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LOCAL News :: Protest, Resistance and Direct Action

Wal Mart Sent a Spy to Infiltrate Against The Wal

While posing as a friendly hometown retailer, the international
corporate giant conducted elaborate espionage on citizens.
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A recent article in the Wall Street Journal revealed that Wal-Mart’s
campaign of spying included the grass-roots community group Against the
Wal. The Fayetteville Arkansas group organizes annual protests at
Wal-Mart’s shareholder meetings in order to bring attention to
Wal-Mart’s chronic mistreatment of workers and communities.
Fayetteville is a neighboring town of Bentonville Arkansas where the
Wal-Mart home office resides and is home of the University of Arkansas
where the Wal-Mart shareholders meeting is held annually.

Bruce Gabbard, a former Wal-Mart security worker revealed to the Wall
Street Journal that the retail giant is running a sophisticated
surveillance operation targeting employees, journalists, stockholders
and citizen groups. Gabbard says that Wal-Mart sent a long-haired
employee wearing a microphone to infiltrate Against the Wal’s protest
at last year’s Wal-Mart shareholders meeting. Wal-Mart also sent a
surveillance van to monitor the group. (Wall Street Journal, 2007)

Gary McWilliams, the Wall Street Journal reporter who broke the story
told Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman that “[Wal-Mart]…used the information
to alert the local police department about the protestors’ plans.”
(Democracy Now, 2007)

Last year’s Against the Wal protest was attended by members of ACORN,
SEIU and local community members and called for Wal-Mart to improve its
health care benefits along with other demands.

“Wal-Mart acts like we’re possibly violent or criminal, but we’re only
normal citizens working for a better world. We’re exercising our
democratic rights out in the open, they are the shadowy characters
here.” said an Against the Wal member.

“We were not at all surprised at all to find that Wal-Mart used Gestapo
tactics,” said Against the Wal Member Josh Thompson. “The working people
of the world are very familiar with Wal-Mart’s anti-democratic and
criminal behavior. They utilize sweatshops in the 3rd world, they have
an extensive union busting program, they mistreat their female
employees, they refuse to provide affordable healthcare. Spying is the
least of their crimes.”

Against the Wal members were also not surprised to learn that Wal-Mart
worked closely with local police. “The struggle for democracy in the
U.S. has always been opposed by big business and the government,” said
Joe Diffie, another Against the Wal member, “Police intercepted our
protest and herded us into an Orwellian ‘free-speech zone’ far away
from the shareholders. They told us we had to have a permit just to
stand on the sidewalk. Once again the police sided with corporate power
against people’s democratic rights.”

Against the Wal plans to protest this year’s Shareholder’s Meeting in
June at the University of Arkansas Campus. To find out more about
Against the Wal go to www.againstthewal.net or email
info (at) againstthewal.net.

Previous Inydmedia Coverage of Against The Wal

Against The Wal 2005 wrap up
arkansas.indymedia.org/feature/display/18840/index.php

The Saga of the Walmart 6
austin.indymedia.org/newswire/display/19996/index.php
 
 

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