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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

Libertad was a fake 'international human rights' organisation set up by Andrew Whist, the rising star in Philip Morris International's Corporate Affairs Division in New York.

The intention was to have what pretended to be a global society which could be used to support the concept of "Freedom of Commercial Speech" --the idea that anything that could legally be sold, could also be advertised. There was no such 'right' existing in an ethical ideology -- but it sounded plausible, and it worked as a slogan for politicians who wanted to believe (or at least to rationalise)>

Many years later, Andrew Whist was deposed during an Oklahoma court case and forced to admit that Libertad, along with the America-European Community Association (AECA) and the New York Society of International Affairs (NYSIA or NYS) were no more substantial than 'a space on a chair in his apartment.' These had been constructed as global organisations by employing in Europe and Australia a few libertarian politicians (promoting free market ideologies), and executives of organisations which had an interest in maintaining tobacco industry funding.

Andrew Whist and Andrew Whist's deposition
New York Society for International Affairs
American-European Community Association
Institute for International Health & Development
Hungarian-American Chamber of Commerce
Spain-US Chamber of Commerce Inc
US-Spain Council

Documents & Timeline

1986 Mar 4 - 7 Corporate Affairs Conference (This is essentially the same group as attended the Nov 1988 Boca Raton meeting (see below), but it was held two years earlier).

This corporate conference was more focussed on the problem of marketing and advertising bans around the world. It was attended by Rupert Murdoch, Geoffrey Bible and Hamish Maxwell partly to discuss Andrew Whist's global think-tank and pseudo-institutions (including Libertad later) program ... (Libertad began as a global 'Freedom to Advertise' scam).

Also in attendance were John Dollisson (who ran the Tobacco Institute in Australia - later Asia), Bryan Simpson (ex Australian who now ran INFOTAB the global lobby group in Brussels), Paul Dietrich (ex-Saturday Review editor, who was now their main WHO attack-dog) etc... Wendy Burrell, Andrew Falkiewicz, Donald Harris, Phillip Francis and Mary Pottorff from the PMI Corporate Affairs office were also involved, and Andrew Whist gave the introductory and concluding remarks.

Rupert Murdoch was accompanied by the president of News Limited, the CEO of 20th Century-Fox, the publisher of the New York Post and other key members of his staff. At this time Murdoch had not yet joined the Board of Philip Morris (he did this in Aug 1989), nor had his friendship extended to putting the top three PM executives onto the boards of News Corporation subsidiaries.

The major conference subjects were "The Press as an Ally" and "Defense of Advertising."
A few of the many who were present:

- William Webb Australian MD James S King, from Australia
- Danny Devitre, Asia Matthew Winokur, Hong Kong
- Cynthia von Maerestetten, Corp Affairs Canada Daniel Oxbery, ex Rothmans/PM in UK
- Murray Bring, PM Legal/Management NY Marc Goldberg, Latin America
- Michael Horst, VP Corp Affairs, EEC/Switzerland CE Salguaro, Iberia
- Walter Thoma, EEMA (East Europe, Middle East, Africa) Alex Buzzi, EEC (European Economic Community)
- Paul Maglione, Switzerland J Bernard Robinson, EEC
- David O Zelkowitz, SVP Issues Management, NY Martin DJ Buss, VP Planning, PMI NY
- Fred Dulles, lawyer from Brussels Bradley B Brooks, legal counsel PMI [1]

1988 Nov 29 Boca Raton Action Plan meeting Over a few days the main Philip Morris executives involved in political persuasion and subversion met at a resort in Florida over 4.5 days to discuss a plan to be controlled by the future CEO Geoff Bible. The main requirements had been under internal discussion from early 1988, and its aim was to attack the influence of the World Health and other United Nations organisations who were running anti-smoking programs. [2]

1988 Dec This document is a follow-up to the Boca Raton Action Plan put together by a team at Philip Morris, as a comprehensive way to counter the threat of bans on workplace and public smoking, The goal in 1988 was to stop the earmarking of special cigarette taxes as a way to buy-out sports sponsorship. Two Australian states (South Australia and then Victoria) had added a levy of 5% and 3% to each packet sale, and passed this money directly to sports organisations which agreed to forego future funding from the tobacco companies. This was a highly effective way to counter the industry's reliance of sports organisations as allies.

Libertad was to develop a strategy. And Philip Morris was to "Expand the implementation of Libertad beyond France and Australia so as to become a major influence in the formation of public policy." [3]

1990 Aug 21 The Public Affairs division of Philip Morris International in Lausanne, Switzerland [who ran Libertad Europe] has sent their program to the New York Corporate Affairs office. One of their proposal:

General program: Seven conferences (Paris, Rome, London, Frankfurt, Brusssls, Madrid and Helsinki) have raised the Libertad issue and made the association known to a few people in Europe. Advertising Associations have heard of Libertad, but do not know its program or intentions.

Potential seems high, as many regulations referring to the domino theory are progressively planned by EC and national authorities.

The existing structure and decision center is mostly US-based (D Morse and [[Andrew Whist|A Whist]), while Europe has a very reduced organization, with Lord Plumb (of Coleshill) as Chairman, no PM Corporate Affairs head, and the help of Leo Burnett (advertising and PR agency), which joined the association in early 1990. | ACTION PLAN '91: Libertad activity in Europe from now on will be handled by Geoffroy Giscard d'Estaing, who re-locates to PMI in New York.
[Geoffroy was the nephew of Valerie Giscard d'Estaing, ex President of France (1974-81) who was involved in numerous money, arms dealing and drug-dealing scandals. Later Valerie also made himself available to speak at AECA and NYSIA luncheons.]

The 1991 plans call for the hiring of Serge de Klebnikoff (formerly of the International Chamber of Commerce (Paris)) as an administrative director. Future activity will be more politically oriented, centered around the contacts of Libertad Europe's Chairman, Lord Plumb. [4]

1993 June 29 A private letter written by Whist (on the letterhead of Libertad) to Philip Morris disinformation executive, Ted Lattazino. It illustrates how little some Philip Morris insiders were told about the the links between Libertad, American-European Community Association and New York Society for International Affairs. They did have 'spokespersons' for Libertad but these were generally from associated entities, such as media space sales, advertising associations or media companies. It did, however, run conferences and held media briefings. Whist writes (mostly bullshit)

Libertad was incorporated some 7 years ago as a 501(c)3 not for profit organization. We faced considerable skepticism at the outset, finding it difficult to recruit suitable spokespersons. Over the years, we have learned to modify our approach somewhat, without losing the ability to be heard above the din created by the opposition. We no longer face problems in recruiting individuals of rank who are willing to speak up publicly against ad bans and restrictions.

By now, we have recruited 23 spokespersons; a persuasive and credible group. With the exception of participating editors and journalists, none are dependent on advertising for a living. Nor do they require or request fees to participate. Likewise, Board members do not receive fees. They are reimbursed for normal travel expenses only when attending meetings.

Libertad employs no staff or consultants, except where we go in cold and need to establish local media contacts. This was the case recently in Prague, where the Czech office of Burson-Marsteller did a first rate job in inviting and screening journalists who attended this, our 11th international meeting.

Normally, I am able to reach leading local politicians via the AECA (American-European Community Association) or The New York Society. Where I fail, Lord Henry Plumb steps in.

Lord Charles Henry Plumb of Coleshill, was a Tory PR man and chairman of Margaret Thatcher's European Democratic Union in the European Parliament. He was a friend of David Morse.

Libertad does not supplant activities undertaken by the media/advertising fraternities. However, the caliber of our participants lends moral, ethical and intellectual weight to efforts to derail ad bans and restrictions. The unusual mix of speakers also makes for lively events -- important when seeking media coverage. |

In practical terms, we have achieved the defeat of some existing and proposed ad bans -- on our own and in collaboration with other organizations. Members have also generated positive coverage in select media and the popular press -- here and abroad. [5]

1997 Joshua S Slavitt at Philip Morris was Senior Manager, Issues Planning and handled the generous company donations to both real and phantom think-tanks and institutes which supported the company and tobacco industry. (His associates in this brown paper-bag operation were Roy Marden, John R Dunham and Tracy Mihaus)

Slavitt reports many millions of dollars given to various think-tanks over the 1997 year with $100,000 for Libertad Inc. [6]

1997 Oct 21 The address of Libertad, 599 Lexington Avenue, New York, is the same as Whist's other sham societies New York Society for International Affairs (NYSIA) and one run by Paul Dietrich, the International Institute for Health and Development (IIHD) (taken over after David Morse died). However Philip Morris supposedly send the NYSIA a check of $150,000 [7]

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