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Chilling similarities between the OPL 245 and Ogoni 9 litigation

Esther Kiobel and John Donovan, 28 April 2019, days before a Dutch court ruled in favour of Esther and her co-plaintiffs in an action against Shell allowing their case to proceed

By John Donovan

In 1996, Shell used the sinister specialist services of what could be described as an in-house spying resource set up by former MI6 officers, Hakluyt & Company Limited with titled Shell directors acting as the ultimate spymasters.

At that time, Sir William Purves was Chairman of Hakluyt & Company Limited and Sir Peter Holmes, a former Chairman of Shell, was President of the Hakluyt Foundation. Both were also major shareholders in the corporate spy outfit, while also being Shell directors.

Hakluyt was allegedly set up to carry out “deniable” corporate espionage operations.

A German-born secret service agent Manfred Schlickenrieder working undercover for Hakluyt was sent to Nigeria on a mission relating to allegations of environmental damage caused by Shell’s oil drilling in Ogoniland.

Extracts from a related front-page article published by The Sunday Times in 2001 under the headline MI6 ‘Firm’ Spied on Green Groups:

Schlickenrieder sometimes posed as a left-wing sympathizer and documentary filmmaker.

He also tried to dupe Anita Roddick’s Body Shop group to pass on information about its opposition to Shell drilling for oil in a Nigerian tribal land.

His company was a one-man band with a video camera making rarely seen documentaries.

He made a film on Shell in Nigeria called Business as Usual: the Arrogance of Power, during which he interviewed friends of Ken Saro-Wiwa, the Nobel prize nominee, who was hanged by the military regime in 1995 after leading a campaign against oil exploration. Schlickenrieder sent a letter to a Body Shop executive saying he had been researching the activities of Shell in Nigeria…

Fouad Hamdan, communications director of Greenpeace Germany, said: “The bastard was good, I have to admit. “He got information about our planned Atlantic Frontier campaign…”  He added: “Manfred filmed and interviewed all the time…”

The Sunday Times article is short on dates and information about what Shell’s undercover agent was up to in Nigeria, but it was at a time when litigation was being contemplated against Shell by relatives of Ken Saro Wiwi and Ogoni Nine widows.

Perhaps information about the purpose and timing of his spying mission in Nigeria will be contained in the confidential Shell internal documents the Dutch Court has ordered to be handed over to Esther Kiobel and her co-plaintiffs. Sight of his briefing by Shell/Hakluyt could be very revealing.

Part of the Kiobel & Co Dutch case against Shell relates to alleged Shell bribing of witnesses in the Ogoni Nine trial, which ended with the hanging of all nine individuals, including Ken Saro-Wiwi and the beloved husband of Esther Kiobel, Dr Barinem Kiobel.

Salient extracts from the Wikipedia article “Ogoni Nine”

The executions provoked international condemnation and led to the increasing treatment of Nigeria as a pariah state

At least two witnesses who testified that Saro-Wiwa was involved in the murders of the Ogoni elders later recanted, stating that they had been bribed with money and offers of jobs with Shell to give false testimony – in the presence of Shell’s lawyer.

Shell’s close association with former MI6 people has continued through the years. They always seem to be lurking in the shadows.

I am in possession of irrefutable evidence that an ex MI6 man Ian Forbes McCredie,  hired by Shell to be head of Shell Global Security, was also part of Hakluyt & Company.

More recently, Ben van Beurden, the current Chief Executive of Royal Dutch Shell Plc mentioned in a telephone conversation that Shell had hired former MI6 people in connection with the OPL 245 oil deal. He did not know that the conversation was being covertly recorded by OPL 245 investigative authorities.

Two of the defendants in the current OPL 245 criminal $1.3bn  corruption trial against Shell in Italy are indeed former MI6 agents; namely John Copleston and Guy Colegate.

Would someone kindly explain how any of this sinister and unscrupulous activity is compatible with Shell’s claimed core business principles, including honesty, integrity and transparency?

ARTICLE ENDS

Disclosure by the author of this article: The lead claimant Esther Kiobel, her lawyer Channa Samkalden of the Dutch human rights law firm Prakken d’Oliveira representing the widows, and the acclaimed human rights organisation Amnesty International, have all acknowledged the involvement of John Donovan in bringing *this case. (*See Writ of Summons in English and Dutch served on Shell 28 June 2017 – copy obtained from US Pacer public electronic court records) As Esther generously said on 28 April 2019, the Dutch case would not have happened without the help of John Donovan.  read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net, shell2004.com, shellshareholders.org, don-marketing.com and cybergriping.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article: royaldutchshellplc.com

DUTCH FD: Esther Kiobel continues to fight for her hanged husband

Barinem was hanged in November 1995. He had spoken out against the enormous pollution of Ogoniland, an area in southeastern Nigeria where Shell won oil. Eight others were hanged with him, including writer Ken Saro Wiwa. They were called the Ogoni 9.

Printed below is an English translation of an article published today by the Dutch FT, Financieele Dagblad.

Nigerian Esther Kiobel (center) and Victoria Bera (right) with their lawyer Channa Samkalden for the verdict at the court in The Hague. Photo: Bart Hoogveld for the FD

Carel Grol

Esther Kiobel is a combative grandmother. And happy, too. In fact, she feels “great” in the wide and high corridor on the second floor of the palace of justice in The Hague.

She has just heard that the Dutch court is handling her case. The trial that she and three other ladies, all widowed, filed against Shell. It is an intermediate step in her search for justice that has been going on for more than two decades and takes place on three continents. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net, shell2004.com, shellshareholders.org, don-marketing.com and cybergriping.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article: royaldutchshellplc.com

REUTERS: Widows of hanged Nigeria activists can continue case vs Shell – Dutch court

Bart H. Meijer: MAY 1, 2019 / 11:12 AM

* Case brought by widows of activists executed in 1995

* Shell ordered to turn over any papers that could help claimants

* Shell denies any liability in “strongest possible terms”

* Large punitive damages award unlikely in Netherlands

By Bart H. Meijer

THE HAGUE, May 1 (Reuters) – A Dutch court said on Wednesday it has jurisdiction to hear a damages suit brought against Royal Dutch Shell by four widows of activists executed by the Nigerian government in 1995.

In a preliminary decision, judges at the Hague District Court said they would allow the suit to go forward, a rare win in a decades-long legal fight, though the claimants must still prove Shell’s liability. Shell denies wrongdoing.

“This procedure will continue,” said presiding judge Larissa Alwin, reading the decision of a three-judge panel. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net, shell2004.com, shellshareholders.org, don-marketing.com and cybergriping.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article: royaldutchshellplc.com

Nigeria/Netherlands: Shell ruling “a vital step towards justice”

“Today’s ruling will have great significance for people everywhere who have been harmed by the greed and recklessness of global corporations.”

1 May 2019, 10:08 UTC

The District Court of The Hague today issued an interim ruling in the case brought by Esther Kiobel and three other women with regard to Shell’s involvement in the unlawful arrest, detention and execution of their husbands by the Nigerian military. It ruled in favour of the plaintiffs, that the court does have jurisdiction of the case and that this should not be time barred.

The court also ruled that Shell should hand over some confidential internal documents to the plaintiffs’ lawyers, and that they would have the opportunity to examine witnesses. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net, shell2004.com, shellshareholders.org, don-marketing.com and cybergriping.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article: royaldutchshellplc.com

Amnesty International UK: Shell involvement in execution of ‘Ogoni Nine’ in Nigeria to be decided by court

A Dutch court will this week (Wednesday 1 May) rule on an historic case against Shell, in which the oil giant stands accused of instigating a raft of horrifying human rights violations committed by the Nigerian government against the Ogoni people.

Esther Kiobel, Victoria Bera, Blessing Eawo and Charity Levula are suing Shell over what they say is its role in the unlawful arrest, detention and execution of their husbands by the Nigerian military, following a brutal crackdown on Ogoni protests against Shell’s devastating pollution of the region in the 1990s. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net, shell2004.com, shellshareholders.org, don-marketing.com and cybergriping.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article: royaldutchshellplc.com

THE TIMES: Shell awaits ruling on deaths of Nigerian activists

Esther Kiobel’s husband, Barinem, was one of the Ogoni Nine anti-oil protesters executed by Nigeria’s military regime: AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL The Times

A Dutch court will rule this week on whether Royal Dutch Shell was complicit in the death of nine Nigerian anti-oil protesters in the 1990s.

The wives of four of the “Ogoni Nine” executed by Nigeria’s military regime are demanding compensation and a public apology from the oil major over allegations that it was instrumental in the arrests. One of the victims was Ken Saro-Wiwa, the prominent writer and activist. They were hanged in 1995.

A district court in the Hague is expected to rule on Wednesday. Shell has paid the families of protesters $15.5 million, but has never admitted wrongdoing and insists that it pleaded for clemency for the Ogoni Nine. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net, shell2004.com, shellshareholders.org, don-marketing.com and cybergriping.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article: royaldutchshellplc.com

Ruling due in Esther Kiobel’s epic legal battle against Shell

By Mark Dummett, Amnesty International Business and Human Rights Researcher

On 1 May, a court in The Hague, the oil multinational’s home town, will deliver a ruling on whether a case brought by Esther and three other Nigerian women over Shell’s role in their husband’s deaths can proceed.

The four widows accuse Shell of instigating a brutal crackdown by the-then military regime against peaceful protesters in Ogoniland, in Africa’s most valuable oil-producing region, the Niger Delta, in the 1990s. The protests were over pollution, the chronic lack of development, and the unfair distribution of oil wealth. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net, shell2004.com, shellshareholders.org, don-marketing.com and cybergriping.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article: royaldutchshellplc.com

Shell accused of complicity in Nigerian murders

Esther Kiobel poses with a picture of her late husband, one of nine men executed by Nigeria’s military government after a peaceful uprising against Shell in 1995. Photograph: Amnesty International

By John Donovan

I heard from a major news organisation that Esther Kiobel brought up my name several times during an interview at the Dutch court hearing yesterday, kindly expressing her thanks for my help.

Esther approached me after the US Supreme Court decision that thwarted on jurisdiction grounds her attempts to sue Shell in the USA for complicity in the murder of her husband, Dr Barinem Kiobel. It took over a decade of litigation to arrive at that decision. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net, shell2004.com, shellshareholders.org, don-marketing.com and cybergriping.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article: royaldutchshellplc.com

Nigerian widows sue Shell for complicity in activist deaths

Mike Corder 12 Feb 2019

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The widow of a Nigerian activist executed by their country’s government more than two decades ago accused oil giant Shell of complicity in his death at a civil case in a Dutch court Tuesday.

“Shell came into my life to make me a poverty-stricken widow,” Esther Kiobel told judges at a one-day hearing.

“With this case I seek justice for my murdered husband so that he can be exonerated from a crime he never committed,” she added. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net, shell2004.com, shellshareholders.org, don-marketing.com and cybergriping.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article: royaldutchshellplc.com

Shell in court over Nigerian protestor deaths

By Umar Ali: 12 FEBRUARY 2019

Judges in The Hague, Netherlands will begin hearing a case against Shell on Tuesday, with the oil company facing allegations of complicity in a number of human rights violations in Nigeria.

They will hear testimonies from four women of the Ogoni people, who hold Shell partly responsible for the execution of their husbands by the Nigerian military in 1995.

Nine men, including protest leader Ken Saro-Wiwa, were executed by the Nigerian military regime. The “Ogoni Nine” were outspoken critics of Shell’s operations in Ogoniland, a 1,000km2 kingdom in southern Nigeria, and the plaintiffs claim that Shell encouraged the Nigerian Government to unlawfully detain and execute these men. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net, shell2004.com, shellshareholders.org, don-marketing.com and cybergriping.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article: royaldutchshellplc.com

A CRY FOR HELP FROM ESTHER KIOBEL

Amnesty International sign: Esther Kiobel standing outside Dutch Court building 12 February 2019

Declaration of Esther Kiobel

Hon. (Dr) Barinem Nubari Kiobel was a man with a prodigy with refined heart that cared for others. A kind-hearted man that was selfless. He was a wonderful husband, a God-fearing man, good Father, brother and a best Friend. He was the finest definition of refinement, consummate technocrat and upright character. He has been very much missed and will always be remembered. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net, shell2004.com, shellshareholders.org, don-marketing.com and cybergriping.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article: royaldutchshellplc.com

SHELL ON TRIAL FOR COMPLICITY IN THE DEATH OF 4 NIGERIAN MEN IN 1995

Graeme Gallagher | Contributor: 21 Feb 2019

The Royal Dutch Shell Oil Company is on trial for complicity in the death of four Nigerian activists over 20 years ago, according to Amnesty International.

The wives of those four activists — Esther Kiobel, Victoria Bera, Blessing Eawo and Charity Levula — are all demanding compensation and an apology for the death of their husbands in a civil case that started on Tuesday in The Hague, Netherlands.

The four husbands were part of nine activists who were hanged by the military regime due to their massive protests against oil pollution in the Nigerian Ogoniland in 1995. The case brought by the four women accuses Shell of being complicity with the executions.

“These women believe that their husbands would still be alive today were it not for the brazen self-interest of Shell, which encouraged the Nigerian government’s bloody crackdown on protesters even when it knew the human cost,” said Mark Dummett, business and human rights researcher at Amnesty International.

The four plaintiffs are accusing Shell of the unlawful detention of their husbands, the violation of their husbands’ integrity, the violation of the right to a fair trial and to life, and their own right to a family life, according to the Amnesty report. In addition, the plaintiffs are calling for the court to order Shell to hand over more than 100,000 related documents to the case.

The Dutch-based oil company has denied these allegations.

“We have always denied, in the strongest possible terms, the allegations made in this tragic case,” Shell said in a statement. “The Shell Petroleum Development Company did not collude with the authorities to suppress community unrest, it in no way encouraged or advocated any act of violence in Nigeria, and it had no role in the arrest, trial and execution of these men.”

Kioble and Victoria Bera were in court today, with the other two being unable to make it due to denied visas.

“The abuses my family and l went through are such an awful experience that has left us traumatized to date without help,” wrote Kiobel in a written statement.  “We all have lived with so much pain and agony, but rather than giving up, the thought of how ruthlessly my husband was killed … has spurred me to remain resilient in my fight for justice.”

Kiobel has been fighting since she first filed her case in 2002. The U.S. Supreme Court, however, ruled that it had no jurisdiction in the case in 2013, in which the court never fully examined the allegations. Amnesty International has helped Kiobel’s legal team bring the case to the Netherlands in 2017.

“It’s time to bring an end to decades of impunity for Shell,” said Dummett, “These women’s courage, resilience and determination to clear their husband’s names and bring Shell to account is inspirational. They have the support of Amnesty International activists all over the world.” read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net, shell2004.com, shellshareholders.org, don-marketing.com and cybergriping.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article: royaldutchshellplc.com

Nigeria: Ogoni widow testifies against Shell in The Hague

12 Feb 2019

The widow of a Nigerian activist suing oil giant Shell over the execution of her husband says his death left her “traumatised” and “poverty-stricken”.

Esther Kiobel is testifying in court in The Hague, demanding compensation from the Netherlands-based firm.

She is among four women who accuse Shell of being complicit in the hanging of their husbands by Nigeria’s military in 1995. Shell denies the allegation. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net, shell2004.com, shellshareholders.org, don-marketing.com and cybergriping.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article: royaldutchshellplc.com

BBC WORLD SERVICE: Nigerian widows in court to sue Shell

A banner displayed outside the court in support of one of the widows expected to testify

12 Feb 2019

A civil court case is getting underway in the Netherlands, brought by Nigerian Ogoni activists against The Hague-based oil company, Royal Dutch Shell.

The firm is accused of having been complicit in the executions of nine Ogoni men during a Nigerian military crackdown in 1995.

Four of their widows are suing Shell for compensation and demanding an apology.

Shell denies any wrongdoing, saying it never colluded with Nigerian authorities or advocated any act of violence. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net, shell2004.com, shellshareholders.org, don-marketing.com and cybergriping.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article: royaldutchshellplc.com

Traumatised Nigerian widows confront Shell in Dutch court

The husbands of Victoria Bera (L) and Esther Kiobel (R), were executed in 1995

The widows of four Nigerian activists executed by the military regime in the 1990s launched a court case in the Netherlands Tuesday against oil giant Shell for complicity in their deaths.

Esther Kiobel, whose husband Barinem was hanged in 1995 along with famed writer Ken Saro-Wiwa and seven others, said the “horrible” experience had left her “traumatised”.

The widows allege that Anglo-Dutch Shell helped in the arrest of the men, who had sought to peacefully disrupt the oil giant’s work in Nigeria’s Ogoni region because of health and environmental impacts.

Shell said it was “inconceivable” that it could have been involved in the death of the men.

Kiobel and one of the other widows, Victoria Bera, were in court in The Hague for opening arguments in the case against Shell, while the other two women whose husbands were killed were denied visas to attend.

“My husband had a good heart. Now I am a poor widow who has lost everything,” Kiobel was quoted as telling the court in The Hague by Dutch news agency ANP.

“The abuses that my family and I went through were a horrible experience that has traumatised us to this day,” added Kiobel, who fled Nigeria in 1998 and now lives in the United States. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net, shell2004.com, shellshareholders.org, don-marketing.com and cybergriping.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article: royaldutchshellplc.com

Netherlands: After 23 years, appalling allegations against Shell to be heard in court

12 February 2019, 00:01 UTC

A Dutch court will today hear the first arguments in a historic case against Shell, in which the oil giant stands accused of instigating a raft of horrifying human rights violations committed by the Nigerian government against the Ogoni people in the 1990s. Esther Kiobel, Victoria Bera, Blessing Eawo and Charity Levula are suing Shell over what they say is its role in the unlawful arrest, detention and execution of their husbands by the Nigerian military, following a brutal crackdown on Ogoni protests against Shell’s devastating pollution of the region.

Amnesty International, which is supporting the plaintiffs and legal team bringing the case, has independently documented Shell’s role in killings, rape and torture carried out by the Nigerian government in its effort to crush protests. Barinem Kiobel, Baribor Bera, Nordu Eawo and Paul Levula were hanged in 1995 after a sham trial. Their widows are now demanding compensation and a public apology from Shell. Five other men, including protest leader Ken Saro-Wiwa, were executed alongside them and they have become collectively known as the Ogoni Nine. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net, shell2004.com, shellshareholders.org, don-marketing.com and cybergriping.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article: royaldutchshellplc.com
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