Switzerland has decided to suspend arms shipments to the United Arab Emirates following a report that Swiss-made hand grenades are being used by armed gangs in Syria.
The measure was taken on Wednesday after the Sonntagszeitung newspaper published a photograph taken of one such device in... Show More >>Switzerland has decided to suspend arms shipments to the United Arab Emirates following a report that Swiss-made hand grenades are being used by armed gangs in Syria.
The measure was taken on Wednesday after the Sonntagszeitung newspaper published a photograph taken of one such device in possession of anti-Damascus forces in the town of Marea, north of Aleppo, at the end of June, AFP reported.
Preliminary inquiries into the photo showed the grenade in question was made by the Bern-based arms manufacturer RUAG, and was part of a shipment made by the company to the UAE in 2003.
The Federal Department of Economic Affairs (FDEA) says 225,162 hand grenades were exported to the UAE, who signed an agreement not to re-export the munitions.
"As far as the FDEA is aware, the hand grenade ... originates from a RUAG shipment to the United Arab Emirates in 2003. At present there is no evidence that Swiss hand grenades have found their way to Syria; inquiries are ongoing, however," the government statement said.
The FDEA statement also said arms shipments from Switzerland to Syria stopped in April 1998, and raised doubt whether the photograph was taken in Syria after all.
Antje Baertschi, a spokeswoman for the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) said as a “provisional" measure, Switzerland immediately moved to "freeze all arms export permits to the UAE."
Press TV has conducted an interview with Dr. Webster Griffin Tarpley, author & historian, to hear his opinion on this issue. The following is a transcription of the interview.
Press TV: The Swiss claim that they are surprised about this entire issue because they have a “neutral stance” when it comes to issues like Syria. Are they as innocent as they claim considering they have been providing weapons in the first place to repressive states such as the UAE?
Tarpley: I think everybody in the world with an effective intelligence service and that would emphatically include Switzerland through their banking system; they are as well informed really as anybody in the world, they know very well that the [Persian] Gulf states, these reactionary feudal absolute monarchies like the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait but above all Saudi Arabia, all of them have been massively shipping weapons to the death squads that are working for NATO in Syria and this has been known now for months.
There is really no news except that Switzerland, to cover themselves, to cover themselves maybe on liability suits, have decided to cut off the air shipments to these feudal monarchies in the [Persian] Gulf.
But other than that, we have known, even the New York Times always the last to know, has confirmed that there were CIA officers who are directing traffic in southern Turkey sending these weapons to the groups that they want to receive them. I think that we could see a larger context; tomorrow there would be another one of these Orwellian ‘Friends of Syria’ conferences in Turkey, I believe, tomorrow, or is it Paris?
Anyway, the Russians and the Chinese have said that they will not go. I think Hilary Clinton, however, will be there. I believe it is in Paris. So that entire exercise will continue.
One of the things that NATO is doing is simply lying. Whenever they have a diplomatic meeting with Russia, in particular, then they come out and lie about it and the Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov was asked today, are you going to call Assad and offer him asylum in Russia? And Lavrov said that is a bad joke; why don’t you ask the same question to the German Foreign Minister [Guido] Westerwelle we were standing with? Why don’t you see if Assad is going to go to Germany?
It is all really absurd. The big development of today though that I would urgently point to is NATO is now rolling up its heavy artillery and that means WikiLeaks and Julian Assange.
Sophisticated knowledgeable observers all over the world have long known since the very beginning in 2010 that WikiLeaks is a NATO-CIA conduit for various kinds of fake or real documents that are released with political aims in mind and Assange in that sense is a tool of NATO.
We are now told that there are 2.4 million cables; 400 thousand in Arabic, 70 thousand in Russia that are all embarrassing to Syria, embarrassing to the Syrian government but also embarrassing to companies that are still selling various things to Syria.
The example given is Finmeccanica, an Italian firm that has been selling radios to Assad. Also notable is that Assange and WikiLeaks have got a consortium of international press organs; they have got the Associate Press of the United States, the biggest indeed. Show Less >>
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