Counterwind – Watch out for fake Counterwind copies

Clarification from the Norwegian Environmental Protection Association 2 May 2021; It is difficult to mention Rune Haaland's Motvindorganisations without using his name, as the name Motvind itself can easily be confused with the original Motvindorganisations. All our references in this article are to his public persona, whether it was his role as former Secretary General of Motvind Norway, or his work as chairman of one of the many Motvind organizations he has founded after his involvement as Secretary General of Motvind Norway ceased;

Headwind (org 926 429 280), Upwind Doggerbank (org 926 403 206), Upwind Energy (org 926 497 857), Upwind Iceland (926 429 086), Headwind Service (org 825 967 192), Headwind Save Shetland (org 926 430 459), Headwind West Sea (org 926 573 535), Headwind Yng (org 926 499 904), and Headwind Sea wind (org 918 500 758 – former name; Løgefjord Sailing Association).

The Motvind group on Facebook, which was changed to Motvind World after the general secretary's exit from Motvind Norge, as discussed in this article, has later been changed to just Motvind and with a new logo design. Still confusing with the original Motvind organizations.

For those who have been following the wind power case for some time, we got a new grant in the fight against wind power when it was at its most hectic.

In the autumn of 2019, Motvind Norge was founded as a team with a number of local departments connected to the main organisation. Rune Haaland has been the organization's general secretary from the foundation until his involvement, where he was hired via his own company ended in October 2020. As is known, there was a lot of noise and dirty laundry from Haaland in the media during this time. As we can see, this created both division and unrest in the middle of the time when a lot was at stake in a number of wind power projects around the country. Also in the last months of Haaland's time as general secretary, a lot of noise and problems were created, not least on Haramsøya. The Norwegian Environmental Protection Association (NMF) has had more than one settlement with Haaland regarding this.

The Environmental Protection Association's conflicts with Haaland

On 13 June 2020, it all came to a head and NMF saw itself having to make a thorough assessment of what happened on Haramsøya and our view of the strategy that had been laid. The latter was intended as a well-intentioned warning based on our own experiences and knowledge over well over three decades.

About the betrayal at Haramsøya and legal proceedings (PDF)

This letter was not taken very well by Haaland and a reconciliation meeting between Haaland and NMF was arranged by Kurt Oddekalv. Here, a cooperation agreement was entered into between Motvind Norge and NMF on further distribution of work, among other things, for the resistance work on Haramsøya where the conflict arose and with clear guidelines on communication between the organisations.

Press release NMF and Motvind 19.06.2020

Now it wasn't very long before Haaland broke the agreement and the chaos once again became a fact. In the turbulent time after Haaland's involvement as general secretary in Motvind had ended, we issued a statement of support to Motvind Norge.

Statement of support for Motvind Norge 04.11.2020

Motvind Norge Group on Facebook

On social media, Motvind Norge Gruppa has been one of the largest against wind power with over 45,000 members. In its time, the group was established by Jan Helge Vassbø as the national discussion group associated with Motvind Norway and the local Motvind organisations. After Rune Haaland's exit as general secretary from Motvind Norge, all administrators and moderators associated with the board of Motvind Norge were removed from the group. The agreement was that this group should be given back to Motvind Norge after a new board was elected at the national meeting in autumn 2020.

Vassbø himself resigned as administrator after appointing Rune Haaland and Frode Andre Bratli as the only administrators. We have been contacted by several members who are also members of Motvind Norge who have expressed concern about what can apparently seem like a strict censorship regime in the group where all criticism of themselves was quickly removed and those who asked somewhat uncomfortable questions were quickly thrown out .

The coup against Motvind Norge

Rune Haaland, hired via his own company Solar Mobil AS, did not renew his commitment as general secretary when it expired in October 2020. There has been a lot of noise in the media and on Facebook from Haaland in the time since this. In January this year, several Motvind organizations are founded and registered in Brønnøysund, and Motvind Norge Gruppa with over 45,000 members on Facebook is now changing its name to Motvind World.

A total of 7 different organizations are founded, where the "main organisation" is called Motvind (by the way, see the correct number in our specification at the top of this page). Now they are striking with an organizational structure that will surpass that of Motvind Norge with local departments. Not only have they now taken the name of the organization whose involvement as general secretary ended several months earlier, but also both the logo and profile of their former client have been used.

With a main organization called "Motvind" and a Facebook group that is now called Motvind World is now creating the impression that they are suddenly the main organization, and the original folk movement Motvind Norge appears as if they are just a subdivision under Rune Haaland's Motvind World empire. For those who do not know the full history and background, it is therefore easy to confuse the "fake" copy empire with the original and genuine Motvind Norge organisation.

Who owns the brand?

Rune Haaland, as general secretary of Motvind Norge, has been involved in building up this organization from the very beginning, including the organization's structure and profile. This is quite openly part of the organisation's assets and external face. For those who have worked with names and trademarks, it is a general principle that they belong to those who have claimed them through active use. Here, Motvind Norge has adopted both the name and logo from the time the main organization with its local branches was founded and right up to the present day. The application area is the fight against wind power and energy policy. This is, as far as we can tell from normal practice, their property.

On 5 February 2021, Rune Haaland issued the following statement in his press release;

- No one has a monopoly on the Motvind name, Haaland writes in the press release.

Haaland points out that 27 units with Motvind in the name are registered in the Brønnøysund registers.

This is wrong. In the fight against wind power, Motvind Norge and local branches have claimed this name. The fact that it is both a cultural team, a leisure club and a kayak club that bears the headwind name has no meaning. As a broad popular movement against wind power and within energy policy, Motvind Norge has now for a year and a half asserted its name and logo/profile. Rune Haaland himself, by virtue of his position as general secretary, has built this up. Neither he nor others can claim this much later within the same business area. This should be obvious to most people.

Watch out for cheap imitations..

What is the motive behind such a confusingly copied competitive organizational structure? Do we see the contours of an economic motive?

A Splice for trouble

Nor was it long before the first Splice was created by the Motvind copy. Here, Haaland showed up during an action against ASKO's development in Lillesand, took a couple of selfies and claimed in the text on Spleisen that the fundraising was created for resistance in the area in collaboration with other nature conservation organisations. People/organizations who accidentally ended up in the selfie they used for the fundraiser have since reacted to being taken as income for a fundraiser they had nothing to do with. The Norwegian Environmental Protection Association, which participated in a coordinated nationwide action against ASKO together with Motvind Norge, Motvind Sørvest and the Nature Conservation Association in Agder, reacted to the allusions that we supported this Spleisen. We therefore also submitted a complaint about this Splice. Both because we were hinted at supporting this collection, and because this may now appear to be organized under the guise of operating under the Motvind brand without any affiliation to Motvind Norge.

To the detriment of the fight against wind power

For us at the Norwegian Environmental Protection Association, who have worked actively against wind power for more than 20 years, this method seems very untidy and harmful. What has happened now in the last six months must turn out to be the purest wishful thinking for the wind power companies. We have previously questioned Rune Haaland's motives, and now in retrospect we also ask ourselves the question whether there could be vicarious motives behind it? Now with the new Counterwind copy empire, it may look like divide-and-conquer strategy now in full bloom, in full public view.

What now, Rune Haaland?

If the desire for an effective resistance fight against wind power was genuine and real, you would hardly have done what you are doing now? And if you wanted to lead an environmental fight, why didn't you start your own instead of contributing to the division of a growing organisation. You do not take the company's assets with you when you no longer have an involvement in a company. Then you start your own or come up with something else. This is not an honest way to wage an environmental battle. 

This is a behavior and procedure that we in the Norwegian Environment Protection Association strongly distance ourselves from. If you just started your own organization, with your own name and your own profile without using anything that belongs to someone else. It would have been an honest matter and you would certainly have received a lot of support, but what you have done now not only damages your own reputation and reputation, but it also damages everyone else who spends both their free time and money in the fight against wind power.

Statement of support for Motvind Norge

The Norwegian Environment Protection Association has a good relationship with Motvind Norge and several of the local branches around the country. Ever since Motvind Norge was founded, our leader Kurt Oddekalv has had an extended hand and an invitation to a strategy meeting at the environmental hotel Seletun with the board of Motvind Norge. This was conveyed early on to the board of Motvind Norge through the general secretary, and repeated and urged repeatedly. The feedback from Rune Haaland every time this was brought up was that there were several members of the board who had opposed this. Now in retrospect, when we have inquired with several of the board members in the first board, no one had heard anything about this.

The Norwegian Environmental Protection Association has always been open to collaborating with Motvind Norge on strategy, division of labor or on a case-by-case basis, centrally or locally. The situation that has arisen now, where Motvind Norge is now experiencing a "hostile" coup attempt, is very unfortunate and not something we as an independent organization can calmly look at. We therefore also wish in the future to relate to Motvind Norge and Motvind Norge's local departments and associated local organisations.

On 9 October 2020, Rune Haaland confirms Jan Helge Vassbø's promise that Motvind Norge Gruppa will be handed over to a new legally elected board.
A new legally elected board was appointed on 7 November 2020.

Recommendation to Rune Haaland and Frode Andre Bratli

As for Rune Haaland and Frode Andre Bratli's Motvind organizations we recommend that they change their name and logo/profile to their own, and to stand by previous agreements to give Motvind Norge Gruppa (now Motvind World) with all the members back to the board of Motvind Norge, where it belongs. If you are really genuinely and genuinely interested in the fight for nature, the environment and the fight against wind power, now is the time you have the opportunity to show it through positive action.

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