Saturday, August 19, 2006

Lies, damned lies, and Big Tobacco

WaPo: "A federal judge ruled [on Thursday] that tobacco companies have violated civil racketeering laws, concluding that cigarette makers conspired for decades to deceive the public about the dangers of their product and ordering the companies to make landmark changes in the way cigarettes are marketed."

Well done, U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler.

Unfortunately, Kessler "could not impose billions of dollars in penalties that had been sought by the Justice Department in its civil racketeering suit against the eight defendant tobacco companies," but this is still a major step towards finally holding Big Tobacco fully responsible for what it's done to the American people -- and indeed to people all around the world. Surely this is a crime against humanity. Accountability ought to come at a massive cost to the perpetrators of this deception.

Kessler: "In short, defendants have marketed and sold their lethal product with zeal, with deception, with a single-minded focus on their financial success, and without regard for the human tragedy or social costs that success exacted."

Big Tobacco is a huge racketeering ring. More than that, it's a killer.

We know the truth. Now it's time for retribution.

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For more, see Michael Mann's great film The Insider, with Al Pacino as 60 Minutes producer Lowell Bergman and Russell Crowe as tobacco executive Jeffrey Wigand. It's one of my favourite films of all time and certainly one of the best American films of the past 25 years. It's truly exceptional.

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