Sunday, October 09, 2005

Crack in America; Gary Webb and the Mighty Wurlitzer 

~ " ~ Back in 1938, when fascism was sweeping Europe, legendary investigative reporter George Seldes observed (in his book, The Lords of the Press) that "it is possible to fool all the people all the time - when government and press cooperate." Unfortunately, we have reached that point. ~ " ~ ( from: The Mighty Wurlitzer Plays On, by Gary Webb )

"America's Debt to Journalist Gary Webb"
By Robert Parry - December 13, 2004
In 1996, journalist Gary Webb wrote a series of articles that forced a long-overdue investigation of a very dark chapter of recent U.S. foreign policy – the Reagan-Bush administration’s protection of cocaine traffickers who operated under the cover of the Nicaraguan contra war in the 1980s.

For his brave reporting at the San Jose Mercury News, Webb paid a high price.

On the life and death and work of Gary Webb... Published by the Independent/UK, Sunday, October 09, 2005:
Susan Bell Looks Back on a Shameful Secret History

by Robert Chalmers

In 1996, the award-winning journalist Gary Webb uncovered CIA links to Los Angeles drug dealers. It was an amazing scoop - but one that would ruin his career and drive him to suicide. His widow, Susan Bell, looks back on a shameful secret history.

When the big story arrives, Susan Bell recalls her late husband saying, "it will be like a bullet with your name on it. You won't even hear it coming." It was a remark that Gary Webb overheard early in his career, from an older reporter, and would repeat, ironically, to the point that the phrase "It's the Big One" became a standing joke on his news desk. And yet for Webb, the idea that a journalist could be killed by his own story turned out to be no laughing matter. The only difference in Gary Webb's case was that his life was ended not by one bullet, but two.

[Be sure to read this entire story - via: Common]

Additional Resources

Gary Webb Speaks on CIA Connections to Contra Drug Trafficking (and Related Topics)" ( January 16, 1999 - First United Methodist Church, Eugene, Oregon )

For more on the Contra - CIA - crack cocaine connection - see Robert Parry's Consortium News Archive on topic. Includes:
Hung Out to Dry: 'Dark Alliance' Series Dies Under pressure from the Big Media [by Georg Hodel]. San Jose Mercury News editors pulled reporter Gary Webb off the contra-drug story. But in a first-person account, Webb's co-author in Nicaragua warns about dangers to others who worked on the story. (6/30/97)

From Democracy Now archives (audio):
Analysis of C.I.A. Report On Its Involvement in Drug Trafficking - "Amidst the media frenzy over the Clinton sex scandal, the C.I.A. quietlyreleased its report on allegations the agency was involved in drugtrafficking. To no-one's surprise, the C.I.A. inspector general concluded there was no connection." ~ ( Democracy Now, Wednesday, February 4th, 1998 )

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The CIA-Contra Cocaine Connection - Guests: Bob Parry is the editor of "Consortium" and a former reporter for Associated Press and Newsweek who broke the Iran-Contra story. Gary Webb is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, formerly of the San Jose Mercury News, and the author of "Dark Alliance; The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion", published by Seven Stories Press.

Last week, the New York Times reported the CIA's own investigation of its activities revealed that agency officials knew that the Nicaraguan contras they were working with were running drugs. The new report is the long-delayed second volume of the CIA's internal investigation into possible connections between the Contras and Central American drug traffickers. The investigation was originally prompted by a 1996 series in the San Jose Mercury News which asserted that a "dark alliance" between the CIA, the contras, and drug traffickers had helped finance the contra war with profits from drug smuggling. The first volume of the CIA report was released in January. It confirmed that the CIA had blocked federal criminal investigations of contra-drug activities in California. Volume two, a broader look at the problem, is considered far more damaging to the CIA. It is said to reveal a large drug network and direct tie-ins to Reagan administration officials. Journalist Bob Parry spoke with sources within the agency who saw the classified report. ~ ( Democracy Now, Monday, July 20th, 1998 )

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Gary Webb -- Dark Alliance Interview Part II In August 1996, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Gary Webb stunned the world... ~ ( Democracy Now, Wednesday, May 20th, 1998 )

... Oct, 07 2005 ...

US Threatens Nicaragua
"The United States is threatening political groups and politicians that Nicaragua will lose millions of dollars in aid from Washington if any moves are made to bring down the US-backed president, Enrique Bolaños. In a move reminiscent of US intervention in Nicaragua in the 1980s, the US deputy secretary of state, Robert Zoellick, is in the capital Managua this week to head off the possibility of the Sandinista leader, Daniel Ortega, returning to power. The Nicaraguan national assembly has been debating a proposal to impeach Bolaños over campaign finance violations. He was elected in 2001. Zoellick said that $4billion in debt forgiveness and a $175million grant to Nicaragua would be withheld if Bolanos is impeached. After the 1979 Sandinista revolution, the US organized, armed and funded death squads in Nicaragua known as the Contras." - ( Democracy Now | Headlines for October 7, 2005 )



Far out on the desert to the north dustspouts rose wobbling and augered the earth and some said they'd heard of pilgrims borne aloft like dervishes in those mindless coils to be dropped broken and bleeding upon the desert again and there perhaps to watch the thing that had destroyed them lurch onward like some drunken djinn and resolve itself once more into the elements from which it sprang. Out of that whirlwind no voice spoke and the pilgrim lying in his broken bones may cry out and in his anguish he may rage, but rage at what? And if the dried and blackened shell of him is found among the sands by travelers to come yet who can discover the engine of his ruin? ~ Cormac McCarthy Blood Meridian

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