MELBOURNE: Adani’s 21.7 billion dollar coal mine project in Australia was being targeted by a “foreign funded, highly orchestrated” group which influenced the traditional land owners and legal environmental challenges’ to stop it, a new set of emails released by WikiLeaks has said.
In a series of emails, it has been disclosed that the US-based Sandler Foundation funded Australia-based environmentalist group, the Sunrise Project, which offered “Wangan and Jagalingou people” financial support and scholarships if they opposed Adani’s mine project and also boasted of its attempts to hide its funding sources from Australian parliament, according to ‘The Australian’ newspaper today.
According to the report, the previously secret briefings as part of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta s emails, said Sunrise tailored its advice to indigenous communities in northern Queensland, and that the “whole Galilee Basin fossil fuel industrial complex is in its death throes”.
It was also disclosed that an associated group, Human Rights Watch, offered to help Sunrise Project by keep its tax-exempt charity status because “the mining companies seem to own the Liberals (in Australia) and they play very dirty”.
Human Rights Watch chief executive Ken Roth further disclosed that his group received “charitable status by special parliamentary bill” in the “waning days of the Labor government”.
In an email to Sandler Foundation last August after a decision against the Adani mine, Sunrise Project director John Hepburn, who is said to be the author of the strategy to block the mine, thanked the Foundation for its support and wrote ‘without your support none of this would have happened”.
He wrote that he was going to buy a “few bottles of bubbly” for a celebration with “our colleagues at GetUp!!!!, Greenpeace, 350.org, Australian Youth Climate Coalition, Mackay Conservation Group, Market Forces and the brilliant and tireless Sunrise team”.
Hepburn’s email to the Foundation also mocked the coal industry for the claim “there is some kind of foreign-funded and tightly orchestrated conspiracy to systemically destroy the Australian coal industry”.
Reacting to the latest disclosure, Adani Australia chief executive Jeyakumar Janakaraj said the leaked emails were “evidence that these are broader well-funded activist campaigns as part of a wider anti-coal campaign that is being financially backed and influenced a long way from workers in Australia and those suffering energy poverty in India”.
“The leaks show, however, that the anti-coal campaign is not about the merits of the approval process at all; it s about activists motivated to stop jobs and investment, “he said.
The latest disclosure came days after the Queensland development minister Anthony Lynham announced that the state government had invoked special powers to ensure the controversial Carmichael coal and rail project starts next year.
The project is now in its seventh year of the environmental approval process.–PTI