Swiss parliament halts US tax deal following CIA espionage claims

Swiss National Council chamberBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The lower house of the Swiss parliament has voted to stop considering a legislation designed to help the United States identify tax evaders, just days after a former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee revealed an espionage operation targeting a Swiss bank executive. The legislation, which was drafted by the government of Switzerland, is aimed at addressing demands by Washington for Swiss banks to turn over to US authorities the identities of American tax dodgers. It is believed that tens of thousands of wealthy Americans manage to evade their tax obligations each year by exploiting strict Swiss banking privacy laws, which effectively shield them from US internal revenue authorities. The legislation has already been approved by the upper house of the Swiss Federal Assembly (the Council of States), but it needs to be cleared by the lower house (the National Council) before it can be officially enacted. Interestingly, the legislation was halted in the lower house just days after American intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed a US espionage operation aimed at recruiting a Swiss bank official. Snowden, a former technical assistant for the CIA, disclosed the existence of PRISM, a clandestine national security electronic surveillance program operated by the United States National Security Agency (NSA). In addition to PRISM, Snowden, 29, spoke about a CIA operation in 2007, when he was allegedly stationed under diplomatic cover at the CIA station in Geneva, Switzerland. Read more of this post

Lithuania also hosted CIA black sites, says ABC News

Dick Marty

Dick Marty

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
After Poland and Romania, the former Soviet republic of Lithuania has been identified by US information outlet ABC News as another European nation that secretly hosted CIA prisons after 9/11. ABC News reporter Matthew Cole says former CIA officials told him that the Lithuanian government provided the CIA with a building located in suburban Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, with the understanding that it would be used as a so-called black site for secretly detaining high-value al-Qaeda suspects. The CIA reportedly used the building to detain up to eight suspects for over a year each, until December of 2005, when public rumors about the existence of the prison forced the CIA to abandon it. Read more of this post