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An email to Royal Dutch Shell General Counsel regarding Sakhalin II crisis

18 September 2006


Dear Mr Wiseman

I know you are probably busy with the BG bid, but I just wanted to let you know as a matter of courtesy that we have posted a couple of hopefully inoffensive and amusing items relating to the current situation on the Sakhalin II project in Russia.  It seemed appropriate to inject some harmless humour at what must be a sensitive moment for Shell executives. 

Item 1: Who is going to screw who?

Item 2: A blunt message from Jeroen van der Veer to President Putin

I thought it proper to contact you bearing in mind the following comments in your email dated 11 November 2005 which you copied to Jeroen van der Veer and Malcolm Brinded. As you may recall, this was the email in which you made plain your hard feelings about Shell losing the domain name battle for (among others). 

“The extraordinary tolerance shown to your internet activities ought to demonstrate better than anything else the fact that we are uninterested in, and unmoved by, your current activities.  It is true that when your comments to “Tell Shell” overstep the bounds of honest comment and become vituperative or defamatory, we remove them.  In this context, I suggest that the image on

be removed as a matter of urgency.”

I do not suppose there will be any objection in view of (1) your comment that Shell is uninterested in and unmoved by our activities and (2) the comments made by Shell International Petroleum Co Ltd on behalf of the Royal Dutch Shell Group (extract below) in your legal submission to The World Intellectual Property Organisation in May 2005. However, I thought we should at least make the offer, as indicated above, as a matter of courtesy. We will seriously consider removing either item if requested to do so. 

(Extract from Shell submission to WIPO: “The… Group… have been aware of the site since the beginning and whilst they would not endorse or agree with many of the comments made by the Respondent on the website, they have taken the view that the Respondent is entitled to express his opinions and to use the Internet as a medium for doing so.”)

With regard to your comment that Shell is uninterested in our activities, it is interesting to note the prevalence of our webpage’s in search returns on the main Internet search engines. For example, when searching “Royal Dutch Shell Plc” on MSN, the two first returns on the first page are both normally ours. Mention of Shell’s own websites are normally found further down the page. I am pleased that that huge increase in site traffic is of no concern. 

With regards to the Tell Shell Discussion Forum, I note that the “temporary suspension” will soon reach its first anniversary. When your secret censorship policy was exposed, Shell opted to end the facility rather than have to deal with what was being posted on the Tell Shell Forum by Shell employees and others. We have been delighted to offer an alternative Live Chat facility which provides a forum for the genuinely open and lively debate Shell gushed about when launching Tell Shell, but then decided abandoned in the face of unwanted criticism, much of it well founded.  If Shell had listened to the warnings, perhaps many of the scandals which have ruined Shell’s reputation, including the Brent Bravo tragedy, may have been avoided.  The same applies to the lives which have been lost and the multimillion dollar fines from the financial and health and safety regulators.  

And why should Shell shareholders have to keep picking up the tab for the incompetence of Shell executives which has caused the series of PR disasters including for example the Corrib project in Ireland? 

Finally, do you know what happened about Shell having Dr Huong imprisoned for alleged contempt of court? According to an insider source, Shell management got cold feet about having any more dissidents thrown in jail, after ending up making a grovelling apology to the Rossport Five. Is this true? 

Yours sincerely
Alfred Donovan

PS. When will Shell be issuing libel proceedings against former Shell International Group Auditor Bill Campbell in respect of his extremely serious allegations of falsified safety records and bodged repairs relating to Shell Brent Bravo? 


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