Hijacks Global Health!
February 12, 2003
Essential Action brought out its 10+ foot high "U.S. Pack of Lies" prop, complete with four gigantic cigarettes labelled "Weapon of Mass Destruction", "U.S. Hijacks Global Health", "U.S.: Stop Fronting for Big Tobacco" and "Tommy T: Tobacco or Health?" For links to photos and more information, see below!
EARLY MORNING LEAFLETTING AT DHHS
Essential Action arrived at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services bright and early at 7:30am to distribute flyers about the noon rally to employees coming to work. The flyers featured photos of DHHS Secretary Tommy Thompson, President George Bush and the infamous photo of the seven tobacco company executives lying under oath, and the text "Think the U.S. is Opposed to Weapons of Mass Destruction? Think Again...The U.S. Fronts for One of the Greatest Purveyors of WOMD: BIG TOBACCO." Within an hour, our 150 flyers were all gone. View the flyer: HTML, Word - page 1, page 2
We also passed out color postcards, courtesy the San Francisco Tobacco Free Coalition, with the text ""It's a lot easier to sell cigarettes around the world when you have the U.S. government on your team," featuring George Bush tipping his cowboy hat. To view the postcard at www.stopglobaltobacco.org [click on "Postcards (PDF)"]
About 25 people attended the rally itself -- a great turnout for DC, particularly given the out-of-the-way location and bitter cold and windy weather conditions. We set up our large "U.S. Pack of Lies" prop in view of both the U.S. Capitol and U.S. Department of Human Services building and sign. Several reporters came, including someone from National Public Radio, who taped the entire rally.
began with a picket line and some spirited chants decrying the pro-tobacco
positions of the U.S. delegation to the FCTC. Read
Infact organizer, Diana Silbergeld, started by relating a telephone conversation she had had that morning with Kenneth Bernard, Assistant Surgeon General and chair of the U.S. delegation to the FCTC. Mr. Bernard expressed deep frustration over the hundreds of phone calls, emails, and letters he has been receiving (great job everyone!). Needless to say, Mr. Bernard turned down Diana's invitation to come to our rally!
GPTC Coordinator Anna White then spoke about tobacco's incredible global toll, a toll that the World Health Organization projects will rise to over 10 million deaths annually by 2030 -- the equivalent of 95 jet planes full of passengers crashing each and every day of the year. She emphasized the irony of the Bush Administration's failure to properly address these "weapons of mass destruction."
Next, a statement
from American Lung Association was read by Geetha Veliah, Program
Manager of Tobacco Control.
by Moka Pantages of the Charles County Maryland Youth Movement Against
Tobacco Use. Moka is a new GPTC participant!
Statements of solidarity from GPTC participants around the world were also read at the rally:
PHOTOS OF DEMONSTRATION
"Pack of Lies" prop & giant cigarettes in front of U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services
"It's a lot easier to sell cigarettes around the world when you have
the U.S. government on your team" (features photo of Bush tipping
his cowboy hat) in front of DHHS sign
"U.S. & Phillip Morris - Stop the Killing!"
with U.S. Capitol in the background
"Whose Side Are You On - Big Tobacco or Public Health?"
(features photo of George Bush)
"World's #1 Marlboro Man" (features photo of Bush tipping
CONTENTS OF INFACT PRESS PACKET
from Rep. Henry Waxman (CA) and Senator Richard Durbin (IL) to President
Bush, decrying the U.S. government's efforts support Big Tobacco's
global expansion. The letter addresses: 1) Trade negotiations that benefit
tobacco companies. 2) Market assistance to tobacco companies. 3) Framework
Convention on Tobacco Control. 4) Smuggling.
Report "Cowboy Diplomacy: How the U.S. Undermines International Environmental,
Human Rights, Disarmament and Health Agreements"
retreat extinguishes tough global-smoking limits
Should Lead Efforts to Protect Global Health or Get Out of the Way As
Final Negotiations Begin on Tobacco Treaty (Feb. 17-28)
official rips White House on tobacco treaty
Accused of Catering to Big Tobacco on Global Treaty