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If Invading Switzerland, Please Do So Outside Of "Office Hours"

Tyler Durden's picture


When overnight we were following the Ethiopian Airline hijacking story, one thing that was missing from the Twitter narrative was the lack of any reports of scrambled Swiss fighter jets - something that has become a staple when an airplane deviates even modestly from its course above the continental United States. As it turns out it wasn't merely a journalistic oversight: there were, in fact, no fighter jets scrambled. Why? Because the hijacking which took place around 3 am, and culminated with the 767 landing in Geneva just after 6 am, took place outside of regular air force hours!

The AFP's reporter writing up this story must have been trying hard to avoid bursting brain capillaries due to excess laughter. Here is the gist:

When the co-pilot on flight ET-702 from Addis Ababa to Rome locked himself in the cockpit while the pilot went to the bathroom and announced a hijacking, Italian and French fighter jets were scrambled to escort the plane through their respective airspaces.


But although the co-pilot-turned-hijacker quickly announced he wanted to land the plane in Switzerland, where he later said he aimed to seek asylum, Switzerland's fleet of F-18s and F-5 Tigers remained on the ground, Swiss airforce spokesman Laurent Savary told AFP.


"Switzerland cannot intervene because its airbases are closed at night and on the weekend," he said, adding: "It's a question of budget and staffing."


Monday's hijacking, carried out by 31-year-old Hailemedehin Abera Tagegn, according to Addis Ababa, took place in the very early hours, with the aircraft and its 202 passengers and crew landing safely in Geneva at 6:02 am (0502 GMT).


That was just two minutes after the airport opened for business, and two hours before the Swiss airforce is operational.

So how long until the neutral Swiss can hope to have 24/7 fighter jet protection? At least another 6 years.

French fighters can escort a suspicious aircraft into Swiss airspace, "but there is no question of shooting it down. It's a question of national sovereignty".


Swiss airspace is under constant electronic surveillance, he pointed out, adding that the wealthy Alpine nation is also studying the possibility of expanding its airforce coverage to a round-the-clock operation. That plan is however not set to kick into action until 2020, when Switzerland is expected to replace its fleet of fighters with Swedish Gripen planes.

In the meantime, they can rely on the French to protect them: "Switzerland relies heavily on deals with its neighbours, especially France, to help police its airspace outside regular office hours. He explained that French fighters can escort a suspicious aircraft into Swiss airspace, "but there is no question of shooting it down. It's a question of national sovereignty."

Our sincerest condolences aside to any nation that relies on France to protect it from airborne attack, any and all aspiring European dictators with delusions of grandure and hopes of taking over the continent will surely want to know when they can land their entire airforce in the Swiss country unimpeded:

... the Swiss airforce is only available during office hours. These are reported to be from 8am until noon, then 1:30 to 5pm.

Then again, now that Switzerland has lost the one main industry that made the country the envy of the entire world, namely its banking industry which was a juggernaut during the "secrecy" years which are now over and done with, who really would bother invading some green alpine meadows and a few Milka cows?


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Mon, 02/17/2014 - 16:07 | 4445473 skwid vacuous
skwid vacuous's picture

At least they didn't scramble and fly 180 degrees in the wrong direction, I hear that happens sometimes

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 16:12 | 4445486 Leonardo Fibonacci2
Leonardo Fibonacci2's picture

Fat Tony's swiss account could have been in danger, don't be surprised if he says

I don't get mad, i get stabby

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 16:15 | 4445498 NoDebt
NoDebt's picture

Hey, I just had an idea for Davos next year.  

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 16:28 | 4445527 freewolf7
freewolf7's picture

That explains why jets weren't scrambled in the US during 9/11--oh, wait.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 16:31 | 4445535 Boris Alatovkrap
Boris Alatovkrap's picture

No jet is scramble on 9/11 for maybe interfere with mission of demolition team effort.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 16:39 | 4445557 General Decline
General Decline's picture

""Switzerland cannot intervene because its airbases are closed at night and on the weekend," he said, adding: "It's a question of budget and staffing."

Here comes a big fat tax hike, Switzerland. It's for your SECURITY. If your not for this, the. you must be a terrorist.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 17:05 | 4445632 johnQpublic
johnQpublic's picture

It's a question of budget and staffing


a military on a non-infinite budget?

say it aint so

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 17:17 | 4445676 zaphod
zaphod's picture

To be fair to the Swiss, they are surrounded by France and Italy so I wouldn't invest too much in a military either. Germany does need to be watched out for, but the US has had the largest military garrison ever stationed there for the past 70 years so the Swiss have nothing to worry about till the US goes broke and bails. 

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 18:55 | 4446013 Rafferty
Rafferty's picture

Though a small country Switzerland in approximately its current boders and Federal system has been extant for nearly 1,000 years. Invaders, even those from huge surrounding countries, invariably got their ass handed to them.  Part of the reason is that every Swiss citizen is personally well armed and well trained.  Oh, and the murder rate there is miniscule.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 20:04 | 4446177 RafterManFMJ
RafterManFMJ's picture

Heh, you made me curious.

Read some here:

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 20:07 | 4446182 Arius
Arius's picture

YES - agreed! 

there are some pesky fighters those 18 swiss soldiers, that much so, that the rich trust them with their gold...none ever dares to mess with them, although, they are either italian, germans or french, together they form something unique almost unbreakable... go figure

one of those things that make you go hmm...

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 22:18 | 4446540 Dave
Dave's picture

It ain't just the gold. The art, the jewels, the antiques, anything else needing to be kept private is stored there by everybody who has something to store. The Swiss know where all the bodies are buried. Who would dare mess with them. Even the "real" PTB in the U.S. know better than that. Or they better know...

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 23:03 | 4446690 patb
patb's picture

who'se going to invade.



Mon, 02/17/2014 - 17:17 | 4445683 max2205
max2205's picture

What the fuck is NATO doing?

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 17:37 | 4445751 knukles
knukles's picture

THey're on Summer vacation from August 1 to the following July 31

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 18:11 | 4445873 lordylord
lordylord's picture

The US is pretty close to an infinite military budget, but that didn't help us on 9/11 when planes still crashed into the WTCs and the Pentagon.  Strange, unless they were supposed to do that.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 19:05 | 4446031 ziggy59
ziggy59's picture


Seems peeps all over are asleep, no?

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 17:36 | 4445746 Dugald
Dugald's picture


And only enough fuel to fly in Tuesdays......... 

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 19:41 | 4446123 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

Who needs F-18s and drones when your country has "well regulated militia" that has proven effective through two world wars?

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 21:08 | 4446364 TahoeBilly2012
TahoeBilly2012's picture

I used to party in Geneva and make wine near there. Boring as hell but pretty. Stick to the German speaking parts where things are only slightly more rambunctious. 

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 17:02 | 4445622 jsgibson
jsgibson's picture

I'm confused - are you guys talking about 2001 or 2012?

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 16:34 | 4445546 mjcOH1
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"Switzerland relies heavily on deals with its neighbours, especially France, to help police its airspace outside regular office hours."


Hope springs eternal.....

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 20:33 | 4446269 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

"Hope springs eternal...for cover!" -- Bob Hope on a Vietnam USO tour

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 20:03 | 4446037 Drifter
Drifter's picture

"scrambled fighter jets - something that has become a staple when an airplane deviates even modestly from its course above the continental United States"

My first thought after reading that was "what about 9/11?".  3 commercial airline flights way the hell off flight plan over an hour, radio contact lost, and not one single fighter jet scrambled, due to some sort of "drill".

Absolute blatant in-your-face bullshit.

That's the first concrete proof it was all planned "high up in the system".

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 21:02 | 4446340 skwid vacuous
skwid vacuous's picture

Fighters WERE scrambled from Langley but they flew out over the Atlantic, and when the Pentagram got hit they were further away than when they took off... look it up.  Also fighters scrambled from Mass. bound for NYC but they only flew at around 35%-40% of top speed, saving some jet fuel i guess

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 16:29 | 4445530 Boris Alatovkrap
Boris Alatovkrap's picture

Is not strange Airforce hour of operation is match Banking Hour, Swiss military is belong to banker. Remember, all war is bankster war!

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 16:57 | 4445600 hot sauce technician
hot sauce technician's picture

Not all, but most. I can't believe there aren't people out there who'd kill for other reasons than money. Troy?

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 16:30 | 4445534 Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

Fale narrative, misleading header.

Italian jets were scrambled. It is in the news from the start. Yes they have good deals going, templar HQ does. Of course they can afford the 9-5 air-force.


Mon, 02/17/2014 - 19:08 | 4446038 JeffB
JeffB's picture

The header doesn't sound all that false to me, Oh regional Indian. Those French fighters weren't authorized to do anything other than fly along with them and observe:

French fighters can escort a suspicious aircraft into Swiss airspace, "but there is no question of shooting it down. It's a question of national sovereignty".

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 17:30 | 4445731 highcapacity
highcapacity's picture

Dont worry... but we only protect the alps ....

Tue, 02/18/2014 - 01:40 | 4447053 HisNameIsRP
HisNameIsRP's picture


Mon, 02/17/2014 - 16:21 | 4445506 giggler321
giggler321's picture

So French know when to come for the gold then - basically anytime outside of working hours.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 18:33 | 4445939 TeMpTeK
TeMpTeK's picture

Non-interventionalism... the best sleep aid.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 16:07 | 4445474 FieldingMellish
FieldingMellish's picture

I'd do it for the chocolate.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 16:53 | 4445588 Ignatius
Ignatius's picture

The chocolate, yes.  That's an easy one.

I consider this 'Swiss system' to be more civilized.  Troops often agree to cease hostilities during Christmas, so why not regular office hours?  "Be careful at war, honey" I can hear the wives pleading as the men lace their boots and grab their lunch pales (M-F, 9-5 -- 1 hour lunch).  Of course certain civilities must be observed.  The Vietnamese, for instance, attacking during Tet.  A complete violation of decency and good manners.  Perhaps a good Soldiers Union is the answer.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 16:15 | 4445480 Martel
Martel's picture

This is a non-issue. Which of the Swiss neighbours would attack it? Similarly, the Netherlands doesn't have any longer much need for heavy armor, hence they're quitting it altogether. The threat of external violence (the Soviet Union) is not credible any more. So, most probably in Western Europe we'll see a gradual development away from nation states, towards city states and autonomous regions.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 16:16 | 4445499 Urban Redneck
Urban Redneck's picture

It's a non-issue because there is no need to scramble a Swiss fighter jet in order to shoot down an airplane.

Unfortunately, it will be probably be used as propaganda to drive the popular vote for wasting billions of taxpayer francs on new fighters from Sweden later this year (which of course would do nothing to actually alter the hours of operation for the Air Force).

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 16:41 | 4445513 Martel
Martel's picture

...wasting billions of taxpayer francs on new fighters from Sweden

Incidentally, Sweden does not have a 24/7 air defense, despite their geographical location being much more precarious than Switzerland's. I'd say Sweden needs to get back in shape militarily, Switzerland can afford to take it easy.

Spain, Portugal and Belgium could afford to be slackers as well. Given their geographic location and economic problems, it is folly to maintain anything more than basic self-defense stuff.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 18:53 | 4446009 Element
Element's picture

But who's the air or naval threat for Sweden? Would take time for a realistic threat to emerge. If they have the basic air force they can redevelop capability and readiness as needed. The French and Brits are always looking for training partners and Swedish hotties thereafter. A level of weapons and capability you won't need is a misallocation of resources that can have been building up the economy in much better ways, making for a bigger revenue base that can re-inject the funds needed, if it is likely to be needed.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 18:59 | 4446018 Rafferty
Rafferty's picture

But who's the air or naval threat for Sweden?


The Axis Of Evil, dummy.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 20:15 | 4446217 Element
Element's picture

Pardon me, you're so right. lol

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 20:36 | 4446280 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

Get thee some binoculars for the Swedish Bikini Team drills... :>D

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 19:35 | 4446111 Martel
Martel's picture

But who's the air or naval threat for Sweden?

If you read the link I provided, you already know. Kaliningrad (Königsberg) still belongs to Russia, which makes the nearby Gotland interesting. Basically Sweden is nowadays a military vacuum, having downsized, scrapped and reorganized for two decades now. Until last summer or so, they had no military presence in Gotland. They brought back some tanks, but they don't have ammunition, spare parts or personnell there.

A war between Sweden and Russia is unlikely. But if Russia wanted to send a message to Sweden, it would not be difficult to beat the Swedish air force and navy in a short, sharp campaign. Sweden is not a member in Nato, so their situation during the conflict might resemble that of Georgian Republic in 2008. Lots of moral support from the West, but nothing concrete. When the threat emerges, it is way too late to start acquiring weapon systems. It takes years, and wars come as a surprise.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 20:13 | 4446212 Element
Element's picture

The lesson of Georgia seems to be to not allow Russian immigrant enclaves to do a fifth-column on you at a border crossing.

Sweden is not in NATO but that does not mean that NATO may not elect to pile-on, if requested to, if Russia ever tried that. On balance I think they probably would which is why the threat assessment may be very low, in Swedish eyes.

Look at it this way; how long would even a well-equipped small air force last, if Russia was serious? Three days? What could it really do? Gripen has poor range so needs the standoff weapon and targeting data so a drone. And they don't have a lot of payload so would not have a lot of punch. And they are not built for that anyway. They're really a light short-range point-defense interceptor for defeating attack aircraft. Maybe point defense GBADs can deter or defeat attack aircraft and missiles just as well, and cheaper, so need less fighters?

In the end its ground and naval warfare that will matter, so maybe more and better army and subs plus battlefield transports, plus GBAD may amount to a more effective defense spend. And isn't that roughly how they structure their main forces now?

When I hear anecdotes of a location not being defended I presume its part of the deception operations of that country, as it usually is. ;-)

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 19:50 | 4446146 IREN Colorado
IREN Colorado's picture

I remember hanging along side of scary aluminum dread-naughts sporting a stylish red star on their sides. When you are sitting out there on their wing you think about this stuff in terms that are quite stark. Allot of those aircraft are still wandering around the Swedish, Finnish and Norwegian borders today on training flights. Putin would love to bring back those bad old days. 

I don't want my grand kids up there over the North Sea playing those games. Best that the Swedes kit up for their own selves. Swiss too.


"This business is going to get out of control and we are going to be lucky to live through it!" -Admirnal Josh Painter, Hunt for Red October

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 16:17 | 4445502 Black Forest
Mon, 02/17/2014 - 16:56 | 4445596 Ignatius
Ignatius's picture

I upvoted just for your provacative lead line.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 16:58 | 4445603 Black Forest
Black Forest's picture

Wer hat uns verraten? Sozialdemokraten!

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 17:08 | 4445650 e_goldstein
e_goldstein's picture

"7 Germans, 1 Swiss"

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 20:41 | 4446294 AvoidingTaxation
AvoidingTaxation's picture

300 against 50000.

Somewhere in Greece 400 something BC

Tue, 02/18/2014 - 08:25 | 4447388 Urban Redneck
Urban Redneck's picture

Some dumb fanatical Swiss seem to have done something similar in 1444, and they achieved both the same tactical and strategic outcome. Rinse, Repeat.

But I've come across an expression 'round about these parts that might shed some light on the above...

eis Schweizer sibe Sauschwaben?/ Schwaben?/ Schwarzen?/ Schweine?

I don't remember the exact word used when I heard it- but the pun is basically the same. Unfortunately, I don't think the alliteration, much less the joke part, ever made it to English.

Tue, 02/18/2014 - 08:33 | 4447400 crunchyfrog
crunchyfrog's picture

Posted against wrong message. 

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 16:25 | 4445516 Element
Element's picture

Exactly, most airbases stop operating at night, but that doesn't mean no one's on duty, just no operations. That's pretty standard. Intel as well as sensors provide early warning, and sets the readiness alert level. If set high there will be pilots aircraft and weapons ready, as well as air defense systems on standby. Considering they're in NATO and the middle of Europe I suspect they don't get a lot of ready alerts outside of exercises and reaction time tests. Mostly it would be something banal like intercepting and detaining a visiting Dignitary from Equador or somfin.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 16:35 | 4445549 tickhound
tickhound's picture

So no-go yet on to hell with deficits and CALL in the RESERVES?!

Tylers had me skurred. ;)

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 18:21 | 4445900 FlipFlop
FlipFlop's picture

Swizerland in NATO? since when?

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 18:38 | 4445956 Element
Element's picture

I ment in the middle of a bunch of NATO states.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 16:36 | 4445528 tickhound
tickhound's picture

Yeah but ed norton is gonna try and make it an issue.

"So how long until the neutral Swiss can hope to have 24/7 fighter jet protection? At least another 6 years." - Ed

Too funny. "Who'd wanna invade Switzerland?" Lol he asks. And I agree... Unless I see UN or USA on airlifted "liberation" boxes I wouldn't worry were I the Swiss either.

But the hedge will now indirectly make a case for new contracts.

Cuz when the world needs policing, and the French just aren't up to the task, we will mock you from atop our SKYNET umbrella.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 16:11 | 4445483 Idiocracy
Idiocracy's picture

 something that has become a staple when an airplane deviates even modestly from its course above the continental United States.

Absolutely.  Every single day. (Excepting 11 September 2001)

Tue, 02/18/2014 - 04:50 | 4447244 limit_less
limit_less's picture

Is the air force really going to shoot a plane down anyway and kill everyone on board and possibly people on the ground.?

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 16:11 | 4445484 Black Forest
Black Forest's picture

I guess their border control is available during office hours, too. These are reported to be from 8am until noon, then 1:30 to 5pm.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 17:09 | 4445581 Cult_of_Reason
Cult_of_Reason's picture

What border control?!?

I've entered and exited Switzerland multiple times by car (mostly from Bavaria via Austria), and I'd never ever been asked to show my documents (only stopped once, but by an Austrian officer while they were stopping every car, he asked me where I was going, I said Zurich, he said "OK" and didn't even ask for my documents).

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 17:46 | 4445790 koperniuk666
koperniuk666's picture

Heard of Schengen? its an open border agreement (which, incidentally, has nothing to do with the EU). Switzerland (along with, for example Norway,) are members of the Schengen open borders agreement.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 16:11 | 4445485 dr_doom
dr_doom's picture

yes, laugh at us dumb Swiss. But it is unfortunately the sad truth. But it even gets better. The government wants to buy brand new Gripen fighterjets worth 3 billion CHF.... do you hear the snorring?

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 16:34 | 4445533 Element
Element's picture

It is a country of almost all high steep mountains. They live in deep post-glacial valleys.  They build the entire city in the valley bottom and lower walls, and the airport or airbase is also within the middle of the city at the bottom of the valley and buildings all around. Still want afterburners all night off the valley walls for no good reason? Noise abatement is a huge issue and air forces make sure they do not step on the locals toes too much.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 17:51 | 4445803 koperniuk666
koperniuk666's picture

yep, those F 18 s make a helluva racket flying over my house. Kinda nice to watch though, as they do wingovers above Zermatt.

Nice day today but they werent out? Wotsit? Day off????

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 18:19 | 4445894 Element
Element's picture

Yeah, We have them flying around here pretty often too, noticed the superhornets are even louder than the old classic hornets. Incredible instantaneous turns they pull.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 16:13 | 4445492 I am a Man I am...
I am a Man I am Forty's picture

Good ol' Switzerland is not what it used to be.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 16:33 | 4445544 Boris Alatovkrap
Boris Alatovkrap's picture

Is full of holes.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 16:15 | 4445494 Cacete de Ouro
Cacete de Ouro's picture

"Our watches run like clockwork," said a Swiss Airforce spokesman. "You can be sure that we know when it's exactly 1.30pm. No late lunches for us," he grinned, while quickly glancing at his latest Tag Heuer purchase.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 16:16 | 4445500 Fox Moulder
Fox Moulder's picture

No problem. The Swiss Navy takes over at 5pm.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 16:40 | 4445562 Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill's picture

Don't laugh.
My father was the the first ,and only ,
Swiss aircraft carrier pilot.
They let him join the Royal Navy during WWII.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 16:45 | 4445571 noguano
noguano's picture

Your dad was a great man.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 18:14 | 4445880 knukles
knukles's picture

Best line today.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 17:47 | 4445792 Martel
Martel's picture

Actually some Swiss (and Finnish) Hornet pilots are U.S. Navy carrier qualified. This does not rain on your parade, as your dad's wartime accomplishment was greater still.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 16:25 | 4445507 noguano
noguano's picture

Sounds like Swiss cheese.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 16:25 | 4445517 gafgroocK
gafgroocK's picture




Plus none of the Swiss F-16 pilots had any new Timecards in the slot this morning to punch-in as well.

Wanda, the Swiss AF Payroll Clerk had a Dentisit appointment first thing this am......

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 17:56 | 4445825 koperniuk666
koperniuk666's picture

theyre F18s

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 16:26 | 4445519 IridiumRebel
IridiumRebel's picture

I'd rather have this than an Air Force base every 250 miles, play world police and intercept everything electronic in communications by the NSA and CIA.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 17:06 | 4445638 SuperRay
SuperRay's picture

Yes. That's why the swiss have restricted immigration..

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 16:26 | 4445521 bohalloran
bohalloran's picture

Why no one invades Switerland.

Tue, 02/18/2014 - 03:25 | 4447190 swiss chick
swiss chick's picture


Mon, 02/17/2014 - 16:27 | 4445526 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

I got this from someone outside the U.S today.

 "You what surprises me? everytime those UKIP guys like farage etc. get up to take a shit, we get a summary of yet another epic rant, but right now when Scotland is close to secession and the UK is bullying them by threatening to take away the pound (because its really Scotland's north sea oil, not englands), which ironically would probably hurt england more, and you dont hear a peep out of ZH about it. Its a pretty big issue, if scotland did pull out, it could leave England with all the debt and a gbp that is devalued overnight..."

Can anyone on here speak to this?


Mon, 02/17/2014 - 16:36 | 4445552 dr_doom
dr_doom's picture

I don't understand what your post has to do with the sleeping swiss air force. But with regards to Scotland, you are right. Zerohedge is not adressing this issue properly. Besides, Barroso is threatenig the Scots too. First the Swiss hillbillies, then the poor old Scots.I think, the Highlanders and the swiss hillbillies should merge. Scotland provides the navy and we provide the jets.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 16:42 | 4445566 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

My post has nothing to do with the sleeping swiss airforce. I am down to posting OT stuff or having Bruce Krasting duck me on the good stuff. 


Mon, 02/17/2014 - 17:20 | 4445697 kito
kito's picture

thanks fonz, i think its a very relevant post that shows ZH is falling asleep at the wheel regarding a VERY IMPORTANT issue of scotland seceding from the UK. i never knew about it until you just posted it and im shocked tyler hasnt even once mentioned this. perhaps our cup should have less ice like michael synder and simon black and more soda like this story you posted. 

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 17:31 | 4445734 walküre
walküre's picture

I'd move to Scotland in a heartbeat if they split from the UK. Love the rolling hills, lakes and old granite. Scotland could be another Norway but with English!

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 18:34 | 4445945 css1971
css1971's picture

They don't tell you about the rain in the holiday adverts. Or the mIdges.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 20:08 | 4446198 sleigher
sleigher's picture

That's what the scotch is for.  

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 17:06 | 4445639 Urban Redneck
Urban Redneck's picture

Do you have any idea how many MOAR Stingers, ADATS, and Skyshields we could buy for the same price as a handful of almost obsolete fighters?

The third Reich's Luftwaffe (with its superior planes and inferior German pilots) got its ass handed to it by Schweizer Luftwaffe, and so would the fourth Reich's, but it doesn't require more planes and pilots and a spending war triggered by inferior strategic planning or air force commanders suffering from some strange psychological envy/compensation complex when interfacing with their foreign counterparts...

I'm all for being polite, but we don't to send a pilot up to personally wave hello to some unwelcome invader before shooting his ass down.

Besides, the ADATS and Skyshields would provide far more local jobs at RUAG and Oerlikon than the scraps from SAAB that are being promised and would better serve the balance of trade.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 19:12 | 4446042 Ratscam
Ratscam's picture

even cheaper and better would be to buy several batteries of S500 anti aircraft missiles from the Russians.
Would love to see the media reacting to this. I never understood why the swissies need leopard tanks and F18s when you can only stay on the throttle for max 2 minutes until you reach the border. Strategic nonsense

Tue, 02/18/2014 - 05:17 | 4447258 Urban Redneck
Urban Redneck's picture

An S500 deal would need be done with a joint development agreement, for both security and local jobs (instead of cash and carry imports), but I think Rosoboronexport would actually be open to the notion for a number of reasons if approached correctly. I don't quite understand why the domestic missile industry is almost non-existant... but selling the idea to the domestic electorate would be "interesting".

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 16:40 | 4445561 IridiumRebel
IridiumRebel's picture

«Top News

Salmond scolds 'arrogant' UK politicians
Mon Feb 17, 2014 5:43pm GMT

By Belinda Goldsmith

LONDON (Reuters) - Separatist leader Alex Salmond insisted on Monday that Scotland would keep the pound if it left the UK and accused British politicians of bluffing by ruling out a currency union in a campaign of fear that would provoke a backlash from Scots.

Salmond is fighting a concerted attempt by London to prevent a "yes" verdict in a September 18 referendum on independence by undermining his central economic case that oil-rich Scotland could be a prosperous, independent nation.

As opinion polls start to show growing - though still minority - support for secession, the debate has intensified, with the twin pillars of Salmond's plan - keeping the pound and negotiating European Union membership - shaken in recent days.

In an unprecedented move, the three main UK parties joined forces to rule out a currency union with an independent Scotland, and then European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso warned that Scotland would find it extremely difficult if not impossible to gain European Union membership.

Salmond, a wily politician who has led the Scottish National Party (SNP) for almost 25 years, accused Westminster of launching a diplomatic offensive against independence and of trying to "dictate from on high", an appeal to Scots' dislike of being told what to do by southern politicians.

"It is a sign of how out-of-touch and arrogant the Westminster establishment has become," Scotland's first minister told business leaders in Aberdeen, adding it was to the benefit of both sides of the border to have a shared currency.

"What is said by Westminster during the heat of a political campaign will differ from the reality of life after the referendum," he added.

Salmond's deputy, Nicola Sturgeon, said Barroso's stance was "preposterous".


The currency has become a key battlefield in the debate, with London arguing that if Scotland walks away from the UK after 307 years, it walks away from the pound too. Salmond says the pound is "as much Scotland's as the rest of the UK".

He has warned that if Scotland does not have access to the assets it shares with the UK, it is under no obligation to take a slice of the UK's 1.2 trillion pound debt.

Salmond said the rest of UK was also at risk of losing millions of pounds if it refused to let Scotland use the pound, due to foreign exchange risks and currency transaction costs as the two countries are major trading partners.

He dubbed this charge on British business the "George tax" after British finance minister George Osborne.

But Osborne himself hit back at Salmond after the speech.

"We were promised a detailed response to the economic arguments that (we) made last week, but instead we got an empty speech," he said in a statement. "It's now even clearer that Alex Salmond is a man without a plan."

With Salmond refusing to produce a Plan B for the currency, a poll by YouGov showed the row had caused a 15 percent rise in opposition to a currency union in the rest of the UK, with 58 percent opposing the plan and 23 percent in favour.

But Salmond said Westminster's blunt stance in a campaign he calls "Project Fear" had created a negative reaction among Scots.

"To be told that there are things we can't do will certainly elicit a Scottish response that is as resolute as it is uncomfortable for the no campaign - it is yes we can," he said.

Salmond played down Barroso's comments, saying no EU member state had indicated it would seek to block Scottish membership, particularly as Scotland was an eager member of the bloc, unlike the rest of the UK which is debating a vote on EU membership.

However Scotland would need to get backing from all 28 EU states for its membership and could meet resistance from Spain, which would not want to encourage separatists as it battles an independence bid by Catalans, who would also seek to re-apply to the bloc if they broke away from Spain.

"The decision is one for member states, but not to recognise the democratic will of Scotland would run counter to the entire EU European ideal of democratic expression and inclusion,"

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 16:48 | 4445579 css1971
css1971's picture

As a Scot myself. It's not happening, so wouldn't worry about it.

All the Scots who are capable of doing more than whining and moaning have already left the country.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 17:40 | 4445763 shovelhead
shovelhead's picture

Because nobody takes seriously a country that would eat haggis.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 18:17 | 4445890 knukles
knukles's picture

A roommate of mine dated an older gal for a while

Tue, 02/18/2014 - 00:14 | 4446888 Tijuana Donkey Show
Tijuana Donkey Show's picture

The hard part is the "oats"

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 18:42 | 4445971 css1971
css1971's picture

You're clearly just a girly man. Do you put ice in your scotch?

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 17:54 | 4445816 Dugald
Dugald's picture


Yeah rah rah Scottish Independence......

All great till the oil runs out, then kilt in hand looking for

handouts from London.....

You would think the Scots had paid for the oil rigs and infrastructure, how easy to forget the rigs are off the coast of England Scotland Ireland an Wales......

Scottish Independence my Sporran!!!! 

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 18:37 | 4445923 css1971
css1971's picture

Scotland also exports electricity, water, textiles, electronics, agricultural produce, whisky, defence products, though the biggest single international earner is actually the food and beverage sector, not oil or banking. As a country it has a significant positive balance of payments. Even without oil, it would get wealthier over time, not poorer. In 2012, Scotland exported 47 billion GBP worth of goods and services excluding oil and gas, though most of this was to the rest of the UK so don't currently count for UK figures as a whole (but would after independence).

Scotland's problem is not the economy. It could stand on it's own without oil. Scotland's problem is the people. The population as a whole suffers from Dependent Personality Disorder. William Wallace is 300 years dead and the Scots look on their shackles with affection.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 18:08 | 4445866 trader1
Mon, 02/17/2014 - 19:20 | 4446068 JimS
JimS's picture

Well, pornstar should be around shortly with the "bitcoin" saving this situation.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 21:15 | 4446377 Apostate2
Apostate2's picture

Ask why the pound has suddenly risen. This will put a kink in the plan for independance.

Just like the article on North Korea (that was excoriated here in the comments section for pointing out their modus operandi) predicting they are gearing up for another missle test. The NK knew they were in for a PR thrashing when the scathing and condemnatory UN report on human rights abuses was released.

All connected but difficult to discern with so many moving parts.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 16:32 | 4445538 Calculus99
Calculus99's picture


I always like the Swiss style though - pretty successful while keeping out of everyone's way.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 18:21 | 4445901 noguano
noguano's picture

That, and the rifles.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 16:34 | 4445547 viator
viator's picture

What about holidays?

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 16:35 | 4445548 Koopa
Koopa's picture

Well sorry Tyler but according to 2 Italian eurofighters and then 2 French Mirage 2000 took off to escort the 767 into swiss airspace.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 16:41 | 4445565 orez65
orez65's picture

International relations 101: "Mutual interests and balance of power".

When it is not in the interests of Germany, France, Poland or whoever then balance of power becomes the determining factor in international relations.

In the case of Switzerland, they can not balance their power because they don't have any significant military forces.

So they are at the mercy of "mutual intersts".


Mon, 02/17/2014 - 16:44 | 4445568 css1971
css1971's picture

Not to put too fine a point on it:

Glencore, Nestle, Novarts, Roche, Syngenta, xstrata

And that's not including the banks.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 16:45 | 4445575 Frank N. Beans
Frank N. Beans's picture

scrambled eggs are more important than scrambled jet fighters during lunch break



Mon, 02/17/2014 - 18:01 | 4445846 Martel
Martel's picture

True, but afterburn beats heartburn.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 16:46 | 4445577 forrestdweller
forrestdweller's picture

This article is full of errors.

first, milka is an austrian brand.

second, the swiss did not send fighters because they are not paranoid and hyperactive about terrorism. It was only a pilot seeking asylum.

third, the banking days of the swiss are far from over. They sacrifcie soms banks and skme customers, but that is a small sacrifice to save the majority.


Mon, 02/17/2014 - 16:49 | 4445582 Stuck on Zero
Stuck on Zero's picture

All the enemy jets in the world could land at Swiss airports during Swiss Air Force off-hours, however, public transit is closed and the gates locked so they'd have to wait till morning to invade the countryside.


Mon, 02/17/2014 - 16:54 | 4445590 BTFDemocracy
BTFDemocracy's picture

I guess 9-5 for air-force works when every male in Switzerland is a trained soldier; there's a good reason why Hitler walked around Switzerland, not through it.


Mon, 02/17/2014 - 18:15 | 4445885 Confused
Confused's picture

Yes, because he was trading for things he needed using the Swiss as a proxy. And if I remember correctly, the Swiss allowed trains to pass through their country as well. It was a mutually beneficial relationship. I'm a bit fuzzy, maybe someone can correct me if I'm wrong. 

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 18:22 | 4445902 knukles
knukles's picture

Back in the '70's we got a walk thru of some sub basementry of a large Swiss bank.  Went past piles of gold bars bearing the Nazi eagle thingie sitting atop the swastika symbol locked behind bars.
Big MF'n plie of gold.

Mutually beneficial..

Guy mumbled something like were to be used for dentistry if I remember correctly

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 19:36 | 4446115 Element
Element's picture

This is a good example. Younger people often fail to 'get' the context why these things happened, then go off assuming odious intents or hypocrisy. But this was life and death. Neutral is life and prosperity. Not neutral is death and destruction. It's a good lesson why not to look back at then, through the values of peace-time now. Morality is great when it's not our family and our own town in the firing line.

For example: Plenty of countries were not immediately in the war, or stayed out and ran neutral ports for trading with any side. If these are civilian trains with non military passengers and civil cargo with no sanctions broken I don't see any problem with it.

Neutral does not mean no commerce, but no trade interaction does look just like a defacto sanctions regime, and that would not be neutral any more. Which means you end up in the war and death comes.

So you stay completely neutral and keep trading.

Mutually beneficial is a good thing if as a result you're not at not at each others throat every day.

And if a State wants a neutral access point for imports, then why not? It's not selling to Hitler (which is the moralizing version of today's values), it is selling to the state to stop having to go to war too. If you are a neutral you absolutely have to remain perfectly neutral.

Morals can play no part in it or else you just end up in the war and get destroyed and killed too. People who want to moralize can always go join the army of one of the combatants and see how high-minded that turns out.

Tue, 02/18/2014 - 06:10 | 4447247 Urban Redneck
Urban Redneck's picture

That's an oversimplification, since Switzerland was surrounded the Germans didn't need Switzerland or its tunnels, and only commercial trains were allowed to use Gotthard tunnel to traverse Swiss territory, the Germany army simply went through Austria to get to Italy, so the Germans saved some on their gas bill. However, the Swiss needed food and were completely surrounded, so trade was inevitable. Fiat CHF was actually obscenely important, and to both Axis and Allied powers since it was the only globally convertible fiat currency at the time. The gold trade by the SNB with the US exceeded that with Germany by something like 70%. In terms of "gold for goods" the Germans actually had a whole host trading partners - Spain, Portugal, Sweden, etc.

In the end it most likely boiled down to opportunity cost. The Italian fascist precedent against French fortifications did not provide a promising precedent. Operation Tannenbaum (which was only one of the German invasion plans for Switzerland) became prohibitively expensive after Operation Barbarossa. The there was the Swiss history of being rather fanatical about freedom. The common mythology of the Reduit (retreat to the forts) ignores Zhukov-like ruthlessness of the calculated civilian losses in case of invasion which would have been as bloody as Operation Uranus (Stalingrad).

The intricacies of the debate continue to this day in Switzerland, but neither the Draghi, nor the Deutschebag FinMin, seem to be able to comprehend the scale of investment the Swiss have made in maintaining their sovereignty (and their rhetoric marginalizes the rapidly diminishing number of EUphiles in Switzerland)- since now fortifications and food supplies exist for the entire population, whereas the EU isn't really any more advanced than the US in terms of their preparation for an FSA/zombie apocalypse in the event that just-in-time isn't in time.

But if you want the long version, the free English PDF translation (~11,000 pages) of the Swiss WW2 Commission report is at:

Tue, 02/18/2014 - 07:05 | 4447303 ross81
ross81's picture

also, why would you want to attack your bankers when they've agreed to stash a lot of your ill-gotten gains for you?

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 16:56 | 4445597 Magnix
Magnix's picture

This is Hilarious! LOL!

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 17:00 | 4445612 PontifexMaximus
PontifexMaximus's picture

Check out of this morning and Ethiopian flight 702 was mainly on french territory. How can you tackle, due to the position of Genève-Cointrin Airport, this plane by military interception plsnes, without flying over french territory? Let me know. I'll come up for the lunch, on the arc lémanic area, there are a lot of famous restaurants.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 17:14 | 4445670 Urban Redneck
Urban Redneck's picture

I could tell you, but this isn't an appropriate forum, but if you want to pay for the lunch at Perle du Lac, I'll hop a train over there.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 17:27 | 4445714 PontifexMaximus
PontifexMaximus's picture

I go for it, would prefer, Chardonne. My word is my bond!

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 18:11 | 4445870 Urban Redneck
Urban Redneck's picture

I'm not a food snob, and the food on the rainy side of the country makes any Bistro/Biergarten west of Berne or south of Uri a welcome escape. Genève must be waste of a commute from Chardonne. Perhaps next time I use the car to go to Vevey.

A Swiss ZH convention would be funny, a bunch strangers walk into a room... only to realize they all already know each other.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 17:31 | 4445733 PontifexMaximus
PontifexMaximus's picture

Le chat botté?

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 17:52 | 4445806 Urban Redneck
Urban Redneck's picture

I actually prefer Patara there

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 18:00 | 4445845 PontifexMaximus
PontifexMaximus's picture

Fine 4 me!

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 17:01 | 4445618 maneco
maneco's picture

Do not underestimate the Swiss. Every male adult from the age of 18 onwards is a fully trained member of the military and have to attend the military for two weeks every year until well into their 30s.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 19:02 | 4446025 ziggy59
ziggy59's picture

Do they get issued a Standard Swiss Army Knife or Special release?

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 17:07 | 4445645 vxpatel
vxpatel's picture

Unlike the US defese system which costs countless  bilions and can't stop civilizan airplanes from crashing into buildings.


Mon, 02/17/2014 - 17:28 | 4445716 eddiebe
eddiebe's picture

The Swiss navy is even worse.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 18:01 | 4445841 Dugald
Dugald's picture


The Swiss navy is even worse.

And stay well away from their Submarines

Ask Australia about Swiss designed subs........joke of the maritime world....

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 17:32 | 4445739 samsara
samsara's picture

Saves a lot of money that way.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 17:38 | 4445753 f16hoser
f16hoser's picture

As an old A-7/F-16 pilot, allow me to say that any pilot who flys a twin engine/twin tail jet is a PUSSY!!!

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 17:49 | 4445760 Son of Captain Nemo
Son of Captain Nemo's picture

"... the Swiss airforce is only available during office hours. These are reported to be from 8am until noon, then 1:30 to 5pm"...

I actually think this would have been a better excuse for the U.S. Air Force's "stand down" during the  Vigilant Guardian exercise...

Too bad under the command of General Myers they didn't enforce a policy of extended "le petit dejeuner" between the hours of 8:00am to 9:30am Tue and Thu and 6:00am - 8:00am MWF.  The General could have told the American public in his testimony that if we had only been attacked on "Monday" things would have been decidedly different given the breakfast schedule as all our Air National Guardsman receive the "All You Can Eat Buffet" on Tuesday's and Thursday's and it would be impossible to "scramble" the fighters because the eggs are just too damned expensive!

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 18:00 | 4445844 pcrs
pcrs's picture

Switserland is a great country, does not invade Iraq or Afghanistan, not a member of any aggresive new world order alliance, so they have nothing to fear, which proved to be right also in this case. Just someone who would like to live in Switserland.

Tue, 02/18/2014 - 10:19 | 4447707 iLiquid
iLiquid's picture

> not a member of any aggresive new world order alliance, so they have nothing to fear

Indeed the UBS, Credit Suisse and the BIS have nothing to fear except the tungsten in their good delivery bars.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 18:04 | 4445857 trader1
trader1's picture

milka isn't swiss chocolate

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 18:11 | 4445874 22winmag
22winmag's picture

Laugh all you want, one of the few wise moves Hilter made during WWII was to *not invade* Switzerland.


There would have been a Swiss Mauser rifle behind every snowbank, causing untold casualties.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 18:24 | 4445909 pcrs
pcrs's picture

Supposedly when a german general pointed out they had twice as many soldiers to a swiss general, the swiss answered: "that means our soldiers will have to shoot twice"

Tue, 02/18/2014 - 04:17 | 4447229 Urban Redneck
Urban Redneck's picture

That was WW1, the Kaiser was visiting Switzerland and some NCO (or lower) told the king something similar to, "Then we'll have to shoot twice before going home..."

But since history is on an endless rinse, repeat cycle- you need to look back to the slaughter of the Hapsburg knights at Battle of Morgarten in 1315- when Leopold sent some equally insulting message to the Swiss peasants that were blocking his army's path, after which the oath of Rütli that was the historical founding of the Old Confederation in 1291 was repeated.

And then (getting back to WW2) in July 1940, Gen Guisan ordered a conclave of army officers in Rütli meadow, and the cycle repeated...

You would think that well-edumacted Germanic autocrats bent thinking of conquering Switzerland might have read William Tell (or at least caught the opera version).

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 18:30 | 4445928 Fix It Again Timmy
Fix It Again Timmy's picture

Remember Iraq?  We attacked, we won, but then what the hell do you do?  Answer - leave!  Yeah, I know, makes a lot of sense, right?......

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 18:58 | 4446015 buckwheat5000
buckwheat5000's picture

were the jets given shoot down orders?

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 20:03 | 4446176 irishlink
irishlink's picture

It is still the only country in Europe that is run like clockwork. Not trying to be funny! Low unemployment, immaculate streets and roadways. Great food , great public transport and the most beautiful scenery any time of year

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 21:48 | 4446454 are we there yet
are we there yet's picture

Airplanes are optional. If the bankers are cornered they can use the swiss army nailgun.

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 23:25 | 4446747 Bucket Boy
Bucket Boy's picture

     Banker's Hours

Mon, 02/17/2014 - 23:31 | 4446767 Atticus Finch
Atticus Finch's picture

No US jets scrtambled on 911

Tue, 02/18/2014 - 00:15 | 4446890 assistedliving
assistedliving's picture

flying in Italy few years ago w/ the Mrs.  Alitalia. (nuf said?)  anyway, flight was delayed due to some technical problem.  hour, two hours, then, hey, we're ready to take-off!  not bad!

oh wait, Brindisi airport is closed now.  We have to get someone to go back & turn the lights back on

true story

Tue, 02/18/2014 - 00:17 | 4446894 assistedliving
assistedliving's picture

what did Orson say about the Swiss?  oh yeah (the Third Man)

Harry Lime: Don't be so gloomy. After all it's not that awful. Like the fella says, in Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love - they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock. So long Holly. 

Tue, 02/18/2014 - 04:40 | 4447238 Ar-Pharazôn
Ar-Pharazôn's picture

the only problem is that we didnt invent the cuckoo. the bavarian did it idiot.


AND BTW switzerland has the highest nobel prize per capita. we didnt invent nothing eh?

Tue, 02/18/2014 - 00:50 | 4446963 godzila
godzila's picture

It is indeed the case that Switzerland does not have 24/7 air coverage. That being said the whole incident occurred over Italian and French territory - Geneva is on the border to both countries. I really don't see Swiss air-force intervening into those respective airspace ! What would you say if say Mexico would send fighters over California to escort a plane there ?

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