On the trail of the Landscape Guardians (a detective story)

Journalist Sandi Keane at Independent Australia has already published the most thorough exposure of the modus operandi of the anti-windfarm “Landscape Guardians” and their associated groups like the Waubra Foundation and Australian Environment Foundation.

Today, Independent Australia has published her account of how she researched the group, reading a bit like a detective story – as good investigative journalism should. Here’s a sample:

Exploring the Guardians’ history, their MO was to spring up spontaneously wherever a wind farm was planned. This is not unusual in itself, but in all my years working with community environment groups, we never achieved that degree of organization and financial support in such record time. I counted 26 Landscape Guardians groups in March 2011 – which rapidly grew to 70 within a couple of months – each named after the town nearest to the planned wind farm to simulate “local” roots. It didn’t take long to discover that there were more Guardian groups, each bearing its own geographical moniker such as the Spa Country Guardians of Hepburn or the Waubra Landscape Guardians than there appeared to be members.

I obtained a number of copies of the Guardians’ Applications for Incorporation as well as Annual Financial Reports from the various business registries in each state. These proved to be a mine of information.

A minimum number of between 5-6 members is required to incorporate, depending on the State. On the Victorian Landscape Guardians’ application signed by the climate skeptic, Randall Bell, the original number of 3 had been crossed out and substituted with 6. Could the membership double in the few minutes it took to complete the form?

I checked the contact for each website site on Internic, read the various submissions to different enquiries, stopped by Sourcewatch and Envirowiki, did the usual Google search and rang a few mates in the environment movement to finally come up with a list of people associated with the Guardians.

What I found was that some members were spokespersons of multiple Guardian groups. “Phantom” or “multiple groups” is a classic device by astrotrufers to gain disproportionate media coverage. It was also blatantly obvious that the Waubra Foundation was set up, chaired and run predominantly by Landscape Guardians, counter to its claim in Objective No. 12 that it had no association with anti-wind groups. (Professor Simon Chapman’s later public revelation that the Foundation’s Medical Director’s bogus claim to a medical research degree saw the qualification quickly amended to a bachelor’s degree.) So much for the Foundation’s credibility!

Click here to read the full article.

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