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Kiobel Writ: Shell rewarded notorious Lt Col Paul Okuntimo following excess of violence

In the village of Korokoro the visit by Shell and the troops on 25 October 1993 led to a violent confrontation with the local population.

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.

EXTRACTS FROM ESTHER KIOBEL JUNE 2017 WRIT 

8.2.6 Shell rewarded Okuntimo following excess of violence at Korokoro

209. At the beginning of October 1993 the Rivers State authorities started peace negotiations between the Ogoni and Andoni. Shell and MOSOP were also invited to them, even though Shell was not a party to the agreement.264 Others present were “OMPADEC, the Military, the S.S.S. (State Security Service), the warring parties and Police representatives”.265 To the surprise of Owens Wiwa, who was present on behalf of MOSOP, Paul Okuntimo also joined the talks: read more

Kiobel Writ: Shell supported the Abacha army in fake ‘ethnic conflicts’

Between July 1993 and April 1994 hundreds of Ogoni were killed and thousands became homeless as a result of apparent ethnic conflicts between the Andoni, the Okrika and Ndoki and the Ogoni population groups. The biggest attack took place on the Ogoni village of Kaa on 4 and 5 August 1993, when an estimated 35 to 124 villagers died; The regime later proved involved in the attacks itself, with Shell providing a helping hand.

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.

EXTRACTS FROM ESTHER KIOBEL JUNE 2017 WRIT 

8.2.5  Shell supported the army in fake ‘ethnic conflicts’

203. Between July 1993 and April 1994 hundreds of Ogoni were killed and thousands became homeless as a result of apparent ethnic conflicts between the Andoni, the Okrika and Ndoki and the Ogoni population groups. The biggest attack took place on the Ogoni village of Kaa on 4 and 5 August 1993, when an estimated 35 to 124 villagers died; widespread looting also took place and possessions and homes were destroyed.250 Despite repeated requests to this effect from MOSOP to Rufus Ada George and President Abacha, the Nigerian regime did not intervene in this period.251 The regime later proved involved in the attacks itself, with Shell providing a helping hand. read more

Shell complicit in excessively violent action by the Nigerian regime

Extract: Shell contributed to the ‘Umuechem massacre’: In 1990, Shell’s request to the authorities to terminate a peaceful demonstration in Umechem, a village just outside of Ogoniland, resulted in a two-day long punitive expedition by MOPOL. Dozens of people were killed, even more injured and many hundreds became homeless. Extract: MOPOL returned very early the next day to undertake a punitive expedition in Umuechem. During this expedition, 495 houses were set alight in their entirety. Many people got injured and internal Shell documents as well as a Human Rights Watch report speak of a death toll of 80.

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. At the time of all of these horrific events in Nigeria, orchestrated to a large degree by Shell, the oil giant claimed that it was operating within its core business principles, including honesty, integrity, openness and respect for people.  read more

Shell Corrib Gas Irish Exit

Shell Oil recently left the Corrib gas field with losses of 2 billion: theJournal.ie: 18 July 2017 read more

Shell Executive Director Who Stole Nigeria’s Oil Money

By John Donovan

Nigerian Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke is back in the news. She must have Shell oil running through her veins.

Both of her parents worked for Shell. She joined Shell and went to the top becoming an executive director of Shell in Nigeria. She was subsequently appointed Nigerian Minister of Petroleum Resources in March 2010 by the corrupt Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan, later implicated with Shell in the OPL 245 scandal. 

Her elevation continued. She became the first female president of the OPEC – the oil price fixing cartel. read more

Kiobel Writ: Death penalty for the Ogoni 9

THE OGONI 9 SHOW TRIAL

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 is provided after the extracts.

4.6 Death penalty for the Ogoni 9

  1. On 31 October 1995 the tribunal imposed the death penalty on nine suspects.
  2. Kiobel’s father sent a letter to Abacha seeking clemency on 7 November 1995 (exhibit 11), wherein he writes: “there is a misunderstanding, he tries to make peace”.151 The wives of those sentenced to death, including Esther Kiobel and Victoria Bera, also made an appeal to Abacha on 8 November 1995 (exhibit 12):
    “As Your Excellency is no doubt aware there is no right of appeal against the judgment of the Tribunal that convicted and sentenced our husbands so there is no forum to test the correctness or otherwise of the said decision. Besides, our husbands have to do without the services of lawyers of their choice through no fault of theirs mid way their trial; Even at the point of conviction our husbands still maintained and we are convinced of their innocence. […] Let your verdict not make us widows and our children fatherless.”152
  3. The wives explicitly refer to the lack of the possibility to initiate an appeal. The Decree of 1987 after all rules out a (more senior) court, independent of the tribunal and the regime, hearing the case again in its entirety and rectifying any legal errors. Section 7 of the Decree does say that any sentence imposed by the tribunal may not take effect until confirmed by ‘the confirming authority’.153 However, this authority cannot overturn the sentence. It is also unclear whether refusal of confirmation is possible and whether refusal would be the same as acquittal.
  4. The authority required to confirm the findings of the tribunal, the Armed Forces Ruling Council, was part of the military regime. At the time of the trial the powers of this body had transferred to the Provisional Ruling Council (PRC), newly set up by Abacha.154 The members of the PRC met on 8 November 1995. A memo of the meeting (exhibit 176) shows that Abacha was the chairman of this meeting and that:
    “He was of the view that no sympathy should be shown on the convicts so that the sentence would be a lesson to everybody. He stated that the Ogoni issue had lingered on for a very long time and should be addressed once and for all.”
  5. The Secretary-General of the United Nations said of the PRC: “The PRC confirmed the conviction and sentence even before the records of the trial were received,” and “the haste with which the sentences were confirmed by the Provisional Ruling Council PRC) implies that the Government had made up its mind and was not interested in a fair consideration of the case.”155 The memo of the meeting also shows that reconsideration of the sentence imposed by the tribunal was never an option for the members of the PRC. To prevent the regime coming across as weak, the execution had to be put into effect as soon as possible.156
  6. Meanwhile, complaints about the trial were also considered by the African Commission on Human and Peoples ́ Rights.157 When the African Commission became aware that the sentence had been confirmed by the PRC, provisional measures were imposed on the Nigerian government to prevent irreparable damage: Nigeria was to postpone the executions until the Commission had had the opportunity to discuss the case with the government.158 This call was ignored by the Nigerian regime and the next day, 10 November 1995, the nine convicts, despite national and international protests,159 were brought to death by hanging in the Federal Prisons in Port Harcourt.160
  7. The African Commission stated regarding the executions and the ignoring of the provisional measures: “Execution in the face of the invocation of rule 111 defeats the purpose of this important rule. […] This is a blot on the legal system of Nigeria which will not be easy to erase. To have carried out the execution in the face of pleas to the contrary by the Commission and world opinion is something which we pray will never happen again. That this is a violation of the Charter is an understatement.”161
Extracts end Footnotes

151 Exhibit 11: Plea for clemency for Dr Barinem Kiobel, 7 November 1995.

152 Exhibit 12: Plea for clemency on behalf of our convicted husbands, 8 November 1995.

153 Decree No. 2 1987, section 7 (see Birnbaum (exhibit 255), para. 8.14: “Any sentence imposed by the Tribunal shall not take effect until the conviction or sentence is confirmed by the confirming authority. The confirming Authority may confirm or vary the sentence of the Tribunal.” read more

Kiobel Writ: OGONI 9 SHOW TRIAL: ill-treatment of lawyers and family members

On 19 February 1995, when Esther again tried to visit her husband, she was locked up by Okuntimo and tied naked to a chair. Then she was beaten with a koboko and sexually harassed and assaulted by Okuntimo.

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 is provided after the extracts. 

THE OGONI 9 SHOW TRIAL 

4.5 Ill-treatment of lawyers and family members

Both lawyers and family members of the suspects were seriously intimidated, threatened and even ill-treated during the trial.138 On several occasions the lawyers were denied access to the heavily protected court.139 For example, at the session of 21 February 1995 Fawehinmi related how that morning he was forced by Lt. Hassan, who worked directly under Okuntimo, under threat of violence, to board a police bus. Lawyer Falana was beaten in the same incident.140 These two lawyers were also unlawfully detained by the regime during (the run-up to) the trial.141 Oso, Kiobel’s lawyer, related how he became the victim of serious intimidation. On arrival at the courthouse he was told to leave after which his driver was beaten up and his car destroyed.142 That same morning Saro-Wiwa’s 74-year-old mother was beaten up on the instructions of Lt. Hassan when she tried to enter the court.143 When Kiobel was asked on 22 June 1995 whether he could arrange another lawyer since Oso had stopped his defence, he stated, to the annoyance of Judge Auta, how his family was being harassed by the army:

“I have been detained since last year. I have no access to anybody to go and get any further information for anything or get a capable lawyer who will be able to stand to defend me. Surprisingly, Thursday last week, even my family at home and secretary to the Chief of my village are being chastised by the Armed Forces because of this matter.”144 read more

Irish Gas: Shell sells out and departs leaving a toxic legacy behind

Shell is gone and good riddance…

News Release – Issued by Shell to Sea – July 13th, 2017

It was announced yesterday that Shell is planning to sell its 45% stake of the Corrib Gas project to Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB).

Shell to Sea today claimed that Shell caused considerable damage to all State institutions involved in the Corrib Gas project since their involvement began in 2002.

Some examples of the damage done to these State institutions:

  • Two former Shell sub-contractors with OSSL, have sworn in court that they delivered £25,000 of alcohol in 2007 (and other amounts in previously) to Gardaí involved in policing Corrib Gas protests at the request of Shell.[1]
  • When Bord Pleanala turned down the initial planning application for Bellanaboy refinery, leaked minutes of a meeting of Shell Managing Directors indicate that Shell’s response was to query “whether the group had sufficiently well placed contacts with the Irish government and regulators.” . Subsequently Shell met with Bertie Ahern in September 2003 and within a week the Chairman of Bord Pleanala met with representatives of the 3 companies involved in Corrib Gas. An Bord Pleanala granted the subsequent refinery application. [2]
  • RTE were forced to issue an apology over a news report, after they attempted to create the impression that a recording of Gardaí joking about threatening to rape two women in their custody, had been “altered” or “tampered with” . Retired RTE producer Betty Purcell, who worked with RTE for 33 years has stated that it was her belief that Shell personnel appeared to have ‘automatic access’ to senior management in RTE. [3]
  • Despite the Corrib protests being the biggest single cause for compaints to the Garda Ombudsman no Garda has ever been punished that is known about. This lack of results on Garda misbehaviour has resulted in Shell to Sea previously calling for the disbandment of GSOC inorder to setup a proper Garda watchdog. In 2007, then Minister for Justice, Brian Lenihan also refused GSOC permission to do a “policies and practices” investigation into the policing of Corrib protests. [4]
  • In 2005, when jailing the Rossport 5, President of the High Court Judge Joseph Finnegan stated about a breach of a Shell injuction allowing access to Rossport residents’ land, “if ignored then society breaks down. If you insist then I can impose imprisonment and fines, for example hundreds of thousands of euro per day. I have no hesitation in having farms sold. If I have to send every farmer to jail, I will because I have made an order”. In comparison a Shell breach of a court injunction forbidding them from entering land in 2009 is still being processed by the courts.[5]

Commenting on the proposed Shell sale of Corrib, Shell to Sea spokesperson Maura Harrington stated “Shell is gone and good riddance but Shell to Sea remains and will continue the fight to protect the natural resources of Ireland from any future planned plunder” read more

Corrib Gas: Years of acrimony and protest

Little surprise in north Mayo over Shell sale of Corrib share: The Irish Times: 12 July 2017

After years of acrimony and protest the first delivery of gas from the field was taken in December 2015 and the project was formally opened the following month. This was some 20 years after the gas discovery was reported off the north Mayo coast. READ MORE

Under the Hood of Shell’s $100 Million Loyalty Program: Advertising Age: 12 July 2017

Did you know that Shell Oil is the only major fuel brand that still operates in all 50 states? The company boasts 14,000 sites across the country, in fact. But the proprietary gas stations of big box retailers and grocery stores have become formidable competitors in the last 20 years, and now account for about half of the market, increasing the pressure on Shell to drive loyalty. READ MORE read more

Goodluck Jonathan summoned to testify about OPL 245 scandal

By John Donovan

Earlier today, Reuters reported that the Nigerian House of Representatives has formally summoned former President Goodluck Jonathan to testify about the OPL 245 deal involving Shell and Eni.

Barnaby Pace, Campaigner for Global Witness says:

The Jonathan administration agreed this corrupt deal with major oil companies that deprived the Nigerian people of at least $1.1billion. That’s more than Nigeria’s health budget for 2016. The Nigerian people deserve answers from Goodluck Jonathan and for those responsible for this scandal to be held to account, whether they are inside or outside Nigeria, from Government to boardrooms. read more

Kiobel Dutch Case: Shell in Nigeria

By John Donovan

The numbered paragraphs below are all extracted from a 138 page Writ of Summons. It was served on multiple Royal Dutch Shell companies on or around 28 June by the Dutch Human Rights law firm Prakken d’Oliveira acting on behalf of 4 widows led by Esther Kiobel. The widows hold Shell liable for the murder of their husbands, who were all members of the ‘Ogoni Nine‘.

EXTRACTS

3.1 Shell in Nigeria

38. The Anglo-Dutch company Shell has played an active role in what was then still British Colonial Nigeria since 1936, where it was involved in the search for oil fields and the first oil extraction in the Niger Delta from the 1940s. When a large-scale oil industry got going in Nigeria from 1958 Shell became the main player.28 Even after the independence of Nigeria in 1960 oil exploitation in Nigeria remained largely in Shell’s hands. read more

More Shell Breaking News 5 July 2017

Nigeria Parliament Inquiry Calls Ex-President Jonathan Over OPL 245 Oil Block Sale Scandal: Reuters: 5 July 2017

ExxonMobil/Shell: Haven’t Heard of Groningen? You Might Want to Read This read more

‘Ogoni 9’ Widows Suing Shell

Widows Hold Shell Liable for ‘Judicial Murder’

By John Donovan

In the last 24 hours, Royal Dutch Shell companies in The Netherlands, the UK and Nigeria have all been served legal proceedings by a human rights law firm, Prakken d’Oliveira.

An extract from an English version of the Writ of Summons is provided below. The content is a further hammer blow to Shell’s already shattered reputation arising from its past activities in Nigeria e.g. OPL 245.  Basically the “judicial murder” of the “Ogoni 9” has come back to haunt Shell again. read more

Shell Money Laundering

From a Shell Blog contributor

I commend you on your article Shell Money Laundering for Saudi Arabia

As the NGO Global Witness pointed out earlier this year in relation to the OPL 245 corruption scandal, nobody should be above the law, even the mighty Royal Dutch Shell enterprise. Global Witness and The Corner House have campaigned and exposed the corruption around the OPL 245 deal for several years. In 2011, Shell and Eni paid $1.1 billion to Malabu Oil and Gas, a front company secretly owned by a former Nigerian oil minister. Prosecutors have alleged that over US$500m went to “fronts for [former] President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria”. This crooked deal deprived Nigeria’s people of a sum worth 80% of its 2015 healthcare budget. Shell and Eni have always denied that they knew the money would go to Malabu, but documents seen by Global Witness show that the companies constructed the deal knowing that the money would flow ultimately to Etete’s company. read more

Shell Money Laundering for Saudi Arabia

Once again the conspiracy involved a shadowy man associated with Shell, said to be an MI6 agent. Not John Copleston or Guy Colgate of OPL 245 fame, but a spy from an earlier generation of British spooks – Stephan Kock – reportedly responsible for ordering assassinations.

By John Donovan

As has been widely reported, Shell and former/current senior managers up to executive director level face criminal charges in connection with the OPL 245 corruption scandal. Apart from other issues, Shell is accused of money laundering along with Eni. If found guilty, there is no prospect of Shell reducing any penalty by pleading it’s a first offence, because that is not the case. 

In the 1980’s, Shell and BP played a money-laundering role in the Al-Yamamah project generating slush funds associated with Saudi arms contracts which helped to fund terrorism and corruption, including massive bribes to Saudi royals by the main contractor, BAe Systems. read more

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