Monday, December 13, 2004

 

Gary Webb Remembered

As I read the news of reporter for the San Jose Mercury News Gary Webb’s death I felt deeply saddened. Here was a solid reporter whose life, as have been countless others, was snuffed out by the system in general and the mainstream press in particular. Whether or not his death was really a suicide or not, it is clear that one way or another, it was the system that killed him. For simply doing what any good investigative reporter should do, Webb was dragged through the mud by the mainstream press who, because they purposely overlooked the story Webb broke and because they also serve as guardians of what is and is not acceptable public discourse, had to make an example of him as a warning to all who would dare cross the line.

For those who may not know, Gary Webb was the reporter who broke the story in 1996 of CIA involvement in the drug trade sweeping Los Angeles in the 1980’s. His series of articles under the title "Dark Alliance" appearing in the Mercury News exposed the sordid details of CIA backed drug running in L. A. whose ultimate center of motivation rested within the Iran/Contra scandal that shook the Reagan administration. Later, after being pilloried in the press and by self-serving politicians alike, Webb dug in and published in book form ("Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion") a more thorough and scathing account of CIA drug related activities during the 1980s. Many, specifically among the mainstream press, will hardly mourn the passing of Webb but to many others on the Left and in Black communities across the U. S. he will be remembered for providing a window into the sordid activities of the CIA during a time the agency was involved in numerous operations all across Latin America and, apparently, in the good old US of A. It is too bad that it is the likes of Dan Rather and Thom Brokaw, news readers at best and suck ups to power at worst, that are instead lionized and revered. For the sin of truth telling, however, Webb paid with his career, his marriage and, ultimately with his life.


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