Switzerland: Chocolate-coated espionage

According to the June 26 Solidarites, the Swiss multinational Nestle infiltrated and spyied on the anti-globalisation activist group Attac in the Swiss canton of Vaud during the publication of a book critical of the company.

The report claimed that Nestle hired a spy from a private security firm to join Attac in 2003 and continued working in the group until 2004. During that time, the spy had control of Vaud Attac's contact system while world-wide research for the book, Resisting the Nestle Empire, was conducted.

The book dealt with such things as Nestle's dealings with genetically modified ingredients, the privatisation of water and labour disputes against Nestle in countries with bad human rights records, such as Colombia. Details of the people supplying the information were fed back to Nestle through their spy.

Securitas, the private company that supplied the undercover agent, also kept the Vaud police briefed.

Solidarites described the new role of a private espionage company as "worrying". However, it recalled the 1989 revelations that, during the Cold War, more than 10% of the Swiss population were spied upon by the Swiss federal police.