in fact am hoping that the Nouvelliste et Feuille d'Avis du Valais will repeat some of its old slanders so that I can sue them, having passed up the opportunity then because I was broke.
Chris had his own reasons for complaining of Swiss behavior on several critical issues and I could sympathize with him. As we cruised among the vistas of Basle and the beauties of Provence, the Swiss police collected some frank discussions of national shortcomings.
The behavior of the Swiss during World War II was never subjected to the intense scrutiny that Western and Eastern Europeans as a whole were subjected to. And if we are still uncovering the French collaborators, the Barbies of Germany, and the Waldheims of Austria, you can imagine that some of the fun and games must have been covered up in Switzerland.
Chris Marx went to school with the children of well-known Nazis, who were sent across the border to protect them from the bombings and the hardships of the Heimfront. He still wonders at the pro-German spirit of the classroom, though then he took it for granted and feels that it was even a pleasant school. He concedes that he was a lonely child.
Where are all the Swiss bankers who took care of the Nazi money, not the Regime's money alone, but the crooked and vile money of graft, extortion, theft and confiscation that crossed into Switzerland in the name of individuals?
It is too late to insist upon an accounting from Switzerland of the profits of the Nazi collaborators during that horrible War. Or is it? As a soldier who was obliged to work his way up painfully with the troops through North Africa, Italy, France, Germany and Austria, before shutting off Switzerland, I may be permitted to raise the question, although few of the troops are still alive to raise the question with me.
Who was ever brought to exemplary trial, whose trial would reveal that Switzerland could distinguish nazism from democracy beyond its own frontiers? Who, in an official capacity, even administered a mild reproof to all the officials and ordinary Swiss citizens who turned back from their boundaries the numerous Jews and slave workers and deserters from Nazism that came fleeing from the murder camps and slaughterhouses? Even marking their passports "returned as being Jewish" when they appeared with passports and pleaded for refuge against persecution?
Such Swiss as these knew the effects of what they were doing. There was no such thing as neutrality in World War II -- not from where I was, not from where I see it still now.
Hence when Christoph tells me now that he feels this way, I do not oppose his view. I respect it all the more because he was not forced to adopt it; he could have enjoyed his own portion of the collective amnesia of the Swiss population.
I was once upon a time an expert on that form of "Direct Democracy," called the Initiative, Referendum, and Recall. From time to time when I read of how it works in Switzerland on international questions, on the treatment of foreign workers, and the like, I am reminded of the large proportion of the people whose opinions, going back forty-five years to when I was camped besides the Swiss borders, were offensive, even outrageous.
Anti-semitism is not unknown among the Swiss police. Nor is anti-arabism. And the two have a way of getting messed up. Especially when a rara avis like Marx turns out to be both pro-Jewish and pro-Arab. I realize that I have said this before, but please review it in this new context.
There was that Palestinian son-in-law whom I mentioned earlier, who has endured the sad fate of a lost country, going beyond the other sympathies that he shared with his father-in-law. He is torn up inside, like so many millions of people of our world, all because this Homo Schizo I have been telling you about helplessly organizes himself into maniacal groups that make the condition for belonging to them that you hate other groups and people and inflict injustices upon them.
It is to be expected therefore that the Swiss police once more and in this connection will begin to ruminate like their beautiful Valaisan cows and conclude, hey, this suspect has (or had) a Palestinian son-in-law -- never mind what other contradictions he may possess -- and that makes him by definition a potential Terrorist!
Also, the Russians are tolerant and even supportive of this terrorism, so it is but another proof of his guilt as a Soviet agent! And there is an iota of truth here in that the Soviets demand, like the Palestinians, that the Jews, to ward off anti-Semitism, should align themselves with grander symbols than the Cause of Zion.
But the Israeli Jews are not willing to surrender to a Pan-Palestine, a Pan-Sovietism, a Pan-Communism, a Pan- Americanism, or even to One World, so intent are their leading elements, or so driven to it by the Fundamentalists pressing upon their heels, to establish an ever-expanding nation amidst a disrupted and controlled people who had been there all the time, or as much of the time as the Jews, a fact that the most extreme pro-Israel historian must be prepared to grant.
So if this "Swiss spy" is at the same time both pro-Jewish and pro-Palestinian, I would acknowledge his right to be so and to be at the same time a good Swiss, and might even agree with him, unless he zooms off into far space on these problems, which is not impossible. But the Swiss police cannot be expected to follow all of these subtle mental maneuvers.
There are certain political pollutants in the Swiss atmosphere, red-baiters, witch-hunters, anti-Soviet extremists, who achieve their glory by exposing communist "plots", discovering spies in every closet. Stimulated and informed by these, a naturally reactionary element in the Swiss government will sporadically come to attention and call upon the Federal security service to justify its existence by locating some espionage ring or at least a couple of interesting spies.
The record of spy-catching has not been spectacular. The biggest catch was a Swiss General who had been feeding military secrets to the Soviets over many years. He went to jail and the Swiss Army engineers had to dig a lot of new holes in the mountains. This was Jean-Louis Jean-Maire, who spied for 14 years für Schmuck, Zinngeschirr, und Wodka, and got jugged for 18 years, less time off for good behavior.
There were others, the Schwarzenberger and Hübner couples, a seduced Oberleutnant Berli, for example, none so interesting as Marx, who unfortunately for this particular list, is not at all the kind of spy these people were, and may be no kind at all except in the Falconian sense.
It is a striking and puzzling contrast, the huge number of spies and the tiny number of convictions for espionage. I can find no reason for it, especially given the growing tendency of the Swiss courts to construe even mildly disagreeable actions as espionage.
Maybe the Government is not really serious about these matters, rather like myself in relation to common houseflies (Musca domestica); whether I curse and swat madly at them has less to do with their number and behavior than with whether I find some irritating item in the newspaper or get up to answer the phone and it's a wrong number.
Anyhow, I hope that I need not answer all the questions raised in this book, merely because I am its author; if you know the answer, please address the Federal Prosecutor in Bern. He would be interested to hear from you.
Now I am torn between describing to you the beauties of Basle and Provence, where incriminating spoken thoughts and conversations occurred and were recorded for the leisure-time reading of the Federal Police, and sticking solely to the espionage that was going on. The banter and chit-chat I refer to was not really espionage. It was circumstantial evidence that "anybody talking this way about the Land that God Created with Especially Loving Care had to be communists and probably were Russian spies."
We might as well begin with that. Chris cannot stand the way gods are used by people, thus, as he writes to a curmudgeon editor in America, one Gary Schwartzenberg, who has maligned him in a previous letter, calling him a typical Swiss sitting up in a chalet, with a pile of gold like Mammon, and declaring, "Why don't you reveal the excitation background of your own country's policy of hoarding - in numbered accounts - (perhaps you have one of them) the world's illicit financial operations which make Mammon a living god above all gods. You must be able to say the truth whatever it is: why don't you?"
You are quite correct, of course, in what you say about Switzerland, and more should be said about this nation the constitution of which is partially modeled on American state constitutions, and which, of course, also begins with the heading, "in the name of God, the Almighty." Helvetia, the Helvetians' (of Roman times) goddess appearing on our coins (of which I enclose the basic unit of One Franc (=French "free" >Freja>Venus> ), is another reinforcement of the deity. When I went to study in England right after WW2 I came for the first time across the "ugly Swiss," who during all the war years had cared only for themselves, accepting no responsibility at all for other peoples and causes. And since -- by the enforced life-long observation of our army and noting still worse behavior than you point out -- I could not refrain from becoming ever more "Un-Swiss." I am pointing in many an action to the irrational idiocy of forming national states under the cross (like Switzerland), the Venus-pentagram (like the US and communist states) or the color schemes going back also to the deadly deities.
Switzerland is not a country without problems. A detailed list of them would include the exploitation of domestic and foreign labor (relative to the disposable wealth of the country), the management of vast sums of money according to the most conservative principles in a capital-starved world, the concealment of irresponsible investments throughout the world and of tens of thousands of illicit fortunes, a huge weapons-manufacturing and weapons trade, a perpetual spa for the undeserving rich of the world, an uncritical even arrogant housing of the International Red Cross with its gross publicity and lobbying, holding popular referenda that exude the primitive prejudices lurking in the Swiss soul, maintaining an excessive materialism, abstaining from tough problem-solving in the wide world on the glib slogan of pacific neutrality, heavy participation in the imbalanced exploitation of the Third World -- including the Redlands for that matter, toleration of a poor record of pollution control at home, with regard to its neighbors, and over the whole world, and finally upholding a large and costly military system that employs at uncreative tasks the total manpower of the country part of the time and diverts its men from self-help and varied constructive pursuits.
The world holds a myth about Switzerland, that it is a simple-minded, pleasant haven from social distress. Many Swiss have themselves come to accept the myth. The truth is otherwise. Switzerland is, alas, still of the human family.
The letter of Marx that I quoted, so self-critical of himself as Swiss, was a letter of several years ago. Marx was not one to conceal his ideas. Mild in tone of voice, restrained in reproaching and debating, he nevertheless maintained strong, even extreme opinions. In practically every regard, he differed from myself, in appearance, physique, garb, voice, and manner of addressing people, ideas, and situations. He was as confident of manner as I, however, and his opinions were as strong, even when differing from my own. He was more frank with me than I with him, although it would appear from our usual social posture to be the contrary. His political knowledge was fragmentary, his interest and involvement in politics merely average.
We got along well from a sharing of acquaintances, of ideas, from a sardonic, ironic way of looking at much of the world, from occasional extremes of idealism that we could tolerate in each other. We both respected the computer and audio-visual elements of the new culture of our times.
He was not at a loss in musicology at all, his knowledge of automobiles was thorough, he was "a man of the world," as adaptable wherever found as only a person out of tune with his immediate culture can be: a form of neurosis this is, to be sure, this adjustability, yet such that drives the wheels of progress.
It is all of the same piece. It goes along, too, with his dislike of the laws of copyright, which present a predicament to liberal philosophy. And with his preference for an open on-line system to the Falconian Encyclopedia of Quantavolution and Catastrophe, without accrediting the source where unnecessary, and with free removal of contents from the database.
He is irritated at the daughters and heirs of Dr. Velikovsky who held back even the publication of lists and indexes to his notes, as well as the manuscripts, although I must say that their practice was general; impatient scholars and friends always want the literary estate published more quickly than ever seems to be possible. And in this case of a famous controversial cosmologist and historian, there was an expectation of public interest and therefore of commercial gain that was unfortunately not realized.
Marx, writing in a letter of March 13, l984, exclaims, "His archive should be opened and copyright incriminated as immoral where attempts are made to employ it for just withholding information -- so-called copyright is one of the most dangerous tools of science and other religions to keep `Mankind in Amnesia.'"
Letters, writings, are easier to analyze for incriminating dialogue than the voiced utterances of people driving around in cars. I pity the clerks and translators of the Swiss Prosecutor's Office who were assigned the quadrilingual contents of the tapes or radio bugs of Marx's car -- pentalingual if the visit of Prince "Buster" di Montenevoso (actually he's my nephew) to Alsace was caught, for then Italian was spoken some of the time, and hexalingual when the Schwyzer-Deutsch of Basle and Alsace was spoken, for Filly is perfectly competent in both High and Low German. I have had my ears attuned to all of these in the periods when I was in one or the other of Marx's vehicles.
In the course of assigning this complicated job to their translators and recorders, the Police must have felt a growing excitement over falling upon an International Spy Ring, with several nationalities involved and operations in various countries, and the catastrophic Venusian network and the jargon of the International Wine Trade, part of the cover of the operations.
The Clerk-Translator-Analyst of the Federal Prosecutor's Office would be continually frustrated by conversations that would be interrupted by visits to vineyards and vintners, by explorations of historical and natural sites. He would hear the words "catastrophes" and "how can they be prevented from exploding the world" and the mixture of American names that could be also Soviet (like Velikovsky), English (like Dickinson), Italian (like Falcone), French or German (like Heller), scores of names that would take a year of work to check out, not to mention the real nationals of such countries.
And the building of all of those on-line computer systems, so that just as a woman's voice is asking "But where would we operate it from, if Basle were not possible?..." or a man's voice says, "Ah, here we are, look, all around us, the red cliffs, let's get out and take a good look." And what transpired thereafter is unknown, while the party walks up and down the paths of Roussillon.
Or, as Buster is being asked whether there is a computer database in Florence that Guglielmo can operate, he says, "Ecco il piu grande di tutti, il Gewürztraminer di 1981, I can't wait to taste it!"
There occurs a screeching of brakes, and the passengers pile out of the car, leaving the bug all alone, unhearing.
Not to mention the occasions when the party stops talking about the use of expert systems and satellites for carrying quantavolution interchanges around the world, alerting all peoples to the dangers of the holocaust and the need to force their governments to join the movement, etc. and Marx announces "I have brought the tapes of The Ring", (Hark! Now here it comes, the nefarious Ring, finally!) and to the appreciative ears of Filly and the rest starts up the music and the Swiss clerk is now treated to the Vienna Philharmonic's Solti rendition of Wagner.
I am past wondering how the Swiss police can handle all the complications of eavesdropping. According to Le Monde, they have nevertheless just obtained permission to increase the number of bugs to 20,000. That's too many, especially when you add the private and illegal bugs. The equivalent in America would be 625,000 devices. Actually the F.B.I. claims only several thousands, but illegal bugs are myriad.
If the job of the Swiss clerks and translators has its problems, the concerns of the victims of eavesdropping are not negligible. I began immediately to consider all the occasions on which I might have been subjected to bugging, they were many, and to recalling and weighing the consequences of what I might have said.
I would have been most appreciative of a chance to go over the conversations and to have a copy of them, and wonder, so vain am I, whether I could somehow beg or force a copy (under legal rules) of the tapes, so that I could hear myself talk, because I labor like most of my lady friends under the illusion that I am a brilliant discussant and commentator on life, whose words should be recorded for posterity.
If only, like Goethe, I could have had an Eckermann all these years, dutifully writing down my turns of phrase, subtle ideas, declamations upon the condition of the world and the cosmos! Here was something like it, but it has been stolen and kept from me. Surely the Swiss of all people will recognize that a property right is involved, and perhaps make restitution!
Hardly a one of the offenses to the domestic tranquillity and security of the Helvetian Republic, or to the USSR, or the USA, or France, or Germany, that I have mentioned thus far would have been fatal. All could be smoothed over, made easy, ironed out, lubricated, unclogged, cleared up, relieved, avoided, made manageable, evaded, explained, apologized for, adapted, slipped by, lost in confusion or miasma or fog of dispute, rendered harmless, laughed away, and blamed on the other guy.
Not that it would be easy. When you are confronted with a massive documentation of a lot of the nonsense that you have uttered over a period of a couple of years, you are bound to encounter there any number of embarrassing items, speeches, drivel, excrescences of ego, gratuitous insults spewed in all direction.
Subtract from this already sordid infinite indiscriminate disarray the numerous time and place gaps to which I have already alluded, when one broke off for lunch, to view Mt. Ventoux, or to go to the toilet, and still in the end a criminal case of substantial gravity will offer itself for every hour of rolling tape.
I did not need Cardinal Richelieu to tell me, "Give me any sentence a man has uttered and I will give you enough to hang him." And so he did, in hundreds of cases, though sometimes beheading was practiced if the victim was upper class. (The progeny might then say with a certain pride, "My father was beheaded!")
I have practiced this theory on many a sentence of my wives, my brothers, movie heroes, churchmen, heads of states, and infants under three years of age -- not exempting the Good Lord Jesus. It never fails.
But usually you do not need this kind of prompting. You can, and in a police state will, find your own lines to condemn yourself, particularly if you are in the profession of espionage or a kindred occupation. For then, being used to accusing others and extracting confessions, playing the Richelieu, you soon fill up a brain-pool into which you have regurgitated into conscious memory all of the evil that you yourself have done in your lifetime, most of it as bad as or worse in principle if not in effect than the weakest of confessions that you have used to put someone else away.
Having arrived at this point, you are ready, like the thousands of high bureaucrats and generals and comrades of the Soviet Union under Stalin, victims of the 1930's purges, who couldn't wait to get into line to be arrested, to confess,and to take their long-awaited punishments with a calmed, balmed and soothed conscience.
The same happened under the Cultural Revolution of Mao-Tse-Tung that disposed of several million officials, teachers, communist party members, and others who happened to catch the eye of roving bands of youthful reformers. These were strictly hassled and condemned and hassled and condemned until, if they hadn't given up the ghost, they would be forced to do so.
Here, too, among these, could be found the confessional syndrome; from hassling others, you learned in detail how enormously sinful you were as well, and you could hardly wait for the accusing bony fingers to point to you and prod you in the breast.
Although I feel it appropriate to say all this for the record, I have indeed no intention of confessing any of the foregoing offenses that I may or may not have committed. I come from Chicago. We do not crack easily. We are not repentant sinners.
For, what I have left to say, the worst of my offenses, as it may have been garnered from the deprivatizing of my automobile rides, is to my mind a contribution to the welfare of the whole world, a cleansing of Swiss guilt, and a solution of a problem that could bring down the world economy.
It is my proposal, to which I have devoted considerable study and testing, to handle the Third World Debt Impasse with the help of the Swiss banking system.
You know, of course, that the rich banks and governments of the world have lent hundreds of billions of dollars to the poor lands, and that these debtor nations cannot repay the money under any foreseeable circumstances, not even by selling their populations into slavery. Despite all attempts to restrain borrowing, the total debt of the Third World rose in 1987 to $1.194 trillion.
Nor can they pay even the interest accruing on the debt without reducing their populations to an even more miserable condition than presently engulfs them.
Always excepting some ten percent or less, the elite, who can always eat well at the captain's table, and have been the borrowers of the foreign money and the mortgagors of their peoples and countries.
One of the worst cases is unfortunately also typical -- "Our Good neighbor to the South." Mexico's Revolutionary Government in l913 defaulted on its foreign debt and was blackballed by the world's banks and treasuries. In 1944 it settled with its creditors for a couple of pennies on the dollar, paying even this off with borrowed dollars.
All this while, Mexico managed to live, passing thirty years without credit, and over a period of fifty years between 1913 and 1982, the average rate of growth of the economy was one of the highest in the world, over 6% per annum. At first it was cash on delivery, then short-term commercial notes, then longer-term loans, then the crazy upsurge of loans. In 1970, $4 billions were owed abroad, in 1976 $20 billions, in 1982 $100 billions.
Whereupon the bubble burst. The nation is broke. Its debts are preposterously adjusted to some fantastic utopian future by conniving bankers and officials. Its population is growing madly. Larger than New York, Mexico City is uncontrollably vast and poor, heavily polluted.
Adrian Lajous was a World Bank Director and President of the Banco Nacional de Commercio Exterior until it was nationalized in 1982. He answers the question: Where did the money go?
"Far too much, perhaps the greater part, was misspent -- in current account expenditures, white-elephant industrial projects and private-capital flight." (Dollars deposited abroad in some of the very same lending banks).
He is alluding to the fact that all money that left the country for private deposits abroad left it illegally, and a great proportion of it ended up in secret accounts in Switzerland or elsewhere. The same is true for every single poor country. They have all had laws controlling the exportation of funds.
It may be assumed that 99% of all money held in Swiss accounts for citizens of poor countries really belongs to the government and people of the countries. Even if the original accounts have expanded by 100% to 1000% owing to reinvestment, the money may still be deemed to have accrued to the account of the original governments.
So let the Swiss banks, by request of the United Nations directed to the Swiss Federal Government and thence to the banks, transfer the accounts (to the amount of 99%) from the names of the original depositors and their heirs to the accounts of the governments involved. Do the same with fiscal pestholes like the Cayman Islands.
If the money has since been invested in corporate stocks or real property, the present holders of title for the property can be billed at the value of the holdings.
It is estimated that some fifty thousand original accounts from 100 nations may be involved, with the illegal transfers occurring over a period of fifty years, taking the baseline as 1939 when the Second World War began and with it a period of heavy illegal transfers, carrying the process up to the present time.
Assuming an original individual peculation averaging $2,000,000, the total of original transfers would be $100,000,000,000 and the total accrued at an average of 1000% from the original capital would be one trillion dollars, less the costs of discovery and transfer, the 1% alluded to above, payable to the Swiss banks and supervisors of the operation and less a 2% custodial allowance for title holders of the accounts and properties. This allowance is to pension off generously the family and heirs of the original malefactors: they don't deserve it, no one deserves an inheritance; so I excuse my weakness by what I perceive to be the weakness of leaders whose support is needed.
The funds would not be paid directly to the governments concerned but to their accounts in the same Swiss banks, with the World Bank and International Monetary Fund acting as co-signers of management and spending decisions for the accounts. The amounts realized and put to work as a result of the Plan would be adequate to halt the World Debt crisis and let the hard-pressed poor governments get to work once more on constructive projects.
Executing the scheme would cause an initial furor in the banking world, but actually, if they did not panic, the banks would soon discover that they were now handling the accounts of Tweedledum instead of Tweedledee, and were all too nicely compensated for their efforts in the transition. That great revolutionary Sun Yat Sen said, "To understand is difficult, to achieve is easy."
I asked Christoph Marx in the course of our drives around France, Switzerland, and Germany whether he knew how I could gather hard information bearing upon any aspect of the problem. He did not have access to such data, but believed that the information in all of its abundance existed in the records of the banks.
We talked too of how the large amount of information could be handled by computer, and whether there existed a database and clearinghouse for the Swiss banks already that could be expanded to handle the discovery, transfer, and management of such a large number of accounts that have no doubt ramified greatly over the years into different accounts, inheritances, and enterprises. There is no question but that the project, were it to be organized and to succeed politically could be managed financially with the help of computer programs.
Before you jump ship, hear this: the Swiss government will not necessarily oppose my scheme. The main trouble will come from U.S., British, and the implicated banks generally, and from the plutocrats who now hold title to the assets.
Still, the Swiss government has lately given three powerful indications that it regards its foreign deposits as an international responsibility and not as a hiding place for blood-money.
For one, the Swiss government has conceded the need of the USA to investigate the Swiss bank holdings of deposed Philippines President Marcos (which may amount to a billion dollars, all of which, and more elsewhere, should be restituted to the present democratically elected government), of various criminal personages, and of persons involved in the illegal funding of "Iran-Gate" operations.
Second, Swiss bank directors and high-echelon officers are now directed by law to inform themselves of the general sources of funds entering under their control, and to disclose to Swiss government authorities any holdings that appear to originate criminally.
Third, a lawyer opening a bank account as agent for another is obliged to sign a statement acknowledging that he is bound by professional confidentiality in opening this account and thereby declares that he is acting legally and that the main purpose of his mandate is neither directly nor indirectly in the capacity of a trustee and that the account is not temporary and does not serve to keep the name of the owner of the account a secret from the bank, that he knows the identity of the owner and the value of what he is depositing and is using professional care and that no illegal advantage of the secrecy of the bank has been taken and further notes that in any penal controversy he must pass the name of the true owner of the account to the authorities, failing any of which he may be denounced to the authorities by the bank.
The Finance Minister of Switzerland, Otto Stich, a Socialist, has fought to loosen Swiss secrecy laws, in the face of a voodood public which rejected overwhelmingly in a national referendum any opening of the books on foreign official requests. There is a lessening respect for the Swiss, he implies, as they become ever-fattening fiduciaries for generations of scoundrels.
Thus I feel that I am not impossibly far from what could be one of the most far-reaching and just resolutions of the world's worst financial problem.
Still the Swiss authorities will show their teeth when strangers snoop around their banking assets. Right now, this week, I hear of four U.S. investigators of the House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce being rebuffed in asking details of a Swiss banking connection of the Wall Street dealer Dennis Levine. The Geneva bank, offended by their questions, called in the authorities, who blew the whistle on them.
They were warned that some of their activities transgressed Swiss banking secrecy laws and might constitute economic espionage. Further, they were accused of overstepping the terms of an agreement between the two governments concerned of last November. A chaperon was imposed upon them to keep their inquiries within limits. The Americans left in a huff.
Switzerland is not an American minion. It will, however, respond favorably to a worldwide demand, such as I am suggesting here.
I am not informed whether the Police obtained recordings of our conversations, only part of which I have presented here. If they have, I can only hope that they will regard them not as preliminary to the greatest bank robbery in history, the robbery of the world's greatest banking system, but as a benevolent scheme to make a hero out of Switzerland and, indeed, to purge and rehabilitate that ogre of the revolutionary poor and of the intelligentsia of the world, the Swiss Bank.
At least, so shall I plead in court.