JOHN DONOVAN -v- ROYAL DUTCH SHELL
EDITED VERSION OF INFORMATION SUPPLIED TO A THIRD PARTY
I have provided information with links to cited documents, letters, emails, and articles, all of which are posted online. This means there is no document bundle. Instead you can easily view the items, printing off hard copies if you deem appropriate. There are some links that you probably won't feel it necessary to open e.g. media articles. Such background information is provided just for confirmation purposes.
The evidence comes from various sources including discovery in previous litigation with Shell, correspondence with Shell, leaked information, and information obtained from Shell in response to our annual Subject Access Requests made under the UK Data Protection Act.
The events set out will hopefully explain the sense of deep injustice that has driven my activities for the last decade.
My late father Alfred Donovan and I have campaigned for many years, mainly via the Internet, for Shell to operate according to the pledges set forth in its own statement of Business Principles.
1. Bouts of investigative activity directed against me by Shell stretching back 18 years.
As will become apparent, Shell resorted to using so-called enquiry agents to gather information about me since 1994.
In 1998 it involved undercover activity. A “Mr Christopher Phillips” presented fake credentials when visiting our offices. He obtained information about my father and me under false pretences. The activities of Mr Philips have been admitted in writing by Shell. It was made clear in a letter we received from Shell's lawyers that Mr Phillips was not the only “enquiry agent” being used by Shell. This was presumably meant to intimidate me. Shell refused to reveal the brief given to the "enquiry agents."
The excuse given of making “routine credit enquiries” does not stand up. Routine credit enquires can be made instantaneously using modern technology. The questions he asked staff about us had nothing to do with credit enquiries. He was clearly engaged in gathering information about my family and me, asking for example what the purpose was of our visits to the USA.
2. Without my knowledge:
a) In November 1998, Shell published an article about me in a Shell internal magazine. Authored by then Shell UK Legal Director Richard Wiseman, it accused me of being dishonorable and of smearing a Shell employee.
b) Shell issued press releases containing libellous comments about me.
c) Shell put posters on public display at The Shell Centre in London publishing a statement claiming that allegations I had made were without foundation. In other words, I was not telling the truth.
3. In June 1999, at the climax of my cross-examination during a High Court trial, an entrapment attempt was made by Shell lawyers.
Shell lawyers conveyed to me in an unorthodox fashion - partly in stage whispers loud enough for the judge and me to hear - the supposed news that evidence was on its way to the court by motorbike messenger that would prove I was a forger. If true, this would of course have been a serious criminal offense. It would also mean that I had committed perjury. If fact, there was no motorbike, no messenger and no evidence. It was all an outright deception. As a result of the totally false accusation, my home was searched by a team acting for the court. All documents/records in my possession were removed, some of which were never returned. No evidence was found because none existed. As you will see, we later complained to the UK Lord Chancellor. That proved to be a complete waste of time.
4. From 2006 onwards Shell kept and updated “Focal Point” information about me (and my father and our activities).
We only became aware of this secret activity after we filed a Subject Access Request under the Data Protection Act in 2007. Some of the information in the reports is inaccurate. We have copies of reports updated in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010. One example supplied from each year.
The "Focal Point" seems to be a person rather than the title of the document. I believe the person was Mr Richard Wiseman, a name already mentioned that you will see many times herein. It is plain from the reports that there is an anxiety at Shell about the possibility that we would ask a question at the AGM. A list of possible questions and rehearsals of responses are listed in the Focal Point reports. The same possibility is also the subject of discussion in Shell internal email correspondence. Surprising bearing in mind that the last time we asked a question at a Shell AGM was in 1995. My fathers exchange with the then Shell Transport chairman, Mr John Jennings, self-evidently made a long-lasting impact!
5. In June 2007 Shell secretly contacted and threatened our website hosting companies in Canada and the USA.
Shell briefly succeeded in a behind the scenes attempt to close our website down (Shell subsequently confirmed in writing that it had intervened).
6. In March 2007 Shell secretly set up a counter-measure team in response to our campaigning activities.
Shell internal communication dated 9 March 2007 15.28
7. Later the same month, probably as part of the counter-measures operation, Shell implemented a worldwide spying operation.
Its objectives included trying to trace my inside sources at Shell by “monitoring internal emails from Shell servers globally to Donovan” and identify “internal” traffic to our website.
A Shell internal email dated 31 August 2007 said that Shell employees had been instructed not to visit our website.
8. Shell internal communications contained personal information about me and/or relating to me.
In one email dated 11 March 2007, someone at Shell expressed the hope that “with AD getting older, his interest might wane… but it looks as though JD is just as determined.”
9. In 2007 (& 2010) - Shell secretly considered putting pressure on national newspapers concerning my activities
In July 2007, Shell stated an intention in an internal email in February 2007 to put pressure on The Sunday Times to "kill" an article about our intervention in the Sakhalin 2 project (which according to The Sunday Times article cost Shell £11 BILLION). The entire content of the article was read out to me on a Saturday morning by Steven Swinford, the Sunday Times journalist and the paper was due to go to press later that day. The article included an interview with a Russian Government minister Oleg Mitvol to whom I had supplied leaked Shell internal communications. Mr Mitvol made damaging comments about Shell management. By coincidence or otherwise, the article was killed. Shortly thereafter, by coincidence or otherwise, The Sunday Times published a colour Shell/Ferrari advertorial.
On 27 July 2010, Shell discussed the possibility of applying pressure to the Financial Times concerning me and the website.
10. In breach of the terms of the 1999 compromise settlement with us, Shell maliciously offered two years later, in 2001, to give information to a third party company that was bound to reflect badly on my reputation.
As a consequence, I served notice on Shell that it had repudiated the agreement. Shell denied this and threatened legal action, but never took the issue to court.
11. In September 2010 Shell engaged in correspondence with an unknown party about my activities and accused my father and me of blackmailing Shell.
I believe, but do not know for certain, that the person who made the allegation was Mr XXXXXX XXXXXXXX, a very senior official of Royal Dutch Shell Plc. We knew nothing about the correspondence until we obtained it from Shell after making a SAR application. The blackmail allegation is totally without foundation. We have never sought any payment from Shell since the High Court litigation ended in 1999. All of our website actively has always been entirely non commercial.
With regards to Mr XXXXXXX, he accidentally sent us a copy of an email about my father that he had intended to send only to the then RDS CEO Jeroen van der Veer and the then No2 at RDS, Malcolm Brinded. Consequently, we knew that the top executive directors had been kept informed about our activities. It was also apparent from the email that Shell "PX" kept a standard response about us ready to use as needed. An item we have never seen.
12. It is evident from the SAR generated information that Shell transmitted information about me across national boarders.
Employees of Shell Oil Company in the USA sought and obtained information about me and my father from Royal Dutch Shell Plc in Europe. They thought we were brothers.
13. In an email dated 3 March 2011 Mr Michiel Brandjes, the Company Secretary & General Counsel Corporate of Royal Dutch Shell Plc threatened legal action against me.
The threat was meant to put me off from publishing the evidence I have accumulated of Shell's close association with Hitler and the Nazis in the years leading up to World War 2. Some of the evidence comes from Volumes 1 & 2 of "A History of Royal Dutch Shell." Archive evidence gathered from newspapers and other publications in several countries confirms that Shell conspired directly with Hitler, financed the Nazi Party, was anti-Semitic and sold out its own Dutch Jewish employees to the Nazis.
My father owned a small chain of garages in Essex. Shell was one of his suppliers from around 1957. I joined the family business immediately after leaving school.
I served as a stand in petrol station manager for an oil company (Petrofina) when I was 17 and subsequently took a tenancy on a Fina petrol station in Colchester. I took over day-to-day management of my fathers garage businesses in 1967.
We found that we had a genuine flair for devising petrol sales promotions. In 1979, we co-founded a sales promotion company, Don Marketing. I ran the company.
LEADING THE WORLD IN PROMOTIONAL GAMES
The above claim, made in many whole page advertisements in trade magazines was legitimate. To the best of my knowledge, no company before or since has devised such a wide range of innovative promotional games.
We had many clients across the retail spectrum and business dealings with US TV networks, including NBC. (Agreement signed by Ray Timothy, the then President of NBC and me).
We also created and supplied on-pack promotions e.g. Cinzano Instant Roulette.
Petrol promotions were a speciality. Our promotions ran on the forecourts of most major brands in the UK and we acted as consultants to BP.
I also authored articles about promotional games for magazines such as Marketing Week and have acted as an expert witness in court cases relating to promotional games.
In May 1981, we began a relationship with Shell UK. We entered into a written joint agreement in respect of a Shell Make Money game we had devised to overcome a legal obstacle that had blighted an earlier promotional game with the same name run by Shell in 1967.
In 1983, Shell launched our Make Money game in the UK. Because it was an award winning spectacular success, we also run it for Shell in overseas markets . We subsequently devised and supplied a series of major promotions for Shell in the UK and overseas, often with a £4.5 million budget per promotion. We enjoyed a mutually beneficial, trusting relationship.
Our last promotion for Shell was in 1991. This was a Star Trek themed “Every Card Can Win” scratch-card game involving a distribution of 100 million game cards. A front page lead story with coverage stretching over several pages in “Promotions & Incentives” magazine, provided an account of how I set up a licensing deal in principle with Paramount Films (via their Senior VP Jonathan Zilli) before I had even put the idea to Shell. When I did so, Shell immediately abandoned the promotion it had intended to run, and switched to the Star Trek game.
Will Shell's intergalactic experiment pay off?
In 1992, we presented in strictest confidence, a series of ideas to a newly appointed Shell UK National Promotions Manager, Andrew Lazenby. After giving us a very positive response to our proposals, including encouraging email messages, he secretly funnelled our ideas to an agency with whom he had a special relationship.
It was evident from his diary obtained during discovery years later, that he was a disgruntled employee who had recorded his intent to set up a personal business while at Shell and exit the company at the age of 35, presumably on the basis of building up sufficient funds in the meantime. He had an offshore bank account into which funds were paid. We also found out from discovery documents, that Lazenby was prepared to engage in an illegal act on behalf of Shell.
One after another, our ideas were adopted for national promotions launched by Shell all through the same agency, Xxxxxx Xxx, linked with Lazenby. He was a personal friend of the directors. They visited his house for dinner parties. He went to the theatre with them. He arranged for them to be awarded a SMART contract that had been put out to tender, even though they never took part in the tender. I found irrefutable evidence in discovery that he had masterminded the rigging of the tender process. I still have all of the evidence. The conspiracy involved other Shell staff including his line manager.
LITIGATION BETWEEN 1994 AND 1996
The first three breach of confidence High Court actions brought by our then company Don Marketing (in 1994) were in respect of short-term promotions. A rerun of Shell "Make Money" (that we had proposed to Mr Lazenby), a Nintendo themed instant win game, and a "Now Showing" movie themed promotion.
From the outset of our litigation with Shell, we faced a barrage of threats including a threat in a letter dated 27 April 1994 to make the litigation "drawn put and difficult." The obvious intent was to drain our financial resources.
We therefore decided to counter the stonewalling and threats by mounting a campaign against Shell alongside the litigation (and followed that same strategy during the SMART litigation).
A Press Release issued by Shell UK in March 1995 provides some idea of the wide scope of our campaigning activities. We issued libel proceedings in respect of the “false claims” allegation made in the press release.
While the litigation was in progress we received a substantial financial package in the form of a unique Funding Deed. This was partly in return for agreeing to file a notice of discontinuance in respect of the libel action. The terms of the Funding Deed provide a further indication of the scope of our activities.
The first three actions were all settled by Shell out of court.
THE SHELL SMART LITIGATION 1997 to 1999
In 1997, I confronted Shell about their launch in the UK of the SHELL SMART multi-brand loyalty card. This was long before the advent of the similar NECTOR scheme. Shell SMART is still being run in many markets around the world. I devised the concept and had disclosed the idea to Shell (via Mr Lazenby) in strictest confidence. Being in respect of a long-term promotion, which could be introduced into many countries, the Shell SMART case was by far the most important High Court action in terms of potential damages.
I also issued libel proceedings against Shell in respect of press releases by Shell relating to the SMART litigation.
Shell Legal Director Richard Wiseman “personally” kept senior Shell directors informed of progress in the SMART case. This included then Group Chairman, Mr Cor Herkstroter and two titled Shell Transport directors. Sir William Purves and Sir Peter Holmes (a former Group Chairman of the Royal Dutch Shell Group). The significance of the two latter names will become apparent.
Shell’s machinations during the run-up to the SMART trial, completely undermined the concept of a fair litigation process.
POSTERS ON DISPLAY AT SHELL HQ
On 23 September 1998, Shell put posters on public display at the Shell London HQ building, the Shell Centre, specifically about my father and me. We were the sole topic. I have never heard of a multinational corporation doing anything like this before or since.
ANOTHER LIBELOUS SHELL PRESS RELEASE
A press release issued by Shell in November 1998 contained the same allegations as were published in the aforementioned internal magazine article, accusing me of being dishonourable and of smearing a Shell employee. I only found out several years after the trial as a result of a SAR application.
SHELL TORPEDOED MY LEGAL AID
Shell completely undermined my financial situation by sending a letter (from Mr Wiseman) to the legal aid board making an allegation based on reasonable speculation. It happened to be completely untrue. My legal aid was revoked and the SMART trial date arrived in June 1999, before the judicial review on the matter could be heard. It meant that if I lost the case, I would be responsible for all legal costs and would have to declare bankruptcy, with a vengeful Shell as my major creditor. The same thing happened to my fathers legal aid - granted then revoked on entirely inappropriate grounds, namely that he had nothing to lose. This was despite the fact that he had put every penny he had into funding the litigation. Again the trial arrived before the judicial review of his application.
SHELL CORRUPTED THE DISCOVERY PROCESS
Shell buried evidence in a mountain of mainly irrelevant documentation and due to incompetence or design, delayed until days before the trial, the supply of vitally important handwritten discovery material. Other relevant items only came to light years later, when I made an application to Shell under the UK Data Protection Act. For example, the article by Richard Wiseman published in a Shell internal magazine.
A series of sinister events took place in the period leading up to the SMART trial in June 1999, the only case that went to court.
It is my opinion that the incidents frightened my key witnesses, Roger Sotherton (a former director of Don Marketing), John Chambers (another former director of the company) and Paul King, the retired National Promotions Manager Of Shell UK. One incident was admitted by Shell, but only after we had cornered Shell and its external solicitors, D J Freeman.
Shell and DJ Freeman admitted in writing the activities of a Mr Christopher Phillips, but denied knowledge of all other events and related individuals.
The self-explanatory letters below provide an accurate contemporary account of what happened.
John Donovan letter to The European: 9 June 1998
Letter from the editor of The European: 11 June 1998
Letter to Dr Chris Fay, Chairman & CEO, Shell UK Limited: 15 June 1998
(Note the mention of “an investigative specialist” used by Shell in the earlier litigation, commenced in 1994, which I had brought against the company:
“Shell did retain an investigative specialist in connection with the previous litigation. They made investigations about me going back over a decade.”)
Reply letter from DJ Freeman on behalf of Dr Fay: 16 June 1998
Letter from John Donovan of Don Marketing to The European newspaper: 16 June 1998
Royds letter to DJ Freeman (with enclosures): 18 June 1998
Royds letter to John Donovan of Don Marketing: 18 June 1998
John Donovan letter to DJ Freeman: 18 June 1998
Correspondence between DJ Freeman (acting for Shell) and Royds Solicitors (acting for John Donovan: 19/23 June 1998
Letter from John Donovan of Don Marketing to Shell Chairman Mark Moody-Stuart: 23 June 1998
Letter from John Donovan of Don Marketing to Shell UK Legal Director Richard Wiseman: 23 June 1998
(Includes my question asking if Phillips had engaged in surveillance or phone tapping activities against me.)
DJ Freeman letter to Royds Treadwell:24 June 1998
Letter from Shell UK Legal Director Richard Wiseman to John Donovan: 24 June 1998
(Mr Wiseman confirms Phillips was instructed by Shell/DJ Freeman but ignored my question about whether the instructions included authorisation of surveillance or phone tapping activities against me.)
Royds letter to DJ Freeman 25 June:1998
(Extract: Mr Phillips enquiries at the business centre involved a straightforward deception of the receptionist.)
Letter from Richard Wiseman to John Donovan:1 July 1998
(Extract: “So far as, I have been able to discover, nobody in any Shell company has any knowledge of Mr Hoots.” Note letter copied to Mark Moody-Stuart, the Group Chairman and Dr Chris Fay, the CEO and Chairman of Shell UK Limited.)
Letter from DJ Freeman to John Donovan: 3 July 1998
(Extract: “If, nevertheless, the police wish to obtain any further information from my clients or from anyone involved in enquiries on their behalf, including Mr Phillips, then, as has been said on several previous occasions, the fullest of co-operation will be given.”)
Letter from Shell UK Legal Director Richard Wiseman to John Donovan, Don Marketing:9 July 1998
(Extracts: “Both Mr Joseph and I have denied any Shell involvement in any of the intimidation you allege. The activities of Mr Phillips have, of course, been admitted.“: “Neither you, your family, nor any potential witness, has any cause for physical fear as a result of your prosecuting this case with all the vigour we have come to expect.“
DJ Freeman letter to Don Marketing 7 August 1998
Letter to John Donovan from Shell solicitors DJ Freeman: 11 August 1998
(Confirms internal investigation by Shell)
Letter to John Donovan from Shell solicitors DJ Freeman: 26 October 1998
(Further confirmation of an internal investigation by Shell)
There is more correspondence, but it is repetitive.
A UK national newspaper, The Guardian, investigated Mr Hoots (the person mentioned in some of the above correspondence. )A senior person at the paper told me that Charles Hoots had not written any articles for some considerable time and that in their opinion he was probably a “spook” (their term) working under the cover of being a journalist.
The Guardian also investigated a threatening anonymous call I received relating to the litigation that I reported to the Police. The Guardian managed with the help of a special unit at the telephone company to track down the telephone box in London from which the call was made. They obtained and examined closed circuit TV videotapes from a local bank. Unfortunately they were unable to identify the caller.
When the journalist working on the planned Guardian article (Mr Simon Rines) had a subsequent meeting at Shell-Mex House with Mr Wiseman, Mr Joseph and someone representing Shell’s media department, to discuss these matters, both sides taped the interview. A letter my father sent to Colin Joseph on 23 November 1998 makes reference to the meeting and what was discussed. It said that I accepted denials made by Wiseman and Colin Joseph. I suspect, but cannot prove, that additional activity was arranged at a much higher level.
HAKLUYT & COMPANY
In 2001, The Sunday Time published an article about a spy firm Hakluyt retained by Shell and BP to target campaigners, using a serving German secret service agent on an undercover freelance basis.
Sunday Times: MI6 'firm' spied on green groups: 17 June 2001
I obtained documentary evidence from Companies House that titled Shell directors to whom we had written about the litigation, were also major shareholders/directors and the ultimate spymasters of Hakluyt. Sir Peter Holmes (now deceased), as previously indicated, a former Group Chairman of Royal Dutch Shell, was President of the Hakluyt Foundation, which provided an oversight function, and Sir William Purves was Chairman of Hakluyt & Co Ltd. Both of these gentlemen were listed as being in attendance at the AGM in 1995 during my fathers exchange with John Jennings.
I have evidence (available on request) that Hakluyt uses journalists for intelligence gathering activities - a perfect cover.
Despite all that happened, Shell did not disclose to the Police, or to me, its close association with Hakluyt, an organisation skilled in the intelligence gathering tactics that had been directed against us, which were, as indicated, used against other parties also perceived to be enemies of Shell.
We received a denial from Hakluyt of any involvement, but the bizarre circumstances of our dealings with the then Hakluyt MD, a former senior MI6 officer, and the carefully couched content of the letter we received from him, drafted by a titled lawyer, Sir Anthony Hammond KCB QC - only added to the intrigue.
To summarise, Mr Hoots came to the UK specifically to gather information about my case against Shell and incurred substantial costs. He never approached Shell to find out their side of the story, only my solicitor, my witnesses and me. He never published an article. He used false pretences when speaking to all of us and gained access to an array of documents.
The initial underhand activity soon turned into something even more sinister.
My main witness, Mr Roger Sotherton, returned home one evening to discover that his house had been burgled and that someone had examined his files on the case. When I reported this astonishing development to my solicitor Mr Richard Woodman, he shocked me by revealing that his home in South London had also been burgled.
A short time later, my house was also broken into. Files were tampered with and someone obtained sight of a privileged document that Shell had failed to obtain despite making an application to the court. Although I lived in Suffolk and Roger Sotherton lived in Norfolk, the police sent the same forensic team that had attended at his house.
The police investigated the whole series of events including the anonymous telephone call. They interviewed staff at Shell-Mex House including Andrew Lazenby. The police discussed setting a trap at a further address (the home of Paul King - see below) that they thought was also likely to be targeted, but this was not done as far as I know. The Police eventually advised me off the record that despite the fact that they had concluded there had been a criminal conspiracy against us, it was unlikely that it could ever be proved to the satisfaction of a Court.
The burglary activity did have an impact on the trial. Roger Sotherton, whose evidence was crucial to my case, was not his normal self and although he confirmed the main facts, his evidence was given in a faltering manner that did not inspire confidence. His memory was called into question because he could not recall something that had happened a few days earlier during the trial. When pressed at one point in his cross-examination, he testified under oath that Shell papers in his possession were tampered with during the burglary at his house. He also referred to the burglaries at the homes of other people involved in the litigation. He was clearly frightened by the series of sinister events.
Another key witness, Mr John Chambers, backtracked on evidence he had planned to give after he became aware that he had also been the victim of an interview under false pretences by Mr Hoots. Mr Chambers gave evidence in court but omitted the most vital aspect relating to Mr Paul King, who took early retirement on medical grounds from his long-serving position as Shell National Promotions Manager. Mr King, who had expressed reservations about the ethics of Mr Lazenby and Shell, became too frightened to give evidence.
Thus the evidence of all of my potential key witnesses was undermined and/or neutralised by the sinister events, with one, Paul King, refusing to give evidence on behalf of Shell or me.
Unfortunately it became increasingly evident during the SMART trial that the Judge, Mr Justice Laddie, was not impartial. I later discovered that he had undisclosed connections with Shell.
The Judge expressed not the slightest interest in the burglaries, or the admitted uncover activity, although being aware of both matters. He actually quoted from a letter from me published by Marketing Week magazine in which the undercover activity was mentioned. See “Judges Comments” below.
In 1999, D J Freeman represented the Harrods boss, Mohamed Fayed, in a libel action brought against him by Neil Hamilton, a former UK MP. Hamilton lost the case and then (unsuccessfully) appealed the decision after it was discovered that documents had been stolen from his premises prior to the case coming to Court. The documents had been passed to Mohamed Fayed who used them to his advantage during the trial.
In 2001, a third party company to whom I was providing advice approached Shell to confirm that Shell would not object to the launch on the Internet of a paperless Make Money type game.
Mr Wiseman took the opportunity to offer information to the third party company that could only be construed as being damaging to my reputation. I had hoped that the project would restart my career, but Wisemans malicious intervention torpedoed that prospect. Since this was in breach of a peace treaty concluded as part of the compromise settlement of the SMART litigation, I served notice on Shell that it had repudiated the agreement. All of the correspondence is available.
The information Wiseman offered to supply to the company was known as “Judges Comments”. Comments made by Mr Justice Laddie when he was supposedly just going to rubber stamp a compromise settlement agreed between the parties. I was told that it was not necessary to attend court since it was just a formality.
In his “Judges Comments”, Mr Justice Laddie said he was considering calling in the Director of Public Prosecutions because he thought that the allegations of Shell’s QC that I had committed forgery, perjury and perverted the course of justice, had more than passing strength to them. As can be seen from the transcript, there was a heated exchange between the Judge and my lead barrister, Geoffrey Cox, who happened to be a criminal law specialist. Relatives and friends who have read the transcript say that it is plain from the exchange that the Judge was biased against me. I agree. (In 2002, an appeal was unsuccessfully brought against a Laddie judgment accusing the judge of having "an appearance of bias".)
AMBUSH & ENTRAPMENT
The lawyers acting for Shell sprung an ambush in court, using outright deception in an attempt to entrap me at the climax of my cross-examination. Partly in stage whispers loud enough for the Judge and me to hear (but not picked up in entirety by the transcriber) the Shell lawyers discussed with the lead Shell barrister, Geoffrey Hobbs QC., the pending arrival at The Royal Courts of Justice of a motorbike messenger on his way from J Sainsburys, the supermarket group, with evidence, which by implication, would prove that I had forged the J Sainsburys related documents in question. The motorbike would not arrive until 2pm at the earliest. In reality there was no such messenger and no such evidence. It was a complete deception, a theatrical performance. The Judge was fascinated and gave encouragement to what was going on (as this extract from the trial transcript of 18 June 1999 confirms) presumably unaware of the deception.
This is what Mr Justice Laddie said to Geoffrey Hobbs QC, the lead barrister acting for Shell:
Yes. Would you like me to rise for five minutes? I have very acute hearing. I am deliberately not listening, but I am also immensely inquisitive and I am find it hard. Would you prefer me to rise?
Mr Hobbs may also of been unaware that he was being used in a deception perpetrated by the instructing solicitors, DJ Freeman.
In a subsequent related exchange between the judge and Geoffrey Cox on 22 June, Cox pointed out that Shell had previously admitted receiving the documents in question. Despite this admittance, a Shell lawyer at the trial apparently came up with the theory that the documents did not exist at the time of my dealings with Lazenby and that I had created/forged them at a later date. Cox complained about what he correctly described as an ambush. The Judge earlier described the trial as being dreadful and the accusations about the documents as being a load of old tosh.
The trial was suspended after my barrister strongly objected to what was going on and a team of lawyers, mostly from my solicitors but acting for the court, travelled overnight to my home in Bury St Edmunds, arriving early in the morning and carried out an extensive search lasting all day. This was of course extremely upsetting to my family. All of my files stretching back decades were removed and no doubt inspected. Not all were were returned. An original handwritten letter to me from Mr King in which he expressed reservations about Shell was missing. No evidence of any wrongdoing was found because none existed.
The documents in question were subjected to forensic examination. The expert, Dr Audrey Giles, found no evidence of forgery. Dr Giles could not make any firm determination because the documents were not first generation copies and the originals had been destroyed by Sainsbury’s.
In his cross-examination on 1 July, Lazenby said in relation to the documents in question that seeing them in the months before the trial "seems to jog memories"... He then described this as "only a dim recollection", before reverting to his early denials. If he had told the truth, the forgery allegations would have been shot down.
I would have thought that attempted entrapment would not be allowed even in a criminal trial. As far as I know, no sanctions were applied by the court. Shell and DJ Freeman have declined to comment.
By the time of making Judges Comments, Mr Justice Laddie had apparently decided that the accusations were not all tosh.
According to Mr Cox, the row over the Judges Comments continued in the Judges chambers. The Judge had been unaware of the terms of settlement. A document had been deliberately withheld by Shell. The judge thought I had caved in when in fact ALL of my legal costs were paid by Shell and I received a token payment. I would not agree to settle without a payment.
I agreed to an unsatisfactory outcome, including a so-called joint press statement announcing a stalemate outcome, purely because of the immense pressure put on me as a result of Shell’s machinations, with the dire possibility of Shell ending up as my main creditor. It was the second or third settlement offer made by Shell at the time of the trial and came when the cross-examination of Mr Lazenby was in progress and about to reach a climax.
Email from Richard Wiseman confirming that settlement terms had been withheld from the Judge: 17 June 2008
We later discovered that the Judge had an undisclosed connection with the son of the Royal Dutch Shell Group Chairman, Sir Mark Moody-Stuart and that the Judges long time friend, Mr Tony Willoughby, was the founder was an IP consultancy, which had Shell as a client. The Judge knew that the Moody-Stuart family had become involved in the litigation because an extraordinary handwritten letter we received from the wife of Sir Mark was handed to the Judge at an early stage in the trial.
In 2002 we wrote to the Judge via his Clerk, Mr Peter Smith, concerning a possible conflict of interest in respect of his connection with Mr Tom Moody-Stuart, but the judge refused to enter into correspondence.
My father wrote a letter to the Lord Chancellor in May 2004 outlining events and requesting an investigation. We published the letter and a related sworn affidavit on the Internet. Thus Mr Justice Laddie was no doubt well aware of our views and was placed in a difficult position, with his credibility and reputation being publicly called into question.
By coincidence or otherwise, several months after we received a reply from the Lord Chancellors office saying they could not comment on individual judicial cases and suggesting that we should seek legal advice, the Judge resigned in controversial circumstances (June 2005) and joined the consultancy firm of his friend Tony Willoughby, which had Shell as a client. Shortly thereafter Professor Sir Hugh Laddie was a speaker at a seminar organised by Richard Wiseman.
Doubts were raised about the reason the judge gave for his resignation (boredom), which caused a sensation in legal circles. Mr Justice Laddie was the first High Court Judge to resign for 35 years. He certainly seemed to have something on his mind. Tragically he passed away in 2008 as a result of cancer. It was clear from tributes made at the time that he was a much liked and widely respected Judge. My concern was of unconscious bias, not anything dishonorable.
I would never have agreed to him hearing the case if I had known of his Shell connections.
MORE RECENT ACTIVITY DIRECTED AGAINST ME BY SHELL
In 2002, the year after serving notice on Shell that it had repudiated the peace treaty, we launched a website focused on Shell, initially under the main domain name shellnews.net.
The most recent proceedings were launched against my father in 2005 by Shell via the World Intellectual Property Organisation. I managed to beat Shell to the registration of the top-level domain name for the unified company; Royal Dutch Shell Plc. I registered royaldutchshellplc.com in my fathers’ name and launched a new website under that domain name. Shell lost the case.
Despite disclaimers and other indicators that it is not the official Royal Dutch Shell Plc website, we still receive job applications, business proposals and even terrorist threats meant for Shell. I have written permission from the RDS Plc Company Secretary Mr Michiel Brandjes to check the mail meant for Shell, removing junk mail and passing on what I judge they should see. I have always been the person operating the websites and associated matters on a day-to-day basis.
The Mission Statement on the royaldutchshellplc.com website is self-explanatory.
The entirely lawful campaigning on our part triggered a renewal of Shell resorting to sinister activities targeting my father and I, and our websites.
Internal documents we obtained from Shell under the UK Data Protection laws revealed that Shell secretly set up a counter-measures team in 2007 and later mounted a global spying operation against Shell employees in a bid to stop the flow of Shell insider information from reaching me.
The spying was reported in a Reuters article published in December 2009.
Some of the leaks have been devastating to Shell.
Leaked emails that I supplied to the Russian government concerning the Sakhalin2 gas project cost Shell billions of dollars, as reported in Prospect Magazine, a Sunday Times article in Sept 2009 and an article in The Guardian also in 2009.
Shell lost its majority shareholding in the project as a direct consequence. The Russian Government minister I dealt with has confirmed in press interviews at the time and again, as recently as April 2012 in a TV documentary feature, the importance of the evidence I supplied to him.
The Guardian article also revealed that I helped “US investigators looking into the award of oilfield drilling licenses, providing them with information leaked to his website“. The American authorities investigating alleged corruption involving Shell had approached me.
Shell insider sources of leaked information have allegedly received threats, including alleged death threats.(article)(second article)
COUNTER MEASURES TEAM
Information about setting up the counter-measures team (“round table working group”) was contained in a confidential Shell internal email dated 9 March 2007. As can be seen, the tone was aggressive.
In an internal email dated 19 March 2007, the unidentified author states: “I have contacted some of my sources in the USG and in London to see if they have anything else on the brothers, but that may take a few days for their response. We will monitor any fallout from this.”
(I assume “USG” is a reference to the U.S. Government. As previously indicated, it seems that some Shell people in the USA thought that we were brothers rather than father and son.)
In a Shell internal email a few days later, dated 20 March 2007, Shell staff discussed whether to set up “an information security tasking to discover where exactly in Shell their (good) sources are located.” The same email contained an endorsement of the website, which its author obviously never intended for public consumption:
“John and Alfred Donovan well known in UK / Hague. They perceive Shell played them and so have made it their mission to embarrass, belittle and criticize Shell, which they do quite well. Their website, royaldutchsellplc.com is an excellent source of group news and comment and I recommend it far above what our own group internal comms puts out.”
The following day, in an internal email dated 21 March 2007 marked “Donavan CONFIDENTIAL”, there was confirmation that Shell had undertaken a global spying operation against its own employees in an attempt to discover the identity of employees supplying me with Shell insider information. The spying plan included monitoring “Shell servers globally to Donovan” and “monitoring web traffic to determine internal traffic to their website. There is history of several former employees taking internal laundry to Donovan also, internal e-mails have appeared on his website.”
IN JUNE 2007 SHELL ACTED SECRETLY TO CLOSE DOWN OUR WEBSITE
In June 2007, Shell secretly threatened legal proceedings against our website server hosting companies in Canada and the USA. The threats resulted in the royaldutchshellplc.com website being deactivated on 25 June 2007. Although initially unwilling to disclose who had made the threats, each hosting company reluctantly confirmed that it was Shell. Keith Ruddock, a Royal Dutch Shell General Counsel, later confirmed in an email to me dated 26 June 2007 that Shell was responsible for the intervention, which briefly shut down the website under the pretext of a copyright violation. See related article containing the email correspondence.
Because of speculation at the time over a Shell/BP merger, we had featured a combined satirical Shell/BP logo. Our website and many others have been publishing the Shell Pecten ever since without Shell taking any copyright action.
The author of a Shell internal email dated 15 July 2009 raised the subject of Shell shutting us down, asking: “are you doing anything to get the website shut down?”
ATTACKS ON THE WEBSITE
In 2008, the website came under sustained denial of service attack – flooding the site with traffic, so that demand overloaded the server. By March of that year, the attacks had become so disruptive that I sent an email to Michiel Brandjes, officially notifying Shell of what was going on. I thought it possible that if cyber attack specialists/hackers had been retained by Shell, they would be concerned at Shell senior management being made officially aware of what was going on and therefore being drawn into the matter. Mr Brandjes knew nothing about the attacks, but by coincidence of otherwise, the attacks immediately ceased, but have resurfaced from time to time. Sophisticated anonymous attacks continue to this day and sometimes take up a lot of my time.
In December 2009, I notified Essex police of concerns arising from the involvement of Shell Corporate Affairs Security, the monitoring of our website and Shell’s action in briefly closing down our website. A senior local officer sought advice from Special Branch and the police Covert Investigations department. Detective David Nash, from the Hi-Tech Crime Unit carried out an investigation, but because time had passed before we reported the events in question, technical information from our hosting company was “long gone”, and data from our server deleted or overwritten. Such information is apparently essential in terms of investigating unlawful access, hacking and malware.
I have recently contacted Detective Nash again about current intimidating activity, which appears to emanate from two separate sources, both apparently operating from The Netherlands and both using multiple languages when communicating with me or the website. One party has flooded the website on a regular basis with nonsensical Blog postings, each from a different ISP address and a different alias. All have the same hallmark of one word being misspelled. The other party appears to be a disgruntled former employee of Shell/Sakhalin Energy who is obsessed with us and our website. Cryptic emails are circulated almost every night to senior people involved in the energy sector in Sakhalin. Gazprom, Sakhalin Energy, the Russian Government and ExxonMobil have all been on the circulation list. The emails, often featuring multiple languages, but mainly English, contain frequent references to my father and me, sometimes of a threatening nature.
There has been no response thus far from the police. What I have noticed is that by coincidence or otherwise, the disruptive attacks ceased on the day I sent the email to Detective Nash. The Sakhalin emails continue to this day.
All of the correspondence with the police from 2009 and 2012 is available on request if it has any possible relevance.
JUNE 2009 – SHELL CORPORATE AFFAIRS SECURITY BECOMES INVOLVED
A confidential Shell internal email dated 17 June 2009 mentioned “CAS” (Shell Corporate Affairs Security) and “NCFTA”. I have reason to believe this is a reference to the National Cyber Forensics and Training Alliance, a Pittsburgh-based organisation, whose website says it is supported by Fortune 500 companies and that its purpose is to help tackle cyber fraud. It was founded and is partly funded and staffed by the FBI. The email discussed ”investigations” relating to the royaldutchshellplc.com website and me, stating: “There will be no attempt to do anything visible to Donovan”. The implication being that the “investigations” would be “invisible”.
A former senior MI6 officer of the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), Ian Forbes McCredie OBE was until December 2010 Vice President of Corporate Security for Royal Dutch Shell aka Shell Corporate Affairs Security (CAS). A retired senior FBI official, Richard T. Garcia, was Global Security Manager for Shell Americas .A very senior person within Shell Global Security, a former spook, contacted me with insider information and confirmed that he was involved in monitoring my website activities. I have all of the correspondence with this person.
I have already mentioned the covert operations of Hakluyt on behalf of Shell. Mr McCredie is closely associated with Hakluyt. When I sent an email to him at Shell I received a response from his Hakluyt email address. This is his CV as of September 2012.
As can be seen, he was responsible for Shell's confidential information, reputation, information theft and dealing with cyber and insider threat.
It is therefore possible that Ian McCredie was involved as an author or recipient of some of the above internal email.
Another example of Shell's involvement in industrial espionage came to light on 12 September 2001, when The New York Times published an article: “No Secret’s Safe From These Sharp Eyes”. The article focused on corporate “cloak-and-dagger escapades.” Mr Stephen J. Wade, an executive of Shell International Exploration and Production, was revealed as being a “competitive intelligence analyst — management-speak for corporate America’s equivalent of a spy.” The article went on to say: “Still, like any good spy, Mr. Wade declined to give detailed examples of information gleaned this way.”SENT IN FIVE
WHAT PROMPTED THE MORE RECENT SINISTER ACTIVITY?
We have an insight into the thinking at Shell as a result of the Shell internal documents and communications obtained from the company under the UK Data Protection Act. This includes the previously mentioned “Focal Point” reports. There is also a reference to a “Mr Donovan Issue Brief” – “held on LiveLink.” This could be another name for the Focal Point reports.
I have listed some possible issues, which we know from the DPA generated material, definitely caused concern at Shell: Sakhalin2
I have a number of insider whistleblower sources, one of them at senior management level. I gave a guarantee that I will never disclose their names. In 2006, incriminating internal Shell/Sakhalin Energy communications were leaked to me, which I passed to the Russian government. This evidence was used by Putin to force Shell into surrendering its majority stake in Sakhalin Energy Investment Company. We did not know as much about Mr Putin then, as we do now, post polonium. My intervention cost Shell billions.
On another Sakhalin Energy matter, the Financial Times published a front-page story based of a Shell internal emailed leaked to me, which I passed to them. Because of the content, the Deputy Chairman of Sakhalin Energy Investment Company, Mr David Greer, was exposed as being a plagiarist and was forced to resign. He lost his job as Project Director and as a Royal Dutch Shell Managing Director.
'Pipeliners All! Shell's memo to Sakhalin: Financial Times 5 June 2007
Bill Campbell, Shell International HSE Group Auditor
A Shell General Counsel sent a communication to solicitors acting for a Shell whistleblower, Mr Bill Campbell (retired Group HSE Auditor of Shell International) with the intention of coercing him into preventing me from publishing insider information about a North Sea oil rig scandal that cost the lives of three Shell employees. The intervention was unsuccessful and Bill Campbell and I jointly engaged in a long campaign drawing attention to Shell’s dreadful HSE track record. We recruited cross-party support from MP’s and managed to generate several articles published in the national press.
Daily Mail: Shell on back foot as ‘gripe site’ alleges safety concerns: 1 September 2007
The relevant Shell correspondence is available on request.
Dr Huong, Shell Malaysia Production Geologist
In 2004 we published information supplied to us by Dr John Huong, a Shell Malaysia Production Geologist. He was probably the first to blow the whistle internally on the Shell reserves fraud, described as the biggest fraud in history. I put Dr Huong into contact with the New York lawyers acting for the lead plaintiffs in a related Shell shareholder class action in which I played an important facilitating role.
Eight Royal Dutch Shell companies collectively sued Dr Huong for defamation in respect of the information and comments published by us on our website in his name. The litigation went on for several years. Shell buried Dr Huong in injunctions and contempt proceedings seeking his imprisonment for further postings made by us on our website. Dr Huong sued Shell for wrongful dismissal. Both cases were eventually settled between the parties. Dr Huong is prohibited from having contact with me.
Team A – A large group of Shell Malaysia Employees
I published articles, legal documents and leaked information relating to a claim brought against Shell by over a hundred Malaysian employees known as “Team A”, who accused Shell of misusing their pension funds. I set up a webpage covering the litigation. Team A won the initial court case, but the decision was reversed on appeal. Shell has huge influence in Malaysia, another country, like Nigeria, with a thoroughly corrupt government.
Royal Dutch Shell Nazi Connection
I have assembled a considerable volume of information/evidence concerning Shell's link with Hitler and the Nazis. Comment was made internally at Shell about this in January 2009 when I published my first article on what is obviously a highly toxic subject for Shell. More recently Michiel Brandjes, the Company Secretary and General Counsel Corporate, has threatened me with legal action, which the company will never take. It is just about the last subject on earth to which Shell would wish to draw attention.
There are many references in the SAR/DPA generated material to my contributions to Wikipedia articles about Shell. The company discussed editing the articles but expressed concern about being caught. Shell employees were caught editing the articles from Shell offices.
This is another highly toxic subject for Shell, which for many years has continued doing business with the fanatical Iranian government.
Extract from an article I have published on the subject:
Articles reported that Shell had stopped selling gasoline to Iran. No mention was made at the time that Shell was surreptitiously continuing to buy oil from the Iranians. Shell used subterfuge to disguise shipping movements. Basically Royal Dutch Shell has continued to fund the military ambitions of an evil rogue regime, just as it did in funding the Nazis. We all know the dreadful consequences.
An email I sent on 19 March 2007 to Bill O’Reilly at Fox News created a near frantic reaction at Shell Oil Company at what might happen (an American boycott of Shell) and triggered email correspondence between Shell in the USA and Royal Dutch Shell in Europe. The link is to my article publish at the time containing the relevant email. It was immediately spotted by Shell.
An email to Bill O’Reilly at Fox News: Shell’s treachery in Iran
Related Shell internal correspondence
SHELL INTERNAL EMAILS RELATING TO JOHN DONOVAN, BILL O'REILLY AND FOX NEWS: 19 to 22 March 2007: MULTIPLE PAGES
Mr Tom Purves, a Shell Oil Co VP.
We received many postings on our Shell Blog facility from whistleblowers at Shell Oil/Motiva plants in the USA. They made allegations and negative comments relating to Shell VP Tom Purves and his associates. I wrote to Mr Purves offering him the chance to response. I never received a reply. I believe that if names had not been redacted from the DPA/SAR material, his name would be seen on many of the Shell emails.
MARCH 2007 ACTIVITIES
Based on timings and matters that were of evident concern in Feb/March 2007, my best guess is that the commencement of sinister activities by Shell at that time arose mainly from my collaboration with Bill Campbell and my email to Bill O'Reilly.
The Shell email of 9 March 2007, which dealt with the setting up of what I have described as a counter-measures team, contained references to Mr Campbell that have been redacted. 9 March 2007 15.28
My email to Bill O’Reilly seems to have sparked an investigation which including approaching the USA government “and in London” seeking information about us. 19 March 2007 16:39
“Corporate Affairs” (presumably Corporate Affairs Security) quickly became involved.
JUNE 2009 ACTIVITIES
The key Shell internal email on 17 June 2009 concerning the involvement of “CAS” and NCFTA starts off with the sentence: “Will do, as you can see from other notes that I have copied you on, there is high level interest on behalf of xxxxxxxx who is targeted in several blogs…”
I believe, but do not know for certain, that the missing name is Tom Purves. As indicated, he was the subject of many negative comments on our Shell Blog.
I have posted many of the SAR/DPA generated material onto one web page. The interesting comments are highlighted in bold or red text.
Andrew Lazenby was on the make. He did not just steal ideas from us. Shell’s retained agency, Senior King, complained in writing to Shell senior management about his lack of ethics in his dealings with them. I found evidence of how he had also misled a gentleman by the name of John Armstrong-Homes who put up a promotional idea to Shell. His witness statement is self-explanatory. The same applies to a witness statement from Mr Mike McMahon. If you have the time for a quick glance through both, you will have a better idea of what we were up against in our dealings with Mr Lazenby.
Witness Statement of John Armstrong-Holmes
Witness Statement of Mike McMahon
When fobbed off by Shell senior executives, including the then Managing Director, David Varney, I was the only victim of Mr Lazenby brave (or foolish) enough to sue Shell.
For some unknown reason, Shell UK executives decided to give their full support to him.
That decision on their part changed my life.
I have personally posted tens of thousands of news articles about Shell onto the Internet and have noted all kinds of inappropriate behaviour by Shell directly at odds with its pledges of honesty, integrity, transparency etc contained in Shell’s claimed business principles.
I thought it was time somebody set up a website focussed solely on Shell that held the company to account. I have not done anything unlawful. I have excised my right to free speech, using the Internet instead of a soapbox. I have been able to help many other parties who have a grievance against Shell.
Knowing that Shell has raised questions about me with the U.S. government and with a specialist unit closely associated with the FBI, I wonder if I have been placed on a blacklist of undesirables that will prevent me obtaining a visa to visit the USA?
If we put to one side the sinister incidents where we have no proof - only suspicion of who was responsible - it still leaves a catalogue of unacceptable activities.
It is fair to say that I have become very aware of the dark side of Royal Dutch Shell.
My father and I owned two houses when Mr Lazenby came on the scene and as a result of Shell backing a thoroughly dishonest executive. Both detached properties, one in grounds of nearly an acre, had to be sold as a direct consequence of the litigation.
The bouts of sinister machinations by Shell over many years have fired me up to devote a very considerable amount of my time every day, 7 days a week, to focusing attention on what I consider to be an evil company with a horrendous track record.
When I reflect on the overall intrusive and intimidating activity directed at me, sponsored by Shell, it does seem to be way beyond the bounds of acceptable behaviour by a giant multinational corporation towards an individual citizen, who was and still is a Shell shareholder.