Jeffrey Blankfort, Editor
Middle East Labor Bulletin
Vol. 4, No. 2 Spring 1993 (pgs 1, 13-16)
Published by the Labor Committee on the Middle East
P.O. Box 421546
San Francisco, CA 94142-1546
THE INVESTIGATION of a San Francisco police officer found to be in the possession of computerized files on Arab-Americans, has led to the door of the Anti-Defamation League of B'Nai B'rith along with reports that the self-styled 'civil rights' organization operates a national network of informants who gather 'intelligence' on 'pro-Palestinian' individuals and groups.1 Reports of such activities by the ADL are not new, going back at least to 1947, when it provided information on 'subversive' activities to the House Un-American Activities Committee, or HUAC, as it came to be known.(See page 17)
The source of the present allegations, identified by the San Francisco Examiner as an unnamed "San Francisco law enforcement official," said that "the [ADL] operatives rely on local police and sheriff's deputies to provide access to confidential law enforcement and motor vehicle information, in probable violation of criminal law."
Chronicle in mid-January, a San Francisco police officer, Tom Gerard, apparently sold information to Israeli as well as South African intelligence agencies, some of which turned up in ADL files in San Francisco and Los Angeles, containing "information that had recently been taken from a national police computer network."2
Evidently forewarned that he was under surveillance, Gerard slipped away in November to the Philippines, which has no extradition treaty with the U.S.. From there, in an interview by phone with the Examiner, Gerard confirmed what Bay Area Middle East activists had suspected for several years, that his partner Roy Bullock, an art-dealer and self-described "private investigator," who apparently fed him information, was an agent of the Anti-Defamation League, better known and feared by its acronym, ADL.3
Bullock became a "member" of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) in the mid-80s and was frequently seen at Palestinian and Arab-American gatherings and protests where, given his large, beefy size, he occasionally served as "security." "In this time," said the ADC's Maha Jaber, "we must assume Bullock was furnishing the ADL with information about the number and names of our members and what local and national activities we were planning or in which we were involved."4
A substantial number of ADC members, then as well as at present, were non-Arabs, whose activities, it appears, were also recorded. Bullock also traveled around the country, showing up, by co-incidence, at Arab-American conferences. In 1991, using the name Buchanan, he reportedly attempted to join the ADC chapter in Seattle.
Shortly after the Labor Committee on the Middle East was organized in the summer of 1987, we received information that one of our new members, the same Mr. Bullock, had been an agent of the ADL for the past 20 years. The source was the newsletter of the Institute for Historical Review, a crackpot group based in Orange Co., whose raison d'etre is proving that the Holocaust was a hoax. They were apparently right about Bullock, however. According to the newsletter, Bullock had admitted when quizzed by LCOME co-founder Steve Zeltzer and myself in August, 1987. The reason Bullock gave us for attending the IHR conferences was to distribute ADC literature and recruit some new members for the Arab-American organization. We found it both strange and suspicious that it had not occurred to him that the last type of individual that the ADC would want as a member would be someone with obviously anti-Jewish and perhaps even pro-Nazi sentiments. A link between neo-Nazis and Arab-Americans is, however, a connection that the ADL would like to make. Convinced that Bullock was indeed an ADL agent, we let the Arab-American community know of our conclusions.
Bullock was later seen in March, 1988, notepad in hand, at an anti-apartheid conference in Berkeley that was attended by a number of South African exiles. A conference organizer, when told of Bullock's likely employer, did not think it serious enough to ask him to leave. It subsequently turned out that both Bullock and Gerard had links to South African intelligence, according to (At press time, the MELB learned that the names of anti-apartheid activists, some of them native South Africans, had been found in the ADL files).
In April of that year, Bullock "volunteered" to work in the office of the Mobilization for Peace Jobs and Justice, which during the mid-80s organized large marches against U.S. intervention in Central America and against apartheid. Mobilization Chair Carl Finamore, told the MELB that Bullock "worked" there during the last few weeks of the campaign where he would have had access to the names, addresses and phone number of thousands of activists throughout Northern California.
At this time, Bullock may also have been working for the FBI, although according to the Examiner's interview with Gerard, the ex-SF police officer said Bullock had not started working for the federal agency until 1991 when the San Francisco Police Dept reportedly closed down its intelligence section, the department to which Gerard was assigned (and where he was at the same American community!).
Until then, Gerard apparently had also been working for the FBI, evidently sharing intelligence gathered by Bullock. With the SFPD intelligence operation supposedly defunct, Gerard said that he then took Bullock to the local FBI office. "We sat down, I turned his file over to them, I introduced them, I told (the FBI) the things we were working on, the things we had going and so forth," he said. "And they started using (Bullock) and were paying him." 5
Some questions that are still unanswered: If Bullock was not working for the FBI until 1991, who was he spying for, besides ADL, in 1988? Or was ADL providing the services of its long-time agent to the FBI as well as to Mossad and the South African intelligence service?
Gerard had rejoined the SFPD in 1985 after a stint with CIA in El Salvador, where he claims to have given instructions in bomb-disposal techniques. In his interview with the Examiner, Gerard said that he had met Bullock, whom he verified as being a paid investigator for the ADL, during a visit to the local ADL office. The two men, he said had a professional interest in gathering information on right-wing extremists and Arab-American groups, particularly those with ties to Palestinian organizations in the Middle East.
"We sat down there one morning with everyone in the (ADL) office, shook hands and made friends." 6
Refusing to acknowledge its ties to Bullock, the local ADL director put an Op-Ed piece in the Examiner saying that "ADL will not confirm or deny whether any individual or organization has been a source of information." Incredibly, the next sentence said that "ADL's policy is designed to promote the free association of ideas and the untrammeled dissemination of information." 7
As the MELB went to press, lawyers for the ADL were reportedly blocking efforts of the SFPD to let local individuals know if their names were either in the ADL's or BullockUs files. Gerard's files which had been removed from his houseboat in Sausalito, is expected to be made available to individuals who believe they may have been spied upon, according to the SF Police Department. Subsequent press reports indicate, however, that the bulk of the files were found in Bullock's San Francisco residence.8 They reportedly contain some 12,000 names, including, it turns out, that of Mohammed Jarad, one of three Palestinians arrested in Israel in January and accused of providing funds for Hamas.9
This would seem to bear out the accusation that the ADL functions as an intelligence conduit to the Israeli Mossad, an accusation its officials are quick to deny.
Giving strength to this allegation and to the San Francisco police official's report concerning the ADL's ties to various police and sheriff's departments were the revelations that not only had Gerard been sent on an all-expenses paid trip to Israel in 1991,10 but that former San Francisco Police Chief and currently Mayor Frank Jordan11 as well as San Francisco Sheriff Mike Hennessy across the Bay, Alameda Sheriff Charles Plummer had also received free trips to Israel from the ADL over the past few years.12
On these trips, the law enforcement agents reportedly were introduced to members of the Israeli military from which, presumably, intelligence officials were not excluded. It is also reasonable to assume that what was being done by the ADL in the Bay Area was being carried out within other police jurisdictions by regional ADL offices throughout the country. There are 32 such offices in the U.S, with branches in Canada, Paris, Rome and, of course, Jerusalem.
The ADL attempts to portray these trips as "part of its educational mandate," and resents implications in the media that "the ADL, through its missions program, has attempted to improperly influence law enforcement officials."13 Richard Hirschaut, the ADL's Northern California Regional Director, in a letter to the SF Examiner, wrote: "We cannot emphasize strongly enough that the ADL is not affiliated with any governmental organization (domestic or foreign)I"14
In the above cited Op-Ed piece, co-authored with Elliot Bien, a private attorney, Hirschaut acknowledged that "Where appropriate, ADL shares information on extremist groups with law enforcement agencies, and has fostered good working relationships with the law enforcement community." Bien and Hirschaut expressed resentment at "recent news reports [that] have implied that ADL's fact-finding activities are in some way, inappropriateI" or that it "is, in some way, associated with foreign intelligence agencies."15
Osama Doumani, who directed the Northern California chapter of the American-Arab Anti- Discrimination Committee (ADC) in the mid-80s when Bullock "joined" the group, wasn't buying the ADL's denials. "Of course, they are going to deny any involvement in the matter," he wrote in a letter to the Examiner.16 "And we are assumed to be simple-minded enough to believe that Israeli intelligence, the Consulate of Israel and the ADL are all tightly compartmentalized and their personnel to not talk to each other."
As writer Dorothy Thompson bitterly pointed out in a letter to Paul Hoffman, on April 27, 1953, 40 years ago:
"The Anti-Defamation League exists to defame as anti-Semites everyone who treats the state of Israel as every other state in the world is treated, and blasts as 'anti-Semitic' every book in the world in which a Jew appears in an unfavorable light."
Under the pretext of fighting "anti-Semitism" (more precisely anti-Jewish discrimination), a problem that is dwarfed in the U.S. by the scale of prejudice facing people of color and despite its own padded statistics, the ADL has been allowed by the media to project itself as the premiere "civil rights," organization in the U.S. without suffering the "leftist" smears that have been directed at the ACLU. That it has led the court fight from the very beginning against "affirmative action," and provided the script for Pres. Reagan's accusations that the Sandinistas were "anti-Semitic,"17 has not been without its rewards. Somehow, even when it is revealed that the ADL, a la Nixon, keeps its "enemies list," such as happened in 1983, when it produced a directory of individuals and organizations whom the ADL claimed were "anti-Israel," the ADL's public image remains intact. That list contained the names of Arabs and non-Arabs, a number of Jews, and six professors. Most recently, the ADL put out a 54-page booklet on "Black Extremists" in which it identified the two leading African-American newspapers in New York City as being "anti-Semitic." (See MELB Vol. 4/1).
While the existence of ties between the ADL and the federal government has been confirmed by documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act,18, the most significant of what has been publicized was the ADL's role in instigating the arrest by the Immigration and Naturalization Service of seven Palestinians and a Kenyan woman in Los Angeles in 1987, on the charge of supporting "world Communism."19 Their "subversive act," for which the government intended to deport them, was the distribution of publications of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine that were in the country, legally, an action that would have been entirely proper if done by U.S. citizens.
Even though the initial charge was thrown out, the government is currently rehearing the case. In what the Los Angeles Times describes as "the latest twist," in the six-year old episode, it seems that the presiding judge, Bruce Einhorn, is the chair of the ADL's "civil rights" committee in Los Angeles. When the defense asked the judge to remove himself from the case because of the apparent conflict of interest, he refused.20 "HeUs very active in an organization that has a vested interest in having our clients deported," noted San Francisco attorney and co-defense counsel Mark Van Der Hout.
The case before Einhorn involves the proposed deportation of Michael Shehadeh and Khader Hamide, both long-time legal residents who live in Los Angeles. They are charged with raising money and providing support for the PFLP. No criminal charges have been filed. The government is seeking to deport the other six, among them Hamide's wife, on technical violations of immigration law. Should either of the government's prosecutions succeed, the message to Arab- Americans as well as to political exiles from other regions of the world is both obvious and ominous. This was clearly spelled out by the front-page headline and story in the March 12, New York-based Jewish weekly, Forward. The headline reads: "L.A. Case Tests Right to Hunt Terrorist Cells." The case, the first paragraph tells us, "may soon help define how far the government may go to ferret out and deport suspected foreign terrorists." While acknowledging that the "L.A. Eight" are being charged with fund-raising for the PFLP, the Forward's correspondent, in the same paragraph reminds the paper's readers of the PFLP's plane hijackings in 1970.
David Lehrer, the ADL's executive director in Los Angeles, who six years ago had bragged about the league's participation in the arrest of the Palestinians, now says, "We have absolutely nothing to do with the prosecution of this case, nothing to do with the formulation of this case." 21 In a subsequent letter to the Examiner, Kenneth Jacobsen, ADL's Director of International Affairs, attempted to clarify the league's role in the L.A.case. "The 'information' provided to the FBI," he wrote, "was an ADL Special Report, publicly avaliable, regarding activities of the Popular Front for no reason to believe that providing its report to the FBI or anyone else led to the arrest of any individuals." 22
ADL, its critics maintain, has two main functions. The first is to be an unofficial arm of the Israeli propaganda ministry; the second, and, perhaps, the most important, is to function as an intelligence gathering agency for the Israeli Mossad. The first charge is amply proved by the statements and booklets issued by the organization condemning the PLO, the intifada, etc., none of which have anything to do with anti-Semitism; the second charge is also obvious.
While legal restrictions prevent the Mossad from conducting intelligence monitoring in the U.S., it is desperately in need of information on the political activities of both Arab-Americans and non- Arab-Americans who are engaged, totally within the law, in the struggle for Palestinian rights.
That need, of course, is based on the fact that Israel considers the U.S. to be its economic and support Israel blindly, both here and there, appear ready to go to any length to preserve that relationship and to sabotage any individual or organization they perceive as threatening it.
If that means infiltrating American-based Middle East organizations and violating the Constitutional guarantees of their members and restricting, through intimidation, their legitimate political activities, the Anti-Defamation League has proved itself over and over again, that it is quite willing to do so.
1. SF Examiner 3/9
2. SF Chronicle, 1/15
3. SF Ex., 1/22
4. SF Ex. 1/31
5. SF Ex. 1/22.
7. SF Ex. 1/24
8. LA Times 2/26, SF Ex. 3/9
9. SFX 2/12
10. No. Cal. Jewish Bulletin 1/22
11. NCJB 7/10/87
12. NCJB 4/7/89
13. SFX 2/3
15. SFX 1/24
17. NYT 3/20/86
18. SF Ex. 3/9 19. Wash. Rept. On ME Mar. 93
20. LA Times 2/24
22. SF Ex. 3/17