Thursday, March 31, 2011

NYTimes Looks into the "Influence Industry" and Its Work for Indonesian Paper Companies

The NYTimes is reporting today in the first mainstream article on an issue that the Paper Planet has been following for some time.  The article details how the Indonesian paper industry is using the Tea Party to influence the U.S government, including through groups like the Institute for Liberty run by Andrew Langer.  A paper industry blogger had earlier this year dubbed it, "red-white-and-bluewashing."

"a Tea Party group in the United States, the Institute for Liberty, has vigorously defended the freedom of a giant Indonesian paper company to sell its wares to Americans without paying tariffs. The institute set up Web sites, published reports and organized a petition drive attacking American businesses, unions and environmentalists critical of the company, Asia Pulp & Paper."
The article goes on to discuss where the funding for sudden efforts to advocate for issues important to Indonesian paper companies has come from, but because of their ability to hide the source, and to plead ignorance because they money came through a PR firm or some other third party, they can deny any direct connection to Asia Pulp & Paper.  
"Mr. Langer would not say who financed his Indonesian paper initiative. But his sudden interest in the issue coincided with a public relations push by Asia Pulp & Paper. And the institute’s work is remarkably similar to that produced by one of the company’s consultants, a former Australian diplomat named Alan Oxley who works closely with a Washington public affairs firm known for creating corporate campaigns presented as grass-roots efforts."
Greenpeace USA, a member of Environmental Paper Network and a target of Mr. Langer's attacks on has it right when they say in the article, 
“If you can spend as much money as you want and remain anonymous, then it doesn’t matter if you’re an overseas company or the Koch brothers, you pay the same network of anti-regulatory front groups” 
Read more here.... 

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