Perhaps the worst story — because it was one of the first and also the most devastating, in terms of what we learned and what happened to the whistleblower — is the Dark Alliance by Gary Webb.
Webb was a “Pulitzer-prize-winning journalist” for the San Jose Mercury News who spent a year investigating the LA crack epidemic. This is at the dawn of the internet in 1996, but his report was such a blockbuster it was generating 1.3 million hits daily. The short of it was he connected crack to the local gangs to the cocaine drops of the Barry Seal-contingent that was the core of the guns-for-drugs Iran Contra scam.
I would say the only flaw was that, because it was a California-focused newspaper, his report narrowed in on the Bay Area dealers who got the cocaine, who sold it to the LA gangs, which sold the crack in the inner cities, when the bigger, national story was simply there’s the ongoing cocaine for guns Cabal. Either way, what happened was his newspaper editors came under pressure from the powers that be for running the story and the national media, especially the New York Times, ripped into Webb and his sources, using the old fashioned debunking technique of casting doubt on one source (in his case, some of the local gang leader dealers) to then come around to the conclusion that the whole story must be made up. End result is Webb was forced to quit and then blackballed from “serious journalism.”
The lie is that he was depressed and killed himself. We know this is a lie because a journalist with a good story never kills himself — in fact, I cannot think of even one. We also know he wasn’t “depressed,” because while blackballed from the big newspapers, he did have a job, for the “Sacramento News & Review,” where he just published a stellar expose on the Army’s $10 million investment in first-person shooter games to find drone pilots, “The Killing Game,” in October 2004, and another local doozy about the legal cabal that makes fighting speeding tickets impossible, at Thanksgiving. But, apparently, he was so sad he had to kill himself two weeks later. And, as for killing yourself, the other mathematical impossibility is that he shot himself in the head — twice. Pretty much near impossible for a suicider braining himself with a .38 to get off two bullets.
Webb’s demise is right after Dubya’s re-election, when it might make sense to go around to clean up any loose ends. Open the Pandora’s Box of who else was suicided around then, leads you to the great one, HST, Hunter S. Thompson, who supposedly offed himself in February 2005. Again — journalists love to see their name in print and to show the world how smart they are — HST more than anyone. Lemme finish up the historical pieces pending and I’ll blow your minds with the truth of Dr. Gonzo, who was offed because he pieced together the whole kit and kaboodle, tying the “crimes against children” that he witnessed — and which haunted him for 20 years — to the money to the drugs and ultimately to 9-11. Don’t believe the hype.
Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Cocaine Explosion
Major Motion Picture based on Dark Alliance and starring Jeremy Renner, “Kill the Messenger,” released ini 2014
In August 1996, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Gary Webb stunned the world with a series of articles in the San Jose Mercury News reporting the results of his year-long investigation into the roots of the crack cocaine epidemic in America, specifically in Los Angeles. The series, titled “Dark Alliance,” revealed that for the better part of a decade, a Bay Area drug ring sold tons of cocaine to Los Angeles street gangs and funneled millions in drug profits to the CIA-backed Nicaraguan Contras.
Gary Webb pushed his investigation even further in his book, Dark Alliance: The CIA, The Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion. Drawing from then newly declassified documents, undercover DEA audio and videotapes that had never been publicly released, federal court testimony, and interviews, Webb demonstrates how our government knowingly allowed massive amounts of drugs and money to change hands at the expense of our communities.
Webb’s own stranger-than-fiction experience is also woven into the book. His excoriation by the media—not because of any wrongdoing on his part, but by an insidious process of innuendo and suggestion that in effect blamed Webb for the implications of the story—had been all but predicted. Webb was warned off doing a CIA expose by a former Associated Press journalist who lost his job when, years before, he had stumbled onto the germ of the “Dark Alliance” story. And though Internal investigations by both the CIA and the Justice Department eventually vindicated Webb, he had by then been pushed out of the Mercury News and gone to work for the California State Legislature Task Force on Government Oversight. He died in 2004.
An award-winning investigative reporter, GARY WEBB (1955–2004) is best known for his “Dark Alliance” series that linked a Northern California drug ring with the CIA and the United States’ burgeoning crack epidemic. When the story first appeared in 1996 on the website of the San Jose Mercury News, it became an unprecedented internet sensation, receiving up to 1.3 million hits daily. The report was the target of a famously vicious media backlash that ended his career as a mainstream journalist. When Webb told the whole story in the book Dark Alliance, some of the same publications that had vilified him retracted their criticism and praised his courage in telling the truth about one of the worst official abuses in our nation’s history. Others, including his own former newspaper and the New York Times, continued to treat him as an outlaw. Before joining the Mercury News, Webb cut his journalism teeth at the Kentucky Post and Cleveland Plain Dealer. He is the co-recipient of an Investigative Reporters and Editors Award (for a story at the Post about links between the Kentucky coal mining industry and organized crime) and a Pulitzer Prize (as part of a team at the Mercury News covering the 1988 San Francisco Earthquake). Dark Alliance won the 1998 Firecracker Alternative Book Award in the Politics category, and was a finalist for the PEN/Newman’s Own First Amendment Award. In 2014 Webb’s story was adapted into the major motion picture Kill the Messenger. His death in 2004 was ruled a suicide.
- Paperback: 592 pages
- Publisher: Seven Stories Press; Reprint edition (September 30, 2014)
- Language: English
“…a densely researched, passionately argued, acronym-laden 548-page volume.” —Michael Massing, The Los Angeles Times Sunday Book Review
“I find his argument to be very well documented, very careful and very convincing. In fact, the readability of the book suffers a bit from what seems to have been a fear that if he didn’t include absolutely every bit of evidence he had unearthed, he would open himself up to new criticisms of inadequate reporting—but this editor’s quibble shouldn’t stop anyone from buying and reading Dark Alliance. Long-time followers of the contra tale are likely to find new revelations in the book…” —Jo Ann Kawell, The Nation
“Of all the disgraceful episodes regarding the press and the Reagan administration, the discrediting of Gary Webb was probably the worst, given the fact that so much of the elite press was complicit in what was done to him.” –Charles P. Pierce, Esquire
Americans need to read this book.
This book should be mandatory reading in schools. Webb’s research was detailed and it provided enough evidence that should have imprisoned many of those responsible for allowing the CIA to work directly with the largest drug dealers on the planet. Oliver North has been exposed as the ringleader of one of the dirtiest chapters in American history. This book is a must read!
A new low from the US Government
This real reporting piece with sometimes too much detail and quite a few typos details the disgusting fact that the CIA, colluding with the entire Reagan administration, spearheaded by Oliver North, created the crack cocaine epidemic starting in South Central LA. Naturally all of the Government and media system people denied, denigrated and lied about the whole sordid mess. And how did the military aspect that all this awful apparatus was put in place for, go? Just like all US military escapades, it was a failure, but it did ruin and terminate thousands of lives though.
All the Truth You Never Hear About How Crack Got Into This Country
After Gary Webb, a Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter finished his superb articles about the Reagan/Bush Administration’s drug running and it was initially widely acclaimed he was marginalized at the San Jose Mercury News and finally quit.
This was an earth shattering report at the time, The first full account of the “Dirty Wars” in Central America, conducted by Reagan/Bush through Oliver North, using almost every branch of the U.S. government as accomplices in running cocaine into South Central L.A. initially and then spreading it across the country.
Even less known is the fact that the CIA/DEA operatives in Peru and Bolivia found out how crack was made in that region of South America and imported the technology to the United States because it lowered the cost and increased the addictiveness, and therefore the profits for our drug running government. Much of the proceeds went to the Contras but a lot of it disappeared along the way as it passed through multiple hands.
Crack also had the ability to separate the rich powdered cocaine users from the poor crack users and that allowed the institution of the terribly unfair sentencing guidelines for powdered cocaine compared to crack cocaine that we are still dealing with today. So Ronnie brought it in and sold it to our people and Nancy said “Just Say No!”
To tell the entire documented story Gary Webb wrote this book, naming many names and agencies. He was found dead in 2004. A “suicide” said authorities. Perhaps, but what determination- he had shot himself in the head-twice