The ADL and domestic spying: Roy Bullock case revisited

Valdis Bell


We recently passed 100th anniversary of the largest and most well-funded disinformation group in the history of mankind: the Anti-Defamation League. The ADL is headquartered in New York City and has 29 offices in major cities in the United States, one in Israel, and two known offices in other countries. Abraham Foxman has been national director of the group since 1987. It has an annual U.S. budget of $55 million, with listed assets in 2011 of $171 million.

The ADL operates as a private intelligence agency, sending spies, infiltrators, disruptors, and agents provocateurs into the camps — both Jewish and non-Jewish — of those who disagree with its view of Jewish interests. Also like an intelligence agency, it maintains a huge database containing personal information on politicians, writers, dissidents, activists, publishers, bloggers, and even unaffiliated private citizens so that — should any of these people “get out of line,” in the opinion of the ADL — they can be threatened, “exposed,” blackmailed, and thus silenced with maximum effectiveness.

This article describes one of the more egregious examples of ADL misbehavior, the Roy Bullock case.

The Bullock Case

In 1993, Roy Bullock, was exposed as an ADL agent. He was San Francisco art dealer who was fairly well-known in the homosexual community and whose specialty was the infiltration of patriotic, Arab-American, and other organizations on behalf of the League. Bullock was found to have in his possession illegally obtained and highly private and personal data on his targets — data which could only have been obtained from police and other confidential government files. These data were also discovered in the files of the ADL itself when police raided ADL headquarters in San Francisco and Los Angeles as result of Bullock’s exposure.

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According to the Los Angeles Times of 9th April, 1993,

Police on Thursday served search warrants on the Anti-Defamation League here and in Los Angeles, seizing evidence of a nationwide intelligence network accused of keeping files on more than 950 political groups, newspapers, and labor unions and as many as 12,000 people.

Describing the spy operations in great detail, San Francisco authorities simultaneously released voluminous documents telling how operatives of the Anti-Defamation League searched through trash and infiltrated organizations to gather intelligence an Arab-American, right-wing, and what they called pinko organizations….

…Police allege that the organization maintains undercover operatives to gather political intelligence in at least seven cities, including Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Groups that were the focus of the spy operation span the political spectrum, including such groups as the Ku Klux Klan, the White Aryan Resistance, Greenpeace, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the United Farm Workers, and the Jewish Defense League. Also on the list were Mills College, the board of directors of San Francisco public television station KQED, and the San Francisco Bay Guardian newspaper.

People who were subjects of the spy operation included former Republican Representative Pete McCloskey, jailed political extremist Lyndon LaRouche and Los Angeles Times correspondent Scott Kraft, who is based in South Africa….

…In addition to allegations of obtaining confidential information from police, the Anti-Defamation League could face a total of 48 felony counts for not properly reporting the employment of its chief West Coast spy, Roy Bullock, according to the affidavit filed to justify the search warrant. (ADL Vows to Cooperate With Spy Investigation, Los Angeles Times, 9 April, 1993)

The ADL was never prosecuted. A sweetheart deal was worked out in 2000 under which the ADL admitted no wrongdoing, paid an out-of-court settlement — of under $200,000 — part of it for legal fees and the rest to “charitable groups” which “fight hate” (in other words, the kind of groups the ADL would support anyway — one such group was the “Hate Crimes Reward Fund”). They also issued a weak apology for dealing with “fact finders” who had violated the law, supposedly without the knowledge of the ADL, and then had the unbelievable audacity to reaffirm their “right” to spy on any group and anyone just as they always have!

Continuing:

The Anti-Defamation League disguised payments to Bullock for more than 25 years by funneling $550 a week to Beverly Hills attorney Bruce I. Hochman, who then paid Bullock, according to the documents released in San Francisco. Hochman, a former president of the Jewish Federation Council of Greater Los Angeles and one of the state’s leading tax attorneys, will be out of the city until late next week and could not be reached for comment, his office said.

Until 1990, Hochman, a former U.S. prosecutor, also was a member of a panel appointed by then-Senator Pete Wilson to secretly make initial recommendations on new federal judges in California. Hochman is a former regional president of the Anti-Defamation League….

David Lehrer, executive director of the Los Angeles ADL office, said the organization has not violated the law….

…But in an affidavit filed to obtain warrants for Thursday’s searches, San Francisco police allege that ‘ADL employees were apparently less than truthful’ in providing information in an earlier search conducted without a warrant….

…The police affidavit contends that Lehrer had sole control of a secret fund used to pay for ‘fact-finding operations.’ Lehrer, according to the documents, signed checks from the account under the name ‘L. Patterson.’…

…League officials will not confirm or deny whether Bullock was an employee and have said they simply traded information with police departments about people who might be involved in hate crimes.

I’ll add here that the category of crime called “hate crimes” was virtually invented by the ADL. The purpose of such laws is to add extra penalties for acts which are already crimes under existing statutes — like murder, assault, etc. — if the perpetrator can be shown to have held prejudiced or “hateful” views which might have motivated his actions. Under “hate crime” laws, American citizens would receive different sentences for the same crime, depending on whether or not their thoughts are “Politically Correct” on issues relating to homosexuality, race, nationality, and politics. That such laws might have a chilling effect on free speech — for a thoughtful person would now realize that his every utterance on “sensitive” topics might someday be used against him in a court of law, should he be required to defend himself with force someday or even have an argument with a member of a “protected class” — was probably the ADL’s intention all along.

Enter Tom Gerard

From the Los Angeles Times, 13th April, 1993:

To the outside world, Roy Bullock was a small-time art dealer who operated from his house in the Castro District. In reality, he was an undercover spy who picked through garbage and amassed secret files for the Anti-Defamation League for nearly 40 years.

His code name at the prominent Jewish organization was Cal, and he was so successful at infiltrating political groups that he was once chosen to head an Arab-American delegation that visited Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) in her Washington, D.C. office.

For a time, ‘Cal’ tapped into the phone message system of White Aryan Resistance. … From police sources, he obtained privileged, personal information on at least 1,394 people. And he met surreptitiously with agents of the South African government to trade his knowledge for crisp, new $100 bills.

These are among the secrets that Bullock and David Gurvitz, a former Los Angeles-based [ADL] operative, divulged in extensive interviews with police and the FBI in a growing scandal over the nationwide intelligence network operated by the Anti-Defamation League….

Transcripts of the interviews — among nearly 700 pages of documents released by San Francisco prosecutors last week — offer new details of the private spy operation that authorities allege crossed the line into illegal territory.

At times, the intelligence activities took on a cloak-and-dagger air with laundered payments, shredded documents, hotel rendezvous with foreign agents and code names….

On one occasion, Gurvitz recounts, he received a tip that a pro-Palestinian activist was about to board a plane bound for Haifa, Israel. Although the Anti-Defamation League publicly denies any ties to Israel, Gurvitz phoned an Israeli consular official to warn them. Shortly thereafter, another [Israeli government] official called Gurvitz back and debriefed him.

The court papers also added to the mystery of Tom Gerard, a former CIA agent and San Francisco police officer accused of providing confidential material from police files to the Anti-Defamation League. … Bullock said it was Gerard who sold official police intelligence. Bullock said he split about $16,000 … evenly with Gerard, telling him at one point, ‘I may be gay, but I’m a straight arrow.’…

Gerard fled to the Philippines last fall after he was interviewed by the FBI, but left behind a briefcase in his police locker. Its contents included passports, driver’s licenses, and identification cards in 10 different names; identification cards in his own name for four different embassies in Central America; and a collection of blank birth certificates, Army discharge papers, and official stationery from various agencies.

Also in the briefcase were extensive information on death squads, a black hood, apparently for use in interrogations, and photos of blindfolded and chained men.

Investigators suspect that Gerard and other police sources gave the ADL confidential driver’s license or vehicle registration information on a vast number of people, including as many as 4,500 members of one target group, the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee.

Each case of obtaining such data from a law enforcement officer could constitute a felony, San Francisco Police Inspector Ron Roth noted in an affidavit for a search warrant. (“New Details of Extensive ADL Spy Operation Emerge,” Los Angeles Times, 13 April, 1993)

Now we’re up to 4,500 felonies. Was the ADL brought to justice for even one of them? No. And what was revealed in the Gerard case was just the work of one ADL operative — and one group which the ADL had targeted! Evidence seized from Bullock’s computer indicate that the ADL was using him to compile data on individuals belonging to over 950 groups – and Bullock is just one agent. The rest of that iceberg must be most impressive.

As for Gerard himself — whom the ADL had sent on an all-expenses-paid trip to Israel two years before his arrest — he pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of unauthorized use of a police computer and was sentenced to three years’ probation, 45 days in jail, and a $2,500 fine.

The New York Daily News for 9th April, 1993 informs us that these were no “rogue” agents — the illegal spying was controlled directly from the ADL’s central office in New York City:

Police in San Francisco and Los Angeles yesterday seized documents from a prominent Jewish-American organization accused of amassing confidential information — sometimes illegally — on thousands of people in the United States.

The alleged operation was directed from the New York City offices of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, ABC News reported last night.

The ADL has long been one of the most respected civil rights organizations in the country, tracking hate crimes and exposing prejudice.

But ABC said that for several decades the spying operation has snooped into the records and activities of more than 10,000 people in the United States, including many who simply opposed the policies of Israel and South Africa….

The report identified the leader of the intelligence ring as Irwin Suall.

Sources told the Daily News that Suall is one of about 15 people in the ADL’s research department in Manhattan. Neither Suall or other ADL officials could be reached for comment.

‘We’re talking about the use of information from Department of Motor Vehicles files, other confidential files of state and local agencies, illegally furnished and illegally received by private agencies,’ San Francisco District Attorney Arlo Smith told ABC. ( Mark Mooney, New York Daily News, 9 April, 1993)

Irwin Suall, the former National Secretary of the Socialist Party of America, was the chief of the “fact-finding” division of the ADL from 1967 to 1997. According to the Baltimore Sentinel for September, 1993 “In a memo dated July, 1992, Suall praised Roy Bullock as “our number one investigator” — just months before Bullock’s illegal activities were exposed. (“Is the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith Spying on You?”, Bill Hughes, Baltimore Sentinel, September 1993)

According to the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, the ADL offered money to corrupt law enforcement officers and officials in return for illegally-obtained personal information that was supposed to have been destroyed. How many of these corrupt officials were never prosecuted, and how many were recruited during the “educational” conferences, and trips to Israel, arranged for them by the ADL’s law enforcement liaison division? The Report states:

After COINTELPRO, a still-controversial FBI operation to destabilize black nationalist and other groups in the ’60s and ’70s, the FBI, state and local law enforcement authorities were ordered out of the business of gathering information about legitimate political activity by American citizens. But in some major American cities, law enforcement files relating to legitimate and Constitutionally protected political activities that had been ordered destroyed instead found their way to the offices of the ADL, which quickly became a clearinghouse for such illegally obtained and illegally retained information.

The absence of the FBI, state, and local police investigators in the field therefore created a void the ADL rushed to fill, with remarkable success, by increasing its in-house ‘fact-finding’ assets and capabilities and developing enhanced working relationships with ‘official friends — government officials, investigators, and intelligence officers. Some of these were the officials who had not destroyed files of illegally obtained materials, or had made private copies of the official files before they were destroyed in compliance with the court order.

The ADL favored many of its ‘official friends’ with expense-paid trips to Israel, where they met with and were entertained by friendly officers of Israel’s espionage and counter-intelligence organizations, Mossad and Shin Bet, thus creating a major conduit for the flow of sensitive and useful U.S. domestic political intelligence to Israel’s spymasters in Tel Aviv. (Los Angeles Court Hands Down Final Judgment in Anti-Defamation League Illegal Surveillance Case, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, December 1999)

Despite its obvious — and admitted — ties with the state of Israel and its agenda of advancing Israel’s policy objectives and gaining power to blackmail or otherwise intimidate perceived enemies of Israel, the ADL, like AIPAC, has never been required to register as an agent of a foreign government.

Another example of the close ties between the ADL and Israel comes from ADL’s former National Director Benjamin Epstein, in an internal letter disclosed during discovery proceedings in a lawsuit against the ADL in 1970, spoke with pride about the close cooperation that existed between the ADL and Israel’s intelligence apparatus. And in his 1988 autobiography, ADL general counsel Arnold Forster specifically named the Mossad as as having a close connection with the League (Arnold Forster, Square One , 1988).

More Than Just Spying?

It wasn’t just Bullock, and it wasn’t just setting victims up for bigger and better smears. One ADL agent provocateur had a role as a leader and speaker for groups targeted by the ADL — doubtlessly steering the clueless radicals in directions helpful to the ADL agenda and against their own interests. And he also staged completely phony “extremist incidents” for the media to inflame fears of “racism” and “anti-Semitic” violence.

Investigative journalist Laird Wilcox tells us:

James Mitchell Rosenberg, a career infiltrator for the Anti-Defamation League, regularly attended and was a speaker at Ku Klux Klan rallies and meetings of the Mountain Church in Cohoctah, MI, considered a gathering place for neo-Nazis of all kinds. For the benefit of television reporters, Rosenberg also posed as a leader of a para-military group called the ‘Christian Patriot’s Defense League’ which was the subject of a breathless exposé entitled ‘Armies of the Right.’ In 1981, Rosenberg and an associate were arrested on a New York City rooftop and charged with carrying an unregistered rifle. The two were posing as paramilitary extremists for a photographic fabrication exaggerating the threat from the far right. The charges were subsequently dropped at the request [of] the ADL’s Irwin Suall, Rosenberg’s direct supervisor. (The Watchdogs, Laird Wilcox, Editorial Research Service, Olathe, Kansas, 1998)

And these are just the ADL agents who have come to public attention and been exposed in the newspapers. It is very hard indeed to believe that they were rare, exceptional cases. More likely, they were part of a much, much larger coordinated operation. With its multimillion-dollar budget and cozy relationship with corrupt law enforcement officials — and with intelligence agencies and their unfathomably deep pockets — how many undiscovered agents does the ADL employ, and what might their functions be?

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