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The project to create a European version ofTASSC and Steve Milloy's [1]] web site, grew out of the success of the tobacco industry's Heidelberg Appeal operation in Europe, which had gained enormous media attention during the Rio Earth Summit in 1992.

In tobacco circles, this project was sometimes known as the EuroScience operation, and in late 1994 it gave way to the European Science and Environment Forum run by Roger Bate and funded by the tobacco industry through the Institute for Economic Affairs.

A secondary aim of Euro-TASSC was to promote the tobacco-funded Good Epidemiological Practices (GEP) principles as "sound science" and to draft a "GEP European Charter" that could be sold to politicians as essential regulatory guidelines.


Burson-Marsteller first proposed the idea of a Euro-TASSC to Philip Morris. However TASSC in the USA had been founded and run for Philip Morris by their rival PR firm APCO [2] and so this generated a bitter turf war between B-M and APCO. They were later forced to cooperate. [3].

The idea was to create a "sound science" promotional association which would enlist European scientists, yet remain under the control of the PR operators and lobbyists. This organisation would then utilise the membership list of scientists in support of their client's business interests. Of key importance was to design and promote the organisation as a "grassroots" association of scientists who wanted to maintain the highest scientific standards in the science used by governments for health and environmental regulation.

To give the organisation some semblance of credibility, Euro-TASSC aimed to enlist some of the tobacco industry's own science-for-sale lobbyists together with some genuine (but gullible) scientists. Experience with TASSC in the USA showed that these projects could operate behind a powerless "Advisory Board" of well-known scientific names: this is how both Milloy's TASSC and Elizabeth Whelan's American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) worked in Washington DC. Control was kept in the hands of the owner/operators, the PR companies and their corporate funders.

APCO had, at this time, been sold off by Philip Morris's law firm (Arnold & Porter) to the global PR/Advertising firm GCI/Grey advertising. However it continued to operate as an independent lobby shop specialising in "grassroots" (ie astroturf) activities ... those involving fake organisations and/or deceptive practices.

The value to Philip Morris was that TASSC's anti-science/anti-regulation activities were now two- or three-steps removed from the company's funding. When other industries were recruited by the PR agencies in support of this "sound science" project, the ability to trace control back to the tobacco industry was further diluted, and the financial burden was partly offset.

To kick off Euro-TASSC, a meeting of 20 "core scientists" was being organised in Europe (Germany) for October 1994. This would involved a number of science-for-sale operators from the USA, some general science-lobbyists, and a few genuine scientists from Europe who were advocates of higher scientific standards. TASSC was to host the meeting, and the operation would be run jointly by Burson-Marsteller and APCO. [4]

Some of the European scientists in their lists were known to have strong tobacco industry connections (many were part of Philip Morris's WhiteCoat Project), while others were independent academics. Some of these were European associates of the American TASSC (many worked part-time as professional scientific witnesses, consultants and lobbyists), and some were known as friends of major corporations by Covington & Burling (the combined tobacco industry's main legal/lobby firm).

The key to these lists was to keep the balance of participants favourable to the real objectives of the meeting, so the namesw were widely circulated in the tobacco industry and carefully vetted before approval. Not all were known tobacco scientists, by any means. However to ensure the outcome, the final resolution was drafted for the "Sound Science Coalition" meeting before the participants were even selected. [[5]]

Eventually Philip Morris's plans were usurped by a proposal from Lord Harris of High Cross (who ran the IEA and FOREST) that the European Science and Environment Forum be established under the control of British-American Tobacco (BAT). Steve Milloy then propose to BAT that he run European on-line junk-science operations for them from his Washington office. [6].

Additional Reading

  • APCO Slide Presentation to tobacco industry [7]
  • APCO program outline [8]