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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. 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.

An appeal by the World Wildlife Fund(WWF) in relation to environmental concerns about the Sakhalin2 project. Part of the WWF appeal published on the Donovan website on 2 February 2006, stated: “If you have a story you would like to tell, then please get in touch with us or Alfred Donovan in confidence, or make your views known to EBRD. This is a crucial time for influencing this project, when it is essential the real story of Sakhalin comes out.” A further appeal on behalf of the WWF was published on our website in March 2006.

An appeal by The World Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility. The statement by the ECCR we published on 25 January 2006 included the following explanation and appeal: “The Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility intends to bring a shareholder resolution to Royal Dutch Shell plc’s 2006 AGM. ECCR believes that Shell’s impacts on `frontline’ communities and the environment in County Mayo, Ireland, the Niger Delta, and at Sakhalin II in Russia merit urgent attention. The resolution calls for a major improvement in Shell’s performance in terms of community and stakeholder consultation, risk analysis, and social and environmental impact analysis. ECCR needs 100 Shell shareholders to co-sign the resolution before the end of February.”

On 25 January 2006 an appeal by Zack Brown, an Arctic Wilderness Associate of the Public Interest Research Group. Brown stated: “Our campaign continues to push Chevron and ExxonMobil on the Arctic, but in 2006 most of our attention will focus on Royal Dutch Shell.” He went on to make the following appeal: “As a part of our effort, we are building a large pool of individual Royal Dutch Shell common stock investors. If you, or anyone you know owns Royal Dutch Shell common stock (RDS-A or RDS-B) please contact Zack Brown at the U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund…”

An appeal by U.S. lawyers, Bernstein Liebhard & Lifshitz in September 2004 for evidence in respect of a major class-action lawsuit brought against Shell. The New York law firm was acting for the lead plaintiffs, The Pennsylvania State Pension Fund, in a multibillion-dollar US class action against Royal Dutch Shell Group arising from the hydrocarbon reserves fraud, which came to light in January 2004. ( Civil Action 04431 in the US District Court of New Jersey.) In September 2004, the law firm confirmed that they had received calls as a result of the appeal. In March 2006, the litigation was given permission to proceed as a global class action against Royal Dutch Shell. This was after we found a shareholder in time to meet a deadline set by a US federal Judge, to represent all non-American holders of Royal Dutch Shell stock.

An appeal for support by Friends of the Earth in the Netherlands was posted on our website from 20 December 2006 for a campaign entitled has also been used to publish information by The National Union of Ogoni Students (NUOS) “an independent, non-profit entity that functions as the students unit of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP).”

Further information about the various public appeals mentioned above can be found on a Wikipedia archive article. See section “Appeals to Shell shareholders, Shell employees, and the public.

We have assisted many parties who for one reason or another have a gripe against Shell. We normally put any such allegations to Shell for comment and/or denial before publication of an article.

As indicated, our designated contact point at Royal Dutch Shell Plc was originally Richard Wiseman in his capacity as Shell Legal Director and subsequently as Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer. Since his retirement, our designated contact has been Mr Michiel Brandjes, the Company Secretary & General Counsel Corporate.

I was approached in August 2014 by the wife of a senior Royal Dutch Shell executive complaining about a series of articles I had published focussed on her husband. I was impressed with what she had to say in a genuine and sincere manner in support of her husband and family. She was concerned that I might publish her email but had the courage to send it. As a result, I accepted her word on the conduct of her spouse and deleted all of the articles in their entirety.

On another occasion, Shell (Mr Brandjes) politely asked us not to publish a particular article. Good reasons for given. We did not publish.

Mr Wiseman asked me not to publish a leaked database with the names and contact information for over 180,000 Shell employees and contractors. He was rightly concerned about the safety of the relevant individuals. We did not publish.

I try to be responsible and fair.

A selection of unsolicited comments received

The first link is to one of the emails received from Bernstein Liebhard & Lifshitz thanking me for my help.

From: “Steven J. Peitler” <>

Subject: RE: Royal Dutch

Date: 15 July 2004 20:46:35 BST

To: “John Donovan” <>

Thanks again.  I am hoping that when this thing really gets rolling they will let me travel to the UK to do some interviews, because I owe you a dinner for all of the help your giving me.

Thanks again,

Steven J. Peitler


Bernstein  Liebhard & Lifshitz LLP

10 East 40th Street

New York, NY 10016



From: huong john <>

Subject: RE: UPDATE on appearing before the High Court Judge

Date: 15 July 2004 09:16:35 BST

To: Alfred Donovan <>

Dear Mr Donovans,

Following today’s event, I was given instruction to comply with the items contained in earlier injunction/court order.

Please extend my appreciation and support to friends everywhere and it is best I say little in respect for the restraining order. To you Mr Donovans – God bless you abundantly; cannot thank you enough for you have great kindness and a generous love for humanity.

Cordially, John and all at home.



From: Donna Getz

Subject: RE: It will happen

Date: 31 December 2010 15:19:58 GMT


Thank you.  May you have a great New Year!!!

Shell’s lawyer will probably go to court after January 5 to try to get us to pay the bill he sent.  That’s what he told me when I talked to him.  I told him we were all broke, that we couldn’t pay so we will see what happens.

So good to hear from you and may your computer become well again as the world needs people like you to set the records straight.

Bless you!!




From: Donna Caillet

Subject: Re: Shell

Date: 4 October 2013 05:42:20 BST

To: John Donovan <>

Are you talking about not helping me? Are you serious? You have done more for me than anyone in my life…



One of numerous emails and documents supplied between November 2007 and November 2008. Senders name (leader of the employees group) has been redacted.



Date: 14 November 2008 16:05:49 GMT



Dear Mr Donovan

Kind and warm greetings!

Today we have been advised by Shell Ethiopia Labour Union that the court case with Shell is settled through negotiation. We have forwarded the entire communication and scanned copy of the agreement in case you want to refer it. You will find it at the end of our message.

As per the agreement, Shell agreed to restore the previous early retirement scheme with some modification. The new scheme is “the old scheme minus 4 months salary”. We will use one of our colleagues case (how he will be affected) to illustrate this:

– With the original (old) scheme he could have gotten up to 45 months salary,

– With the changed (new) scheme he would have gotten only 22 months salary.

– With the negotiated scheme, he would get 41 months salary

If you recall there were some employees that would lose as much as 70% due to the change in the scheme. Now this loss is reduced to 10%.

All affected employees in Shell Ethiopia highly recognize the role your web site played in promoting our cause. We strongly believe that this settlement would not have been possible had it not been for the intervention of your web site. For this, we would like to express our deepest gratitude on behalf of all Shell Ethiopia staff.

GOD bless and thank you again!

Shell Ethiopia employees



Ethiopian employees accuse Shell of raiding retirement fund: 18 December 2007

Shell Employees in Africa Protest Against Being ‘Sold’ by Shell: 29 July 2008

Angry Shell Ethiopia employees accuse Shell of discrimination and infringement of Human rights: 2 August 2008

Shell accused of deceit, trickery and fraud by a group of over 100 former employees: 17 April 2012

Michiel Brandjes, Former Company Secretary and General Counsel Corporate, Royal Dutch Shell Plc. and its sister non-profit websites,,,,,, and are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia feature.

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