Corporation Spying on Activists? Downright Creepy.

Student activists suspect a fast food giant could be behind a woman who posed as a student to spy on the organization.

For months, the Student/Farmworker Alliance and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers have been pressuring Miami-based Burger King to give tomato pickers a needed raise. The Home of the Whopper hasn’t budged.

Last month, Marc Rodrigues, a 27 year old alliance organizer, fielded a call from a Cara Schaffer who expressed interest in joining ranks and asked to listen in on the group’s conference calls. Rodrigues soon discovered an unsettling link.

The woman heads Diplomatic Tactical Services, a South Florida firm that boasts of its covert surveillance in labor issues on its site: “Placing of an operative in the ranks is dangerous if not handled with the greatest care…”

Burger King denied connection to the mole in an article by The News-Press, which broke the story. Rodrigues doesn’t buy it. “There was a little bit of fear and surprise that they would try to infiltrate a pretty innocuous human rights organization,” Rodrigues told the New Times. “To us, it seemed kind of obvious that it’s something that Burger King is behind.”

Whatever the truth, the idea that any entity or individual hired a firm to dig up dirt on an organization fighting for farmworkers is both creepy and sleazy.

Read the full story here.

--Janine Zeitlin

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