Secrets and Lies: The Anatomy of an Anti-environmental PR Campaign by Nicky Hager

Where to start with this book? Now, being 8 years old or so, it makes for an interesting at-the-time analysis of what happened. In short: how a New Zealand government owned enterprise called Timberlands, that was involved with logging old growth forest and used a public relations company to get its way. The evidence is through what’s called “The Timberland Papers”, a detailed history of the whole dirty tricks campaign leaked from the inside. Each chapter covers the same time frame of several years, but through a different topic, such as how the media is manipulated, fake grassroots organisations, using environmental groups to greenwash Timberland’s logging methods. It makes for a sad read really. The book is heavy with examples and evidence, both presented within the narrative, and at the end of the book. There are also appendices to give more information.

The down side of the book, it was being written as the end of the events were unfolding, so there’s no end to the story. Well, there is an end, but it’s not in the book.

It’s worth reading just to see how the tricks were planned and executed. The book provides a useful analysis for those in the environmental movement who may be fighting against the same kind of dirty tricks campaign. And for the employee on what to do if your company is one of those perpetrating the lies.

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