By author Michael J. McFadden.
The Conference was a great success! We had participants from Pennsylvania and California, and from Wales, Scotland, England, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, Holland, France, and perhaps one or two other countries I’ve lost track of.
The facility was impressive and sported high tech video cameras that automatically zoomed in on people as they spoke. The courtyard outside was reserved for our breaks and was surrounded by towers from, I believe, the 16th century. The tea and coffee service was superb… although the tray of crackers left a bit to be desired… at least to my tastes (There were NO chocolate cookies!) The room was perfect: we had planned to be comfortable with anywhere from 25 to 100 and we ended up with about 50 which fit comfortably and allowed for inter-session discussions which were productive without being overwhelming!
From 8:30 to 9:30 conference participants were warmly welcomed by the Chairman of TICAP, John Gray. We started up promptly at 9:30 with Mr. Maessen delivering the Welcome Address with a PowerPoint presentation.
Michael Marlow presented an incredibly detailed presentation also assisted by PowerPoint on the economic effects of bans and covered some of the twistings and turnings of antismoking propagandists with regard to the after-ban health claims they like to conjure up with cherry picked studies.
Patrick Basham followed with a carefully prepared spoken presentation showing the dangers ahead for the hospitality industry after their fall to the smoking bans and demonstrating why this particular fight is so important to wider freedoms everywhere.
Maryetta Ables was faced with the daunting task of trying to summarize a detailed 21 page report on threat of UN and WHO “advisors” as they relate to individual governments that seem to have been all too willing to give up claims to fundamental principles of sovereignty in signing the FCTC (Framework Convention on Tobacco Control) treaty. While they would never have signed away such rights on issues like arms control or fundamental human freedoms, the “tobacco issue” appeared harmless enough to them that they opened their doors to a future where many of them may be sadly surprised. Maryetta boiled her 21 pages down to a well-organized extemporaneous presentation that included having a few conference participants come up front to link arms in various positions showing the growing influence of international interests over national directions.
We had a welcome unscheduled addition to the conference after Maryetta in the person of Gawain Towler, press officer of UKIP, who offered his strong support and belief that our work will pay off legislatures around the world.
Their presentations were followed by a lively question and answer session and then a lunch break at a wonderful outdoor cafe where we were all trying to order in different languages while bicyclists pedalled by. While it’s a bit uncertain whether we all got what was ordered, everyone seemed happy when we arrived back at the conference.
The afternoon session started out with a presentation by a Dutch MP of the VVD, Halbe Zijlstra, a spokesman for their Public Health and a non-smoker who nonetheless sees the threat to our freedoms as being worthy of more concern than whatever slight or imaginary threat may be posed by wisps of smoke in businesses that desire to allow smoking on their premises.
Zijlstra was warmly applauded and was then followed by a 20 minute pre-recorded video by Dave Goerlitz, “The Winston Man” who once worked for Big Tobacco, then worked for the Antis, and then left the Antis when he got disgusted with their interest in money more than the kids he was trying to communicate with.
Dave had been hit by debris from a truck in a highway accident early this year and had just had an unexpected operation that kept him from coming to the conference but he made a noble effort to boil his ideas down into a video presentation and I believe he was successful and appreciated.
Dave was followed by a detailed presentation from Kamal Chaouachi on how the hookah culture has been unjustly attacked and on the corruption of science by Anti-smokers hell-bent on stamping out ALL forms of smoking… even if they have to discredit legitimate research and researchers while creating brand new excuses to lump hookah smoking in with their arch-enemy of cigarette smoking.
Kamal was followed by myself with another PowerPoint presentation with my main thrust being the need to hit the Prohibitionists at their weakest point: their lies.
After a break we came back for a final Q&A session chaired quite ably and helpfully (as was the first) by author-historian Christopher Snowdon. Some interesting questions were asked and answered and several of the day’s presenters added a bit to their formal presentations.
As the day’s session ended Maryetta Ables gave a warm eulogy for Gian Turci, remembering his history and efforts, perfectly capped by his success in bringing about the creation of TICAP and the first TICAP conference held last year in Brussels. Gian worked tirelessly for no gain in any personal sense at all other than satisfaction in knowing that he was fighting against something that was huge and was wrong. He was a Don Quixote fighting against truly dark windmills that were fuelled not by breezes but by immense amounts of money, and TICAP is carrying on his vision in our fights around the world!
After the formal conference we retreated to one of The Hague’s “Dens of Defiance” where participants were able to exchange thoughts and camaraderie in a more informal atmosphere well into the evening.
To the future… We have the truth and the facts on our side, while the power of the antismoking industry is based only on money and lies. We CAN beat them! Keep on fighting!
Michael J. McFadden
Author of “Dissecting Antismokers’ Brains”
Mid-Atlantic Director, Citizens Freedom Alliance
Board of Directors, The International Coalition Against Prohibition
Hat Tip to Smoke Screens: The Truth about Tobacco author Rich White.