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Elaborate hoax targeting the Kiobel v Shell case currently before the US Supreme Court

By John Donovan

Shell’s Arctic activities were the subject of an elaborate widely reported hoax.

Another similarly elaborate hoax is now targeting the Kiobel v Royal Dutch Shell case currently being heard at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Like the earlier hoax, it involves a fake Shell website and other deceptions with full use being made of social media such as Facebook.

The emails we received yesterday, purportedly from Shell, are printed below with working links.

FIRST EMAIL RECEIVED, PURPORTEDLY FROM SHELL: 1 OCTOBER 2012

CONFIDENTIAL – DO NOT DISTRIBUTE

john,

Please take action to defend Shell within the next 24 hours.

As you most likely know, this coming week is a critical one for all of us at Shell. Nothing less than our Company’s international reputation is at stake.

Beginning this Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum. This landmark case has been brought against Shell by a group of dangerously misguided Nigerians bent on convincing the Court—and the world—that Shell is responsible for the 1995 murders of nine Nigerian rebels who opposed oil development in their communities.

Let there be no doubt, the public execution of those villagers was a reprehensible act, indeed a tragedy. Yet 17 years later a new tragedy is taking shape, as politically-motivated radicals exploit these allegations to convince consumers that Shell is in the business of murder.

While we cannot affect the Supreme Court’s decision, we can speak to public opinion. Unfortunately, we all know how vulnerable the media are to emotionally charged misinformation. That’s why we are calling on members of the Shell worldwide family to stand as one and help get the real truth out about Shell.

If you have 1 minute:
Help us by tweeting or posting your own defense of Shell at key journalists. Click here to begin.
If you have 5-10 minutes:
Call a news desk and let them know how you feel. Click here for telephone numbers and instructions.

As a global energy company, we at Shell set ourselves the highest standards of performance and ethical behaviour. We are judged by how we act, and our reputation depends on how we live up to our core values: honesty, integrity, and respect for people. Please stand with the entire Shell family to show the world what Shell is really about.

Thanks and regards,

Dorothy W. Thomas
Grassroots Employee Empowerment Director
Shell Human Resources Division

This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed. If you are not the named addressee you should not disseminate, distribute or copy this e-mail. Please notify the sender immediately by e-mail if you have received this e-mail by mistake and delete this e-mail from your system. If you are not the intended recipient you are notified that disclosing, copying, distributing or taking any action in reliance on the contents of this information is strictly prohibited

SECOND EMAIL RECEIVED 1 OCTOBER 2012, PURPORTEDLY FROM SHELL

CONFIDENTIAL – DO NOT DISTRIBUTE

john,

We apologize for the technical error in the last email. To defend Shell in this week’s landmark case, please do one or both of the following:

Please click here to visit and like the Facebook page.

Tweet your support by clicking this link.

Alternately, copy and paste these links into your browser:

http://goo.gl/1638L
https://twitter.com/home?status=%40Oprah%20The%20Nigerian%20hangings%20were%20tragic%2C%20but%20the%20world%20faces%20new%20challenges.%20%23NigeriaLeaveShellAlone%20http%3A%2F%2Fgoo.gl%2F1638L
We really need to stick together in this time of need.

Dorothy W. Thomas
Grassroots Employee Empowerment Division
Human Resources, Shell

This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed. If you are not the named addressee you should not disseminate, distribute or copy this e-mail. Please notify the sender immediately by e-mail if you have received this e-mail by mistake and delete this e-mail from your system. If you are not the intended recipient you are notified that disclosing, copying, distributing or taking any action in reliance on the contents of this information is strictly prohibited.

THIRD EMAIL RECEIVED 1 OCTOBER 2012, PURPORTEDLY FROM SHELL

CONFIDENTIAL – DO NOT DISTRIBUTE

john,

ADDENDUM TO PREVIOUS EMAIL:

If you have a bit more time, please call any of the following news desks. A suggested script is below.

(202) 898-7645 – CNN
(212) 556-1726 – New York Times
(212) 416-4563 – Wall Street Journal
(202) 222-7700 – ABC
(212) 664-2012 – NBC
Hello! My name is _________ and I’ve been a Shell employee for ___ years.

As I’m sure you know, Shell is facing serious allegations in the US Supreme Court. As a Shell employee, I can assure you that the paramilitaries who killed the Nigerian rebels in 1995 were not acting in line with Shell’s core values of “honesty, integrity and respect,” and so could not have been hired by Shell.

I invite you to read about Shell’s General Business Principles at www.shell.com/sgbp/, especially Principle 4 on Political Activities.

Thank you for your attention. Do you have any questions?

Note: If the journalist brings up any of the following points, you are free to answer: “I am not required by law to divulge that” or “I have the right to remain silent.” If the reporter persists, feel free to say: “Thank you for your time. Please visit Shell.com” and hang up:

Shell has been drilling for oil in Ogoniland, Nigeria since 1958 with absolutely no environmental regulation, resulting in millions of gallons of oil spills. The Ogoni people have suffered devastating health consequences including birth defects and increased rates of cancer. In 1990, when the Ogoni began to nonviolently protest, Shell began cooperating with the Nigerian military regime to violently suppress the opposition. Since then, more than 60 villages have been raided, 800 Ogoni killed and 30,000 displaced. A sham trial was set up to punish protest leaders. Dr. Barinem Kiobel, an outspoken anti-Shell activist, was convicted of murder in a summary proceeding without access to counsel, witnesses, or right to appeal. Dr. Kiobel was executed along with eight others in 1995. The Supreme Court case Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co offers the chance to hold Shell accountable for these crimes.

And again:

Please click here to visit and like the Facebook page.

Tweet your support by clicking this link.

Alternately, copy and paste these links into your browser:

http://goo.gl/1638L
https://twitter.com/home?status=%40Oprah%20The%20Nigerian%20hangings%20were%20tragic%2C%20but%20the%20world%20faces%20new%20challenges.%20%23NigeriaLeaveShellAlone%20http%3A%2F%2Fgoo.gl%2F1638L
Dorothy W. Thomas
Grassroots Employee Empowerment Division
Human Resources, Shell

This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed. If you are not the named addressee you should not disseminate, distribute or copy this e-mail. Please notify the sender immediately by e-mail if you have received this e-mail by mistake and delete this e-mail from your system. If you are not the intended recipient you are notified that disclosing, copying, distributing or taking any action in reliance on the contents of this information is strictly prohibited.

SELF-EXPLANATORY EMAIL RECEIVED 2 OCTOBER 2012

PLEASE DISTRIBUTE WIDELY

Dear john,

Yesterday morning, your employer blocked you—and 71,009 other Shell employees whose emails we received from an anonymous source—from accessing a website with information and tools for speaking out on one of the most important Supreme Court cases of our time.

The case, Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, is an attempt to hold Shell responsible for collaborating with the the Nigerian military regime in a spate of extrajudicial killing, torture, and other crimes against humanity that left 800 people dead and 30,000 more displaced from their homes. The Nigerian government’s violence—which could not have happened without Shell’s assistance—was meant to suppress non-violent opposition to Shell’s oil development plans.

To prevail in this case, Shell lawyers must overturn a 200-year-old law, the Alien Tort Statute (ATS), that compensates victims of international crimes. The law has been used to compensate Holocaust survivors who sued for restitution from corporations that profited from slavery and forced labor during World War II.

It is our belief that the vast majority of Shell’s employees don’t want their company to get away with human rights abuses, or to undermine laws that give victims power against those who kill and abuse them. We urge you to visit the blocked website at MurderIsBad.com (from home, if need be) and make your feelings known.

Dorothy W. Thomas
People Against Legalizing Murder (PALM)

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