There are things you don’t question. Some of these are the weather, day and night, the air, the existence of men and women, poor and rich, honest people and liars and so.

 

But that is not really right. Poor and rich people are not natural but the provisional result of a long lasting development. Men and women and day and night by the way too.

 

We don’t want to be too fundamental. We just want to state that you’re allowed to question our way of live even if some people may not like it. You can already guess who that is, above all the people who are profiting from our current economic system.

 

The Kapitalismustribunal takes the position of the lawyer for the losers of this system. For this it uses the form of a trial with an indictment, the collecting of evidence, testimonies, reports and everything else that belongs to a proper trial.

Using this link you can read the originals of the following excerpts. There you can also find the links for the evidence.

 

Here the tobacco industry is also charged. Here the text of the accusation:

 

Name of the defendant

Philip Morris International (PMI, Lausanne), British American Tobacco (BAT, London), Imperial Brands PLC (to Feb. 2016: Imperial Tobacco Group, Bristol)

Indictment

The consumption of tobacco and its production increase starvation and poverty, impede humane living conditions and lead to ecological damage such as deforestation or water pollution. People in the global south suffer especially from the consequences.

 

Tobacco cultivation

Worldwide tobacco is grown in 120 countries on 4.3 million hectares of land. Of the 7.5 million tons of raw tobacco over 90% originate from the south. Tobacco differs from other profitable crops like coffee and tea in three different aspects: 1. its drying requires large amounts of firewood which is supplied by deforestation.

Annually 200,000 hectares of forest are cleared worldwide for the production of tobacco. Of which 100,000 hectares are in the sub-Saharan Africa.

2. The tobacco plant is poisonous and causes nicotine intoxication of farmers and tobacco workers. During harvest season they absorb about 50 cigarettes through their skin.

3. The addictive products manufactured out of tobacco, above all cigarettes, are extremely damaging to the consumers health. In case of conventional use half of the consumers die due to the consequences of smoking. Comparable to other cash crops like for example cotton, tobacco is mostly grown on small farm structures in the global south. Multinational corporations exploit them by using adhesion contracts to take control of the production, seeds, fertilizers and pesticides while the risk of bad harvests stays with the producers.

Furthermore the tobacco cultivation is directly competing with the cultivation of food in countries such as Bangladesh or Malawi. Of the ten biggest tobacco producing countries six have a significant share of the population that is malnourished. If these six countries started cultivating food instead of tobacco more than 10 million people could be nourished. On the cropland used worldwide for the growing of tobacco, nourishment for almost 20 million people could be cultivated.

Tobacco consumption

Worldwide about a billion people smoke. 80% of these live in low and medium income countries. The consumption of tobacco is addictive and leads to sickness. Annually six million people die due to the consequences of smoking and 600,000 due to passive smoking. 80% of these deaths occur in low and medium income countries. That is more deaths than HIV/Aids, tuberculosis and malaria cause combined. Tobacco consumption is the only risk factor that can cause all kinds of non-contagious diseases: Lung diseases like COPD, heart and circulatory system diseases, cancer and diabetes. In addition the consumption of tobacco causes an increase in poverty and its impacts in the global south. Short term less money is available for food, health and education, due to the expenses of the cigarette addiction. This means that children have a worse diet, worse health care possibilities and little to no education. Long term the lack of good health leads to work absences and lower income, high costs for treatments and further losses of income due to the necessity of nursing by the families.

Furthermore the waste of the tobacco consumption in the form of cigarette butts and packages contribute to the worldwide plastic waste. Yearly the butts of about 4.5 trillion cigarettes are carelessly thrown away into the environment. The filters consist of badly degradable cellulose acetate (synthetic material) and apart from nicotine also contain toxins and heavy metals that end up in the environment and water circuits.

Tobacco industry

Germany is one of the most important sites for the tobacco industry.  Annually 220,000 tons of raw tobacco are imported to Germany and processed to cigarettes. With a yearly export of approximately 160 billion cigarettes Germany is the biggest exporter of cigarettes worldwide. All market dominating cigarette corporations have big sites here. Not only the accused. Philip Morris International’s second biggest European plant is located in Berlin, British American Tobacco has its worldwide biggest plant in Bayreuth and Imperial brands, the sister corporation of the Reemtsma cigarette factories has a plant in Langenhagen.

For centuries cigarette corporations have been trying to increase their profits with a product that is addictive and deathly. Formerly secrete documents belonging to the tobacco industry have shown, that the leaderships of the companies knowingly spread lies, discredit scientific research, infiltrate international organizations and undermine political decision-making-processes.

The tobacco industry uses all scopes available to them (given to the corporations by capitalism) to continually widen these scopes. They don’t just do this through direct lobbying in the parliament but also through purposeful public campaigns and organizations like for example Business Europe. In addition the tobacco industry uses bi- or multilateral trading agreements to develop new markets. A current example is the PMI’s lawsuit against Uruguay’s health laws in front of the international court of arbitration of the Worldbank on the basis of a bilateral investment and trading agreement between Switzerland and Uruguay. The accused companies are aware of these relationships.  But like typical for the logic of the capitalist system they value their profits more than the human rights.

 

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