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SPIEGEL Interview with Libyan Leader Moammar Gadhafi: 'Switzerland Should be Dissolved as a State'

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi talked to the SPIEGEL about his friendship with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, the 'youthful exuberance' of his sons, and why he thinks Switzerland is a mafia.

Photo Gallery: Gadhafi in the Spotlight Photos
AFP

SPIEGEL: Mr. Gadhafi, for years you repeatedly got into shouting matches with the Western world before making your peace with arch-enemy America four years ago. Now you have declared a holy war on tiny Switzerland, of all countries. Why?

Gadhafi: Switzerland is one country among many; sometimes you have trouble with one country, sometimes with another. We never had difficulties with Switzerland before. We used to appreciate it as a holiday destination. We used to appreciate its companies and its watches. But then Switzerland began to treat us badly. For example, the minaret issue and the publishing of nasty portrayals of the Prophet. It was necessary to draw a line with the Swiss. That is what I did in my speech in Benghazi to mark the Prophet's birthday.

SPIEGEL: And now Swiss national Max Göldi, who has absolutely nothing to do with this, has to pay for your anger against Switzerland? A man whose visa allegedly expired, who has not been able to leave Libya for nearly two years and has been in prison for months. Why are you doing nothing for him?

Gadhafi: Only the courts can decide on this.

SPIEGEL: Do you mean to tell us that you don't have the power to pardon him?

Gadhafi: This is a matter for the legal system. But I'm talking now about Switzerland. Switzerland is a state that stands outside the international community. It is not bound by any EU regulations. It is good that it joined the United Nations in 2002, but the whole time before that it was not a member. Why? It wanted to stand above international law. And that has made Switzerland into a mafia.

SPIEGEL: Whatever you may now say about Switzerland, previously it didn't bother you in the least. You did business with the country -- your company Tamoil Suisse has dozens of filling stations in Switzerland.

Gadhafi: Money is laundered on a grand scale in Switzerland. Anyone who robs a bank later invests the money in Switzerland. Anyone who evades taxes goes to Switzerland. Anyone who wants to deposit money in secret accounts goes to Switzerland. And a large number of owners of such secret accounts have died under mysterious circumstances.

SPIEGEL: Excuse me?

Gadhafi: Yes, Switzerland is behind it all.

SPIEGEL: Don't Libyans also have secret accounts in Switzerland?

Gadhafi: Yes, there are also Libyans who have such accounts, and many of them have also died in unexplained ways. All around the world, the families of these people are going to sue Switzerland. And one more thing: Switzerland is the only country that allows euthanasia. Why does only Switzerland do that?

SPIEGEL: Medical euthanasia is also legal in the Netherlands. And, it cannot go unmentioned that Libya has previously had citizens killed abroad who were said to be disloyal.

Gadhafi: But we are talking now about Switzerland. It is possible that among the Libyans who you are asking about -- and who died abroad -- there were also some who died because they had secret accounts in Switzerland.

SPIEGEL: And you are seriously maintaining that Switzerland as a state ordered the killing of these people?

Gadhafi: The investigations will show this. And this brings me back once again to the phenomenon of assisted suicide. A large number of people have been deliberately eliminated under this pretext. Switzerland maintains that these individuals expressed the desire to take their lives. But in reality it was done to get at their money. More than 7,000 people have died like this. I am thus calling for Switzerland to be dissolved as a state. The French part should go to France, the Italian part to Italy and the German part to Germany. Even Ayman al-Zawahiri …

SPIEGEL: … Osama bin Laden's deputy …

Gadhafi: … took al-Qaida's money to Switzerland, where it is still located. Switzerland finances terrorism.

SPIEGEL: Once again: Even if all of this were as you say -- why did this never bother you before?

Gadhafi: We had already noticed that money is laundered in Switzerland and people die in unexplained ways. But recently Switzerland has given itself away.

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1. Understandable but misguided
kenbarr 05/13/2010
I understand Ra'is Gadhafi's anger over Switzerland, whose ban on minarets is absolutely crazy in a nation that is supposed to guarantee religious freedom. However, his view that it should be dissolved is over the top. His views on Iran and Ahmadinejad are interesting but since the Iranian president is a Holocaust denier, I cannot trust that he is as Gadhafi claims. His point about Israel's nuclear position is justified. I believe that age has mellowed him but I still would say that any relationship with him must be on the basis of trust, but verify.
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