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.
Peter Paul Witonski
— An minor academic at Georgetown University and various right-wing think-tanks, who wrote second-rate polemics for the tobacco industry. He also diligently promoted a range of disreputable activities to defeat health measures. —
Witonski's current PR/lobbying venture is Academica Associates, which he says is a subsidiary of International Corporate Research. It is intended to promote unfettered free-market ideology.
"Our primary purpose is to act as a private Think Tank serving the needs of a small client base in the international business community. So there's no doubting his views, or his Orwellian turn of phrase.
Unlike many of the firms that exist to assist the private sector or to advise governments on the best means of improving their image, Academica Associates are not a gun-for-hire willing to represent any and every client that wishes to employ us. Our values remain liberal, in the classical sense of that word, and we believe strongly in the efficacy of the free market and the genius of the market mechanism as a tool for achieving both a strong economy and a free society.
We are critical of the over-regulation advocated by many of the private sector's critics, and strongly favor the sort of limited government advocated by Adam Smith and Thomas Jefferson, and, in our own time, by Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman.
However, his activities leave something to be desired. He is not quite as open about these; he forgets to mention his work for the tobacco industry, or of his ideas for disrupting public-health measures. See below.
Dr. Peter P. Witonski was educated at Bard College, Harvard University and Oxford University. He has taught in the Department of History at Washington University of St.Louis, the Institute of Politics at Harvard University, and at Stanford University's Hoover Institution.
His publications include:
He has published regularly in the National Review, The Wall Street Journal, La Nueva Provincia, Harper's, The New Republic, Commentary, etc. He has served as
- The Wisdom of Conservatism (4 vols.),
- Education: Threatened Standards (with Rhodes Boyson),
- What Went Wrong With American Education,
- The Politics of Planning (with Herbert Stein),
- Gibbon for Moderns and
- The American Corporation at Bay.
He is currently the CEO and Chairman of International Corporate Research and a founding partner of Academica Associates.
- the Director of Creative Services at the National Association of Manufacturers,
- a foreign policy adviser to Senator James L. Buckley,
- a speechwriter for President Reagan and President Bush Senior.
See the actual puff piece.
Some key documents
1970–76: Assistant to, and supporter of, Senator James L Buckley.
1971–72: Fellow at the Kennedy School at Harvard, Institute of Politics.
He was the former campaign speechwriter for US Senator James L Buckley.
1972 Co-director of Scholars for Nixon.
While at the Kennedy School Mr. Witonski authored two books,
He also authored an article, "The Death of Liberalism," Harvard Political Review, Fall, 1971.
- What Went Wrong with American Education (Arlington House: 1973),
- Gibbon for Moderns (Arlington House: 1974).
[He was probably the lone member also!]
1973–76: Public Affairs Fellow at the Hoover Institute.
1978 June 17: Writing for the New Republican magazine — "Argentina Today: The legacy of Peron."
1980: Witonski is adjunct professor [eg "occasional lecturer"] of public policy at Georgetown University in Washington.
He is a US Historian and political scientist, and the author of "The Wisdom of Conservatism."
See his C/V
1980 July 18: William Kloepfer. VP Public Relations at the Tobacco Institute writes to Jeannette Cohen asking for contact information:
I am interested in obtaining copies of articles which may have been published by Peter Paul Witonski who is now a Professor at Georgetown, without getting in touch directly with him.
1980: He has sent his CV to Kloepfer. It contains a soapbox section which articulates his personal neo-con ideological zealotry. It also illustrates his love of obscure literary allusions and the occasional outburst of pomposity:
I am particularly concerned with the business community's failure to properly confront and master the articulate, new anti-business force which Irving Kristol has dubbed the New Class.
All too often, business leaders have responded to the sallies of these anti-business critics with the same tired rhetoric which the late George Babbitt used to inflict upon the citizens of Zenith in the 1920s. Such rhetoric will simply not do in the 1970s — in the decade that has produced Ralph Nader.
The business community must develop a new approach to corporate apologetics and public affairs. It must learn to avail itself of ideas that will help to bolster the cause of economic freedom; it must atune itself to developments in the academy that can be placed in the service of business; and it must employ the services of individuals who — because of their intellectual training — understand the ethos of the so-called New Class intellectuals.
My own background — which has been in the academy, journalism, politics, and the private sector — is, I believe, properly in accord with the political and intellectual impulses that must be employed if the private sector is to triumph over its critics in the next decade
[Babbit was a real-estate developer in the novel by Sinclair Lewis who came to realise that life is not just about conformity, social-climbing and money-making. His conversion obviously came to represent successful communistic attacks on Chicago capitalism for Witonski.]
1980 Aug 9: Kloepfer writes a contract-letter to Witonski (then in Washington) and receives a signed reply.
Following up our conversation, The Tobacco Institute would like you to conduct a review of materials in our files on the subject of the "social cost" of smoking.
Using these materials and any supplementary information you may find useful, please prepare a summary which will be readily understood by our staff, none of whom are professional economists. It will be helpful if your summary can place this issue in the context of current trends of political and economic thought.
I understand that your fees for this report will be $2,500, paid in advance, and that the report will be submitted to us by August 31, 1980. If these terms are satisfactory to you, please initial and return one copy of this letter.
[The "Social Cost" of smoking is the amount the state pays to support the smoker through his/her ill-health, family support on premature death or debility, and additional costs for general well-being of the society in terms of home- and bush-fires, additional office and street cleaning costs, and the ill-health and discomfort of fellow workers forced to breathe second-hand smoke. Note that Witonski was a 'political philosopher' not an economist.]
1980 Oct 12: A long draft of an article "The Social Cost of Smoking" (by PP Witonski for the Tobacco Institute) pointedly attacking Senator John Danforth's anti-tobacco stance.
Senator Danforth has proposed a new 10 cents a pack federal tax on cigarettes to be used to finance an expansion of Medicare and Medicaid to cover the many major and catastrophic illnesses which, he has argued, may be attributed to smoking. According to Danforth, smoking-related illnesses cost Americans as much as $18 billion. ' yearly in hospitalization, disabilities and lost productivity.
An estimated 1,500,000 people, the senator declares, are receiving Social Security payments today because of disabilities resulting from smoking.
[About half this long article is taken up with attacking Senator Danforth ... which is ironic, since Danforth was also from the Republic right under Reagan]
1980 Oct 12: Memo to William Kloepfer at the Tobacco Institute. He is sending in the 'Social Cost of Smoking" article and wants immediate payment. He is a first edition book collector and needs the cash.
Let's get together for lunch next week, if you're free. I'll fill you in on my trip with George Bush.
1980 Oct 31: Social Costs/Social Values Progress Report
Publication: The Tobacco Institute has approved for publication a manuscript by US historian Peter Witonski. The manuscript is non-technical, and generally calls for more rigorous proof of social costs than has been presented so far."
1980 Nov 3: He has written to Kloepfer at the Tobacco Institute.
I am pleased to attach the report which you have requested under our consultant arrangement.
[They must have required a few changes which were made after approval.]
1980 Dec 18: Kloepfer writes to some lawyers (mostly Committee of Counsel) members, and ccs some of the tobacco industry's PR staff.
Enclosed for your information is a report on the social costs of smoking, prepared for The Institute by a consultant (and nonsmoker), Peter P.Witonski.
It is the_basis of an article to be published in the spring issue (Late Feb early March) of Policy Review, a publication of The Heritage Foundation.
[Later TI documents list this as the publication date of the article in Policy Review. However it seems never to have been published — for very good reasons if you bother to read it.]
1981 Jan 7: The international (ICOSI) tobacco industry's Social Costs/Social Values: Progress Report has a series of notes on various projects:
The ICOSI team also asked for decisions on:
- The report by Drs Tollison and Wagner, "Consumer Protection, Public Policy and Cost-Benefit Analysis", has been completed. The authors have requested support in preparing this for publication as a monograph.
- The Tobacco Institute has assisted Dr Peter Witonski with researach on a manuscrupt, "The Social Costs of Smoking" which has been accepted for publication in the spring issue of Policy Review.
Dr Witonski is adjunct professor of public policy at Georgetown University in Washington. He obtained his PhD at Oxford, and is the author of a great many articles and books, including a prize-winning (American Political Association) four-volume work entitled "The Wisdom of Conservatism".
- George Berman's paper before the Australian Association of National Advertisers was published, in its entirety in B&T. (Australian trade magazine)
[Berman, a contractor with Devon Management Resources, actually introduced Witonski to the Tobacco Institute]
- Dr [Sherewin] Feinhandler has submitted two drafts for review — one about the social role of smoking, and another about the use of anti-smoking activities to demark and promote social class distinctions. These have been reviewed for content and returned.
- The following have accepted invitations to speak at the Wharton Conference: Peter Berger, Stephen Littlechild (UK), Sherwin Feinhandler. [This was a fake tobacco industry conference which the Wharton Applied Research Center at Philadelphia University fronted.]
- Alan Woodfield of New Zealand hopes to be able to present a paper, but cannot confirm this just yet. [He was working for the Tobacco Institute of Australia (TIA)]
- Anti-smoking Groups: Dr [Aaron] Wildavsky's draft has been cleared by legal counsel and is under review by the Project Team.
- "Smoking Restrictions in the Workplace:": The project team from AT Kearney has been strengthened by the addition of a research psychologist and an industrial engineer.
- Civil Liberties: We are working with Matrix Corporate Affairs of London to develop this project around academic consultants in two European countries.
- "Through what organisation/s will ICOSI sponsor the Wharton Conference?"
- Approval to support Tollison and Wagner in publishing their text.
- Strategy for countering the WHO program on the Social Cost of Smoking [under the headings] Surveillance, Communications, Preparation, and Action [They saw the main threat to public smoking as coming from the World Health Organisation (WHO.)]
[See also for also a background piece on the Social Costs arguments and the role of SAWP (a sub-group of ICOSI)]
1981 June 23: Kloepfer is still waiting for Witonski's article to appear in Heritage's magazine. He writes to consultant George Berman of Devon Management Resources.
You will recall that last year, at your suggestion, The Tobacco Institute engaged Peter Witonski as a consultant to perform research on the social acceptability of smoking. He provided his report to us and was compensated, with the understanding that he was at liberty to adapt his report for publication.
He then prepared a manuscript which he told me was accepted by the editor of Policy Review. However, our inquiries to the Journal indicate that the manuscript is not final. Would it be possible for you to cover this loose end with Mr. Witonski?
1981 July 7: Berman replies a few days later saying:
Witonski says he made minor revisions to the manuscript, as requested by Policy Review, and has recently been advised that it will appear in the Fall issue. When I contacted the PR editor a few months ago, this is also what I was told.
There is no sign in the tobacco archives that his article was ever published — with, or without acknowledgement that it was commissioned by the Tobacco Institute. Witonski's name doesn't arise again in the archives correspondence until 1988.
1987 Aug: /E He has written a long letter to the head of RJ Reynolds Tobacco which is not in the archives. (see below)
1988 March 15: He is now a partner and director of the Intel Research Corporation (IRC) which is a small 4-man 'gung-ho' consulting firm trying to work for military, industrial and financial interests.
[Don't confuse this Intel with the chip maker — it is more likely linked to the CIA. The president, Chet Nagle, and the other partners in the IRC all have right-wing and Georgetown University Law School connections.]
Here he is writing on Intel Research Corporation letterhead to Dr GH Long, Chairman and CEO of RJ Reynolds Tobacco. He is offering his services as a consultant and project director.
As I noted in my long memo-cum-letter of last summer, the "Regulatory Watch" and your various other strategies are all well and good; but the industry needs to take the offensive.
On the subject of regulation, I recommend to you the work of Bob Lasagna that was commissioned by Ted Littlejohn for Pfizer several years ago. One could learn one or two things from the pharmaceutical industry in this area.
[Edward Littlejohn ran the science scam operations for Pfizer; some via the Manhattan Institute.
Bob Lasagna was a senior executive with Saatchi and Saachi advertising in Milan, Italy when he became campaign manager ('for free') heading Silvio Berlusconi's 1994 bid to become Italian Prime Minister. He then became Secretary for the Environment for six months until the government collapsed. Later he was Berlusconi's private press-promotion executive.]
I also recommend the extremely elegant studies produced by Murray Weidenbaum at Washington University; these studies form a kind of summa contra regulationibus.
Since the industry is not about to introduce a scientific breakthrough that will nullify the rantings of the anti-smoking lobby (unless it be RJR's smokeless cigarette), the offensive will have to be other than scientific. One can, to be sure, play games with public health statistics, which are notoriously unscientific — especially when it comes to smoking. But there are other ways of taking the offensive; ways that will allow us to side-step science and medicine. I should add that I have long wanted to take-on the public health industry which tends to be wrong and unscientific more often than it is right.
In my previous letter I suggested that we engage the anti-smoking lobby in a battle of ideas and values; that we avail ourselves of the vast body of pro-smoking literature that is already extant; that we exploit the intellectual community for allies in this struggle.
To be specific, I would propose that RJR form a pro-smokers' rights "think tank", consisting of leading economists, philosophers, political scientists and writers. In the old days, the industry employed actresses and baseball players as spokesmen; today it ought to engage thinkers capable of articulating the industry's case.
I am, as you know, an admirer of Mobil's op-ed advertisements: I would suggest to you that RJR would do well to contemplate a similar series of advertisements, although the RJR advertisements ought not to be anonymous as the Mobil pieces were.
RJR should commission various leading pro-smoking thinkers and writers to write about various aspects of this problem. Most of these op-ed advertisements would be serious and straightforward; but it would be great fun to employ a great humorist such as Kingsley Amis or Auboran Waugh to expose, say, Larry Hagman for the fatuous nincompoop he is.
[They did employ Auberon Waugh in their Libertad operations]
1988 Apr: /E Philip Morris is also circulating Witonski's ideas in a Private & Confidential Discussion paper "Not to be copied". The writer [probably Bill Murray] tells his readers:
The suggested plan of action for winning this war is:
- they need "decisive action now  we are losing far too many battles far too quickly."
- the "end game" could be just around the corner.
- The Economist magazine, once an ally and probably the most highly regarded business magazine in the world "put forward such venemous contempt for the tobacco industry" in an editorial on advertising freedoms.
- Defeat is contagious [Vietnam War is just over]. We could be looking at such a scenario in a year or two years' time.
- No response to health issues "suggests intellectual and even moral bankruptcy".
THE EXECUTION: Likely contributors would include such figures as Jean-Francois Revel, Auberon Waugh, Professor James Buchanan, William F. Buckley, the novelists Kingley Amis and Anthony Burgess, stars such as Tom Selleck and Michael Caine,etc.
- Use experts, scholars and commentators through third parties
- Imaginative ad campaigns (Follow PMI's lead)
- Have third parties organise seminars to attack epidemiology, politicization of health, advertising freedos, etc.
- Fortify and widen the range of coalitions to oppose both advertising and sponsorship bans.
- Stress WHO need to prioritise diseases other than tobacco
- Set up, through a reputable third party (we already know one which is willing and able), a scientific assessment bureau which would establish a bank of
experts to respond promptly and responsibly to attacks on our industry and other targeted industries, and effectively get those responses out to the media .
- Establish a small, but very selective, "brains trust" within PM companies to discuss and generate new ideas, new strategies and new programs on the corporate affairs front.
If we go ahead with the idea, the contacts, and coordination of copy and issues, would be handled by Peter Witonski, presently a consultant to PMI. At the moment he is preparing a preliminary assessment of the projects feasibility.
[See Some Reflections on Our Present Discontent - or Why We are Losing the Public Affairs War on Tobacco? (in Owen Smith, Secretary files - site G40) ]
1991 Feb 1: Peter Witonski [at ICR, 173 N Syracuse Avenue, Massapequa, NY 11758] is on the electronic mailing list of Stig Carlson, the European dirty-tricks coordinator for Philip Morris. He is promoting the newly published booklet "Other People's Tobacco Smoke."
Mary Pottorff [PM Corp. Affairs] wrote, "because of current litigation, copies should not be disseminated at the time in the following markets : Australia, Holland, Norway, Finland, Sweden and Denmark ."
[ICR is International Corporate Research. And since his wife Isabelle Witonski (art teacher) writes letters to the editor of The Farmingdale Post using the above address (in 1977), this is probably his home. It is listed as a "One bathroom home [which] has 1,368 square feet and was built in 1956."]
2009 Oct 26: ICR says that it is a subsidiary of the "Stakes Capital Ltd" brand.
On the 26th of October 2009, Stakes Capital Limited and International Corporate Research released the report 'Africa's endangered kings of capitalism'.
The report aimed to expose the possibility of Africa losing some of its top business founders sooner than expected. That spotlight revealed 57 entrepreneurs with companies on a capital market in Africa who had crossed the hallowed age of 60 and again impressed the need for succession planning within African corporations.
One of the nine giants is Anton Rupert who made his fortune with the Rembrandt and Rothmans Cigarette companies.
In what could be describe as a sequel to that report, researchers at the International Corporate Research (ICR) embarked on this research work, to recognize some late African business founders whose imprints are still indelible because of their corporate bequeathal to the continent. The climax is this report — Dead But Not Forgotten — which has nine (9) of these men of worth who by their corporations left remarkable imprints and worthy legacies.
2010: He is a founding partner of another of these shonky business-promoting international 'contact' firms, Academica Associates. These are often used as American intelligence front organisations, and many of the signs are here. See