PGS’ John Francas, UK Head of Legal, is the first and only PGS agent to contact me directly regarding my blog post articles content. Yet, PGS UK directors and former secretary filed criminal defamation claims in Thailand without any official and legitimate investigation as described within the 2017 PGS Responsibility Report. There was no examination of the published content and/or dialogue with the accused.
Ethics and oversight are what you eliminate when you want absolute power.DaShanne Stokes
Whatever crushes individuality is despotism, by whatever name it may be called and whether it professes to be enforcing the will of God or the injunctions of men.John Stuart Mill
One of the most destructive ramifications of evil despotism is the controlling of individual will and freedom through the creation of conditions that force undesirable choices which would never even be contemplated under normal and reasonable circumstances. One of the most vividly dramatic examples of such despotic evil is depicted in the 1982 movie, Sophie’s Choice. Sophie’s choice is deciding which one of her two children shall live or die. If she does not choose one to live, both will die. It is a choice given to her by a Nazi officer upon their arrival to Auschwitz. Of course, it was really no choice at all, but a cruel and sadistic act of control and dehumanization. In September 2018, two criminal claims were delivered to my wife’s house in Thailand by a Thai law firm representing the directors of PGS Exploration UK Limited, 4 The Heights, Brooklands, Weybridge, England, KT13 0NY (PGSUK). PGSUK directors are executives of Norwegian parent company, Petroleum Geo-Services ASA (PGS): Rune Olav Pedersen, PGS CEO and President; Gottfred Langseth, PGS CFO and EVP; and Christin Steen-Nilsen, PGS Chief Accountant. I had just embarked alone on a journey to visit the USA the day before. I received copies of the claims by e-mail, but they were in the Thai language. This delivery terrified my wife and my in-laws, and news of it terrified my elderly mother and my family members in the United States. My mother-in-law went to the hospital and I was on the other side of the world managing this reality. I have questioned the propriety and legality of these delivered claims. What I know for certain is that the delivery of these claims did not meet the ethical values test. Therefore, a company that claims that their decision-making processes are guided by shared Values and a Code of Conduct, and align themselves with the UN Global Compact Principles, cannot be really acting compliant if their decisions and actions do not comport to their published values, but rather deceive, cause terror, hardship, and illness instead.
The second claim was put forward by Carl Richards, who resigned as PGSUK secretary on 25 May 2018, and apparently also stopped working as Head of Legal for the PGS UK. (Richards resignation as PGSUK secretary is part of the public record and can be obtained at UK Companies House website.) On 5 April 2018, I had received an e-mail from a personal (non-PGS company) account purporting to belong to Richards. Within this e-mail, Richards threatened legal action against me in Thailand for my online blog publications and image cartoons I had published. How can a Thai law firm possibly know what is defamatory regarding Richards, better than Richards himself? Richards requested that I remove content which referred to him personally. Richards made it clear that he was not acting in his official capacity as PGSUK secretary. At the time, I actually tried to engage Richards and stated my position as a whistleblower and also requested proof of identity before I engaged in any more substantive discussion. I never received a response to this e-mail. On 17 May 2018, I received an e-mail from a person purporting to be a Thai lawyer stating that they represented Carl Richards. Again, I did not ignore the e-mail. I stated my position that I claimed to be a whistleblower. I did remove some content, but again also requested proof of identity and credentials before I continued the conversation further. When there was no response, I reasoned that these threatening e-mails were without legal merit and I began to republish some content. The issue that bothered me most was that Richards was acting on behalf of himself and not as PGSUK secretary. Richards had never confirmed his identity and so I decided to e-mail him at his PGS address, which I had remembered from the years we worked together in England. I received an auto-response from his e-mail which stated that he had resigned. (Usually, e-mails to PGS / PGSUK agents receive no response.) An auto-response e-mail provided contact information for the PGS EAME legal counsel, John Francas, who has become directly involved in these PGS Thai-UK-Norway legal issues centered around human rights and whistleblowing as a USA citizen working in England.
As alluded to, I am a USA citizen and was sponsored to work in England on a Tier 2 visa by PGSUK. PGSUK also sponsored my Thai national wife and dependent children. It is my belief that I was illegally terminated from employment with PGSUK through the use of a fraudulent settlement contract agreement supported by forged documentation for being a whistleblower. PGS / PGSUK actions have exploited my status as a foreign worker to escape accountability for their alleged criminal acts. This includes their devious way in which the criminal claims were delivered. Was it legal for PGS to share my personal (passport) data with the Thai legal firm so that they could stalk me and know my address and when I was departing Thailand? I see myself as both a victim of crimes perpetrated by company agents, notably the directors and former secretary who put forth the claims in Thailand, as well as a whistleblower. I have proclaimed this throughout many of my publications. This was also pointed out to Richards and his Thai legal counsel. Richards was PGSUK secretary when the e-mails from him, and later his Thai counsel, were received, even if Richards only wanted to act in his own best interest with his claim apart from PGS. The Confidentiality terms and conditions contained within the PGS UK Personnel Handbook, as well as the terms and conditions of the employment termination settlement contract, apply under the laws of England, where the contracts of employment and termination were both signed. The terms and conditions expressly protect whistleblowing, citing the UK Public Interests Disclosure Act 1998 (PIDA). Beyond this, Pedersen was PGS General Counsel and a member of the Compliance Hotline Team, prior to his ascending to become PGS CEO and President. Pedersen should have a very thorough legal understanding of PIDA, as well as Norway’s Workers Environment Act (WEA), whistleblower protection laws. However, any such knowledge is not related to me through his actions or responses to queries. Were the claims brought forth in Thailand a breach in the Confidentiality terms and conditions under both the employment contract and subsequently signed employment termination settlement contract, both governed by English Law?
Despots prefer the friendship of the dog, who, unjustly mistreated and debased, still loves and serves the man who wronged him.Charles Fourier
It is a criminal offence in England and Wales for someone to harass you or put you in fear of violence. The law states that harassment is when a person behaves in a way which is intended to cause you distress or alarm. To be guilty of the offence of stalking the offender must, on at least two occasions, indulge in conduct that causes the victim harassment, alarm or distress.Peoplesafe Website
The complaints delivered in Thailand were a composite of several blog posts articles and image files, some published over a year before the delivery. The content was translated from English to Thai language. Any one of the published articles would have been breach of the Confidentiality terms and conditions within the two contracts signed by me and governed by the laws of England, if not for PIDA. In 2017, I began a Twitter™ whistleblowing campaign and created and tweeted several image files. Richards had mentioned that his LinkedIn photo was copy-righted. So, I did see this as a concern. The tweets, which often had images including portrait pictures, would either link images or the message to my personal website blogs or a Pinterest™ gallery. The Pinterest™ gallery would also have other images and links to the different blog post articles. My first blog post article that named names was, An American, the UK Data Protection Act, Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS) and the Tyranny of “Accurate Data” [3 July 2015]. Inspired by my October 2014 submission of a subject access request (SAR) to PGSUK citing the UK Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA). Through my SAR, I received the contents of my personnel file. My personnel file contained fake data. I complained about the contents vigorously. Settlement contracts are very binding. Even if three sets of crooked lawyers agree to illegally process fake data as real data, it seems to take an act from God to unbind any such agreement. On 22 December 2014, PGSUK sent me a letter and essentially stated that I was in breach of the settlement contract for not accepting fake and defamatory data as my true and accurate personal data, as DPA required. Several blog post articles later, PGSUK still never took action on any perceived breaches in the termination settlement contract. In 2014, Richards was PGSUK secretary and Pedersen was PGS General Counsel. They were both in the position to do so. But, in September 2018, the directors and former secretary filed two criminal defamation claims in Thailand? How can it be legal and compliant to simply bypass company policy and previous legally binding agreements under English law and instead rely on the unsynchronized laws of another country to take away the right under law and contract of protected public disclosure? Further, if Richards, PGSUK directors and PGS Compliance refused to authenticate that compliant processes and documents were used to affect my termination settlement agreement, then what legal basis or documentation supports legal criminal defamation claims in Thailand? The alleged criminal abusers are using every avenue, legal or otherwise, to silence their accuser.
Processing a subject access request should be pretty straight-forward and not so controversial. But, when the Company is uttering forged instruments that were used to process a termination settlement contract on false pretenses, it is problematic for all those directly involved in such a criminal conspiracy because it’s a serious crime. The settlement contract was proffered to me following the submission of a formal grievance complaining of being a target of bullying, harassment, and discrimination based on my nationality and Tier 2 visa status. I believed that the company performance management system was being ignored, along with UK labor laws. The company was trying to place me on a performance improvement plan (PIP) so that they could terminate me for cause. Looking back, accusations of breaking UK labor laws and health and safety concerns made within the contents of my grievance qualified as whistleblowing. In England, termination settlement contracts require the employee to engage a solicitor. Of course, as a foreign worker not completely familiar with English employment law, I knew that I needed such counsel. But, how did fake data that contradicted the data provided to my counsel get processed? The fake data supported a defamatory performance-based termination. How can a company simultaneously apply to renew the Tier 2 visa and place the same employee on a PIP? I do not think that is legal because foreign workers displace non-immigrant workers who themselves could also be trained to perform in the position. There must have been a conspiracy to process the fake data. My solicitor recommended an “enhanced” settlement contract agreement in lieu of proceeding through the Company procedures or legal processes. Of course, as a harassed foreign worker, I was receptive to leaving. However, I never agreed to the defamatory narrative. None of the documents relevant to the termination settlement contract bare my countersignature and contradict e-mail records.
It took me too long to realize that what made the termination settlement contract so binding was that all lawyers involved had to cooperate and agree on processing the fake data – or utter forged documents, which is a crime. I was gaslighted and defrauded by my own hired solicitor. (1) These claims have been published for some time now, as well. (2) Philip Landau remains silent, as do all the conspirators. (3) In 2016, following several accusatory blog publications and comments made in the PGS LinkedIn™ space, I also submitted another SAR and report to the PGS Compliance Hotline contacts. However, if there had been any non-compliant or illegal acts committed first in 2013, two of the PGS Compliance Hotline contacts, Terje Bjølseth, PGS SVP Global Human Resources, and Pedersen, would be directly implicated. The cover-up continued and I again wrote about it in a blog post article, The Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS) Ambush Meeting and the Definition of Fraud (24 May 2016). This was actually the second blog post article where I presented evidence and made my case that PGS was processing fake data to support the termination settlement agreement. The first blog post article was, Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS) CEO Jon Erik Reinhardsen Should Resign II : A Bully Targets Reprise (20 September 2015). The titles of my publications alone could be a breach in the PGSUK Confidentiality terms, if not for PIDA. In 2016, I wanted to know if the articles had been read and if responsible individuals had viewed the contents of my personnel file and investigated. Apparently, nothing like this happened. PGS did not alter or question their personal data processing or provide any additional information to me beyond what was provided with the 2014 SAR, of which the provided contents of my personnel file was almost entirely disputed.
Loyalty is such a force for destruction because it readily clashes with genuine virtues such as honesty and fairness—all while seeing itself as superior to those virtues.Rob AsGHar, Loyalty Isn’t A Virtue, It’s The Enemy Of Workplace Ethics
Corruption in oil production – one of the world’s richest industries and one that touches us all through our reliance on petrol – fuels inequality, robs people of their basic needs and causes social unrest in some of the world’s poorest countries.UNAOIL: THE COMPANY THAT BRIBED THE WORLD
The General Data Protection Requirement (GDPR), which replaced DPA, came into full effect on 25 May 2018. Since many of the principals involved with the grievance were no longer with PGS, I decided to submit another SAR. Richards was now gone. Although, in hind sight, Richards should have been, and likely was, involved in forming the responses for both the 2014 SAR and 2016 SAR. I submitted the initial 2018 SAR request to Francas, and of course this first request was not answered. With GDPR, PGS appointed a Data Protection Officer, Daphne Bjerke. I communicated with her (office) to process my 2018 SAR. PGS Compliance Hotline contacts, Pedersen and Bjølseth, who were directly involved in the alleged crimes involving both my termination settlement contract and the 2014 SAR, would no longer be direct contacts and able to cover-up – so I hoped. This would be an integrity test for the DPO to see if DPO would do their job according to their legal responsibilities or shill for their leadership. I want to point out that I am the data subject. I know what happened, and I have e-mail evidence which supports my truthful narrative. Further, I have launched on a multi-year blog campaign stating my case and PGS has never once responded or commented on the queries embedded within the blog post articles. Eventually, I did get a response to my SAR from Francas. In my view, PGS once again failed the integrity test and never addressed the authentication issues around the defamatory data being processed in my name within my PGSUK personnel file, which have always been the central issue.
I did complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), again. However, this time I copied many people on my complaints and queries, in addition to the ICO caseworker. I copied Francas, Pedersen, Langseth, Bjerke, as well as new PGS UK Personnel Manager, Gareth Jones, and new PGS General Counsel, Lars Mysen on my complaint e-mails to ICO. I also copied (UK) ActionFraud (police). These e-mails never received a response, as well. I also published blog articles and began publishing the unanswered “open letters.” The 16 July 2018 SAR response also establishes PGS’ position that the terms and conditions of the termination settlement contract, signed 5 December 2013, is still in effect. This includes PIDA protections. While in the USA, I also published several “open letters” addressing the recently received claims and inquiring about their propriety, especially with regard to PIDA. I had ended my visit to the US early and returned to Thailand to address the criminal complaints. I never received any response to these e-mails / open letters! There was actually a tight time-frame to prepare which involved my having to also translate content from English to Thai language. The overwhelming majority of content used to form the complaint pre-dated the 16 July 2018 SAR response from Francas. This begs the question as to why PGS / PGSUK did not exercise on the “breaches” in the referenced 5 December 2013 termination settlement agreement?
PGS / PGSUK also never provided any evidence that the contents of my personnel file data had been authenticated. The complaints keyed in on phrases written and image files, but not the personnel file documents and e-mail records. PGS never conducted an investigation or provided results. So, how could the data which comprised the complaint be legal and compliant when it was the product of accused criminals under the laws of England and not legally verifiable and compliant processes? Defamation – the untruth of my base claims – was never legally determined or related to me prior to the criminal complaints being delivered in Thailand. Both the Thai law firm and Francas can only base their legal decisions on the integrity of the source data. Francas provided his SAR report without actually examining the personnel file data and establishing that legal processes and documentation were used to affect my termination settlement contract. I know this – because, I know. No blog campaign could endure so long if everything I wrote was untrue. The reason that the Thai claims were voluminous is because they were created by cutting and pasting from multiple articles and content over a span of several months and years. I have been asking for answers for a long time. Any one of the articles could have been a breach in the Confidentiality terms and conditions. Therefore, I cannot see how the criminal complaints put forth in Thailand by the directors and former secretary of PGSUK were legal, and further believe that they were a form of extortion/blackmail to silence an accuser and victim of crimes.
Unanswered Open Letters:
Criminal claims were delivered 10 September 2018 with scheduled initial court proceedings 29 October 2018.
- Second Open Letter to PGS Exploration UK Limited Directors Rune Olav Pedersen, Gottfred Langseth, Christin Steen-Nilsen, Carl Richards and UK Serious Fraud Office (16-October-2018)
- Open Letter to PGS Exploration UK Limited Directors Rune Olav Pedersen, Gottfred Langseth, Christin Steen-Nilsen and UK Serious Fraud Office (9 October 2018)
- Letter to UK Companies House and Carl Richards, former PGS Exploration UK Limited Secretary (1-Oct-2018)
- Letter to UK Companies House and Petroleum Geo-Services ASA (24-Sep-2018)
- Letter to Gareth Jones, PGS Exploration UK Ltd. and ICO Caseworkers (16-Sep-2018)
- Letter to Daphne Bjerke, Petroleum Geo-Services ASA (PGS) Data Protection Officer and ICO Caseworker (2-Sep-2018)
- Open Letter to Petroleum Geo-Services ASA Board of Directors (18-Jun-2017)
Blind belief in a authority is the greatest enemy of truth.Albert Einstein
Inside each of us, there is the seed of both good and evil. It’s a constant struggle as to which one will win. And one cannot exist without the other.eric burdon
When I returned to Thailand from my shortened USA visit, I had to shop for criminal lawyers in a foreign country because the directors and former secretary of PGSUK did not want to answer simple questions in English by e-mail, but felt that translating pages of content from English to Thai language was a more effective and less expensive way to resolve their issue? Perhaps they thought a criminal trial of a former employee would improve the company reputation and show their values? There was not too much time to fully state my position in the Thai language. I prepared my defense to the claims regarding my published content. However, I am a person who considers process above content. I questioned the propriety of the claims and basis in process. Were the claims the product of legal and compliant processes? I translated previous threats of legal action, such as the 22 December 2014 letter, as well as the 16 July 2018 letter. Both of these letters representing the same company cited the terms and conditions of the 5 December 2013 termination settlement contract, which included PIDA provisions. I also had translated the Confidentiality clauses in the PGS UK Personnel Handbook and my termination settlement contract. And I translated information about PIDA and WEA. I also was preparing a defense of the substantive content of my publications and what they were based on. In Thailand, lawyer(s) for the claimants and defendant meet at a pretrial hearing to see if things can be worked-out without a trial. PGS proffered a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) settlement to drop criminal charges. This would save me attorney fees and provide a more certain outcome. I was advised by my lawyer and family to accept the terms of the NDA.
I agreed to sign the NDA. But, I believed then that it was overly limiting and had a very broad jurisdiction of enforcement in both Thailand and Houston, Texas! I thought it implausible that terms and conditions of a contract signed in Thailand could be easily enforced in the USA. But, I am no lawyer. I was told to remove all content that mentioned PGS or any of its agents. My Thai IP registered website had to be taken offline and any other social media accounts from Pinterest™ to Tumblr™ had to be cleansed. There was a period of time, I think it was 10-days, to firm the agreement. I was simply not happy with the limiting of my published content. My blogs were my voice for justice. I have always felt that I was the one who was violated and wronged. I believed that I was the victim of crimes perpetrated by PGS / PGSUK. I submitted my first report to UK ActionFraud (police) 24 August 2015. (PGS was made aware of this.) For some time, the ActionFraud report was also published online. During this acceptance and repentance period, I tested the NDA by blowing the whistle to a non-PGS entity. Some how, PGS was informed about it. PGS stated that this was a breach in the NDA and threatened to proceed with another criminal trial scheduled for 29 January 2019. At this point, I was becoming frustrated with my hired counsel. For some reason, my lawyers seem to forget or not advance the merits of my position and counsel to capitulate to PGS wishes.
Of course, this traumatized me and my family once again. In December 2018, I became a Thai Buddhist Monk for ten (10) days to gain merit and soothe the Thai side of my family especially. Becoming a monk in Thailand is a big deal, and while the circumstances that brought me to that place were not the best, the experience will be with me for a lifetime. However, while I was at the waht (temple), the Thai registered site was taken down completely. This was before any trial or examination of the content. PGS again decided not to proceed to criminal trial and I wrote two apology notes for my offensive content. However, time passed and I became more and more uncomfortable with the constraints on my published content. I read more about PIDA and discovered that the restrictions on published content was not enforceable. Similarly, WEA states that such agreements are illegal. This emboldened me to test the restrictions in the Thai NDA. That’s where we are now. I do not believe that directors of a UK company can enforce terms and conditions which restrict content. Defamation and unpleasant truths are very different things. I also read that what happened to me in Thailand seems to correlate with extortion. The criminal complaints in Thailand were totally unnecessary and mostly served to terrorize and silence accusations of director and former secretary wrong-doing, just as I had stated a year ago. John Francas has never scheduled a discussion, or answered any of my questions.