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Alleged Shell industrial espionage in USA: Oct 2010 email correspondence with Shell

EMAIL FROM JOHN DONOVAN TO RICHARD WISEMAN 4 OCTOBER 2010

From: John Donovan <[email protected]>
Date: 4 October 2010 11:01:57 GMT+01:00
To: [email protected]
Subject: U.S. Dept. of Defense Confirms NCIS Espionage Investigation of Shell

Dear Mr. Wiseman:

Printed below for your ease of reference is our email correspondence of late June of this year concerning alleged industrial espionage carried out in the United States at the behest of Shell Oil Company, USA (Shell USA), a wholly owned subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell plc (Royal Dutch Shell), targeting technical information classified by U.S. Dept. of Defense military authorities.

You twice declined my invitation to confirm or deny those allegations.

However, we have continued to investigate those allegations, which include the claim that an investigation of Shell USA was conducted by U.S. military criminal investigative authorities. That latter allegation has now been confirmed as being true.

A former employee of Shell USA, whose name will no doubt be well known to you by now, filed for patents in the 1990’s and early 2000’s that define certain novel technologies with important dual use (military and civilian) applications.

Unclassified US Federal records show those patent applications were classified by US military authorities. Hence the involvement of U.S. investigative authorities when the former Shell USA employee became aware, as a result of a tip-off from a former Shell USA colleague, and later confirmed by Mr. Matt Waldrop, of the law firm Vethan & Waldrop, a contract intellectual property law firm employed by Shell USA, of a Shell USA industrial espionage operation targeting his (classified) intellectual property. Shell USA was supposedly one of Vethan & Waldrop’s major industrial clients and the stated role of that law firm, and Mr. Waldrop, was to advise Shell USA and to assist Shell USA legal counsel in preparing civil litigation against this former employee.

Following my email correspondence with a U.S. intelligence source, and clearance obtained by that source from U.S. Dept. of Defense government attorneys, that source was authorized to confirm that an espionage investigation directed at Shell USA was indeed initiated by the US Department of the Navy, Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS). Acting in his capacity as a senior high level United States Department of Defense investigative officer, this source had instigated the investigation. The NCIS mission is to investigate and defeat criminal, terrorist, and foreign intelligence threats to the United States Navy and Marine Corps, wherever they operate, ashore or afloat.

For your information, the Dept. of the Navy originally referred this matter to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in early 2000.

United States Department of Defense legal counsel was informed prior to the release of this confirmation (of an investigation) and they requested that the identity of the senior official not be disclosed and his affiliated agency not be identified. Suffice it to say that more than one U.S. intelligence agency has been involved in these matters.

The US Navy Department has declined thus far to provide any information relating to the status of the investigation. In this connection, I have seen recent related correspondence involving several U.S. governmental agencies, including the FBI.

Because of the unusual nature of some information supplied to us covering military and potential terrorist applications of the various technologies in question, which unclassified US Federal records show include submarine warfare, stealth and nuclear weapons (WMD) design technologies, I deemed it appropriate to inform the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) of these matters. I have supplied to the SIS my previous correspondence with you on the subject.

An article will be published taking into account any information/comments provided by Royal Dutch Shell, Shell USA and/or other named parties involved in the alleged criminal conspiracy. A draft of the article in its current form is also printed below.

Also printed below is a narrative (assembled from information that was made available to Federal authorities over a period of time in excess of a decade by this former Shell USA employee) which discusses in some detail the history of events of this saga.

I will be contacting all of the parties named in this narrative document so that they have the opportunity to comment and confirm or deny their alleged involvement in this alleged conspiracy to commit espionage.

I have already written to Mr. Matt Waldrop who, like Royal Dutch Shell, has thus far has remained silent and has not availed himself of the opportunity to rebut the allegations of his involvement, and the involvement of his law firm and principal partner, in this alleged criminal conspiracy. I will of course also update him and his (apparent) former business partner with the confirmation received from U.S. Dept. of Defense authorities and will give them the opportunity to respond. Mr. Waldrop and his law firm, Vethan & Waldrop, appear to have played a significant role in this alleged conspiracy to commit espionage by Shell USA, et al.

The extremely serious nature of this alleged conspiracy to commit espionage by a foreign owned company, Shell USA, with US citizens acting as agents and accomplices, targeting US Dept. of Defense and Dept. of Energy classified information pertaining to submarine warfare, stealth and nuclear weapons (WMD) technologies, and the potential consequences for those allegedly involved, is detailed in the attached document.

We presume that given the nature of this alleged criminal conspiracy targeting classified military technologies, and given the very serious consequences for the company and corporate leadership for discovery and failure, that senior Royal Dutch Shell management and legal counsel were and are most probably aware of Shell USA’s alleged criminal activities. At the very least, Royal Dutch Shell members of Shell USA’s Board of Directors most probably had to have been informed and involved from the outset. It would thus appear that Royal Dutch Shell management was fully informed and gave their consent/approval to Shell USA leadership to engage in these alleged criminal activities. As such they would be willing accessories in this alleged espionage conspiracy.

Please let me know on or before Wednesday, 6 October, if you need time to consult with your colleagues before responding. In that event, kindly just let me know when we can expect to receive a considered response. As per normal, we will publish with the article on an unedited basis, any  response you wish to provide.  If, however, I receive no response of any kind by 5pm tomorrow, I will assume that Shell is aware of the NCIS investigation and does not wish to comment.

Finally, I have supplied the British SIS with a copy of this email and of the related information. This has been done for more than one reason.

Best Regards,

John Donovan

PREVIOUS EMAIL CORRESPONDENCE

From: John Donovan [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: 27 June 2010 16:48
To: Wiseman, Richard M RDS-LSX
Subject: Shell Oil

Dear Mr Wiseman

I received the self-explanatory information below from a confidential source.

If there any foundation to what is stated? If you say it is all untrue – that there is no substance to anything stated – then we will be not publish anything on the subject.

Please feel free to check with your US colleagues. There is no urgency. We will await a response from you and are also awaiting a response from another party.

Regards
John Donovan

EXTRACT FROM EMAIL RECEIVED

If you want some more dirt on Shell Oil, you need to go to the Inspector General’s Office, Defense Security Services, US Dept. of Defense. In 2006 DSS initiated a counter-intelligence operation and Shell USA was implicated as the prmary ‘culprit’. The FBI had declined to take the case because they could not get an investigation through the US Attorney Generals office (Alberto Gonzalez)  without fear of reprisal. The Houston office of DCIS (the law enforcement arm of the DoD IG’s office) had also tried to initiate an investigation but it was outside their purview.

Shell was implicated by their attorneys, the law firm of Vethan and Waldrop, and Matt Waldrop, principle partner of the law firm. Shell had been attempting to gain unlawful access to technical material that had been classified by the Navy Dept., Office of Naval Research in 2001. This material was the IP of a former employee. Shell was apparently trying to ‘muscle’ their way into gaining ownership of the IP material.  This material was classified under DoE/DoD nuclear weapons classification authorities.

The above (alleged) conduct by Shell constitutes a capital crime under US law and there are no statutes of limitations regarding this conduct, for the company or the Shell officials involved. Because of the highly classified nature of the material Shell attempted (unsuccessfully) to gain access to the matter could well trigger a ‘diplomatic’ incident, and Shell plays ‘rough’.

ENDS

I also sent an email to Mr Matt Waldrop, the lawyer named in the information supplied by our source.  There has been no response.

I also supplied a copy of the information to a knowledgeable source. Printed below are extracts from the response received.

It’s possible that it has something to do with digital spread spectrum acoustic signaling – this was developed by a company called Nautronix. Nautronix were based in Perth, Australia, but had an office in California and there were some issues relating to IP – it’s quite likely that Shell tried to patent the use of spread spectrum signaling for controlling a BOP in a noisy environment, based on the number of other things they tried to patent which had been disclosed to them under CA’s. Digital spread spectrum acoustic signaling is also used in a number of naval/military applications.

If anyone who reads this article has information on this extraordinary matter, please contact me: [email protected]

ENDS

RESPONSE FROM ROYAL DUTCH SHELL PLC

From: [email protected]
Date: 29 June 2010 09:05:37 GMT+01:00
To: [email protected]
Subject: RE: Shell Oil

I have no comment to make on this.  You should not take this as an indication of our accepting or denying the allegations.

Regards

Richard Wiseman

Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer
Royal Dutch Shell plc
Shell Centre, London SE1 7NA

Registered in England and Wales number 4366849
Registered Office:  Shell Centre, London, SE1
Headquarters: Carel van Bylandtlaan 30, 2596 HR
The Hague, The Netherlands

Email: [email protected]
Internet: http://www.shell.com

SHELL EMAIL ENDS

RELY EMAIL FROM JOHN DONOVAN

From: John Donovan [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: 29 June 2010 10:49
To: Wiseman, Richard M RDS-LSX
Subject: Re: Shell Oil

Dear Mr Wiseman

I am grateful for the response. It is however difficult not to draw the conclusion which I have in the draft article below, which includes information you have not yet seen.

Shell has in the past indicated when information supplied to us is not authentic e.g. an email we once received purportedly from David Greer, the then Deputy Chairman of Sakhalin Energy, which you correctly said was a hoax. It was not from Mr Greer.

This time you are unable to say that there is no substance to the allegations.

The draft article will be published at 3pm today. If you want to make any comment in the light of the content of the draft article, it will be published on an unedited basis with the article.

Regards
John Donovan

Shell declines to comment on alleged industrial espionage targeting US Navy Dept

Printed below is email correspondence with Mr Richard Wiseman, Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer of Royal Dutch Shell Plc. I am grateful to him for his response.

It seems reasonable to conclude in view of his response, that there is substance to astonishing allegations of Shell industrial espionage in in the USA directed at the US Navy Department, involving classified military information.

Mr Wiseman must have checked with his American colleagues before replying, yet has been unable to issue the requested denial – see below – which would have resulted in non-publication.

RESPONSE FROM ROYAL DUTCH SHELL

From: [email protected]
Date: 29 June 2010 10:53:57 GMT+01:00
To: [email protected]
Subject: RE: Shell Oil

Dear Mr Donovan,

No comment, means no comment and as ever you should not draw any conclusions from my not commenting.  Shell’s response to previous allegations is not relevant.

Regards
Richard Wiseman

Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer
Royal Dutch Shell plc
Shell Centre, London SE1 7NA

Registered in England and Wales number 4366849
Registered Office:  Shell Centre, London, SE1
Headquarters: Carel van Bylandtlaan 30, 2596 HR
The Hague, The Netherlands

Email: [email protected]
Internet: http://www.shell.com

A DRAFT ARTICLE AND A HISTORICAL NARRATION WERE ALSO SUPPLIED WITH THE EMAIL DATED 4 OCTOBER 2010.

The information was copied to other senior Shell executive directors and senior officials in Europe and the USA.

I sent this cover message to Shell CEO Peter Voser along with the email…

From: John Donovan <[email protected]>
Date: 4 October 2010 11:54:52 GMT+01:00
To: [email protected]
Subject: Fwd: U.S. Dept. of Defense Confirms NCIS Espionage Investigation of Shell

Dear Mr. Voser

I have printed below an email that I sent to Mr. Richard Wiseman earlier today.

In view of the serious nature of this matter, I thought it appropriate to bring it to your personal attention.

I have also sent a copy to Mr. Richard Garcia at Shell Oil Company with this covering message:

Dear Mr. Garcia

I have printed below an email plus associated information sent today to Mr. Richard Wiseman, Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer of Royal Dutch Shell Plc.  I have supplied you with this information because of your own connection with the FBI bearing in mind that references to the FBI pop up both in the material supplied and in linked information.

It leaves me wondering whether the FBI is working in the best interests of the American public, or is being exploited as an investigative resource of a foreign owned company. In this connection, I draw your attention in particular to the article Royal Dutch Shell and the dark arts and the use by Shell of a cyber-crime specialist unit in Pittsburgh, partly funded and staffed by the FBI.

Your comments would be welcome.

I sent this message to Mr. Garcia because, along with Shell employees, I am the target of industrial espionage by Shell in which FBI resources have been utilised. I know this as a result of Shell internal communications supplied to me by  Shell in response to a SAR request. Reuters has already published an article on this matter.

I also want you to be personally aware that conscience driven Shell whistleblowers claim to have received threats, including death threats, made in an effort to stop Shell inside information from being supplied to me. I have evidence in the form of emails I have received from my insider sources.

That is disturbing to me and it should be even more disturbing to you bearing in mind that past undercover activity directed against me by Shell got out of hand.

Regards
John Donovan

EMAIL ENDS

I received an AutoReply from Mr Wiseman saying he is not available until 11 October.  I then contacted Mr. Michiel Brandjes, the Company Secretary & General Counsel Corporate of Royal Dutch Shell Plc. I received the following responses from him.

FIRST RESPONSE FROM SHELL

From: [email protected]
Date: 4 October 2010 16:37:15 GMT+01:00
To: [email protected]
Subject: RE: U.S. Dept. of Defense Confirms NCIS Espionage Investigation of Shell

Dear Mr. Donovan,

This appears to be a matter that can await Mr Wiseman’s return expected in the near term.

Best Regards,
Michiel Brandjes
Company Secretary and General Counsel Corporate
Royal Dutch Shell plc

Registered office: Shell Centre London SE1 7NA UK
Place of registration and number: England 4366849
Correspondence address: PO Box 162, 2501 AN  The Hague,
The Netherlands

SECOND RESPONSE FROM SHELL

From: [email protected]
Date: 5 October 2010 07:41:12 GMT+01:00
To: [email protected]
Cc: [email protected]
Subject: RE: U.S. Dept. of Defense Confirms NCIS Espionage Investigation of Shell

Dear Mr Donovan,

I am not saying Mr Wiseman will return sooner but 11 October would strike me as early enough given the history of communications..

Best Regards,
Michiel Brandjes
Company Secretary and General Counsel Corporate
Royal Dutch Shell plc

Registered office: Shell Centre London SE1 7NA UK
Place of registration and number: England 4366849
Correspondence address: PO Box 162, 2501 AN  The Hague,
The Netherlands

I SENT THE FOLLOWING RESPONSE TO MR BRANDJES TO WHICH NO REPLY WAS RECEIVED.

From: John Donovan <[email protected]>
Date: 6 October 2010 09:32:16 GMT+01:00
To: [email protected]
Cc: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]
Subject: U.S. Dept. of Defense Confirms NCIS Espionage Investigation of Shell

Dear Mr. Brandjes

On Monday I sent to Shell executive directors and senior company officials in Europe and the USA a draft article about the U.S. Dept. of Defense confirmation of an NCIS espionage investigation of Shell Oil. I have copied this email to the same individuals.

You have had ample time to check on the basic veracity of the statement expressed in the headline and associated allegations set out in the article and the historical narrative. I note that three days later, there is no denial from Shell of the basic facts.

Can someone in authority kindly let me know today if Shell intends to provide a substantive response and if so, when I can expect to receive it? I have no clear idea at the moment from the vague replies received thus far.

We may be prepared to hold off publication dependent on the delay involved in waiting for a substantive response. However, we do not want to delay publication only to receive another “No comment” reply.

If I hear nothing today, I will not bother you further on this matter and will publish the article and the associated information tomorrow. This will include extracts from the email correspondence.

I also note that there is no apparent interest from Shell in the alleged death threats to Shell employees in connection with leaked Shell internal information, that I mentioned in my email to Mr. Voser.

Best Regards
John Donovan
royaldutchshellplc.com

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U.S. Dept. of Defense Confirms NCIS Espionage Investigation of Shell

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