After being described in a recent Reuters article as a prominent Shell critic, it seemed sensible to check out on Google how other Shell critics have fared. Are there any risks involved, other than the obvious – litigation?
The Google results are not reassuring.
The headline of one article says “Shell critic’s boat sunk off Rossport“. Pat O’Donnell, an outspoken critic of the Shell Corrib gas pipeline project in Ireland, claimed that his fishing boat was boarded by a group of four masked armed men who scuttled the vessel. O’Donnell said that he was in fear of his life. Fortunately I don’t have a boat.
Other vocal critics of the Corrib pipeline e.g. the “Rossport Five”, were thrown in jail at the behest of Shell.
After Anita Roddicks Body Shop and Greenpeace criticized Shell, both became the targets of undercover dirty tricks operations commissioned and paid for by Shell (as reported in The Sunday Times article: “MI6 Firm Spied on Green Groups”).
What happened to another “prominent critic” of Shell – Ken Saro-Wiwa – is even more worrying. A New York Times article with the headline “Shell to settle Abuse Case for $15.5” reports:
The announcement caps a protracted legal battle that began shortly after the death of the Nigerian activist Ken Saro-Wiwa in 1995. Mr. Saro-Wiwa, Shells most prominent critic at the time in Nigeria, was hanged by that countrys military regime after protesting the companys environmental practices in the oil-rich delta, especially in his native Ogoni region. Shell continued Monday to deny any role in the death. It called the settlement a humanitarian gesture…
Under the circumstances, my father and I will be watching out for further Shell cloak and dagger activity directed at us, as well as at Shell’s own employees.