Feb 16, 2016


Michael Durham
February 15, 2016

On a street corner in London, another 'charity' used-clothes box placed by the Tvind Teachers Group cult. This one raises cash for the 'Gaia Movement'. But there is no charity, and the man behind it is wanted by Interpol. How many more?

"YOU, WE, TOGETHER....WE IMPROVE THE ENVIRONMENT," declares the bold writing on the front of the box. The message is clear - drop your old clothes in here, and help support 'essential environmental projects'.  

But the used-clothes charity box on a street corner in south east London labelled 'Gaia' is the property of theTvind Teachers Group, an offshore-based movement regarded as a political cult, whose leaders are wanted by Interpol, and whose environmental credentials are shady, to say the least.

The box will now be removed, following the intervention of a local Member of Parliament, Matthew Pennycook MP. 

In a letter to the MP after he took up a complaint by a local resident, the Royal Borough of Greenwich said last week it would remove the box and any other Gaia boxes discovered on public land in the borough, because of "the suggestion that proceeds from the sale of donations ...may be making their way to this allegedly corrupt organisation."

The charity-style box has been on the pavement outside a corner store in Whitworth Road, Plumstead, for at least five years, but has never had a licence from the council, which regulates charity collections and advertising on public land.

Hundreds of other 'Gaia' boxes, also used to raise money by the Tvind Teachers Group, are thought to be placed (sometimes without permission) outside shops, supermarkets and petrol stations in many other parts of the UK, especially the West Midlands and southern counties.   

So what are these 'Gaia' boxes?

THE "GAIA MOVEMENT TRUST LIVING EARTH GREEN WORLD ACTION"- to give the enterprise its full title -  is one of several names used by the Tvind Teachers Group for money-raising schemes in Britain.  

In a previous article, I reported onPlanet Aid UK, another Tvind Teachers Group front using similar boxes to collect money 'for Africa'.  The Gaia Movement is the Tvind Teachers Group's 'environmental' version of the same money-raising enterprise. Other names used in Britain by the Tvind Teachers Group to raise money through roadside collections are Green World Recycling, DAPP UK (Development Aid from People-to-People), and the private college in Humberside, CICD.

The 'Gaia Movement' name, used across the world, is just a small part in what some estimate could a $500 million offshore multinational business

The 'Gaia Movement' name, used across the world, is just a small part in what some estimate could be a $500 million offshore multinational business run by the alleged cult, operated through dozens of tax haven companies, properties, agricultural businesses and trading concerns, and heavily connected to national foreign aid budgets.

In one version or another, as well as in the UK, the name is used by the Tvind Teachers Group in the United States, Switzerland, and in southern Africa including Mozambique.  And wherever it has been used, questions emerge:

Not a charity

* In Britain, the 'Gaia Movement Trust Living Earth Green World Action' is not a registered charity, nor is it a registered company. In fact, it has no official presence in Britain at all.  

The 'operator' which owns, places and empties the Gaia boxes is a commercial company called Green World Recycling, which is a Teachers Group-run business based in the West Midlands.  (This company opened in 1998, to replace an almost identical enterprise closed down by the Charity Commission.)

But the trail from Gaia in Plumstead to the Tvind Teachers Group cult is a tortuous one.  It runs through Switzerland.  A web address (www.gaia-movement.org) on the Greenwich box refers to an address and telephone number in the central European country so notorious for tax avoidance and financial secrecy.

Swiss association

*In Switzerland, the 'Gaia Movement Trust' is one of four known offshore tax-efficient entities controlled there by an inner circle of the Teachers Group.  'The Gaia Movement Trust Living Earth Green World Action' is an association or vereinwith an office on the third floor of an office block housing environmental NGOs in a Geneva suburb. 

Gaia describes itself there as 'a Swiss environmental non-profit association established in 1998'.   'Gaia' in the UK and the British operating company, Green World, are believed to remit a significant proportion - perhaps all - of the proceeds of the Gaia boxes to Switzerland.

Detailed public accounts are not available because Green World is a private company and not a charity.    But one remarkable arrangement is that Green World Recycling Ltd regularly pays the association in Switzerland an unknown amount in 'royalties' for the 'use of the Gaia logo' on its boxes - the Swiss flag. 

The other three Tvind Teachers Group entities registered in Switzerland - all connected with the trade in clothes - are the Humana Federation, the Humana People-to-People Foundation and Humana & PlanetAid Finance.   Public records show that (with the exception of a locally-based lawyer) all the founders, signatories and directors are members of the Tvind Teachers Group.

Interlocking companies, charities and Swiss associations and a crossover between board members in Switzerland and elsewhere, indicates the complex financial merry-go-round, with control exercised by a small number of the Tvind Teachers Group 'inner circle'.

One of the most senior inner circle members of all, for example, Mikael Norling, is a director of both Green World Ltd and the Swiss Gaiaassociation, and the enormous USA enterprise, Planet Aid Inc.

Interlocking companies, charities and Swiss associations and a crossover between board members in Switzerland and elsewhere, indicates the complex financial merry-go-round

And in the USA, the Gaia Movement is coming up fast too.

Incorporated in Delaware

* In the United States, the almost identically named 'Gaia Movement Living Earth Green World Action' is a 501(c)(3) registered tax-exempt non-profit organisation, incorporated in the secrecy haven of Delaware, and based in Chicago.    Many of its directors are the same as Gaia in Switzerland. 

It is believed to have placed thousands of collection boxes across the USA in Illinois, Indiana, California, Kentucky, Tennessee and Oregon, and perhaps elsewhere.  And Gaia is just one of a huge family of covert Tvind Teachers Group clothes enterprises in the USA - others are Planet Aid Inc, USAgain, One World Center (formerly IICD) andRecycle for Change (formerly Campus California TG).

Gaia Movement USA, like its sister companies across the continent,  has been the subject of many negative reviews and media articles.

The US Gaia website (www.gaia-movement-usa) makes no mention of the Swiss Gaia Trust, to which it regularly sends all the proceeds from its hundreds of charity boxes.  Both UK and US Gaia websites are registered and owned by e-Advice, a Teachers Group-run IT consultancy in Denmark.

ALL THESE 'GAIA MOVEMENT' COMPANIES, as well as a mysterious business registered as Gaia LLC in Mozambique, are indisputably part of the Teachers Group's worldwide financial offshore network. 

In every case they are linked to apparent 'environmental projects' at properties owned by the Tvind Teachers Group, in southern Africa, central and south America, and other parts of the developing world.

But the value - in some cases the very existence - of these 'environmental projects' has often been questioned.

Gaia's green 'actions' are almost invariably held on the Tvind Teachers Group's own, commercial agricultural landholdings, which are run as part of a global business - or in connection with its schools, where the students themselves are an unpaid 'volunteer force'.   

A pattern of mixing 'charity funding' with straightforward commerce emerges.

Not every Gaia action has gone ahead unchallenged.   A plan to open a 'nature reserve' at Payne's Creek in Belize recently fell through after local authorities became suspicious. A 'bio-waste' power plant in Brazil, reported to US tax authorities as a tax-exempt environmental project, turned out to be a for-profit operation on a commercial farm.

And in Zimbabwe and Southern Africa, an even stranger piece of creative environmentalism emerged some years ago.  A privately-published Gaia Movement 'handbook' on wildlife reserves turned out to have been pirated word-for-word from a South African author - and there was no evidence of any new Gaia Movement work in game reserves at all.


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