Thursday, June 20, 2002

Big Tobacco Terror, part 2

Remember the ads, paid for with our tax dollars, telling us that buying drugs helped finance terror? Never mind that a vast majority of marijuana is grown in this country and Canada by farmers who've been driven out of business because of corporate welfare programs disguised as farm bills. Let's just look at cocaine, the majority of which comes from Columbian Drug Lords. In his story about big tobacco nicking the terror act, Mark Shapiro notes:
U.S. and Colombian law enforcement officials told me that the cigarette smugglers with whom the tobacco companies did business were actually engaged in the laundering of profits from drug sales in the United States.
Interesting. Since 1997, approximately $15 million dollars of tobacco money has gone to Republicans (and about $3 million to Democrats). Since the tobacco companies have made hundreds of millions laundering money by smuggling stogs, it's fair to say that their political bribes came from drug money. So, Bush accepts drug money, helps launder drug money, pressures Representatives to remove a clause from the patriot act that would make it harder to launder money, and -- well, it looks like Bush and the GOP are helping the terrorists! By Bush's definition, that makes him one.
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. — Rep. Henry Waxman
These comapnies talk big about merely being concerned with foreign liability problems. They can spin all they want, but the fact is they're protecting illegally obtained profits and their drug lord friends. And their political contributions got them the quid pro quo they needed: the big GOP players pounded little GOP Rep. Oxley from Ohio, and the provision was removed.
The Patriot Act provision would have trumped the revenue rule and provided clear legal standing to the plaintiffs in those lawsuits. But it was not to be. According to a congressional source close to the House-Senate negotiations, Oxley removed the provision from the bill at the behest of the White House and GOP whip Tom DeLay, under pressure from Big Tobacco.
Anyone else feel sick?

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