Follow by Email

Friday, January 11, 2013

Anti-coal activist Jonathan Moylan's hoax

Jonathan Moylan

Jonathan Moylan is an anti-coal campaigner who set up camp in the state forest near Narrabri about five months ago with a handful of fellow activists.  But nobody cared and his protest wasn't even making the news so last Saturday he had a brilliant idea - he sent a fake press release to journalists, pretending to be a spokesman for the ANZ Bank and announced that his bank had withdrawn a $1.2 billion loan from Nathan Tinkler's Whitehaven Coal Mines.  When he sent it to journalists on Monday morning, the company's stock temporarily crashed by nearly 9 per cent - equivalent to $314 million.

Is he repentant?  Not in the least, and understandably, people are furious.  He and his friend Murray Drechsier share the same passion - Leard State Forest is the planned site for three enormous coal mines and they want to stop it.

An ASIC investigator made an unannounced visit to the camp site this week and seized Mr Moylan's computer and mobile phone used in the hoax.  After his shock visit, he was less cocky, subdued even, and said "I have no experience of ASIC, but then I don't think they have any experience of activism with just cause, or civil disobedience, like this situation" he said.  "They usually deal with millionaires who try to cheat other millionaires."

Senator Rhiannan

Many were outraged when NSW Greens Senator Lee Rhiannan tweeted "Congrats to Jonathan Moylan from Frontline Action on Coal, for exposing ANZ investments in coalmines."

So should this man, Jonathon Moylan be applauded or thrown in jail?

Remember what happened when they wanted to dam the Franklin River in Tasmania?  British botanist David Bellamy and hundreds of others joined Bob Brown's blockade and in the summer of  1982-1983, there were 6,000 supporters in Strahan - 1217 were arrested and 500 jailed after refusing bail.

Cruising the Franklin

Tens of thousands of tourists now flock to Tasmania's wild-river areas each year, providing investment, jobs and pride of place for the locals. Outside, an American travel magazine declared the Franklin the world's best whitewater-rafting destination.

But there's a difference between the Franklin conflict and this one. Jonathan Moylan deliberately tricked investors with a lie and the little people were hurt, and that's just not cricket.