20. Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith -- An
Sources: SAN FRANCISCO BAY GUARDIAN, Date: 4/14/93,
Title: "Reports show ADL/SFPD spy net reach," Author: Tim Redmond; Date:
9/29/93, Title: `ADL Deal Dies," Author: Jane Hunter; LIES OF OUR TIMES,
Date: July/August 1993, Title: "The ADL and Civil Liberties," Author:
Mitchell Kaidy; SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER, Date: 10/7/93, Title: "Judge rules
ADL need not open its files in civil suit," Authors: Dennis J. Opatrny and
Scott Winokur; Y'ACOV AHIMEIR, Date: 10/25/93, Interview at Sonoma State University
Censored Researcher: Laurie Turner
SYNOPSIS: The Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith (ADL),
established eight decades ago to combat anti-Semitism, has itself been
charged with civil rights violations, involving domestic spying on a
massive scale. With the help of a San Francisco police intelligence
officer and at least one undercover operative, the ADL collected secret
files on some 1,000 political organizations and 12,000 individuals,
many in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The ADL-targeted groups allegedly were as diverse as Greenpeace,
the Ku Klux Klan, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, the Aryan Nation,
the ACLU, the American Indian Movement, the American Nazi Party, the National
Lawyers Guild, ACT UP, the NAACP, the United Auto Workers, the African National
Congress, and Project Censored.
Documents seized by the District Attorney's
office in a raid on the San Francisco ADL office reportedly revealed that the
ADL had run a systematic, long-term, private nationwide spy network with the help
of Roy Edward Bullock, a San Francisco art dealer, and Tom Gerard, a one-time
CIA agent in Latin America who had earlier worked as an intelligence officer for
the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD).
The documents also suggested that Bullock and Gerard were working as
paid informants not only for the Anti-Defamation League but also for
the South African government -- and that information was shared with
South Africa as well as Israel.
While this extraordinary story received
some major coverage in West Coast papers, including the Los Angeles Times and
the San Francisco Examiner, it was basically ignored by the mainstream national
press and, according to journalist Mitchell Kaidy, writing in Lies Of Our Times
(LOOT), it received little scrutiny in The New York Times.
In fact, Kaidy wrote, "When The New York Times reported the issue
on April 25, it ran an unsigned Sunday article innocuously headlined
A Dealer in Art and, Some Say, 'A Dealer in Secret Police Data?' (p.
38). The article conspicuously failed to mention ADL's links to the
State Department, CIA, and FBI, or to indicate the extensive range of
the groups it targeted. Both Israel and South Africa allegedly benefited
from the information ADL furnished, yet the Times downplayed one foreign
government' while mentioning South Africa several times as a beneficiary."
in a follow-up article in May, LOOT noted that The New York Times "inexplicably
failed to exploit a local angle-that, according to authorities in San Francisco,
where the scandal erupted, the underground operation was financed and directed
by the ADL in New York for more than three decades. The Times ignored this, instead
devoting its space to the justifications of ADL officials."
the ADL spy-ring story also appeared to be ignored by the press in Israel. Y'acov
Ahimeir, one of the first broadcasters with Israeli TV and former chief editor
and anchorman of Israeli TV News, was unaware of the issue until he visited the
United States in October 1993. Ahimeir, now a news talk show host with Israeli
TV, told Project Censored he had not seen the issue reported in Israel.
COMMENTS: Several sources, from diverse publications, provided
background for this nomination; following are some of their individual
Tim Redmond, of the San
Francisco Bay Guardian, felt that one aspect of the story that deserved more coverage
was how the S.F. Police Department was involved in an extensive spy network reaching
to South Africa and Central America and that the SFPD policies that allowed this
to happen are still in place now. Redmond added that although he "broke this
piece of the story, other Bay Guardian reporters, especially Jane Hunter, have
also played a key role in keeping the story alive and deserve credit for their
work. Martin Espinoza, who helped me research the story, also deserves credit."
Redmond also acknowledged the role of the Bay Guardian as a whole in getting the
Mitchell Kaidy, author of the article in Lies O f Our Times,
said he was motivated to report the story because of the "deficiencies left
by the mainstream media." Kaidy felt it was important for the public to know
more about the story since it revealed how Americans, exercising their Constitutional
right to dissent, became targets of covert-monitoring as well as infiltration."
Noting that this is an on-going story with both national and international implications,
Kaidy added, "Ironically, although several journalists and many newspaper
letter writers were allegedly spied on, I know of no mainline newspapers, weeklies,
wire services or journalism publications which have fully investigated the matter.
And the only publications that evince continued interest are of limited circulation."
J. Opatrny and Scott Winokur covered the issue throughout the year for the San
Francisco Examiner: Opatrny said he did not believe that the ongoing story had
received sufficient exposure since it originally broke. Noting that while ABC
did a piece early on and NBC did a newsmagazine piece later, "Only the Washington
Post, 10 months after the story broke, finally did a main story with sidebars.
The so-called Voice of the West, aka the San Francisco Comical, has been strangely
silent for the most part, occasionally taking a nibble but never a bite of the
Opatrny, who also was speaking for Winokur, said the "general
public would benefit with wider exposure of a domestic spying story by simply
being made aware that there are groups, perhaps with good intentions, some with
evil motives, watching, monitoring and spying on Americans exercising their constitutionally
guaranteed civil rights and protected political rights. The Anti-Defamation League
of the B'nai B'rith benefits from the limited coverage, as would any so-called
fact-finding organization with a shining reputation for doing good that is suddenly
under investigation for criminal activity. The ADL's stated purpose as a watchtower
for anti-Semitism is admirable, but its tactics are questionable at best, perhaps
illegal at worst."
Since all the authors agree that the story is not
over yet, the mainstream media will have another chance to put it on the national
agenda in 1994.