Private Warriors
<> by Ken Silverstein
CounterPunch's Booktalk
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 Arlo Smith 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,  Arlo 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:

For more information on this case read CounterPunch's story, ADL Snoops: Were the Spies "Journalists"? <>