This site deals only with the corporate corruption of science, and makes no inference about the motives or activities of individuals involved.
There are many reasons why individuals become embroiled in corporate corruption activities - from political zealotry to over-enthusiastic activism; from gullibility to greed.
Please read the OVERVIEW carefully, and make up your own mind.
ARIA and the WhiteCoats
— This document deals with the recruitment of the first European under-cover tobacco scientists/consultants and their organisation ARIA. This group later spawned other similar operations in Scandinavia, Asia and Europe. —
In the late 1980s there was a falling out between the new upstart company of Philip Morris and the older established tobacco industry leaders, RJ Reynolds and Brown & Williamson [B&W which was part of British-American Tobacco or BAT]. They differed on how active and surreptitious the industry should be with its counter-measures against the World Health Organisation and various anti-smoking groups in the UK and Europe.
Philip Morris wanted the industry to be far more active and aggressive — but the others didn't understand Europe, and were very wary. They saw Philip Morris as an arrogant little company run by "New York Jews" who would soon overstep the mark and further damage the reputation of the industry. They were also aware that Cippolone trial in New Jersey had begun to expose some of the tobacco industry's corrupt dealings — they didn't need a European scandal as well.
Consequently, Philip Morris International decided on running its own program of science disinformation and political bribery in Europe, by-passing the joint tobacco industry operations (ICOSI/INFOTAB, etc.). Later, their political and public-persuasion successes forced the other companies to join them and provide additional financial support. These activities were generally conducted through the Washington DC lawyers Covington & Burling, or the Kansas City law firm Shook Hardy & Bacon.
At this time Philip Morris was immensely profitable and expanding its business rapidly in both cigarettes and food outside the USA, and it was beginning to make serious inroads into the markets of their older competitors and the various state-owned national cigarette monopolies. So they weren't likely to let the inertia of their competitors slow them down.
|Philip Morris International|
|In 1988, PM boasts to its staff that it is now "the greatest company in the world". It was no longer just a cigarette company; it now makes more money that Coca Cola and Pepsi combined and had food, beer and real-estate subsidiaries.|
It has 173,000 employees, and sells cigarettes, coffee, and food stuffs in 180 countries and territories. It markets the top rated instant-coffee in Korea, the top rated roasted-coffee in Germany, the top rated cream-cheese in Italy, and the top rated barbeque sauce in Canada.
Marlboro cigarettes alone generate $15 billion in revenues. And despite its tax dodges, it is the USA's largest taxpayer with a annual tax bill of $7.4b.
In this Smoking-Gun document, American lawyer-executive Kendrick Wells of Brown & Williamson is advising his British legal associate, Nicholas Cannar [later fingered as the 'king of document destruction' at BAT] about a number of Philip Morris's independent activities he had discovered during and after his trip to Europe.
Philip Morris has already enlisted a number of covert academic and consulting scientists to act behind the scenes — to speak out on behalf of the industry without admitting they were being paid. This group, led by Professor Roger Perry (of Imperial College London) and Francis JC Roe (a top consultant toxicologist) had been provided with a legal shell, called the Association for Indoor Air Research (ARIA) which Covington & Burling had incorporated, and which was then able to act as a 'cut-out' organisation while pretending to be a small company of general consultants and simultaneously, a scientific society of ndoor air researchers.
The consultants used ARIA to conduct all dealings, and the organisation received payments on their behelf. All dealings between Philip Morris and these covert consultants were passed through Covington & Burling (which had set up a London law office for that purpose).
ARIA was therefore able to pay WhiteCoat/consultancy fees into Swiss Bank accounts, and it advertised the services of this group in a way that suggested they were nothing more than 'general environmental consultants' specialising in indoor air quality. This effectively insulate the tobacco activities from any court-room discovery process or university administration inquiry [some universities prohibitied tobacco grant moneys] with its possible scandalous revelation of academic duplicity.
The term "WhiteCoats" came into use for these covert or 'sleeper' scientists at about this time. The ARIA operation was very similar to the USA operation known as IAPAG (also run by Covington & Burling at Georgetown University) but the term "WhiteCoat" was generally not used for the US IAPAG members.
In Europe, Scandinavia, and Asia the Whitecoats became a special group of industry covert consultants:
Philip Morris also hired the UK public relations company Campell-Johnson [US subsidiary of Hill & Knowlton] to promote ARIA and to publicise the consultant/WhiteCoat activities on behalf of the tobacco industry.
- they were paid on results not on a retainer; usually they were not given research grant or openly contracted.
- they were paid via lawyers and pseudo-societies like ARIA and EGIL so they could state in court that they had never received a penny from the tobacco companies.
- they were generally academics from a wide range of disciplines. [What was most desired was their Doctor or Professor title, not their expertise]
- they made their money
- by writing letters-to-the-editor of newspapers, magazines or scientific journals;
- by giving speeches at conferences or symposia;
- by attending and reporting on conferences;
- by just having travel and accommodation paid to conferences in exotic locations;
- by providing the industry with likely contacts for recruitment;
- by having tobacco industry-funded PR companies boost their institutional prestige;
- by providing witness services at parliamentary inquiries;
- by acting as 'independent' defendant witnesses in court cases.
J Kendrick Wells III was the assistant general counsel for Brown & Williamson Tobacco (B&W) in the USA, which was itself a subsidiary of British-American Tobacco (BAT). Nicholas Cannar, was a UK lawyer at about the same level with British-American Tobacco.
• See the actual document
1988 Oct 10: J Kendrick Wells III of B&W has just returned from London, and he is writing to BAT's key global legal manipulator, Nick Cannar, about the US lawyers John Rupp [Covington & Burling (C&B)] and Don Hoel [Shook Hardy & Bacon (SH&B)] who have been active in Europe.
Philip Morris asked John to take over from Don Hoel the assignment of locating scientists in Europe who would be willing to speak in public on the issue of ETS, and organizing a highly-publicized program featuring appearances by such scientists. [Shook Hardy & Bacon in Kansas City, and Covington & Burling in Washington, had developed a comfortable working relationship between themselves in sharing out the bulk of the tobacco industry work.]
The document then goes on to discuss Shook Hardy & Bacon which was opening its own London office. It includes information about the symposia Don Hoel is organising.
The assignment is to establish consulting groups in each of several different countries. The consulting groups consist of scientists who will speak on the issue of ETS [Environmental Tobacco Smoke = passive smoking] and who have been horse-shedded by John to ensure that their opinions support the industry's position on ETS and that their answers to the inevitable questions about the primary issue do not undercut the industry.
[The primary issue was that of the health consequences of active smoking. Many industry consultants were happy to maintain that second-hand smoke wouldn't give non-smokers cancer, but if quizzed about direct smoking they often equivocated — they didn't like appearing as fools. So those not willing to lie, or clever enough to avoid answering such questions needed to be culled from the program.] The consultants are available for appearances at hearings, such as the Magnuson Committee hearing held in Sweden. [A major workplace smoking-ban hearing]
The central charge in organizing the project is to arrange public appearances and statements by the consultants. For example, in the UK, the organization which sponsors the consultants is known as the Association for Research on Indoor Air ("ARIA"). A public relations firm has been retained in London and has begun to generate material for distribution which is intended to 'leverage' the statements made by the consultants. [Campbell-Johnson PR]
The local sponsor of the consultants differs from country to country. In the UK, ARIA is a group of company representatives. In other cases the NMA is the sponsor. [NMA = National (cigarette) Manufacturer's Association]
John's organization [C&B] has arranged for two books on indoor air to be written and published soon in Europe (the UK?) and assisted a UK manufacturer's group in writing a proposal for a major indoor air study grant awarded by the EEC. [unknown]
John's consultant groups will not significantly be involved in scientific research as a group. The individual scientists may be involved in research on their own, but not in connection with the group.
The consultants will be encouraged to write books and articles and attend meetings in connection with their service as consultants, but these would not involve research.
The consultant groups operation is essentially a public relations program, not a scientific research operation.
The US Center for Indoor Air Research [CIAR] has played a role in organizing consultants in Europe; primarily the role of training European scientists. [In the USA the CIAR was promoted as being "entirely independent of the tobacco industry".] Reynolds has joined the Philip Morris effort to field the consultants in Europe.
John said he was very much interested in getting BAT to join ARIA and, either directly or through the TAC [UK Tobacco Advisory Council], participate in planning how the consulting organization, which should be seen as an industry resource, should be used and deployed.
I asked John why the UK industry should rely on a US law firm to develop scientific consultants who would be active in Europe. John said it is important to have a law firm play the role of organizing because the firm can, in the process of organization and horse-shedding individual scientists, avoid product liability problems.
The law firm also can serve as a buffer between the companies and the consulting scientists, providing both distance and some opportunities for work-product protection. [ie protection against legal 'discovery'] Also, Covington is opening an office in London.
Don Hoel [of Shook Hardy] is participating in the project only to the extent of organizing ETS symposia in Argentina and in Brussels. Don's symposia will utilize scientists located by Covington [& Burling]. [These 'symposia' were fake scientific conferences, controlled by the tobacco industry — see details of the outcome in the Appendix below.]
I asked John [Rupp] how he could expect to have the consultants avoid making statements on the primary issue [health problems of direct smoking] which were inconsistant with the companies ... when he had, for example. Francis Roe [A well-known UK tobacco-friendly toxicologist] as one of the consultants.
John said that Roe would not serve as a named consultant or spokesman, but was being used only as an assistant to John in organizing the program. [The key idea of Whitecoats, was to recruit scientists who had no record of being pro-tobacco; and ideally those from areas outside toxicology and biomedicine — ie. from obstetrics, psychologists, etc. where it would not be obvious that they were paid lackeys of the industry.]
When I asked John a question about organizing his consulting group in Germany, he volunteered that Germany was a problem for Philip Morris because of the independent attitude taken by its German subsidiary.
He said that the Verband [The German equivalent of the Tobacco Institute], probably with Philip Morris Germany's support, appeared to be ready to advocate a threshold level for health effects from ETS constituents, which they think will exonerate ETS. John recognizes this is a serious problem and is working on it.
[The German tobacco industry had a relatively non-adversatorial relationship with the German government which involved compromises. However such compromises involved the German companies accepting that smoking was hazardous to health — and this did not go down well in other countries where the stance was maintained that health effects had not been proved. This was always a problem in the USA.]
Don is organizing an ETS [passive smoking] conference in Argentine which apparently will be held in December of 1988 and known as the "Argentina Conference on indoor Air Quality." The conference will be designed to reach opinion leaders in Argentina, including opinion leaders in the health fields. The cost will be less than $100,000 as a ballpark figure and, Don hopes, split equally between Philip Morris and the BAT.
The letter then discussed INFOTAB, the International Tobacco Information organisation which was based in Brussels, and then led by John Bloxcidge. INFOTAB was also opening a London Office, and sending its staff to tobacco lawyers, Shook Hardy & Bacon in Kansas City for training.
[They managed to get the Argentine National Academy of Science to 'sponsor' the conference, and the Vice President to preside over the proceedings.]Ray Thornton [BAT's 'Issues Manager'] has indicated to Don (and to me) that the BAT probably would want to join in this project, but Don does not have a final commitment. As a cost comparison. the Argentina conference will be slightly more expensive than the Geneva Conference, which cost about $70,000. [This had been a tobacco funded and controlled conference run by Ragnar Rylander, and loaded heavily with industry scientists, but with a couple of legitimate scientists to give in a semblance of credibility.]
Don is planning a conference to be held in Florida next year which will cost about $70,000. [This was the ITGA Workshop run at Miami on March 28 1989 ... See Appendix]
Don also is planning an indoor air conference which will be held in Brussels in February 1989 [It was later run by Dr Claude Bieva, Philip Morris's consultant in Belgium. The conference was held on 14-15 Feb 1989, and the English language title was "Present and Future of Indoor Air Quality"]
Don said that the BAT and Philip Morris are the largest contributors to the INFOTAB budget, currently providing around 35% each. RJ Reynolds has reluctantly come into the fold and is beginning to shoulder some of the costs of all these disinformation campaigns — and Rothmans International is considering joining.
Don [Hoel of SH&B] is working with a new group in the UK called the "European Community Industry Group." It is organizing now and hopefully will hire John Lambeer [actually John Lepere] as director. [This became a lobby group which was intended to block cigarette excise tax increases.] See ECIG.
The ECIG will deal with draft directives in EC-member nations pertaining to all issues involving tobacco and cigarettes. The ECIG will have an advisory group which will consist of a top executive from each participating company and Don understands that the BAT will participate.
See original and the coded index
1988 Nov: Argentine symposium: This apparently happened at the end of 1988. Don Hoel wrote to the notorious tobacco scientific lobbyist, Ragnar Rylander at University of Gothenburg in November of that year saying:
I realize that you are presently quite busy in completing some of your research projects and preparing your presentation for the Argentine conference. However, I would like to discuss your proposed workshop [another fake tobacco industry workshop - Rylander specialised in running these] with you at your first convenience and will leave it up to you as to when we should talk.
1988 Nov: British-Tobacco executives in Latin America also met in Buenos Aires in November to confirm details for SH&B's 'Argentine symposium'.
This meeting was held partly because of the forthcoming external meeting on this subject (Argentine Dec. 1988) but also as a general up-date.
- RET refers to Ray Thornton, the Issues Manager at BAT in the UK
- Professor Alvan Feinstein was a long term tobacco consultant in statistics from Yale University, who was always on hand when the industry was willing to pay him good money and send him to exotic locations.
- Professor EC Sterling was actually Elia Sterling, the son of Professor Theodor Sterling of Simon Frazer University. Ted Sterling ran a large science-for-sale operation out of the Vancouver area in Canada and Elia was essentially his manager who occasionally assumed the "Professor" title.
- Dr Chris Proctor was one of BAT's UK scientists and disinformation specialists, who later went to work for Covington & Burling in Washington.
1988 Dec: 6-7 This is the Indoor Air Quality symposium brochure. The Argentine conference was held at San Carlos de Beriloche, and it was officially sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences of Buenos Aires. ... which shows just how easy it was for wealthy tobacco companies to enlist top scientific organisations.The Vice President of the NAC, Dr Osvaldo Fustinoni, also lent his name and prestige to the symposia as presiding chairman/speaker.
The list of tobacco industry speakers reads like a line-up of Casablanca's "usual suspects" ... they are all well-known tobacco lackies, familiar to anyone involved in researching the tobacco archives.
The organisers also published an English-language booklet of the conference proceedings [This was an important part of the process — to have this stuff on the public record for future use]. The book was mainly rehashes of old speeches given at previous fake conferences.
- Gray Robertson, of ACVA/HBI — the world expert in faking indoor air quality readings so they show no significant presence of tobacco smoke.
- Gerhard Lehnert — Hamburg Uni contratian with the German Council on Smoking & Health
- Karl Uberla — ex President of the German Ministry of Health and long-term tobacco industry consultant/lobbyist.
- Franz Adlkofer - who ran the German Verband operations and later branched out into doomsaying predictions about the dangers of cellphones.
- Theodor Sterling The industry's favourite science-for-sale entrepreneur from Canada
- Elia Sterling Who must have been taking a long holiday with his dad since he also attended an earlier meeting.
- Allan Crawford the fag-end of Australian medical 'scientists'; a medical lobbyist who was always available to travel the world for his paymasters.
- Philip Witorsch, of IAPAG who, as a travelling witness for the tobacco industry, has probably racked up more airline loyalty points that any man in history. [His son was also a lobbyist]
- Ragnar Rylander - The most active of the Swedish tobacco scientists. He was a long term lackey who specialied in running fake scientific symposia..
- Three Latin Americas of little consequence were tacked on to the end. They were obviously dragged up from somewhere to prevent the symposium from being a 'gringo-only' affair.
The 'proceedings' book
1989 Mar 28: ITGA Environmental Tobacco Smoke Workshop at Miami Florida. The International Tobacco Growers Association (ITGA) was in the process of being revitalised and recruited to help with political lobbying. The INFOTAB director, John Bloxcidge was taking over and controlling the group (via substantial cigarette manufacturer funding). ITGA had previously seen itself as an agricultural union providng protection for farmers and leaf processors against the predatory pressures of cigarette manufacturers.
These are the introductory speech notes by Allen Purvis, a Shook Hardy & Bacon lawyer (standing in for Don Hoel) at the conference. He is trying to get them to become active in fighting the anti-smoking movement, and he is introducing them to the fine distinctions of PR terminology.
To prepare for the "battle", perhaps we should define some of the important terms used in this area. Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke [ETS] is sometimes erroneously called "passive smoking" , "involuntary smoking" or exposure to sidestream smoke. [T]he phrases "passive smoking" and "involuntary smoking" must not be used because of their obvious prejudicial connotations.
He goes on to boast about previous activities.
The correct term is ETS.
In December of 1988, we helped organize an international symposium on indoor air quality in Bariloche, Argentina. The National Academy of Sciences of Buenos Aires hosted the conference with support from Massalin Particulares and Nobleza-Piccardo of Argentina.
The handnote at the top of the page refers this copy to Dr Sharon Boyse, who was at this time the Scientific Issues Manager at British American Tobacco.
Well-known international authorities on indoor air quality addressed the various issues of indoor air quality assessments and health effects. The audience consisted of invited representatives from National Academies of sciences in other Latin American countries.
The symposium was, from all reports, a success; proceedings will be published in Spanish and English and will be made available to universities, libraries, journalists, legislators, scientists, physicians and government regulators.
[All other references to this symposium appear to have been filed in the shredder.]