Ten Tribes Tribal Report no.26

5 August 15 2009 Av 5769
Scottish Warriors, Swiss Banks, UK Unicorns
1. Scotland:
War 'lures new recruits to the army'
2. Switzerland
Leave Swiss Banks Alone
3. Unicorn on UK Stamp


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1. Scotland:
War 'lures new recruits to the army'

War 'lures new recruits to the army'
By Stephen McGinty
THE army in Scotland has reported a "breathtaking" 366 per cent rise in recruitment as young men are drawn by the "trials of combat", despite the growing death toll emerging from Afghanistan.
Scotland on Sunday can reveal that the number of Scots joining the army in the first three months of the year shot up from just 27 in 2008 to 99 this year. Army recruiters say that the rush to join seems unaffected by the grim death toll in Afghanistan and the growing row between the government and the military over resources for troops.

On Thursday, a British soldier from 2nd Battalion, The Rifles, was killed in an explosion while on foot patrol near Gereshk in Helmand. The previous week, eight soldiers were killed in a 24-hour period. In total, 185 British soldiers have died in Afghanistan, more than those who lost their lives in Iraq.

But army chiefs say the publicity surrounding military operations in Afghanistan is attracting, rather than deterring, youngsters- although they acknowledge the recession has also had a major impact. Unemployment in Scotland has reached a ten-year high with 179,000 people out of work. Brigadier David Allfrey, head of 51st Scottish Brigade, said that the tide of bad news did not seem to be affecting the flow of recruits.

He said relentless scenes of fighting broadcast on the news, combined with best-selling books on the war in Afghanistan and Ross Kemp's award-winning TV documentary have served to attract, rather than deter, young recruits.

"I have talked to a lot of young people over the last 24 months and I have been astonished at the readiness and, indeed, comfort of those seeking to join the profession, by which they absolutely understand what they think the trials of combat are and are signing up to do that," he said.

Describing the increase in recruitment as "breathtaking", he added: "We must be the only employer anywhere in Scotland doing that sort of level."

Allfrey said it was a "fallacy" that the army targeted the working-class in the most deprived areas, but admitted currently running an army contact point in the Shettleston and Easterhouse areas of Glasgow, which, he said "was not a recruitment office but was a place where you go and get a jaffa cake and a cup of coffee".

Asked if that was "grooming" potential candidates he said: "Yes? I suppose it is. But grooming has an appalling sinister overtone to it that is not our business. When you recruit the modern youngster, there has to be choice.

"Is there a risk that young men might die young? Of course there is; we don't seek to disguise that in any way. But I put it to you: is there a risk of a young man dying in any vocation? Of course there is."

Last week the government came under intense pressure to agree to army requests for more "boots on the ground" and more helicopters to transport them. General Sir Richard Dannatt, the head of the army, returned from Afghanistan last week with a shopping list of demands for more troops and equipment. Ministers are now mulling over calls from Sir Richard and Chief of the Defence Staff Sir Jock Stirrup for more resources in the campaign, with the provision of extra helicopters top of the list.

2. Switzerland
Leave Swiss Banks Alone

Published: August 2, 2009

LAST week, an American client of the Swiss bank UBS admitted to filing a false tax return and concealing millions in Swiss bank accounts. For some people, his plea will just confirm their impression of Switzerland as a haven for criminals or dictators who want to protect their funds from taxes or oversight.

But for us here in Switzerland, our financial privacy laws are a foundation for individual dignity and basic property rights.

Unfortunately, the confidentiality that is the hallmark of Swiss banking is coming under increasing pressure. The global economic crisis has led some governments to intensify efforts to seek tax revenue abroad ? and Switzerland, which accounts for nearly 30 percent of all offshore private wealth, is a natural target.

Switzerland, which is home to an impressive number of global corporations, has also come under fire from the European Union for offering too-favorable tax rules, including exemptions for income earned abroad. But what critics forget is that these practices also benefit other countries. Swiss firms alone employ hundreds of thousands of people in the United States and Germany, for example. Subsidiaries of multinational corporations usually pay income taxes where they operate, so having their headquarters in Switzerland can help companies avoid multiple taxation in high-tax countries, thereby safeguarding productive capital for investment.

Until recently, the Swiss government had steadfastly insisted on Swiss sovereignty and refused to provide assistance to other governments in cases of tax evasion ? that is, cases in which a taxpayer failed to declare income, either intentionally or unintentionally. While tax fraud is considered a crime here, tax evasion is not (though it can be subject to fines).

This Swiss peculiarity of considering tax evasion as a mere administrative offense has a long history. We think government exists to serve us, not the other way around. We understand that we have to pay taxes ? and we do, with numerous studies showing that the Swiss are extraordinarily honest about paying what we owe ? but we do not think it is the government?s role to intrude on our privacy and wrench them from us.

This attitude goes back to Switzerland?s founding in the 13th century. The original Swiss communities? resentment of what they saw as the Hapsburgs? oppressive taxes helped push them to claim their independence in 1291.

Today, Swiss citizens continue to vote on any tax increases in referendums (and sometimes even accept them). These healthy curbs on government contrast with the Orwellian concept of the ?transparent citizen? whose every act is known to government. We see our system as a social pact between citizens and the state.

Swiss privacy laws help preserve basic property rights. Bank secrecy was introduced in 1934, most notably to protect the identities and assets of Jews in Nazi Germany. (Unfortunately, those same rules made it difficult for some heirs to gain access to these accounts without proper documentation, leading to an out-of-court agreement in 1998 by Swiss banks to pay $1.25 billion to settle Holocaust-related lawsuits.) Corruption, expropriation, crime and the persecution of various minorities remain risks in most of the world. For people threatened by such risks, financial privacy can protect their legitimate property.

Some would argue that Swiss bank accounts offer the same protections to criminals, but in fact Swiss provisions against money laundering are tough. Swiss bankers are required to know their clients and the origin of the funds they accept. They must alert the regulators if they suspect criminal behavior.

Banking confidentiality enjoys overwhelming support in Switzerland. According to the latest annual survey by the polling firm M.I.S. Trend, 78 percent favor maintaining the laws as they are, and 91 percent are shown to value their financial privacy. This is especially relevant since Swiss citizens are expected to vote eventually on the renegotiated tax treaties in a referendum.

Pierre Bessard is the president of the Liberales Institut, a research institution.

3. Unicorn on UK Stamp

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