A Swiss banker who revealed details of client accounts via WikiLeaks was convicted Monday of violating the country s financial secrecy laws but won t have to serve time. Rudolf Elmer, a former employee of Julius Baer Group Ltd., was given a suspended fine of 16,800 Swiss francs ($19,397) under a system that allows Swiss courts to convert prison time into a financial penalty. The Zurich district court said that if Elmer commits a crime in the next three years, he may have to pay the fine.
On Monday The Intercept reported, based on documents leaked by Edward Snowden, that the NSA is able "to vacuum up and store the actual content of every conversation" in the Bahamas and an unnamed country. Editor Glenn Greenwald said The Intercept didn't reveal the country because they were "very convinced" that doing so would lead to "deaths."
The Russians did a big favour for the freedom-loving peoples of the world, including those in the US who can still think with our own brains - The US Unable to win their case in the court of public opinion, the self-styled leaders of the free world resort to threats and bullying to get their way - which kind of sums up American foreign policy in the second decade of the 21st century. And the spectacle of US attorney general Eric Holder trying to offer Russia assurances that his government would not torture or execute Snowden speaks volumes about how far the US government's reputation on human rights - even within the United States - has plummeted over the past decade.
This trial is worth watching because of the implications for whistleblowers and the US journalistic organisations that rely on government insiders, so that Americans know what the government is doing in their name. The case also has ramifications for Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency contractor and source of the recent Guardian stories on US intelligence agencies and their surveillance capabilities, that may well extend to the phone records of just about every American, as well as their online correspondence. Snowden is already undergoing the same kind of trial by media that Manning received before getting to court.