Royal Dutch Shell PLC says it is “absolutely untrue” that it has infiltrated every Nigerian ministry affecting its operations in the oil-rich nation. (Bloomberg article)
This claim is totally at odds with the WikiLeak cables published on this website. We are being asked to believe that either Ann Pickard (above right) was misquoted by the Americans, or was not telling the truth to the American government.
This is of course all part of a desperate attempt at crisis news management by the Royal Dutch Shell propaganda ministry.
We are told that Ann is no longer in Nigeria. She has left the scene of the crime after serving five years as Shells Regional Executive Vice President for Sub Sahara Africa. Her job title at Shell is downplayed. In fact, Ann Pickard is now the Country Chair of Shell Australia. The government of Australia is at least forewarned by the WikiLeaks cables to watch out for Shell infiltrators.
There is nothing new about Shell espionage skulduggery in Nigeria. On 17 June 2001, The Sunday Times published a front page lead story MI6 ‘Firm’ Spied on Green Groups. (PDF of original Sunday Times article so will take time to load)
Shell used a serving German secret agent Manfred Schlickenrieder, in several undercover operations on an international basis, including activities in Nigeria.
Schlickenrieder was known by the code name Camus and had worked for the German foreign intelligence service gathering information about terrorist groups, including the Red Army Faction. He made a film on Shell in Nigeria called Business as Usual: the Arrogance of Power, during which he interviewed friends of Ken Saro-Wiwa, the Nobel prize nominee, who was hanged by the military regime in 1995 after leading a campaign against oil exploration. Schlickenrieder sent a letter to a Body Shop executive saying he had been researching the activities of Shell in Nigeria, and asked about plans for further activities.
The German spy was working on a freelance basis for Shell and its then private intelligence firm Hakluyt, in which Shell titled directors were major shareholders and the ultimate spymasters.
Bearing in mind the recent news of Shell getting further into bed with the Russian mafia (the Russian government as defined in WikiLeaks cables), President Putin will no doubt be concerned about Shell’s discussions with the UK and US governments on Gazprom’s “interest in Nigeria” and its request for help from US intelligence.
Pickard revealed in the leaked cables that she had held a meeting with a Nigerian minister in the ministers office. Shortly thereafter she received a verbatim transcript of the meeting from Russia. Clearly Russian intelligence is also busy. Should be an interesting marriage!
Shell has also been in bed with a succession of corrupt Nigerian dictators and with leaders of militant groups attacking Shell installations. Helps to drive up the price of oil.
Earlier this year Shell settled for $15.5 million a claim from relatives of Ken Saro-Wiwa in relation to Shell’s involvement in murder, torture and other human rights abuses in Nigeria.
It has also recently been fined $48 million for engaging in bribery and corruption in Nigeria.
Shell has plundered, corrupted and polluted in Nigeria for many years while the vast majority of the population remain desperately poor.
It is no wonder, in view of the above evil track record, that Shell has considered changing its name to: “New Shell”. This was also an attempt to shake off its association/involvement in the judicial murder of Ken Saro-Wiwa and other Ogoni tribal leaders.
The Shell brand name, like its gas flaring in Nigeria, is now so toxic, that it should be dropped altogether.