TELLSHELL: The unpalatable truth about Shell Management: "While the Ogoni people sit on top of oil fields, but remain abysmally poor, Sir Philip Watts sits on an $18 million (US dollar) pension pot. It is in my humble opinion simply obscene and indefensible."
4 September 04
This message was posted on "TellShell", the forum for supposed "lively debate" on the website of Shell.com. It was in response to comments posted by "Richard" who stated that "as a bemused onlooker with many years of overseas experience within the Shell Group, I find it hard to accept that Shell management is as corrupt, hypocritical and immoral as you depict, or that the Ogoniland campaigners are all the knights in shining armour that your posts suggest." He also believes that I have made unfair comparisons between the Statement of General Business Principles and my view of Shell's actual behaviour. His full comments can be read on TellShell under the topic heading "Our recent performance - what do you think?".
The TellShell webmaster/censor deleted my response on the day it was posted, 3 September 2004, on legal grounds. I have therefore published it here and I invite Shell to sue me for libel if they take issue with what I say.
MY REPLY TO "RICHARD"
I suspect that many of your Shell colleagues were, like you, blissfully unaware of the disreputable activities of Shell senior management.
The penny really did not drop as far as I was concerned until my son and I supplied Shell top management, including Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, Sir Philip Watts, Malcolm Brinded and Richard Wiseman, with incontrovertible documentary evidence of blatantly dishonest practices at Shell.
To our astonishment the evidence was ignored. Instead of sacking the manager responsible, he was able to claim in a sworn Witness Statement the full backing of Shell management at the very highest level i.e. Moody-Stuart.
The manager in question had planned and executed with his Shell UK management colleagues a scheme to deliberately cheat and deceive companies who thought they were participating in a fair tendering process for a multimillion pounds project (as pledged in Shell's Statement of General Business Principles).
These are not hollow accusations. The documentary evidence is posted on my website. The deeds of Moody-Stuart, the then Group Chairman of Royal Dutch Shell, were completely at odds with his solemn pledges relating to Shell Statement of General Business Principles (A Cheats Charter which has no legal standing).
Documentary evidence of how he and senior officials at Shell conspired to keep sensational information hidden from Shell shareholders is also published on Shell2004.com. The evidence includes a letter from Moody-Stuart. He set the tone of a management cover up culture which brought about the downfall of Shell’s reputation.
SHELL IN NIGERIA
Shell turned to Hakluyt, a sinister London-based "business intelligence bureau" for assistance when Shell’s reputation came under fire in Nigeria. Hakluyt shared common directors/shareholders with Shell Transport And Trading Company p.l.c. Titled Shell directors were respectively Chairman and President of Hakluyt & Company Limited and The Hakluyt Foundation. In other words, Shell directors were the ultimate Hakluyt spymasters.
Shell has admitted deploying an undercover operative in Nigeria; code name “CAMUS”, a serving German Secret Agent, whose real name is Manfred Schlickenrieder. There are a number of published accounts of his treacherous activities in Nigeria and in other Countries against Shell’s perceived enemies, which was basically any organisation campaigning against Shell’s unscrupulous conduct. To find the articles just search “Manfred Schlickenrieder Nigeria” on Google.
I have included brief extracts below from two such publications:-
EXTRACT: Shell International turned to Hakluyt for help when the oil conglomerate's reputation came under fire during the Brent Spar PR crisis and the Nigerian government's execution of writer-activist Ken Saro-Wiwa. Using his cover as a filmmaker, Schlickenrieder traveled around Europe, interviewing on film a broad spectrum of people campaigning for Nigeria's Ogoni people.
Schlickenrieder's cover was blown when the Swiss action group Revolutionaire Aufbau began to distrust him. Its investigation uncovered a large pile of documents, many of which were put online at the beginning of 2000 (www.aufbau.org).These documents proved that Schlickenrieder was on the payroll of Hakluyt & Company Ltd., a London-based "business intelligence bureau" linked closely to MI6, the British foreign intelligence service.”
EXTRACT: “Schlickenrieder continued working for Hakluyt until 1999. 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.”
Source: Sunday Times Front Page Story - 17 June 2001
Sir Mark Moody-Stuart and Sir Philip Watts both worked in Nigeria for Shell. Both went on to become Group Chairman of the Royal Dutch Shell Group, first Sir Mark and then Sir Philip (before he was forced to resign because of the reserves scandal). Sir Philip was accused in a major article published in the “Mail on Sunday” on 4 April 2004 of helping to organise and pay for a virtual private army of 1400 Police spies in the oil rich deltas of Nigeria. This article apparently related to the law suit commenced against Shell in the USA in September 2002.
I had no hand in any of the above articles.
THE OPPRESSION AND EXPLOITATION OF THE OGONI PEOPLE
While serving in the UK Armed Forces some 70 years ago I was stationed in Palestine. I regret to say that the Arabs were treated with distain and generally viewed as being second class citizens in their own Countries. How things have changed. The Arabs were sitting on top of the worlds largest oil reserves. Quite correctly, citizens in the oil rich Arab nations have benefited from their own natural resources and are now among the wealthiest people in the world. They rightly have considerable power, influence and respect.
It is impossible to reconcile that situation with what has happened in Nigeria where the population has been oppressed and exploited by Shell (and other oil companies)and successive Nigerian regimes. As a result, Ogoniland has been subjected to long term ecological degradation.
While the Ogoni people sit on top of oil fields, but remain abysmally poor, Sir Philip Watts sits on an $18 million (US dollar) pension pot. It is in my humble opinion simply obscene and indefensible.
After yet another document meant for consumption solely by Shell management was leaked to the press in mid June 2004, Shell was forced to admit that its actions in Nigeria fed “a vicious cycle of violence and corruption” I stress that this was an admission by Shell just a few months ago.
Richard, if you read, as I have, the sworn witness testimony from Ogoni activists such as Charles Wiwa, I have no doubt you would be just as moved as I was by what happened to them at the hands of a corrupt Nigerian regime in cahoots with Shell's then Nigerian management.
The Ogoni are not belligerent people. They believe in entirely peaceful campaign tactics and should be applauded for that sustained policy. They may not all be "knights in shining armor" as you fairly point out but I have not personally come across any other people with genuine extremely grave grievances, who have conducted themselves with such dignity and patience, despite incredible provocation and evil treatment.
I know nothing about Shell’s disposal of land in Hong Kong so I will not comment on that subject. I have not been involved as you appear to suggest in any effort to coordinate opinion on that matter.
“Shell” is of course just a name. It is Shell senior management that are responsible for Shell’s misdeeds which has brought shame and infamy on a once proud name. The email from Walter van de Vijver to Sir Philip Watts, saying: 'I am becoming sick and tired about lying about the extent of our reserves issues..." will pass into corporate folklore.
Royal Dutch Shell has over 100,000 employees in over 100 Countries. Most are no doubt honest, hard working individuals who must be extremely disappointed at the mendacious actions of Shell management, which in the last decade, has been to blame for Shell’s reputation disappearing faster than its oil reserves. Every large organisation is bound to have its share of rotten apples. Unfortunately in Shell’s case, most of them seem to have risen to the top of the management pile.
It is their unethical actions and ruthless policies which have brought Shell into global notoriety and disrepute.
Richard, have you not wondered why Shell has not taken direct legal action against me for defamation? It is because there is no defamation if what is stated is true. Shell management knows that I have the evidence to back up what I have stated.
I will end on a positive note: Two examples of positive initiatives by Shell. Firstly Shell is at the forefront of developing and researching renewable sources of energy in an energy hungry world; a world in which finite reserves of oil and gas are being consumed at an ever increasing and reckless pace. Secondly, Shell UK has to its credit set up an organisation to promote and encourage new businesses –Shell Livewire.
A final positive note: the kindness of Shell Legal Director/General Counsel, Richard Wiseman, sending me his personal greetings on my 87th birthday.