Big Data: The Shell Investigation

Big Data: The Shell Investigation

2013, Technology  -   5 Comments
Ratings: 7.26/10 from 38 users.

Oceans of information are floating in the digital hemisphere. If you know what you're looking for and how to find it, nothing is out of reach. This is a disturbing reality for many law-abiding citizens who cherish their privacy, but it can also be an essential tool for professional pursuits like journalism. The VPRO documentary series puts this potential to the test in Big Data: The Shell Investigation, an absorbing look into the oil giant's two billion dollar debt to the Iranian government.

In 2002, as Iran was gearing up its nuclear arsenal, the international community began retaliating through increasingly crippling sanctions. American and European business interests were discouraged from the region, and most fled to protect their reputations and their bottom line. These events occurred at an inopportune time for the British and Dutch multinational corporation known as Shell. The company was in the midst of mounting a multi-billion dollar venture into Iran in an effort to exploit the country's vast natural gas reserves. Questions have persisted regarding the company's dealings with Iran during this time, and the nature of their sizeable debt to the country. There is also an indication that the Dutch government might have encouraged Shell's continued presence in Iran in spite of their publicized support of international sanctions.

The filmmakers follow a team of journalists as they work diligently to uncover the answers to these questions. Finding nothing but resistance from Shell representatives, the investigators resort to big data in search of truth. They sort through more than 250,000 Wikileak documents, and consult a variety of online sources such as Wikipedia and LinkedIn. Through these extremely common and easily accessible channels, they are able to piece together a compelling and factual narrative. These results might not have been possible through antiquated investigative practices alone. However, big data allows these results to flourish with a few keystrokes in a search engine.

Big Data: The Shell Investigation chronicles the unfurling of its central mystery piece by piece. It's fascinating to watch it all come together. The film also delivers a series of more significant revelations involving the state of journalism in our digital age, and how it has transformed the way we create, share and access information.

Directed by: Shuchen Tan

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5 years ago

Fell asleep. Nothing that wasn't anticipated. The bankster globalists own or control the oil companies and govts. Sanctions are only for show. For example, Standard Oil was selling fuel to the Nazis, to their U boats which were sinking supply ships to England. If that wasn't taboo, nothing is. What do the bankster owners care if they are making even more money because those supply ships need all those supplies and ships (and fuel in the ship) replaced. Read the low page count booklet "War is a Racket" by a long gone decorated marine major general. You can find it online for free.

Further, Israel has huge Natural Gas supplies off shore. I would imagine they were in favor of sanctions against Iran. Even though Russia tends to back Iran, I doubt they minded either due to their dependency on Natural Gas sales.

It wouldn't surprise me to find that since elections can be hacked, that a militant leader in Iran was installed against the will of the people, who for years were fairly modern minded, for the very purpose of stirring up trouble and causing sanctions and causing higher prices due to Middle East tensions.

Laughing at the diplomatic choice of words the reporter used to question whose interests the individuals served, who moved from the oil industry to govt, back and forth. Clearly they serve the interests of the oil companies and banksters. Otherwise we wouldn't have wars keeping the price of oil high when oil is in a glut.

5 years ago

Fascinating! Just about anything produced by VPRO keeps me interested, but this one was better; sort of up there with Quants.

5 years ago

Obviously financed by the CIA

5 years ago

Excellent doc! You guys did an awesome job and I can't wait to see the next one.

5 years ago

Shell provides gas for my car. So whatever shell does they do it for me. That means I'm not such a good guy as I like to pretend. Nuff said.