In Shell’s case, a vast amount of information, which fully met Wikipedia guidelines, but was deemed damaging to Shell’s reputation, has been either covertly removed, or removed in dubious circumstances by editors hiding their identity behind an alias, as they are allowed to do. Royal Dutch Shell articles on Wikipedia are, in my experience, regularly patrolled and edited by individuals sympathetic to Shell. Most of the articles have been deleted in their entirety.
According to a recent cnet.com news report, BP’s press office has been accused of a behind the scenes operation allegedly rewriting an estimated 44 percent of the oil giant’s Wikipedia page: BP accused of rewriting environmental record on Wikipedia
BP is not directly editing its page, but instead has apparently inserted a BP representative into the editing community who provides Wikipedia editors with text.
The text is then copied “as is” onto the page by Wikipedia editors. Readers might assume its unbiased information when its, in fact, vetted by higher-ups at BP before hitting the page.
BP is a mere novice and a paragon of virtue compared with Royal Dutch Shell when it comes to the manipulation of Wikipedia articles, when negative information is deleted without the public being aware of such censorship by the company that is the subject of the article.
In Shell’s case, a vast amount of information which fully met Wikipedia guidelines, but was deemed damaging to Shell’s reputation, has been either covertly removed, or removed in dubious circumstances by editors hiding their identity behind an alias, as they are allowed to do.
Such practices should not be permitted in relation to articles about companies.
Articles about Royal Dutch Shell published on Wikipedia are, in my experience, regularly patrolled and edited by individuals sympathetic to Shell. Most of the articles have been deleted in their entirety.
I first warned about such activity on 12 October 2010. I published an article (extracts included herein) containing the warning: “…it is only a matter of time before the culture of subterfuge and deception at Wikipedia results in a scandal.”
This is the complete paragraph:
Commonsense suggests that anyone who wishes to edit a Wikipedia article in which monetary considerations are involved should be compelled to disclose their identity and background so that the information can be exposed to public scrutiny. Otherwise it is only a matter of time before the culture of subterfuge and deception at Wikipedia results in a scandal.
My prediction soon came to pass.
The following is an extract from a December 2011 article headlined: “PR Firm Rewrites Clients’ Wikipedia Entries“
So much for reliable Wikipedia content. A high-powered British PR firm routinely rewrites Wikipedia content relating to its clients, reports the Independent. Bell Pottinger made hundreds of changes in Wiki entries over the last year, either adding positive comments or deleting negative ones about clients. At least ten contributing writer accounts linked to the firm have been suspended by Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales, who blasted the firm’s “ethical blindness,” reports the Financial Times. Undercover reporters for the British Bureau of Investigative Journalism posing as clients were told by representatives of the PR firms that “sorting” Wikipedia entries is part of the service the company offers, notes the newspaper.
Removal of negative information means that the public, including current and potential shareholders, are presented with incomplete, censored information, providing a distorted picture of a featured company.
This is a quote from what he said:
As the founder of MyWikiBiz, I am someone who has, and continues to, manipulate information in Wikipedia on behalf of paying clients. Call it dirty work, but for the most part, I think the way the Wikimedia Foundation is scamming the public about how it is (not) governing the worlds knowledge is a far worse state of affairs.
I have also noted a more recent related article published in September 2012 under the headline: Corruption in Wikiland? Paid PR scandal erupts at Wikipedia
It is obvious from moves made by Shell that the oil giant attaches great value to its online reputation, which is badly tarnished due to a succession of scandals.
Shell appointed a specialist agency to carry out a makeover of Shell’s online reputation.
Shell was obsessed by my editing of Wikipedia articles relating to the company and wanted to edit the articles itself, but was concerned about being caught.
Shell employees were caught doing so from Shell premises.
Shell secretly censored postings made on its own Internet forum – “Tell Shell” – set up on the basis of inviting “open and transparent dialogue”.
Shell has attempted to seize our domain name and close this website down.
My comments are based on my own experience over several years of originating and editing Wikipedia articles.
Wikipedia articles are supposedly written by open and transparent consensus. In reality, Wikipedia is built on a platform of secrecy and concealment, which leaves articles wide open to censorship and manipulation by anonymous parties, with commercially driven motives.
Unpaid volunteers who act as Wikipedia administrators and editors are supposedly the bedrock on which Wikipedia has been built. It is a mostly-secretive community in which the vast majority of volunteers edit using aliases and are free to edit any articles, without anyone having a clue about who they are and what their background is. Thus it is impossible to determine if they have a potential conflict of interest.
This cloaked army has power and influence, but no realistic accountability. If banned from editing they can return under a new alias using a new IP address, with no bad odor attached. In other words, a completely fresh start. I was banned for making strong representations about the dark side of Wikipedia on this website and internally on Wikipedia.
The strange Wikipedian culture has some similarity to the Ku Klux Klan (fortunately without the racist element) but is actually more secretive. The privacy of those choosing to keep secret all information about who they are is maintained within the Wikipedia community, which is even developing its own unique language, partly in response to skulduggery by some editors.
In April 2008, I published a discussion from our Live Chat facility revealing that WikiScanner had detected that Wikipedia articles relating to Royal Dutch Shell had been anonymously edited from Shell premises. According to a posted comment “Information critical of Shell was systematically removed”.
As to Shell’s obsession with my past editing of Wikipedia, here is the proof in authentic Shell internal documents. Some information has been redacted for legal reasons.
LINKS TO SHELL INTERNAL EMAILS & DOCS IN WHICH ROYAL DUTCH SHELL WIKIPEDIA ARTICLES ARE MENTIONED IN RELATION TO JOHN DONOVAN
1 March 2007
2 March 2007 16:13 & 18.56 Plus 3 March 18:01
2 March 2007 16:51
19 March 2007 18.43 20 March 2007 8:10
23 March 2007
6 June 2007 12:51
SUNDAY 29 July 2007 11:31 & 30 July 2007 8:19 AM
30 July 2007 22:38 & 7 August 2007 14.24
31 August 2007 16:17
12 October 2007 15:21 & 15:58
16 October 2007
26 December 2007
19 February 2008 4 Pages
4 April 2008
9 March 2009
8 April 2009
8 July 2009
18 December 2009 11.34:
18 December 2009 12.07
Shell Focal Point document Donovan Campaign Against Shel
By John Donovan
I’ve been tracking a tube of black putrid ooze, a toxic viper slowly slithering 2,000 miles across the belly of America, swallowing all water aquifers, politicians and reason in its path.
The XL Keystone Pipeline.
As Nagini, the murderous snake in the Harry Potter tales, had its master Voldemort, I figured the Keystone XL Pipeline must also have its own dark lords.
And the Dark Lords of the Keystone Pipeline left clear clues: environmental horror, political payouts and the odour of sulphur stronger than explained by the stinking hot tar inside it. I smelled Koch.
David and Charles Koch are each worth $20 billion (£12.7 billion), and they’re quite certain that’s not enough. And so they need the XL Keystone Pipeline.
The XL Keystone will take Canadian tar-sands oil, the filthiest crude on the planet, and suck it down to Texas’ Gulf Coast refineries. Alberta’s oil-glop reserve, if it can get to the US market, will warm the planet by nearly 0.4°C all by itself.
Why in the world would America pistol-whip Mother Nature to bring oil to Texas? I mean, it’s just plain weird to suck heavy tar oil out of Canada to drag it across the entire middle of the USA and import it into the oil-exporting Lone Star State.
Here’s where a little lesson in oil chemistry comes in. You can’t just throw any old crude oil into an oil refinery. These giant filth factories are actually quite sensitive. The refineries of the Texas Gulf Coast are optimised for heavy crude.
It would cost billions of dollars to rebuild the giant Flint Hills Corpus Christi Refinery, owned by Koch Industries, to use the less-polluting Texas oil drilled nearby.
The Kochs need heavy crude. But the Brothers Koch have a problem. Heavy crude is controlled by a heavy dude – President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela.
In case you haven’t heard, the US Department of Energy now says Venezuela, not Saudi Arabia, has the world’s largest petroleum reserve – including the overwhelming bulk of the planet’s heavy crude.
And Chavez is not giving it away. “We are no longer an oil colony, Mr Palast,” Chavez told me during one of our meet-ups in Caracas.
He wasn’t kidding. Venezuela’s export price now averages around $100 (£64) a barrel.
So the Kochs have turned their gaze upward – to Canada, where Alberta oil men are selling their tar-sands gunk for a whopping $33 (£21) a barrel less than Chavez’s heavy. Do the maths: With 289,000 barrels a day refined at Corpus Christi, switching from Venezuela heavy to Canadian tar could put an extra $3 billion (£1.9 billion) a year into the pockets of the Kochs.
However, there’s a problem. Between Canada and Houston is the United States. At the moment, there’s no pipeline that can take all that cheap crude south. The southbound pipeline network now chokes at Cushing, Oklahoma, which is already blocked with 47 million barrels of crude sitting in storage tanks with nowhere to go.
So all the Kochs have to do is get the US government to agree to pop a pipe through Cushing to Houston: the Keystone XL. But that would require that the US government go stark raving mad, commit environmental suicide and reverse all policy to slow global warming – all to bring in foreign oil while the US itself is suffering from a major oil and gas glut.
Furthermore, approving the Keystone XL Pipeline will raise the price of heating oil and gasoline in the US.
Let me repeat: Approving the Keystone XL Pipeline will raise the price of oil and gasoline.
This is the nasty little secret of the pipeline lords and unknown to all but experts. Every Republican politician and not a few Democrats have promoted the fairy tale that the XL Pipeline will reduce gasoline and oil prices throughout the USA.
It’s bullshit, but it’s gospel – utterly unquestioned by the mainstream media. Most official opponents of the pipeline buy the lower-cost-oil line, repeating variants of the New York Times editorial that the economic “benefit from Keystone XL outweigh the certain damages” to the environment.
But the “benefit” is bogus. Prices for gasoline will rise by about 15 cents (nine pence) a gallon in the Upper Midwest if the pipe opens.
Here’s why. Normally, the supply of crude oil in the US doesn’t have a damn thing to do with the price of gas you put in your Humvee. Normally, Canadians could hose us down with hot tar and it wouldn’t change oil and gas prices by a penny.
That’s because the international price of oil is not set by supply and demand in the marketplace. Rather, the price is fixed by a dictator in a bathrobe, Abdullah, King of Saudi Arabia. He dictates, you pay.
But there are always anomalies.
As matters stand, with nowhere to dump their tar goo, Canadians have to sell at a $33 (£21) a barrel discount to nearby refineries in the US Upper Midwest.
American consumers are getting the benefit of this oil backup. Indeed, one angry Canuck, Cenovus Energy CEO Brian Ferguson, complains that the pipeline plug results in “subsidisation to the United States consumer by $1,200 (£764) per Canadian”.
The XL Pipeline would act as an oil enema, releasing the impacted inventory, enriching the Gulf refineries.
The result of opening the spigot through the XL Keystone will mean that US Midwest retail heating oil prices will skyrocket and gasoline in the region, as the crude drains away to other refineries, will rise an estimated 15 cents a gallon.
True, cheaper crude oil will now flow south, but as Canadian economist Robyn Allan writes, “It’s the refining sector that sees the benefit of lower-priced WCS [West Canadian Sands oil] in the form of windfall profits from low feedstock costs.”
The gusher of cheap crude from a new pipeline will enrich the refiners – none more so than refiners named Koch.
But how will the Kochs get Obama and the US government to turn against US consumers and their own green policies and promises? We’ll get to that next week.
I’ve been tracking the Kochs for 18 years, first as a private investigator on a case of oil missing from a Native American Indian reservation.
One thing from that case sticks with me even today. The trail of missing oil led to Charles Koch himself, who (according to a secret recording), told a co-conspirator why he did it. The billionaire said,
“I want my fair share. And that’s ALL OF IT.”
And “all of it” now includes a pipeline filled with hot, cheap oil.
Follow Greg on Twitter: @Greg_Palast
The system is a method used to control people. In the main, it operates covertly as a warning to the populace or any that contemplates taking on the system or planning revolution.
The typical tools of the system are anonymity, surveillance, people in dark suits, blue suits, people who secretly carry weapons. Their job is to create an image of fear and paranoia throughout the community. The unmistakable message is we are the people in command. No matter how slight any attempt to obstruct us would be unwise for both the individual and the community.
Very typical examples of users are the International Oil Companies, which are now well accustomed to using the “system” to achieve their ultimate goals.