By John Donovan
EMAIL FROM JOHN DONOVAN TO ROYAL DUTCH SHELL PLC COMPANY SECRETARY & GENERAL COUNSEL CORPORATE, MICHIEL BRANDJES (COPIED TO CEO PETER VOSER)
Dear Mr Brandjes
I have not received the courtesy of a response from you to my email dated 7 December 2009 concerning alleged irregularities in Shells response to my most recent application under the Data Protection Act.
Since I know from our contact with you over recent years that you are normally an unfailingly polite and efficient Company Secretary, I suspect that this change results from criticism you have received internally for being a bit too enthusiastic about responding to Donovan :” Apparently one of your colleagues – I can guess who – is jealous at the praise you have received on our website.
Having checked into the timing and content of the relevant Shell internal emails, it is plain to me that the other comments in them were partly directed at Paddy Briggs (the distinguished retired Shell executive). His name has been redacted by Shell. It is ironic that Mr Briggs will shortly be taking up his appointment as a Trustee of the Shell Pension Fund serving alongside the Chairman of Shell UK and other senior Shell executives. I also noted the comment in the emails about the media not taking us seriously. That was of course before the half page articles in The Sunday Times and The Guardian. Shell also appear to have forgotten countless other articles. More are in the pipeline.
As you know, my email to you on 7 December was to give Shell the opportunity to respond, so that I could avoid making a complaint to the Information Commissioners Office.
I now wish to raise another related matter, namely the redaction of certain information. I need to know precisely where each redaction has been made in the documents supplied. At the moment, this is not always clear.
First, I will cite an example where the blanking out is obvious. I refer to the email dated 21 March 2007 revealing that Shell had undertaken a global spying operation against your employees to monitor emails sent to us via Shell servers and to secretly monitor internal traffic to our website, in an effort to find out who has been supplying us with Shell internal laundry (as it is sensitively described).
Now an example where the redaction is not obvious: I refer to the email dated 17 June, 2009 concerning Shells use against us of the partly FBI funded and staffed National Cyber-Forensics & Training Alliance (NCFTA) in the USA. This was arranged by CAS – Shell “Corporate Affairs Security” in connection with unspecified “invisible” investigations.
The purpose of the Data Protection Act is to allow ordinary people to check that information being held about them electronically is accurate; for example, information about credit history, which affects credit ratings.
The information in these documents is vastly more important – unspecified investigations involving the NCFTA and Shell Corporate Affairs Security, headed by former spooks. I note in particular the order not to do anything visible to Donovan. This is something that sounds sinister in nature directed at me personally, not the website. It implies some invisible unspecified action. I have no idea whether CAS has recruited external contacts. Shell has of course admitted doing so previously. That undercover investigation was also meant to be invisible, but your operative had more in common with Inspector Clouseau than James Bond.
Under the circumstances, I believe that each redaction should be made plain. On the email of 17 June, are there words after was the website in question (on that same line)? There is a long gap on the next line before CAS now has resources. Has information been redacted from that line? If so, did the redacted information all consist of names (which seems unlikely)?
Is Shell willing to look through all of the information supplied and double check that the redaction is proper and plain?
Will you be replying to my email of 7 December 2009?
Will you be replying to this email?
If I do not receive before the 25 December 2009 the courtesy of an acknowledgment and indication of when I can expect a substantive reply, I will conclude that Shell is ignoring these requests over extremely important matters potentially involving my safety and health, and will reluctantly make a formal complaint to the Information Commissioners Office.