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Shell embedded spies in host governments of Nigeria, Dubai and Iraq

By John Donovan

Today we provide a unique insight into the shadowy world of Shell Corporate Security, formerly known as “CAS” – Shell Corporate Affairs Security.

Shell has had advance sight of everything you are about to read and therefore the opportunity to challenge authenticity of the featured CAS Intel Summary, correct any inaccuracies and provide comment for unedited publication with the article. Shell has also had the opportunity to obtain an injunction to prevent publication.

Shell’s private army of security specialists has expanded its activities far beyond what is necessary in a defensive posture to protect company assets and employees against potential internal and external threats.

Shell has taken a proactive approach to intelligence led security, for example by infiltrating spies into host governments, including Nigeria, Dubai and Iraq, seeking to gather intelligence and influence events.

Prime sources of information include government security and intelligence agencies, Shell Regional Security Advisers and commercial security companies, such as Hakluyt, in which titled Shell directors have been major shareholders, directors and the ultimate spymasters. Hakluyt undercover operations on Shell’s behalf have been directed against the oil giants perceived enemies, including Nigerian activists associated with Ken Saro-Wiwa.

So-called “proactive intelligence” is also relevant to Shell’s quest for commercial opportunities. Last year, US Defense Dept Attorneys confirmed to me, via a senior US intelligence source, that Shell has been investigated on allegations of industrial espionage relating to potentially valuable Intellectual Property, which has commercial and military applications. The ramifications are still in progress.

We have provided an example of a top secret Shell Intelligence document supplied to us by our source. It is 22 pages long, was originated inside Shell Corporate Security and relates to Shell operations in Nigeria. It shows how closely Shell has worked with the Nigerian Federal Government and its security forces. It also provides an indication of the role of intelligence gathering in Nigeria, which is routinely shared with the US, UK and Dutch Embassies. The revelations about Shell spies embedded in the Nigerian government resulted from Shell sharing information with the US Embassy in Nigeria.

The extract below is proof of the secrecy classification attached to the Intel Summary document. Shell will be distressed by the news that the Shell intel information/documents in our possession cover Shell’s security plans stretching forward to 2014.

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It can be seen that intel developments and related perceived threats are itemized in date order and analyzed by SINC (Security Information Network) and when appropriate, recommendations made.

The document provides evidence that in the lead up to the trial in the USA in June 2009, when Shell was accused of human rights abuses in Nigeria, the actions and movement of Ken Sar-Wiwa’s supporters and Ogoni groups, “in particular MOSOP”, were “closely monitored” by CAS operatives.

Shell settled the case for $15.5 million.

In November 2010, Shell’s underhand activities in Nigeria led to a $30 million “criminal penalty” being imposed on Shell in relation to the bribery of Nigerian officials.

We have confirmed the authenticity of our source, who has years of experience inside Shell Security and shares our conclusions about the hypocrisy, ruthlessness and greed of senior Shell management.

Our source is also concerned at a blurring of the line between state intelligence agencies (held to account by national governments) and commercial intelligence organizations, including Shell Corporate Security, which operate internationally, without independent oversight.

Shell Security staff  have worked in association with intel agencies such as MI6 for example, in restoring Shell’s relationship with governments in Libya, Iraq, and Iran. On other occasions, Shell is the target of investigations by government intel and/or investigative agencies.  As will be seen, there is also a crossover of staff.


Shell Corporate Security is a shadowy organisation managed and staffed by former/current members of Dutch and British Intelligence, the SAS, Royal Commando’s, and SBS.


As already pointed out, Shell is also linked with Hakluyt, a spy firm said to be the commercial arm of MI6.

Ian Forbes McCredie OBE, the former/current MI6 senior official, who until December 2010 headed up Shell Corporate Security, has recently returned to the Hakluyt/MI6 spy nest.


Shell’s relationship with US law enforcement and intelligence agencies is more complex.

In the US, Shell Corporate Security is staffed by former FBI, State Dept Diplomatic Security and law enforcement officials. There are also high level links to the CIA. The current head of the Shell US Corporate Security team is a Lt Commander in US Coast Guard Intelligence.

Frank T. Garcia, a former senior FBI official until recently at the top of Shell Global Security has left the oil giant and joined Vanguard Defense, a US defense contractor which has just supplied the ShadowHawk unmanned spy plane to an oil company client for anti-piracy operations in Africa.

Royal Dutch Shell senior executives Malcolm Brinded and Roxanne Decyk, have had friendly meetings with the CIA in Langley in relation to “forecasting geopolitical security risk.” Jon Hofmeister also met with the CIA’s Directorate of Operations (when Hofmeister was President of Shell Oil).

At the same time, Shell has itself been the subject of unwelcome attention from US investigative agencies. The US Securities & Exchange Commission found Shell guilty of securities fraud in relation to deliberate overstatement of its claimed hydrocarbon reserves. We supplied insider evidence to a New York law firm acting for the lead plaintiff in a related class action lawsuit.  Shell has also been found guilty of electricity market manipulation in relation to its US subsidiary, Coral Power. More recently Shell attracted headlines in relation to its role in a Sex and Drugs Corruption scandal involving officials of the now defunct US Minerals Management Service. As previously stated, last year, US Defense Dept Attorneys confirmed that Shell has been investigated on allegations of industrial espionage relating to Intellectual Property. On a separate matter, I supplied Shell internal documents to the US government after being approached by a US investigative agency (in relation to the Shell/Gale Norton Corruption investigation).

We have a personal interest in Shell cloak and dagger operations. In the 1990’s Shell was cornered into admitting the activities of a Shell uncover agent who used fake credentials while on a mission at our offices during a period when we were besieged by clandestine activity, including a series of linked burglaries.

In more recent years, because of Shell’s US intel connections, it was able to use a Pittsburgh based specialist unit (National Cyber Forensics and Training Alliance) partly funded and staffed by the FBI) in a CAS invisible investigation of me, which included a global operation spying on Shell employees. The objective of the operation was to trace my insider sources. This was all discovered from Shell internal documents the company was compelled to supply to me under UK law.

Shell’s concern at our activities was plain from a Shell internal email dated 15 July 2009.


“…says he has about a dozen high level executive who regularly feed him inside infor. For example, he broke XXXXXX reorg plans in May. Is this worrying? are you trying to root out who these people are?

The missing name was “Vosers”.

The person who authored the email seems to agree that Shell insider information supplied to us has cost the company “many billions in lost revenue.”

It asks “… are you doing anything to get the website shut down?

The Shell spying operation against us was instigated and overseen by Ian Forbes Mcredie and Frank T. Garcia.

According to the Shell intel source, the spying operation included tracking devices being secretly implemented on the Blackberry’s of Shell managers.

The source says:

“It became apparent early on that CAS senior leadership viewed the opportunity to exploit your internal sources as a way to ingratiate themselves with the ED’s, particularly following Ian’s Chatham House debacle, whilst further promoting the longer-term desire to see CAS viewed as an internal Intelligence organization.  This was also a play toward extending the CAS hand directly into information security.”

“The players extended beyond CAS, including ‘Business Integrity Services’ (Shell’s investigative arm led by Roger Hickman) and comprised of former senior police investigators, FBI agents (with John Estes, a former agent, leading the US team) as well as forensic auditors.  Whilst the nature of their investigations were primarily focused on violations of the GBP’S by others, it’s questionable if they held themselves or CAS to the same standards when it came to exposing your sources.”

Irish Police are currently investigating death threats allegedly made against Shell employee/whistleblowers leaking Shell emails to me about the controversial Corrib Gas Project, as reported recently in The Irish Times under the headline: “Gardaí investigate alleged death threats to Corrib whistleblowers.”

Shell cloak and dagger activity has been particularly energetic in Nigeria. In December we published secret US Embassy cables revealing that Shell had embedded spies throughout the Nigeria government. On 23 April, we published evidence of how in the 1990’s, Shell helped to organise and pay for a virtual private army of police spies in the Niger Delta. The Financial Times published an article on 27 April 2006 revealing Shell’s surprising commercial relationship with militant groups: “Shell gives Nigerian work to militants’ companies.” The attacks on Shell installations have driven up the global price of oil, which in turn has generated billions of dollars in increased profit for Shell.

Industrial espionage involving such underhand activity, is of course totally incompatible with Shell’s claimed core business principles of honesty, integrity and  transparency. Planting spies inside host governments can hardly be construed as being transparent.

Our source is also concerned at the sheer hypocrisy of it all and at the unhealthy growth of private security agencies, which in some cases have far more intelligence operatives than state intel agencies, but with no independent oversight. We share this concern, especially in view of Shell’s treacherous track record of skulduggery, aimed at friend and foe alike and used, in the case of Shell, to intimidate critics, and even its own employees.

The source is particularly concerned at the Shell/G4S relationship and the global private army that is being brokered. G4S, which has attracted controversy and criticism,  is already the world’s largest security company measured by revenue, with over 600,000 employees and operations in over 110 countries.


Comment received from a former employee of Shell Oil USA in response to a related teaser article

“I am certain RD Shell hands out dart boards with your picture on it. Be careful. Shell is a snake with a nasty bite.”

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