Last modified: 7:58 AM Saturday, 14 January 2017

“Psychopaths show a stunning lack of concern for the devastating effects their actions have
on others. Often they are completely forthright about the matter, calmly stating that
they have no sense of guilt, are not sorry for the pain and destruction they have
caused, and that there is no reason for them to be concerned.”

Robert D. Hare

Swiss banking: a sordid history

Swiss bank accounts are indeed widely known, and long have been, for security and privacy. This is precisely why they have historically appealed to those who wish to hide their money from authorities of various stripes. This is the source of their popularity among everyone from WikiLeaks to transnational corporations to globe-trotting criminals to Nazis who wanted a place to conceal funds stolen from Jews murdered during the Holocaust.

Danger zone: Swiss banking has always appealed to those with something to hide

Danger zone: Swiss banking has always appealed to those with something to hide.
[ Image Source: Unable to identify ]

As Julian Assange now knows, the banks don’t provide much protection to enemies of the global ruling elite — but all the other entities named above have found them most useful. In fact, from 1995 to 2000, a Jewish group sued the banks for return of “unclaimed assets” belonging to Holocaust victims and their families, arguing that the banks had created barriers to claimants by demanding, for example, death certificates (which usually did not exist). According to Wikipedia, the suit was eventually settled as follows:

On November 22, 2000, Judge Edward R. Korman announced settlement of this case with his approval of a plan featuring the payment of $1.25 billion into funds controlled by the Israeli Banking Trust. Judah Gribetz was appointed Special Master to administer the plan, which is sometimes called the Gribetz Plan after its chief author.[12]

By October 2009, some $490 million had been paid out to individual claimants, and acceptance of new claims had been discontinued for some time. This amount includes not only amounts deposited into Swiss banks by purported victims, but compensation for labor purportedly performed in displaced-persons camps, the value of purported looted assets, compensation for persons purported to have sought admission to Switzerland as refugees and to have been denied admission, both Jewish and non-Jewish, plus interest calculated on the claimed losses from the time of loss to the time of payment.

It happens but seldom, so I will savor it: The record shows that this time, our government was diligent and efficient on the side of right, and the WJC prevailed with the aid of its hard-sought evidence, and at the cost of diplomatic tension with Switzerland (where a strong majority told pollsters that the banks shouldn’t settle).

All of this opens a parenthetical question: What is this “Israeli Banking Trust”? Apparently Wikipedia has no idea (and also has no article on Judah Gribetz); DuckDuckGo doesn’t either (the two results being from the Wikipedia page and another article that quotes the Wikipedia page, but not in that order). Fortunately, the New York Post offers a rather more detailed account of the settlement funds and what became of them, although sometimes in terms better suited to Beowulf than to a legal proceeding.

But the real questions raised in the lawsuit have still not been satisfactorily answered: Why did Switzerland apparently act as what a report commissioned by Clinton administration Undersecretary of Commerce Stuart Eizenstat called “Nazi Germany’s banker”? And why are the banks still permitted to resist the full disclosure of their assets that is the only way to prove that they are not still benefiting from that economic collaboration?

Doubtless the banks will invoke sacred principles of privacy and free commerce, saying their customers have a right to do business confidentially if they wish, that anyone has a right to be a customer if he has money to deposit, and that after all it is none of a bank’s business how its customers earn or spend their own money.

This would be the time to present surprise witness Julian Assange, the customer who was always right until he suddenly wasn’t.


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