WhiteCoats (SGDoc 1988)
Tobacco industry Smoking Gun documents
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Philip Morris 'WhiteCoats' scam outline
On 17 February 1988 Philip Morris staff, supported by lawyer David Remes of Covington & Burling, the main lawyers for the Tobacco Institute in the USA held a meeting in London (at the Rothmans headquarters in Mayfair) on Encironmental Tobbaco Smoke. Representatives of British-American Tobacco (BAT) Sharon Boyse (as a substitute for Dr Raymond E Thornton) attended, along with E Williams (who may be the lawyer Edward Bennet Williams), Rothmans representatives F Brown and B Prost; together with N Whittaker of Imperial Tobacco, and AJ Helms of Gallaher.
PM's key scientific dissembler from Switzerland, Helmut Gaisch, and Daniel Oxberry the manager of Corporate Affairs for Philip Morris in the UK were also present (He was Andrew Whist's point-man in Europe), along with George B Leslie of the consulting company Bioassay Ltd. who had already been contracted to help run the operation.
This 5 page document is the report of Sharon Boyse, the manager of Scientific Issues at BAT, to superior Ray Thornton and a group of BAT executives and legal advisors. Boyse was always reluctant to praise the Americans at Philip Morris, but she always eventually went along with their scams.
See original document: Note on a special meeting of the UK Industry on Environmental Tobacco Smoke, London, February 17th, 1988
- There are 12 copies of this note in the tobacco archives.
See also 
Note on a special meeting of the UK Industry on Environmental Tobacco Smoke, London, February 17th, 1988
A list of potential scientists who could be contacted in the UK was produced.
Because of the heavy financial burden, Philip Morris are inviting other companies to join them in these activities to whatever extent individual companies deem to be appropriate. [SNIP]
Because of the heavy financial burden, Philip Morris are inviting other companies to join them in these activites …. The aim of the meeting was for Philip Morris to present to this industry their global strategy on environmental tobacco smoke and how they propose to apply it to the UK.
Dr Gaisch said that their strategy on ETS had been established in the USA at a meeting between Philip Morris and Covington and Burling, the lawyers acting for the Tobacco Institute of the USA. At a later date RJ Reynolds were also brought in to support some of their US activities, one of these being the Center for Indoor Air Research (CIAR)
The Philip Morris philosophy of ETS was presented. This appeared to revolve around the selection, in all possible countries, of a group of scientists either to critically review the scientific literature on ETS to maintain controversy, or to carry out research on ETS.
In each country a group of scientists would be carefully selected, and organised by a national coordinating scientist. [SNIP]
The consultants should, ideally, according to Philip Morris, be European scientists who have had no previous association with tobacco companies and who have no previous record on the primary issues, which might (according to [lawyer] Remes) lead to problems of attribution.
The mechanism by which they identify their consultants is as follows:-
Philip Morris then expect the group of scientists to operate within the confines of decisions taken by PM scientists to determine the general direction of research, which apparently would then be 'filtered' by lawyers to eliminate areas of sensitivity.
Their idea is that the groups of scientists should be able to produce research or stimulate controversy in such a way that public affairs people in the relevant countries would be able to make use of -- or market the information. The later emphasis was on propaganda rather than the creation of fake research. However it is very obvious that Boyse, her executives and lawyers at BAT were quite OK in supporting such faked-up research, and they fully expected this to be a service provided by these contracted 'independent' scientists.
The scientists would not necessarily be expected to act as spokesmen for the industry, but could be if they were prepared to do so.
The note goes on to discuss the importance of Professor Roger Perry of Imperial College, London, who was a valued worker for the tobacco industry and deserved to receive more support from the UK Tobacco Advisory Council (TAC). If TAC didn't continue to support him financially, Philip Morris would.
It also provides a badly-spelled list (corrected and supplemented) of potential consultants which had been prepared for PM by George Leslie. (This is probably recreated from hand-written notes. She was correct with those well-known, but otherwise appears to be confused about name-spelling)
In addition Rothmans suggested:-
Not only are Philip Morris active in the US (via John Rupp of Covington & Burling) and the UK and Europe (via David Remes), but other Covington & Burling lawyers have also been commissioned to coordinate PM's ETS activities in the Far East, Australia, South America, Central America, and Spain.
Although the industry is in great need of concerted effort and action in the ETS area, the detailed strategy of Philip Morris leaves something to be desired. The excessive involvement of external lawyers at this very basic scientific level is questionable and, in Europe at least, is likely to frighten off a number of scientists who might otherwise be prepared to talk to the industry. Also, the rather oblique initial approach may appear to be somewhat less than honest to many scientists.
Boyse sums up:
It must be appreciated that Philip Morris are putting vast amounts of funding into these projects: not only is directly funding large numbers of research projects all over the world, but in attempting to coordinate and pay so many scientists on an international basis to keep the ETS controversy alive. It is generally felt that this kind of activity is already giving them a marketing and public affairs advantage, especially in countries in which, until recently, they have played a rather low profile.
The memo was sent to the six members of the BAT Scientific Research Group.