Document Retention Program

From SourceWatch
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Document Retention Program was a Trumpian-inversion, euphemistically labelled tobacco industry program for the systematic culling of tobacco industry files, employed in all the major cigarette companies and tobacco institutes in all the major companies.

It was based in the individual companies, each doing their own culling, from the mid 1980s until about 1994, when it became apparent to all that the Master Settlement Agreement being negotiated with the US State Attorneys-Generals and the Clinton Administration, would include demands that company files be open for inspection. The companies then made a joint effort to destroy incriminating document.

The main international program appears to have been run by BATUS/BATCo lawyer, David A Schechter [aka in the files "DA Schecter] [1], with the help of Nicholas Cannar (lawyer) and Kay Comer (culling and destruction trainer). [NOTE: Kay Comer also went under the name Alison Kay Kinnard]

In the Australian Rolah McCabe case Justice Eames said in hs judgement: I have no doubt that the Document Retention Policy which was put in place did have some quite legitimate management and administrative purposes and benefits, and the documents contained much material relevant to such functions. [2]

I am, however, entirely satisfied that the primary purpose of the development of the new policy in 1985 and subsequently was to provide a means of destroying damaging documents under the cover of an apparently innocent house-keeping arrangement.

When regard is had to the background material relating to the origins of the new policy, and the critical role played by litigation lawyers in its development and implementation, it is clear that the post-1985 policy documents reflect the acute consciousness of their authors (and explain their attempts to disguise the fact) that the Document Retention Policy was primarily directed towards the risks of litigation.

The tobacco industry's main underhand law firm, Shook Hardy & Bacon and Lovell White & King were also involved in the deliberate destruction of incriminating files. [3] [4]