Tagged: Shell

Shell

In 2012, Royal Dutch Shell failed to drill a single hole in the Arctic off the coast of Alaska thanks to a series of dangerous blunders and mismanagement that led to the U.S. government calling the company "screwed up." This year, they trained their sights on the much less regulated waters off the coast of Russia, teaming up the Russian oil giant, Gazprom, to open up the newly accessible Russian arctic to drilling. 

Greenpeace didn't think enough people were paying attention to this, so they teamed up with the Yes Lab to create a spectacle in Amsterdam that would get people talking. 

On August 21st, a barge filled with Russian and Dutch officials, a marching band, a young Russian child singer, and a giant cage containing what appeared to be a drugged up polar bear, wound it's way through the canals of Amsterdam to the city's zoo. Gazprom held a ceremony presenting the bear to the city as a gesture of good will and partnership, launching the Polar Partners initiative, including an interactive website and video. 

The promotional video of the event immediately went viral with high-profile Twitterers like Pamela Anderson, Adam McKay, Occupy Wall Street, and 350.org tweeting their outrage.

Selected Press:

 

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In the 1990's when Nigerians began to nonviolently protest Shell’s oil development, Shell collaborated with the Nigerian military regime to violently suppress opposition. More than 60 villages were raided, over 800 people were killed, and 30,000 more were displaced from their homes.

On October 1, 2012 the Supreme Court heard the case, Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, in which Shell is arguing that because they are a corporation, they can't be held accountable for these murders in US Courts. 

A few days before, the Yes Lab and People Against Legalizing Murder (PALM) received a file with 71,010 emails of Shell employees. We went to work creating this website in order to provide employees with information about the case, as well as an easy way to tweet their feelings about it at key US news anchors (and Oprah Winfrey). We emailed all 71,010 employees about it. Within minutes, we began receiving emails from Shell employees who were intrigued and wanted more information, but couldn't access the site because Shell's IT Department had blocked it.

The website - MurderIsBad.com

Selected press:

 

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Insane PR Circus Rocks Holland—But It's Not that Polar Bear Thing
Hoax involves Dutch, Pamela Anderson and New Zealand Zoo
 
What seemed to be a cruel and bizarre PR campaign took over Amsterdam yesterday as a barge with an apparently drugged polar bear, a Russian child superstar, and a colorful marching band wound through Amsterdam's canals to the city zoo. There, visitors and staff watched Gazprom and Shell reps officiously give the bear to Amsterdam—before being forcibly removed by zoo security and city police.
 
A flurry of public speculation rippled through Dutch TV and online media: What could it mean? Who could have done this? Has Shell gone mad?
 
Shortly thereafter, a companion website appeared at Polar-Partners.com, just in time for Twitter to burst into flames with revelations that "Gazprom" was illegally using music in the PR event's publicity video. Pamela Anderson, Dawn Olivieri, Adam McKay, Occupy Wall Street, and various other celebs joined in the fracas, cumulatively reaching millions of fans.
 
Making things weirder, New Zealand's Auckland Zoo felt compelled to assert that it would not be receiving a bear through Gazprom's Adopt-a-Bear program. And when grainy bear cruelty photos popped up, the whole thing began to gain its own weird momentum.
 
"Our polar bear circus was absolutely insane, but not half as insane as Gazprom and Shell's Arctic deal," said James Turner of Greenpeace International. "They want to exploit melting sea ice to drill for more oil. Shell screwed up badly in Alaska last year, so they're taking advantage of Russia's weaker regulations to take huge risks over there instead."
 
"It's a national embarrassment that the most famous Dutch company is teaming up with one of the world's most notoriously corrupt state-owned corporations," said Dutch activist and Yes Lab volunteer Richelle Dumond. "Shell used to have standards, didn't they?"
 
"Gazprom made it very easy for us," said Andy Bichlbaum of the Yes Men. "Their actual PR is extremely inspiring."
 
"If you want a good laugh, just take a look at what Gazprom writes about reindeer, birds and salmon for their 'Year of Ecology' page," said Mike Bonanno of the Yes Men.
 
"Not to mention launching a USB key with animal jpegs into outer space," said Sean Devlin of the Yes Lab. "Now that's inspiring."
 
"Gazprom and Shell's real PR stunt is persuading the world that they're not responsible for the collapse of our ecosystems, and that they can be trusted to drill safely in the Arctic," said Turner. "But now over 3.5 million people are ready to bust the hoax."
 
The project was a collaboration between the Yes Lab, Greenpeace International and Russian activists forced to live abroad. 
 
CONTACT: James Turner (Greenpeace International), Andy Bichlbaum (Yes Lab)
 
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Hollywood Interference Rejected By Russian Energy Company
 
Despite a celebrity setback, Gazprom is marching ahead with its "Year of Ecology" animal relocation program. Having successfully saved entire populations of reindeer, birds, and salmon, the newest phase involves relocating polar bears from endangered Arctic habitats to zoos worldwide, preserving them for future generations. "We are looking forward to supplying many zoos with a bear," said Timur Grigolyuk, Program Director of the Gazprom/Shell Polar Partnership (GSPP). "In this way we will continue celebrating the joining of Gazprom with Shell to obtain vast Russian Arctic oil reserves for use by all humanity."
 
Gazprom’s visionary polar bear adoption program continues despite an attempt at interference by Hollywood, in the form of a copyright complaint against GSPP's launch Video News Release. The video launches Gazprom's polar bear adoption program with a live action footage of donation in action.
 
The fracas has led to a Hollywood rash of unfounded criticism, which Gazprom's PR department is in the process of addressing. Meanwhile, Gazprom lawyers have temporarily removed the video as a courtesy. Gazprom guarantees that legal threats or others, will not delay Gazprom’s plans to relocate bears from oil-rich Arctic regions to needing zoos in the United States and Europe, nor to accomplish our other plans in service of humanity and wildlife.
 
"This is not the first time Russia has been targeted by the Western entertainment industry, but I assumed those dark days were far behind us," said Grigolyuk.
 
The Gazprom/Shell Polar Partnership is a brand-new venture that has been widely praised by analysts. Last year, Shell suspended Alaskan Arctic oil drilling after difficulty with American government concerning two offshore rigs. Today, Shell is partnering with Gazprom to drill in the Russian Arctic. "In some important ways, Russia is freer than America," noted Grigolyuk.
 
After a tragic 2013 rash of residential polar bear deaths in Europe and America (including in Cleveland, Maryland, Louisville and Madison), the two companies decided to celebrate their new energy partnership by bringing another valuable resource to a world in need. After all, just as the numerous polar bears in the Russian North need a home, many homes need a bear! "The Polar Partnership bear relocation program will support zoos around the world with much-needed bears from the areas in which Gazprom and Shell will operate," said Director Grigolyuk. Gazprom’s generosity will create "insurance populations," guaranteeing countless children a happy zoo visit for years to come.
 
Gazprom/Shell's polar bear relocation program is a part of Gazprom's "Year of Ecology," which most recently launched jpegs of "Year of Ecology" animals into outer space to take up a permanent home on the International Space Station.
 
Grigolyuk said, "...Accidents are part of life; failing to embrace the up and down each new day presents is the behavior of a foolish person."
 
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Mikhail Umsky, GSPP Press Officer, press@gazprom-press.com
This news release can be found on the Gazprom website.
 
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Houston, TX (October 2, 2012) — Early Monday morning, 71,010 Shell employees received an email from the company's "Grassroots Employee Empowerment Division" providing information on Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, a pivotal human rights case being argued in the U.S. Supreme Court. The email contained links to news stories, as well as a tool to help employees tweet their feelings about the case at key US news anchors (and Oprah Winfrey).

The only thing is, Shell has no "Grassroots Employee Empowerment Division," and they don't want publicity for the case. The email was in fact the work of an activist group called People Against Legalizing Murder (PALM), who received the list of Shell emails from what they believe to be a group of disaffected employees. (A similar leak occurred two years ago.)

Within minutes of the email being sent out, Shell internally blocked the site, preventing employees from accessing it. "I would love to participate, but access is denied to all links you sent out," wrote one employee among many. The 71,010 employees were informed this morning of the situation and the site's new URL.

PALM intended the action to help shine a spotlight on the case, brought by the widow of Dr. Barinem Kiobel, who was hanged along with novelist Ken Saro-Wiwa for opposition to Shell's drilling plans in West Africa. Shell is alleged to have aided paramilitary forces that raided more than 60 villages, killed over 800 people, and displaced 30,000 more.

To prevail, Shell lawyers must overturn a 200-year-old law, the Alien Tort Statute (ATS), that compensates victims of international crimes. (The law has been used to compensate Holocaust survivors who sued for restitution from corporations that profited from slavery and forced labor during World War II.) Shell's lawyers are arguing that their corporation is not subject to the ATS because it is not a person.

"When it comes to things like election spending, Shell and other corporations want to have all the rights of people," said Sean Dagohoy from PALM. "But when accused of murder, Shell conveniently argues that they aren't a person. A ruling in their favor would be a very dangerous precedent, and would badly undermine the United States' reputation as a place that cares about human rights. That's why we attempted to reach out to Shell employees to help get the word out."

"Surely most Shell employees, like most people, don't want multinationals to get away with murder just because murder's convenient," said Andy Bichlbaum of the Yes Lab, which provided technical assistance for the action.

"Shell needs to let its employees speak," said Mike Bonanno of the Yes Lab. "They can prevent it for a day, but in the long run they have no choice."

Contact

Sean Dagohoy
People Against Legalizing Murder (PALM)

Andy Bichlbaum or Mike Bonanno
The Yes Lab

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