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CHAPTER 13: What prompted the more recent sinister activity?

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The above logo is for “CAS” – a shadowy Shell Group Corporate Affairs unit populated by spooks led by former high-level MI6 and FBI officers.

James W.D. Hall is Vice President of Corporate Security, located at Royal Dutch Shell plc’s Global Headquarters in the Netherlands. Hall, a mysterious British Citizen, was described in a June 2017 U.S. court document as “the top executive in Shell’s entire Corporate Security Organization…” He is identified by name in a related article “Spectacular falling out of ‘Security Professionals’ at the top of Shell.

I became a target of CAS possibly out concern over my anticipated interest in a set of history books being published about Royal Dutch Shell. They contained information about Shell’s Dutch leadership financial support for Nazi Germany. Also anxiety about my contact with Shell whistleblowers, some of whom leaked confidential Shell emails and documents.

There were a number of issues, which we know from the SAR generated Shell internal emails, was causing significant concern at Shell in 2007 and 2009. They may have been among the factors that triggered sinister activity against us by Shell in that period.


On Sunday 11 March 2007, the author of a Shell internal email marked as “Legally Privileged and Confidential,” sent from the Netherlands, expressed anxiety about my anticipated interest in the pending publication of “A History of Royal Dutch Shell” – a work of four volumes, which included information and evidence of Shell’s connection with Hitler and the Nazi party:


Also D will be scrutinising the new Shell History (out on 5 July) and doubtless making all sorts of new allegations based on it.”

A string of Shell internal emails dated 19/20 March 2007 contained another reference to the unwelcome prospect of me subjecting “the upcoming book to the closest scrutiny…”

On 6 June 2007, with the publication of the book just a month away, a Shell internal email contained the following sentence:

We can expect another broadside from Donovan when our History book comes out.

It was information in the “new Shell History” that did, in fact, prompt my research and eventually resulted in my ebook:

Sir Henry Deterding and the Nazi History of Royal Dutch Shell.

Hence, the anxiety at Shell on that issue was well-founded.

There is more about the Deterding ebook later.


Shell’s relationship with Iran was another highly toxic subject. Shell had continued doing business with Iran despite sanctions on the Iranian government. See Wall Street Journal article: “Oil Trade With Iran Thrives, Discreetly.”

Extract from an extensive article I 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.

The related aforementioned email I sent on 19 March 2007 to Bill O’Reilly at Fox News and published as an article on my website created a near frantic reaction at Shell Oil Company at what might result from the content – a boycott of Shell by American drivers.

It prompted the flurry of email correspondence between Shell Oil in the USA and Royal Dutch Shell in Europe.

My email to Mr O’Reilly also seems to have sparked an investigation, which included Shell approaching the USA government to seek information about us.

Shell prepared a contingency reactive press statement designed to distance Shell in the USA as much as possible from the dispute Shell had with us.


As previously mentioned, Dr Huong was a Production Geologist working for Shell in Malaysia. In the opening months of 2007, we were involved in assisting him and his lawyers with the preparation of witness statements. This was in relation to his defence of a draconian defamation action collectively brought against him by eight different companies within the Royal Dutch Shell Group. One in the UK, one in the Netherlands and six in the Far East. Rightly or wrongly, Dr Huong believed that he and his family were the targets of surveillance and other sinister activities by Shell.

The eight-strong group of Shell litigants jointly applied to the courts to have Dr Huong jailed for alleged contempt of court in respect of further publications on our website. For the full astonishing story, with related Shell legal documents, see: Dr John Huong: Index


Our intervention in Sakhalin2 cost Shell many billions of dollars. See “How Chris Finlayson bungled the Mother of all Projects: Sakhalin II.”

The same article contains information and links about another Sakhalin2 matter resulting in a further humiliation for Shell. The Financial Times published another front-page story based on a Shell internal emailed leaked to me, which I had passed to the newspaper.

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. Greer lost his job as Project Director and as a Royal Dutch Shell Managing Director. See: ’Pipeliners All! Shell’s memo to Sakhalin: Financial Times 5 June 2007


A Shell email dated Tuesday 20 March 2007 contained a reference to the involvement of “Corporate Affairs” aka Shell Corporate Affairs Security (CAS) in relation to my editing of Wikipedia articles about Royal Dutch Shell. There were numerous references in Shell internal emails about this particular concern at Shell.


Shell’s sinister activity in March 2007 was probably also partly triggered by my collaboration with Bill Campbell (a retired Group HSE Auditor of Shell International) over Shell employee safety issues. A Shell email of 9 March 2007, which dealt with the setting up of what I have described as a Shell counter-measures team, contained references to Mr Campbell that have been redacted.

Keith Ruddock, a then Shell General Counsel, sent a communication to solicitors acting for Mr Campbell. The objective of the email was to implore Mr Campbell to stop me publishing insider information about an avoidable accident on the Brent Bravo North Sea platform that cost the lives of 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 e.g. Daily Mail: “Shell on back foot as ‘gripe site’ alleges safety concerns”: 1 September 2007.


21 February 2007 marked “confidential”

2 March 2007 marked “CON/DONOVAN

9 March 2007 marked Legally Privileged and Confidential

19 March 2007

24 July 2007

8 August 2007

28 August 2007

9 September 2007

26 September 2007

16 October 2007

19 October 2007

26 December 2007

19 February 2008

29 April 2008

8 July 2009

30 July 2009

21 January 2010


I 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 another highly toxic subject for Shell. It was mentioned in the email that my article on the subject had been “picked up by USA Today.” See Shell internal email dated 5 January 2009.

The article: “Royal Dutch Shell, Tom Cruise, YouTube and Hitler” was published on 3 January 2009.

In March 2011, Mr Michiel Brandjes, the Company Secretary and General Counsel Corporate of Royal Dutch Shell Plc threatened me with legal action on the matter. None has been taken. For obvious reasons, it is just about the last subject on earth to which Shell would wish to draw public attention.


In 2009, we received numerous postings on our Shell Blog/Live Chat 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 respond. I never received a reply. I suspect that if names had not been redacted, his name would be seen on many of the Shell emails supplied in response to SAR requests.

In September 2009, we published a leaked Shell internal email sent by Tom Purves containing confidential information about Shell/Motiva business plans.

As can be seen from these examples, there were several issues rating to my activities which caused real concern at Shell.

A confidential Shell internal email sent on 21 March 2007, records the previously mentioned fact that Shell had instigated a global surveillance operation trying to identify Shell employees leaking information to me:


Not for publication, is the fact that the Group has a long history with this guy and suspects employees (current and former) are communicating with him. In attempts to monitor this, xxxxxxxx has initiated and IT project to monitor internal e-mails from Shell servers globally to Donovan and is also 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 view of the aggressive tone of the Shell internal email dated 9 March 2007, which looked like a military operation, it seems reasonable to assume that some of those involved were from Shell Corporate Affairs Security.

Analysis of the various evidence suggests that it was the contentious issues relating to Shell VP Tom Purves that was the likely main trigger of the key Shell internal email on 17 June 2009 and the involvement of “CAS” and NCFTA.

The following extracts are more extensive than those quoted by Reuters from the same email:

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 with specific concern at his direct reports. The reason I requested CAS involvement is due to conversations that xxxxxxxxxxxxx had with NCFTA week before last and I know that one of the topics of conversation was the website in question.

Xxxxxx CAS now has resources assigned to the NCFTA center that are RDS focused. I have alerted DS Compliance that these are low probability of success type investigations. There will be no attempt to do anything visible to Donovan, that being said, if we do find the person(s) communicating with his site and take any type of action, I suspect it will be posted immediately.

The email was marked as “Privileged and confidential.” The X’s are in the gaps where Shell lawyers have redacted text. It is safe to assume that the name redacted by Shell was Tom Purves, who, as already indicated, was the subject of many negative comments on our Shell Blog.

It would be fair to describe the postings, which began in June 2009 and grew in intensity and number, as extremely hostile to Mr Purves and his alleged cronies.

Shell Blog posting by “Jim Hartsock on 4 June 2009. Posting 2048. Note that after the first Shell Blog page appears, it takes several seconds to jump to the specific posting.

Further posting on Shell Blog by ‘Motivasux”, this time on 9 June 2009 – posting number 2041

Posting by “Motivaman”on 12 June 2009

Posting by “JerrBear” on 12 June 2009

Posting by “motivasux” 14 June 2009

Posting 2024 on Shell Blog by “grim reaper” on 16 June 2009

Further posting on Shell Blog by “motivasux” 16 June 2009

Posting by “harley” on 16 June 2009

The examples provided run from 5 June 2009 for 11 days, resulting in the quoted Shell internal email on 17 June 2009.

I have posted many of the SAR generated material onto a single web page. The more interesting comments are highlighted in the bold or red text.

There is an interesting postscript to the Shell spying.

In 2011, I was contacted by a former senior member of Shell Corporate Affairs Security (CAS) later known as Shell Global Security, who was disillusioned by Shell’s disingenuous deeds.  The person in question has an intelligence background. In other words, a spook. I published a related article – “Shell embedded spies in host governments of Nigeria, Dubai and Iraq” – based on information this source provided, including top secret Shell internal documents.

See related Guardian article: “Cables reveal Shell’s grip on Nigerian state

The former spook had been involved in the Shell spying operations against us. So, ironically, one of the Shell spooks on the mission to stop Shell secrets being disclosed to me became one of my most important sources and supporters.

For the record, this is not a reference to Donald L. Lane, the former U.S. Secret Service Agent with whom I had extensive dealings on another Shell related matter.

The most recent covert action was initiated on or around 22 July 2021, almost four decades after Shell first became our client. Read “Shell’s failed blundering attempt to kill my” and its sister non-profit websites,,,,,, and are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia feature.