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The false bravado of Shell Ethics Chief Richard Wiseman

John Donovan

In an email dated 11 November 2005, Shell International General Counsel Richard Wiseman (now the Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer of Royal Dutch Shell Plc) dismissed our website in the following words:

“The extraordinary tolerance shown to your internet activities ought to demonstrate better than anything else the fact that we are uninterested in, and unmoved by, your current activities.”

Wiseman’s bravado was undermined by the fact that we already had evidence to the contrary from an email about us that he sent on 24 June 2004 to Shell CEO Jeroen van der Veer and his fellow Executive director, Malcolm Brinded. Wiseman informed them that he was contacting Sir Mark Moody-Stuart (a former Shell Group Chairman) about us. Wiseman’s email (supplied to us by a high level insider source) also confirmed that Shell “PX” was briefed and ready to react behind the scenes to our activities.

Under the circumstances, Wiseman’s dismissal of our site clearly amounted to a large serving of BS from one of Shell’s several hundred strong army of in-house lawyers, all at a total loss what to do about our “internet activities”.

You have to laugh. Wiseman subsequently, entirely at his own initiative, sent us an updated photograph of himself (above) to display on our “uninteresting” website. We are not joking.

Here it is:

From: [email protected]
Sent: 09 November 2006 09:58
To: [email protected]
Subject: RE: Revised email

Dear Mr Donovan,

I have just seen your website.  I notice you are using a rather old photograph of me.  If you must post my picture, you might like to use a more recent, and therefore more accurate, one.

(The flattery implied by showing what I looked like some years ago is of course much appreciated.)

Regards
Richard Wiseman
General Counsel M & A and Project Finance
Shell International Limited
Shell Centre, London SE1 7NA, United Kingdom

EMAIL ENDS

Shortly thereafter, our “activities” cost Shell literally billions of dollars following our intervention in the Sakhalin2 project. Insider information supplied to us also led directly to the resignation of Sakhalin Energy Deputy Chairman, General David Greer.

In a further development revealing the truth about Shell’s intense interest in our website, we found out from documents obtained under the Data Protection Act that Shell had set up a team in an attempt to counter our activities. The relevant internal email exposes the hostility towards us and the fact that it is is held in check by fear of reprisal on our part. If you find this difficult to believe, read the email.

And Shell EP General Counsel Keith Ruddock confirmed that in June 2007 Shell had sent cease and desist letters to both of our website hosting companies in an attempt to close down royaldutchshellplc.com. Initially, the web hosting companies would not reveal the name of the party making threats against them behind our backs.

So much for being uninterested and unmoved!

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