• Switzerland edition
 
Snowden trashes 'racist Swiss' on chat site
A banner defending Edward Snowden in Hong Kong. Photo: Philippe Lopez/AFP

Snowden trashes 'racist Swiss' on chat site

Published: 27 Jun 2013 22:07 GMT+02:00
Updated: 27 Jun 2013 22:07 GMT+02:00

Arstechnica.com revealed on Wednesday a string of comments that it alleged Snowden left on the website’s “Internet Relay Chat” once he arrived in Geneva in 2007, where he worked as a spy with diplomatic cover.

The remarks, made under an online username “TheTrueHOOHA”, are initially critical about how expensive Switzerland is, make references to how “racist” the Swiss are, but also refer to the mountain country as “pretty cool”.

Snowden, an IT systems expert, was 23 when he arrived in Switzerland as a CIA spy before he moved on to work for a private contractor hired by the National Security Agency (NSA).

Now reportedly at Moscow’s international airport, the 30-year-old is wanted by US law enforcement officials in connection with leaking NSA documents that reveal a massive global internet and telephone “data-mining” surveillance program.

Snowden is being regarded as a traitor to his country by American politicians and a hero by others for lifting the lid on allegedly invasive practices by US intelligence services.

He began secretly leaking the documents to The Washington Post and Britain’s Guardian newspapers in early June before revealing himself as the whistleblower on June 9th.

The comments made by TheTrueHOOHA to Arstechnica suggest that Snowden was unfamiliar with Switzerland when he first arrived.

On the chat site he appears to be conversing with Americans in the US about Swiss life and how it contrasts with life back home.

“You guys wouldn’t believe how expensive shit is here,” he says in one entry.

“You can’t get tap water in restaurants . . . they make you buy it in bottles, glass bottles. 5 bucks a pop.”

He complains of hamburgers costing $15 that tasted like “greasy cardboard”.

“Jesus christ are the swiss rich,” he wrote, adding, with the use of an obscenity, that McDonald’s workers were paid more than he was.

“They make like $50,000 a year.”

Several months later Snowden apparently warmed to life in Geneva.

“It’s pretty cool,” he wrote, according to Arstechnica.com.

“The girls are gorgeous, too. Oh, and prostitution is legal.”

He said it’s “like living in a post card” but also “nightmarishly expensive and horrifically classist.”

CLICK HERE TO VIEW A GALLERY OF SOME OF SNOWDEN'S ALLEGED COMMENTS ABOUT THE SWISS.

The comment that has drawn most attention in the Swiss press, however, is one referring to the Swiss as racists.

“I have never EVER seen a people more racist than the swiss jesus god they look down on EVERYONE,” he wrote, according to Arstechnica.

“Even each other.”

The website says TheTrueHOOHA made nearly 800 posts to its forums, “including biographical information and photos that match Snowden.”

Reuters earlier this month reported that Snowden used the pseudonym for online postings.

The fugitive caused a stir in Switzerland when he revealed that the CIA got a banker drunk in Geneva in order to recruit him as an informant about tax evasion by Americans stashing money in Switzerland.

Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter said on Thursday that American officials have provided only a “very diplomatic” response to questions from Bern about this allegation.

"They have answered that they have respected Swiss law and that they have never done anything of any sort that is problematic," Burkhalter was quoted as saying by the ATS news agency.
   

"We have decided to continue the discussions with the Americans about this pending question," he said.

For Washington, he said, “it is obvious that there wasn't a problem."

Click here to check the Arstechnica.com site, which also alleges that Snowden said in an online posting in 2009 that leakers "should be shot". 

Malcolm Curtis (news@thelocal.ch)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Swiss hail ‘success in failure’ of Scots no vote
No supporters celebrate in Scotland. Photo: Leon Neal/AFP

Swiss hail ‘success in failure’ of Scots no vote

Commentators in Swiss media have called the Scottish no vote “a success in failure” after 55 percent of Scots voted against independence in Thursday’s historic referendum. READ  

Study: landlords prefer Swiss over immigrants
Photo: Metro Centric

Study: landlords prefer Swiss over immigrants

People with Swiss surnames are more likely to find rental accommodation in Switzerland than those with foreign names, according to a new study. READ  

Man shoots son during hunting season day trip
The man was transported to hospital by air ambulance service Rega. Photo: Rega

Man shoots son during hunting season day trip

A man accidentally shot his 22-year-old son during the course of a hunt near Andermatt in the canton of Uri, police reported on Thursday. READ  

Switzerland set for Ebola vaccine clinical trials
WHO Assistant Director General Bruce Aylward holds a report on Ebola at a press conference in Geneva. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

Switzerland set for Ebola vaccine clinical trials

Clinical trials of two experimental vaccines against the deadly Ebola virus are due to begin soon in Switzerland, the country's Tropical and Public Health Institute said on Thursday. READ  

Anti-match-fixing treaty signed in Switzerland
Council of Europe chief Thorbjoern Jagland spoke against match-fixing in sport. Photo: Daniel Sannum Lauten/AFP

Anti-match-fixing treaty signed in Switzerland

Sports ministers from across Europe gathered in Switzerland on Thursday to sign a treaty aimed at rooting out the "scourge" of match-fixing and illegal betting in sports. READ  

Swiss creates Google Glass app for medics
The Google Glass app will allow paramedics direct contact with doctors in emergency situations. Photo: Rijans007/Wikimedia Commons

Swiss creates Google Glass app for medics

A doctor in Switzerland has created an app allowing paramedics to use Google Glass to improve the quality and speed of treatment for emergency patients. READ  

Rare Valais sheep feared stolen for meat sale
The Saas sheep has distinctive long, pendulous ears. Photo: ProSpecieRara

Rare Valais sheep feared stolen for meat sale

Police investigating the case of 103 sheep which disappeared from an alpine pasture near Saas-Almagell in the canton of Valais are treating it as theft. READ  

Swift exit for Swiss dream team in Tokyo
Bencic (left) was coached by Hingis' mother. Photo: Toru Yamanaka/AFP

Swift exit for Swiss dream team in Tokyo

Former world number one Martina Hingis and rising star Belinda Bencic ended their first time together as a dream doubles team for Switzerland in the Pan Pacific Open second round on Thursday. READ  

Streaming service Netflix arrives in Switzerland
Programmes can be watched on a range of devices. Photo: Netflix

Streaming service Netflix arrives in Switzerland

Popular US video streaming service Netflix launched in Switzerland on Thursday morning after opening for business in Germany, France and Austria earlier this week. READ  

Czech spoils Bencic's upward rise in Tokyo
Swiss teen Bencic's upward rise beaten back. Photo: Paul Crock/AFP/File

Czech spoils Bencic's upward rise in Tokyo

Seventh-seeded Lucie Safarova battled back to beat wild card Belinda Bencic 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 Wednesday and reach the Pan Pacific tennis tournament quarterfinals, spoiling the Swiss teenager's upward momentum this year. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Swiss football club fires team masseuse over explicit sex video
National
Geneva police arrest easyJet passenger over hand luggage row
Business & Money
Latest forecasts for Swiss economic growth turn less bullish
Sport
Formula One legend Schumacher to continue treatment at Swiss home
National
Former federal planning official calls for nine Swiss cantons
Features
The Local gets the lowdown on mushroom picking in Switzerland
National
Virgin boss Richard Branson's son rescued from peak of Matterhorn
National
Swiss President Didier Burkhalter's commute turns Twitter sensation
Features
High-tech cameras give dizzy view of Eiger's north face (VIDEO)
Politics
Baden municipal council strips 'nude selfies mayor' of duties
Business & Money
Switzerland stays atop competitiveness table for sixth year
National
Federal parliament secretary agrees to step down over nude selfies
Sponsored Article
Car insurance made easy online with St Bernard
National
Swiss residents pick Swedes as ideal European soul mates: survey
National
Zurich officials call project to move prostitutes to 'sex boxes' a success
National
Swiss gays recognized as parents of child born to surrogate mother
Health
Increase in mountain bike accidents keeps Swiss hospitals busy
National
Swiss policeman belatedly honoured for saving Jews from Holocaust
National
'Suicide tourists' to Switzerland double in three years: study
National
Swiss Post SMS scheme gets stamp of approval after pilot project
Business & Money
American tax evasion crackdown hits Swiss private banks' bottom line
Politics
Woman accuses Swiss politician in nude selfies scandal of lying
National
Villagers in Graubünden valley reject hydro plant to protect vultures
Business & Money
Court rules against appellation for absinthe from Neuchâtel valley
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

2,112
jobs available