Thousands of young Black men are serving long prison sentences for selling cocaine -- a drug that was virtually unobtainable in Black neighborhoods before members of the CIA's army started bring it into South Central in the 1980s at bargain basement prices," wrote Mercury News reporter Gary Webb, in the first installment of the shocking series of reports.
According to a series of groundbreaking reports by the San Jose Mercury News, for the better part of a decade, a San Francisco Bay Area drug ring, comprised of CIA and U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency agents and informants, sold tons of cocaine to the Crips and Bloods street gangs of Los Angeles.
Millions of dollars in drug profits were then funneled to the Fuerza Democratica Nicaraguense (Nicaraguan Democratic Force), the largest of several anti-Communists commonly called the Contras. The 5,000-man FDN was created in mid-1981 and run by both American and Nicaraguan CIA agents in its losing war against Nicaragua's Sandinista government, the Cuban-supported socialists who had overthrown U.S.-backed dictator Anastasio Somoza in 1979.
This CIA-backed drug network opened the first pipeline between Columbia's cocaine cartels and the Black neighborhoods of Compton and Los Angeles, according to the Mercury News.
For those of you who may not remember this reporter, on August 18, 1996, Gary Webb wrote a series of articles for the San Jose Mercury News, bearing the same name as the book, to expose the fact that the CIA worked with a drug cartel group in Nicaragua, in particular, who brought in cocaine that was later converted to crack cocaine. This crack cocaine, which first hit the West Coast and then spread throughout America, was the new craze in the Black community.
Mr. Webb’s controversial series documented the links between the CIA-spawned “contra” guerrilla army in Nicaragua and a top California cocaine ring. The series was met by a campaign to discredit it by major media, which relentlessly trumpeted its real flaws. But whatever Mr. Webb’s failings, the Nicaraguan counter-revolution was a major player in the 1980s coke boom. In 1989, the congress of Nicaragua’s neighbor, Costa Rica, permanently barred Lt. Col. Oliver North, ex-National Security Advisor John Poindexter, the U.S. ambassador and CIA station chief from the country’s territory, finding that their Contra re-supply operation had doubled as a cocaine ring. Such disturbing realities were forgotten as Mr. Webb’s work was dismissed as “conspiracy theory.”
New documents released by the CIA show how the agency worked with some of the country’s largest newspapers to destroy San Jose Mercury News’ Gary Webb, a journalist who famously exposed the CIA’s connection to the cocaine trade in the “Dark Alliance” investigation.
Tactics used to destroy Webb, who was found dead in his apartment in 2004 with two .38-caliber bullets in the head, included a massive smear campaign by journalists working with newspapers such as the L.A. Times. A report by The Intercept’s Ryan Devereaux reveals the paper used as many as 17 journalists to discredit Webb and his exposé.
“The Los Angeles Times was especially aggressive. Scooped in its own backyard, the California paper assigned no fewer than 17 reporters to pick apart Webb’s reporting. While employees denied an outright effort to attack the Mercury News, one of the 17 referred to it as the ‘get Gary Webb team,’” Devereaux writes. “Another said at the time, ‘We’re going to take away that guy’s Pulitzer,’ according to Kornbluh’s CJR piece. Within two months of the publication of ‘Dark Alliance,’ the L.A. Times devoted more words to dismantling its competitor’s breakout hit than comprised the series itself.”
The Murder Of Gary Webb
Webb, a Pullitzer prize winning journalist, exposed CIA drug trafficking operations in a series of books and reports for the San Jose Mercury News.
Credible sources who were close to Gary Webb have stated that he was receiving death threats, being regularly followed, and that he was concerned about strange individuals who were seen on multiple occasions breaking into and leaving his house before his apparent 'suicide' on Friday December 10th 2004.