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drug war | media criticism

Three Billion Dollars of Dioxin-Contaminated Hogwash

Barely a day goes by that the Corporate Media do not bring us stories from the front-lines of the "smoking" war. Question is: Why do so many believe that the Corporatocracy is, or can be, a wholesome Consumer Advocate? This is a sort of guide to today's dispatches.

Newspapers on June 7 ran an AP story about the $3 Billion jury award to a sick smoker on grounds that Philip Morris was guilty of fraud, negligence and making a "defective product". N"P"R and others ran the same stuff.

* Article said that only one other person, a Florida man, ever collected money from the cig industry. This is very peculiar. Most of the mainstream media picked up on this point and have said similar things repeatedly over the years. Trouble is that a couple of years ago (5/19/98), many papers published the story of a California man whose survivors won all the way to U.S. Supreme Court...against Lorillard for its asbestos Kent filters (discontinued, of course, to make the product safer). Later, a Baltimore victim won, and was paid, for the same thing against the same company (parent company of Lorillard being Loews).

Why are these two victories against cigarette makers so boldly ignored? The stories were right there, after all, in the mainstream papers. Ombudsman at the Philadelphia Inquirer once said, well, those cases weren't about "smoking" but about asbestos... even though the
asbestos fibers got to victims' lungs by smoking Kent cigarettes. That's a subtle distinction indeed. Point is that the corporate media, corporate-serving public officials and others linked to industries involved in the MANY non-tobacco parts of cigarettes, do NOT want the focus to be diluted even a little bit by non-tobacco anything.... no matter if it's asbestos filters, fire-starting chemicals, dioxins, radiation (from phosphate tobacco fertilizers), pesticide residues galore or on and on.
The papers don't note the exceptions for the two victorious Kent suits...and the thought of using this PROVEN successful route to win against the cigarette cartel is not allowed to enter our heads.

* Funny (?) part of these stories is the complete avoidance of mentioning that everything the cigarette makers did (fraud, negligence, defective products, etc.) was done with 100% approval of government officials at all levels from all sorts of agencies who all violated their
sworn and paid duties to serve the public.

-- Fraud? It was and is okey doke to say and imply in advertising that the products are just tobacco...like what Native Americans used for about 10 Millennia. Far from it. Some may not necessarily have any tobacco at ALL! That "fine tobacco taste" may be 100% artificial. See US Patents, many from Philip Morris. [Search up Intellectual Property Network...IPN...on web.]

-- Defective Product? It was and is legal as pie to have known carcinogenic non- tobacco contaminants...and fire-starting incendiary chemicals...in the products. The "defects" were, and are, LEGAL!

-- Negligence? Not an atom of a typical cig is there by chance or accident....and every part of it was known by gov't regulators, facilitated by the government and even kept SECRET from the public by the government. (A 1984 law forbidding revealing cigarette additives is, insanely, STILL on the books!)

In other words, the cig gangsters did NOT function alone in a vacuum but with full knowledge, cooperation and complicity of government officials who worked WITH and FOR the industry and grossly against the public welfare...not to mention their involvement in what can only be called Mass-Murder. Too strong a phrase?

* We all like to see Big Cig seem to take a hit...but, as far as can be determined from news stories, no efforts are being made to assure that there are unbiased juries OR unbiased judges. Do they have religious bias? Do they have economic links to liability-dodging cig adulterants,
insuring, investing or advertising firms? Have they internalized the corporate media "tobacco" story...the position of the prosecution? Do they simply not like smoking or smokers? If we don't mind biased juries and judges when we happen to not like the perpetrator...then.. inevitably...we don't mind miscarriages of justice. (This identical syndrome applies to the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal, immigrants, those caught up in the "drug war", etc.)

Perhaps that's the trend. After all, scarce few people seem to mind that those who THINK and are still TOLD they are smoking tobacco (unless they use organic tobacco) are unknowingly also getting HIGH doses of dioxin plus a host of other added toxins and carcinogens...and addiction-enhancing substances to get them to smoke the spiked concoctions all the more. If it's not an injustice to secretly poison millions of people with some of the worst industrial substances on the planet (and then blame a virtually untested natural plant for the crime), nothing is. The corruption of medicine and science represented in
this one area ("smoking"...and chlorine/dioxin) is astonishing and pretty scary in its implications. For just one thing, honest, health-conscious people who join the corporate form of "anti smoking" are as unwittingly
serving the chlorine/dioxin industry (and corporate-allied gov't regulators) as average smokers are unwittingly being hit with cell-damaging, immune-suppressing, fetal-damaging, nervous-system damaging, pregnancy-disrupting, hormone-disrupting, cancer-promoting levels of dioxin from industry-created chlorine.

The patronizing admonition to "quit smoking" doesn't begin to solve past, present or future problems or to apply justice to the situation. Might as well tell shooting victims to quit standing in the way of bullets. The advice, and civil and criminal laws, must focus on the shooters... and on those who put principles of informed consent aside while adding known industrial poisons to products of mass consumption.