From SourceWatch
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Clarifying the CEHHT-IAPAG-SWT relationship.
CEHHTThe Center for Environmental Health & Human Toxicology was legally a division of Georgetown University's Department of Pharmacology. It was established at the university by pharmacologist Prof. Sorell Schwartz and a respiratory medicine lecturer Prof. Philip Witorsch. The day-today control of the organisation was left in the hands of the Pharmacology Department's, Dr Nancy Balter. It is important to realise that while this organisation was used to launder a wide variety of surreptitious payments to a number of Georgetown University academics, it was formally linked to the university and controlled by the scientists themselves.
IAPAGIndoor Air Pollution Advisory Group was established by tobacco lawyer John Rupp of Covington & Burling (C&B) for the Tobacco Institute and Philip Morris. IAPAG was created before the CEHHT, and the control of its agenda was divided between the industry-lawyers and the group of academics who used this vehicle as a way to launder tobacco industry payments (mainly for providing 'independent witness services'). It's focus, therefore, was entirely on helping the tobacco industry counter the health problems associated with tobacco smoke; while the CEHHT worked happily in other industries also.
  IAPAG utilised the Georgetown University's mainframe computer (then an expensive rarity) to maintain a database on research into both active and passive smoking. The members were then paid to contribute criticisms of any significant health-studies, and these were then used in courts or hearings to counter the science.
  IAPAG pretended to be a legitimate scientific association of environmental scientists. It was therefore open to cash-strapped members who were academics or scientific lobbyist from outside Georgetown Uni. IAPAG was paid both as an organised group (to run conferences, etc.) and also to act as a channel for payments made to individual members.
SWT Scientific Witness Team. Georgetown University probably never comprehended that it housed the tobacco industry's organisational structure for providing so-called 'independent scientists' as witnesses. They were available to provide the industry with a defence against smoking restrictions, and to help dismiss health damage claims in court cases. Their address was nominally at the University, and if questioned, they could claim to be members if IAPAG or even CEHHT. These lackeys were open to dealing with the media, whereas IAPAG members preferred not to appear in daylight.   SWT began in 1988 as a four-man team led by Larry Holcomb. It was projected as a flying-squad of experts who could drop in on a local ordinance hearing on workplace smoking bans, and provide counter-evidence. They were trained by IAPAG and had access to their database. IAPAG provided regular sessions of instruction so they vaguely understood what they read and could use the right words of criticism in front of a jury. Eventually the SWT numbered a couple of dozen. This operation, of course, was fully under the control of the tobacco lawyers.
The connection between SWT and the CEHHT was simply that two staff members, Jan Cook and Dee Herndon were paid to act as contacts and fronts for the group (as they did also for IAPAG). The real work, of course, was done by Tobacco Institute staff and the C&B lawyers. It's probably no coincidence that Glenn Herndon ("brother/husband"?) ran the local Smoker's Rights Alliance and was also president President of the Great American Smokers' Club