Whistleblowers

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Whistleblowers

Post by Henrik on Sat Mar 07 2015, 17:25

For anybody with a connection to the financial world, it would have been impossible to miss the scandal regarding HSBC Switzerland recently. Although not really a new development, it is perhaps since a month now that the SwissLeaks has become public knowledge with the data stolen by an IT staff member of HSBC back in 2008 has been made public. The data provided is rather complete, containing full details of some 100’000 clients but also much of the call and meeting reports registered by Relationship Managers for the contact they had with these clients. The media has divulged some of this, mostly trying to single out famous names in an attempt to further discredit the bank as well as the famous clients. The fact that many of those names actually had not done anything wrong, other than seeking financial advice from a renowned private bank, is something which has totally been omitted from the press.

No matter. What I wanted to write about today is how the public and the governments are seeing whistle blowers differently depending on the information they are divulging. There is a considerable hypocrisy going on here, and unfortunately not many people are picking up on this due to the way the media in general is presenting things. We are all very manipulated by the media, even if we don’t realize it.

For starters, we have whistle blowers such as Hervé Falciani and Bradley Birkenfeld. Falciani, the IT employee behind the leak from HSBC, is being heralded as a hero by much of the world’s media as well as many governments. Birkenfeld was ultimately rewarded with USD 104 million for his involvement in denouncing the illicit practices of UBS, that evil Swiss bank.  There are some other examples such as Heinrich Kieber who received EUR 4.2 million from German for the files he stole from a bank in Liechtenstein.

All of these whistle blowers have one thing in common; they have been attacking Swiss and Liechtenstein banks as well as wealthy individuals. Governments are putting these people on a podium because they dared to speak out against those evil banks. The fact that much of the information provided is actually that of clients having fully legitimate and declared assets with banks that were chosen because of their professional expertise as well as confidentiality is beside the point.

At the same time, we have some other whistle blowers that are instead being treated as criminals and traitors, having to live life in hiding or in prison. These are people like Julian Assange, Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning. Instead of receiving the same sort of heroes greeting, they are chased as dangerous criminals or as is the case for Manning serving 35 years in prison. What do they have in common? Well, these have all attacked governments and their illicit practices.

We can conclude here that the same country that gave Birkenfeld USD 104 million for his whistleblowing has sentenced Manning to 35 years in prison for his. So, if you are going to be a whistleblower, be careful about who you are blowing the whistle on. The fact that this sort of defeats the purpose of whistleblowers I suppose is beside the point. At least in the mind of some…

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Henrik
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Re: Whistleblowers

Post by Gelert on Sun Mar 08 2015, 11:54

The difference is that "The Government" are the 'good guys'.
The Swiss banks are "evil" - it says so on the internet (just above here), so it must be true...  Very Happy

Yup - I've been reading about this HSBC 'revelation' in Private Eye for the past four years.
It's amazing how much stuff they dredge-up, that the mainstream media only picks-up on, several years later in this case...

Good read as always, mate.

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