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"Behind the Green Box" - 'Gaia' & 'Campus California' clothes donation bins in San Francisco

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Uploaded on Feb 27, 2012

"Behind the Green Box" is a hard-hitting news investigation into the used clothes collecting company Gaia Movement USA and an affiliated "volunteer training school" called Campus California. Aired Dec. 17, 2006 on CBS 5 San Francisco.

"In this season of giving [Dec. 2006], a new charity in the Bay Area is welcoming volunteers and clothing donations through its green-colored bins with the friendly 'Gaia' label. But behind the green box, investigative reporter Anna Werner uncovers a Danish organization known as 'Tvind,' or 'Teachers Group.' Critics call it a cult that is using people's good will to make millions in profit."

Follow-ups:

2007.1.17: "Reaction To Our Report" http://tinyurl.com/nsvnua7
2007.1.18: "Berkeley Removes Green Boxes After CBS 5 Report" http://tinyurl.com/nv9ldrs
2007.1.29: "State Labor Officials Probe Donation Box Group" http://tinyurl.com/nvobgno
Text of original report: http://tinyurl.com/pwdqsdf

* * * * * *
"Gaia Movement Trust" is the name of "charity" used clothing collection businesses said to be run by the Teachers Group (TG). In the USA, it's a Chicago-based company that has placed hundreds of drop-boxes throughout the country ― specifically in Chicago, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, as well as Sacramento, Fresno and elsewhere in California's Central Valley (no longer in the SF Bay Area). In England, students are invited to take part in the "Gaia Movement" by leafleting, fundraising on the streets and sorting used clothes. Gaia advertises that it collects "for the environment," but the watchdog website Tvind Alert says there is "no evidence that it supports any actual environmental work. [Gaia] is associated with a Swiss private trust."

Researchers say all of the past and current board members of Gaia Movement USA ― except one ― are TG members. For example, Marianne Thomsen, now listed on Gaia's website as "clerk", has been physician to TG founder Amdi Petersen, according to ex-TG member Steen Thomsen (no relation). Ms. Thomsen was one of 38 witnesses called by attorney Robert Shapiro to support Petersen in an extradition case prior to his first fraud trial in Denmark, 2003-2006. (See 'Politiken', below)

Mikael Norling, chairman of another allegedly Tvind-run clothes collector, Planet Aid, is described in the Danish press as the "leader of Tvind's American activities." He was also a witness called by Petersen. Norling happens to be on the board of the Gaia Trust in Switzerland, which, not surprisingly, are all TG members. (see 'Boston Magazine', below)

Josefin Joenson ― shown in CBS 5's report ― is listed as "chair" on Gaia's website.

"Concerning Tvind" — by Steen Thomsen, Denmark, 1998: http://tinyurl.com/m6hefkm

"Amdi vil indkalde 38 vidner" (Amdi will call 38 witnesses) ― Politiken, Denmark; 2002 (in Danish; try Google Translate. Marianne Thomsen & Norling listed): http://tinyurl.com/o5burv4

"Mission Control" — Boston Magazine, 2000:
http://tinyurl.com/mf4g74o

Gaia Movement USA website:
http://www.gaia-movement-usa.org/?q=n...

Case summary against Tvind leaders, by the Public Prosecutor for Serious Economic Crime, Denmark; 2001 (Gaia & Planet Aid are mentioned at p. 31): http://db.tt/AT0lUvxK

Reports on Gaia:

"The green bins of Gaia" ― Chicago Tribune, 2004:
http://tinyurl.com/kbvv3xo

"Recycling Group Meets Resistance"― Wisconsin State Journal, 2002: http://tinyurl.com/nr8vx9m

Tvind Alert page on Gaia: http://tinyurl.com/pyq5b7d

* * * * * *
Campus California's volunteer training school in Etna, Calif. — shown in CBS 5's story — reportedly closed under mysterious circumstances in Dec. 2009. The group has since relocated to the Bay Area, where it continues only with its clothes collection operation.

Reports on Campus California:

"Your Rags to Their Riches" — SF Weekly, Calif.; 2011:
http://tinyurl.com/3srlfkc

"We've Bin Had" — by Ken Katz, Oakland, Calif.; 2012:
http://grandlakeneighbors.org/?p=386

"Has a Cult Come to Etna?" — Pioneer Press, Fort Jones, Calif.; 2001: http://tinyurl.com/lf6w6jp

Tvind Alert page on Campus California: http://tinyurl.com/n37edm6

* * * * * *
Reports on Tvind:

"Mysterious Danish Group...on Baja Coast" — San Diego Reader, 2010: http://tinyurl.com/ke47wya
"Denmark's Tvind" — BBC, UK, 2002: http://tinyurl.com/lxty8qb
Tvind's swank HQ on Mexico's Baja coast:
http://tinyurl.com/kh3ho3c
Satellite pic of Tvind's Baja HQ: http://bit.ly/L5hyR9

Interpol listings for the 5 wanted TG leaders:

Mogens Amdi Petersen http://tinyurl.com/mgyvqt7
Kirsten Larsen http://tinyurl.com/lrmtvjf
Marlene Gunst http://tinyurl.com/k9p288s
Christie Pipps http://tinyurl.com/mwqltw2
Sten Byrner http://tinyurl.com/m2d3mgm

If you see any of them, call your local police.

"Wanted cult school leader ... spotted in the US"
— Copenhagen Post, 2013 http://tinyurl.com/omtymnr

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