Bookburners and Their Victims: First-Hand Accounts of Pro-Israel McCarthyism In California Court Case, ADL Still Delaying Disclosure of Where It Got and What It Did With Personal Data on Anti-Apartheid and Pro-Palestinian Activists By Kurt Holden WASHINGTON REPORT on Middle East Affairs DECEMBER 1997, Page 57 In late 1992, the FBI informed the San Francisco police that one of its officers, Tom Gerard, had been secretly cooperating with a "spy," Roy Bullock, who had been secretly paid by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) of B'nai B'rith for over 30 years to infiltrate organizations which the ADL deemed hostile to Israel. Gerard was believed to have illegally turned over to Bullock material gathered from police files. Worse, the police previously had been ordered to destroy those files, which a court had ruled violated the civil rights of the people upon whom files had been opened. Bullock's job was to collect facts about "enemies of Israel" which were then organized in central ADL files in Los Angeles and New York, and used for confidential dissemination to the "active" Jewish community, which could be counted on to take "counter-action" to neutralize or discredit these "enemies." In the 1980s, Bullock's assignments had been expanded to include surveillance of individuals and organizations opposed to apartheid in South Africa, presumably because Israel and South Africa were allies, drawn to each other because both were resisting United Nations human rights resolutions regarding the Palestinians and indigenous South Africans. Bullock would ingratiate himself into Arab-American and anti-apartheid groups by indicating he was in sympathy with their goals. Attending their meetings and going into their homes, he would note their car license plates and, through "official friends" who were police officers or who had access to government records, try to get drivers' license numbers, P. O. boxes and criminal investigative reports, if such existed. FBI officials had become interested in 1992 when they discovered that in addition to collecting information for the ADL, Bullock and Gerard were selling information to South African intelligence agents. The San Francisco police, made up of officers largely of Irish and Italian ethnic backgrounds (and certainly not aware of the enormous political clout of the Jewish community), obtained search warrants and seized some 12 boxes of records at the ADL headquarters in Los Angeles and San Francisco in early 1993. Subsequently they sent notices to some 12,000 people and organizations whose names were found in ADL's files. In at least two cases, they also provided such individuals with excerpts from ADL's files on them which obviously had come from confidential government records. Both individuals, Jeffrey Blankfort and Steve Zeltzer, were prominent Jewish advocates of fairness to Palestinians and for ending apartheid in South Africa. From those activities they already were aware that the ADL worked in cooperation with Israel's Mossad. The ADL worked in cooperation with Israel's Mossad. In 1993 they and 17 other plaintiffs filed a class-action lawsuit in the San Francisco Superior Court. The suit has become known as Audrey Parks Shabbas, et al., plaintiffs, vs. Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, et al., defendants. In addition to the three above-named plaintiffs, others are Victor Ajlouny, Yigal Arens (son of former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Arens), Amal Barkouky-Winter, Manuel Dudum, Colin Edwards, Carol El-Shaib, George Green, Paula Kotakis, Stephen Mashney, Helen Hooper McCloskey, Margaret Ann McCormack, Donald McGaffin, Anne Poirier, Agha Saeed, Jock Taft and Marianne Torres. Attorney for the plaintiffs is former Congressman Paul N. (Pete) McCloskey, who practices law in Woodside, California. In fact, the suit was filed on behalf of two classes of individuals--those who opposed Israeli policies toward the Palestinians and those who opposed apartheid in South Africa. The lawsuit alleged an invasion of their privacy, citing a California law which imposes a minimum of $2,500 in punitive damages for each act of publication of confidential information obtained from governmental files. The ADL responded by arguing that it is a newsgathering organization and thus entitled to the reporter's privilege of keeping sources of information secret. Under California law and a famous Supreme Court ruling known as the Mitchell decision, a plaintiff is barred from obtaining what a reporter claims is "privileged" information until the plaintiff can show that he has exhausted all other reasonable means of obtaining the facts necessary to prove his case, and has met four other requirements. For four and a half years, ADL refused to produce the information. An Order to Disclose Depositions were taken of ADL employees and law enforcement personnel, but ADL was able to withhold the information until Aug. 19, 1997, when Judge Alexander Saldamando of San Francisco ruled that ADL and the San Francisco police would have to disclose to the plaintiffs the illegally obtained information, from whom it had been obtained, and to whom it was sent. ADL has announced it will seek a writ from the Court of Appeals to block enforcement of Judge Saldamando's order. The result should be known by Oct. 30, which is the date ADL is required to produce the information. The stubborn refusal of ADL to reveal where it received its information, and to whom and for what purposes it was disclosed, promises many more revealing insights on the methods and motivations of this American-incorporated organization which has been working diligently on behalf of the governments of Israel and apartheid South Africa. Kurt Holden is a free-lance writer who divides his time between the U.S. and the Middle East.