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US threatens Swiss with return to visas: report

Meritxell Mir · 8 Dec 2011, 10:45

Published: 08 Dec 2011 11:14 GMT+01:00
Updated: 08 Dec 2011 10:45 GMT+01:00

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Washington is putting pressure on Bern to allow it direct access to certain police records where fingerprints and DNA profiles are stored, according to a Swiss media report. 

If Switzerland does not meet the American demands by June 2012, the US government will reintroduce a visa requirement for Swiss citizens travelling to the United States, reports the Tages Anzeiger newspaper.

This means that the 340,000 Swiss who travel annually to the US would have to visit the US Embassy in person to request a visa and pay a fee of 130 francs ($140).

Bern has so far resisted signing on to Washington's Preventing and Combating Serious Crime (PSCS) agreement, a move that would give the Swiss citizens continued access to the US visa waiver programme, ESTA. 

The programme currently enables Swiss citizens to enter the US using only their biometric passports, which became mandatory in 2010. ESTA was implemented to combat terrorism after the September 11th 2001 attacks.

If Switzerland accepts the conditions imposed by the United States, US authorities will be allowed direct computer access to Swiss police databases containing fingerprint details and DNA profiles.

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Furthermore, US investigators could ask Switzerland to hand over the names, ages, passport numbers and criminal records of anybody suspected of terrorism-related crimes, Tages Anzeiger reports.

Critics fear that this data might not be protected once it reaches the US.

Meritxell Mir (news@thelocal.ch)

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Your comments about this article

2011-12-23 08:35:24 by Mario
Keep us a sovereign nation safe from the American thugs. I'd gladly pay for a visa fee instead of allowing them access to our data. Don't cave in to these bullies! Stand up for our country!!!
2011-12-13 10:21:52 by Libertas
Tell the US Federal Government where to go Switzerland! Boycott the US police state. Travel to other countries, and you'll be helping us Americans out as well.
2011-12-13 08:41:10 by Alexis
As an American who has many friends in Switzerland, visits often, and has done extensive business over the years, I agree... Tell the US government to go pound sand! Who do these corrupt, sleazy, no-good politicians think they are? They always put pressure on Swiss banks to do their bidding by threatening to close their New York offices! And, the US calls itself a free society? Hardly. Sadly, the US government has not represented the American people for decades. It is a rogue, mean, uncaring, corrupt machine that sticks its nose into everyone else's business with not a care in the world. Illegal and immoral wars? It's a fear machine. Americans don't like this, but we have no say at all. Voting here is a joke. Stay strong Helvetia! Maintain your principles, laws, traditions and values. In America, our government doesn't follow our own constitution, the centerpiece of our republic. It refuses to observe what the average American considers important such as honor, truth, respect and caring for others. Due to the actions of corrupt bankers and crooked politicians, soon America is going to be toast financially. I say let it fail and when the politicians wreck it, our entire lousy government is going down. Good riddence! They did it to themselves, arrogant morons. We will have to rebuild America using our Founding Father's strict value system, sense of fairness and limiting government using our great Constitution and Bill of Rights. Always keep in mind that the average American stands solidly with you and never give in to the demands of bullies.
2011-12-13 04:14:31 by Global Macro
Ray, some of us are trying to make what we think is an important distinction between the country and the government. We Americans are facing a very difficult threat from the U.S. government. But sadly Europeans are grappling with a very similar problem. The governments in Europe and the U.S. are increasingly oppressive and corrupt. The EU is even worse than the U.S., but BO and the Feds in the US are trying to drag us down to that level. So far Switzerland has been able to avoid the worst of the economic implosions affecting other western European and the U.S., and I hope that continues. So lest you become a bit too smug, remember, "ask not for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee."
2011-12-12 21:17:19 by Ray
Uuuuuhhhh!!! Please don't have us go to the Embassy and buy visas, please nooooo! Because we're so dying to go to Amerika and see all the ghetto people walking around with their low-riders, all the tattooed thugs strutting around, all the wonderful football games with a bunch of meatheads running around chasing a cantaloupe, uuh, the ball; and all the police on every corner looking for Osama under some sidewalk tile! And we're so dying to be groped by the lovely TSA on the way in and the way out!!! Please nooo! We can't afford to not be able to visit the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave!!! Uuuhh, we're so scared! Here, we'll give you everything, we'll buy your airport porno scanners to install in our own airports, we'll buy your police equipment to fend off terrorists here, we'll receive training from your cops on how to beat up peaceful citizens and shoot them in the face if they speak back!
2011-12-12 15:31:49 by willowsdad
I agree with my fellow American Global Marco. Don't give in to them. The leadership of the US needs to go back and learn why we had a revolution 240 years ago.
2011-12-10 05:28:23 by mike_1983
Stay strong Switzerland!!! if the USA does go ahead with that Switzerland should just bring in a reciprical visa for american citizens. HOPP SCHWIIZ
2011-12-08 20:31:48 by HoppSuisse
Thank you Global Marco

A relative, who lives in Basel, told me that US Citizens are turning in their passports at the Embassy in “droves”.
I hope we can keep them safe.

2011-12-08 17:59:48 by Global Macro
Speaking as an American, I hope that the Swiss government does not yield to these demands. The government of my country is becoming ever more corrupt and oppressive. All of our freedoms are threatened. They say that this is about international terrorism. I doubt that. More likely this has to do with tracking down money. What the Feds call tax evaders; what I call refugees.
2011-12-08 17:34:14 by HoppSuisse
This is outrageous and exactly what was warned about when we bowed down to the US in giving the names of (UBS) bank customers to them.

The US will not stop until they have taken away all of our freedoms, these privacy rights are only the beginning.
Understand that we already pay taxes to the US! That’s right, because our CHF is backed by $, every time the US prints money they reduce the value of our CHF. This is a stealth tax.

And do not forget that the US already monitors all of our International currency transactions through the Swift system.
Stand up to the Bully and say NO! Tell Calmy-Ray and all those law breakers that would give away our rights that we say NEIN!

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