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Posts under ‘Wikipedia’

A deserved shitstorm of Shell Nigerian litigation

A boatload of heavily armed Shell employees? Photograph: Veronique de Viguerie/Getty Images

Shell is facing what Americans might describe as a shitstorm of lawsuits arising from its Nigerian activities since the 1950’s. Litigation is current or pending in Nigeria, the USA, Italy, the UK and the Netherlands.

According to Wikipedia, shitstorm is a vulgar dysphemism for a chaotic and unpleasant situation. It does seem appropriate in a reputational nightmare of Shell’s own making. Related human rights allegations against Shell and the evil Nigerian regimes it has supported include torture, murder, toxic pollution, spying and corruption on a grand scale.

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I WARNED WIKIPEDIA YEARS AGO THAT ALIAS EDITING WOULD RESULT IN SCANDAL

Screen Shot 2015-09-07 at 15.09.08

CREDIT: SHUTTERSTOCK/DYLAN PETROHILOS

Wikipedia cannot say that it was not warned long ago about the corrupt practices going on behind the scenes by some members of its volunteer army of supposedly unpaid editors; an unhealthy culture of manipulation, secrecy, bullying and censorship, driven mostly by the root of all evil: money

By John Donovan 

The Guardian newspaper has just published an article under the headline: Wikipedia founder backs site’s systems after extortion scam”

Once again, for commercial reasons, hundreds of Wikipedia “editors” have been exploiting the flaw that allows people to edit Wikipedia articles anonymously, hiding behind an alias. My guess is that it is actually thousands, not hundreds. It is destroying the integrity of Wikipedia articles.  

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Wikipedia editing scandal

Wikipedia cannot say that it was not warned long ago about the corrupt practices going on behind the scenes by some members of its volunteer army of supposedly unpaid editors; an unhealthy culture of manipulation, secrecy, bullying and censorship, driven mostly by the root of all evil: money.

By John Donovan

Like many other people, I am a great admirer of Wikipedia and use it frequently.

The Wikipedia organization is laudably conducted on a non-profit making basis, has no subscription charges and does not allow advertising on Wikipedia articles.

It does however have a serious flaw in respect of Wikipedia articles about businesses.

I have rung alarm bells for several years that such articles are wide open to manipulation by anonymous parties with commercially driven motives.

I forecast that an editing scandal would inflict damage to the reputation of Wikipedia.

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BP a novice at manipulating Wikipedia compared with Shell

Screen Shot 2013-04-16 at 23.58.28In Shell’s case, a vast amount of information, which fully met Wikipedia guidelines, but was deemed damaging to Shell’s reputation, has been either covertly removed, or removed in dubious circumstances by editors hiding their identity behind an alias, as they are allowed to do. Royal Dutch Shell articles on Wikipedia are, in my experience, regularly patrolled and edited by individuals sympathetic to Shell. Most of the articles have been deleted in their entirety.

By John Donovan

According to a recent cnet.com news report, BP’s press office has been accused of a behind the scenes operation allegedly rewriting an estimated 44 percent of the oil giant’s Wikipedia page: BP accused of rewriting environmental record on Wikipedia

Extract

BP is not directly editing its page, but instead has apparently inserted a BP representative into the editing community who provides Wikipedia editors with text.

The text is then copied “as is” onto the page by Wikipedia editors. Readers might assume its unbiased information when its, in fact, vetted by higher-ups at BP before hitting the page.

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Website censorship by Shell

There is nothing new about Shell taking steps to prevent its employees visiting so-called anti-Shell websites from Shell premises. A Shell internal email dated 31 August 2007 provides proof that Shell issued instructions that its employees must not visit this website. In fact, Shell has a history of censoring information critical of the oil giant that has been published on the Internet.

By John Donovan

Last week it was alleged that Shell blocked employee access to a fake Shell website set up by activists.

Under the circumstances, Shell was entitled to do so. Whether it was wise is another matter, as it drew attention to the website and its a safe bet that far more employees checked out the website later at home than would otherwise have been the case.

There is nothing new about Shell taking steps to prevent its employees visiting so-called anti-Shell websites from Shell premises. A Shell internal email dated 31 August 2007 provides proof that Shell issued instructions that its employees must not visit this website.

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After Mishaps, Shell Dials Back Arctic Oil-Drilling Plans

Christopher Helman

Christopher Helman, Forbes Staff: 9/17/2012

I’m based in Houston, Texas, energy capital of the world.

For weeks now it’s been unlikely that Shell would have enough time before the sea freeze sets in to drill down to oil-bearing zones in its newly spudded well in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea.

But today Shell made it official, announcing that it would seek only to finish “top hole” work on the Burger A well. It aims only to drill down to 1,400 feet beneath the seafloor, then plug and seal the hole for reentry next year.

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Tar Sands – World’s Dirtiest Oil?

GUEST ARTICLE BY A REGULAR CONTRIBUTOR, A FORMER EMPLOYEE OF SHELL OIL CO

I read your article about the concern over the management of Royal Dutch Shell’s tailings ponds that result from the open-pit mining of heavy tar deposits in Alberta.
 
There are many lessons for the Canadian and Provincial governments to be learned about open-pit mining and reclamation operations from their nearby neighbors in the States.

The Canadian Rockies are not noted for their mineral deposits. In the United States however, vast deposits of coal, copper, zinc, gold, silver and molybdenum have been discovered and mined over the last 150 years. Many of these operations have been abandoned leaving behind heaps of toxic tailings that continue to pollute the environment today.

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Shell self-insurance of Arctic drilling risk

COMMENT BY A FORMER SHELL EMPLOYEE

I just read your blog about Shell not being able to obtain disaster insurance for its operations in the Arctic. I interpret this to mean that the insurance underwriters, who are pros at this sort of thing, find the probability of an ‘accident’ on the part of Shell during drilling operations to be so high that they are unwilling to risk their own financial well being.

This is essentially a vote of ‘no confidence’ on the part of the insurance industry in Shell’s contingency plans, and Shell’s engineering and management capabilities, i.e., the competence of Shell staff, technical as well as administrative. The insurance industry simply finds that Shell is not up to the task at hand and the risk of a major accident is too great.

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With Little Fanfare, a New Effort to Prosecute Employers That Flout Safety Laws

FROM OUR ARCHIVES: In March, for example, Motiva Enterprises, an oil refining company partly owned by Shell Oil, pleaded guilty to endangering workers negligently and committing environmental crimes in Delaware. The company was ordered to pay a $10 million fine and sentenced to three years’ probation.

THE NEW YORK TIMES: With Little Fanfare, a New Effort to Prosecute Employers That Flout Safety Laws

3 May 2005

By DAVID BARSTOW and LOWELL BERGMAN

For decades, the most egregious workplace safety violations have routinely escaped prosecution, even when they led directly to deaths or grievous injuries. Safety inspectors hardly ever called in the Justice Department. Congress repeatedly declined to toughen criminal laws for workplace deaths. Employers with extensive records of safety violations often paid insignificant fines and continued to ignore basic safety rules.

Inside the Bush administration, though, a novel effort to end this pattern of leniency has begun to take root.

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Preview-US top court to hear corporate human rights case


Fri Feb 24, 2012 6:12pm EST

* At issue is reach of 1789 US law used to sue corps

* Lawsuit accuses Shell of aiding Nigerian rights abuses

* Ruling expected by the end of June

By James Vicini

WASHINGTON, Feb 24 (Reuters) – The Supreme Court will weigh next week whether corporations can be sued in the United States for suspected complicity in human rights abuses abroad, in a case being closely watched by businesses concerned about long and costly litigation.

The high court on Tuesday will consider the reach of a 1789 U.S. law that had been largely dormant until 1980, when human rights lawyers started using it, at first to sue foreign government officials. Then, over the next 20 years, the lawyers used the law to target multinational corporations.

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Shell pays $25 million to settle royalty claims

WASHINGTON, Jan 17, 2012 (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell has paid $25 million to the U.S. government to resolve claims that the company underpaid royalties on federal offshore oil and gas leases, the U.S. Interior Department said on Tuesday.

WASHINGTON, Jan 17, 2012 (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell has paid $25 million to the U.S. government to resolve claims that the company underpaid royalties on federal offshore oil and gas leases, the U.S. Interior Department said on Tuesday.

The settlement applies to royalty-in-value and royalty-in-kind production from Shell deepwater leases in the Gulf of Mexico between 2000 and 2008.

Interior’s Office of Natural Resources Revenue said audits of Shell’s leases had uncovered “various valuation issues”.

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Boasts over Shell avoidance of oil spills come back to haunt its CEO

By John Donovan

In October 2010, the Daily Mail published an article reporting claims by Royal Dutch Shell Plc Chief Executive, Peter Voser, that Shell would never have made the mistakes that led to the BP Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, which resulted in a huge oil spill.

The claims have come back to haunt Mr Voser.

Royal Dutch Shell wades in with attack on BP over spill (Daily Mail 13 October 2010)

We subsequently learned of a “near miss” which had taken place in December 2009 on Shell’s Sedco 711 North Sea platform, with an uncanny similarity to issues surrounding the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster.

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