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Philip Morris vs. the Patriot Act?
April 24, 2002 10:30 AM   Subscribe

Philip Morris vs. the Patriot Act? According to this article in The Nation, back in October the tobacco industry convinced the White House and Tom DeLay to arrange the omission of a specific section of the Patriot Act on money laundering. It had been requested by the DOJ, but it would have made some tobacco companies vulnerable to lawsuits they were facing from several foreign governments (the full story behind those lawsuits is here.) The smuggling charges are bad enough, but that the tobacco industry has a say in defining national security, if true, is infuriating. It also makes the enthusiasm with which the Patriot Act powers are being used to monitor consumers a galling double standard.
posted by homunculus (7 comments total)

 
"The tobacco companies didn't care that in striking that provision they might have opened the American people to greater risk of a terrorist attack and funding terrorist groups that might attack our own people," Congressman Henry Waxman, who has been a leading antagonist of the tobacco industry in Congress, commented in an interview last month.

I think it's time for the folks over at truth.org to put out a commercial spoofing those "buying drugs funds terrorists" ads, only substituting in "cigarettes" for "drugs".
posted by mkultra at 10:42 AM on April 24, 2002


Wait, you mean government policy in this country is dictated by wealthy corporations? How can this be?
posted by jjg at 10:53 AM on April 24, 2002


During a talk at a local college, a very entertaining rabble-rouser pointed out that post-9/11, the FAA expanded its list of mustn't-bring-'ems. His claimed the expanded list originally included matches and lighters (used in the only incident since 9/11), but that the tobacco industry lobbied to have them removed. I haven't found corroborating reports.
posted by delapohl at 11:38 AM on April 24, 2002


This country was built on smuggling, so to answer the question of the article (Is Smuggling Patriotic?), YES.

"Wait, you mean government policy in this country is dictated by wealthy corporations? How can this be?"

And as long as the federal government has so much power, anyone with money and influence will find some way to influence politics, regardless of any attempts at 'reform'.
posted by insomnyuk at 12:42 PM on April 24, 2002


And as long as the federal government has so much power, anyone with money and influence will find some way to influence politics, regardless of any attempts at 'reform'.

Uh-huh. Unlike state governments, which are completely free of such corruption. Why do you think corporations are some of the biggest proponents devolution-decentralization? Because it's easier to grease state governments, and because it's easier to play state gov'ts against each other in the race to the bottom.
posted by Ty Webb at 1:05 PM on April 24, 2002


I'm used to the fact that wealthy corporations direct much of government policy, but this is especially bad. Bush, DeLay and Oxley could have easily said 'no' to them on this one considering the circumstances and what was at stake. Some corruption is probably inevitable but there should be limits, especially where national security is concerned. But of course they will never catch any flack over this since most Americans don't seem to even want to know about stuff like this. Very depressing.
posted by homunculus at 3:22 PM on April 24, 2002


"especially bad"

I think we should raise our standards..
posted by Settle at 3:43 PM on April 24, 2002


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