Counter Punch | February 25, 2002
The ADL Spying Case Is Over, But The Struggle Continues
By Jeffrey Blankfort, Anne Poirier and Steve Zeltzer
Plaintiffs in the of ADL Spying Case
In 1993, the District of Attorney of San Francisco released 700 pages of documents implicating the Anti-Defamation League, an organization that claims to be a defender of civil rights, in a vast spying operation directed against American citizens who were opposed to Israel's policies in the Occupied West Bank and Gaza and to the apartheid policies of the government of South Africa and passing on information to both governments.
Under great political pressure, Smith later dropped the charges. One wonders what would have happened had an Arab-American or Muslim organization been caught spying with the names of 10,000 people and 600 organizations in their files.
Not only were critics of Israel under ADL's surveillance,including thousands of Arab-Americans, but labor organizations such as the San Francisco Labor Council, ILWU Local 10, and the Oakland Educational Association, and civil rights groups such as the NAACP, Irish Northern Aid, International Indian Treaty Council and the Asian Law Caucus were also found in the "pinko" files of ADL's undercover operative, Roy Bullock.
Moreover, Bullock, who had worked, off the books, for the ADL for more than 25 years, admitted that he had been reporting on the activities of black South African exiles and American anti- apartheid activists for South African intelligence.
Bullock, pretending to be sympathetic to the Palestinian cause, came to the founding meeting of the Labor Committee of the Middle in 1987 at the home of plaintiff Steve Zeltzer, having met Zeltzer at meetings of the Free Moses Mayekiso Defense
Committee, a South African labor solidarity committee in which he also infiltrated under false pretenses.
Having been responsible for exposing Bullock as an ADL agent to the media, we joined together with other Bay Area activists in filing a suit against the ADL for violation of our privacy rights as provided in California law.
Almost a decade later the suit has been settled with a significant cash payment by the ADL and, we wish to emphasize, without our signing any agreement for confidentiality which the ADL had previously demanded. Our efforts to expose the organization's work in defending the policies of the Israeli government and stifling its opponents will continue, using new information gained in the pursuance of the suit.
The ADL spent millions of dollars preventing this case from coming to trial through costly appeals and exploiting the judicial process but, at the end, it had to give up..
During the course of the suit we learned that:
Bullock, the ADL's top "fact finder" had sold confidential information to a South African intelligence agent in San Francisco for $15,000.
Ten days before he was assassinated in South Africa, Chris Hani, the man who would have succeeded Nelson Mandela as the country's president, was trailed by Bullock on a trip through California who reported on it to the South African government.
ADL agent Roy Bullock was discovered to have a floor plan of murdered Los Angeles Arab American leader Alex Odeh and a key to his office.
The ADL supplied confidential information to foreign governments that it obtained from police and federal agencies in the US,
Having infiltrated the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), the ADL's "fact finder" performed a COINTEL-type operation at the convention of the Holocaust-denying Journal of Historical Review when he put ADC's literature on convention tables as a way of smearing the committee for "working with anti- Semites."
The ADL has organized to silence and eliminate all critical voices of Israel from academia and the media and has targeted professors , particularly those who are African American, and who are critical of Israel.
That at least 51% of the activities of its San Francisco office were devoted to defending Israel.
The ADL provided secret files to police agencies when these police agencies were prevented by law from collecting the files themselves,
Many questions must still be answered about the activities of the ADL and it's non-profit status as an "education organization". The settlement offered by the ADL is recognition on its part that it could not afford to go to a trial in front of a jury and face the likelihood that more of its dirty secrets would be revealed.
We call on all people to make sure that these practices on the part of the ADL are not allowed to continue and that the double standard that presently dominates this country on issues dealing with Israel be eliminated.
Finally, we wish to thank our attorney, former congressman Pete McCloskey, himself a victim of the ADL and the Israel Lobby, for his years of work on our behalf and his steadfast commitment to the pursuit of justice.
Jeffrey Blankfort can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org