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Shell defamatory posters, leaflets and press releases attacking Donovan

By John Donovan

My families falling out with Shell took place over two decades ago.

Some indication of the degree of acrimony can be gauged from the content of posters Shell put on public display on 23 September 1998 at the Shell Centre in London, specifically targeting my father and me. I have never heard of a multinational corporation doing anything like this before or since.

This is what the posters said:

YOU MAY BE HANDED A LEAFLET OUTSIDE SHELL CENTRE BY MR ALFRED DONOVAN, FORMALLY OF A COMPANY CALLED DON MARKETING UK LIMITED.  YOU SHOULD BE AWARE THAT JOHN DONOVAN, A DIRECTOR OF DON MARKETING UK LIMITED, MR ALFRED DONOVAN’S SON, HAS ISSUED A WRIT AGAINST SHELL UK CLAIMING THAT HIS COMPANY INVENTED THE SMART LOYALTY CARD PROGRAMME.  MR DONOVAN’S ALLEGATIONS HAVE BEEN VERY CAREFULLY INVESTIGATED BY SHELL UK AND DISCUSSED IN DETAIL WITH MR DONOVAN AND HIS SOLICITORS. THE CLAIM IS BEING VIGOROUSLY DEFENDED.  AS SOME OF YOU MAY KNOW, MR DONOVAN HAS MADE SOME OFFENSIVE STATEMENTS ABOUT SHELL UK COLLEAGUES. WE REJECT SUCH ALLEGATIONS ABSOLUTELY AND ARE WHOLLY CONFIDENT THAT OUR COLLEAGUES HAVE ACTED IN THIS MATTER AT ALL TIMES IN GOOD FAITH AND IN LINE WITH OUR LONG STANDING BUSINESS PRINCIPLES. read more

Kiobel v Shell lawyers hearing 12 Sept 2017

Andrew Denney, New York Law Journal: September 12, 2017

Forcing Cravath, Swaine & Moore to hand over documents related to litigation against Royal Dutch Shell to a plaintiff seeking redress in Dutch courts would give rise to “discovery litigation tourism,” an attorney for the firm said Tuesday in arguments before a federal appeals court.

Esther Kiobel, who was unsuccessful in her effort to hold Shell liable in American courts for the 1995 execution death of her husband and eight others under the Alien Tort Statute, has taken her fight to the courts in the Netherlands. read more

SHELL STILL TRYING TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER – LITERALLY

Thurgood Marshall U.S. Courthouse, New York, New York

An important decision day for Esther Kiobel in the above U.S. Courthouse tomorrow, Tuesday 12 Sept 2017 in her epic attempt to bring Shell to Justice for complicity in the murder of her husband Dr. Barinem Kiobel, one of the  Ogoni Nine. She is seeking more than 100,000 Shell discovery documents stored in a secure US warehouse. 

“Who doesn’t love a good discovery fight? And this one involving Cravath, Swaine & Moore is a doozy, with ramifications that extend literally across the planet.”

By John Donovan

The text shown in red is an extract from an article by Jenna Greene from The Litigation Daily published in the US yesterday under the headline “Cravath in the Crosshairs”.

Cravath, Swaine & Moore are Shell’s lawyers. In 2013 they managed to torpedo on jurisdiction grounds a 2002 US lawsuit against Shell led by Esther Kiobel. After over a decade of litigation to stop the case from being heard, Cravath won a US Supreme Court decision in 2013 on that important point of law, without her charges against Shell  ever being considered. read more

Shell Withholds 100,000 Documents Critical To Ogoni Nine Case

BY PUNCH NEWSPAPERSEP 08, 2017

The oil giant, Shell, is refusing to hand over more than 100,000 internal documents on the arrest, detention, and execution of nine Ogoni men in the 1990s, Amnesty International has said. The execution of the “Ogoni Nine”,  including the renowned writer Ken Saro-Wiwa, by the government in 1995 sparked global outrage. Others executed along with Saro-Wiwa were Saturday Dobee, Nordu Eawo, Daniel Gbooko, Paul Levera, Felix Nuate, Baribor Bera, Barinem Kiobel, and John Kpuine. In a statement on Friday, a Senior Director of Research at Amnesty International, Audrey Gaughran, said Shell has gone to extraordinary lengths to withhold information vital to the case. He alleged that the oil giant may have “skeletons in its cupboard” and should not be allowed to hide behind expensive legal teams to avoid facing justice. “Shell has gone to extraordinary lengths to withhold this critical information. Because the documents in question are so old, it is highly unlikely that there are legitimate business reasons for keeping them confidential. So what does Shell have to hide?” FULL ARTICLE read more

Ogoni Nine: Shell’s lawyers refusing to hand over “critical” evidence – Amnesty International

The widows of four of the men, led by Esther Kiobel, are the plaintiffs in the case which was first filed in 2001 in the U.S. The U.S. Supreme Court in 2013, without hearing the substance of the case, had ruled that the U.S. did not have jurisdiction. The widows filed the lawsuit in the Netherlands on June 28. An international human rights NGO, Amnesty International, said in a statement Friday that the U.S. law firm, Cravath, Swaine & Moore, has refused to hand over more than 100,000 internal documents considered crucial to the case. The Amnesty International directly accused Shell of trying to prevent the release of vital information. FULL ARTICLE read more

Will Oprah Winfrey portray Esther Kiobel in a movie about her epic battle with Shell? 

If Esther does eventually win her case, it will make the Erin Brockovich story look a tea party by comparison.

By John Donovan

The above headline may be premature but it really could be just a matter of time.

Last Thursday, 31 August, an application was filed with the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit to film an appeal hearing made by Shell’s US lawyers Cravath, Swaine & Moore opposing an order made by a federal judge in favour of Esther Kiobel.

The application was made by Freke Vuijst a US correspondent of Dutch media and also covers her cameraman Martijn Hart. The applicant reveals that she is currently involved in the making of a film documentary about the case. The application says: “The above mentioned case is of direct interest to the Dutch public, since Esther Kiobel filed a case in the Netherlands.” read more

Lawsuit accuses Shell of discharging pollutants in Providence River

The Conservation Law Foundation also alleges that the multinational corporation headquartered in the Netherlands — the second-largest oil and gas company in the world — has failed to take adequate steps to protect the facility from rising waters caused by climate change and a projected increase in the frequency of coastal storms and rain events. FULL ARTICLE

Shell and Exxon punished by Dutch ad authority for fossil fuel claim

The television ad stated that natural gas was “the cleanest of all fossil fuels.” This is the second time in 2017 that Dutch advertising authorities have sought to punish the oil and gas industry with Statoil reprimanded for claiming gas to be “clean energy” and “low emissions fuel” in June. The Dutch Advertising Code Authority stated that the term “cleanest fossil fuel” was not in line with the MRC (the Dutch advertising code). FULL ARTICLE

Exxon, Shell Censured for Claiming Natural Gas Is ‘Cleanest’ Fossil Fuel

According to reports, an advertising standards board in the Netherlands will formally censure Exxon and Shell, as part-owners of a Dutch petroleum company, for advertising the claim that natural gas is “the cleanest of all fossil fuels.” The ad campaign featuring this claim ran earlier this year. Just two months ago, the agency also admonished Statoil for making the claim that natural gas was a “low emissions fuel” and for calling it “clean energy.” As The Guardian reported: “The Dutch watchdog waived punitive action against the NAM company, which is part-owned by Shell and Exxon, in that light. FULL ARTICLE read more

Shell and Exxon face censure over claim gas was ‘cleanest fossil fuel’

The Dutch advertising watchdog will on Tuesday censure Shell and Exxon for claiming that natural gas was “the cleanest of all fossil fuels” in an advert earlier this year. It will be the second time this summer that the Netherlands advertising standards board has ruled against the fossil fuels industry… FULL ARTICLE 

$2.47bn at stake in US case: Shell/Exxon v Nigerian National Petroleum Corp

By John Donovan

Provided below are links to a selection of US court documents I have published online about a dispute being litigated in the US courts involving Shell, Exxon and the state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corp (NNPC). A gigantic sum (including interest) of $2.47bn USD is at stake.

In an echo of the Esther Kiobel v Shell case, also currently being heard in the US courts, the current arguments are about the discovery process. (Esther is actually suing Shell’s US lawyers, Cravath Swaine & Moore.) read more

FINAL EXTRACT ESTHER KIOBEL WRIT SERVED ON SHELL 28 JUNE 2017

By John Donovan

Published below are the final pages – 113 to 138 – inclusive, from the Writ served on multiple companies within the Royal Dutch Shell Group on 28 June 2017 on behalf of Esther Kiobel. These pages provide supporting information about the claim, including a List of Exhibits. The formatting is not 100% accurate, but the content is correct.

Extract begins

CLAIM

The claimants request the court to enter judgement, provisionally enforceable as far as possible:

  1. to rule that the defendants acted unlawfully towards the claimants and are jointly and severally liable to them for the damage that they have suffered and will suffer in the future as a result of the defendants’ unlawful actions, which damage is to be assessed during separate follow-up proceedings and settled according to the law, all this plus the statutory interest up to the date of settlement in full;
  2. to order the defendants within 21 days of the judgment to compel the CEO of Royal Dutch Shell, in any case the CEO of SPDC, to make a public apology for the role that Shell played in the events leading to the death of the claimants’ spouses and to publish the text of this statement clearly visible on its website, subject to a penalty of €20,000 per day (or a sum to be determined by the court in accordance with the proper administration of justice) that they fail to comply with this order;
  3. to order the defendants jointly and severally to pay the extrajudicial costs;
  4. to order the defendants, jointly and severally, to pay the costs of these proceedings, including the subsequent costs.

The cost of this: €80.42 read more

Kiobel Writ: The Dutch battlefront against Shell

For years, Shell encouraged the Nigerian regime to take (more) effective measures designed to ensure Shell’s return to Ogoniland. Shell did this despite the fact that it had meanwhile learned from experience that in its actions, the regime frequently violated human rights and many people were killed.

By John Donovan

Earlier today we published an article about the latest legal moves on behalf on Esther Kiobel in the US courts against a Shell law firm. We now return to the publication of information about her legal action against Shell in the Netherlands. The numbered paragraphs below are extracted from the 138 page Writ served on multiple Royal Dutch Shell companies on 28 June 2017. As can be seen in the footnotes, the allegations are supported by voluminous evidence.

Extracts begin

8.8 Shell Nigeria Shell operated as a single entity

8.8.1 Introduction read more

Esther Kiobel US Court battle for 100,000 Shell docs continues

Esther Kiobel with legal team and supporters in front of the US Supreme Court in Washington DC, 2012 © Private

Extracts: Cravath put the mountain of Shell discovery items into secure US storage. My guess is that Shell would have preferred an accidental fire. 

Petitioner has already waited over twenty years for a forum that will hear her claims for her husband’s execution. At this point, Petitioner’s co-plaintiffs in the Dutch litigation face increasingly fragile health, and now fear that “further delaying litigation in the Netherlands might impede their ability to bring their claim in the future.”

By John Donovan

Several months ago, a US Federal Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein after carefully considering arguments made by the involved parties ordered Shell’s US lawyers Cravath, Swaine & Moore to give Esther Kiobel access to more than 100,000 Shell discovery documents for use in the Dutch courts. Dutch proceedings against Shell commenced on 28 June 2017.

The Shell internal documents were assembled for Esther Kiobel’s thwarted US action against the oil giant which commenced over a decade ago. That litigation ended with a US Supreme Court decision that she could not bring a human rights claim against Shell in the US for alleged misdeeds committed in Nigeria, including involvement in the judicial murder of the ‘Ogoni 9′. Cravath put the mountain of Shell discovery items into secure US storage. My guess is that Shell would have preferred an accidental fire. read more

Kiobel Writ: Ogoni 9 trial – Shell deception and machination

While Shell publicly stated that it was trying to persuade the regime to abandon the trial using quiet diplomacy, in reality it continued supporting the regime, while negotiating new projects. It also continued actively involving itself in the course of events during the trial.

By John Donovan

The numbered paragraphs below are extracted from the 138 page Esther Kiobel Writ served on multiple Royal Dutch Shell companies on 28 June 2017. More information about the litigation, this time in the Dutch Courts, is provided after the extracts. As can be seen in the footnotes, the allegations are supported by voluminous evidence.

OGONI 9 TRIAL

Extracts begin

8.7 Shell, knowing how the trial would end, allowed its commercial interests to prevail over the fate of the Ogoni 9

315. Through its close involvement with the case and with the regime Shell knew at an early stage that the suspects would not have a fair trial. In July 1995, more than three months before the tribunal was to pass judgment, Anderson reported on a conversation he had had with President Abacha: read more

Kiobel Writ: Shell bribed witnesses in Ogoni 9 trial

Already during the trial in 1995 two witnesses testified that they had been bribed to make incriminating statements in exchange for money and a job at Shell. In their statements Nkpah and Danwi named a number of other witnesses who were bribed by Shell and the regime…: Separate extract: “We knew that Shell, the prosecutor and the members of the tribunal were working hand in glove with each other. 

By John Donovan

The numbered paragraphs below are extracted from the 138 page Esther Kiobel Writ served on multiple Royal Dutch Shell companies on 28 June 2017. More information about the latest litigation, this time in the Dutch Courts, is provided after the extracts. As can be seen in the footnotes, the allegations are supported by voluminous evidence.  

Shell and the Abacha regime operated in tandem

Extracts begin

8.6 Shell contributed to the outcome of the Ogoni 9 trial

8.6.1 Shell was involved in the bribery of witnesses

Already during the trial in 1995 two witnesses testified that they had been bribed to make incriminating statements in exchange for money and a job at Shell. Charles Danwi and Naayone Nkpah made a statement under oath on video on 16 and 27 February 1995 respectively, which was submitted as an affidavit to the Civil Disturbances Tribunal.409 The Tribunal however disregarded the evidence. In their statements Nkpah and Danwi named a number of other witnesses who were bribed by Shell and the regime, that is Celestine Meabe, Kevin Badara,410 Limpa Bah, Peter Fii, Saturday Iye and David Keenom (exhibit 45: Public Deposition Naayone Nkpah, 19 March 2004, pp. 19-22; exhibit 21: Affidavit Charles Danwi, 16 February 1995).411 The false statements of these bribed witnesses were decisive in the conviction of the Ogoni 9.412 The statements of Danwi and Nkpah show that shortly after the murders of the traditional Ogoni leaders they were pressured by the main prosecution witnesses Alhaji Kobani (the brother of the murdered Edward Kobani) and Priscilla Vikue413 to sign a false statement in which they accused the since apprehended MOSOP and NYCOP leaders of the murders.414 Initially they refused to do this, whereupon they were placed under house arrest for some time. Danwi testified that he was then promised the following:

“I was promise[d] that after the case in Court I will be given a house any place in the country, a Contract from Shell and OMPADEC and some amount of money to buy my musical instrument. […] On another date of meeting in Kobani’s House, representative from Shell, OMPADEC, security agents, Govt officials and the Kobani, Orage and Badey’s family were present and they all agreed. The family gave some money say that the money come from Govt. and Shell. In my case I was given N 30,000,- from Shell and Govt.”415

  • Nkpah testified to the same effect and in his fuller statement in the American Kiobel case also said who was involved in the bribery. Apart from Alhaji Kobani and some other family members of the murdered Ogoni chiefs, they were also various representatives of the regime and the oil industry, among them Shell’s lawyer O.C.J. Okocha.416 Nkpah was also promised a house, 30,000 naira and a contract at Shell, OMPADEC or the government.417 In his deposition he said that Celestine Meabe had asked Alhaji Kobani where the 30,000 naira came from, to which Kobani replied:

    “This money come from Shell, government of Nigeria. This is why the chairman, the lawyer representative is here.”.418

  • Kobani introduced this Shell lawyer to Nkpah as O.C.J. Okocha.419 Nkpah also said that Kobani had told him that “anything that is being given to us […] basically is from the government and the Shell and Ubadek [OMPADEC]”.420
  •  Just like Danwi, in exchange for signing the false testimony Nkpah was given a job in the transport section of the municipality of Gokana where, in addition to the 30,000 naira, he received a monthly salary without actually being employed.421
  • Gani Fawehinmi, the suspects’ lawyer, introduced Danwi’s statement on the second day of the Ogoni 9 trial (on 21 February 1995):

    “My Lord, he [Charles Danwi] is number 22 on the list of witnesses. He has sworn to an Affidavit and he has exhibited what is called a principal statement. He accused the Government [and] Shell Development Company for bribing him with thirty thousand naira (N30.000) and a house. He has made a full disclosure that what they have was not his statement […].”422

  •  Although Kiobel’s lawyer Alhaji Oso again tried to stress the importance of the bribery on the third day423 and explained that the reliability of the witnesses was the basis of the case,424 Nkpah and Danwi’s affidavits were not admitted as exculpatory evidence.425 At that point, Danwi and Nkpah had already gone into hiding out of fear for repercussions by the regime and could not therefore give evidence to the hearing. Their fear proved to be well-founded: both men were put on the regime’s blacklist.426 Ultimately they were forced to flee Nigeria and they were accepted as refugees in Benin.427
  • Nkpah is currently living in the United States and is prepared to substantiate his statements in detail as a witness if necessary. Danwi’s current whereabouts are unknown.
  • 8.6.2 Shell maintained direct contact with the judges of the Special Tribunal during the trial read more

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