The FBI’s infamous COINTELPRO operation that primarily targeted civil rights leaders and activists in the 1950s and ’60s probably never fully ended as advertised. But, clearly, the War on Terror has enabled a full renewal of their infiltration and abuse of activists and justice movements across the spectrum.
Tom Burke is one example among a growing number of documented cases of FBI harassment of peaceful activists. What makes him suspicious and dangerous, apparently, is his involvement with trying to right the injustices brought to the Third World from the First through such corporations as Coca-Cola. He successfully launched a boycott against Coke, and launched a campaign to free political prisoner Ricardo Palmera held in solitary confinement within the United States.
Tom traveled to Colombia in December 2003 to lend support to Colombian trade unionists who were being murdered by government-sponsored death squads at the rate of 3 per week. The brutal tactics seen in Colombia, he found, had echoes (and support) in America. Tom and his family, as well as other activists were subsequently subjected to surveillance, intimidation, raids and investigation at the hands of the FBI and the corrupt and rigged criminal justice system which supports them. In the video below, Tom addresses a panel discussion from the Committee to Stop FBI Repression on “Resisting Profiling, Preemptive Prosecution and Prisoner Abuse — A citizens hearing to confront repression of human rights and civil liberties by the criminal justice system.”