Rachel Corrie’s family was targeted by corporate intelligence firm, report says

Craig and Cindy Corrie pictured at the Rachel Corrie Foundation offices in downtown Olympia in 2007.
Craig and Cindy Corrie pictured at the Rachel Corrie Foundation offices in downtown Olympia in 2007. Olympian file photo

The family of Rachel Corrie, the Olympia native killed by an Israeli military bulldozer in Gaza in 2003, was among those targeted by corporate intelligence firms. That’s according to the British newspaper The Guardian and The Bureau for Investigative Journalism, based on hundreds of pages of leaked documents from two intelligence firms.

“It’s not surprising, frankly. It’s disappointing for us,” Corrie’s father, Craig Corrie, told The Olympian on Thursday. He said he only learned about the spying when a Guardian reporter contacted the family a few weeks ago asking for a comment.

Corrie, 23, was crushed by a bulldozer as she protested the demolition of Palestinian homes in the city of Rafah. The bulldozer was manufactured by Caterpillar, one of the world’s largest manufacturing companies.

In 2005, Corrie’s parents, along with four Palestinian families whose relatives were killed or injured when bulldozers demolished their homes, sued Caterpillar in federal court. The families argued the company violated international and state law by providing specially designed bulldozers to Israeli Defense Forces, knowing they would be used to destroy homes and endanger people, according to The Seattle Times.

The case was dismissed after the court ruled it did not have jurisdiction. Days later, Corrie’s mother, Cindy Corrie, spoke to supporters of the lawsuit on a conference call.

According to The Guardian, an intelligence firm called C2i International hired by Caterpillar obtained information on what was discussed and reported back to Caterpillar.

Craig Corrie said the family had tried to talk with Caterpillar, traveling to its headquarters in Illinois and attending a shareholders meeting.

“With all of those attempts on our part to be in communication with them, in some ways the shocking thing to me is that while they’re overhearing a conversation, they’re not listening to the conversation,” he said. “They never really listened to what we had to say.”

Leaked documents show C2i claimed to have “assets” in environmental campaigns including Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, as well as “anti-aviation groups,” according to The Guardian. Other C2i clients included Royal Bank of Scotland, British Airways and Porsche.

Abby Spegman: 360-704-6869, @AbbySpegman