Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Tasmanian Times website provides forum for anonymous smear campaign against Wilderness Society


The Wilderness Society certainly have some problems at the moment sorting out a painful & divisive leadership split.
However to those of us in Tasmania who love our wilderness and want to conserve it from the ravages of the logging industry the wildo's have for decades fought on our behalf on the front line. Very few would argue with this
Indeed, in recent years the Tasmanian branch of the wildo's have been a great friend us who live in the Tamar Valley and want a Gunns Pulp Mill free future.
The wildo's led admirably by people like Paul Oosting and Vica Bayley have led the fight for our community to stop the unpopular pulp mill project from seeing the light of day.
Yet, for the Hobart based Tasmanian Times, an overtly pro left wing, pro environmentalist website, and its correspondents who are mostly made up of greenies, radicals and a handful of nutcases, TWS are just not green enough. Indeed, I'm not sure if there is a shade of green dark enough for some of the hippy idealists that inhabit this website.
Whilst the TT is appropriately running some interesting reads on how the TWS split is playing out, unfortunately the site is also providing a forum (see link at top of page) to certain individuals who are serial haters of TWS and have an axe to grind against TWS. These 1 or 2 individuals are being permitted by  TT  to derail & hijack legitimate discussions and use the Tasmanian Times as a willing forum to run anonymous and unsubstantiated smear against TWS.
This is not the first time the Tasmanian Times has run anti-TWS smear campaigns. This have occurred on numerous occassions and what is also noteworthy is that by looking back through the Tasmanian Times archives we can see that other Tasmanian environmental and anti-pulp mill groups have been spared from similar smear campaigns.
This blogger knows from discussions with TWS staff that they are reluctant to defend themselves on the Tasmanian Times,  not wanting to legitimise the attacks and allegations being made against them.
This blogger believes that the Tasmanian Times and its anonynmous correspondents are continuing to run smear and innuendo against TWS knowing that it is unlikely TWS will attempt to defend itself. In doing so TT is taking advantage of the good nature of local Tasmanian TWS staff. That does not take courage and has nothing to do with good reporting.

I have written to the Tasmanian Times seeking an explanation and I have also posted a response signing off with my real name and as yet, no response from the Tasmanian Times.
Here are some examples of the wild unsubstantiated allegations about TWS being published anonymously on the Tasmanian Times.

"TWS deserve everything they get in my opinion, In Victoria, the TWS branch have a pretty bad name"

"The fact that many of these plantations could well be toxic (nitens plantations anyway) appears to be a non issue for TWS. Have TWS come out publicly slamming toxic nitens plantations? Of course not, because to do so would be undermining their very own philosophical underpinnings (which is shut down native forest logging)".

"This is another reason why people shouldn’t give any money to TWS, because they’ll use it to promote plantations".

"Could this be TWS’s karma for the dirty and underhanded way they conducted themselves toward other conservation groups and individuals who questioned their policies and strategies?"
"It seems to me that as a lot of experienced people walked away or backed off from forest campaigning over the last few years (because TWS would countenance no debate and railroaded their false and un-winnable position over fellow travelers) the sick culture turned in on itself and imploded.

Now that they have arrived at their inevitable destination on the Grand Defunct Railway, it will be interesting to see if the heirs to this sick culture are capable of making the organisation functional again or whether it’s just a cycle in the disease".

"We now have a scenario where TWS is pushing for plantations only to supply the Gunns pulp mill"

"TWS’s greater goal of shutting down the native forest industry, whilst at the same time supporting an increase of paper production via a stinking pulp mill which will lead to a lower quality of life for people living in the area"

"The TWS strategy was not only to stop all old growth logging, but all logging (full stop!) by moving the industry immediately into plantations. This strategy eventually undermined communities and small environment groups, (many of which were opposed to woodchipping and plantations), yet who weren’t opposed 100% to native forest logging. (what about firewood, is this not dependent on native forest logging!). The Strategy has also led to a rift in the forest movement, where once all were united in their call to stop logging in old growth forests.  United we stand, divided we fall. TWS pushed their strategy onto the movement with no consideration of other ways of dealing with the issue. This all or nothing approach has undermined alot of good campaign work focussing on alternatives and as mentioned before divided the movement. This is not old history. It is still present now with small regional groups still undermined by the TWS agenda, which is my mind bordered at one time on the fanatical. I agree that Gunns, Forestry Tasmania and the State Government must take almost all of the blame for the destruction, but in my opinion TWS’s strategy has made their job easier because the TWS strategy effectively castrated much of the movement. The louder and simpler the TWS message was the more money was donated into their coffers".


The quotes above contain wide ranging and serious allegations. None of these have been supported on the Tasmanian Times by literature or documentation. This blogger intends to draw the attention of TWS to these statements and encourage them to take action. I encourage all those who care about the future of the Tasmanian environment, the Tamar Valley and a fair go to make your views known to the Tasmanian Times and the Wilderness society.

1 comment:

  1. good work Rick, we all know who these people are...they will also be judged by what they have and have not achieved in their life as activists (some wouldnt even qualify here !).Quite a shame such a destructive effort has been focussed on other environmental groups (or individuals) simply because they might offer a difference of opinion or strategy...when there is so many others who should get this attention ! Lucky we have you to keep us honest Rick, but dont lose sleep over these irritations matey...go the Dockers !