Alfred Donovan

Introduction

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In 1979, the company I co-founded, *Don Marketing, created and supplied promotional games that were used to promote petrol sales on the forecourts of all major petrol brands in the UK, including Shell.

In 1981, we moved into a  direct contractual relationship with Shell as a result of a presentation I made at Shell-Mex House in The Strand, the then London HQ of Shell UK Limited.

I put forward a proposal for Shell to launch a legal version of a promotional game called Make Money that Shell had abandoned in the 1960‘s out of concern that it was in breach of UK lottery laws. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, 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

CHAPTER 1: John Donovan, Shell’s nightmare

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The name of my Amazon Kindle book – “John Donovan, Shell’s nightmare” is not an ego-driven title dreamt up by me, but the headline of an article by an award-winning newspaper journalist, Christoph Giesen published across the EU in ten languages.

A broadsheet German daily newspaper, Süddeutsche Zeitung published a major article about me on 20 March 2012 under the headline “Konzernfeind No. 1.”

The article by Christoph Giesen told the story of my epic feud with the oil giant Royal Dutch Shell, a former client of the multinational company I co-founded, Don Marketing.

Over a decade of spectacular mutual success followed by two decades of hostilities, including sinister episodes of cloak and dagger activity by Shell against my father and me.

The English translation of the above newspaper headline: Shell’s enemy No.1

It was republished on 27 March 2012 by the European Journal/VOXeurope in ten languages under the headline: “John Donovan, Shell’s nightmare.

A related TV documentary feature filmed in the UK and Russia was subsequently broadcast across Europe by Deutsche Welle (DW) the leading German TV international public broadcasting channel. It included an interview with former Russian Deputy Minister of the Environment, Oleg Mitvol, named in a Guardian newspaper article as a “Kremlin attack dog.” Film footage of President Putin appears in the feature. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, 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

CHAPTER 5: Shell corporate espionage in the run-up to the Smart trial

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Titled Shell directors, the late Sir Peter Holmes, and Sir William Purves were also directors, major shareholders and the spymasters of Hakluyt & Company, a UK corporate espionage firm founded by former senior MI6 officers. Shell used Hakluyt to engage in cloak and dagger operations against its perceived enemies, including Greenpeace, as exposed in a Sunday Times front page lead article “MI6 ‘firm’ spied on green groups.” It led to a follow-on inside page headlined “How agent Camus sunk Greenpeace oil protests”. 

When Shell first instigated a cloak and dagger operation against us, we had no knowledge of the oil giants long-time involvement in the dark arts.

I first mentioned the subject of investigative activity in a letter dated 15 June 1998 that I sent to Dr Chris Fay, the then Chairman & Chief Executive of Shell UK Limited. It was also copied to Shell lawyers.

From paragraph 4 of page 3:

“Shell did retain an investigative specialist in connection with the previous litigation. They made investigations about me going back over a decade.” read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, 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

CHAPTER 7: A biased High Court Judge who later resigned in controversial circumstances

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It became increasingly evident to me when the SMART trial began that the much-respected Judge, the late Mr Justice Laddie (above) was not impartial. That conclusion was reinforced in the “Judges Comments.” These were ill-informed remarks the Judge insisted on making about me after being deliberately misled by Shell about the true terms of a settlement of the case negotiated by the parties involved. I later discovered to my horror that he had undisclosed connections with Shell. I had mortgaged my house to my lawyers to cover legal costs believing it would be a fair trial before an impartial judge. 

As the trial progressed it became increasingly evident to me that the Judge, Mr Justice Laddie, was not impartial. I later discovered to my consternation that he had disturbing undeclared connections with Shell, which gave rise to a concern over the possibility of unconscious bias. 

Although aware of both matters, the Judge expressed not the slightest interest in the burglaries or the uncover activity admitted by Shell. He actually quoted from a letter from me published by Marketing Week magazine on 25 February 1999, in which the undercover activity was mentioned. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, 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

CHAPTER 8: Peace treaty shattered by Shell

The peace did not last for long. Shell offered information about me to a third party company that could only be construed as being damaging to my reputation. I served notice on Shell that this breach by Shell amounted to a repudiation of the agreement. Shell threatened to take related legal action, but tellingly, did not do so. Hostilities resumed with subsequent news coverage, including the above Sunday Times article.

In 2001, a third party company approached Shell to confirm that Shell would not object to the launch on the Internet of a paperless Make Money type game. My involvement as a consultant to the company was disclosed to Shell.

Shell took the opportunity to offer information to the company that could only be construed as being damaging to my reputation. I had hoped that the project would restart my career, but Shell’s intervention torpedoed that prospect.

The information Shell brought up and offered to supply to the company was the “Judges Comments.” read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, 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

CHAPTER 10: Domain name battle with Shell

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In a spectacular blunder, Shell neglected to register the top-level domain name for the newly merged company Royal Dutch Shell Plc. Shell lawyers discovered, no doubt to their shock and horror, that their most enduring critic had beaten them to the registration of royaldutchshellplc.com. Shell issued proceedings via the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) as reported by the Wall Street Journal (above) but in a spectacular public humiliation, Shell lost the case.

In 2004, a huge scandal engulfed the Royal Dutch Shell Group after it fraudulently over-stated its claimed oil and gas reserves – the most important factor in determining the value of an oil company.

As a direct consequence, the Anglo-Dutch arms of the Royal Dutch Shell Group – Shell Transport and Trading Company Plc and Royal Dutch Petroleum Company, were forced to merge into a single new company: Royal Dutch Shell Plc.

However, in a spectacular blunder, Shell neglected to register what was the top-level domain name for the new company. Shell lawyers discovered, no doubt to their consternation and horror, that their most enduring critic had beaten them to the registration of royaldutchshellplc.com. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, 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

CHAPTER 15: Assisting third parties to challenge Shell

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It is a fact that our website has been used to publish public appeals on behalf of a number of parties, including the WWF and Friends of the Earth, who wanted to reach Shell shareholders, Shell employees, or the public. Information about the various public appeals can be found on a Wikipedia archive article from which the above extract is taken.

Royaldutchshellplc.com has been used to publish public appeals on behalf of a number of parties who wanted to reach Shell shareholders and/or Shell employees, or the public e.g. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, 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

CHAPTER 16: Our activities caught the attention of the news media

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The Sunday Telegraph published an article by Juliette Garside under the headline “Online revolutionaries“ containing a reference to the Donovans and their website.

The long-lasting hostility between Shell and the Donovan family has not escaped the attention of the news media and other interested parties, such as The One World Trust, an independent research organisation associated with the UK Houses of Parliament and the United Nations.

Some memorable articles have been published regarding our activities and our website. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, 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

Mirror Image of archival information relating to the Don Marketing / Shell litigation dating back over two decades

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Mirror Image of archival information relating to the Don Marketing/Shell litigation dating back over two decades. 

 

RICHARD WISEMAN, RETIRED ROYAL DUTCH SHELL PLC CHIEF ETHICS AND COMPLIANCE OFFICER. FORMERLY LEGAL DIRECTOR OF SHELL UK LIMITED. MR WISEMAN DEALT WITH THE JOHN DONOVAN/ DON MARKETING vs. SHELL LITIGATION ON BEHALF OF SHELL. 

THREATS AND INTIMIDATION BY SHELL DURING PERIOD WISEMAN IN CHARGE OF SHELL UK DEFENCE

A threatening letter from Shell U.K. Managing Director, David Varney (Copied to David Pirret – now a Vice President of Shell International Limited: 21 October 1994

Letter from Shell solicitors DJ Freeman (AKA Kendall Freeman) challenging John Donovan to substantiate allegations about “Shell UK and its lawyers” having “bombarded my company and my family with threats over the years (verbally and in writing.”  : 21 May 1998

Response letter from John Donovan substantiating the threats made by Shell and its employees/agents up to May 1998: 25 May 1998

Mark Moody-Stuart, Chairman and Managing Director, The “Shell” Transport and Trading Company, p.l.c. issues threat on behalf of Shell UK Ltd: 9 April 1998

1ST EXAMPLE OF SHELL INTENT TO PREVENT EMBARRASSING INFORMATION FROM REACHING SHAREHOLDERS

Flawed Shell Make Money Game

Mackrell Turner letter to Royds solicitors acting for John Donovan/Don Marketing: 18 May 1994

2ND EXAMPLE OF SHELL INTENT TO PREVENT EMBARRASSING INFORMATION FROM REACHING SHAREHOLDERS

Shell Funding Deed signed by Shell managing director David Varney (now Sir David Varney): 6 July 1995

3RD EXAMPLE OF SHELL INTENT TO PREVENT EMBARRASSING INFORMATION FROM REACHING SHAREHOLDERS

High-level April 1998 correspondence with Shell involving Richard Wiseman (see letter from Jyoti Munsiff – 6 April 1998

Letter from John Donovan to Shell Chairman Mark Moody-Stuart:1 April 1998

Reply letter on behalf of Moody-Stuart from Jyoti Munsiff, Company Secretary, Shell Transport and Trading Company plc: 6 April 1998

Reply letter from Mark Moody-Stuart, Chairman and Managing Director, Shell Transport & Trading Co Plc: 6 April 1998

Reply letter from John Donovan to Mark Moody-Stuart: 14 April 1998

“Yet you are not prepared for the same information to be supplied, even on a confidential basis, to the people who actually own the company – your shareholders. Your decision to keep company members in the dark speaks absolute volumes. So much for the core principle of “openness”. When it comes to the crunch, covering-up a catalogue of misdeeds by Shell managers, despite incontrovertible evidence of flagrant breaches of the principles of honesty and integrity, apparently takes priority.”

Link to “Unloveable Shell, the goddess of oil” Guardian article mentioned in the correspondence (takes time to load but well worth the wait)

Extract from response letter sent to The Guardian by Mark Moody-Stuart

UNDERCOVER ACTIVITY AGAINST THE DONOVAN’S IN THE PERIOD WISEMAN IN CHARGE OF DEFENCE CASE

A number of sinister characters suddenly came on the scene in a short period of time, including an American gentleman who arrived from overseas and tracked down and interviewed our key witnesses, falsely claiming to be a journalist for The European newspaper. Another undercover agent under the name of Christopher Phillips had been caught red-handed illegally opening private mail at our offices. The homes of our solicitor, a key witness and our own home were all burglarised in the run up to the Smart Trial and related documents examined. Shell denied any association with the burglaries and the intimidation of our witnesses.

Copies of a selection of relevant self-explanatory correspondence published below.

Letter to John Donovan from Shell solicitors, DJ Freeman: 16 June 1998

John Donovan letter to Richard Wiseman: 23 June 1998

Richard Wiseman letter to John Donovan: 24 June 1998

Richard Wiseman letter to John Donovan: 1 July 1998

Letter to John Donovan from Shell solicitors DJ Freeman: 3 July 1998

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 Richard Wiseman to John Donovan: 9 July 1998

The activities of Mr Phillips have, of course, been admitted.

John Donovan letter to Office for Supervising of Solicitors: 10 July 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 (Confirms an internal investigation by Shell)

AS A SEPARATE ARTICLE

DEFENDING THE COMPANY’S GOOD NAME AND REPUTATION: Richard Wiseman article in OPDirect Magazine: November 1998

FUEL FOR THOUGHT

DEFENDING THE COMPANY’S GOOD NAME AND REPUTATION

There has recently been some publicity surrounding a writ issued against Shell UK by Mr John Donovan, director of a company called Don Marketing, who claims that his company invented the SMART loyalty programme and that he or his company should be compensated for its use. Shell UK is strongly defending the claim, having carefully investigated and discussed it with Mr Donovan and his solicitors. Mr Donovan has been making a number of unpleasant allegations in public and in the press, and has been handing out leaflets to staff. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, 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

Don Marketing Website Archival Information

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COPY OF INFORMATION PUBLISHED ON Don-Marketing.com and “Images File” webpage

An article published by Prospect Magazine in February 2007 authored by Derek Brower, senior correspondent of Petroleum Economist, provides an overall background to the disputes between Royal Dutch Shell and Alfred Donovan and his son, John.

Rise of the gripe site: How two men and a website humbled one of the oil industry giants

Picture of John Chambers and John Donovan

John Donovan (right) and John Chambers
at Don Marketing Hornchurch offices in 1984
 
For more photos see Don Marketing Photo File donmarketingphotofile.html

Don Marketing was founded by Alfred Donovan, Bob Donovan, John Donovan and their fondly remembered friend and business partner, chartered accountant, Don Redhead (deceased). Alfred, Bob and John are all retired from commercial activity. John Chambers was managing director during the most successful years of Don Marketing which, following a series of court actions with Shell, ceased trading some years ago. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, 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