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Email from John Donovan to The One World Trust: RE ROYAL DUTCH SHELL PLC

Dear Mr Hammer

The One World Trust kindly mentioned in one of your Newsletters our work in monitoring the activities of Royal Dutch Shell Plc.

I was subsequently invited to attend a presentation by your esteemed organisation in the Grand Committee Room of the Houses of Parliament and was most impressed, particularly by the comments of Lord Mallock-Brown praising your work. 

The world is in such a mess that the ideas and objectives you promote are of vital importance to us all. 

Since I am aware that Royal Dutch Shell is one of the multinational actors being included in your research project this year, I would like to bring to your attention correspondence I had yesterday with Mr Michiel Brandjes, the Company Secretary and General Counsel Corporate of Royal Dutch Shell Plc.  

It is a further example of the evasive tactics used by a multinational which makes the following claim in the “Shell General Business Principles”: 

Our Values 

Shell employees share a set of core values – honesty, integrity and respect for people. We also firmly believe in the fundamental importance of trust, openness, teamwork and professionalism, and pride in what we do. 

As you will see, the claim of “openness” is totally at variance with the tactics actually used by one of the most senior lawyers at Shell with the knowledge of the Company Chairman, Mr Jorma Ollila.  The evasive tactics were used on a very important subject. 

The same tactics, more worthy of sleazy second hand car dealers than one of the world’s great companies, have been used repeatedly by Shell, not just by Mr Brandjes, but also by other Shell General Counsel e.g. Mr Keith Ruddock and Mr Richard Wiseman. Such conduct is in blatant breach of the Shell General Business Principles. I am happy to supply copies of the relevant emails on request which cover many highly sensitive issues relating to Shell. 

I believe it is important for the One World Trust to be able to compare the actually deeds and practices of Shell management, as opposed to the claims in its multimillion dollar global PR propaganda.  

Under the circumstances, I would be grateful if you would kindly bring this current matter to the attention of the relevant person in your organisation gathering information on Royal Dutch Shell.  


Subject: Shell procurement of arms and ammunition for use in the Niger Delta 

Printed below is email correspondence I had yesterday with the Company Secretary of Royal Dutch Shell Plc. 

The documents in question were supplied to us by a Shell insider source. They are relatively ancient but contain important information proving Shell has been economical with the truth. 

Earlier this week Shell made categorical denials of its alleged involvement in the procurement of arms and ammunition into the Niger Delta; an issue at the heart of the resentment felt by the Ogoni.

“But in a swift reaction yesterday, a Shell Spokesman , Mr Precious Okolobo, said at no time did SPDC apply to the IG for permit to import arms and ammunition into Niger Delta or Nigeria at large.”

The documents prove otherwise. Shell did apply to and receive permission from the Inspector General. Shell also said that it investigated the funding of side arms. The documents show that the procurement also covered pump action shotguns.

If you do take the matter up with Shell, you may also care to ask Shell for confirmation that it has had a commercial arrangement with the leadership of militant gangs attacking Shell installations. This information is from a Shell Nigeria insider source. It has always struck me as a happy coincidence for Shell that attacks are carried out whenever the price of oil starts to slide. You can quote me on that if you wish.  The Financial Times has independently reported the same information: that Shell has made payments to the leadership of militant gangs attacking Shell installations in Nigeria. 


—–Original Message—–

From: John Donovan [mailto:[email protected] <mailto:[email protected]> ]

Sent: woensdag 11 juni 2008 1:22

To: Brandjes, Michiel CM RDS-LC; Alfred Donovan

Cc: Ollila, Jorma RDS-RDS/CH

Subject: Acquisition of Arms and Ammunition

Dear Mr Brandjes

I attach a PDF file containing 17 pages of documents and correspondence involving The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, a Deputy Inspector General of the Nigerian Police and other parties involved in the tender/acquisition of arms and ammunition to enhance the security of Shell installations in Nigeria. 

These documents, if authentic, appear to directly contradict detailed rebuttal comments attributed to SPDC published on 10 June 2008 by 

The article:  

Furthermore, we also have a copy of a newspaper article from 1996 which contains the following paragraph…

Shell, the multinational oil giant, has admitted importing weapons into Nigeria to help arm the police. The company revealed to the Observer that the weapons are to help protect its oil installations. However, activists accuse Shell of arming the death squads who have been brutally suppressing the Ogoni people.

Could you kindly confirm as a matter of urgency if the documents are authentic and if so please explain the contradictions with the current specific rebuttal comments attributed to Shell.

As per usual, we are giving Shell the opportunity to correct any misunderstanding or inaccuracy before moving forward on the matter. Any comment you supply will be published by us on an unedited basis.  If I receive no initial response by 3pm UK time today, I will assume the documents are authentic and will act on that basis. If you need more time to check matters out, then kindly let me know by 3pm today and in that event, please indicate when we can expect a substantive response. We would prefer to delay rather than publishing any potentially inaccurate information. 

Best Regards

John Donovan


On 11/06/2008 13:33, “[email protected]” <[email protected]> wrote:

Dear Mr. Donovan,  

This is one of those matters where Shell does not see a need to respond to you. However, the lack of a rebuttal from, or comment by, Shell does not in any way constitute an acceptance on Shell’s part of the accuracy of any of the materials forwarded by you, whether now or in the future, and whether on this or on any other matter, and we continue to reserve our position accordingly in respect of those matters.

Best Regards and Have a Splendid Summer, 

Michiel Brandjes 

Company Secretary and General Counsel Corporate 

Royal Dutch Shell plc 

Registered office: Shell Centre London SE1 7NA UK 

Place of registration and number: England 4366849 

Correspondence address: PO Box 162, 2501 AN  The Hague, 

The Netherlands 

Tel: +31 70 377 2625 Fax: 3687 

Email: [email protected] 

Internet: <> < < 


From: John Donovan <[email protected]>Date: Wed, 11 Jun 2008 17:18:24 +0100

To: <[email protected]>

Cc: “[email protected]” <[email protected]>

Conversation: Acquisition of Arms and Ammunition

Subject: Re: Acquisition of Arms and Ammunition

Dear Mr Brandjes

I am grateful to you for replying within the requested time and note the tedious standard formula response. 

Since I believe you would have pointed out if any of the documents were fake or forged, I will move forward on the basis that they are authentic. You had the opportunity to indicate otherwise and have not done so.  

On this basis, the statement by Shell Spokesman , Mr Precious Okolobo, that “at no time did SPDC apply to the IG for permit to import arms and ammunition into Niger Delta or Nigeria at large” was plainly false. I am sure you would have gleefully pointed out if he was misquoted. 

It is unfortunate that Shell is playing games trying to evade legitimate important questions over issues of interest to shareholders, particularly those such as myself, concerned at the recent news of Shell’s pending loss of licence to operate in the Niger Delta.  

Is it shameful that a multinational giant should repeatedly find itself in the position of having to use such evasive legal jargon directly at odds with the core principle of transparency in all of Shell’s dealings, as pledged in Shell’s Business Principles.  

I appreciate that the Shell in-house anti-Donovan team set up to counter the Shell insider leaks emerging regularly from our website said that ammunition should not be given to us (no pun intended). However the constant hiding behind such tactics really is unbecoming for the Company Secretary of Royal Dutch Shell Plc. This is not meant as an attack on you but on the management using you in this way.  

We have been complaining about the deceit and hypocrisy of Shell senior executives for over a decade, yet nothing changes, even after the reserves disgrace. 

Best Regards

John Donovan



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