Collection of articles on ADL's spying operations
Is the Anti-Defamaton League of B'nai B'rith Spying on You?
By Bill Hughes
Published in the Baltimore Sentinel, September, 1993 issue
Are you being watched? Is information about your First Amendment activities being sent covetly to alien intelligence agencies? Have secret files been compiled on you? A major scandal, centered around ex-San Francisco Police Inspector Tom Gerard, a shadowy character named Roy Bullock, and the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith (ADL) suggests that American liberals, and others, may be under surveillance. Evidence seized by the police indicates that numerous progressives activists, newspapers, elected officials, and labor unions-are the targets of a domestic snooping operation. Its legality, and scope, are now being tested and examined in a civil rights case filed in a state court in San Francisco.
Gerard has been charged in San Francisco with theft of government property and conspiracy. He is suspected of having collected privileged material on many residents and organizations in the Bay Area. He turned the information over to Bullock. Gerard was introduced to Bullock in the San Francisco office of the ADL. An antique dealer, Bullock, has been the ADL's top "investigator" for more than three decades. The ADL paid him over $170,000 between 1985 and 1992 for his cloak-and-dagger work.
Bullock liked to pick through the garbage of his victims, and once infiltrated an Arab-American delegation that visited Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in her Washington, D.C. Office. (Pelosi is the daughter of Baltimore's late Mayor Thomas J. D'Alesandro, Sr.) According to a Los Angeles Times article (04/09/1993), Bullock worked as a paid informant for the FBI, as well as the ADL. On April 8, 1993, police carried out a five hour raid of the ADL offices in San Francisco and Los Angeles. They discovered the ADL had copies of computer files on 12,000 Americans and more than 950 groups. According to police reports and court documents, Bullock acknowledged he obtained the information from Gerard, who traded police files, criminal histories and license plate numbers in exchange for Bullock's data on so-called extremist groups. It is feared by some that this confidential information may have been filtered to spook networks in Israel, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. Gerard had tied earlier in his career to the CIA.
The ADL boasts of keeping its eye on extreme right-wing groups, like the Skinheads, the Klu Klux Klan, and Aryan Nations. Their role in this mess indicates they may have reached too far in search for "Anti-Semites." Police found files on the African National Congress: the ACLU: Irish Americans; the United Auto Workers; AIDS activist groups like ACT-UP; Mother Jones magazine; Pacifica News Network; Lesbian Agenda for Action; Greenpeace; Christic Institute; Rep. Roy Dellums (D-CA); the National Lawyers Guild; NAACP; CISPES; Carpenters Local 22; Jews for Jesus; and many Arab and Palestinian individuals and organizations. The ADL had denied any wrongdoing in the growing scandal. Gerard has pleaded "not guilty" and released on $20,000 bail. Bullock has not been charged. The probe is continuing. Abraham Foxman, the head of the ADL, lashed out at the San Francisco district attorney for "trying us in the media", according to an interview he gave to the Northern California Bulletin, a local Jewish weekly. Foxman said the ADL would continue to monitor people or groups that "pose a threat to Jews" and defended the organization's probe of the African National Congress on grounds the ANC "were violent, they were anti-Semitic, they were pro-PLO, and they were anti-Israel." (See The Washington Report on the Middle East magazine,08/1993).
The ADL was founded in 1913 for the declared purpose of defending Jews against "defamation". For the most part, their record over the years has been a laudable one. During the Reagan years, however, the ADL made a noticeable turn to the Right. Dr. Alfred M. Lilienthal, a respected author and anti-Zionist, said, "What exactly constitutes anti-Semitism was to receive continually different interpretations. With the creation of Israel in 1948, the meaning of the word was broadened and eventually, totally distorted". (The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, 07/1993). Irwin Suall presently runs the ADL's "fact finding" division out of their national office at the United Nations Plaza in Manhattan. It operates in all 50 states and has 31 regional offices, and it works closely with state and federal police forces. It has over 400 employees and an annual budget of around $32 million.
In a memo dated July, 1992, Suall praised Roy Bullock as "our number one investigator". He was also quoted as saying that the real enemies of the Jews are on the "American Left". (Robert I. Friedman's 'The Enemy Within', Village Voice, 05/11/1993).
On April 8, 1993, a detailed report on this brouhaha was presented on ABC's "Nightly News" before a national audience estimated at over 18 million. This expose first ran in the print media in the San Francisco Examiner and was later taken up by the Los Angeles Times. Alexander Cockburn has been doing a running and biting commentary on it in the pages of The Nation. In his riveting account of the affair, Friedman made this damning statement: "Once a proud human rights organization, the ADL had become the Jewish Thought Police". The ADL sharply disagrees with that assessment. They see themselves as an altruistic human rights organization dedicated to watching out for the kooks and fringe groups in our society.
Ex-US Rep. Pete McCloskey (R-CA) has filed a class action lawsuit in a California court against the ADL, charging invasion of privacy. His name also appears in the data base, along with that of his wife. McCloskey has been a persistent critic of Israel's brutal suppression of the 1.8 million Palestinians languishing in the occupied West Bank and Gaza. The son of the former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Arens, Yigal Arens, is also a plaintiff in the suit. Arens supports a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. "The ADL believes", said Arens, "that anyone who is an Arab-American or who speaks politically against Israel is at least a closet anti-Semite". (See also, The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, (06/1993). The civil suit claims that the ADL collected information on opponents of Israeli and South African government policies and passed it on to those countries. The ADL has denied all the charges in the suit and has promised a vigorous defense. It says it does not condone illegal methods of obtaining information. Bullock had his computer-based data divided into four categories:
"Right Wing", "Pinkos", "Arab and Skinhead" organizations. About 4,000 of the files are on Arab-Americans; the rest are on groups and individuals as diverse as the Assembly of Jesus; Boycott Coke; Black United Fund; the Weatherman Underground; and the United Farm Workers. Bullock admits to selling some of his ADL files on anti-Apartheid activists to South African intelligence agents. He also had ties to a group of informants across the country with code names, like "Scumbag", "Ironside", and "Flipper".
Attorney Marc Van de Hout of the National Lawyers Guild, which is listed in the ADL's files, said, "I am a Jew myself, and when I see the breath of the organizations in these files that the ADL has conducted surveillance on, it is very clear that they have sort of lost touch with reality in terms of organizations that are engaged in real anti-Semitic activity". (See Washington Report, 08/1993). As Doug Struck's recent insightful reporting in the Baltimore Sun amply demonstrates, the Israeli crackdown in the occupied territories has resulted in gross abuses of human rights, including the "torture of Palestinian prisoners". Americans should have the right to complain about Israeli wrongdoing, about their huge annual raids on our national treasury ($11.3 billion in 1993), or their controversial trial of John Demjanjuk, without ending up in a file of the ADL or under surveillance. I think it is wrong for the ADL, or any other private group, to appoint itself as the pseudo-guardian of our civil liberties. The ADL, however, like any other defendant, is entitled to its day in court and to present its side of this mounting controversy to an objective fact finder.
And some quotes from articles on ADL...
Quoting the Los Angeles Times of 9th April, 1993, by Richard C. Paddock:
"Dateline San Francisco: Police on Thursday served search warrants on the Anti-Defamation League here and in Los Angeles, seizing evidence of a nationwide intelligence network accused of keeping files on more than 950 political groups, newspapers, and labor unions and as many as 12,000 people.
"Describing the spy operations in great detail, San Francisco authorities simultaneously released voluminous documents telling how operatives of the Anti-Defamation League searched through trash and infiltrated organizations to gather intelligence an Arab-American, right-wing, and what they called "pinko" organizations....
"...Police allege that the organization maintains undercover operatives to gather political intelligence in at least seven cities, including Los Angeles and San Francisco.
"Groups that were the focus of the spy operation span the political spectrum, including such groups as the Ku Klux Klan, the White Aryan Resistance, Greenpeace, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the United Farm Workers, and the Jewish Defense League. Also on the list were Mills College, the board of directors of San Francisco public television station KQED, and the San Francisco Bay Guardian newspaper.
"People who were subjects of the spy operation included former Republican Representative Pete McCloskey, jailed political extremist Lyndon LaRouche and Los Angeles Times correspondent Scott Kraft, who is based in South Africa....
"...In addition to allegations of obtaining confidential information from police, the Anti-Defamation League could face a total of 48 felony counts for not properly reporting the employment of its chief West Coast spy, Roy Bullock, according to the affidavit filed to justify the search warrant.
"The Anti-Defamation League disguised payments to Bullock for more than 25 years by funnelling $550 a week to Beverly Hills attorney Bruce I. Hochman, who then paid Bullock, according to the documents released in San Francisco. Hochman, a former president of the Jewish Federation Council of Greater Los Angeles and one of the state's leading tax attorneys, will be out of the city until late next week and could not be reached for comment, his office said.
"Until 1990, Hochman, a former U.S. prosecutor, also was a member of a panel appointed by then-Senator Pete Wilson to secretly make initial recommendations on new federal judges in California. Hochman is a former regional president of the Anti-Defamation League....
"David Lehrer, executive director of the Los Angeles ADL office, said the organization has not violated the law....
"...But in an affidavit filed to obtain warrants for Thursday's searches, San Francisco police allege that 'ADL employees were apparently less than truthful' in providing information in an earlier search conducted without a warrant....
"...The police affidavit contends that Lehrer had sole control of a secret fund used to pay for [what the ADL calls] 'fact-finding operations.' Lehrer, according to the documents, signed checks from the account under the name 'L. Patterson.'...
"...League officials will not confirm or deny whether Bullock was an employee and have said they simply traded information with police departments about people who might be involved in hate crimes."
Another article from the Los Angeles Times, 13th April, 1993, also by Richard C. Paddock:
"Dateline San Francisco: To the outside world, Roy Bullock was a small-time art dealer who operated from his house in the Castro District. In reality, he was an undercover spy who picked through garbage and amassed secret files for the Anti-Defamation league for nearly 40 years.
"His code name at the prominent Jewish organization was Cal, and he was so successful at infiltrating political groups that he was once chosen to head an Arab-American delegation that visited Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) in her Washington, D.C. office.
"For a time, 'Cal' tapped into the phone message system of White Aryan Resistance... ...From police sources, he obtained privileged, personal information on at least 1,394 people. And he met surreptitiously with agents of the South African government to trade his knowledge for crisp, new $100 bills.
"These are among the secrets that Bullock and David Gurvitz, a former Los Angeles-based [ADL] operative, divulged in extensive interviews with police and the FBI in a growing scandal over the nationwide intelligence network operated by the Anti-Defamation League....
"Transcripts of the interviews - among nearly 700 pages of documents released by San Francisco prosecutors last week - offer new details of the private spy operation that authorities allege crossed the line into illegal territory.
"At times, the intelligence activities took on a cloak-and-dagger air with laundered payments, shredded documents, hotel rendezvous with foreign agents and code names....
"On one occasion, Gurvitz recounts, he received a tip that a pro-Palestinian activist was about to board a plane bound for Haifa, Israel. Although the Anti-Defamation League publicly denies any ties to Israel, Gurvitz phoned an Israeli consular official to warn them. Shortly thereafter, another [Israeli government] official called Gurvitz back and debriefed him.
"The court papers also added to the mystery of Tom Gerard, a former CIA agent and San Francisco police officer accused of providing confidential material from police files to the Anti-Defamation League... ...Bullock said it was Gerard who sold official police intelligence. Bullock said he split about $16,000... evenly with Gerard, telling him at one point, "I may be gay, but I'm a straight arrow."...
"Gerard fled to the Philippines last fall after he was interviewed by the FBI, but left behind a briefcase in his police locker. Its contents included passports, driver's licenses, and identification cards in 10 different names; identification cards in his own name for four different embassies in Central America; and a collection of blank birth certificates, Army discharge papers, and official stationery from various agencies.
"Also in the briefcase were extensive information on death squads, a black hood, apparently for use in interrogations, and photos of blindfolded and chained men.
"Investigators suspect that Gerard and other police sources gave the ADL confidential driver's license or vehicle registration information on a vast number of people, including as many as 4,500 members of [just] one target group [of interest to the ADL], the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee.
"Each case of obtaining such data from a law enforcement officer could constitute a felony, San Francisco Police Inspector Ron Roth noted in an affidavit for a search warrant."
Thank you, Richard C. Paddock and the Los Angeles Times. Now, at least a few of the ADL's nefarious deeds are being exposed to the light of day! 4,500 felonies! And that's just the illegal ADL files from one small group that was on the ADL's enemies list! Evidence seized from ADL spy Roy Bullock's computer database indicate that the ADL was using him to compile data on individuals belonging to over 950 groups - and Bullock is just one ADL spy! This investigation has so far uncovered the merest tip of a gigantic iceberg of subversion and crime.
Now we turn to an article in the New York Daily News for 9th April, 1993, by Mark Mooney:
"Police in San Francisco and Los Angeles yesterday seized documents from a prominent Jewish-American organization accused of amassing confidential information - sometimes illegally - on thousands of people in the United States.
"The alleged operation was directed from the New York City offices of the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, ABC News reported last night.
"The ADL has long been one of the most respected civil rights organizations in the country, tracking hate crimes and exposing prejudice.
"But ABC said that for several decades the spying operation has snooped into the records and activities of more than 10,000 people in the United States, including many who simply opposed the policies of Israel and South Africa....
"The report identified the leader of the intelligence ring as Irwin Suall.
"Sources told the Daily News that Suall is one of about 15 people in the ADL's research department in Manhattan. Neither Suall or other ADL officials could be reached for comment.
"We're talking about the use of information from Department of Motor Vehicles files, other confidential files of state and local agencies, illegally furnished and illegally received by private agencies," San Francisco District Attorney Arlo Smith told ABC.
"Similar raids were carried out in Los Angeles and San Francisco in February.
"The report did not surprise militant Arab-Americans or militant Jews here.
"'They have been in this business for years, and I personally have been a target," said M. T. Mehdi, head of the Arab-American Relations Committee. "From the days I was in San Francisco in the 1960s, I had a feeling that someone was looking over my activities.'"