Tuesday, 11 February 2014


Bringing in British outsiders to conduct a bugging sweep and an investigation points to suspected corruption and criminal conduct at the highest levels of the Irish Department of Justice and the Irish police force, the Gardai...Irish Blog

Comments below Irish Times,

Conor Kelly
"which begs the question as to..." No. That is not 'begging the question'.

Other flabby phrases used: "It is probably fair to say that...."; "... but that points up a disquieting level of..."; "It appears that...".

Good article otherwise.
Malleus Maleficarum
Makes me think that resources were undoubtedly poured into this operation - our taxes - paying people to sit around doing their best to pervert the mission of the Ombudsman's Commission. The people responsible need their backsides kicked, so they do. A posting to Inis Meaan might be in order.
SIMON o Brien is being hung out to dry ,with kenny the main cheer leader ,not one of these guys mentioned the crime committed ,this tells us all where their loyalty lays ,self preservation ,shatter and callinan should go ,not simon o brien ,as jonesy allways says in dads army ,they dont like it up em capt mannering ,callinan must go .
2. Most interestingly, GSOC made the (probably wise) decision not to tell the Dept of Justice because (presumably) the latter couldn't be trusted not to tip off the Gardaí.

This entire imbroglio needs to be investigated thoroughly by an independent, body from beyond our cosy, corrupt, shores. In fact, GSOC should be given the necessary resources. The Dept of Justice needs to be cleaned out too.
Was it wise to call in a British security firm employing ex British security personnel to do this work. Now security at GSOC may be really compromised? If a crime is committed in this state
surely the Garda are the first port of call-- irrespective of suspicion?
Where the victim of the bugging is the agency charged with investigating the Gardaí it is difficult to imaging any body less appropriate to investigate than the Gardaí.
Who else has the powers to investigate crime in Ireland? A Dail committee
perhaps? Don't think so. And by the way are GSOC outside the law? If a member of staff is suspected of stealing paper clips (for e.g.) who should investigate?
Brian Phelan
Paddy. GSOC ought to be capable of conducting its own investigations utilising any resources at its disposal. Failing that, within Ireland, the only other statutory body it might have called upon for assistance would have been the Intelligence Services, a department of the Military. Given that the offices of Minister of Justice and Minister of Defence are conflated in the person of the same man, who would have been required to authorise such an intervention, this would have been (rightly) considered problematic by GSOC.

As yet we don't know that there is evidence of a crime, as such, having been committed. It may be that the 'anomalies' referred to in the report may simply be suggestive electronic 'footprints' within GSOC's systems rather than anything so crude as microphones or cameras.
Hi Brian, have GSOC powers of arrest of citizens? surely only an Garda have such powers? Have GSOC any right to consider an elected government minister as
"problematic"? I think thats outrageous.
1. The notion that there should be "trust" between the GSOC and the Gardaí and Dept. of Justice is a nonsense. GSOC investigates allegations of corrupt policing and police. The important thing is that it keeps itself at arms length from the Gardaí, and given that the Gardaí (rogue or official) must be prime suspects on grounds of motive or opportunity, it would be bizarre to bring the Gardaí in to investigate this matter.
Looks like the Head of GSOC will be the fall guy for their naivety in not bringing this to Shatter forcing him to deal with it and focussing responsibility on him. Now we will have the situation where the lack of accountability of An Garda Siochana and the Minister for Justice will prevail. How convenient for the forces of inertia and stasis.
Taoiseach said: "Section 80 subsection 5 of the Garda Siochana Act requires that GSOC would report unusual matters ..." - http://url.ie/m8c2

Section 80 subsection 5 of the Garda Siochana Act says: "The Ombudsman Commission may make any other reports that it considers appropriate for drawing to the Minister’s attention ..." - http://url.ie/m8c3

No such "requirement", Taoiseach. So, why is the Taoiseach lying about what the Commission is "required" to do?
How naive of callinan and the contempt he holds for public opinon that he and the establishment attack the Ombudsman, does he or the politicial low life's think for one moment that their posturing would sway the public ? GSOC's remit hold the police to account,callinan refuses to allow 100% access to GSOC's requests for information.
to carry out their remit, GSOC"s offices bugged, in the court of public opinon, points to one arm of the state only and rightly so, this corroupt regime must go
The other question is why noone in the media challenged kennys blatant untruth about s80. Even this article shies away from prperly calling him out on it
Brian Phelan
There's a rule in politics that when the story is against you, you should change the story. Kenny's application of it in redirecting attention to GSOC's alleged 'failure' has been clumsy. The profound difference between 'may report' and 'shall report' provides GSOC with its operational independence. Kenny has either been ill-advised on this or he has chosen to mislead the public debate for reasons we can only guess at.
Let's not lose sight of the overriding wrong done here - somebody was bugging the watchdog!
Forget the political propaganda and mock horror to defend the reputation of the guards.
Gareth Keeley
This article is so homophobic...
For goodness sake, it was common sense to call in a private company. Any right-thinking organisation overseeing a police force would have done the same. In fact, it would have been irresponsible if not negligent to do otherwise. What a sensationalist headline.
Malleus Maleficarum
You can rely on SC to trot out the preferred official line.
Why, for heaven's sake, should the Garda and the Ombudsman's Commission 'trust' one another?

I don't know about anyone else but the more I see of this story the less I trust the Garda and the more respect I have for the Ombudsman's Commission. They didn't shout about what they had found, they quietly took evasive action. There's no real evidence against the Garda but their virtual fingerprints is all over it.
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? "Who will guard the guards themselves?"
Also sometimes rendered as "Who watches the watchmen?", the phrase has other idiomatic translations and adaptations such as "Who will watch the watch-guards?"
In modern usage, it is frequently associated with the political philosophy of Plato and the problem of political corruption.


Astonishingly, none of these Shell officials, nor John Gilligan, Alan Shatter, or anyone else in the Irish government, police, or any oversight body, has asked me to supply the voluminous evidence. No one seems shocked, or even interested. There have been no denials issued, nor have I received any threats of litigation, as could be anticipated if the allegations were without foundation. This seems to be a rotten state of affairs? I am now beginning to wonder if Shell has bought the whole Irish Establishment?


From: John Donovan <john@shellnews.net>
Date: 6 May 2013 15:32:09 GMT+01:00
To: shane.ross@oireachtas.ie

Irish Police corruption, booze and violence sponsored by Shell

Dear Mr Shane Ross TD
I am writing to you and all other members of the Dail on an exceptional basis concerning a matter that should be a cause of great concern.
I sent an email to your Justice Minister Mr Alan Shatter over a month ago concerning alleged widespread corruption of the Garda by Shell E&P Ireland.
Mr Shatter is aware that I have in my possession a vast array of what I believe to be related authentic documents and correspondence.  It includes an invoice from a small firm – The OSSL Company – to Shell E&P Ireland for over 35,000 euros (plus VAT) spent on the procurement of alcohol distributed to the Garda by OSSL, on behalf of its long time client, Shell.
I understand that the cost would be substantially higher if the alcohol was purchased on a legitimate basis, bearing in mind the possibility, in view of the content of the invoice in question, that the alcohol was smuggled across the border. If so, that might also raise taxation and criminal law issues.
I also supplied Mr Shatter with a copy of a letter marked “Strictly Private & Confidential” dated 28 February 2011 from The OSSL Company to Garda Superintendent Mr. John Gilligan. The letter discussed the purchase and delivery of festive gifts to the Garda and claimed that the gifts were purchased by OSSL on behalf of Shell E&P Ireland. According to the letter: “At Shell’s insistence these gifts came with a high degree of confidentiality, which we have adhered to until this very day.” 
Emails sent to OSSL from Michael Crothers, the Chief Executive of Shell E&P Ireland, provide some confirmation of claims made by OSSL. There are signs that Mr Crothers is uncomfortable with the toxic mess he has inherited from his predecessors.
Thus far, all I have received from Mr Shatter is a series of acknowledgement emails sent on his behalf, the most expansive one, dated 5 April, stated: “I write to acknowledge receipt of your email today and can confirm the matter is being dealt with.” That could just mean that my emails have been placed on file.
There has been a similar astonishing lack of curiosity by other parties I have contacted, including senior Shell officials Linda Szymanski, Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer of Royal Dutch Shell Plc; Michiel Brandjes,Company Secretary & General Counsel Corporate, and Julia Busby, head of Shell Legal Dept.
Detective Chief Superintendent John Gilligan, who is alleged to have had a direct hand in the scandal, did not reply to my email inviting him to comment.
Astonishingly, none of these Shell officials, nor John Gilligan, Alan Shatter, or anyone else in the Irish government, police, or any oversight body, has asked me to supply the voluminous evidence. No one seems shocked, or even interested. There have been no denials issued, nor have I received any threats of litigation, as could be anticipated if the allegations were without foundation.
This seems to be a rotten state of affairs? I am now beginning to wonder if Shell has bought the whole Irish Establishment? Please tell me that I am wrong? Is there anyone in the Dail who is sufficiently concerned to intervene?
I sent emails to Linda Szymanski on 28 March 2013, 29 March 2013 and 15 April about the OSSL allegations and supplied the aforementioned OSSL.Invoice.
Some of the wording on the invoice seems reminiscent of the prohibition era in the USA. Somebody trying to conceal the illicit transportation of alcohol. OSSL has explained the circumstances behind the long delay in raising the invoice. Shell knew that it was dealing with a very hot potato and put off the day of reckoning by using its power over a small company (OSSL), which naturally wanted to retain its most important client.
Basically Shell funded free alcohol, procured and delivered by OSSL on Shell’s behalf, that was allegedly lavished on hundreds of police officers – a form of reward not conducive to the well-being, ethical standing, safety and demeanor of the Garda. The booze was allegedly delivered to senior on duty officers, with at least one delivery being made at Police premises. OSSL says that on Shell’s instructions, invoices were falsified to disguise what was going on.
By way of background information, I operate an entirely non-commercial independent website, which for nearly 10 years, has monitored the activities of Royal Dutch Shell.
During this period we have received and published a considerable volume of Shell whistleblower information that has generated coverage in newspapers (1) (2) (3),magazinestelevision and radio.
As can be seen from the *extract of a book authored by Lorna Siggin, we published in 2007 confidential minutes of a 2002 committee meeting of Shell Managing Directors, when “The committee queried whether the group had sufficiently well placed contacts with the Irish government and regulators.”  Shell had already spread its tentacles of influence inside the Irish government and regulators, and senior management was apparently intent on increasing Shell’s penetration.
I have already pointed out to Mr Shatter that Shell has prior form in abusing the trust of host governments. For example, Shell sponsored corruption of U.S. Federal employees/regulators in a sex, drugs and alcohol scandalShell embedded spies into every ministry of the Nigerian government. Also in Nigeria, Shell incurred a $30million “criminal penalty” over charges it paid $2million to a sub-contractor “with the knowledge that some or all of the money” would be used to bribe Nigerian officials.
In response to our website activities, Shell has engaged in a global spying operation on its own employees in an attempt to trace our sources and stop the leakage of insider information.
Death threats allegedly made to Shell Corrib Gas Project employees who had leaked numerous Shell internal emails to me, were reported in the Irish Times in April 2011 under the headline: “Gardaí investigate alleged death threats to Corrib whistleblowers
In September 2012, I received the first whistleblower information from OSSL. It had become, over several years, a “Mr Fixit” agent of Shell, distributing gifts and favours to third parties to ease the torturous progress of the highly controversial project.
notified our designated Shell contact, Mr Michiel Brandjes, Company Secretary & General Counsel Corporate of Royal Dutch Shell Plc. I asked if Shell wanted to investigate the allegations. There was no reply.
Based on information subsequently received from OSSL, we have published a series of articles (headlines below).
The matter is obviously serious, with allegations that the Garda has acted as an offshoot of Shell security in brutally policing protests against the Corrib Gas Project – perhaps fueled by the free booze sponsored by Shell. Graphics (1) (2) posted on the Internet confirm a widely held perception by environmental activists, including theShell to Sea campaign, that the Garda are “Shell’s Cops”.
Alleged excessive violence by the Garda against protestors is set out on pages 214 & 215 of the book: “ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST: The Corrib Gas Controversy,” authored by Irish Times journalist Lorna Siggins.
OSSL allege that Shell, in a move to silence them, has threatened to blacklist OSSL in the oil and gas industry.Something that Shell has done before to others.
OSSL also allege that Shell used a third party multinational accountancy firm to convey a warning that OSSL staff risked being jailed for the acts they had carried out for Shell. This threat was also obviously designed to frighten them into keeping quiet.
OSSL is appalled that Shell management involved their small company in such activity. They relied on Shell, its pledge of ethical trading and its army of lawyers, to ensure that it was not drawn into any illegal actions on Shell’s behalf. It now seeks the protection of whistleblower status.
On 31 March 2013, I brought these matters to the attention of Mr Alan Shatter TD in his capacity as Justice & Equalities Minister. I have sent further emails to him, but have never received anything more that a polite acknowledgement as quoted. Legitimate questions that I raised have thus far been ignored.
On 1 May, after news broke of proposals of brand sponsorship for the UK police I sent an email to Mr Shatter asking rather sarcastically, if a pilot scheme was already underway in Ireland, with Shell sponsoring the Garda? I pointed out that if it was, the sponsorship should flow into state coffers, rather than down the throats of apparently very thirsty police officers. Nor was there any evidence of Shell logo’s displayed on uniforms or on police cars.
What is going on is unfair to impartial, honest and sober members of the Garda.
It is under these circumstances that I decided to notify all members of the Irish parliament.
All of the evidence in my possession is available provided I receive confirmation that the allegations will be officially investigated and the findings put into the public domain.
I regret to say that the scandal is wider in scope than has thus far been revealed.
If you are concerned, please ask Mr Shatter what action, if any, he has taken thus far?
If you can let me know what his response is, that would be very helpful.
Though theoretically citizens in a liberal democracy, those who have stood in the way of the exploitation of the Corrib gas field by a consortium led by Shell found themselves with very little protection from their own government. Instead of seeking to negotiate a settlement on behalf of these citizens, Irish governments aligned themselves to an overwhelming extent with Shell, putting the resources of the state behind the acquisition of land and, when locals objected, mounting a policing operation that at one point included the deployment of the navy.
FROM PAGES 126 &127 (“Ahern” is a reference to Bertie Ahern, a corrupt Irish government minister who became Taoiseach)
When the issue arose again in the Dail, the following month, Ahern insisted there was nothing unethical about his discussion in September with the senior Shell executives. There were ‘no deals or arrangements’ with Shell, he insisted, adding that ‘other countries have ways and means of treating large companies, which I do not agree with. I have had a fair few meetings over the years that might border on the unethical, but I am not guilty of it in this case.’
Four years later, in November 2007, theRoyalDutchShellplc.com website run by Alfred and John Donovan – long-time critics of the multinational –published details of minutes of a meeting of Shell group managing directors on 22 and 23 July 2002. Planning refusal for the Ballinaboy gas terminal in north Mayo was discussed, according to the website, which quoted from the minutes: ‘The committee queried whether the group had sufficiently well placed contacts with the Irish government and regulators. Paul Skinner undertook to explore this issue further in consultation with the country chairman in Ireland.’
Shell Corrib Gas Project: 28 April 2013
Shell Corrib Corruption & Community Complaints: 3 May 2013 (By a guest author)
Yours sincerely
John Donovan
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