How the Arms Industry Tried to Infiltrate the GSoA
The public relations agency Farner PR has tried to infiltrate the Group for a Switzerland without an Army (GSoA) according to a report by the Zurich-based newspaper "Wochenzeitung" (see here) and other media. Farner PR leads the campaign against a popular initiative that would ban all arms exports on behalf of several arms companies. The initiative is scheduled to be voted on in a national referendum on November 29, 2009. Farner PR is known to have close ties to the conservative SVP and FDP parties.
A Farner PR employee (we just publish her initials: C.S.) took part in strategy preparation weekend this June under false pretenses. C.S. quickly drew the attention of the other participants of the meeting by asking questions about membership numbers and budget planning. Investigations by the "Wochenzeitung" confirmed the suspicion: C.S. works for Farner PR. The public relations agency tries to play down the issue. They claim that C.S. acted solely out of her personal interest and curiosity. Bad luck that C.S.'s fiancé told exactly the opposite to the "Wochenzeitung".
The arms industry should respect democratic rules
The GSoA calls on the arms comanies to cancel their contracts with Farner PR. It's clear that the arms industry is not keen on leading a sober debate. Nevertheless, we still thought that we could expect that the companies would respect at least some minimal democratic etiquette.
Not an isolated incident
The snoopery case is not an isolated incident. Recently, the TV channel TSR uncovered that the Swiss private security company Securitas had spied upon Attac by order of Nestlé. In another case, Greenpeace was infiltrated in order to acquire information about a campaign against a hazardous waste deposit near Basle / Bonfol. It seems that spying on political activists by private companies becomes more and more a common pattern.
Help us to face the arms lobby!
Join our Facebook group and get active in your local GSoA chapter, in order to fight against the deadly arms exports and win against the arms industry on November 29.
Read more information in French here.
Read more information in German here.
Read the press release and the fact sheets in German here.
See the evening news in French here.