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Tobacco spies rival Hollywood

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Issue 1709

Inside the system

Tobacco spies rival Hollywood

THE DIRTY tricks of the giant tobacco firms were exposed in the recent Al Pacino film The Insider. Now the United Nations’ World Health Organisation (WHO) has blown the whistle on secret plotting by the tobacco industry to rival the Hollywood film. A WHO report published last week says the tobacco industry has been waging a secret war against the organisation’s efforts to combat smoking.

It says the tobacco industry tried to discredit the WHO and cut its budget, and hired “independent experts” to twist research into the harmful effects of smoking. Tobacco companies secretly placed a network of spies at the WHO who monitored meetings and got their hands on confidential documents.

“The tobacco companies’ own documents show that they viewed the WHO as one of their foremost enemies,” says the report. “That top executives of tobacco companies sat together to design and set in motion elaborate strategies to subvert a public health organisation is unacceptable and must be condemned.”

Roma prison outrage

THE government’s witch-hunting of asylum seekers has resulted in savage prison sentences for pregnant teenagers. The Howard League for Penal Reform has exposed how young Roma Gypsy women, who are either pregnant or have young babies, have been thrown in jail.

Two young women, aged just 13 and 14, were locked up for minor offences last week. The two are believed to be refugees from Bosnia. Another Roma girl, aged 15, was also locked up in Northamptonshire last week. All three have been jailed under the government’s new detention orders.

THE London Eye or Millennium Wheel has proven to be a far more popular attraction than the disastrous Dome. Yet earlier this year Inside the System reported how the owner of the Eye, British Airways (BA), favoured corporate customers, encouraging them to book “exclusive capsules”.

Now BA has gone one step further. In a secret decision made last month it decided to scrap its popular night rides altogether in order to hire out the Eye exclusively to big firms. From 10 September the paying public will be barred from taking such evening trips.

INSIDE the System readers will be pleased to hear that special effort went into making the birthday cake for the Queen Mother last week. The huge cake weighed 40 pounds and took ten weeks to make. And the icing? It was made of gin and gold powder!

City glamour

ARE YOU struggling to juggle your life between a crappy job and looking after your children? Are you sick of all those articles that tell us women’s oppression is a thing of the past?

Never fear-high-flying women bankers, accountants, management consultants and City women are striking a blow for liberation. There’s a new breed of “high maintenance” women in the City-dubbed “Glamazons”-according to the Financial Times magazine, the Business.

“She sees lavishing time and money on her appearance not as an indulgence, but as a need and a right,” reports the magazine. Apparently “nail bars” are now the new “in” thing in the City, where it is not unusual to spend over 100 getting your nails right.

And at shops like Space NK and Sephora you can buy face cream, Crme de la Mer, at a very reasonable 115 for a 60 ml jar. You can rent a “beauty parlour night” to impress your colleagues at home, or do some “corporate bonding” in one of the “business day spas” springing up in the City. Never mind that the average person in Britain spends just over 38 a year on all their skincare and make-up.

Bush Barbie

YOU’LL BE interested to see how the US Republican Party, which had its convention last week, sees its ideal woman-she’s Barbie doll! Last week’s convention was a festival of corporate greed.

So the Mattel Corporation released convention Barbie dolls, sporting stylish pearl buttoned suits, pearl earrings, a convention pass and red high heels. The convention Barbie was given in a gift bag to delegates, who also received a package of elephant-shaped Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, a stuffed toy elephant and other “goodies”.

“I hope that the message-if a doll could have a message-is that women do represent the Republican Party and do represent politics, and more of them should enter politics,” said Jan Larimer, co-chair of the convention.

Record stupidity

THE DAILY Record newspaper led the fight to keep the anti-gay Section 28 in Scotland. But the Scottish Parliament went ahead and abolished the bigoted law. Now the normally Labour-supporting paper, along with other pro Section 28 bigots, is up in arms about a new book, Heather Has Two Mommies.

They are trying to use the book to claim that the repeal of Section 28 has led to “a flood of gay and lesbian propaganda”. Scottish Tory education spokesman Brian Monteith fumed, “Parents will be truly horrified.”

But perhaps the anti-gay campaigners have picked the wrong target. The book is a sensible and sensitive story about a young girl who is brought up by a lesbian couple. The worst thing the Record can find to say about it is to quote a playgroup leader telling children, “Each family is special.”

Things they say

“THERE IS nothing overtly right wing about Hague or his supporters.”

  • Tory IVAN MASSOW, December 1999

“THE SAD truth is that, under William, the Tories have become less compassionate, more intolerant and, frankly, just plain nasty.”

  • New Labour IVAN MASSOW, August 2000

“OPEN heart surgery.”

  • Barclays Bank chief executive MATT BARRETT describing making 4,200 workers redundant despite the fact that the bank doubled profits to 1.8 billion in the first half of this year

“HE was successful in his appeal and technically has no convictions against him. Therefore he will receive outstanding salary and pension contributions from when he was in prison.”

  • ARMY SPOKESPERSON explaining why Corporal Lee Clegg, who was convicted for shooting two Catholic teenagers dead in Northern Ireland, is to get 25,000 for wages he lost when he was in jail

“WHAT WE are seeing is a gross abuse of human rights.”

  • LAWYER for Indonesia’s former dictator General Suharto on the announcement that the butcher will be charged with corruption

“DURING THE Gulf War, then president George Bush was grateful for the support of a leading Democratic senator whose vote in favour of military action helped build the public case for the war.”

  • FINANCIAL TIMES describing US Democrat candidate Al Gore’s running mate, Joseph Lieberman

“SHE DOES have a strict line on law and order, as does the party.”

  • TORY SPOKESPERSON after shadow home secretary Ann Widdecombe was fined for speeding

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