On 11 October 2023, the weekly Weltwoche reported that the Swiss Federal Intelligence Service, the NDB, had recorded our newspaper Zeit-Fragen/Current Concerns/Horizons et débats in a memorandum classified as ‘confidential’. Weltwoche, published in Zurich, rightly refers to a ‘fiche’, the Swiss term for a secret file. We have a copy of this document, dated 29 September 2023. In it, the authorities claim that Zeit-Fragen is spreading Russian ‘disinformation’ and ‘propaganda’. There is no mention of evidence or facts in support of these claims.
The ‘hook’ or occasion for this assertion is an article by Scott Ritter, the noted American commentator, that first appeared in the US at the beginning of September 2023 and was subsequently translated and published by both Weltwoche and Zeit–Fragen and its translated editions. Ritter’s topic is Swiss neutrality. He emphasises its value and its importance for peace in the world. He is critical of the attempt by the US ambassador to Bern, Scott Miller, to interfere in Switzerland’s internal affairs by exerting intense and concentrated pressure in a diplomatically unacceptable manner.
Scott Ritter was an officer in the US Marines and subsequently a UN weapons inspector. Since the US invasion of Iraq in March 2003, which was against international law, he has been an internationally known critic of US foreign policy – not least out of genuine attachment to his country.
Ritter wrote the article after he had been to Switzerland to deliver lectures at a conference sponsored by “Mut zur Ethik” and, while there, had spoken to numerous Swiss citizens about the country’s neutrality. He was outraged by America’s attacks on the principle of neutrality. His travel costs and expenses, it bears mentioning in the interest of clarity and transparency, were covered by the Swiss citizens who invited him to speak – not, as was wildly imagined in certain circles, by Russia.
We state in this regard:
Art. 16. Freedom of expression and of information
Art. 17. Freedom of the media
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