US Domestic Covert Operations

From the Archive: WAR AT HOME

From: (Gary Lee)
Date: Fri, 17 Mar 1995 14:21:22 GMT
Organization: The Gloons of Tharf
Newsgroups: alt.society.anarchy

/** pn.publiceye: 23.5 **/ ** Written 7:12 pm Jan 25, 1991 by nlgclc in cdp:pn.publiceye **

The Labor Movement:

One of agent provocateur Joe Burton's main targets was the United Electrical Workers Union (UE). The FBI falsified records to get Burton into UE Tampa Local 1201 soon after its successful 1973 organizing drive upset the Westinghouse Corporation's plan to develop a chain of non-union plants in the South. Burton's attacks on genuine activists repeatedly disrupted UE meetings. His ultra-left proclamations in the union's name antagonized newly organized workers and gave credibility to the company's red-baiting. Burton also helped the FBI move against the United Farm Workers and the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).

In the mid-1970s, the FBI was instrumental in covering up the murder of labor activist Karen Silkwood and the theft of her files documenting the radioactive contamination of workers at the Kerr-McGee nuclear fuel plant near Oklahoma City. Silkwood, elected to the Oil, Chemical, and Atomic Workers local bargaining committee, had amassed proof that the company was falsifying safety reports to hide widespread exposure to dangerous levels of highly carcinogenic plutonium. She was killed when her car crashed into a concrete embankment en route to a November 13, 1974 meeting with New York Times reporter David Burnham. Her files were never recovered from the wreck. While prominent independent experts concluded that Silkwood's car was bumped from behind and forced off the road, the FBI found that she fell asleep at the wheel after overdosing on quaaludes and that she never had any files. It quickly closed the case, and helped Kerr-McGee sabotage congressional investigations and posthumously slander Silkwood as a mentally unstable drug addict. Key to the smear campaign were articles and testimony by Jacque Srouji, a Tennessee journalist secretly in the employ of the FBI, who later confessed to having served in a long string of 1960s COINTELPRO operations.

In 1979, government operatives played key roles in the massacre of communist labor organizers during a multi-racial anti-Klan march in Greensboro, North Carolina. Heading the KKK/Nazi death squad was Ed Dawson, a long-time paid FBI/police informer in the Klan. Leading the local American Nazi Party branch into Dawson's "United Racist Front" was U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms undercover agent Bernard Butkovich. Though their controlling agencies were fully warned of the Front's murderous plans, they did nothing to protect the demonstrators. Instead, the police gave Dawson a copy of the march route and withdrew as his caravan moved in for the kill. Dawson's sharpshooters carefully picked off key cadre of the Communist Workers Party (CWP), including the president and president-elect of two Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union locals, an organizer at a third local mill, and a leader of AFSCME's organizing drive at a nearby medical center. In the aftermath, the FBI attempted to cover up the government's role and to put the blame on the CWP.

At the turn of the decade, the Bureau joined with Naval Intelligence and the San Diego Police to neutralize a militant multi-racial union at the shipyards of the National Steel and Shipbuilding Company, a major U.S. naval contractor. The Bureau paid Ramon Barton to infiltrate Ironworkers Local 627 when it elected leftist officers and began to publicly protest dangerous working conditions. After an explosion from a gas leak killed two workers, Barton lured three others into helping him build a bomb and transport it in his van, where they were arrested. Though the workers entrapped by Barton were not union officials and were acquitted of most charges by a San Diego jury, the Ironworkers International used their trial as a pretext for placing the local in trusteeship and expelling its elected officers.

** End of text from cdp:pn.publiceye **

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