Bonum Certa Men Certa

The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XI: “General Bock” - Battistelli's Swiss Apprentice?

Series parts:

  1. The EPO's Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part I: Let the Sunshine In!
  2. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part II: A “Unanimous” Endorsement?
  3. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part III: Three Missing Votes
  4. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part IV: The Founding States
  5. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part V: Germany Says “Ja”
  6. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part VI: A Distinct Lack of Dutch Courage
  7. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part VII: Luxembourgish Laxity
  8. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part VIII: Perfidious Albion and Pusillanimous Hibernia
  9. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part IX: More Holes Than Swiss Cheese
  10. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part X: Introducing the Controversial Christian Bock
  11. YOU ARE HERE ☞ “General Bock” - Battistelli's Swiss Apprentice?


Rambos in the Swiss State
"General Bock's Rambos" were prominently featured in the February 2021 issue of K-ISOM, a German magazine [PDF] which covers “the real world of modern elite and special units”.



Summary: The António Campinos-led EPO won't be subjected to real oversight by the Administrative Council, which 'met' (online) earlier today; so we look at who in the Administrative Council did what; today we wrap up the parts about Switzerland (third part of three)

In the last part we introduced the controversial Christian Bock and looked at some of the critical media coverage which he has attracted in Switzerland recently. More specifically, we saw how Bock has become the subject of increasing public scrutiny due to his aggressive and confrontational management style as director of the Federal Customs Administration (FCA).



"Like the preceding coverage in the print media, the SRF report referred to Bock's fondness for dressing up in a specially designed ceremonial uniform and carrying a gun."Amongst other things, it was mentioned that the Swiss TV channel SRF produced a report on the situation at the FCA, entitled "Zolldirektor mit Pistole: Der umstrittene Christian Bock" ("Customs Director with a Pistol: the controversial Christian Bock").

Like the preceding coverage in the print media, the SRF report referred to Bock's fondness for dressing up in a specially designed ceremonial uniform and carrying a gun.

According to SRF, Bock's fondness for wearing his dress uniform - despite the fact that his job is essentially a civilian administrative position - has earned him the derogatory nickname "General Bock".

"The MEK Helvetia was originally set up in 2006, but prior to Bock's arrival it always operated in a low-key manner and stayed out of the public spotlight."Bock has also attracted a lot of criticism because of his over-enthusiastic promotion of the Swiss Customs' paramilitary mobile response unit, known as the Mobiles Einsatzkommando Helvetia (MEK Helvetia).

The MEK Helvetia was originally set up in 2006, but prior to Bock's arrival it always operated in a low-key manner and stayed out of the public spotlight.

However, Bock has ambitious plans to reshape the Federal Customs Administration.

More specifically, he wants to transform it from its traditional role as a predominantly civilian fiscal tax-collecting authority into a paramilitary border security agency endowed with extensive powers of surveillance and intervention.

"...he wants to transform it from its traditional role as a predominantly civilian fiscal tax-collecting authority into a paramilitary border security agency endowed with extensive powers of surveillance and intervention."And so it came to pass that - with Bock's approval - the MEK Helvetia ended up posing in a very public manner in a 20-page spread published in the February 2021 edition of Kommando – International Special Operations Magazine (K-ISOM). K-ISOM is a magazine published in Germany which is dedicated to “the real world of modern elite and special forces".

The reaction in Switzerland was predominantly negative.

A former cantonal police commander did not object to the existence of such a force but he took the view that it was "stupid and harmful to spread it over 20 pages in a magazine."

An expert in the Swiss Ministry of Defence was quoted as saying "These are General Bock's Rambos". The expert - who preferred to remain anonymous - noted that not even Putin's special forces would put themselves on public display in such an ostentatious manner.

"It was even questioned whether there was an adequate legal basis for such a special militarised unit under the control of the FCA."Some representatives of the Swiss cantons argued that the Federal Customs Administration did not need “expensive Rambos to kick down doors" because there were already enough well-trained special units in cantonal security forces and in other federal government agencies. It was even questioned whether there was an adequate legal basis for such a special militarised unit under the control of the FCA.

These doubts arose because Switzerland is a decentralized federation with a highly devolved system of government in which the cantons are sovereign to the extent that their sovereignty is not limited by federal law. The competence of the federal government is restricted to a limited number of areas. Public security and law enforcement are primarily matters for the cantons.

This constitutional arrangement is a fundamental aspect of Swiss-style democracy which has deep historical roots. Bock's plans to restructure the FCA as powerful federal police force in the style of the FBI run contrary to Switzerland's long-established constitutional traditions and have attracted vigorous criticism from many quarters.

"This constitutional arrangement is a fundamental aspect of Swiss-style democracy which has deep historical roots."One of his most prominent critics is Markus Mohler, a former public prosecutor and retired Commissioner of Police in Basel. Although now retired from public service, Mohler remains active as a legal consultant.

"From a legal perspective, measures of this kind which involve curtailments of fundamental rights should be defined in a specific and concrete manner in order to ensure their compatibility with the rule of law."According to Mohler, the legislative proposal drafted by Bock is not compatible with the Swiss constitution because - amongst other things - it envisages the takeover of cantonal security competencies by the Federal Customs Administration.

Mohler described Bock's legislative proposal as "poorly drafted". In particular, he criticised numerous general clauses which are designed to grant the customs authorities access to policing and surveillance powers which have not been clearly defined.

From a legal perspective, measures of this kind which involve curtailments of fundamental rights should be defined in a specific and concrete manner in order to ensure their compatibility with the rule of law.

"By a curious coincidence, Markus Mohler also holds a part-time position at the EPO where he is the Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee of the EPO's Administrative Council."Mohler expressed surprise that, despite the manifold deficiencies in Bock's legislative draft, it still managed to pass muster at the Federal Ministry of Justice, which is supposed to function as the "legal conscience of the Federal Council".

By a curious coincidence, Markus Mohler also holds a part-time position at the EPO where he is the Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee of the EPO's Administrative Council.

This is the body which is competent to conduct disciplinary procedures against Council appointees such as the EPO President, Vice-President and members of the Boards of Appeal. Mohler was appointed to this position at the 154th meeting of the Council in December 2017. (warning: epo.org link)

"It is not known whether Mohler has ever expressed any opinion about the serious breaches of the fundamental rights of EPO staff which occurred during the Battistelli era with the complicity of the Swiss delegation. It would certainly be interesting to hear his views on that topic."The Administrative Council's Disciplinary Committee has only been called into action on one occasion over the last 40 years, namely in the notorious case concerning a member of the Boards of Appeal who was unlawfully subjected to a "house ban" by Benoît Battistelli in December 2014. As far as can be determined, Mohler was not involved in that case.

It is not known whether Mohler has ever expressed any opinion about the serious breaches of the fundamental rights of EPO staff which occurred during the Battistelli era with the complicity of the Swiss delegation. It would certainly be interesting to hear his views on that topic.

Swiss legal expert Markus Mohler
Swiss legal expert Markus Mohler is sharply critical of "General Bock" and his attempted power grab at the Federal Customs Administration. Mohler also holds a part-time position at the EPO where he is the chairman of the Disciplinary Committee of the Administrative Council.



In any event, the critical coverage of "General Bock" in the Swiss media between April and June 2021 led to political interventions by a number of Swiss parliamentarians and other public figures, accompanied by calls for an independent investigation into the situation at the Federal Customs Administration. [PDF]

At the beginning of May 2021, it was reported that Bock's current political boss, the Federal Finance Minister Ueli Maurer, had rallied to his defence.

"It was also reported that his "Twitter" account had been deleted."Amongst other things, Maurer denounced the critical media reports about Bock [PDF] - in particular the series of articles authored by Henry Habegger and published by the CH media group in April 2021 - as a "one-sided and defamatory campaign."

However, some weeks later in June 2021, it was reported that Maurer had failed to secure the backing of his peers in the national government - the Federal Council - for his efforts to defend his controversial Customs Director.

Federal Finance Minister Ueli Maurer
Bock (left) was supported by Federal Finance Minister Ueli Maurer (right), but in June 2021 it was reported that Maurer had failed to obtain the backing of the Federal Council for his controversial Customs Director.



At around the same time, Bock disappeared from view both inside the FCA and in public. It was also reported that his "Twitter" account had been deleted. Nobody appeared to know what exactly was going on, but the impression was that Bock had flounced off in a huff.

"Although the SFAO was fundamentally positive about the plans for the digitisation of the Customs Administration, it identified a number of serious problems in the ongoing implementation."More recently in September 2021, Swiss media reported that Bock had re-surfaced but that he was now conducting himself in a more subdued manner. [PDF]

At around the same time, it also became known that the Swiss Federal Audit Office (SFAO) had published the results of an intermediate assessment of the implementation of Bock's DaziT programme. [PDF]

Although the SFAO was fundamentally positive about the plans for the digitisation of the Customs Administration, it identified a number of serious problems in the ongoing implementation.

"In its latest assessment, the SFAO confirmed that it lacked "a complete and comprehensible view of the total costs." It remains to be seen how Bock will deal with the fallout from the latest SFAO report and whether or not he will manage to survive much longer in his current position as Director of the Federal Customs Administration."Back in 2018, the SFAO had recommended that mechanisms be created "to objectively assess results or goal achievement." However, in its most recent report it noted that these control mechanisms are still under construction. This made it difficult to perform "a robust assessment of progress" and had a negative impact on the "reliability of the results assessment".

According to media reports (see above PDF), insiders have long warned about the danger of DaziT getting out of control financially. One criticism which has been voiced repeatedly is that no one really has an overview, either of the status of expenditures or of everything that is being developed and financed.

In its latest assessment, the SFAO confirmed that it lacked "a complete and comprehensible view of the total costs."

It remains to be seen how Bock will deal with the fallout from the latest SFAO report and whether or not he will manage to survive much longer in his current position as Director of the Federal Customs Administration.

"So far nobody in Switzerland appears to have noticed that - during his time as deputy head of the Swiss delegation on the EPO's Administrative Council from June 2000 until the end of 2014 -Bock served his apprenticeship under the malignant influence of Grossenbacher, Battistelli and their cronies."Many commentators have expressed surprise that an individual like Bock has been able to rise to such a senior management position inside the Swiss civil service. In particular, they have wondered where he acquired his authoritarian and confrontational management style which is rather untypical for Switzerland.

So far nobody in Switzerland appears to have noticed that - during his time as deputy head of the Swiss delegation on the EPO's Administrative Council from June 2000 until the end of 2014 -Bock served his apprenticeship under the malignant influence of Grossenbacher, Battistelli and their cronies.

Perhaps it is nothing more than a coincidence, but in his current role as Director of the Swiss Federal Customs Administration, Bock now seems to be replicating a style of toxic management uncannily similar to that promoted by Battistelli at the EPO between 2010 and 2018.

"Perhaps it is nothing more than a coincidence, but in his current role as Director of the Swiss Federal Customs Administration, Bock now seems to be replicating a style of toxic management uncannily similar to that promoted by Battistelli at the EPO between 2010 and 2018."That concludes our look at the delegates representing the Swiss Confederation in June 2013 - namely, the Administrative Council "alpha male" Roland Grossenbacher and his deputy, the future "General Bock" - both of whom seem to have been whole-hearted and enthusiastic supporters of Battistelli's liberticidal project at the EPO.

In the next part we will turn our attention to the members of the French delegation who likewise endorsed the Vichyite "Strike Regulations" proposed by their compatriot Benoît Battistelli.

Recent Techrights' Posts

EU 'Chat Control' Law is Already Discrediting the Stated Goals of GDPR
Equip kids with always-on always-connected microphones and double-sided cameras, just to be safe...
Jean-Pierre Giraud, Possible Forgeries & Debian: elections, judgments, trademark already canceled, archaeologist
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Justices Jeremy Johnson and Victoria Sharp to Decide the Fate of Julian Assange in About Three Weeks
Will he be back home in Australia by year's end?
Treating Them as Teammates, Not as Political Props, Trophies, or Objects
Most of the world's people are women
Belarus: Bing Fell From 1.1% to 0.6% Since Microsoft Started the LLM Hype (Yandex is 50 Times Bigger Than Bing)
Now enter Belarus
 
Morocco: GNU/Linux Surges From 0.1% to 4.21%
Microsoft has mass layoffs in Africa these days
[Meme] EU Chat Control II
Stuff like "Chat Control" means that GDPR will lose credibility and the true motives be rightly scrutinised/questioned
You're Only Proving Our Point, Sir
clearly obsessed with what we write
Just Because It Happened Over 20 Years Ago Doesn't Mean It's "Old News" or Stopped Happening
This strategy merely evolved
Thanking Solderpunk for 5 Years of Gemini Protocol
Long live Gemini Protocol and long live Solderpunk!
[Meme] He Who Controls the Boot
And licks the Microsoft boot
[Meme] systemd-recovery
Imagine "Linux" (Poetterix) becoming so unreliable that it needs factory resets
Almost Every Day This Month the GNU/Linux "Market Share" Grows in statCounter
Advocates like to see progress
Dawg, I Herd You Like Freedom
In the context of Software Freedom, little is ever said about free speech
Links 19/06/2024: Microsoft Faces Big Backlash, Bytedance Referred to US Department of Justice
Links for the day
Gemini Protocol Turns 5 in 15 Hours
Geminispace is still very much alive
OSI's Blog is Still 100% "AI" Nonsense Sponsored by Microsoft (the Authors Are Also Salaried by Microsoft)
The founder of the OSI no longer supports the OSI
Poland is Another Country Where Bing Lost a Lot of Market Share Since the LLM Gimmicks
down from 3.24% to 2.4%
It Took Microsoft More Than 3 Years to Get a Quarter of Windows Users to 'Upgrade' to Vista 11 (3 Out of 4 Windows Users Still Reject It)
That is exactly what's happening right now
[Meme] The Empire
Don't be like Putin
They Want 'Transparency' Only for the General Public (Every Bit of Communication Available to the Government, Usually Via Corporations)
The EU might decide to effectively ban SSH
Free Software Won't Fix Equality, But It Helps
Let's examine Free software in the context of: 1) money. 2) justice.
Links 19/06/2024: SFTP and Gopher Milestone
Links for the day
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, June 18, 2024
IRC logs for Tuesday, June 18, 2024
US Surgeon General's Advice on Social Control Media (and "Smart" Phones) Seems Reasonable
People forget what the real world is about
Quiet at Planet Debian
planet.debian.org has not had any updates since 5 days ago
Morale at Microsoft Sinks to New Lows
The annual 'Employee Signals' survey showed a drop from 69% to 62% in positive responses
Microsoft Windows is Being Abandoned in the UK, Relative to Other Platforms (New All-Time Lows)
Windows at new lows
Links 18/06/2024: More Executives Leave Microsoft, Attacks on the Press in Russia and 'Exile'
Links for the day
[Meme] Always Livecasting
Wait Till Systemd-Recall
Australia: Bing Lost Market Share Since the LLM Hype ("Bing Chat")
Google rose, Bing went down
Gemini Links 18/06/2024: Unconscious Consumption and Firewall Autoban
Links for the day
[Meme] Canonical Has Basically Become Novell II
Today's Canonical...
While Everyone is Furious at Vista 11 (Over TPM, Recall and Other Malicious 'Features') Canonical is Selling It to People
So the only thing Canonical says about Windows is that you should give it a try?
Links 18/06/2024: Adobe and Internet Archive in Trouble
Links for the day
Peter Duffy Explains SystemD
Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Führer!
[Meme] The Doyen and the Colonel
EPO continues to prioritise lawbreaking over knowledge
EPO Union Action: Next Week SUEPO The Hague and SUEPO Munich Talk About New Pension Scheme (NPS) and Salary Savings Plan (SSP)
So there are basically 32 days left for more people to intervene
[Meme] Wait Till Systemd-Recall
The only thing Linux still needs is a forensics backdoor
GNU/Linux Up This Month in India (or Why Famous Criminal Bill Gates Keeps Visiting Modi)
truth tends to catch up with people
Microsoft Poetterix is Work in Progress
Linux's New DRM Panic 'Blue Screen of Death' In Action
24/7 Work Discipline
it's not so much about how much (or how long) one works, it's about how one works and whether one feels comfortable doing it
Adamant Conformism is an Enemy of Science
"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man"
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Monday, June 17, 2024
IRC logs for Monday, June 17, 2024
Links 18/06/2024: Further Mass Layoffs and Gemini Leftovers
Links for the day
At IBM, "Brownnosing is the Norm."
Many of these comments are from IBM insiders
Myanmar/Burma: Google Gains One Percent, Microsoft Loses One Percent Since the LLM Hype ('Bing Chat')
it's not hard to understand LLMs didn't replace real search and didn't replace Google, either
[Meme] KISS, not SAAS
Gemini Protocol turns 5 in exactly 2 days
Hostageware: The Threat of Clown Computing (or 'SaaS', Another Misnomer or Buzzword) to Computer Users Everywhere
This problem isn't limited to Free software adopters
Six on the Beach: After Losing Six Continents Microsoft is Losing Oceania Too
Based on the 6- or 7-continent view of the world
Links 17/06/2024: Mass Layoffs Accelerating in Tech, Concerns About Impact of the Net
Links for the day
Gemini Links 17/06/2024: Hyprland Analysed and No Use for Betrusted
Links for the day
Microsoft Can Never Make a Comeback Anymore, the Community is Shutting It Out
We're relying on the real community, not fake ones or coopted ones
The World is Becoming (or Has Already Become) Linux
An intercontinental success story
Georgia: Bing Share Fell by Half Since 'Bing Chat' (LLM Hype), Fell Behind Yandex As Well
Georgia's situation is interesting
[Meme] Community of People to be Exploited, Then Thrown Away, Left Behind or Even Slandered
Debian.org front page
Alexandre Oliva's FSF disposition
During my recent trip for LibrePlanet, I was fortunate to have, or at least start, long conversations with nearly everyone in FSF staff
[Meme] SPI and 'FSFE': Sponsored by Microsoft to...
women's instincts do not matter to these strongmen
One More (Failed) Attempt to Deplatform the Sites by Harassing and Threatening Webhosts
What we're seeing here is a person who abuses the system in Canada at Canadian taxpayers' expense trying to do the same in the UK, at British taxpayers' expense
[Meme] Shitburger of an LLM
IBM and the Hololens
Links 17/06/2024: Chatbot Nonsense Thrown Under the Bus (Severe Failure, Pure Hype), How to Finance Free Software 'Hackers'
Links for the day
Debian's Personal Attacks Are Upsetting Women, Too
Female Debian Developer: "I Believe Daniel [Pocock] is On the Right Track."
Microsoft's Bing is So Irrelevant in Moldova (1%) That Russia's Yandex is About 5 Times Bigger
How much longer before Microsoft throws in the towel?
12 Days Have Passed Since the Edward Brocklesby Revelations and Debian Project Has Said Absolutely Nothing About That
One must therefore assume they have nothing to say in their defence (covering up severe security failings)
Yes, You Can
Unless you live somewhere like Russia...
[Meme] Listen to the Experts
Bill Gates didn't even finish university]
Roy and Rianne's Righteously Royalty-free RSS Reader (R.R.R.R.R.R.) and the Front-End Interfaces
As the Web deteriorates the availability, quality and prevalence of RSS feeds is not improving, to put it mildly
Algeria Shows High GNU/Linux and Android Adoption, All-Time High and Almost Three-Quarters of Web Requests
GNU/Linux was below 3%, now it is above 3%
Mass Layoffs at Microsoft-owned GitHub (About 80 Percent of the Staff in India Laid Off)
It's not just in India
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Sunday, June 16, 2024
IRC logs for Sunday, June 16, 2024
Gemini Links 16/06/2024: Scarecrows, Moles, Ham Radio, and No IPs
Links for the day