By Alfred Donovan
I understand that the next court hearing in respect of Shell’s latest legal proceedings against Malaysian geologist, Dr John Huong, who worked for Shell for almost 30 years, will be heard on 21 May. He is being sued for defamation and contempt of court by EIGHT multinational companies within the Royal Dutch Shell Group. The magnitude of the collective litigation against a single unemployed human being is unprecedented.
According to the most recent court papers we have seen, the Plaintiff companies are seeking the imprisonment of Dr Huong for contempt of court in respect of an Injunction and Restraining Order obtained in 2004. They have also recently served further injunctive proceedings against him in dramatic intimidating circumstances at his home, in the dark of night. Again, this is unprecedented.
I will be a key participant in the pending hearing. However, due to unusually sensitive circumstances surrounding this matter, which seems to have reached a crucial stage, I am not at liberty to comment further at this time or to publish any associated material. If I reveal anything further it could impact on Dr Huong.
In reaction to Shell’s latest draconian measures against Dr Huong, we had a team circulating leaflets at the Shell Centre in London in the first week of May and then, last week, at the HQ of Royal Dutch Shell Plc in The Hague.
We were grateful for the almost universally friendly reception by Shell employees. Shell General Counsel Richard Wiseman was kind enough to come out of the Shell Centre to speak to our campaign coordinator, Nick Gill, on a couple of occasions. We were pleased to provide the information he requested. All of the leaflets are accessible via the link below.
Shell employees were generally supportive of the leaflets relating to Dr Huong and 399 former fellow employees of Shell in Malaysia known as “Team A” who are also embroiled in long term litigation with Shell in Malaysia. Shell appears unconcerned about the adverse publicity the “Team A” case has received in the media (read the appropriate leaflet accessible below).
Many leaflet recipients complained about the amount of information on the leaflets – too much to read. We plead guilty on that charge.
A gentleman who seemed to be a senior Shell official spoke to Nick Gill at the Shell Centre and at The Hague. He said that Richard Wiseman was unhappy with the photograph featured on the leaflet displaying my Open Letter to him. This was sourced from Google images and was the only one available of Mr Wiseman. If he cares to supply a better photograph, we would happily use it in future.
There was some negative reaction to the last leaflet distributed which focused on the domain name battle which I had with Shell last year and the track record of our previous litigation with Shell. The perception seems to be that we have amassed a fortune from suing Shell and that this is why we continue to campaign against Shell. Bearing in mind that this misconception arose from our own account of events, as stated in the leaflet, we obviously cannot complain. What we should have mentioned is that *all monies received in settlements from Shell were ploughed back in to fund more litigation against Shell UK management which arose from their further misdeeds. In our experience, it is a standard policy on the part of Shell lawyers to try to exhaust the funds of a financially weaker opponent.
In view of Shell’s continuing persecution of Dr Huong, it is interesting to note a couple of other events which have happened over the past week.
THE CORRIB PIPELINE DEBACLE
In the last few days, Shell has been accused in the news media of making “conflicting” and “slippery” statements about alternative routes for the Corrib pipeline project. It is also interesting to note that although Irish Shell Managing Director, Andy Pyle, has publicly apologised for having the “Rossport Five” imprisoned for 94 days for contempt of court (in respect of an injunction obtained by Shell) the oil giant returned to court a few days ago seeking a further injunction.
Thus Shell’s actions against Dr Huong are in line with its hard line policy in Ireland of having opponents jailed. That is admittedly better than what happened to Ken Saro Wiwa, the innocent Nigerian Nobel Laureate, who was hanged along with several colleagues for campaigning peacefully against Shell’s despicable activities in Nigeria.
THE SHELL SUSTAINABILITY REPORT 2005
Last week, Shell released “The Shell Sustainability Report 2005”. Shell used what is described as an “External Review Committee” to perform an independent oversight function. Shell describes the function of the Committee as follows: –
“Shell used an External Review Committee to assess the 2005 report's balance, completeness and responsiveness, based on the principles of the AA1000 Assurance Standard. Composed of five international experts in the environmental and social issues, that matter most to Shell's stakeholders, this marks a first for Shell and a first for a major oil and gas company.”
The External Review Committee was chaired by Jermyn Brooks, Executive Director and CFO of Transparency International.
What the report failed to disclose was that Mr Brooks was formally the Global Managing Partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers UK, which received tens of millions of pounds as Shell’s auditors/financial consultants during his tenure. Mr Brooks shared in that income.
Furthermore, PWC are also joint defendants with Royal Dutch Shell in a multibillion dollar U.S. class action brought by the Pennsylvania State Employees Retirement System and the Pennsylvania Public School Employees Retirement System (and Peter M Wood, representing all non U.S. purchasers of qualified Shell stock). This action is in respect of the reserves fraud. Under the circumstances, Mr Brooks would not appear to be the right person to be appointed as Chairman of the external committee: so much for transparency and independent oversight.
Although these various events appear to be unconnected, they are in fact all classic examples of a malevolent Shell management prepared to engage in cold blooded coercion and deceit even against loyal decent employees, while pretending to be cuddly, responsible and ethical.
The two files accessible via the attachment file links at the foot of this article piece through some of the fog relating to Shell’s past evil conduct in Nigeria and its murky links with Enron.
Acrobat Reader is needed to access the leaflets below. Please be patient when downloading.
To download the FREE Acrobat eader click on the following link: http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html
AN OPEN LETTER FROM ALFRED DONOVAN TO MR RICHARD WISEMAN
A TALE OF TWO SHELL EMPLOYEES: SIR PHILIP WATTS & DR JOHN HUONG
399 REASONS FOR SHELL MANAGEMENT TO HANG THEIR HEADS IN SHAME
LITIGATION TRACK RECORD ROYAL DUTCH SHELL -v- DONOVAN
*Unfortunately the same Shell manager responsible for stealing the first intellectual property from us did so repeatedly. In other words he was a serial poacher of ideas put to Shell on a confidential basis, not just from us, but from other agencies and companies who approached Shell believing confidentiality would be respected. All of the stolen ideas were funnelled into a single company – Option One – which enjoyed a special relationship with the manager in question. Option One was miraculously awarded a major Shell contract (the Shell SMART project) although they were not even in the tender process for the contract. Six companies which had been short listed out of 36 which had pitched for the SMART contract were deceived and cheated in a planned conspiracy.
Despite never losing a case against Shell, we ended up having to sell our homes because Shell resorted to using underhand tactics. They intimidated our witnesses and put us at a major disadvantage in the final High Court Trial – a farcical trial presided over by a Judge, Mr Justice Laddie, who has a number of connections with Shell. The controversial former Judge, who resigned in a blaze of publicity and criticism, now works for a consultancy which boasts of having Shell as a client. Sir Hugh Laddie, as he is now known, was recently a guest speaker at an *event co-chaired by his friend, Shell General Counsel Richard Wiseman (* “In-house Counsel 2006″ held in London on 6th & 7th March 2006). Mr Wiseman represented Shell in Court throughout the trial.