Secret documents reveal Shell PR following Nigerian executions

stripey cat

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 14, 2009
Messages
2,799
Guardian: Secret documents reveal oil giant's crisis management strategy following the execution of the Nigerian activist.
NGOs and BBC targeted by Shell PR machine in wake of Saro-Wiwa death | Business | guardian.co.uk


Fifteen years ago today(November 10th 1995), Ken Saro Wiwa, Baribor Bera, Saturday Dobe, Nordu Eawo, Daniel Gbokoo, Barinem Kiobel, John Kpuinen, Paul Levura and Felix Nuate were hanged in the military prison in Port Harcourt in the Niger Delta.

Their crime? Protesting against the environmental destruction caused by Shell in taking oil from their lands.

Now documents have emerged which show how Shell targeted the international media and NGO's in an attempt to destroy the activists' reputation and show the company in a good light.

The documents outline a tactic of divide and rule, where Shell planned to work with some of its critics but isolate others. Under the "occupying new ground" scenario, the document detail how Shell would "create coalitions, isolate the opposition and shift the debate."

Dividing NGOs into friends and foes, Shell emphasised the need to "work with [and] sway 'middle of the road' activists". The Body Shop, Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth were seen as unlikely to change their position. One suggested tactic to counter these organisations was to "challenge [the] basis on which they continue their campaign against Shell in order to make it more difficult for them to sustain it". Human rights organisations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch were seen as more easily persuaded. The document suggests building relationships with the organisations and encouraging "buy-in to the complexity of the issue".
 


Sync

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 27, 2009
Messages
28,887
So they suggested explaining their position to the more reasonable activists and ignoring the ones who they thought wouldn't listen anyway. How.....horrific? I dunno. What's wrong with their approach?
 

eyeSpy

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 9, 2008
Messages
2,548
I'd say Mayo has re-written the textbook on these matters.
 

junius

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 31, 2010
Messages
3,675
The Annual Ken Saro-Wiwa Memorial Seminar in Wexford



The Annual Ken Saro-Wiwa Memorial Seminar 2010.
Riverbank Hotel Wexford Town 12/13 November.

Friday 12th November 7:30pm-10pm
A lecture from Angus Mitchell entitled "Where the truth lies; rubber, Roger Casement and the facts behind the fiction"
followed by poems and tributes.

Saturday 13th November 11am-6pm
11am - 1pm
A lecture from Dr Vicky Conway author of "The Blue Wall of Silence"
Terence Conway - Video Exibition
2pm - 5pm
Research panel, Finding The Facts
Submission by An Taisce to An Bord Pleanala
UNEP - Safe guarding the facts

***************************************
On the 10th November 1995 a group concerned about the lives of the Ogoni Nine had planned a vigil of advocacy outside the Nigerian Embassy on Lesson Park in Dublin. A sign bearing Ken Saro- Wiwa Park was to be brought along and hung over the offical name for the duration of the vigil. During the day news filtered through from Nigeria that the Ogoni Nine had been hanged early on the morning of the 10th in the prison yard to which they had been taken from a military detention camp in the previous hours.

The vigil of advocacy became a wake on a dark wild rainfilled night in Ken Saro-Wiwa Park to which the best of Ireland’s literary figures brought their offerings. It was the end of an almost year long Irish campaign for clemency led by Majella Mc Carron who had returned form Nigeria in August 1994 after thirty years there. For the previous two years she had been in solidarity with the objectives of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni people. By 10 November 1995 several Irish campaign groups were helping and in so doing were learning about the plight of resource - rich indigenous communities like the Ogoni.

The Ogoni live in the Niger Delta of Nigeria alongside many other small ethnic groups. The delta is an oil and gas rich terrain both on and offshore. From 1958 to 1993 Royal Dutch Shell had harvested huge profits from its oil and gas wells onshore. Still there was no electricity, no pipeborne water and more and more land was being acquired for exploration and then lost to pollution. The Nigerian State was complicit in this situation even if it had wisely decided on a sixty percent share or thereabouts when it set up a State oil company shortly after Independence in 1960. The indigenous communities remained in great poverty and were generally ignored by State and Company.

For many years Ken Saro-Wiwa had addressed this situation in his writings both as a novelist and poet, as a television scriptwriter and a newspaper satirist. And then he led his people on to the village paths with waving palms to state their case in a goodhearted but determined way. At one point after a woman had lost an arm by the bullet of a security operative as she farmed her land and defied the progress of a Shell contractor, Saro-Wiwa declared Shell persona non grata, a situation which remains in place 16 years on.

Immediately the security apparatus of the State went into action, local agitations were orchestrated and Ken was arrested and placed in the first of several detentions. Many activists had to flee and other local people went into hiding, some as refugees over neighbouring borders. During the brief campaign from 4 January 1993 to May 1994 the Internal Security Task Force specially set up by the State terrified the local population. The Ogoni Nine were arrested on charges related to the murder of four chiefs and were tried by a specal military tribunal which condemmed them to death. There was no appeal.

This account has taken shape in books and films over the years. The Annual Ken Saro-Wiwa Memorial Seminar has happened for each of the 14 years since that first vigil/wake. It provides a space to consider how the Ogoni inspiration has continued and how it has or can influence similar situations as the Shell-led Corrib Gas Project in Mayo. It seeks to tell about multinational methods of making more and more profit. Ogoni inspiration in the Shell to Sea campaign is reflected in Lorna Siggins’ Once Upon A Time In the West , The Corrib Gas Controversy ( Transworld Ireland : 2010).

The theme of the 2010 Seminar is the recording and safeguarding of facts.

Angus Mitchell Oxford-trained historian will reflect on the facts unearthed by the commissioned investigations which Roger Casemnt undertook both in the Congo and the Amazon. These investigations were a response to public outcries about the exploitation of indigenous communities forced into the production of rubber for Western companies. Mitchell edited The Amazon Journal of Roger Casement ( Lilliput, Dublin : 1997 ).

The use of unregulated force is taken up in the second lecture where Dr. Vicky Conway of Queen’s University, Belfast alerts us to The Blue Wall of Silence ( Irish Academic Press, Dublin: 2010) which, she claims in her book of that title, surrounds the administration of policing in Ireland. She illustrates this with reference to the Morris Tribunal to arrive at and record her conclusions.

Besides the book, amateur recording of facts has played a vital role in the Corrib Gas Project. Terence Conway of Shell to Sea will illustrates the use of video in protest situations and how it is used as an antidote to prodigeous police footage. Video records are a particular feature of the Shell to Sea campaign and fulfilled a role later complimented by observation amd monitoring carried out by the Table Observers and Frontline and in which Amnesty International and at least one US based team are reported to be interested.

Researchers at various academic levels are carrying our research projects someway related to the exploitation of local communities such as the impact of the Corrib Gas Project. These are invited as guests to a panel coordinated by Amanda Slevin currently engaged in doctoral research. The panel is drawn from three universities and from An Taisce. Ongoing research has reached a stage of future collation, a responsibility to safeguard the findings and to share with the affected communities .

The final session will address the issue of funding research while safeguarding facts. This is provoked by the Shell-funded United Nations Environment Progranne ( UNEP ) survey/report of oil pollution in Ogoni which is due out this coming December and to the preview of which, many voluntary campaigns such as Amnesty International have reacted with sceptism as have Ogonis themselves. Majella Mc Carron will outline the history of this report and refer to others that have appeared since 2008.

On the first evening after the first presentaion there will be a Ken Saro-Wiwa Memorial Moment. It will include poetry and prose, picture and music.

Sister Majella Mc Carron
 
Last edited:

junius

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 31, 2010
Messages
3,675
It does sound a bit "PR 101" to me.
Oh gosh, sorry, I've accidentally posted a picture which has come up huge and I'm not sure how to correct it. Can someone please help make it normal sized? Sorry. OK, I've removed it.
 
Last edited:

Sync

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 27, 2009
Messages
28,887
PR 101?? Please explain?
It's the basics of dealing with any public problem. The rights and wrongs of Shell's actions aren't relevant to the OP's position really.

If you're a biscuit factory and your product has been linked to turning people's hair ginger, you're going to have people objecting to you. So you break those objecting into sections.

The media who are after a story, the genuine groups who are concerned about ginger hair and the people who hate biscuits on principle.

Now there's no point talking to the people who hate biscuits. So what you try to do is offer your version of what happened the the first 2 groups, thus challenging their basis for objection, as well as reminding people of all the biscuits you make that don't turn people ginger.
 

stripey cat

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 14, 2009
Messages
2,799
If you're a biscuit factory and your product has been linked to turning people's hair ginger, you're going to have people objecting to you. So you break those objecting into sections.

Yeah, because that's the same as having people hanged.
 

eyeSpy

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 9, 2008
Messages
2,548
Yeah, because that's the same as having people hanged.
jeez, he was just giving an example.

it's been a common approach for infrastructure projects and the like.

the NRA use route options, that immediately divides the opposition.
say they give 3 route options, then 66% of the opposition falls away when the route is decided upon. they hope.
the other 33% are subject to CPO. that tends to get things done.
unless it's a Tara or other sensitive area. then the objections continue up to construction.
 

eoghanacht

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 18, 2006
Messages
32,410
I thought we weren't allowed criticise Shell on P.ie?
 

junius

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 31, 2010
Messages
3,675
jeez, he was just giving an example.

it's been a common approach for infrastructure projects and the like.

the NRA use route options, that immediately divides the opposition.
say they give 3 route options, then 66% of the opposition falls away when the route is decided upon. they hope.
the other 33% are subject to CPO. that tends to get things done.
unless it's a Tara or other sensitive area. then the objections continue up to construction.
No wonder the country is in the state it's in! And Sync, you should try talking to red-haired people instead of demeaning them as being 'ginger'. Yes, I know you're talking about biscuits (and I'm not too fond of ginger nuts myself) but most red-haired people are pretty decent! It wasn't a great example. And as for yours eyeSpy - it's all so simple when you sit in a comfortable office far from the reality on the ground, isn't it? But, I get the drift, thank you.
 
Last edited:

eyeSpy

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 9, 2008
Messages
2,548
No wonder the country is in the state it's in! And as for yours eyeSpy - it's all so simple when you sit in a comfortable office far from the reality on the ground, isn't it? But, I get the drift, thank you.
my god. sensitive much?

you don't expect a full thesis on a forum do you?
and I'm only an observer of these things, not a practitioner.
 

stripey cat

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 14, 2009
Messages
2,799
jeez, he was just giving an example.

it's been a common approach for infrastructure projects and the like.
It's a completely loopy example. The point is that Shell claimed that they had nothing to do with the executions . Over the years it has been claimed that the compnay had made private representations to the Wiwa family offering KSW's life in return for an end to the protests. Shell always denied this.

Now it turns out that company had a PR plan in place to deal with the executions, and rather than deal with the substantive issue of what had happened and why, instead did their best to muddy the waters and do their best to try and influence media and human rights organisations in their favour.

I think this is interesting, and shows the way the company works.
 

Cailleach

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 13, 2009
Messages
848
John Egan BBC Reporter 1995 Shell Director 2010

It was of interest to note in today's article that part of Shell's strategy was to get embedded with the Beeb following the judicial murder of the Ogoni Nine - it worked!

John Egan worked as a reporter with the BBC in '95 and was, I believe, the first foreign journo to get an interview with Saro-Wiwa's family after the hanging.

In 2006, when this state violently broke the peaceful blockade of Ballinaboy on October 2/3, the same John Egan, now working for Shell here, deliberately and provocatively stationed himself with his arse pointed to the crosses commemorating the Ogoni Nine opposite the gates of the refinery watching the forces of the state do Shell's bidding here as the forces of Nigeria removed a peaceful threat to Shell's interests there.

Mr. Egan is now a director of Shell E&P Ireland Limited.
 

eyeSpy

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 9, 2008
Messages
2,548
I think this is interesting, and shows the way the company works.
Absolutely. Show they were on a damage limitation excercise. But you'd expect that from any company associated with bad press.

Companies love to have their models and plans and templates. When what they experience isn't in the text book they seem to loose the ability to cope.
 

eyeSpy

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 9, 2008
Messages
2,548
It was of interest to note in today's article that part of Shell's strategy was to get embedded with the Beeb following the judicial murder of the Ogoni Nine - it worked!

John Egan worked as a reporter with the BBC in '95 and was, I believe, the first foreign journo to get an interview with Saro-Wiwa's family after the hanging.

In 2006, when this state violently broke the peaceful blockade of Ballinaboy on October 2/3, the same John Egan, now working for Shell here, deliberately and provocatively stationed himself with his arse pointed to the crosses commemorating the Ogoni Nine opposite the gates of the refinery watching the forces of the state do Shell's bidding here as the forces of Nigeria removed a peaceful threat to Shell's interests there.

Mr. Egan is now a director of Shell E&P Ireland Limited.
sounds like a lovely fella. not a bit mercenary.
doubt he's undercover all these years.
 

truthforsooth

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 13, 2009
Messages
418
"In the run up to the first Anniversary of Saro-Wiwa’s death, armed soldiers and mobile policeman raided Ogoni communities and detained activists. They were also told to arrest church ministers that mention Ken Saro-Wiwa's name. Thousands of Ogoni defied heavy military presence to hold remembrance church services at designated locations. Women were raped at Saro-Wiwa’s home town and protestors shot.
Also in the run up to the Anniversary, Shell paid for a number of journalists to visit the Niger Delta. After the international condemnation and adverse publicly of the year before, Shell wanted to regain some of the PR initiative. So it flew journalists to the Delta to put its side of the story. It was not long before articles started appearing in the international press, dismissing the claims of the Ogoni and various human rights and environmental organisations. One journalist was Richard D. North, who has made a living out of attacking environmental activists, and whose article in The Independent newspaper also accused Saro-Wiwa of incitement to murder. In response Saro-Wiwa’s son, Ken Wiwa wrote: “I resent the spin put on the piece. Surely, as the title of your paper suggests, journalists are instructed to form an opinion without undue influence by interested parties. Yet Mr North flew in Shell helicopters and was shown around by the company”."

http://remembersarowiwa.com/wp-content/uploads/life_death_ksw.pdf
 


New Threads

Most Replies

Top