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maynard

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Reply with quote  #1 
DARK ALLIANCE
BY GARY WEBB

THE CIA
THE CONTRAS
AND THE
CRACK COCAINE
EXPLOSION


FORWARD BY U.S. CONGRESSWOMAN MAXINE WATERS

GET YOUR COPY HERE:
http://www.sevenstories.com/book/index.cfm/GCOI/58322100705890
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1888363932/002-6542029-5747203?v
Please help support the family of Gary Webb by purchasing a copy, or make a donation here:

Susan Bell
552 Fisher Circle
Folsom CA 95630
suebell@sbcglobal.net



http://www.scribd.com/doc/98863510/The-CIA-The-Contras-And-the-Crack-Cocaine-Explosion-by-Gary-Webb-amp-Maxine-Waters




History Is Going To Record That Gary Webb Got It Right.

FORWARD By Maxine Waters

DECEMBER 21, 1998:

THE NIGHT THAT I read Gary Webb's "Dark Alliance" series in the San Jose Mercury News, I was so alarmed that I literally sat straight up in bed, poring over every word.

I reflected on the many meetings I attended throughout South Central Los Angeles during the 1980s, when I constantly asked, "Where are all the drugs coming from?" I asked myself that night whether it was possible for such a vast amount of drugs to be smuggled into any district under the noses of the community leaders, police, sheriff's department, FBI, DEA and other law enforcement agencies.

I decided to investigate the allegations. I met with Ricky Ross, Alan Fenster and others. I went to Nicaragua, where I interviewed Enrique Miranda Jaime in prison, and I met with the head of Sandinista intelligence Tomas Borge. I had the opportunity to question Contra leaders Adolfo Calero and Eden Pastora in a Senate investigative hearing. I forced Calero to admit he had a relationship with the CIA through the United States Embassy, where he directed USAID funds to community groups and organizations.

The time I spent investigating the allegations of the "Dark Alliance" series led me to the undeniable conclusion that the CIA, DEA, DIA and FBI knew about drug trafficking in South Central Los Angeles. They were either part of the trafficking or turned a blind eye to it, in an effort to fund the Contra war.

The saddest part of these revelations is the wrecked lives and lost possibilities of so many people who got caught up in selling drugs, went to prison, ended up addicted, dead or walking zombies.

It may take time, but I am convinced that history is going to record that Gary Webb wrote the truth. The establishment refused to give Webb the credit he deserved. They teamed up in an effort to destroy the story--and very nearly succeeded.

Webb's editors at the San Jose Mercury News did not have the strength to withstand the attacks, so they abandoned their reporter, despite their knowledge that Gary was working on further documentation to substantiate the allegations of the series.

The new book, Dark Alliance, completely and absolutely confirms his devastating series, and brings to light one of the worst official abuses in our nation's history. We all owe Gary Webb a debt of gratitude for his brave work.

Written in March 1998, and reprinted with permission from the foreword to Dark Alliance. Maxine Waters is in her fourth term as a U.S. congresswoman from California.












"When CIA Inspector General Fred P. Hitz testified before the House Intelligence Committee in March 1998, he admitted a secret government interagency agreement. 'Let me be frank about what we are finding,' Hitz said. 'There are instances where CIA did not, in an expeditious or consistent fashion, cut off relationships with individuals supporting the Contra program who were alleged to have engaged in drug trafficking activity.'"

      "The lawmakers fidgeted uneasily. 'Did any of these allegations involved trafficking in the United States?' asked Congressman Norman Dicks of Washington. 'Yes,' Hitz answered. Dicks flushed."

      "And what, Hitz was asked, had been the CIA's legal responsibility when it learned of this? That issue, Hitz replied haltingly, had 'a rather odd history...the period of 1982 to 1995 was one in which there was no official requirement to report on allegations of drug trafficking with respect to non-employees of the agency, and they were defined to include agents, assets, non-staff employees.' There had been a secret agreement to that effect 'hammered out between the CIA and U.S. Attorney General William French Smith in 1982,' he testified."

      "A murmur coursed through the room as Hitz's admission sunk in," writes Webb. "No wonder the U.S. government could blithely insist there was 'no evidence' of Contra/CIA drug trafficking. For thirteen years -- from the time Blandon and Menesis began selling cocaine in L.A. for the Contras -- the CIA and Justice had a gentleman's agreement to look the other way.











<nyt_text version="1.0" type=" "> CHAPTER ONE

Dark Alliance
The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion


By GARY WEBB

 

1 "A pretty secret kind of thing"

In July 1979, as his enemies massed in the hills and suburbs of his doomed capital, the dictator huddled in his mountainside bunker with his aides and his American advisers and cursed his rotten luck.

For the forty-six years that Anastasio Somoza's family had ruled the Republic of Nicaragua, the Somozas had done nearly everything the U.S. government asked. Now, after all his hard work, the Americans wanted him to disappear. Somoza could barely believe it. He was glad he had his tape recorder going, so history could bear witness to his cruel betrayal.

"I have thrown many people out of their natural habitat because of the U.S., fighting for your cause ... so let's talk like friends," Somoza told U.S. ambassador Lawrence Pezzullo. "I threw a goddamned Communist out of Guatemala," he reminded the ambassador, referring to the role the Somoza family had played in the CIA's overthrow of a liberal Guatemalan government in 1954. "I personally worked on that."

When the CIA needed a secret base to prepare for the Bay of Pigs invasion, Somoza couldn't have been a more gracious host. "The U.S. called me, and I agreed to have the bombers leave here and knock the hell out of the installations in Cuba," Somoza stormed, "like a Pearl Harbor deal." In 1965 he'd sent troops into the Dominican Republic to help the United States quell another leftist uprising. Hell, he'd even sent Nicaraguans off to fight in Vietnam.

And now, when Somoza needed help, when it was his soldiers who were locked in a life-and-death struggle with Communist aggressors, the Americans were selling him out--all because of some nonsense about human rights violations by his troops.

"It is embarrassing for you to be good friends with the Somozas," the dictator told Pezzullo sarcastically. Somoza then tried his trump card: If he went, the Nicaraguan National Guard, the Guardia, would surely be destroyed. The Guardia, as corrupt and deadly an organization as any in Central America, served as Somoza's military, his police, and his intelligence service.

Somoza knew the Americans would be loath to let their investment in it go to waste. They had created the Guardia in the 1930s and nurtured it carefully since, spending millions of dollars a year supplying weapons and schooling its officers in the complex arts of anticommunism.

"What are you going to do with the National Guard of Nicaragua?" Somoza asked Pezzullo. "I don't need to know, but after you have spent thirty years educating all of these officers, I don't think it is fair for them to be thrown to the wolves.... They have been fighting Communism just like you taught them at Fort Gulick and Fort Benning and Leavenworth--out of nine hundred officers we have, eight hundred or so belong to your schools."

Pezzullo assured Somoza that the United States was "willing to do what we can to preserve the Guard." Putting aside its international reputation for murder and torture, Pezzullo recognized that the Guardia was a bulwark against anti-American interests and, as long as it existed, could be used to keep Somoza's successors--whoever they might be--in line. "We are not abandoning the Guard," he insisted. "We would like to see a force emerge here that can stabilize the country." But for that to happen, Pezzullo said, Somoza and his top generals needed to step down and give the Guardia "a clean break" from its bloodstained past--before the Sandinistas marched in and it became too late to salvage anything. "To make the break now. It is a hell of a mess," Pezzullo said sympathetically. "Just sitting here talking to you about it is strange enough. We are talking about a break."

Somoza knew the game was over. "Let's not bullshit ourselves, Mr. Ambassador. I am talking to a professional. You have to do your dirty work, and I have to do mine."

In the predawn hours of July 17, 1979, Somoza and his closest associates--his top generals, his business partners, and their families--boarded two jets and flew to Homestead Air Force Base in Florida to begin a vagabond exile. The vaunted National Guard collapsed within hours.

Sandinista columns swarmed into the defenseless capital, jubilantly proclaiming an end to both the Guardia--which had hunted the rebels mercilessly for more than a decade--and Somoza. Those National Guard officers who could escape poured across the borders into El Salvador, Honduras, and Costa Rica, or hid inside the Colombian embassy in Managua. Those who couldn't, wound up in prison, and occasionally before firing squads.

Nine days after Somoza and his cronies were overthrown, a handful of congressmen gathered in a hearing room in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C., to discuss some disturbing activities in Latin America. Though what had happened in Nicaragua was on everyone's mind in the nation's capital that week, these particular lawmakers had concerns that lay farther to the south: in Colombia, in Bolivia, and in Peru.

They were worried about cocaine. The exotic South American drug seemed to be winning admirers everywhere. References were turning up in movies, songs and newspaper stories, and surprisingly, many of them were positive. To Republican congressman Tennyson Guyer, an elderly former preacher and thirty-third-degree Mason from Findlay, Ohio, it seemed like the media was hell-bent on glamorizing cocaine.

Guyer, an ultraconservative fond of loud suits and white patent leather shoes, was the chairman of the Cocaine Task Force of the House Select Committee on Narcotics Abuse and Control, and he wasn't just going to stand by and watch.

"Recent developments concerning the state of cocaine have come to my attention, which call for decisive and immediate action!" Guyer thundered as he opened his cocaine hearings in July 1979. "The availability, abuse, and popularity of cocaine in the United States has reached pandemic proportions.... This is a drug which, for the most part, has been ignored, and its increased use in our society has caught us unprepared to cope effectively with this menace."

But if Guyer was feeling menaced by cocaine, not too many others were.

Many Americans who'd grown up during the drug-soaked 1960s reasoned that an occasional sniff of the fluffy white powder was no more menacing than a couple of martinis--and considerably more chic. Cocaine didn't give you a hangover. It didn't scramble your brains. Many doctors believed you couldn't get hooked on it. It made you feel great. It kept the pounds off. And there was a definite cachet associated with using it. Just the price of admission to Club Cocaine was enough to keep out the riffraff. At $2,500 an ounce and up, it was a naughty pleasure reserved for a special few: the "so-called elites" and the "intellectual classes," as Guyer derisively termed them.

Even the paraphernalia associated with the drug--sterling silver cocaine spoons and tightly rolled $100 bills--carried an aura of decadence. In the public's mind, cocaine was associated with fame and fortune.

"The rediscovery of cocaine in the Seventies was unavoidable," a Los Angeles psychologist gushed to a convention of drug experts in 1980, "because its stimulating and pleasure-causing properties reinforce the American character, with its initiative, its energy, its restless activity and its boundless optimism."

While the street corners played host to lowbrow and much more dangerous drugs--angel dust, smack, meth---coke stayed up in the penthouses, nestled in exquisitely carved bowls and glittering little boxes. It came out at private parties, or in the wash rooms of trendy nightclubs. Unless some celebrity got caught with it by accident, street cops almost never saw the stuff.

"My first ten years as a narcotics agent, my contact with cocaine was very minimal," recalled Jerald Smith, who ran the San Francisco office of the California Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement during the 1980s. "As a matter of fact, the first few years, the only cocaine I ever saw was an ounce some guy would take around as a training aid to teach you what it looked like. Because it was something you saw so rarely. Our big thing[s] in those days were pills and heroin and marijuana."

But if Reverend Guyer thought the experts he'd summoned to Washington were going to help him change the public's mind about cocaine sniffing, he was badly mistaken. Witness after witness trooped up to the microphone to tell Congress that cocaine was not only a relatively safe drug but so rare that it could hardly be called a nuisance, much less the "menace" Guyer was advertising.

"Daily cocaine use is extremely uncommon, simply because of the high cost," testified Robert C. Petersen, assistant director of research for the National Institute off Drug Abuse. "Under present conditions of use, it has not posed a very serious health problem for most. Rarely does it cause a problem."

Lee I. Dogoloff, the White House's drug expert, concurred. "It is our assumption," he said, "that the current relatively low level of health problems associated with cocaine use reflects the relatively high price and relatively low availability of the substance."

To make the point, the head of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Peter Bensinger, told the committee he had brought $800,000 worth of cocaine to show them. He pulled out a little bag and dangled it before his rapt audience.

"That is simulated, I trust?" Guyer inquired.

"No, that is actual coca," Bensinger replied. A sample, he said, of seized contraband.

"I can't believe you are holding almost $1 million there!" Guyer sputtered. "We ought to have security in the hearing room!"

"We have some special agents in the room, I assure you," Bensinger said.

The experts were careful to note that if cocaine became cheaper, it would be more widely available and might pose a bigger problem than anyone realized, but no one seemed to think there was much chance of that happening. Most of the smugglers, Bensinger said, were just bringing amounts small enough to put in a suitcase or stash on their body. "We don't think people are bringing cocaine across the border, to a large extent, in a car from Mexico." He recommended that Congress, instead of trying to prevent the drug from coming in over the borders, concentrate its efforts on getting the Peruvians and Bolivians to stop growing coca plants.

Dr. Robert Byck, a drug expert from Yale University, sat in the audience listening patiently to the testimony all day. When it was Byck's turn to speak, Guyer warmly welcomed him up to the witness table, complimenting him on his "very, very impressive" academic and professional credentials.

Byck thanked Guyer and then politely ripped into the federal government for spreading misinformation about the drug. "What I would like to talk to you about for the most part is the importance of telling the truth," Byck, a professor of psychiatry and pharmacology at Yale Medical School, began. The truth was that cocaine wasn't the horrible health hazard Americans were being told it was. "Cocaine doesn't have the kind of health consequences that one sees with drugs such as alcohol and cigarettes. Right now, if we look at the hospital admission records and death records, cocaine doesn't look like a dangerous drug.... We have given a great deal of cocaine to many individuals and find it to be a most unremarkable drug. We are giving cocaine by nose to normal young men. When anyone visits our laboratory, they look at the TV screen and say, `That guy took cocaine?' They don't jump around, they don't get excited; they sit calmly and experience a drug high and don't become dangerous."

"What about five years later?" Guyer cried. "Are the membranes and so on not affected at all?"

"The damage to people's membranes is quite rare with cocaine. It does occur, but it is a rare phenomenon," Byck answered. "Part of this is because people don't use very much cocaine. It is expensive. Tell me the last alcoholic you saw with cirrhosis of the liver when cirrhosis was caused by Dom Perignon. You almost never see it."

As most Americans were using it, Byck said, cocaine "is a very safe drug. You almost never see anesthetic death due to cocaine. There have been a series of 14,000 consecutive doses of cocaine given with no deaths. Deaths from cocaine are very, very rare. They do occur, and I think it is important to recognize that they occur. But actually, the drug, in terms of the risk of killing people, is comparatively safe. If you want a dangerous drug, take digitalis or digoxin.... It is a heart drug. And that is really deadly, one of the deadliest poisons known."

"But that is used to save lives," Guyer countered.

"Yes, it is used to save lives," Byck said. "Cocaine is also used medically. So you cannot take whether or not something can kill you as a measure of dangerousness."

What the government was doing with its scare campaigns about cocaine, Byck complained, was poisoning the well. It was ruining the government's credibility with the public, just when the government needed its credibility to be impeccable. "I think we make a mistake when we say that snorting cocaine every once in a while is a dangerous habit and is going to kill people, because it does not," Byck said flatly. "There are a great many people around who have been snorting cocaine and know that their friends haven't gotten into trouble. If you then tell those people that cocaine is very dangerous, they won't believe it. Then, when you get to the next step--when you are talking about something that is really dangerous--they are not going to believe you the second time." And that brought Byck to the real reason he was in Washington on a humid day in late July.

He was there to deliver a warning from the scientific community.

Something bad was coming, Byck knew, something so deadly awful that the only way to prevent a catastrophe was for the government to tell the truth, and pray to God that it was believed. "I think we have to be careful that the government is believed about cocaine, because there are dangers associated with the drug," Byck said vaguely. "These dangers are not particularly associated with the present use pattern."

Byck told the committee that he'd hesitated for a long time about coming forward with the information and was still reluctant to discuss the matter in a public hearing. "Usually when things like this are reported, the media advertises them, and this attention has been a problem with cocaine all along."

Chairman Guyer, who'd spent two decades as a public relations man for an Ohio tire company, told Byck to spit it out. "[The purpose of our panel] is to bring into the open what has been, up to now, a pretty secret kind of thing."

The information Byck had was known to only a handful of drug researchers around the world. And it was as frightening a spectacle as any they'd ever seen.

For about a year, a Peruvian police psychiatrist named Dr. Raul Jeri had been insisting that wealthy drug users in Lima were being driven insane by cocaine. A psychiatrist in Bolivia, Dr. Nils Noya, began making similar claims shortly thereafter. Their reports, written in Spanish and published in obscure medical journals, went largely unnoticed in the United States because, frankly, they sounded so weird.

The first problem was that all of recorded history was against them. Peru and Bolivia had been producing cocaine products for thousands of years, with few reports of the drug causing serious medical effects. At the same time, some of America's leading researchers were claiming that cocaine was nonaddictive and perhaps should be legalized.

Jeri, a professor of clinical neurology at the National University of San Marcos, claimed a cocaine "epidemic" had swept through Lima's fashionable neighborhoods in 1974 and spread like a grass fire to Peru's other major cities: Piura, Trujillo, Chiclayo, Chimbote, Huaraz, Ica, Arequipa, and Cuzco. Within two years, he said, the alleged epidemic had engulfed Ecuador and Bolivia.

No one had heard of anything like it before. It also didn't help that the psychiatrists' studies read like the script of Reefer Madness, painting scenes of jails and insane asylums filling up with legions of half-mad drug fiends.

"When seen, these patients were generally very thin, unkempt, pale and looking suspiciously from one side to the other," Jeri wrote. "These movements were associated...with visual hallucinations (shadows, light or human figures) which they observed in the temporal fields of vision." Many of the patients bore scratches from trying to dig out the hallucinations they felt crawling under their skin, and they claimed they were being "followed by persons or shadows that seemed to want to catch, attack, or kill them....three patients died in this series, two by acute intoxication and one by suicide."

It wasn't a new drug that was causing this reaction, Jeri and Noya reported, but a new trick from an old dog. Instead of sniffing tiny crystals of cocaine up their nose, as Americans were doing, the Peruvians and Bolivians were smoking a paste known variously as pasta basica de cocaina, base, or basuco. It was all the same thing--the gooey mess that leached out of solvent-soaked coca leaves. Coca paste was an intermediate substance created on the way to manufacturing the white powder known to most cocaine users. People had started drying the paste, crumbling it into cigarettes, and smoking it.

For the serious drug abuser, paste's advantages over powder were enormous.

You could smoke as much as you wanted. With powder, only a small amount could be stuffed up one's nose, and it took time for the drug to kick in, because first it had to be absorbed by the nasal membranes. Eventually the nose got numb.

Cocaine vapor, on the other hand, hit the vast surface area of the lungs immediately and delivered an instantaneous sledgehammer high. Users described the feeling as more intense than orgasm; some called it a "whole body orgasm." And there was no limit to the amount of vapor the lungs could process. Paste had the added advantage of being richer in actual cocaine than the powder commonly sold--40-85 percent as opposed to 12-20 percent--and was far cheaper. In terms of bang for the buck, it couldn't be beat.

"Many patients said they found no other drug as pleasurable as this one," Jeri wrote. "Paste was almost unknown six years ago. Now it is the main drug reported by patients who are admitted to psychiatric hospitals or drug treatment centers in Lima. There is no zone of this city where youngsters do not get together to smoke coca paste and where pushers do not sell the drug in their own homes or in the street. They even come to the school entrances to do their business."

But there was a price to pay for such a blissful rush. The feeling lasted only a few minutes, and nirvana could only be reattained by another hit--quickly--or a crushing depression would follow, the devil's own version of the cocaine blues. It was a roller-coaster ride, and invariably the user couldn't keep up the pace.

Jeri was deeply troubled by his research, comparing paste smokers to those suffering from a malignant disease. "It is hard to believe to what extremes of social degradation these men may fall, especially those who were brilliant students, efficient professionals, or successful businessmen," he wrote. "These individuals became so dependent on the drug that they had practically no other interest in life."

The Bolivian psychiatrist Nils Noya claimed that the drug caused "irreversible brain damage" and wrote that cocaine smokers literally could not stop once they started. Some users, he reported, smoked sixty to eighty cocaine-laced cigarettes in a single session. Cocaine-smoking parties would go on for days, ending only when the supplies dried up or the smokers passed out. "Immediately after smoking a cigarette, they have diarrhea," Noya said in a 1978 interview. "I mean immediately. But the worst part is they have to go on smoking until they finish the box [of paste]."

Jeri wrote that cocaine smoking was largely confined to Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Colombia, but there were ominous signs that it was moving northward. "We do not know if coca paste has been introduced to America, but Panamanian authorities have reported heavy transportation of coca paste by American and Peruvian citizens," Jeri wrote in 1979, citing an unpublished Panamanian police report.

Byck, who among other things had collected and edited Sigmund Freud's cocaine papers, had been skeptical of the South American reports until he sent one of his students down to Peru on a summer project. In the spring of 1978 a first-year Yale reed student named David Paly came to Byck with an idea the scientist found intriguing: Paly wanted to measure the blood plasma levels of Peru's coca-leaf-chewing Indians to see what it was that got the Indians high. Plenty had been written about the cultural aspects of the habit, Paly told Byck, but no one had ever done any real experiments to see what it was that the leaf put in the Indians' bloodstream, and how much of it got there.

Paly, who had in interest in Peru from earlier travels there, said he "dreamed up" the project in order to start work on his thesis. "It was a fairly rudimentary proposal, but Yale has a thesis requirement for an M.D.--it's the only medical school in the country that does--so you have to start a proposal early in your career."

Coincidentally, Byck had recently gotten a letter from a prominent Peruvian neurosurgeon, Dr. Fernando Cabieses, who proposed some cooperative research on cocaine. At the time, the Peruvian government was cracking down on coca chewing and Cabieses believed the Indians were being harassed unfairly. He was looking for some scientific evidence to back up his arguments that the Indians' social customs should be left alone. Both Byck and Cabieses liked Paly's idea, and the Peruvian agreed to provide the lab facilities, test subjects, transportation, and assistants.

Soon a delighted Paly was winging his way to South America to spend his summer among the Indians in the mountains of Peru. Cabieses squired the young Yalie around Lima and introduced him to his friends in the arts and sciences. One man Paly met through Cabieses was Dr. Raul Jeff, who latched onto him and began telling him of his research into cocaine smoking. Jeri, who was also a general in the Peruvian military police, insisted on showing Paly the wretched victims of this new drug habit he'd discovered. Mostly to humor his influential new acquaintance, Paly agreed to accompany Jeri to the psychiatric institute where Jeri worked as a consultant. Paly left the hospital more doubtful than before.

"I interviewed some of these quote unquote pastaleros, and to my mind, one of them was clearly schizophrenic," Paly said. "Another one appeared to be a poly-drug abuser. I mean this guy had done everything from Valium to Quaaludes. So I was very unimpressed when I went around with him that first time."

Reading Jeri's studies did nothing to enhance Paly's opinion, either. They "were mainly observational and not very scientific," he said. It wasn't until Paly began making friends in Lima that he started changing his mind about the insistent general's work.

"I began to hear...about their friends who were dropping out of medical school and dropping out of college and basically turning into raging cocaine addicts," Paly recalled. "They were good kids who had essentially abandoned their lives and turned into wildly addicted base smokers. They were stealing from their grandmothers and doing all the kinds of things that you would associate with a heroin addict...and there were thousands of them."

On motorcycle trips through Lima with his friends, Paly said, he'd "drive down these streets and the places would stink of cocaine. They would stink of it. You'd come around a corner and you could smell it for miles. It has a very characteristic, sweet odor. And these weren't slums either. These were middle-class neighborhoods that my friends had grown up in, and now their friends were hanging out in the middle of the street, gaunt, and totally strung out."

Alarmed, Paly called Byck at Yale and told him what he'd seen. "The substance of my conversation with Byck, if I remember correctly, was that if this shit ever hits the U.S., we're in deep trouble."

Said Byck, "I remember the phone call very vividly. He said something was going on down there, and I told him to get some bloods [samples] and bring them back with him." Paly drew blood samples from random smokers and had them analyzed at the Laboratories of Clinical Psychopharmacology at Yale that fall.

"Peter Jatlow, who was the lab director, said they had the highest plasma levels of cocaine that he'd ever seen in someone who wasn't dead," Paly recalled. "If the average experimental plasma level they were getting in the lab from ingesting--snorting--cocaine was 100 [nanograms per mil], these--these were in the thousands."

Byck quickly got some federal grant money and sent Paly back to Lima to do some controlled experiments on cocaine smokers. Jeri, with his police connections, obtained the necessary permits and approvals, procured a half-kilo of coca paste and some cocaine smokers, and allowed Paly to bring them all to a room at the Peruvian Museum of Health Sciences. Most of them were young men in their twenties. Paly put on some music, served food and refreshments, and then brought out a box of coca paste.

"All subjects, calm while sitting in the room before the experiment, became markedly anxious as the box containing the paste was brought into the room," Paly wrote. "This nervousness became pronounced as they were preparing their first cigarettes and was evidenced by shaky hands and extremely sweaty palms and foreheads. This nervousness was borne out by the high blood pressure and heart rates taken immediately before smoking. This anxiety reaction is common to most experienced cocaine smokers and will often be brought on by the mere thought of smoking."

Paly was both fascinated and repelled. "It was Pavlovian," he said. "It was just unbelievable. Some of these kids, in the lab, would smoke twenty grams of paste and then, after you had paid them for their time, they would run out on the street with the money and buy more."

While Paly was running his experiments in Peru, further evidence was emerging in the United States that Raul Jeri's laughable predictions of a North American "cocaine invasion" were right on the mark. In February 1979 a psychologist from UCLA, Ronald K. Siegel, had a letter printed in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine warning of "a growing trend" toward cocaine smoking in the western United States. Siegel, who'd been researching cocaine use in the Los Angeles area since the early 1970s, was a well-known drug expert who had become something of a media darling, always ready with a good quote for reporters wanting the inside scoop on the latest drug craze in La-La Land.

Siegel had started a pioneering research project in 1975 by taking out newspaper ads seeking longtime cocaine users. L.A. being L.A., he got plenty of responses. He selected ninety-nine cocaine users, mostly young males, and proposed keeping in touch with them over the next four years so he could monitor the results of constant, long-term cocaine use.

His findings were great news for cokeheads. Not only did cocaine make you feel good, Siegel reported, but it had very few adverse psychological effects, and as a bonus, it helped you lose weight. "By the end of the study, approximately 38% of the subjects had shown increased elevation of the Euphoria Scale, indicating increased happiness and contentment with life," Siegel wrote. Only 5 percent of the subjects reported psychological problems, such as suspiciousness or paranoia, and Siegel dismissed those complaints as hypochondria or "perceptual" disturbances.

"Taken together, individuals reported experiencing some positive effects in all intoxications and negative effects in only 3% of the intoxications," he wrote. Even those negative effects "were usually of short duration and infrequent occurrence." All in all, Siegel concluded, the long-term negative effects of cocaine use "were consistently overshadowed by the long-term positive benefits."

There was, however, a curious footnote to Siegel's study, which the psychologist mentioned in passing. Over the course of his study, which ran from 1975 to 1978, six of the original ninety-nine cocaine users had become confirmed cocaine smokers, puffing something known on the streets as "freebase." Siegel was sufficiently intrigued to perform some cocaine-smoking experiments on monkeys, discovering that three out of three apes, given a choice between smoking lettuce or cocaine, clearly preferred coke.

So when Siegel read Jeri's reports about the cocaine smoking epidemic in South America, he realized the Peruvian was wrong about one thing: the habit wasn't confined to South America anymore. It had already planted its seeds in L.A. and was starting to pop up in other cities as well, building a devoted following among certain circles of rich drug users. Worse, Yankee ingenuity had already been at work, improving upon the deadly product, making it easier to use and more appealing to refined American tastes.

The substance Jeri's subjects were using, coca paste, came mostly from the jungle cocaine-processing labs that dotted Peru and Bolivia. Paste was an ugly gray glob laden with residues of the toxic solvents used to extract it from the coca leaves--kerosene, acid, and other chemicals. Some analyses had even found brick dust and leaded gasoline in it. Paste was hardly ever sold in the United States.

What Americans got for their drug dollars was the finished product, the sparkling white crystals of cocaine hydrochloride powder. But cocaine powder was made to be snorted. It was extremely difficult to smoke because of its high boiling point. So what was it that Siegel's patients were using, this cocaine they called "freebase"?

Siegel learned that it was cocaine powder that had been reverse-engineered to become smokable again. He traced the discovery of the process to the San Francisco Bay Area in January 1974, around the time that coca paste smoking had started becoming popular in Peru. According to Siegel, California cocaine traffickers who were journeying to Peru and Colombia for their wares "heard of the people down there smoking base." Though the Colombians were referring to coca paste, Siegel said, the Americans "mispronounced it, mistranslated the Spanish, and thought it was cocaine base. So they looked it up in the Merck Manual, saw cocaine base and said, `Yeah, that's just the alkaloid of cocaine hydrochloride,' which is street cocaine."

By a relatively simple chemical process, Siegel said, the dealers took the powder and "removed the hydrochloride salt, thus freeing the cocaine base. Hence the expression `freebasing.' That was something they could smoke, because it was volatile. And they were wowed by it when they smoked it." The traffickers "thought they were smoking base. They were not. They were smoking something that nobody else on the planet had ever smoked before."

By 1977, kits to extract freebase from cocaine, powder were available commercially; ads were appearing in the underground press and in drug magazines. But since cocaine powder was so expensive, freebasing was a habit practiced only by a few rich drug dealers or avant garde celebrities. "They had very inefficient processes in those days and thought you needed large bags of cocaine to reduce to the cocaine freebase. So during the early years, only dealers and very wealthy users engaged in this," Siegel said.

Dr. Sidney Cohen, another California scientist who recognized the dangers of cocaine smoking early on, wrote in 1980 that the only good thing about freebase was that it was "the most expensive of all mood changers when price is measured against euphoria time. Affluent hedonists are the only ones who can afford it."

In December 1978, after comparing notes with Jeri, Siegel fired off his letter to the New England Journal of Medicine, alerting the medical profession that there were problems afoot. "Users are now experimenting with smoking cocaine alkaloid or base," he wrote. "Free-base parties have become increasingly popular and the practice has spread from California to Nevada, Colorado, New York, South Carolina and Florida."

Siegel's letter appeared in the Journal in February 1979. Five months later, in July, he, along with Paly, Byck, Jeri, and other cocaine researchers, found themselves together in Lima for an international symposium on cocaine. It was the first chance North American and South American drug researchers had had to compare notes and discuss their latest work.

While the experts split on what to do about powder cocaine, those who'd been studying cocaine smoking were unanimous about their findings: there was a monster loose, a drug capable of totally enslaving its user.

At the Lima conference, the stories continued to pour in. Two Bolivian psychiatrists from La Paz, Gregorio Aramayo and Mario Sanchez, told of seeing patients coming in for treatment in bare feet and borrowed clothes. "One of the patients said, `This damn drug, doctor, I have had to sell even my clothes in order to buy it.'" Eighty percent of their patients, they reported, had committed "impulsive acts such as thefts, swindling, clothes-selling and others in order to buy more drug."

The Lima conference had taken place only two weeks before Byck appeared in Washington, and the stories he'd heard were fresh in his mind as he sat before Guyer's committee and listened to America's drug experts pooh-pooh the dangers of cocaine.

Once, Byck testified, he was in their camp. No longer. "I have come to the absolute, clear conclusion that it should not be legalized under any circumstances," he said. Cocaine smoking "can represent the same threat that the speed epidemics of the 1960's represented in their time.... We are on the verge of a dangerous drug use phenomenon."

Byck also wasn't the only American scientist who attended the Lima conference and came back alarmed. "The impact of these experiences was impressive, and observers from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the White House, and the Department of State reported on the growing problem in South America when they returned to the U.S.," said a 1982 study. Two of those observers, from NIDA and the White House, backed up Byck's warnings at the hearing.

But there was still time to prevent a catastrophe, Byck told the committee. "We do not yet have an epidemic of freebase or coca paste smoking in the United States. The possibility is strong that this might occur," Byck testified. "I have reports from California, from Chicago, and from New York about people who are smoking the substance, and I hear there are numbers of people now in San Francisco smoking the substance. Here is a chance for the federal government to engage in an educational campaign to prevent a drug abuse epidemic." The government needed to do three things "as rapidly as possible. Number one, find out about it. Number two, establish some kind of collaboration with the media; and number three, show what happens when this drug is used, so that we don't get an epidemic. We need our best minds to figure out how to do this without advertising the drug."

But the congressmen weren't interested in discussing educational campaigns or public service announcements. That wouldn't get any cocaine, off the streets. What they wanted to know was this: What about the DEA's plan to ask the Peruvians and Bolivians to please quit growing coca plants?

Byck scoffed. "I don't think you can eliminate the growing of coca in Peru and countries which have had it for thousands of years."

"Not with [crop] substitutions?" Guyer asked.

"I don't think so."

"That is not going to work?" Guyer persisted.

"It can't work," Byck said, "if you consider these are crops grown on the slopes of mountains near jungle, and grown by people for their own use for 2,000 years. And talking about wiping it out? You have a better chance of wiping out tobacco in Virginia."

"We'll come back to this," Guyer promised, and the Cocaine Task Force hurried from the room for a break.

They never came back to Byck's warnings.

When the hearings resumed, the congressmen peppered the witnesses with such questions as whether they thought Hollywood cocaine use was contributing to the deterioration of quality TV shows (as one of them had heard recently on the Mike Douglas Show); if it was true that Coca-Cola once contained cocaine; and if the TV series Quincy, in which Jack Klugman played a coroner, was "accurate" or if it was "way out." Not another word was said about doing research or warning the public about the dangers of cocaine smoking. Byck left the hearing stunned. "Nobody paid any attention," he recalled. "They listened to it, and everyone said, `So what?' I felt very strongly that the information that I had should have caused somebody to say, `All right! We've got to start finding out about this stuff!' But they didn't."

Instead, Congress and the Carter administration did exactly the opposite of what Byck advised. It embarked on "the Andean strategy" advocated by the DEA to wipe out the coca plant, a tactic that even its supporters now concede was a failure. Nor did the federal government seem all that eager to allow scientists to do their own research into cocaine smoking, or to help them spread the alarm.

When Siegel, under U.S. government contract, finished a massive report on the history and literature of cocaine smoking, he couldn't get the government to publish it, allegedly due to concerns that readers would rush out and start smoking once they found out how to turn powder into freebase.

"They wanted me to do a scientific paper about cocaine smoking, but not to tell anyone how it was done," Siegel said disgustedly. "I tried to explain that people already knew how it was done. That's why there was a problem." Concerned that the information might never get out, he published it himself in a small medical journal two years later.

In 1982, Raul Jeri came to the United States to deliver his warnings in person.

He showed up at the California Conference on Cocaine, a well-attended affair held at a hotel in balmy Santa Monica, a few miles south of Los Angeles. Surrounded by palm trees and hibiscus, with the sounds of the ocean breaking in the background, the setting was perfect for a gabfest about such a sexy topic. Reporters flocked to the event, mobbing LSD guru Dr. Timothy Leary for a few witticisms about cocaine.

If any of them sat through Raul Jeri's presentation, it is likely they came away with the conviction that the thin, dark Peruvian was even stranger than Leary. Jeri showed his American colleagues a few slides, and in broken English tried to bang the drum about the dangers of cocaine smoking, which he claimed would result in "grave incurable cases of dementia." He trotted out his horror stories about the walking dead, the coke zombies that populated Peru. He showed more slides. "I would like to warn the U.S., against the plague which has reached its borders!" Jeri said dramatically, as the lights came back on. "The trivialization of cocaine use is a curse on humanity!"

The speech was "followed by an uneasy silence," a doctor in the audience remembered. How did Jeri treat such patients? someone asked.

Nothing worked really, Jeri said. They'd tried everything. Long periods of confinement, heavy doses of tranquilizers, lobotomies. It didn't matter. The relapse rate was between 50 and 80 percent, he said.

Um, lobotomies, did you say?

"Yes, surgical lobotomy--cyngulotomy, to be precise," Jeri said. He assured the audience that the brain surgery was done "only in desperate cases on incurable repeaters, often upon request by the family and with the patient's consent."

It was hard for Jeri's listeners to imagine how cocaine could become so addictive that a person would volunteer for brain surgery. "How barbaric," one muttered.

Byck said the Food and Drug Administration shut down attempts to do any serious research on addiction or treatment, refusing to approve grant requests or research proposals and withholding the government permits necessary to run experiments with controlled substances. "The FDA almost totally roadblocked our getting anything done. They insisted that they had total control over whether we could use a form of cocaine for experimental purposes, and without a so-called IND [an Investigation of New Drug permit] we couldn't go ahead with any cocaine experiments. And they wouldn't give us an IND."

Why not? "Once you get into the morass of government, you never understand exactly who is doing what to whom and why," Byck said.

Eight months before he appeared before Guyer's task force, Byck had requested official government permission to bring a coca paste sample into the United States for laboratory analysis. He filled out many forms, turned the sample over to a DEA agent in Lima, and never saw it again. "I now have a number of licenses I never had before, but no samples," Byck told Guyer's committee sarcastically. "The regulations which govern the legal importation of cocaine and coca research are much more effective than the regulations which seem to govern smoking or smuggling."






page 419

I told him I didn't think my editors would agree to a delay, but if lives were in danger, I'd certainly be willing to hear them out. On October 19, 1995, I walked into a roomful of DEA agents in the National City regional office, squirreled away in an industrial complex south of San Diego.
Two of the agents I recognized from court and reading their names in the court files: Blandon's handlers, the immaculately coiffed Chuck Jones and his worried-looking sidekick, Judy Gustafson. The other four I didn't know. The agent behind the desk, a tall man with an easy smile, got up and shook my hand warmly. Craig Chretien, he said, special agent in charge.

"This is a little awkward for us," Chretien began. They knew generally the story I was working on, he said, and unfortunately I was getting some rather sensitive areas. There were undercover operations—•more than four of them—that I was in danger of exposing, putting agents and their families at risk. They couldn't give me any details, of course, but I needed to appreciate the seriousness of the situation. hat's your angle here?" Chretien asked. "Is it that the DEA sometimes hires scumbags to go after people?"
"No. It's about Blandon and Norwin Meneses and the Contras," -- .'And their dealings with Ricky Ross."
The agents looked at each other quickly out of the corners of their eyes, but at first said nothing.
"That whole Central American thing," Chretien said dismissively. "I down there. You heard all sorts of things. There was never any proof that the Contras were dealing drugs. If you're going to get involved in it, you'll never get to the truth. No one ever will."
"I think that's been pretty well established," I said. "Your informant one of the men who was doing it."
Chretien gave Jones a sidelong glance and Jones came to life. "I can assure you that I have never, ever heard anything about Blandon being involved with that," he said firmly. "Not once. His only involvement with Contras was that his father was a general or something down there."
and these two have practically lived with the man for two years Chretien added, pointing to Jones and Gustafson. "If it had happened they would know about it."
I could not quite believe what I was hearing. What kind of scam was this?

"Have you ever asked him about it?" I asked Jones. "I've already said more than I should."

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A TAINTED DEAL ALLOWED DRUG FLOW
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/06/tainted-deal

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the Murder of Kiki Camarena
http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-a-dogged-la-dea-agent-unraveled-the-cias-alleged-role-in-the-murder-of-kiki-camarena-5750278


"There is no question in my mind that people affiliated with, on the payroll of, and carrying the credentials of,the CIA were involved in drug trafficking while involved in support of the contras."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... There are some things the general public does not need to know and shouldn't. I believe democracy flourishes when the government can take legitimate steps to keep its secrets and when the press can decide whether to print what it knows. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
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page 420

"Did you ever ask him about doing it with Norwin Meneses?" "You'd better go check your sources again," Jones snapped.
"My source is Blandon," I said. "He testified to it under oath, before
a grand jury. You're telling me you don't know about that?"
Jones threw up his hands. "Oh, listen, he understands English pretty well, but sometimes he gets confused, and if you ask him a question the' wrong way he'll say yes when he means no."
I shook my head. "I've got the transcripts. These weren't yes or no, questions. He gave very detailed responses."
Jones's face and forehead grew beet red and his voice rose. "You're telling me that he testified that he sold cocaine for the Contras in this country? He sold it in this country?"
"That's exactly what I'm telling you. You want to see the transcripts? I've got them right here."
"I cannot believe that those two U.S. attorneys up there, if they had him saying that before a grand jury, that they would ever, ever, ever put him on a witness stand!" Jones fumed. "They'd have to be insane! They'd have to be total idiots!"
"They didn't put him on the witness stand," I reminded him. "They yanked him at the last minute."
"That's because the judge ordered them to turn over all that unredacted material!" Jones blurted. "We're not going to..." He looked quickly at Chretien and clammed up. Just as I suspected. They knew all about this. The DEA had nixed Bland6n's appearance because Rafael Cornejo's attorney had discovered the Contra connection and the government had been ordered to turn over the files.
Chretien told me that it would be best for all concerned if I simply left out the fact that Blandon was now working for the DEA. "Your story can just go up to a certain point and stop, can't it? Is it really necessary to mention his current relationship with us? If it comes out that he is in an way connected to DEA, it could seriously compromise some extremely promising investigations."
I said I thought it was important to the story, which prompted another angry outburst from Jones. "Even after what we just told you, you'd still' go ahead and put it in the paper? Why? Why would you put a story in the paper that would stop us from keeping drugs out of this country? I don' know if you've got kids or not..."
"I've got three kids," I interrupted, "and I don't know what that to do with anything."
"So you'll screw up an investigation we've been working on for a long


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DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


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http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-a-dogged-la-dea-agent-unraveled-the-cias-alleged-role-in-the-murder-of-kiki-camarena-5750278


"There is no question in my mind that people affiliated with, on the payroll of, and carrying the credentials of,the CIA were involved in drug trafficking while involved in support of the contras."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... There are some things the general public does not need to know and shouldn't. I believe democracy flourishes when the government can take legitimate steps to keep its secrets and when the press can decide whether to print what it knows. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
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page 421

time, just so you can have a story? Is that it?" Jones demanded. "You think this story is more important than what we're doing for this country? How is that more important?"
"I don't buy it," I replied. "You have to put Blandon on the witness stand at Ross's trial. So in five months everyone in the world is going to know he's a DEA informant. Hell, if they want to know now they can just go down to the courthouse and look it up, like I did. So that's one problem I'm having with all this. The other thing is, I think the American public has been lied to for ten years, and I think telling them the truth is a whole lot more important than this investigation of yours."
Jones and I glared at each other, and Chretien stepped in. "I think we're getting off the topic here. Please understand, we're not telling you not to do your story. But your interest is in Meneses primarily and his association with the U.S. government and the Contras, correct?"
That was one of my interests, I said.
"Well, I think we can help him there, can't we?" Chretien asked, glancing around the room at the other agents. "Maybe if we got you that information, you could focus your story more on him and less on Blandon? And maybe you wouldn't have to mention some other things?"
"That all depends," I said, "on what that other information is."
Chretien smiled and stood up. "Okay, then! We're going to have to talk about this among ourselves. I'm not even sure what we have in mind is legal, but we'd at least like to explore it. Could we ask that you please not print anything until we've talked again? Can you give us a week or two?"
I told him I'd wait for his call.
When I returned to Sacramento, I phoned former DEA agent Celerino Castillo III, who had investigated allegations of Contra drug trafficking at Ilopango air base in El Salvador in the mid-1980s. I asked him if he'd ever heard of Craig Chretien.
"Yeah, sure," Castillo said. "I know him. He was one of the people DEA sent to Guatemala to do the internal investigation of me." He said Chretien and another DEA official had ordered him to put the word "alleged" in his reports to Washington about Contra drug shipments from Ilopango. "They said, `You cannot actually come out and say this shit is going on.' And I told them, I'm watching the fucking things fly out of here with my own eyes! Why would I have to say `alleged'?"
I told him of Chretien's remark that there was no proof the Contras were involved in drugs. He snorted. "Aw, bullshit. Of all people, he knows perfectly well what was going on. He was reading all my reports—looking for grammatical errors."



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A TAINTED DEAL ALLOWED DRUG FLOW
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/06/tainted-deal

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the Murder of Kiki Camarena
http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-a-dogged-la-dea-agent-unraveled-the-cias-alleged-role-in-the-murder-of-kiki-camarena-5750278


"There is no question in my mind that people affiliated with, on the payroll of, and carrying the credentials of,the CIA were involved in drug trafficking while involved in support of the contras."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... There are some things the general public does not need to know and shouldn't. I believe democracy flourishes when the government can take legitimate steps to keep its secrets and when the press can decide whether to print what it knows. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
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page 422 / Gary Webb

After two weeks I'd heard nothing back, so I called the San Diego office and asked for Chretien. He no longer works in this office, I was told. He'd been transferred to Washington.
The head of the International Division, Robert J. Nieves—Norwin Meneses's old control agent—had unexpectedly resigned eight days after my meeting with Chretien, I discovered. Chretien had been picked to replace him. (*Nieves began working for Oliver North's company, Guardian Technologies after retiring from the DEA. During the 1980's, Nieves was the agent who had tipped off DEA agent Celerino Castillo III about Contra drug smuggling at El Salvador's Illopongo Airfield in the first place from his office in Panama.)
I never spoke to Chretien again, and I suspected that the meeting in San Diego had been set up to find out what I knew and where I was heading. My suspicions on that score were confirmed in early 1998 with the release of a CIA Inspector General's report, which referenced three CIA cables about me, titled "Possible Attempts to Link CIA to Narcotraffickers," written within weeks of my meeting with the DEA agents in San Diego.
"In November 1995, we were informed by DEA that a reporter has been inquiring about activities in Central America and any links with the Contras," a heavily censored December 4, 1995, cable from CIA head-quarters in Langley stated. "DEA has been alerted that Meneses will undoubtedly claim that he was trafficking narcotics on behalf of CIA to generate money for the Contras. Query whether Station can clarify or amplify on the above information to better identify Meneses or confirm or refute any claims he may make. HQS trace on (FNU) Meneses reveal extensive entries." (Those extensive entries were not revealed in the declassified version of the CIA's 1998 IG report.)
The DEAs public affairs office in Washington later attempted to work out a deal with me to set up an interview with Meneses if I would leave Blandon's DEA ties out of the story, but fortunately my colleague in Nicaragua, freelance journalist Georg Hodel, beat them to the punch. He'd found the massive files of Meneses's 1992 court case in the Nicaraguan Supreme Court and had tracked the drug lord down to a prison outside of Managua.
"The clerk says I am the first journalist ever to ask to see those files, can you imagine?" Hodel asked me. "All the stories written about this case, and not one of those reporters ever looked at the files. I have one of my journalism students, Leonor Delgado, going through and making us an index of all the pages. There are some peculiar things in there, I can tell you."
My tipster, Coral Baca, had told me the truth about Blandon and Meneses, Georg reported. He'd checked it with former Contra commander Eden Pastora, former Contra lawyer Carlos Icaza, and others who knew both men.

__________________
A TAINTED DEAL ALLOWED DRUG FLOW
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/06/tainted-deal

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the Murder of Kiki Camarena
http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-a-dogged-la-dea-agent-unraveled-the-cias-alleged-role-in-the-murder-of-kiki-camarena-5750278


"There is no question in my mind that people affiliated with, on the payroll of, and carrying the credentials of,the CIA were involved in drug trafficking while involved in support of the contras."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... There are some things the general public does not need to know and shouldn't. I believe democracy flourishes when the government can take legitimate steps to keep its secrets and when the press can decide whether to print what it knows. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
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http://www.scribd.com/doc/98863510/The-CIA-The-Contras-And-the-Crack-Cocaine-Explosion-by-Gary-Webb-amp-Maxine-Waters


A pdf is also available here:

 

 

http://www.pdfbook.co.ke/details.php?title=Dark%20Alliance&author=Gary%20Webb&category=Fiction&eid=13553&type=Book


 


__________________
A TAINTED DEAL ALLOWED DRUG FLOW
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/06/tainted-deal

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the Murder of Kiki Camarena
http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-a-dogged-la-dea-agent-unraveled-the-cias-alleged-role-in-the-murder-of-kiki-camarena-5750278


"There is no question in my mind that people affiliated with, on the payroll of, and carrying the credentials of,the CIA were involved in drug trafficking while involved in support of the contras."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... There are some things the general public does not need to know and shouldn't. I believe democracy flourishes when the government can take legitimate steps to keep its secrets and when the press can decide whether to print what it knows. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
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http://www.ajr.org/Article.asp?id=3874

http://www.ajr.org/article.asp?id=3876

http://www.ajr.org/article.asp?id=3875

http://www.ajr.org/article.asp?id=3877






__________________
A TAINTED DEAL ALLOWED DRUG FLOW
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/06/tainted-deal

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the Murder of Kiki Camarena
http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-a-dogged-la-dea-agent-unraveled-the-cias-alleged-role-in-the-murder-of-kiki-camarena-5750278


"There is no question in my mind that people affiliated with, on the payroll of, and carrying the credentials of,the CIA were involved in drug trafficking while involved in support of the contras."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... There are some things the general public does not need to know and shouldn't. I believe democracy flourishes when the government can take legitimate steps to keep its secrets and when the press can decide whether to print what it knows. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
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peter dale scott 2004

[ Home | 9/11 Webpage]

In Memoriam: Gary Webb

 

Gary Webb, Pulitzer Prize winner, died last week in what was pretty clearly a suicide. Even if he pulled the trigger of the gun that killed him, he was still a victim punished unjustly for his pursuit of the truth.

It is clear that anyone who has dared to speak out about the CIA and the drug traffic has risked losing his job. In like fashion Celerino Castillo was eased out of DEA, and Robert Parry lost his job at AP. When Gary was absurdly abused by a pack of attack dogs at the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Washington Post, Gary's editors at the San Jose Mercury-Tribune failed to stand by him; and in the end virtually they forced him off the paper by reassigning him to a trivial suburban post.

The guilty consciences of the major newspapers is reflected now in the demeaning obituaries they have written about him. Gary's treatment of the CIA-drug story was not flawless; no one's is or can be. But he deserved far better than he got; and it is the other journalists who attacked him who should now hang their heads in shame.

It is difficult to be the victim of injustice, and not become obsessed by it. As someone else has observed of this tragedy, it is important that we resist the changes imposed on us by the world, by responding instead to the truth that is within us.

For those of us who have had the luck to survive in this struggle while others have died, some of them murdered, our response must be to carry on.

* * * * * *

My Words for Gary Webb's Memorial Service: More than any of us, Gary Webb changed history, and our knowledge of history. For this he paid a terrible price. The authorities we live under took steps to make sure of that.

At this moment when thousands of Americans and Iraqis are dying for a lie, Gary was a victim of his pursuit of truth. It would have been far far better if he had not died, but at least his was a cause worth dying for.

And as for those who maligned him and are still nervously maligning him: what, if anything, will history say of them?

* * * * * *

 

 

 

My description of the gang attack on Webb is available at http://www.copi.com/articles/pds_da_ww.html.

 

A footnoted version can be read in my Drugs, Contras and the CIA: Government Policies and the Cocaine Economy. An Analysis of Media and Government Response to the Gary Webb Stories in the San Jose Mercury News (1996-2000). Los Angeles: From the Wilderness Publications, 2000. Pp. 50.

 

 

See also “Ceppos Backpeddles: San Jose Mercury News Phony Epilogue,” http://www.csun.edu/CommunicationStudies/ben/news/cia/ceppos/

 

Barbara Bliss Osborn, "Are You Sure You Want to Ruin Your Career? Gary Webb's fate a warning to gutsy reporters," Extra! (March/April 1998), http://www.csun.edu/CommunicationStudies/ben/news/cia/980400.osborn.html.

 

Georg Hodel, "Hung Out to Dry", The Consortium 2:15 (30 June 1997), http://www.radio4all.org/crackcia/hodel.html

Barbara Bliss Osborn, "Are You Sure You Want to Ruin Your Career? Gary Webb's fate a warning to gutsy reporters," Extra! (March/April 1998),

Excerpts from four excellent memorials:

Robert Parry, "America's Debt to Journalist Gary Webb," Consortium News, 12/13/04, http://www.consortiumnews.com/2004/121304.html

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. He was attacked by journalistic colleagues at the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the American Journalism Review and even the Nation magazine. Under this media pressure, his editor Jerry Ceppos sold out the story and demoted Webb, causing him to quit the Mercury News. Even Webb's marriage broke up.

On Friday, Dec. 10, Gary Webb, 49, died of an apparent suicide, a gunshot wound to the head.

Whatever the details of Webb's death, American history owes him a huge debt. Though denigrated by much of the national news media, Webb's contra-cocaine series prompted internal investigations by the Central Intelligence Agency and the Justice Department, probes that confirmed that scores of contra units and contra-connected individuals were implicated in the drug trade. The probes also showed that the Reagan-Bush administration frustrated investigations into those crimes for geopolitical reasons....

 

Jeff Cohen, "R.I.P. Gary Webb -- Unembedded Reporter," http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=21&ItemID=6863

Gary Webb, a courageous investigative journalist who was the target of one of the most ferocious media attacks on any reporter in recent history, was found dead Friday after an apparent suicide.

In August 1996, Webb wrote one of the first pieces of journalism that reached a massive audience thanks to the Internet: an explosive 20,000 word, three-part series documenting links between cocaine traffickers, the crack epidemic of the 1980s and the CIA-organized right-wing Nicaraguan Contra army of that era. The series sparked major interest in the social justice and African-American communities, leading to street protests, constant discussion on black-oriented talk radio and demands by Congressional Black Caucus members for a federal investigation. But weeks later, Webb suffered a furious backlash at the hands of national media unaccustomed to seeing their role as gatekeepers diminished by the emerging medium known as the WorldWideWeb.

Webb's explosive San Jose Mercury News series documented that funders of the Contras included drug traffickers who played a role in the crack epidemic that hit Los Angeles and other cities. Webb's series focused heavily on Oscar Danilo Blandon, a cocaine importer and federal informant, who once testified in federal court that "whatever we were running in L.A., the profit was going to the Contra revolution." Blandon further testified that Colonel Enrique Bermudez, a CIA asset who led the Contra army against Nicaragua's leftwing Sandinista government, knew the funds were from drug running. (Bermudez was a colonel during the Somoza dictatorship in Nicaragua.)

Webb reported that U.S. law enforcement agents complained that the CIA had squelched drug probes of Blandon and his partner Norwin Meneses in the name of "national security." Blandon's drugs flowed into L.A. and elsewhere thanks to the legendary "Freeway" Ricky Donnell Ross, a supplier of crack to the Crips and Bloods gangs.

While Webb's series could be faulted for some overstatement in presenting its powerful new evidence (a controversial graphic on the Mercury News website superimposed a person smoking crack over the CIA seal), the fresh documentation mightily moved forward the CIA-Contra-cocaine story that national media had been trying to bury for years. Any exaggeration in the Mercury News presentation was dwarfed by a mendacious, triple-barreled attack on Webb that came from the New York Times, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times....

 

 

Michael C. Ruppert, "Gary Webb, Pulitzer Prize Winner, Author of Dark Alliance CIA-Drug Series Dead of Reported Suicide: Press Accounts Fail to Mention His Vindication by CIA Inspector General Reports and Congressional Investigations,” http://www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/121304_gary_webb.shtml

December 13, 2004 1400 PDT (FTW) - Gary Webb, 49, the Pulitzer Prize winning reporter from the San Jose Mercury News made America hold its breath in 1996 when he showed us proof of direct CIA involvement in drug trafficking. For a few months many of us had hope. He reportedly died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head two days ago. His body was discovered at 8:20 AM Saturday as movers reportedly found a note on the door of his residence asking them not to enter but to call for paramedics. Webb's August 1996 series Dark Alliance for the San Jose Mercury News pulled deep covers away from US covert operations and American denial about connections between the CIA and drugs. Gary left a bigger historical footprint than anyone who has ever touched the subject including among others, Peter Dale Scott, Alfred McCoy, Jonathan Kwitny and me. His footprint was made possible in large part for two reasons. First, his reporting was meticulous and produced hard records that could not be effectively denied. Second, prominent African-American leaders like Jesse Jackson and representatives Maxine Waters and Juanita Millender-McDonald of Los Angeles and Compton respectively took up the torch lit by Gary and ran with it just before the 1996 presidential election which saw Bill Clinton win his second term just eight weeks after the stories broke. I was there at that time and it is not an understatement to say that much of this country was "up in arms". Waters at one point vowed to make the CIA-drug connections, fully documented by Webb, her "life's work" if necessary.

In death the major press is beating him almost as ruthlessly as they did in real life. No part of the major press has acknowledged that Webb's work was subsequently vindicated by congressional investigations and two CIA Inspector General's reports released in 1997 and 1998. FTW did report on Webb's vindication and his legacy has - at least at the level of authentic journalism - not been lost.

 

Al Giordano, "Gary Webb: Do What He Did," http://narcosphere.narconews.com/story/2004/12/15/184725/08

LACANDON JUNGLE, CHIAPAS, MEXICO, DECEMBER 15, 2004: I keep imagining the last moments of Gary's life. He is looking down the barrel of a gun. His eyes are puffy from the swell of too many tears. The moving van is coming to his house near Sacramento, a place he never wanted to be in the first place, to which he was exiled years ago for the crime of telling a powerful but uncomfortable truth. Everyone he has ever trusted or loved has abandoned him: By that I mean everyone, including you and me.

What he is about to do requires the utmost in courage: to pull the trigger and plunge into the unknown, perhaps into nothingness, never to write or report or tell his truth to the post-human mortals who couldn't handle his truth anyway.

The hand on the trigger at that moment -- " his " -- is not the first, nor is he acting alone. Gary had to wait in line and take a number behind all those who set his suicide in motion years ago. It was a miracle he didn't do this back when San Jose Mercury News editor Jerry Ceppos, now 58 and vice president of the Knight-Ridder news company, cocked the shotgun and pulled the trigger on the most authentic journalistic career of the late 20th Century. That was the day that the bullet flew out of the cartridge and, as if in very slow motion, took years to reach Gary's head...

Gary never wrote with mere ink or pixels. Gary opened up a vein every time he sat down to tell us a new truth and he signed his byline, always, in blood. If you think that his suicide did not send as powerful a message as the stories he investigated and penned in life, think again: Gary was The Last North American Career Journalist. He presided over a transitional era and his death marks the end of that era.

Fellow and sister journalists: The canary has died in the coal mine. Run out of that mine now, and seek alternate routes to truth-telling. There is no longer room for us inside the corporate machine.

All over the world he is mourned today. The companeros here in Chiapas came to me last night. "You knew him. He worked for you. Did he ever come here? Did he know about us?"

As they peppered me with questions I retreated far into myself. Time and space stopped, as it has before in this deep green tropical jungle. I could see it -- the bullet (two bullets say the coroner: Gary was nothing if not thorough and persistent; imagine for a moment what strength it took to get off the second round) off in the distance somewhere over California, those bullets, the first one fired by that traitor-to-journalism-and-truth Jerry Ceppos in San Jose, those bullets that came out the other side of Gary's cranium in Sacramento last week and took a southern turn toward me. And when they are done with me they will come for you. I could see and hear them heading my way last night and so today I type these words in a hurry so as to shoot back before my brains, too, are splattered on the page of history.

 

AND SEE ALSO:

Eric Umansky, "Total Coverage: The CIA, Contras, and Drugs The CIA-coke connection was detailed long before Dark Alliance -- and the evidence keeps coming," Mother Jones, August 25, 1998, http://www.motherjones.com/news/special_reports/total_coverage/coke.html

Peter Dale Scott, "What Will Congress Do Now About New CIA-Drug Revelations?" San Francisco Chronicle, 6/19/00, http://www.lightparty.com/WarOnDrugs/WhatWillCongressDo.html

Peter Dale Scott, Review of Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion, San Francisco Chronicle, 6/28/98; Lobster, 36, Winter 1998-9, http://www.lobster-magazine.co.uk/online/issue36/lob36-11.htm (a subscription archive, but well worth it):

Two years ago Gary Webb touched off a national controversy with his news stories linking the CIA and the Nicaraguan Contras to the rise of the crack epidemic in Los Angeles and elsewhere. His gripping new book, richly researched and documented, deserves an even wider audience and discussion.

The book profits from corroborating CIA and police records that have been released in response to his stories. Documents from a drug raid in October 1986 show that the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department had already stumbled upon the substance of Webb's charges about Nicaraguan drug trafficker Daniel Blandon a full 10 years before Webb's account was published in the San Jose Mercury News.

One sheriff's department document reported that 'the Blandon organization is believed to be moving hundreds of kilos of cocaine a month in the Southern California area.' It added that 'the money goes toward the purchase of arms to aid the "Contra" rebels fighting the civil war in Nicaragua.'

Did these sheriffs' reports in 1986 over-simplify what they had discovered? Possibly. But their fears that the Feds would not allow their case to go forward were rapidly confirmed. The case was dropped; key documents and evidence disappeared from the files; and Blandon, who had been arrested with cocaine in his possession, was released within hours to continue trafficking, 'even as the FBI watched'.

Suppose the documents on Blandon and his Nicaraguan mentor Norwin Meneses, an even bigger drug trafficker and Contra supporter, had been released in the 1980s instead of now. Critics alleging a Contra-drug link would have been proven right, and the CIA's and Reagan Administration's routine denials exposed. The Contras might not have received another nickel. Thus the Administration, instead of arresting Meneses and Blandon, protected them. Later, Blandon became a DEA informant, and apparently so did Meneses.

Webb claims that in the mid-1980s, the flow of cocaine from Blandon to L.A. crack dealer Ricky Ross reached its zenith. This was the period of the Boland amendment prohibiting U.S. government aid to the Contras. It was also when Ross enlarged his network to include a host of smaller crack producers, many of them members of various Crips gangs. By the time Ross was busted in 1987 he and the Crips had expanded their crack empire across the United States. According to Webb, Blandon was also selling 'exotic weapons and communication gear . . . to Freeway Rick and his fellow crack dealers.'

Among the storm of issues raised by Webb's original series, one of the most hotly contested was the importance of Blandon, Ross and the Crips to the crack epidemic that in 1986 burst into public awareness. In the book, Webb musters formidable expert sources for this allegation.

In other respects the book can be criticized. As a journalist trained to write compact stories, he is stronger on street and court detail than on the bureaucratic complexities of Washington. Subtle arguments can become telescoped into punchy summaries that are sometimes oversimplified. Webb is most controversial when implicating the CIA, relying heavily on slippery phrases like 'CIA agent'. To him it is important that in December 1981 a 'CIA agent', Contra commander Enrique Bermudez, 'had given the goddamned order' to Meneses and Blandon to begin trafficking in support of the Contras. In the larger context of such a powerful book, this seems likely to generate needless quibbles, and remains a side issue at best. As even Webb admits, the CIA in 1981 had relatively little daily control over Contra leaders.

More important was the decision of top Reagan advisers (not just in the CIA) to reorganize (as Contras) the old Somoza National Guard, about whose drug and other criminal activities the Nicaraguan bishops had complained back in 1978. Equally disastrous was the initial decision to leave oversight of the Contras to Argentine intelligence officers, for whom the drug-financing of operations was a way of life.

On March 16, 1998, in response to Webb's allegations, the CIA Inspector-General admitted that in early 1982 the CIA secured permission from Attorney General William French Smith not to report on the drug activities of CIA agents, assets and contract employees. This agreement was not fully rescinded until 1995, when Webb began his investigations. Here is the true CIA responsibility for our drug plague: not by giving an 'order', but by condoning the traffic, protecting it, obstructing the efforts of those who tried to combat it and helping to force honest journalists like Webb who reported it out of jobs.

From this 1982 agreement apparently flowed even more bizarre drug aspects of Iran-Contra: special freedom of movement for indicted drug traffickers into and out of the United States, sometimes without having to clear Customs; similar privileges for their trafficking air planes; federal intervention to stop domestic drug cases, or seal or even destroy evidence; a government-protected air base for traffickers in El Salvador (Ilopango) that a DEA agent could not visit; and even CIA-DEA plotting to smuggle wanted or convicted drug traffickers away from Central American law enforcement.

None of these serious allegations has ever been properly investigated. Until they are, it will appear that in the real drug war -- the one between key protected traffickers and the American people -- some parts of the U.S. government are on the wrong side.

If this impression is mistaken, there is an easy way to dispel it. Readers of this pivotal and challenging book should demand that the still-classified studies of Webb's charges (two by the CIA, one by the Justice Department) be released, along with all the still-withheld files on Meneses and Blandon.

[Note: Eventually the Bromwich Justice Report and Hitz CIA Inspector General's Reports were released. They corroborated Webb in part, and added much significant new information. See my Drugs, Contras and the CIA: Government Policies and the Cocaine Economy. An Analysis of Media and Government Response to the Gary Webb Stories in the San Jose Mercury News (1996-2000. Los Angeles: From the Wilderness Publications, 2000. Pp. 50.]


__________________
A TAINTED DEAL ALLOWED DRUG FLOW
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/06/tainted-deal

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the Murder of Kiki Camarena
http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-a-dogged-la-dea-agent-unraveled-the-cias-alleged-role-in-the-murder-of-kiki-camarena-5750278


"There is no question in my mind that people affiliated with, on the payroll of, and carrying the credentials of,the CIA were involved in drug trafficking while involved in support of the contras."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... There are some things the general public does not need to know and shouldn't. I believe democracy flourishes when the government can take legitimate steps to keep its secrets and when the press can decide whether to print what it knows. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
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maynard

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Reply with quote  #8 
Bob Parry on the 8th anniversary of Gary's death:


The Warning in Gary Webb’s Death

December 9, 2012
From the Archive: Modern U.S. history is more complete because journalist Gary Webb had the courage to revive the dark story of the Reagan administration’s protection of Nicaraguan Contra cocaine traffickers in the 1980s. But Webb ultimately paid a terrible price, as Robert Parry reports


John Hull’s Great Escape

December 9, 2012

From the Archive: The U.S. political/media world often operates without justice. Truth-tellers get punished and the well-connected get off. On this eighth anniversary of journalist Gary Webb’s suicide, we are re-posting one of the stories that Webb’s brave work forced out, albeit without a satisfying ending.

Read more »




__________________
A TAINTED DEAL ALLOWED DRUG FLOW
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/06/tainted-deal

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the Murder of Kiki Camarena
http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-a-dogged-la-dea-agent-unraveled-the-cias-alleged-role-in-the-murder-of-kiki-camarena-5750278


"There is no question in my mind that people affiliated with, on the payroll of, and carrying the credentials of,the CIA were involved in drug trafficking while involved in support of the contras."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... There are some things the general public does not need to know and shouldn't. I believe democracy flourishes when the government can take legitimate steps to keep its secrets and when the press can decide whether to print what it knows. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
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maynard

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Posts: 1,154
Reply with quote  #9 
Actor Jeremy Renner
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeremy_Renner
will portray Gary Webb in the movie "Killing The Messenger"

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1216491/
scheduled to begin filming this summer. The film will be distributed by Universal.

This is a major production folks!

http://www.jeremyleerenner.com/news/jeremy-renner-ready-to-kill-the-messenger-in-berlin-bound-film-package-about-cia-smeared-journo-gary-webb/

Feb 1 2013
Jeremy Renner Ready To ‘Kill The Messenger’ In Berlin-Bound Film Package About CIA-Smeared Journo Gary Webb

The movie packages are coming together on the eve of next week’s Berlin film market. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters star Jeremy Renner has been set to star in Kill The Messenger, a thriller that Michael Cuesta will direct that is based on the tragic tale of a journalist who committed suicide after being smeared by the CIA. The script was written by Peter Landesman. Cuesta seems perfect for this; he’s an exec producer and has directed numerous episodes of Homeland and has been integral in establishing the visual look of that show. He also helmed the pilots for Dexter and Elementary.

Scott Stuber, who set up this project eight years ago as producer at Universal, will be joined by Renner and Don Handfield, and it will be a co-production between Stuber’s Bluegrass and Renner’s The Combine. Naomi Despres is also producing. The film begins production in the summer.

This is a project that has been in the works for several years, and most recently it had been at Universal with Stuber. If the CIA mostly wears a white hat in Zero Dark Thirty for its dogged efforts to track and kill Osama bin Laden, the agency wears a decidedly black lid here. Kill The Messenger is based on the true story of Gary Webb, a San Jose Mercury News reporter who committed suicide after being the target of a smear campaign when he linked the CIA to a scheme to arm Contra rebels in Nicaragua and import cocaine into California.

Landesman (who is right now making his directorial debut on the JFK assassination pic Parkland) put the script together with source material from two books: Dark Alliance: The CIA, The Contras, And The Crack Cocaine Explosion, by Webb, and Nick Schou’s Kill The Messenger: How The CIA’s Crack-Cocaine Controversy Destroyed Journalist Gary Webb.

After he published his 1996 three-part series Dark Alliance, and implied that the CIA was a catalyst for the crack cocaine scourge in California, Webb was excoriated by colleagues in the press. The film will posit that Webb was mostly right, and that the CIA sought to smear him to conceal a scandal. The agency, in essence, concealed a deal with the devil that it made for what was believed at the time to be for the greater good. As a result of the smear campaign, Webb was destroyed; what should have been a careermaking expose turned out to be a career-ending debacle. Webb was jobless and in a spiral of depression when he ended his life in 2004.

CAA, which represents Renner and Stuber, will co-represent the film’s domestic distribution rights with WME, which represents Cuesta. The agencies will bring the project to Berlin. Renner is managed by Untitled’s Beth Holden.

Renner next stars in the Abscam drama that David O Russell is directing with Christian Bale and Bradley Cooper.



http://movies.yahoo.com/news/jeremy-renner-ready-kill-messenger-berlin-bound-film-222227439.html

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/berlin-jeremy-renners-gary-webb-420342

http://insidemovies.ew.com/2013/02/05/focus-features-kill-the-messenger/




__________________
A TAINTED DEAL ALLOWED DRUG FLOW
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/06/tainted-deal

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the Murder of Kiki Camarena
http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-a-dogged-la-dea-agent-unraveled-the-cias-alleged-role-in-the-murder-of-kiki-camarena-5750278


"There is no question in my mind that people affiliated with, on the payroll of, and carrying the credentials of,the CIA were involved in drug trafficking while involved in support of the contras."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... There are some things the general public does not need to know and shouldn't. I believe democracy flourishes when the government can take legitimate steps to keep its secrets and when the press can decide whether to print what it knows. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
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maynard

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Reply with quote  #10 
Tribute to 'Dark Alliance' and Gary Webb (pt. 1)
by Brian Covert / Independent Journalist
Sunday Dec 10th, 2006 3:48 PM

A decade after the "Dark Alliance" newspaper series sent shockwaves around the world with its investigation into crack cocaine/CIA/Contra connections, a tribute is presented to "Dark Alliance" and its investigator/author, journalist Gary Webb....and to the true spirit of journalism that he represented in his time.

webb-at-ccsf.gif
webb-at-ccsf.gif

Gary Webb, reporter for the San Jose Mercury News, speaking on his "Dark Alliance" investigation to students at City College of San Francisco, 12 February 1997. (Photo courtesy of The Guardsman, CCSF campus newspaper, http://www.theguardsman.com/)



'A NATURAL STORY':

A Tribute to 'Dark Alliance' and Journalist Gary Webb

— Part I —

Gary Webb on "Dark Alliance" - Speech at City College of San Francisco

12:00 p.m., Wednesday, 12 February 1997



By Brian Covert
Independent Journalist

It was a beautiful late-winter afternoon in the San Francisco Bay Area and the campus of City College of San Francisco was bustling with students. Although it was the middle of the day, with classes still in session, it was clear from the steady stream of students filing into one of the college’s halls that they had no intention of either attending classes or leaving the campus for lunch. They had come to listen to a newspaper reporter from the nearby San Jose Mercury News talk about his explosive series that was still raising controversy six months after it was published.

Gary Webb’s speech at City College of San Francisco that winter day was being covered not only by the campus press but also by a television production crew from Japan that was filming in U.S. cities on the east and west coasts for a special Japanese prime-time program on the “drug scourge” in several regions of the globe. As an independent journalist based in Japan I had been eagerly following the “Dark Alliance” controversy on the Internet, and as part of our crew now filming Stateside I had arranged to have Webb’s speech at CCSF and an interview with him the next day in Sacramento taped for the Japanese TV program. During that interview, Webb, when asked why the American mainstream media would not want to tell the public about the U.S. government’s role in the “Dark Alliance” scenario, answered: “That’s a damn good question. I mean, to me it seems like a natural story.” And indeed it was.

Webb’s “Dark Alliance” investigation was, in fact, one of the most significant news stories in modern times — just as significant as or arguably more significant, in many ways, than the Watergate investigation of the 1970s — for several reasons. First of all, “Dark Alliance” filled in a critical missing chapter in the longtime connections between the international drug trade, and the United States’ wars abroad and its nationwide drug problems at home. Secondly, the U.S. mainstream news media — especially the Los Angeles Times, New York Times and Washington Post newspapers — essentially defended the U.S. government from any real complicity in the “Dark Alliance” scenario. Those news organizations set out to debunk the “Dark Alliance” investigation and apparently to destroy the journalistic credibility of Webb himself — an unprecedented act in modern-day mainstream journalism. And just as significantly, “Dark Alliance” at the time was a pioneer in using the then-developing Internet and World Wide Web as effective tools for journalists to use in bringing their investigations before the public.

Regrettably, the Japanese crew’s footage of Webb ended up on the cutting room floor and was not shown when the TV program aired in Japan a few months later in April 1997. But the work and words of the late Gary Webb live on. The following speech by Webb was saved on audio and is presented for the first time anywhere in transcribed form (with minor editing, including to account for drops in sound quality) in this three-part tribute. It is presented here in three main parts to commemorate the three parts of the “Dark Alliance” series that originally ran in the northern California-based San Jose Mercury News on 18, 19 and 20 August 1996. This tribute is also being published today, the second anniversary of Webb’s death from gunshot wounds in December 2004, in this 10th anniversary year of the original publishing of “Dark Alliance” by the Mercury News.

Picture the scene now as Mr. Juan Gonzales, chair of the journalism department of City College of San Francisco, introduces the San Jose Mercury News reporter, and a hush falls over the crowd of about 100 people in the hall as Gary Webb begins to speak....

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

‘Information curtain’

Thanks a lot for being here. It’s a great day outside; I’m surprised to see that many people inside. But I will try to make it worth your while. As he [Gonzales] said, I’ve been an investigative reporter for 18 years for daily newspapers. I did sports reporting, rock and roll reviews, film reviews and stuff before that. But for about the past 15 years of my career, I’ve been concentrating on primarily government malfeasance or misfeasance, whatever you want to call it. So I’m usually pretty busy.

One of the frustrations I’ve always had in covering government is that you know deep inside that what you’re seeing isn’t really what’s happening. By the time they come out of their committee hearings and by the time the proposals are presented to the public, there have been thousands and thousands of machinations and hundreds of hours of work behind closed doors that the public never knows about. And my job, I’ve always felt, has been to actually get inside that process and see how things that the government does to us get to that point — why things happen the way they happen. And it’s only occasionally that that sort of “information curtain” opens.

You know, when you’re trying to investigate the government, they’ve got all the information, they’ve got all the files, and they don’t let most of the people who work for them talk to you. So there really is sort of an “information curtain” between the government and the people who are supposed to be benefiting from their work. Only occasionally does this curtain sort of part, where you can get in and see, you know, sort of the skeletons and the intestines of the government. This story [“Dark Alliance”], in particular, is probably the most horrifying one I’ve ever worked on. That was a situation that, you know — like I said, 18 years I been doing this and this was, like, once or twice in a lifetime where all the planets line up right. You know, people, documents surface that have long been hidden and you’re presented with a revelation that really blows your mind, if you’re not ready for it.

And that’s what happened with this story. The last couple of years I’ve been covering the drug war of America, and I’ve written a number of fairly lengthy series of articles about what’s been going on behind the scenes in the war on drugs. It was this vein that I was mining that led me to the tip that started me on this story. I had done a series about “asset forfeitures,” which is this nifty little program that the police came up with where if somebody thinks you’re a drug dealer and they tell the police that, the police can go in your house and take everything you own — which was a very profitable thing. And I did a series on this program in ’93; three weeks later the [California state] legislature abolished it, which I thought was a good thing. Now, in California, at least they have to convict you of a crime before they can take your money or your property or your car. That seems fair.

But I did this story, and I got a call from a woman in Oakland who had seen one of my follow-ups that I had done. And she said, “I got a good story for you. My boyfriend’s been in jail for three years now, allegedly on ‘cocaine conspiracy,’ and he’s never been brought to trial.” They’d taken all his property. And I said, “Well, you know, I sort of just wrote a bunch of stories about that stuff happening. What’s different about this one?” And she said, “Well, what’s different about this one is that the government’s main witness against him is a CIA operative who brought about 40 tons of cocaine into the United States a few years back, and nothing ever happened to him.” And I said, “Well that is interesting” [audience laughs]. And I said, you know, “I get a lot of phone calls from a lot of people saying that the CIA does a lot of things. Why should I believe you?” And she said, “Well, I’ve got the records. I’ve got all these documents that the government gave us under discovery. And before you write me off as a wacko, you really ought to come over here and look at this stuff.”

And that’s what I like to hear! I like to hear people calling me up and saying, “I got the records.” So I arranged to meet her at the San Francisco courthouse where her boyfriend was having yet another hearing on when they were going to bring him to trial. And she handed me a stack of documents that she’d brought, and then I looked at them. I had to, like, get up and walk around because I was so agitated.

‘Thugs and cutthroats’

What it was, one of the key things was a grand jury transcript — a federal grand jury transcript — which in my business is like gold. You almost never see transcripts of federal grand juries; they’re secret forever. And somehow, the government had let this one go and given it to these defendants. And what it said was — and this was in the words of the man who was doing it — that he was a former Nicaraguan government official. In 1979, his government….just lost control of their government; it was overthrown by the Sandinistas. And so he was not very popular in Nicaragua anymore and so he came to the United States, and started working for an organization called the “Contras.” And the Contras were this band of former Nicaraguan National Guardsmen, essentially thugs and cutthroats. The Nicaraguan National Guard had the most corrupt army in Central America under [military dictator Anastasio] Somoza during the mid-’70s. And these guys didn’t like getting kicked out of power, so they got together after the war and said, “Well, now we’ve gotta fight back and take the country back over.” And Danilo Blandón, who was the drug dealer, was one of the founders of this party. He was one of the founders of this movement.

And so what he told the grand jury here in San Francisco was that in 1981, he met a guy named Norwin Meneses, who was another big Nicaraguan drug dealer. And they went down to Honduras and met with the military commander of the Contras, a fellow named Enrique Bermúdez, who had been on the CIA payroll from probably 1980, probably even before that. And he told them, “Hey, we got a war going here. We need some money.” And what he said was that “the ends justify the means.” And since he’s talking to these two cocaine dealers, I don’t think anything much more needed to be said. They went back. And what Blandón testified was that he came back to San Francisco and he went to this, like, “drug dealer school” up here that Meneses put on. He said it took him a couple of days and they showed him how to, you know, measure it, how to weight it, how to tell good cocaine from bad cocaine, how to launder the money, how to hide it in car compartments.

He said he had two kilos of cocaine and he got sent down to Los Angeles to sell for the Contras. And you know, he claimed he’d never been a cocaine dealer before; he wasn’t very good at it at first. But he eventually became very good at it because he had an MBA in marketing [audience laughs]. This wasn’t your ordinary cocaine dealer. When his ruler [Somoza] got kicked out of power, he [Blandón] was the Nicaraguan government’s director of wholesale markets. And he was financed by the United States….at the University of Colombia at Bogotá to get his MBA — to allegedly develop agricultural markets in Nicaragua. And what he ended up doing was coming to the United States as an exile and setting up a wholesale market for cocaine in South Central Los Angeles, which, up to that point, really didn’t have a cocaine market because the stuff was just way too expensive, even for rich people. The price of cocaine in about 1980, when he started selling it, was $65,000 a kilo — $4,500 an ounce.

But he had it — and a lot of it. And he was getting it from Mr. Meneses, the guy who was one of the cocaine dealers, even before the Contras. This guy [Meneses] was such an accomplished cocaine dealer….And he was really plugged in, too. His brother was, like, Nicaragua’s ambassador to Guatemala. He had another brother who was a police chief in Nicaragua. [Meneses was] another guy who really had an atypical background. But he came to the United States and became a cocaine dealer.

So what happened was, Blandón came down to “cocaine school” with his two kilos and started looking around for some markets. And he found that, “Hey, nobody’s selling cocaine in South Central. It’s wide open.” They’re selling PCP, you know, which isn’t a very cool drug at all. But cocaine was all right; I mean, everybody was doing it, you know. So he went down there and he started selling cocaine. And he had a number of guys working for him and they made inroads — not very quickly because it was still fairly expensive.

But they eventually hooked up with this guy named “Freeway” Rick Ross. And Freeway Rick was another sort of main character. He was a high school tennis star, and he had gotten all the way through high school and was getting ready to go to college on a tennis scholarship when people figured out that he couldn’t read or write. He would pass through [classes] because he was a tennis player. And these colleges don’t want people who can’t read or write, you know. Scholarship or no scholarship, it sort of looks bad. [laughter in audience]

And he was suddenly left without anything to do. And so he went to a vocational school and he started learning how to bind books and he started learning how to do auto upholstery. And his auto upholstery teacher was a cocaine dealer. As Rick got to know him, it just eventually became known to him that the guy was recreational, tooting a little cocaine every once in a while. And he was telling Rick, “What a great market this is, what a great drug this is,” you know, “people spend a lot of money for it. Hard to get — but I know a guy who can get it for you if you want it.” And Rick said, “Well, how much does it cost to get into the cocaine business?” And his teacher told him, “You can get an ‘eight track’ for 300 bucks.” And an “eight track” was a small amount of cocaine.

And so Rick and his friend Ollie [Newell] went out and they stole some wheels and sold them. Actually, I think they went to their high school parking lot and stole some teachers’ cars [audience laughs] and sold the parts, then cut the money. And he [Rick Ross] came to the teacher and said, “OK, we got the money.” And they introduced him to this Nicaraguan guy named Henry [Corrales]. And Henry started selling them little bits of cocaine. And Rick, instead of taking his profits and going out and snorting them, he just went back to Henry and bought twice as much the next time. And it kept going and going and going.

‘Collision of events’

And what happened was, at the same time the guy was setting up this little drug business in South Central, you have this sort of epidemic called “crack” coming up from South America. Crack didn’t just sort of spring out of nowhere, as the sort of popular misconception [goes]: like, in the mid-’80s a couple of basketball players died and suddenly it was a huge “crisis.” It came along very methodically, just like a regular epidemic.

And by 1979, the government’s drug experts were going to Congress and saying, you know, “We got big problems. You better start thinking about what we’re gonna do about it, because there’s this habit that started down in Peru and it’s on it’s way up here, called ‘cocaine smoking’” — which nobody did; they snorted cocaine. Except now, with these cartels that started in Colombia, there was a lot of paste laying around and somebody figured out, “Hey, you smoke this stuff and, man, it’ll really get you high.” And a lot of people started doing it. There was this huge epidemic in Peru in the mid-’70s — you know, bankers, lawyers and [other] people were just, you know, they were winding up in insane asylums. And the Peruvians couldn’t figure this out because, you know, people had been using cocaine in Peru for 10,000 years; nobody ever had any problems with it. But suddenly the insane asylums were filling up with people suffering from this thing called “cocaine psychosis.” And the reason was because they were smoking it.

So by ’79, America’s drug experts knew it was coming and they went to Congress and said, “Oh, we got big problems.” Congress said, “Well, thanks for your testimony, doctor. See you later.” And that’s sort of where it stood. But in 1981, 1982, down in South Central Los Angeles, you got these Nicaraguans coming in with their kilos of cocaine. And after a while it wasn’t just a kilo or two: They had developed a market all up and down the west coast. They were selling it in Seattle, they were selling it in Portland. It wasn’t just, you know, to Black neighborhoods. It was to everybody.

But the problem was, they started selling it in the Black neighborhoods right when this crack epidemic crept into the United States. And so, what you had was this sort of collision of events in South Central, where you have a lot of cocaine coming in because it’s cheap — it’s getting cheaper by the day. Rick Ross’s operation was getting [larger]….Now he was getting requests for “rock.” And he didn’t really know what that was. And he had a couple people he was supplying to and they said, “We don’t want this powder anymore, what we want is ‘rocks’.” Because it gets you higher, it’s like, you know — powdered cocaine is nothing compared to this.

And he started making rock and distributed it. Once you took a drug that was $2,500 an ounce and made it into a drug that could get you just as high for 20 bucks, you got a big problem. You had a problem where a kilo of cocaine could now produce 30 million rocks of crack — one kilo. And suddenly everybody was doing crack cocaine. You know, you didn’t even need a job. It was a big hit. Just like the doctors told Congress in ’79 that it was a big problem in South America and it’s going to be a big problem here — and it was a big problem here. And the sort of, you know, horrifying part about this is: These guys weren’t down there looking around to sell cocaine because they wanted to sell cocaine to themselves; the Nicaraguans were down there selling cocaine for a reason. And that reason was to fund this war of theirs down in Central America.

You know, this took about seven or eight months to put these pieces together and figure out what had happened. And you know, we realized that this was a pretty major story. And so I went down to Nicaragua and I found Norwin Meneses. In 1985, a couple of his deputies got in trouble here....He stayed down there until after the war and then he went back to Nicaragua, where he was almost immediately arrested with 750 kilos of cocaine. And he wound up in jail, and that’s where I found him. I went down to talk to him. And I asked him about Danilo Blandón and I showed him a DEA report that I had gotten that said he had sold 5,000 kilos of cocaine in South Central. And he laughed! And he said, “Well, you might add a zero to that and you’d be a little closer.” Fifty thousand kilos of cocaine he had sold in South Central, according to the man who was selling it.

So the question came up: How did these guys sell that much cocaine — in the middle of the drug war — and never get caught? And we found why: They did get caught! In October 1986, the L.A. County Sheriff’s Office executed a massive raid on these drug operations. According to the search warrant affidavits they filed to get these search warrants, these guys were selling cocaine to the Contras in 1986. They had laundered approximately 100 million dollars since the first of the year. They were probably a hundred people, Contra sympathizers, according to this affidavit, that were involved in this drug operation.

‘Working for the CIA’

They had a guy who was a “security consultant” named Ronald Lister, who was a former police officer, who had been working in counterintelligence for a number of years. He was a private security [consultant]….They had a company together that was exporting laser components, radar….They were selling weapons. They were selling weapons to the gangs in Los Angeles. They [L.A. County sheriffs] go, they file these raids, and they don’t find any cocaine at all. The houses had been almost swept clean. They found a house that was vacated and there was a water hose running in the sink [and all down] the floor. And they became convinced that somebody had burned their drug raid.

And they got to one house and they opened the door: A guy [Lister] is standing there in his bathrobe in this $350,000, $400,000 house in Mission Viejo. And he says to the cops — I talked to the cop who went to the door — he says, “What are you doing here?” He said, “Well, we’re executing a search warrant.” He goes, “I know why you’re doing it — what are you doing here?!” And the cops are looking at each other, and the guy says, “Listen, I’m working for the CIA. You’re not supposed to be here.” And this is in the police report, OK? This is in this police report we found. After the sheriff’s office denied that this raid had ever taken place, we found tons of records.

So they go into his house and they find weapons manuals for missiles, air-to-air missiles. They find a security proposal that the government of El Salvador would provide counterintelligence and countersurveillance of the leftist guerillas in El Salvador. They find maps of weapons routes in the country. And the cops say, “Wait a minute, we’re here on a drug raid. What is this?” And they just take it all. They get very excited and they take it all, take it down to the police department. And they pick up Danilo Blandón, and they do find a little bit of cocaine in his house. And they take him out to the police car and he’s going, “The cocaine is mine! The cocaine is mine! It’s not my wife’s! Don’t arrest her, it’s mine!” And they take him down, they figure, well, you know, “We got this guy. We’ve got pay sheets of his drug deals. We got an admission for cocaine possession.” He’s here as a political asylee, OK? It’s real simple — a real simple process to kick him out of the country. And then they get told, “You guys just go back to work,” you know, “this case has been adopted by the federal government. We’re not gonna file charges. They’re gonna take over the case.” And that’s the last they ever hear about him.

And about a month later, the drug dealer [Blandón] goes down to the Immigration and Naturalization Service — like most drug dealers who are usually caught in a raid [audience laughs]. And he goes and applies for permanent citizenship, OK? And he gets it! And he goes to Miami and he opens up a 24-city rent-a-car business, he opens up a restaurant, and he retires. In the meantime, Rick Ross has become the biggest cocaine trafficker in L.A. He’s doing two or three million dollars a day. He’s doing that much a day. And suddenly there’s crack everywhere. His primary [customers] were the Crips and Bloods, who were also getting weapons and sophisticated anti-bugging devices from Danilo Blandón and his friend, the ex-cop [Ronald Lister].

‘The whole world could read this story’

“So let me give you the story” — this is essentially what we say [in the “Dark Alliance” series]. And all of a sudden, everybody goes, “Oh! What are you saying? That the government was involved in this? That the government knew about this? How can you say that?” And we said, “Well, you know, it’s all on the record.” We’d put it on the World Wide Web; all of our documents are posted on the Internet. In case anybody wants to take a look at ’em, I’ll give you the web address: It’s http://www.sjmercury.com/drugs. [writes it on chalkboard] That’ll get you to the “Dark Alliance” web page.

You know, one of the things that I discovered in my research is that back in 1985, there had been this reporter [Robert Parry] that tried to do this story; actually they got a little bit of it on the AP wire by accident. And immediately what happened was the national media said, “Oh my God! There’s nothing to this! Are you saying the government’s involved? How can you say such a thing?” And this [AP] story just sort of died.

Then in 1988, 1989, a senator from Massachusetts named John Kerry held months and months of hearings on the question of whether the Contras were involved in cocaine trafficking. And they found that, yeah, they were! They had the pilots up there testifying about all the drugs they were flying in and out of the country. And they had the fact that there were four companies that were run by drug dealers that had State Department contracts to haul supplies to the Contras. They had the customs declarations of these CIA agents and the drug dealers who were flying in and out of the country with all this cash. I mean, these guys were smart; they didn’t want to get busted for currency violations: They filled out their forms that said they were taking $400,000 to the Bahamas. So they filed it and went on their way.

You had pilots coming in to testify that they were unloading cocaine in broad daylight on public airstrips. You had the Costa Rican government doing an investigation and deciding that, yeah, these guys were involved in drug trafficking — and so were a number of government officials. And they made them persona non grata! Oliver North can no longer go to Costa Rica. Lewis Tambs, the ambassador [from] the United States, is a persona non grata in Costa Rica. He can’t get into the country. You didn’t see any of this in the United States newspapers. And when somebody asked the Washington Post, you know, “Don’t you think it’s newsworthy that the Costa Rican legislature declared U.S. government officials persona non grata?”, the response was: “Well, just because the Costa Rican legislature says it, it doesn’t mean it’s true.” [laughter in audience]

So, you know, we knew that when we did this story, you know, the shit was going to hit the fan — as it had every time anybody had dared to raise this issue. And we said, “OK, how can we convince people that this is true,” you know, “that we’re not making this stuff up?” So we came up with that [Mercury News web page]. And this is something I think that really honked a lot of people off. We couldn’t just keep this story in San Jose now. In fact, the whole world could read this story. And yes, we went around and told people, “Hey, if you want to read this story, you don’t have to live in San Jose. You can look it up on the Internet.” And a lot of people did look it up on the Internet: I think one day we had 1.3 million hits on our website. And we kept working on the story. We found some additional documentation that said, yeah, you know, what we wrote back in August [1996] was true — documents that we didn’t know existed then.

And yet, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post — papers that had ignored this story since 1987 — suddenly decided, “Well, there’s something here. Let’s take a look at it.” And so they went and they talked to the government. The government said — not on the record, of course, nobody wants to go on the record with anything — but they had high-level assurances that this stuff was just nonsense: that “Yeah, these guys were Contras but they weren’t ‘Contra officials’.” They didn’t have little cards that said they were Contra officials. And “Yeah, these guys were big drug dealers, but they weren’t the biggest drug dealers in the world; they only sold five tons.” And this was in the Washington Post. I’m not making this stuff up! [laughter in audience]. And “Yeah, they donated money to the Contras from this drug operation, but we have an anonymous source that says it was $50,000.” Meanwhile, we’ve got grand jury testimony and public sworn testimony that says it was between 12 and 18 million dollars....

And so this had been the sort of level of criticism that was raised against the series. And you know, like I said, we’re perfectly happy to show this to anybody in the universe — what we’re basing our story on. We’ve posted the documents on the website. And it’s really significant stuff. I mean, I was really delighted to see this. I came up with some undercover DEA tapes where this Nicaraguan [Blandón] was bragging about all the thousands of kilos of cocaine he sold to “those Blacks.” And he said, “You know, I only sell to Blacks because they go through this stuff fast. I don’t even need warehouses. I bring this stuff in, and you don’t even need the warehouse.” This was on these DEA tapes.

‘Damn, this is great’

One important part of the story I forget to mention is that when I finally tracked down Danilo Blandón, the guy who brought all this dope into South Central, you know what he was doing? He was working for the U.S. government! [laughter in audience] He wasn’t in jail — he was a DEA informant! See, after he retired to Miami, he got into a little problem with GM. And he told about this in court, which I found rather fascinating: It was all these problems with General Motors, a line of credit that he set up with Chrysler — you know, just drove him crazy, drove him to bankruptcy. So he had to get back into the cocaine business.

And so he went back to Los Angeles and started selling down in South Central again; he came up here and started selling in San Jose, started selling in the Bay Area. And then he got caught. And so, what did the federal government do? They had this guy that sold all these tons and tons and tons of cocaine for all these years. His mandatory sentencing, according to the prosecutor, was off the charts — that’s what he said in court. He [Blandón] got 28 months. Suddenly he decided, “I have a lot to tell these guys.” And the federal government said, “Oh yeah, yeah, tell us about it. Meanwhile, why don’t you come and work for us? We’ll make you a citizen, we’ll make your wife a citizen. We’ll start a new business for you.” And so he started a new business down in Nicaragua. And the government’s paid him at last count — the last they’ve admitted to — $166,000 for working for the DEA. And what is his case, what is the first case he gives them? Freeway Rick Ross — the guy he was selling all this cocaine to.

I think this is the first time in history that you get a drug trafficker and instead of going up the ladder, you go down the ladder: You get the guy’s [buyer] instead of the supplier. And the reason they couldn’t get a supplier is because Mr. Meneses was also working for the DEA. These guys didn’t go to jail! They became government employees. And they became informants for the federal government. And that’s what Mr. Blandón is now. That’s where I found him; that’s what he was doing. And he was getting ready to testify against Freeway Rick. After he had decided he would be a good guy now and go work for the government, he sets up Ross on a drug sting. He got him. And now Rick Ross is looking at life without parole.

….He [Blandón] was on the witness stand, and I thought, “Damn, this is great.” He was up there as a federal witness — under oath — with the Justice Department and the DEA standing up there before a jury, swearing this man always tells the truth. But there’s nobody else in the courtroom but me, and I’m writing all this down. And after this whole thing is over with, a DEA agent walks up to me and he goes, “Nice going, asshole” [audience chuckles]. And I just kind of smiled and nodded, thanked him for his concern [audience roars]. And I went back, and we did the story….

< Continue to Part II — click here >

__________________
A TAINTED DEAL ALLOWED DRUG FLOW
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/06/tainted-deal

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the Murder of Kiki Camarena
http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-a-dogged-la-dea-agent-unraveled-the-cias-alleged-role-in-the-murder-of-kiki-camarena-5750278


"There is no question in my mind that people affiliated with, on the payroll of, and carrying the credentials of,the CIA were involved in drug trafficking while involved in support of the contras."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... There are some things the general public does not need to know and shouldn't. I believe democracy flourishes when the government can take legitimate steps to keep its secrets and when the press can decide whether to print what it knows. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
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Tribute to 'Dark Alliance' and Gary Webb (pt. 2)
by Brian Covert / Independent Journalist
Sunday Dec 10th, 2006 3:39 PM

A decade after the "Dark Alliance" newspaper series sent shockwaves around the world with its investigation into crack cocaine/CIA/Contra connections, a tribute is presented to "Dark Alliance" and its investigator/author, journalist Gary Webb....and to the true spirit of journalism that he represented in his time.




'A NATURAL STORY':

A Tribute to 'Dark Alliance' and Journalist Gary Webb

— Part II —

Interview with Gary Webb at San Jose Mercury News office

Sacramento, California - Thursday, 13 February 1997



By Brian Covert
Independent Journalist

The following two parts of this three-part tribute to journalist Gary Webb and his series “Dark Alliance” continue the next morning at Webb’s San Jose Mercury News office, suite 345, in the press center building on L Street, located just across from the California state capitol complex in downtown Sacramento. Webb was late in arriving for the interview, and when he finally did he was casually attired in tennis shoes and faded blue jeans, with shirt sleeves rolled up and no necktie — not exactly the image one would have of a hard-driving newspaper bureau chief covering the government of one of America’s largest states.

But once he was seated behind his cluttered desk and the Japanese TV production crew’s camera and sound started rolling, Webb was the consummate professional. His story had been raising controversy around the world for the previous six months, and the controversy showed no sign of subsiding. He was eager to talk about it. He fielded all the interview questions openly and forthrightly, occasionally showing signs of defensiveness, but nevertheless making his case strongly and confidently. So confidently, in fact, that I wondered during the interview if Webb truly understood the stakes of what he was saying. He simply wasn’t afraid to report the truth.

The footage featuring Gary Webb’s interview in Sacramento, along with the other “Dark Alliance”-related footage we shot, unfortunately never made it into the final cut when the program on drugs was aired on prime-time Japanese television in April 1997. But the audio portion of the Webb interview was saved, and is transcribed and presented here in its entirety (with minor editing) for the first time anywhere. A small part of this interview with Webb was first published in 1997 by the website REALNews (now defunct) under the title of “The Use of the Web in Investigative Reporting: A Case Study,” written by myself and Washington state-based freelance writer Scott Gorman. Gorman served as the questioner during the interview in Sacramento with Gary Webb that follows, as Webb takes the audience through the past, present and future course of “Dark Alliance.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

QUESTIONER: Gary Webb, reporter for the San Jose Mercury News and author of the extraordinary series “Dark Alliance,” which has generated interest all over the world: Thank you very much for taking the time to talk with us.

GARY WEBB: Sure.

Q: I know you’ve had to do this a number of times. But if you could give us a brief understanding, a brief narrative, of what the series entails and the major stories related to it and what its implications are. And then we’ll go from there.

WEBB: OK. It’s actually several different stories within one.

Q: Yes.

WEBB: One of the them, and I think the one that generated a lot of the interest, was the involvement of these Nicaraguan Contra rebels bringing tons and tons of cocaine into Black Los Angeles in the early ’80s, right when the “crack” market was getting started — and how they essentially created this “crack lord” named “Freeway” Rick Ross, who was by 1986 the biggest crack dealer in Los Angeles. He controlled the market. And it sort of spun off in a number of directions from there, showing what effects cracking down on crack users had on Black Americans. We also talked about how these guys did it: how they were able to bring in all this cocaine all these years without ever getting caught, and their involvement with the agencies of the United States government, specifically the CIA, the DEA and other agencies.

Q: I’m sorry, again, I know it’s difficult: If you wouldn’t mind expanding just a little bit, maybe just a brief kind of narrative of what you found and how you found it.

WEBB: Well, it was really the story of this trio of drug dealers. Two of them were Nicaraguan Contra [supporters] — very close to the late dictator Anastasio Somoza, who was overthrown in 1979. These men were on Somoza’s side. One of them worked for the Somoza government; the other one’s brother was one of Somoza’s ambassadors. They came to the United States because they felt their lives were in danger, because they lost the war. And one of them, this fellow, Norwin Meneses, was already a major cocaine trafficker and he immigrated to the United States, set up shop in San Francisco and started supplying what was then a very new market in Los Angeles for powdered cocaine. Because back in the early ’80s, it was very expensive. And the man who did it for him down in Los Angeles was this former Nicaraguan government official named Danilo Blandón, who had an MBA in marketing; he was running Somoza’s — he was director of wholesale markets for the dictator, which meant that his expertise was in creating markets for products. And what he did in Los Angeles was he created a market for cocaine. And he did it very well.

Q: Again, because a lot of the Japanese viewers won’t know, could you talk a little bit about as far as your knowledge of the Somoza regime?

WEBB: Somoza was one of the United States’ allies, strongest allies, in Central America for many, many years. His whole family had been sort of nurtured by the United States government. We created and trained his army, called the “National Guard,” which was one of the most brutal polices forces. And it really wasn’t a police force: It delivered the mail, it ran all the gun shops in the country. You needed licenses from the National Guard to do everything. I mean, it really controlled and sustained the Nicaraguans for Somoza. And these men were very influential in that community. Blandón’s father was one of the biggest slumlords in Managua. Meneses’s brother was the chief of police, which helped him greatly when he got into the drug business, because he owned bars and whorehouses and motels with waterbeds and porno movies. I mean, this guy was a racketeer for the National Guard. And this is the man [to whom] the United States government said, “OK, well, since you guys lost, you can come and settle in our country.”

Q: Wasn’t that in the way of payback? Wasn’t Nicaragua, and essentially Somoza, a client of the United States?

WEBB: They had a very close relationship. And Somoza was very proud of it. I mean, he sent his sons to West Point; he was a West Point graduate himself. And he was a friend of every American administration since probably Roosevelt.

Q: Now, that would be related to the fact that, again, as well, there has been I believe some documentation that the United States was involved in the death of Sandino, the rebel leader.

WEBB: I didn’t get into that, but that’s part of the lore of Nicaragua. And you know, Nicaragua has had for a long time a strong percentage of the population that is very anti-American because the Americans ran Nicaragua, essentially. They launched the Bay of Pigs, part of it, from Nicaragua. That’s how close [of a relationship] the agencies — specifically the CIA — has had. And Meneses’s brother was murdered in Guatemala City in 1978 by the Guatemalan rebels. They issued a press release, which I found, which talked about how they murdered him because he was setting up these police programs for repression of leftist movements all over Central America. So he was very important and this was the kind of work he was doing. [Norwin] Meneses, when he was in Nicaragua, worked for the Office of National Security; he infiltrated Cuban communist groups down there for the OSN, which was Somoza’s secret police. This is the kind of men you were dealing with that came to the United States and started running this drug ring — in support of the counterrevolution that began with Somoza’s exile forces and his ex-army people, together with this group called the “Contras.” There were several groups that became known as the Contras. These were adopted by the United States as this sort of de facto guerrilla army of ours down there to destabilize the Sandinistas.

Q: Wasn’t it essentially payback by the United States, as in “You protected our interests,” you know, “you were our frontmen, so now we are going to help you and protect you”?

WEBB: I don’t know if it was, specifically, in regards to Blandón and Meneses. It was that way for a lot of Nicaraguans that came over here: Somoza, his generals. The United States went down and rescued a bunch of them after the revolution to bring them to the United States. So, they were welcomed into the United States. And among these men that were welcomed were people that were known cocaine traffickers — like Norwin Meneses, who had DEA files going back to 1974.

Q: And DEA being?

WEBB: The Drug Enforcement Administration. This is the biggest anti-narcotics organization in America, the federal drug administration. They knew, in 1974, that Norwin Meneses was a major cocaine trafficker and was responsible for bringing cocaine into the United States — into New Orleans and San Francisco — and by 1993, they knew he was bringing it in all up and down the west coast. And they knew this when they let him into the country.

Q: In a speech we heard you make [yesterday at City College of San Francisco], you referred to these two gentlemen as essentially “thugs and cutthroats.”

WEBB: No, not them. If you want to look at it particularly as to their place in society, they were gentlemen criminals. I mean, Meneses was regarded as brutal in Nicaragua. He had been accused in 1977 of assassinating the head of customs for the Nicaraguan government because this guy stumbled across this stolen-car ring that he was running. So, he certainly was [a thug and cutthroat]. Blandón was a dilettante. He was a rich kid; he worked for his dad and worked for the government.

Q: To what end were these people smuggling cocaine into the United States? What was their goal? Why did they do so?

WEBB: According to what Blandón testified in a trial in March in San Diego, he got into the cocaine business to raise money for this Nicaraguan exile group, the Contras, who were trying, as he put it, to rebuild Somoza’s National Guard and march back into Managua and take over the country. And he says that’s how he got into the business. The way he explains it, he was down there minding his own business, selling cars in Los Angeles, and all of a sudden one day he gets a phone call that says, “You gotta go to the airport and pick up Mr. Meneses.” And he goes there and picks him up and Meneses starts telling him how “we have to start selling cocaine to raise money” for this group.

Q: So specifically, it was to buy arms and other materiel to fund the Contras.

WEBB: Yes. Right.

Q: This was prior to the Reagan administration helping to fund the Contras.

WEBB: Not really. That was at the same time. The Reagan administration officially began funding the Contras in December of ’81. Unofficially, they’d been doing it since, like, the Carter administration had been helping. What Reagan did was to put the CIA, the Central Intelligence Agency, in charge of the Contras in December 1981 with an executive order. This was the same time, Blandón testified, that he’d met with Meneses, went to Honduras, met with the military commander, and was instructed to raise money. It was in conjunction with the Reagan administration putting the CIA in charge of the operation.

Q: In your view, why did the United States government wish to support the Contras?

WEBB: Because they didn’t like the Sandinistas. Because the Sandinistas were socialists and some of them were Marxists. They were communists. That’s the bottom line. That’s it.

Q: Didn’t it have anything to do with American business interests in the region?

WEBB: It might have. I think the Reagan administration’s hatred of communism and all things communistic was far more important than American business interests.

Q: But the United States had been, in a sense, supporting the Somoza dictatorship for years before there was a so-called “communist threat.” Correct?

WEBB: Well, there had been a communist threat there since ’67, when the Sandinistas started.

Q: But even before that, back into the ’40s, the popular movements—

WEBB: Oh, we created, we modeled the Nicaraguan National Guard after our own Marine Corps. I mean, that’s how deeply ingrained our military system was with theirs. We spent more money on their army than we spent on any army in Central America. And they did what we told them to do.

Q: Is there a historical context in this, in the sense of Central America? You know, the United States wanting to have a sure, friendly government?

WEBB: This is a perfect example of what has been going on in Central America since the 1800s regarding the United States: We want to tell people what to do there, because we consider it our backyard, our sphere of influence. It goes back to the Monroe Doctrine, if you look at it historically.

Q: Again, just to draw an economic comparison: It’s been said that the United Fruit Company owned Honduras.

WEBB: Yeah, yeah. Right. And you know, the banana plantations down there were monstrous.

Q: So it was almost a wholly owned subsidiary, is what I’ve heard people say.

WEBB: Yeah, I don’t think that’s a bad description of the way things were down there at certain periods of time.

Q: So the intent was to sell massive amounts of cocaine to fund these activities of the Contra rebels.

WEBB: That was part of it. I think the other part of it was obviously to make a very handsome living for themselves. But this was what they said they were doing.

Q: Who gave them the orders? Who asked Blandón? Who called him at the car dealership while he was selling his Lexuses or whatever he had?

WEBB: Well, he was selling cars in East Los Angeles.

Q: No Lexuses. [chuckles]

WEBB: A man named Donald Barrios called him from Miami, who Blandón said was another member of FDN, another member of this Contra group, and told him that he needed to go pick this man up. Donald Barrios was a man about whom very little is known. He had a lot of money, he was an insurance company owner, married to an American woman, and was living in Miami and ran a restaurant up there. And Blandón said he was taking his orders from this man.

Q: Didn’t the sales first begin in the San Francisco Bay Area?

WEBB: Well, Meneses had been selling cocaine in the United States since the mid-’70s, primarily in San Francisco. But like I said, he was bringing it into Houston, he was bringing it into New Orleans. He was an international cocaine trafficker, and he was one of the first ones. I mean, his connections to the cocaine trade go back to the Peruvians, before the Colombians were even anybody. He was getting into drug dealing with the Peruvians — that’s how far he goes back. So he had an established cocaine smuggling route in the United States at the time of the Contra war. He was a perfect guy to go to if you wanted things brought in and out of the country without people knowing about it, because he was doing that for years. That was his expertise.

Q: How were they able to import tons and tons of cocaine in the United States without being detected and arrested?

WEBB: Well, they were detected. They were detected. The DEA knew that they were doing it. The San Francisco Police Department knew they were doing it. They were arresting some of Meneses’s nephews and nieces and friends and buddies for cocaine all through it. They could just never get to Norwin for some reason. And in the end, they did get to him; they did arrest him. And he became a DEA informant — just like Danilo Blandón. He went to work for the [U.S.] government. So they eventually got them; it took them years and years, and specifically down in Los Angeles, where it was really critical. What happened was that in 1986, the police raided his operation. And they found cocaine and they found pay-and-owe sheets, and they found mannitol, which is the cutting agent to make [cocaine], AR-15 assault rifles. And they found documents indicating that these guys were involved in counterintelligence activities in El Salvador. They found weapons manuals for air-to-air missiles. They found weapons lists. They found routes, maps for how to get weapons in and out of the country. And they stop and think, “Hey, we’re on a drug raid — what are these guys doing with all this stuff?” And the police, who I interviewed, believed very strongly that they had busted into a CIA operation. And after that, the case disappeared.

Q: “Disappeared”?

WEBB: Nobody was prosecuted, nobody was charged. And what happened was that Danilo Blandón — the target of this operation, the head of this drug ring — he goes to the Immigration Service a couple of months later and says, “I’d like to become a permanent resident of the United States.” And he lists on his application, which I’ve got: “I was arrested on drugs and arms charges.” And they said, “OK, fine.”

Q: So the inference — at least the inference — is that somehow, someone at a higher level said, “We don’t care what you have. Leave him alone.”

WEBB: That’s the inference the police drew from what happened, as a result of their investigation. And they had been told before they did this that the federal government was very unhappy about their idea of raiding this drug ring. It was at that time under DEA investigation; it was at that time under FBI investigation. And a lot of people knew what they were doing. But nothing ever happened. And you’ve got a man who you could kick out of the country because he’s not a citizen; he’s here asking for political asylum. Three agencies believe he’s a major cocaine trafficker, and they say so in writing. They go before a judge and swear to it in writing. And he’s not kicked out of the country!

Q: Not only not kicked out of the country, but the implication is that he was given benefit for both he and his wife by establishing a very quick avenue towards permanent residency.

WEBB: Yes. What he did after this drug raid, instead of fleeing the country — because, you know, “the cops are on to me” — he goes and settles in Miami. And he becomes a very visible business owner. He owns a very swank restaurant where all the Contra leaders hang out when they go to Miami. It’s getting reviewed in the Miami Herald as one of the best Nicaraguan restaurants [laughs] in Dade County [Florida]. He opens a 24-city rental car business and he proceeds to make deals with Chrysler and General Motors to rent cars for tourists in Miami. Not exactly hiding out.

Q: He had friends in high places.

WEBB: He certainly had friends in high places when it came to Meneses, because Meneses was a very close friend of the United States government at that time.

Q: Talk to us, at least a little, about the reality of “crack” cocaine and what difference that made — its development and how it came about.

WEBB: It was sort of a parallel track to what was happening. And as we explained in our story, what was happening in Nicaragua in the middle to late ’70s, specifically 1979, and what was happening with crack in the same time period — they were on parallel tracks and they sort of collided and ran across each other in South Central Los Angeles. Crack had been — it was not a new drug; it was just a new way of consuming cocaine. Most people in the United States in those years consumed it through the nose, which didn’t get you real high and took a lot to get you really wasted. And it was very, very expensive. I mean, this was movie-star drugs.

Q: Yuppies.

WEBB: Yeah. Well, before yuppies. I mean, it was Wall Street brokers, it was film executives, it was high-priced lawyers. It was a parlor drug and these people consumed it not on the street corners — they had personal deliveries to their penthouses where they could consume it at parties and with close friends. I mean, that Woody Allen movie “Annie Hall” is a perfect example of what people thought about cocaine at that time. But it wasn’t in South Central Los Angeles, for obvious economic reasons.

Q: Could you explain that a little for our viewers in Japan?

WEBB: South Central Los Angeles is a very large section of Los Angeles; it is primarily made up of Black Americans. And historically, it has had some of the highest unemployment rates in the United States, some of the lowest earnings per capita in the United States, a very impoverished area. And what happened was, in these neighborhoods, kids didn’t have anything to do; they didn’t have jobs, most of them dropped out of school early. So they hung around and they started gangs.

Q: Those gangs were?

WEBB: Those gangs were, well, it was a number of them. They eventually coalesced into a group called the “Crips,” which is the biggest one, and then the “Bloods,” which is another dominant one. The Latinos have their own gangs in their neighborhoods; the Anglos have their own gangs in their neighborhoods. But these were the Black gangs. And they started out mainly as neighborhood nuisances. They would beat each other up every once in a while, they would go steal leather coats. This was the kind of stuff they were into — until crack came along. Well, this is before: Then they started getting into this drug called “PCP,” which was known as “water” or “sherm.” And it was bad news. I mean, this drug could drive you crazy. It wasn’t all that popular, but it was an economic means, primarily, to get money.

Q: Isn’t that also referred to as “angel dust” on the street?

WEBB: Yeah, primarily.

Q: So cocaine, in this case, went from being essentially a “cute drug” with a limited market to being a street drug with an enormous market.

WEBB: Yeah. And it occurred solely because of the realization that if you smoked cocaine, you didn’t need a whole lot of it. You only needed a tiny bit of it to get higher than you would have gotten before. And unlike cocaine that you take up your nose once in a while, if you smoke crack every day, you become a horrible crack addict — what’s known as a “crackhead.” You can talk to crack users and they’ll tell you, and these scientific reports have shown: Nothing else in life becomes important except getting a hit off that pipe. People will sell their children, sell their kids, into prostitution — have done so — just to get this drug.

Q: So, an inexorable physical addiction.

WEBB: Yeah. It’s the worst drug ever invented.

Q: So what connection is there to the cocaine that came into the United States with the people who had been in cooperation with the United States government?

WEBB: Well, the connection was that this was the cocaine that was being turned into crack. I mean, to make crack you need powdered cocaine; that’s where it starts. If you don’t have powdered cocaine, you don’t have crack. So they were supplying the powder to this man, “Freeway” Rick Ross, who was one of the very first people to see the economic potential of this drug in Los Angeles — and the only one in South Central to have access to the enormous quantities of it, through these Nicaraguans who were supplying it. And he talked about how he had started out as a cocaine dealer, buying ounces and grams and selling it to some friends, you know, the typical way anybody starts a ground-floor business. Except he had the good fortune of having some men who could get all the cocaine he could ever want — at cheaper prices than anybody else in town could give him. And he also had a market out there that was exploding for this new drug, for this new way to take this drug.

Q: Is there any way of knowing who was the person who found a way to make this into the so-called “rocks”?

WEBB: Yeah. Well, there have been — and we wrote about this in the series — there was a study done, a federally financed study done back in the early ’80s. Most Americans found out about smoking cocaine when Richard Pryor, the comedian, caught himself on fire.

Q: That was the process called “freebasing.”

WEBB: That was freebasing. That was a different way to arrive at the same product. It involved the use of ether and very flammable chemicals. Richard Pryor blew himself up doing it and suddenly everybody said, “What is this? What is freebase?” So the government went and hired this man named Ronald Siegel, who was a drug researcher at UCLA, and said, “Find out what you can tell us about this smoking [of cocaine].” So he went and tracked it down and found out that it started in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1974. And it was a result of a sort of misunderstanding of Spanish. The whole idea of smoking cocaine is really a recent invention; it didn’t start until 1974, down in Lima, Peru, where the sons of the middle class where smoking this stuff called basé. It was sort of a precursor byproduct of making cocaine.

Q: [How much in U.S. dollars] could be obtained out of a kilo of cocaine?

WEBB: Thirty-thousand. Thirty-thousand out of one kilo — and that’s with a three-to-one cut. If you cut it, like some dealers are doing, seven-to-one, you’ve got 210,000.

Q: Meaning additives to stretch it.

WEBB: Right, right. Ross used this anesthetic called “prococaine,” and he said he cut his kilos three-to-one with prococaine. So he got one kilo; he ended up with three.

Q: And the obvious reason for doing that was that you could stretch the profits enormously.

WEBB: Right, right, right. And nobody used, at that time, pure cocaine. Even the powder that you were buying was, like, 25 percent.

Q: So this crack cocaine, which Rick Ross basically created from the powdered form—

WEBB: He didn’t create it, you know, he didn’t invent crack.

Q: Right.

WEBB: He just made it. And he made it in these houses that he had bought with his cocaine profits. He would go and buy these houses in the ordinary-looking neighborhoods and he’d go inside and gut them. And then he would bring in big restaurant-size gas grills and have people go in and cook this stuff up in pots that were, like, this big [gestures with arms]. And that’s how he supplied his customers — with that. “Ready rock,” it was called.

Q: He established a street network of other people who worked for him?

WEBB: Yes. Absolutely.

Q: And they were selling it in almost exclusively South Central Los Angeles?

WEBB: Right. Right.

Q: Was South Central Los Angeles targeted by them for a particular reason?

WEBB: No, it wasn’t. Because that’s where Rick Ross lived and that’s where the man that introduced him to cocaine was buying it from these Nicaraguans. His [Ross’s] auto upholstery teacher — he was going to vocational school — introduced him to the drug, and the teacher happened to be buying it from one of the Nicaraguans that was working for Blandón. You know, this is how these two men came together. I think it was more accident than design. Except for the fact that at the time — and this is Danilo Blandón’s thinking, I’m sure — there was no cocaine in South Central.

Q: Because of the cost.

WEBB: Because of the cost. And therefore, there was not a lot of competition. I mean, if you needed to sell cocaine and you needed to make a market for it, you don’t go to where there are a thousand other cocaine dealers. You go where nobody sells cocaine. And that’s where he went.

Q: And again, it essentially became something which was like a specialty shop at Macy’s to being available wholesale at Woolworth’s.

WEBB: Yeah. And it happened at just the same time he decided to go down there and start peddling this cocaine down there, which, if crack hadn’t come along, probably nobody would have known this.

Q: Much has been known about these particular activities and drug-running, and potential connections between the CIA and drug-running for purposes of funding the Contras — isn’t that so? — long before your series.

WEBB: Yes, absolutely. That’s what was so amazing to me when I started researching it. When I got this tip, when I got these documents that suggested there was a link between the Contras and cocaine, I mean, I recalled vaguely reading about this in the mid-’80s, very briefly. And when I went to check my memory, I found out that, yeah, there were a couple of stories. And they were based on this series of hearings that were held by a congressional subcommittee chaired by Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, that, to an amazing degree, laid out all the components of this various U.S. government Contra-cocaine-and-arms operation. They had the pilots there under oath on videotape and they had some of the CIA agents that I ended up writing about in my series: this fellow named Marcos Aguado. He was on videotape admitting that he had sold cocaine, done it — didn’t want to do it, but there were people in the field who needed this equipment. And I’m thinking, “How come I never read this in the newspaper before?” [laughs] The other thing it did, it confirmed what I had been told: that it was not such a far-fetched notion that these guys were selling cocaine to the Contras, because it had been documented that the Contras had been selling cocaine.

Q: And they were given — at least it was suggested, and I believe, to some extent proven — that they were given safe passage to airfields in Texas.

WEBB: In our case, the case of Meneses and Blandón, there is testimony in Nicaragua — in a Nicaraguan court case — that they were sending the cocaine into the United States via Salvadoran military aircraft from the government of El Salvador, which the United States was also helping [to] help the Contras. They were our surrogates down there to help the Contras when we weren’t allowed to. When Congress said, “We don’t want any more government involvement, CIA involvement, with the Contras,” this underground operation run by [Reagan aide Lt. Col.] Oliver North sprang up and began supplying missiles.

Q: Since all this was known, why was there no outrage at the time? Why wasn’t the U.S. public going, “My God, my country is....”?

WEBB: Because the U.S. public was never told. When it was told, it was told in these stories that said, “Oh, isn’t this crazy?”, you know, “Oh, there’s nothing to this, but some people are saying this is going on.” And it wasn’t some people were saying it was going on — it was a lot of people that were saying it was going on, and these were people who were in a position to know. This was a congressional investigation.

Q: So, it was out there but people just didn’t pick it up.

WEBB: People didn’t pick it up because the media didn’t tell them about it.

Q: Why would the media not tell them about it?

WEBB: That’s a damn good question. I mean, to me it seems like a natural story.

Q: Were they scared off the story?

WEBB: The experience that the reporters that tried to tell the story back in the ’80s [had] was that when they wrote about it, all hell broke loose. Their editors would get calls from high government officials, saying, “There’s nothing going on here. Your guy’s out in left field.” Bob Parry, who was the AP reporter who first broke the story, talked about how his bureau chief was having lunch with Oliver North! And Oliver North was telling him, “Oh, there’s nothing to this.” So, you would get a lot of official denials. And the press, they’re going to look at this reporter and go, “Well, everybody else is saying he’s wrong. Why should we go out on a limb?”

Q: Is it fair to say that to some extent they were in bed with their sources?

WEBB: That’s certainly true in a number of cases, yeah. They were getting information from the same people who were supposedly involved in this thing.

Q: And just burying it.

WEBB: And not believing what other reporters were writing.

Q: Is it because it seemed so incredible?

WEBB: I think that was part of it. I mean, you’ve also gotta remember the time: This was when the drug war in America was at its highest pitch of hysteria. This was when “48 Hours on Crack Street” became one of the highest-rated shows on television. People were consumed with this anti-drug hysteria that the media had been, in large part, responsible for creating. And suddenly stories come out that say, “Well, maybe some of these drugs are being brought in by your own government.” It was received in that sort of “Let’s wipe out the drug dealers, all drug dealers are bad guys, our government’s out there fighting the good fight” [sentiment]. And people said, “What are you talking about?”

Q: To what extent does this relate to people being overwhelmed with conspiracy theories?

WEBB: I think it relates more now than it did then. I think for some reason that I can only attribute to, like, maybe the approaching end of the century [chuckles], people have suddenly become fascinated with these ideas of vast government conspiracies. And I think that’s probably a manifestation of the fact that I don’t think people trust the government anymore. I think we trusted our own government a lot more in the 1980s — when Ronald Reagan was president and we were “starting to feel good about ourselves again” and all these other clichés at the time — than they are now, when people regard our government very suspiciously. And I think people would see what happened in Waco, Texas, with the Branch Davidians; that really horrified a lot of people, a lot of them — people who considered themselves good Americans.

Q: So there were conspiracies going on.

WEBB: Well, in this case there was a definite conspiracy — it’s called “conspiracy to import cocaine.” It’s a federal crime, and people go to jail for it all the time in this country. Except these [Nicaraguan] guys.

Q: And you have the papers to prove it.

WEBB: Oh yeah! I mean, they have admitted that this was going on. That’s the beauty of this story: It’s not allegations that the police were making — it’s the fact that the police were making these allegations that these men have now admitted. Danilo Blandón works for the [U.S.] government and this story, for the most part, came out when he took the witness stand down there [in San Diego] in March 1996 and testified against “Freeway” Rick Ross, his former main customer. So that’s what the interesting part of the story is: It’s not allegations anymore. What the cops believed in 1986 was actually going on, according to the man who was doing it.

< Continue to Part III — click here >

__________________
A TAINTED DEAL ALLOWED DRUG FLOW
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/06/tainted-deal

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the Murder of Kiki Camarena
http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-a-dogged-la-dea-agent-unraveled-the-cias-alleged-role-in-the-murder-of-kiki-camarena-5750278


"There is no question in my mind that people affiliated with, on the payroll of, and carrying the credentials of,the CIA were involved in drug trafficking while involved in support of the contras."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... There are some things the general public does not need to know and shouldn't. I believe democracy flourishes when the government can take legitimate steps to keep its secrets and when the press can decide whether to print what it knows. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
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Tribute to 'Dark Alliance' and Gary Webb (pt. 3)
by Brian Covert / Independent Journalist
Sunday Dec 10th, 2006 3:30 PM

A decade after the "Dark Alliance" newspaper series sent shockwaves around the world with its investigation into crack cocaine/CIA/Contra connections, a tribute is presented to "Dark Alliance" and its investigator/author, journalist Gary Webb....and to the true spirit of journalism that he represented in his time.




'A NATURAL STORY':

A Tribute to 'Dark Alliance' and Journalist Gary Webb

— Part III —

(continued) Interview with Gary Webb at San Jose Mercury News office

Sacramento, California - Thursday, 13 February 1997


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Q: How did you get started on this story?

WEBB: I got a phone call from a woman [Coral Talavera Baca] in Oakland whose boyfriend [Rafael Corñejo] was part of this Nicaraguan drug operation, and he was in jail and she thought he was there undeservedly. She called me up and told me about his case, and in the process of telling me about his case, told me about this man, Danilo Blandón. After he poured all this cocaine into Los Angeles and became a rental car magnate, he then went to work for the United States government as a DEA informant. And this was one of the cases he was working on for them, against this woman’s boyfriend. In the process of preparing for that case, his lawyers had gotten a lot of information from the government about who Danilo Blandón really was. He wasn’t just a DEA informant: He had a long history of dealing drugs in California, and specifically South Central [Los Angeles], and he implicated himself in dealings with the CIA. And when their lawyers said, “Well, this is all very interesting, what’s under all this black stuff that you’ve put all over these pages?”, like this— [holds up blacked-out government documents]

Q: Would you mind showing that paper, and explain what it is?

WEBB: [holding up papers for TV camera] This is some documents we got from the DEA in response to a “Freedom of Information Act” request, which presumably gives the public the right to ask the government for documents about things like these cocaine dealers. And this is what you get back, because this is all considered secret or an invasion of his privacy or some other such nonsense.

Q: Who makes the judgment as to what should be considered secret?

WEBB: Oh, the agency that keeps the files goes through them and says, “Well, they don’t need to know this and they don’t need to know all this stuff here,” and they just cross it all out. So what you end up with is, like, a name and an address on a piece of paper. Some of these are even about newspaper stories. They are really agency rewrites of newspaper stories, and they’ve crossed them out.

Q: This woman [Coral Talavera Baca] called you. But you’re an investigative reporter, pretty well known, you’ve covered a lot of things in California, you get lots of calls. And I’m sure you get lots of calls from people telling you stuff that you look into and it’s totally preposterous, and you say, “Thank you very much.” Did you first think [in this case], “Aw, come on lady….”?

WEBB: Yeah. I mean, I thought “Oh, come on, lady” because she started talking about the CIA and drugs, and the thing that surprised me was that she had sounded very rational and very intelligent up to that point. And suddenly I started thinking, “What is she talking about?” And that’s when I started saying, “Well, I’ve written about this before. Thanks for your time. I appreciate your call.” And then she said, “Well, you don’t have to believe me, ’cause I’ve got documents. I can show you this stuff. I can prove it. If you want to look at the documents and say I don’t know what I’m talking about after that, fine. But at least look at them.” I thought that was a very intelligent [laughs] way to approach it and I said, “Fine I’ll come over and take a look at it.” I met her in court in San Francisco, when her boyfriend was having another one of his hearings. And she showed me these documents — and they did indeed back up what she was telling me.

Q: From this point, you were on it.

WEBB: Well, I was on it to the point that I thought, “Well, I believe what she’s saying. Now how do I know this stuff is right?” So that’s when I set out to try to figure out if there was evidence out there that would document what this man [Blandón] was telling the federal grand jury, which was he was selling cocaine [for] the Contras and the CIA knew about it.

Q: When you discussed it with your editors, did anybody say, “Aw, come on, Gary….”?

WEBB: I don’t think I told them about it until I had actually seen the documents. At that point, I’m sure the reaction — I don’t remember it, but I’m sure it was: “OK, yeah, what evidence does she have of this?” And that’s when I said, “Well, these federal grand jury transcripts, these DEA reports, these FBI reports, all these names and dates and places — she knows what she’s talking about.”

Q: Was Rick Ross essentially a classic fall guy?

WEBB: In the end, he was. He wasn’t a fall guy in the beginning. I mean, he was a major participant and he was one of the major reasons for this crack problem in Los Angeles. And he knew it. But Rick Ross was a businessman; Rick Ross didn’t take crack himself. He invested all his earnings in real estate, he built a multimillion-dollar crack empire from nothing. And he couldn’t read or write while he was doing most of this. Which is why he got into drug dealing in the first place.

Q: Where is Rick Ross now?

WEBB: He’s in prison.

Q: And what sentence?

WEBB: His sentence was life without the possibility of parole. So he is in jail for the rest of his life.

Q: The other principals, I assume, were given pretty much the same sentences.

WEBB: Well, he was the only principal. Blandón was a witness against him. And when he was caught — he got caught a couple years before Ross did — his mandatory minimum sentence was life in prison and a four-million-dollar fine. He ended up doing 28 months with no fine and getting a government job with the DEA. And that job happened to be setting up Rick Ross.

Q: Your series caused enormous consternation and anger in the Black community of the United States of America. [Columnist] Carl Rowan stated that “If this is true, it shows that millions of Blacks’ lives have been ruined and prisons clogged with young Blacks because of a cynical plot by the CIA that historically has operated in contempt of the law.” That’s very strong.

WEBB: Yes, it is. And I think that’s one of the implications of this series, is that if the government was aware that these drugs were coming in and they didn’t do anything to stop them, then they bear just as much responsibility as the people who were actually out there on the street selling it. Because under the federal conspiracy laws that we have that we prosecute people under all the time, that’s the law! If they knew about it and didn’t do anything about it, they’re as guilty as the guy that was selling it.

Q: Is it a result of racism? Or is it just like, “Well, so, Black people….”?

WEBB: There’s some indication that that was Blandón’s thinking. I’ve talked to a friend of his who said he [Blandón] had held all middle-class and lower-class people in a sort of contempt because he was a rich kid. Actually, this fellow that we interviewed was one of his contemporaries, and he told us of a conversation that he had with Blandón in which Blandón encouraged him to get into the Black drug market in San Francisco. And he said, “Why?” And [Blandón] said, “Well, ’cause nobody cares what happens to them….You’ve got a free rein down there.” And this dealer that we talked to said he was kind of offended because he was from San Francisco and considered himself a liberal [laughs] and he thought that was an offensive thing to hear. But there’s no indication that I have that it was anybody else’s motive to do this. It was an opportunity, more than anything.

Q: Many Black people, though, have said quite publicly — including Congresswoman Maxine Waters and others — that they feel that in some ways, if it wasn’t specifically targeted, it was ignored because it was affecting the Black community and poor people, as opposed to middle-class whites.

WEBB: According to the police who were down there [in L.A.], it was ignored because people didn’t believe the Black community could support the amount of cocaine that was coming in, that the cops saw coming in. When I interviewed one of the cops who was actually down there walking the streets, he said, “We started seeing guys who would be seen with ounces — and suddenly they had kilos! We couldn’t figure out where all this cocaine was coming from.” And he said, “We called down there [to headquarters] and said, ‘These guys are dealing kilos now’.” And he said the response was, “Aw, bullshit. How much cocaine could they be dealing down in South Central? It’s too expensive.” They weren’t believed.

Q: An extraordinary thing happened: The director of the Central Intelligence Agency, who usually stays quite well behind locked doors, John Deutch, ended up addressing a community forum in Watts in Los Angeles.

WEBB: Right.

Q: Why do you think he did that?

WEBB: Because they had to tell people that they were serious about getting to the bottom of this. The denials in the newspapers, in the Washington Post, hadn’t had any effect. People were still mad about it. And people were mad about it because they were able to read our story everywhere in the United States because we put it on the Internet. There had been this national uproar over it that wasn’t going away.

Q: Did your series state that there was a direct CIA connection?

WEBB: No. No. Our connection was spelled out: Our connection was the fact that these men took their orders, took their fundraising orders, from a man whom was on the CIA payroll. That’s Enrique Bermúdez. That was testified to in a federal court, and it’s a fact that he was on the CIA payroll. Now, what the CIA knew about these activities, we don’t know. But there’s an important thing to remember: that when they set up the Contras, like a day later, Reagan signed an executive order putting the CIA in charge — for the first time in history — of collecting information on drug trafficking. It was their job to know about this kind of stuff.

Q: So really, it wasn’t an allegation you made, but people have suddenly, for some reason, drawn this inference. In some of the firestorm over your series, people say, “Well, he said the CIA did it, and there’s no proof.” But you didn’t say there was proof. Is that correct?

WEBB: There’s a lot of circumstantial evidence that the CIA knew about this drug operation. There’s a lot of circumstantial evidence — that’s the evidence that we put out. We never said it was ordered by the CIA. We never said this was a CIA-run operation. We never said that CIA officers were involved in running this operation. Because we don’t know.

Q: Do you feel that you were careful enough with the series that anybody who would draw this inference were simply wrong — were reading something that wasn’t there?

WEBB: I think they were reading things they might have wanted to be there, and things that I think a reasonable public has come to believe that the CIA is capable of doing. I don’t think that was out of the realm of possibilities. But the series never said that.

Q: You noted the strong circumstantial evidence. You allowed people to draw their own inferences.

WEBB: Right. Not only did we note the strong circumstantial evidence, we put it on the Internet so anybody that wanted to look at it could read it. Because it was documented.

Q: You appeared, I believe, at a rally in Los Angeles with Maxine Waters.

WEBB: I appeared at a town meeting, because they had asked me to come down and speak to the leaders of the community down there because they were having a hard time believing the story themselves and they wanted to hear it from me. They wanted to ask me questions about it and I said, “Fine, I’ll be happy to talk.”

Q: So you were there as a reporter talking about what you found, not as an advocate in any way.

WEBB: Right. Right.

Q: Were you concerned that people would feel that you might have crossed that line?

WEBB: You know, I really didn’t consider it because I was just talking about what had already been in the newspaper, what I had written. I had requests from public officials down in South Central to come talk to them about this story that they were very concerned about. And I thought it was my responsibility to go down there and talk to them about it, and let them ask me questions.

Q: Let’s discuss, if we can, the response — particularly by the mainstream press and others — to your series. You came under an enormous hailstorm of criticism from all counts. I mean, really like piling on. Would you characterize it as that way?

WEBB: Oh, it was a lot, it was a lot. It was coming from everywhere.

Q: It was said that you had quoted government documents out of context or deliberately omitted sections that did not support your quote-unquote “thesis.”

WEBB: False. False.

Q: Can you explain that?

WEBB: Yeah. I don’t know what they’re talking about because they’ve never produced any documents that were allegedly quoted out of context. What we posted on the Internet was stuff that we had found. We published hundreds of documents.

Q: What would be the motivation for someone making that statement in the mainstream press?

WEBB: Oh, because they didn’t want to tell people there’s nothing to the story.

Q: Why?

WEBB: Because they blew it.

Q: They were jealous, they were upset? Their credibility was in danger?

WEBB: They had blown the story 10 years ago — that’s the problem. This is an institutional problem for these papers because they had written this stuff off as nutty conspiracy stuff back in the ’80s. Now there’s all this evidence that shows that it wasn’t nutty conspiracy stuff — that it was actually happening. They blew the story. That’s the problem.

Q: You even came in for at least what might be construed as some criticism from another Mercury News reporter, who said that there were discrepancies in Blandón’s testimony and other records. Is that so?

WEBB: There aren’t.

Q: OK.

WEBB: I disagree.

Q: OK. But that was written in the Mercury News.

WEBB: It was written by [reporter] Pete Carey, but I don’t think it was written in that term. I mean, tell me exactly what this thing was and I can tell you what he was talking about.

Q: OK. No, I understand. I understand. David Corn of The Nation — and that’s not highly established, you know, that’s not necessarily the New York Times or the Los Angeles Times.

WEBB: No, but it’s a respectable publication.

Q: OK, but not necessarily, you know, the “establishment” newspapers, right? He criticized you too, and says your claims were not well-substantiated.

WEBB: Because he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, OK? Pure and simple.

Q: Fair enough.

WEBB: David Corn knows about the CIA. He doesn’t know anything about crack.

Q: Why did the L.A. Times publish a massive three-part rebuttal to your series?

WEBB: Because they were the ones that were hurting the worst. This was in their backyard. This was a huge story in L.A. that they had absolutely nothing to do with, and they came under an intense amount of criticism from the alternative press in Los Angeles, from the Black community — who has always said that the L.A. Times does not cover South Central Los Angeles, doesn’t cover Black Los Angeles. Here was more proof.

Q: Was it a territoriality thing?

WEBB: No, they were scared. I mean, they were scared. Because this story made them look awful.

Q: According to reports in the Columbia Journalism Review, although it was not quoted by name, someone from the Los Angeles Times said they basically had developed an “attack Gary Webb” team.

WEBB: Well, that’s very flattering. [laughs]

Q: In many ways, yes, that’s a medal for reporting respect.

WEBB: Yeah, yeah.

Q: Do Oliver North’s notebooks, some of which are public, substantiate the basic premise of your series?

WEBB: Some of the stuff in North’s notebooks substantiate the fact that he was aware that there was drug involvement among Contra supporters. The names of these companies that were run by known drug traffickers appear several times in North’s notebooks. There’s evidence that he was aware that — well, not only North’s notebooks, but some of the stuff that came out during Iran-Contra were these memos that he had gotten from his man in Central America, Rob Owen, who was telling him: “This guy’s involved in drug trafficking, [and] this guy’s involved in drug trafficking, [and] this guy’s involved in drug trafficking….” They’re all major Contra supporters. So North knew about it.

Q: The CIA has historically been proven to have a large involvement in drug trading.

WEBB: Yes.

Q: To what extent are you aware of, for instance, the “Golden Triangle” operations with the Hmong tribesmen during the war in Vietnam? Can you discuss that a little bit?

WEBB: Well, there was an entire book written about the CIA involvement with heroin trafficking called The Politics of Heroin by a professor named Alfred McCoy. It tracked the CIA’s involvement in transporting opium for the Burmese and for the warlords in Laos, specifically during the secret war in Laos back in the ’70s, and using Air America, a CIA proprietary airplane, to do that.

Q: And these are substantiated claims.

WEBB: Oh yeah, there’s no question about it.

Q: So in your case, you’re not saying the CIA was directly involved. In those cases, it was proven that the CIA was directly involved.

WEBB: Yeah. I think a reasonable person cannot look at this stuff and say “it’s not true,” because it’s documented.

Q: It seems to be a pattern, again: a client state helping to support a war effort.

WEBB: Yeah. And similar allegations emerged about what happened in Afghanistan. I mean, the same allegations are coming out now that part of our covert operations in Afghanistan involved allowing them to ship heroin.

Q: Your executive editor, Jerry Ceppos, he wrote a letter to the Washington Post, who also had an enormous hailstorm of criticism for you: “We have discovered through an extensive investigation that Gary Webb’s story was not da-da-da-da-da….” And Mr. Ceppos wrote a letter — not once, not twice, but three times — recasting it a number of times to try and satisfy the editors of the Washington Post so that it would be printed.

WEBB: Right.

Q: Was it ever printed?

WEBB: They never printed it.

Q: Was there ever an explanation for that?

WEBB: Yeah. Their explanation was that “Well, since our stuff came up, the New York Times says we were right” [laughs]. Which is interesting; I guess they must have all talked to the same unnamed sources. But that was the official reason why the Washington Post didn’t want to let another newspaper respond to its stories.

Q: Isn’t that rather extraordinary in terms of—

WEBB: I’ve never heard of it happening before. I mean, honestly I haven’t.

Q: That’s rather extraordinary. The piece, also, in the Columbia Journalism Review: While the gentleman tried to also protect you to a certain extent, he did also claim that your story was, quote-unquote, “overwritten and problematically sourced.” Your response to that?

WEBB: Yeah. I don’t know what he means by “overwritten”; maybe he doesn’t like my writing style. “Problematically sourced” — there were no unnamed sources in it! It was all sourced in the documents. I just don’t understand that criticism at all.

Q: In the United States, newspapers quite frequently — including in the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times — government officials and others are frequently quoted without using their names.

WEBB: You can barely find a name in the stories that come out of Washington anymore. I mean, if you read them, they’re all “senior administration officials” or “government sources.” In my case — and the New York Times wrote this — they were quoting people who claimed to have read documents that they couldn’t produce. This is the level of sourcing in the New York Times — which, if I had used that kind of sourcing [laughs], I would have deserved to have been ridden out of town on a rail. I mean, come on. This is an important story; you don’t use unnamed sources.

Q: Did the mainstream press in general abandon their responsibility to the public?

WEBB: I think the mainstream press has abandoned its responsibility to the public numerous times. I think this is just another example of that.

Q: Are you in any danger?

WEBB: Not that I know of.

Q: Did it concern you?

WEBB: No.

Q: Why? I mean, obviously these are heavy players.

WEBB: But you know, I’m a newspaper reporter working on a story and that has never, in this country, been a hazardous occupation. I mean, it is in Central America, it is in Mexico. But journalists don’t get killed in the United States very often for writing a story.

Q: I remember a gentleman who wrote about Synanon, who got a rattlesnake in his mailbox [in 1978].

WEBB: Right. But it didn’t kill him.

Q: Have you become a hero to Black America?

WEBB: I don’t know. I don’t know.

Q: Do you get e-mail, do you get responses? Do people say, “Thanks, you stood up for our side”?

WEBB: Yeah. I got a lot of letters — a whole lot of letters — about that. Actually, the only people that haven’t liked this story were the Washington Post, the New York Times and the L.A. Times. I mean, the American public was delighted to see this stuff.

Q: Now, you’re a reporter for the San Jose Mercury News, a Knight-Ridder newspaper, correct?

WEBB: Right.

Q: A very well-known paper, but not one of the larger newspapers.

WEBB: It’s not one of the Big Feets, no.

Q: [chuckles] The Big Feet. And you work in a bureau in Sacramento, far away from even your home office. I guess what I’m trying to understand is, how did you come by this and why were you the only person who jumped on this story?

WEBB: Well, because I’ve been an investigative reporter for 18 years and I know what I’m looking for — and I know how to find it. Secondly, I had an incredible stroke of luck in getting these documents from this woman. Literally, this story would never have been written had she not called me.

Q: You mentioned in a joking sense [in yesterday’s speech at City College of San Francisco], but I think with some truth behind it, that “the planets must have been aligned correctly.”

WEBB: You know, that’s the feeling I got when I was working on this thing because the stuff I was looking for, I was finding! I mean, that happens very rarely. Usually you run into a lot of dead ends and dry holes. And the hole just got wetter and wetter as I kept going on this thing, because there was really so much information.

Q: [So the mainstream national media had here a] story in a paper that wasn’t one of the Big Feets, and they embargoed it and criticized you. It’s very unlikely that many people would know about this story. Is that correct?

WEBB: Yeah. Right.

Q: Well then, what’s the difference now?

WEBB: The difference now is that we have this amazing medium called the Internet, and we put our story on the World Wide Web. See, our newspaper is in the Silicon Valley, and we sort of pride ourselves on using computers and being really up on the latest. I’m not saying we always are [laughs], but at least we pride ourselves on that. And we had started an online edition of the Mercury News called “Mercury Center,” which we were very eager to sort of show off. When we sat down and looked at this story, this was, I thought, something that I had wanted to do as an investigative reporter for all my career — was to be able to show people what I got! Part of the pride in your work is knowing when you got something nailed down, and it was always very frustrating to be looking at government documents and having to write two sentences about them. And people would have to take your word for it. Well, this [“Dark Alliance” series] was a perfect story to do it: People didn’t have to take our word for it. They could look it up themselves.

Q: And a perfect story in a sense that many people would go, again, “Aw, come on, Gary….”

WEBB: Right.

Q: So literally, if they go to your website — and we’ll give that site — what will they see?

WEBB: Well, they’ll not only see stuff, they’ll hear stuff. Because we’ve got undercover DEA tapes that we digitized and put on the web. We’ve got Danilo Blandón’s testimony in federal court that was tape-recorded; we digitized it and put bits and pieces of it on the web — the important stuff that we quoted him as saying. They’ll see DEA records. They will see records that we got declassified from the National Archives that had the FBI reports. We got records from the Iran-Contra investigation that have never been published before; we had gotten ahold of them through the Freedom of Information Act and put them on the web. So you’ll be able to see the building blocks of the story. You’ll be able to hear these guys testifying in their own words. And that, to me, was the reason that people weren’t so easily dissuaded that there’s nothing to it — because if they’ve read it and they’ve looked at the documents, they know there’s something to it.

Q: Can you talk to us briefly about the implications for journalism of just that sort of event, of this type of thing happening?

WEBB: Well, I had thought that doing something like this would really raise the standards for reporters, especially investigative reporters, where you really have to rely sometimes on unknown sources: to be able to show people what you have and prove what you’re writing — and let people make up their own minds. One of the beauties of this story was the way we presented it: People didn’t have to believe us. And the other thing it did is when I was on radio talk shows and I was on television telling people about this story, I could say, “Look, go to your computer, call it up and read it yourself, and make up your own mind.” And people did that. A lot of people did that.

Q: Ten thousand, 20,000?

WEBB: Hundreds of thousands. We had one day where we had 1.3 million hits on the web.

Q: Pardon me, 1.3 million?

WEBB: Yeah. It started out at like 600,000 [to] 800,000 a day, and it just sort of climbed up from there. So clearly, a lot of people were reading this and using the Internet that had never really used it for reading news before.

Q: What is the website URL?

WEBB: It’s http://www.sjmercury.com/drugs.

Q: You had mentioned to me that you had gotten e-mail to a pretty large extent from Japan, where this will be broadcast.

WEBB: Right.

Q: And apparently there was some interest from Japan.

WEBB: Yeah. I never figured out how that interest came up, other than the fact that there was a lot of web traffic, a lot of Internet traffic, about it. But I was getting it from Japan, I got it from Bosnia. I got a lot of e-mail from Colombia and Venezuela. You know, this is a pretty big story down in Latin America. Actually, parts of it were reprinted in La Prensa, the Nicaraguan press.

Q: In terms of the communication you got from Japan, were they just inquiries? Were they positive responses? Negative responses?

WEBB: They were positive, and several of them offered suggestions on other things I might want to look at, which I am always happy to get.

Q: Things that you might want to look at in Japan?

WEBB: No, it was things I might want to look at about this story from people who were living in Japan, who knew about it. I couldn’t exactly figure out — you know, it’s hard to tell who these people are. And I got a lot of e-mail from Japanese students who had heard about it or read about it.

Q: Is this story now complete?

WEBB: No.

Q: What’s next?

WEBB: We’re doing another two parts because there’s a lot more information about it.

Q: Can you share in any sense, just a general sense, of what those will be?

WEBB: It’s mostly about who else in the United States government knew what these [drug-dealing] guys were doing and how they managed to release the case of the raid and all that, how they managed to avoid prosecution.

Q: One last question: Have your feelings been hurt? Have you ever felt under siege?

WEBB: No, because I’m sort of used to it. I mean, you do investigative reporting long enough and you make enough people mad, you don’t even notice it anymore. If this kind of stuff happened 20 years ago, I probably would’ve been horrified. But I’m used to it by now. [laughs]

Q: Gary Webb, thank you very much for your time and thank you for talking to us.

WEBB: Sure.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

EPILOGUE:

Those were Gary Webb’s last words in the interview. Afterward we joined Webb for lunch at a nearby Chinese restaurant, then walked over to the California state capitol library to get footage of Webb while he searched through microfiche files relating to his investigation. As the TV production crew from Japan parted with Webb that winter afternoon at the California state capitol in Sacramento, I couldn’t shake the sinking feeling that somehow the worst was yet to come for the gutsy newspaper reporter and his fateful investigation.

The next day we were headed back down to San Francisco, where, at our request, Webb had taken the unprecedented step as a journalist of arranging for us to exclusively interview his prime source in the “Dark Alliance” investigation, Coral Talavera Baca. It was to be her first public interview ever, as Webb had been taking great pains to protect her privacy and relative anonymity from the U.S. media. We met Talavera Baca at the law office where she worked, high up in a skyscraper in the Embarcadero district of downtown San Francisco. Although her interview ended up with little in the way of substantive, new information — consisting more or less of personal anecdotes and general background regarding “Dark Alliance” — some of what she related then is especially noteworthy in light of later events.

Talavera Baca said that Gary Webb of the San Jose Mercury News was actually one of four reporters of major U.S. newspapers she had initially contacted with her explosive information about the cocaine-dealing Nicaraguans: The other three were reporters for the New York Times, the San Francisco Examiner and the San Francisco Chronicle. Those other three reporters, she said, “weren’t too smart”; Webb was the only one among them who seemed to really understand the legal processes involving drug-related cases. She now felt she had made the right choice in trusting only Webb with her painstakingly compiled legal documents that would go on to become the foundation of “Dark Alliance.” “He documented everything beautifully,” she said. But even Webb was slow in grasping the depth of his own “Dark Alliance” investigation, according to Talavera Baca: “His story very clearly implicates the United States government. And I don’t think Gary went far enough. Gary just takes it to the CIA. I think he needed to take it….and go right up to the steps of the White House. And he [Gary] didn’t like me saying that to him. However, I got a phone call recently from him and he says, ‘Wow, you were right! It led all the way to Oliver North’.”

But Webb’s eye-opening revelations would be short-lived. My sinking feeling in Sacramento the day before about the future of Webb and his investigation turned out, unfortunately, to be justified: A mere three months later in May 1997, Webb’s newspaper disowned the “Dark Alliance” series, forcing Webb out of the U.S. daily newspaper business forever and relegating his groundbreaking investigation to the back pages of history. As Webb himself would write: “And then, just like that, it was over.” On another winter’s day seven years later, Gary Webb was gone.

While this is a tribute to an honorable reporter and his important story, in the end it must be something more: If “Dark Alliance” is to mean anything today, then Webb’s lifework must be the fire that helps ignite younger generations in these times to carry on the tradition of independent journalism by documenting and investigating the hell out of corrupt governments and other powerful institutions in society — wherever they may be. It is needed now more than ever before. Getting the truth out is what Gary Webb and other journalists like him around the world have literally lived and died for. Let that true spirit of journalism be carried on.

# # # #

______________________________________

Brian Ohkubo Covert is an independent journalist based in Hyogo, Japan.

__________________
A TAINTED DEAL ALLOWED DRUG FLOW
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/06/tainted-deal

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the Murder of Kiki Camarena
http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-a-dogged-la-dea-agent-unraveled-the-cias-alleged-role-in-the-murder-of-kiki-camarena-5750278


"There is no question in my mind that people affiliated with, on the payroll of, and carrying the credentials of,the CIA were involved in drug trafficking while involved in support of the contras."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... There are some things the general public does not need to know and shouldn't. I believe democracy flourishes when the government can take legitimate steps to keep its secrets and when the press can decide whether to print what it knows. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
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hannah

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Reply with quote  #13 
I Ran Drugs for Uncle Sam–William “Tosh” Plumlee (5 hour audio interview) on the “Dark Alliance”

http://www.phibetaiota.net/2010/06/i-ran-drugs-for-uncle-sam-william-tosh-plumlee-5-hour-audio-interview-on-the-dark-alliance/

Part one (of five) link here

5 hour interview with Tosh Plumlee on Expert Witness Radio with Mike Levine.

In 1999, Tosh Plumlee came on the airwaves and did five hours of interviews, detailing his history of flying drugs into the United States as part of a drug interdiction program. Part ONE | Part TWO | Part THREE | Part FOUR | Part FIVE

+ Article: “I Ran Drugs for Uncle Sam”
+ ROBERT “TOSH” PLUMLEE DECLARATION 11/21/2004
+ FBI/DEA/CIA files released between the years 1981 and 1999. These United States government files are placed here for review by professional researchers, law enforcement officials and by the general public. A responsible review of these documents should provide the reader with a clear picture of the covert background of Tosh Plumlee.A careful review of these documents will reveal that the United States Department of Justice has been guilty of obstruction of justice since 1963 and before. LINK

Related:

__________________
Test your connection for leaks:
http://ip-check.info/?lang=en

Use TAILS
https://tails.boum.org/

How to boot from USB and other great stuff:
http://www.rmprepusb.com/

Open pdf and word files online instead of on your puter'
http://view.samurajdata.se/

USE the net more securely:
https://pressfreedomfoundation.org/blog/2014/04/help-support-little-known-privacy-tool-has-been-critical-journalists-reporting-nsa
https://www.torproject.org/download/download

http://www.theintelligencenews.com/


"The world isn't run by weapons anymore, or energy, or money. It's run by little ones and zeroes......"



"There's a war out there, old friend. A world war. And it's not about who's got the most bullets. It's about who controls the information.... it's all about the information!"
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hannah

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Reply with quote  #14 
http://www.phibetaiota.net/2007/06/dark-alliance-the-cia-the-contras-and-the-crack-cocaine-explosion/


Review: Dark Alliance–The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion


Dark Alliance CIA Case Officer from Central American Era Validates This Book, June 9, 2007



I am probably the only reviewer who was a clandestine case officer (three back to back tours), who participated in the Central American follies as both a field officer and a desk officer at CIA HQS, who is also very broadly read.

With great sadness, I must conclude that this book is truthful, accurate, and explosive.

The book lacks some context, for example, the liberal Saudi funding for the Contras that was provided to the National Security Council (NSC) as a back-door courtesy.

There are three core lessons in this book, supported by many books, some of which I list at the end of this review:

1) The US Government cannot be trusted by the people. The White House, the NSC, the CIA, even the Justice Department, and the Members of Congress associated with the Administration’s party, are all liars. They use “national security” as a pretext for dealing drugs and screwing over the American people.

2) CIA has come to the end of its useful life. I remain proud to have been a clandestine case officer, but I see now that I was part of the “fake” CIA going through the motions, while extremely evil deeds were taking place in more limited channels.

3) In the eyes of the Nicaraguan, Guatemalan, and Honduran people, among many others, the US Government, as represented by the CIA and the dark side Ambassadors who are partisan appointees rather than true diplomats, is evil. It consorts with dictators, condones torture, helps loot the commonwealths of others, runs drugs, launders money, and is generally the bully on the block.

I have numerous notes on the book, and will list just a few here that are important “nuggets” from this great work:

1) The CIA connection to the crack pandemic could be the crime of the century. It certainly destroys the government’s moral legitimacy in the eyes of the people.

2) The fact that entrepreneur Ricky Ross went to jail for life, while his supplier, Nicaraguan Blandon, was constantly protected by CIA and the Department of Justice, is a travesty.

3) Nicaragua, under Somoza, was the US Government’s local enforcer, and CIA was his most important liaison element. As long as we consort with 44 dictators (see Ambassador Palmer’s “The Real Axis of Evil,” we should expect to be reviled by the broader populations.

4) I believe that beginning with Henry Kissinger, the NSC and the CIA have had a “eugenics” policy that considers the low-income blacks to be “expendable” as well as a nuisance, and hence worthy of being targeted as a market for drugs to pull out what income they do have.

5) I believe that CIA was unwitting of the implications of crack, but that Congress was not. The book compellingly describes the testimony provided to Congress in 1979 and again in 1982, about the forthcoming implications of making a cocaine derivative affordable by the lowest income people in our Nation.

6) The Administration and Congress, in close partnership with the “mainstream media,” consistently lied, slandered witnesses to the truth, and generally made it impossible for the truth to be “heard.”

7) The ignorance of the CIA managers about the “ground truth” in Nicaragua and Honduras, and their willingness to carry out evil on command from the White House, without actually understanding the context, the true feelings of the people, or even the hugely detrimental strategic import of what they were about to do to Los Angeles, simply blow me away. We need to start court-martialling government employees for being stupid on the people’s payroll.

8) CIA officers should not be allowed to issue visas. When they are under official cover they are assigned duty officer positions, and the duty officer traditionally has access to the visa stamp safe for emergencies (because the real visa officers are too lazy to be called in for an emergency).

9) I recently supported a movie on Ricky Ross, one that immediately won three awards in 2006 for best feature-length documentary, and I have to say, on the basis of this book, that Rick Ross was clearly not a gang member; was a tennis star and all-around good guy, was trying to make school grades; was disciplined, professional, and entrepreneurial. He did not create the cocaine, he did not smuggle it into the country, he simply acted on the opportunity presented to him by the US Government and its agent Blandon.

10) There is a connection between CIA, the private sector prison managers in the US, and prisoners. This needs a more careful look.

11) Clinton’s bodyguards (many of whom have died mysteriously since then) were fully witting of Bill and Hillary Clinton’s full engagement in drug smuggling into the US via Arkansas, and CIA’s related nefarious activities.

12) CIA not only provided post-arrest white washes for its drug dealers, but they also orchestrated tip-offs on planned raids.

13) Both local police departments, especially in California, and the US Government, appear to have a standard “loot and release” program where drug dealers caught with very large amounts of cash (multiple millions) are instantly freed in return for a quit claim on the money.

14) CIA Operations Officers (clandestine case officers) lied not just to the FBI and Justice, but to their own CIA lawyers.

15) DEA in Costa Rica was dirtier than most, skimming cash and protecting drug transports.

The book ends with a revelation and an observation.

The revelation: just prior to both the Contra drug deals and the CIA’s ramping up in Afghanistan, which now provides 80% of the world’s heroin under US administration, the CIA and Justice concluded a Memorandum of Understanding that gave CIA carte blanche in the drug business.. The author says this smacked of premeditation, and I agree.

The observation: here is a quote from page 452: ” …the real danger the CIA has always presented–unbridled criminal stupidity, clouded in a blanked of national security.”

Shame on us all. It’s time to clean house.

Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & ‘Project Truth’
The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade
Cocaine Politics: Drugs, Armies, and the CIA in Central America, Updated edition
The Big White Lie: The Deep Cover Operation That Exposed the CIA Sabotage of the Drug War : An Undercover Odyssey
Kill the Messenger: How the CIA’s Crack-Cocaine Controversy Destroyed Journalist Gary Webb
The Crimes of Patriots: A True Tale of Dope, Dirty Money, and the CIA
From BCCI to ISI: The Saga of Entrapment Continues
Crossing the Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil
Breaking the Real Axis of Evil: How to Oust the World’s Last Dictators by 2025
Fog Facts : Searching for Truth in the Land of Spin (Nation Books)


robert.david.steele.vivas@gmail.com

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hannah

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Posts: 797
Reply with quote  #15 
America’s “War on Drugs”: CIA- Recruited Mercenaries and Drug-Traffickers
By Michael Levine
Global Research, January 13, 2011
wanttoknow.info 13 January 2011
Region: USA
Theme: Intelligence
America's "War on Drugs": CIA- Recruited Mercenaries and Drug-Traffickers

When Nixon first declared war on drugs in 1971, there were fewer than 500,000 hard-core addicts in the nation, most of whom were addicted to heroin. Three decades later, despite the expenditure of $1 trillion in tax dollars, the number of hard-core addicts is shortly expected to exceed five million. Our nation has become the supermarket of the drug world, with a wider variety and bigger supply of drugs at cheaper prices than ever before. The problem now not only affects every town on the map, but it is difficult to find a family anywhere that is not somehow affected. (pp. 158, 159)

The Chang Mai factory the CIA prevented me from destroying was the source of massive amounts of heroin being smuggled into the US in the bodies and body bags of GIs killed in Vietnam. (p. 165)

My unit, the Hard Narcotics Smuggling Squad, was charged with investigating all heroin and cocaine smuggling through the Port of New York. My unit became involved in investigating every major smuggling operation known to law enforcement. We could not avoid witnessing the CIA protecting major drug dealers. Not a single important source in Southeast Asia was ever indicted by US law enforcement. This was no accident. Case after case was killed by CIA and State Department intervention and there wasn’t a damned thing we could do about it. CIA-owned airlines like Air America were being used to ferry drugs throughout Southeast Asia, allegedly to support our “allies.” CIA banking operations were used to launder drug money. (pp. 165, 166)

In 1972, I was assigned to assist in a major international drug case involving top Panamanian government officials who were using diplomatic passports to smuggle large quantities of heroin and other drugs into the US. The name Manuel Noriega surfaced prominently in the investigation. Surfacing right behind Noriega was the CIA to protect him from US law enforcement. As head of the CIA, Bush authorized a salary for Manuel Noriega as a CIA asset, while the dictator was listed in as many as 40 DEA computer files as a drug dealer. (pp. 166, 167)

The CIA and the Department of State were protecting more and more politically powerful drug traffickers around the world: the Mujihadeen in Afghanistan, the Bolivian cocaine cartels, the top levels of Mexican government, Nicaraguan Contras, Colombian drug dealers and politicians, and others. Media’s duties, as I experienced firsthand, were twofold: first, to keep quiet about the gush of drugs that was allowed to flow unimpeded into the US; second, to divert the public’s attention by shilling them into believing the drug war was legitimate by falsely presenting the few trickles we were permitted to indict as though they were major “victories,” when in fact we were doing nothing more than getting rid of the inefficient competitors of CIA assets. (pp. 166, 167)

On July 17, 1980, drug traffickers actually took control of a nation. Bolivia at the time [was] the source of virtually 100% of the cocaine entering the US. CIA-recruited mercenaries and drug traffickers unseated Bolivia’s democratically elected president, a leftist whom the US government didn’t want in power. Immediately after the coup, cocaine production increased massively, until it soon outstripped supply. This was the true beginning of the crack “plague.” (pp. 167, 168)

The CIA along with the State and Justice Departments had to combine forces to protect their drug-dealing assets by destroying a DEA investigation. How do I know? I was the inside source. I sat down at my desk in the American embassy and wrote the kind of letter that I never myself imagined ever writing. I detailed three pages typewritten on official US embassy stationary—enough evidence of my charges to feed a wolf pack of investigative journalists. I also expressed my willingness to be a quotable source. I addressed it directly to Strasser and Rohter, care of Newsweek. Two sleepless weeks later, I was still sitting in my embassy office staring at the phone. Three weeks later, it rang. It was DEA’s internal security. They were calling me to notify me that I was under investigation. I had been falsely accused of everything from black-marketing to having sex with a married female DEA agent. The investigation would wreak havoc with my life for the next four years. (pp. 168-171)

In one glaring case, an associate of mine was sent into Honduras to open a DEA office in Tegucigalpa. Within months he had documented as much as 50 tons of cocaine being smuggled into the US by Honduran military people who were supporting the Contras. This was enough cocaine to fill a third of US demand. What was the DEA response? They closed the office. (p. 175)

Sometime in 1990, US Customs intercepted a ton of cocaine being smuggled through Miami International Airport. A Customs and DEA investigation quickly revealed that the smugglers were the Venezuelan National Guard headed by General Guillen, a CIA “asset” who claimed that he had been operating under CIA orders and protection. The CIA soon admitted that this was true. If the CIA is good at anything, it is the complete control of American mass media. So secure are they in their ability to manipulate the mass media that they even brag about it in their own in-house memos. The New York Times had the story almost immediately in 1990 and did not print it until 1993. It finally became news that was “fit to print” when the Times learned that 60 Minutes also had the story and was actually going to run it. The highlight of the 60 Minutes piece is when the administrator of the DEA, Federal Judge Robert Bonner, tells Mike Wallace, “There is no other way to put it, Mike, [what the CIA did] is drug smuggling. It’s illegal [author's emphasis].” (pp. 188, 189)

The fact is – and you can read it yourself in the federal court records – that seven months before the attempt to blow up the World Trade Center in 1993, the FBI had a paid informant, Emad Salem, who had infiltrated the bombers and had told the FBI of their plans to blow up the twin towers. Without notifying the NYPD or anyone else, an FBI supervisor “fired” Salem, who was making $500 a week for his work. After the bomb went off, the FBI hired Salem back and paid him $1.5 million to help them track down the bombers. But that’s not all the FBI missed. When they finally did catch the actual bomber, Ramzi Yousef (a man trained with CIA funds during the Russia-Afghanistan war), the FBI found information on his personal computer about plans to use hijacked American jetliners as fuel-laden missiles. The FBI ignored this information, too. (p. 191)

Michael Levine is a 25-year veteran of the DEA turned best-selling author and journalist. His articles and interviews on the drug war have been published in numerous national newspapers and magazines, including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and Esquire.

Learn about Mr. Levine’s books and radio show at http://www.expertwitnessradio.org.
http://www.globalresearch.ca/america-s-war-on-drugs-cia-recruited-mercenaries-and-drug-traffickers/22777

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"There's a war out there, old friend. A world war. And it's not about who's got the most bullets. It's about who controls the information.... it's all about the information!"
0
maynard

Registered:
Posts: 1,154
Reply with quote  #16 
LAW ENFORCEMENT AWARD NAMED AFTER A DRUG TRAFFICKER - THE WILLIAM FRENCH SMITH AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTIONS TO COOPERATIVE LAW ENFORCEMENT



In 1998, Frederick Hitz, CIA Inspector General admitted to the existence of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which exempted the intelligence agencies of the United States of America from reporting the drug crimes of its assets, contractors, and agents. The agreement was in effect from 1982 to 1995, covering both the Nicaraguan war and the Afghan war.

Hitz's admission was made before congress during hearings on CIA / CONTRA involvement in narcotics trafficking.

US Congresswoman Maxine Waters obtained copies of the documents and entered them into the congressional record. The documents can be viewed on the CIA website by clicking the links below.
They are signed by DCI William Casey
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_J._Casey

Attorney General William French Smith
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_French_Smith

Mark M. Richard, then Deputy Assistant Attorney General (Who has his own law enforcement award - The Mark M. Richard Memorial Award)

A.R. Cinquegrana - Deputy Chief of DoJ's Office of Intelligence Policy and Review (OIPR) from 1979 to 1991



See the documents here:


Exhibit 1

U.S. Attorney General William French Smith replies to a still classified letter from DCI William Casey requesting exemption from reporting drug crimes by CIA assets,agents and contractors.

Source:

https://www.cia.gov/library/reports/general-reports-1/cocaine/contra-story/01.gif






Exhibit 2:

DCI William Casey happily agrees with William French Smith and signs the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) exempting his agency from reporting drug crimes. This agreement covered both the Latin American conflicts and Afghanistan war. It remained in effect until August, 1995 when it was quietly rescinded by Janet Reno after Gary Webb began making inquiries for his series. The 1995 revision of the DOJ-CIA MOU specifically includes narcotics violations among the lists of potential offenses by non-employees that must be reported to DoJ.

Source:

https://www.cia.gov/library/reports/general-reports-1/cocaine/contra-story/13.gif




Exhibit 3:

On February 8, 1985, Deputy Chief of DoJ's Office of Intelligence Policy and Review (OIPR) from 1979 to 1991, A. R. Cinquegrana signed off on this letter approving the MOU. Mark M. Richard, Deputy Assistant Attorney General with responsibility for General Litigation and International Law Enforcement in 1982, states that he was unable to explain why narcotics violations were not on the list of reportable crimes except that the MOU had "other deficiencies, not just drugs."

Source:

https://www.cia.gov/library/reports/general-reports-1/cocaine/contra-story/14.gif






Maxine Waters investigation and testimony before the US House of Representatives can be seen here:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/117070568/US-Congresswoman-Maxine-Waters-Investigation-of-CIA-Contras-involvement-in-drug-sales-1996-2000



So there you have it. Four of the largest drug enablers in history, masquerading as law enforcement officials. Two of the men have Law enforcement awards named after them. When Journalist Gary Webb was told of the "William French Smith Law Enforcement Award" he laughed and asked "what do they give that out for"?

During his testimony before Congress Inspector General Fred Hitz was basically telling congress that records don't exist because none were required.

__________________
A TAINTED DEAL ALLOWED DRUG FLOW
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/06/tainted-deal

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the Murder of Kiki Camarena
http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-a-dogged-la-dea-agent-unraveled-the-cias-alleged-role-in-the-murder-of-kiki-camarena-5750278


"There is no question in my mind that people affiliated with, on the payroll of, and carrying the credentials of,the CIA were involved in drug trafficking while involved in support of the contras."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... There are some things the general public does not need to know and shouldn't. I believe democracy flourishes when the government can take legitimate steps to keep its secrets and when the press can decide whether to print what it knows. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
0
maynard

Registered:
Posts: 1,154
Reply with quote  #17 
Freeway Ricky Ross speaks: an interview wit’ the former drug kingpin
December 19, 2009
3

by Minister of Information JR
Freeway Ricky Ross
Freeway Ricky Ross
Freeway Ricky Ross was one of the biggest publicly known fundraisers for the U.S. government’s proxy wars against the people of Latin America, specifically in the countries of Nicaragua and El Salvador. He didn’t do it selling candy like school children do; he did it selling thousands of kilos of crack cocaine in the Los Angeles area. After serving over 20 years behind enemy lines, he met with me in Chicago at Mosque Maryam, where he was the featured speaker two weeks ago.

Certain segments of the Black community have often talked about how drugs were flooded into ghettos as part of the government’s Counter Intelligence Program in the ‘70s and ‘80s to stop the Black Power movement. It was done through individuals like Nikki Barnes and Alpo. This is Freeway Ricky Ross’ story about how he worked for the CIA in Los Angeles …

M.O.I. JR: How are you doing?

Freeway Ricky Ross: I’m doing super, man, just getting it in.

M.O.I. JR: I understand that you were just released from prison. How long did you do and what were you charged with?

Freeway Ricky Ross: Drug trafficking, and I been out about nine weeks now.

M.O.I. JR: How long did you do?

Freeway Ricky Ross: Twenty years and six months.

M.O.I. JR: Where were you locked up at?

Freeway Ricky Ross: Ah, man, all over the country: Lompoc, California; Victorville, California; San Diego; Phoenix, Arizona; Texas; Texarkana. I got around.

M.O.I. JR: To say that you were a drug dealer is kind of an understatement. Can you tell the people what kind of drugs you moved and what kind of money you made off of the drug trade?

Freeway Ricky Ross: Man, I moved hundreds of “keys” on a daily basis. I made in my last two years at least a million dollars every day. Some days 2 and 3 million dollars.

M.O.I. JR: So when you moved hundreds of “keys,” would you say you were fueling all of Los Angeles, or most of Los Angeles, or the West Coast?

Freeway Ricky Ross: I don’t know. You can’t really say that. You know drugs travel a long ways. So to say what it was fueling or how far, I never really took the time to calculate that. But I know that drugs that I sold went all across the country at one time or another.

M.O.I. JR: How many people were employed in your particular operation?

Freeway Ricky Ross: I had my own personal little crew of probably 40 guys at a time. Sometimes it could go up or sometimes it goes down; it’s according to who wants to work. Some people when they get a little money in their pockets, they don’t want to work. But you know I had a crew of about 45-40 people pretty consistently.

M.O.I. JR: How did you get the name Freeway Ricky Ross?

Freeway Ricky Ross: I grew up by the side of the freeway, and you know there were quite a few Ricks around, so it started off as “Rick stay by the freeway.” And once I got in the drug business, it took up a name of its own.

M.O.I. JR: How did you get a connection where you were getting your cocaine straight from Colombia?

Freeway Ricky Ross: It wasn’t really come from Colombia. Mine was coming from Nicaragua – from a guy that was a CIA operative …

M.O.I. JR: Would that be Danilo Blandon?

Freeway Ricky Ross: Absolutely correct. He’s the one who had the Columbian connect and the connect to get it in the country. But I didn’t know nothing about that type of stuff. You know, I was just glad to get my drugs at a great price and was enjoying the success that I thought I was having.

M.O.I. JR: What is a great price, so we can understand how the CIA sells drugs in the Black community?

Freeway Ricky Ross: When I started off buying “keys,” I was paying like $7,500 for a key. And the last time I bought a key, it was $10,000 a key.

M.O.I. JR: Wow. With you being from the Los Angeles area, but you don’t seem to be street tribe or gang affiliated, how did he approach you and how were you able to move that amount of, what we call in the streets, “weight” without being affected by street tribes?

Freeway Ricky Ross: Well, we were introduced by mutual friends. As a matter of fact, we paid to meet each other. It cost me, I think, $60,000-$65,000 to meet him. And he paid the same thing to meet me. So it wasn’t just a meeting, it was a business meeting with a goal in mind for both of us.

As far as the gangs, I wanted to be a gang member when I was around 12 years old, but I started playing tennis and once I started playing tennis I was able to see the benefits and the non-benefits of gang-banging. As so I was definitely detoured from the gangs because of that. You know that I have always been somebody that wanted something out of life, and I couldn’t just see fighting and killing, just for the sake of it.

M.O.I. JR: Why do you think that the government picked you, in particular on the West Coast out of all the different people? I’m sure you are not the only one, but you are one of the most public ones that they did pick. Why did they pick you to move such “weight”?

Freeway Ricky Ross: I don’t know how that all went down, you know what I’m saying? It was just all coincidence, I guess, but I was determined to be a major drug dealer when I got started so, I guess, that played a part in it. And you know, how do football teams pick running backs and wide receivers? You know they watch the numbers. They look for who has the work ethic, and who is dedicated.

M.O.I. JR: Has government officials besides Danilo Blandon been in touch with you during your career as a drug dealer?

Freeway Ricky Ross: When I was a drug dealer, I didn’t know that he was with the government. After I was arrested, as you probably know, I spoke to many government officials from CIA to Congress to the attorney general – it was enormous – but no, not while I was a drug dealer.

M.O.I. JR: When did you find out that he was the CIA?

Freeway Ricky Ross: When I went to trial. He testified against me.

M.O.I. JR: Can you speak about your most recent case, because as I understand, you have given up the game, and many believe you were going in one more time and you got caught up, and that was the government retribution …

Freeway Ricky Ross: I was entrapped. You know, I feel that I was entrapped in this case, but it is what it is. I wasn’t selling drugs. I was trying to build a youth center. And they put him on me, and he kept asking me over and over again to introduce him to somebody that would buy drugs. Once I made the introduction, I was arrested.

M.O.I. JR: So do you feel like this was retribution for you getting out of the game?

Freeway Ricky Ross: I don’t know. You know, it could be, but I just don’t know. I don’t give it much thought any more. You know, I really moved on with my life and I got so many other things going on right now that it is hard for me to even look back on the past. That’s no longer a part of my life. Right now, I’m living towards the future.

M.O.I. JR: I understand that you were recently released from federal prison, and I just recently met you in Chicago. How is it that you just did 20 years, and yet you are not on federal parole and you can move around like you are?

Freeway Ricky Ross: I am on federal parole but, you know, I got myself in a position so that I could do anything that I want to do. You know, basically, I’m the man. You know I feel that I am running things right now. It’s just not drugs no more, but I’m still the guy that you need to talk to, and people will be recognizing it soon.

M.O.I. JR: What are some of your future ambitions?

Freeway Ricky Ross: Well, right now I’m putting my movie together. I’m doing my movie myself.

M.O.I. JR: What is the name of it?

Freeway Ricky Ross: I haven’t really named it. I’m thinking about naming it something like “Ghetto Economics” or “Ghetto Physics.” You know, I’m still tinkering with it, but I just signed Nick Cassavetes, one of the greatest writers in Hollywood. He’s writing a script with me.

I had a meeting yesterday with Leonardo Di Caprio about him playing in the movie, as Gary Webb, the reporter. I have money put in escrow right now to shoot the movie, and I’m doing everything myself.

You know, they let me do a movie totally independently. I’m not doing it with a studio. I’m calling all of the shots. You know, I’ll be paying everybody including Leonardo if he decides to work with me. You know, I’m running things right now.

M.O.I. JR: I understand that you speak around the country also …

Freeway Ricky Ross: Yeah. I been on tour. I went on a four-day tour to Chicago. I been to Indianapolis; I been to St. Louis. I’m getting ready to go to Houston. While I’m down there I will be kicking it with my man Scarface.

You know I’m just everywhere, man. I got a record label that I’m putting together. I’m about to start my own book publishing company. Right now, I’m sitting with a video game developer; we’re working on my video game.

You know, just getting it in, man. It’s on and poppin. I got a reality show coming out. I just got a call a minute ago. HBO wants to buy a mini-series of my life, something like “The Wire.” So, you know, I’m just getting it in, man.

You know I got my social network, freewayenterprise.com. I’ll be going up to Stanford on Friday to have the students up there to help me build it, to where we can compete with myspace and facebook. I’m just gettin’ it in, man. I’m taking all of the street knowledge that I’ve learned and putting it towards business.

M.O.I. JR: Now let’s talk a little bit about Gary Webb. I learned about your story from his book, “Dark Alliances.” and also his newspaper articles by the same name that came out in the San Jose Mercury News. I take it that you’ve read the book.

Freeway Ricky Ross: I’ve read both.

M.O.I. JR: How accurate would you say they are, based on your own recollection and research?

Freeway Ricky Ross: Man, Gary Webb was good. He was a Pulitizer winning writer, meaning that he is one of the best writers, best investigative writers out there. I mean you cannot take anything from Gary Webb, even though they all tried to beat him up.

But they had no choice. You know, it was either beat him up or go down. So they thought it was better to beat him up, to gang up on him. And that’s what they did. I hated to see that it went down like that, and nobody stood behind him and held his back up.

M.O.I. JR: What was happening to you, when all of this was happening to Gary Webb? What was happening around you?

Freeway Ricky Ross: Well, I was in prison. I had a life sentence at the time.

M.O.I. JR: How many years had you served up to that point when all of this had been acknowledged?

Freeway Ricky Ross: Two years, maybe three years.

M.O.I. JR: And were there a whole lot of people swarming around you and wanting to get in touch with you as a result of these articles and this book coming out?

Freeway Ricky Ross: Without a question – it was a media frenzy. I made the talk show circuit: Nightline, Dateline, you name it, I did all of the TV shows. Montell Williams came down, Maxine Waters. I got a call from Jesse Jackson. It was crazy.

M.O.I. JR: What do you think about the death of Gary Webb? Some call it a suicide and others call it an assassination, where he had two shots to the head. Do you think that that was retribution for his work, particularly bringing out and shedding light on this connection between you, the United States government, El Salvador and Nicaragua?

Freeway Ricky Ross: Well, you know that’s crazy, because for someone to shoot themselves twice in the head – and I believe it was with a shotgun – is crazy. But you know crazier things have happened. And we all have to sit down and weigh the evidence for ourself, because I wasn’t there and I don’t know what happened.

You know that I just hope that he wasn’t killed, that there wasn’t any foul play and that it went down like they say it did. But you know, when you stepping in there and you accusing people as powerful as the people that he accused, anything can happen.

M.O.I. JR: Do you fear for your life now that you have been on the speaking tour circuit, as well as you’re involved in all of these projects that will be speaking about different elements of your life, where people can possibly get in trouble?

Freeway Ricky Ross: Well, I’m definitely cautious. And I’m also cautious about what I say so I’m definitely playing it safe. Let’s say that.

M.O.I. JR: Last but not least, is there any way that people can keep up with you? I know you put the website out there. Can you tell it to us again? Or is there any other way that people can get in touch with you?

Freeway Ricky Ross: The best way is freewayenterprise.com. You can email me on there. You can leave messages for me. If you book me for something or you need to speak to me, or if you want to send me your cd or something like that there, or if you want to be on some of the soundtracks or whatever it is, you can contact me right there.

We finna start a picture of the week, where we’re going to be paying for whoever comes up with the best picture for the week. So freewayenterprise.com is the best way to get me. Also we’ll be letting people play in my movie that’s on the site, that is a member. You know, holla at me. I definitely want to hear from you, and hear what you got to say, and if you got any ideas for me.

M.O.I. JR: Are you still living off of old money or did you basically get out with nothing and you gotta rebuild yourself?

Freeway Ricky Ross: Man, I’m broke right now, but you know what? I’m in good spirits. I feel confident in myself and in my skills. And I don’t mind struggling. You know the struggle is better than the actual victory. So you know, right now, I’m struggling, I’m gettin’ it in and now just having a ball.

I met Minister Farrakhan Friday. He let me have dinner at his house. And when you get things like that there, man, it’s just wonderful. Today I spoke at Locke High School to about 4-500 kids …

Freeway Ricky Ross: It’s in South Central Los Angeles. And, you know, when you get those type of rewards, it’s just overwhelming, man. Right now, I’m living a dream.

M.O.I. JR: Well, man, thanks for the interview. I’m going to be hitting you up for updates.

Freeway Ricky Ross: You got that. But definitely y’all join up for the site. Hit me up, and sign me up as a friend, man. We gonna be doing stuff on Freeway Enterprise that ain’t nobody else out there doing. It’s going to be a place where you can make some money, get seen, and get your message out. Holla at me. Peace.

Email POCC Minister of Information JR, Bay View associate editor, at blockreportradio@gmail.com and visit http://www.blockreportradio.com.

http://sfbayview.com/2009/freeway-ricky-ross-speaks-an-interview-wit%E2%80%99-the-former-drug-kingpin/

__________________
A TAINTED DEAL ALLOWED DRUG FLOW
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/06/tainted-deal

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the Murder of Kiki Camarena
http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-a-dogged-la-dea-agent-unraveled-the-cias-alleged-role-in-the-murder-of-kiki-camarena-5750278


"There is no question in my mind that people affiliated with, on the payroll of, and carrying the credentials of,the CIA were involved in drug trafficking while involved in support of the contras."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... There are some things the general public does not need to know and shouldn't. I believe democracy flourishes when the government can take legitimate steps to keep its secrets and when the press can decide whether to print what it knows. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
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maynard

Registered:
Posts: 1,154
Reply with quote  #18 
The trials of Rep. Maxine Waters: Ethics or payback?
August 20, 2010

by Joseph Debro

http://sfbayview.com/2010/the-trials-of-rep-maxine-waters-ethics-or-payback/



coverage of Ms. Waters ethics probe

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/maxine-waters/

__________________
A TAINTED DEAL ALLOWED DRUG FLOW
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/06/tainted-deal

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the Murder of Kiki Camarena
http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-a-dogged-la-dea-agent-unraveled-the-cias-alleged-role-in-the-murder-of-kiki-camarena-5750278


"There is no question in my mind that people affiliated with, on the payroll of, and carrying the credentials of,the CIA were involved in drug trafficking while involved in support of the contras."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... There are some things the general public does not need to know and shouldn't. I believe democracy flourishes when the government can take legitimate steps to keep its secrets and when the press can decide whether to print what it knows. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
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maynard

Registered:
Posts: 1,154
Reply with quote  #19 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enrique_Camarena_%28DEA_agent%29

http://www.scribd.com/doc/129497281/Lawrence-Victor-Harrison-Testimony-in-DEA-agent-Enrique-Camarena-Case-Ties-Contras-and-Drugs

http://www.scribd.com/doc/117078597/The-Pariah-by-Charles-Bowden

__________________
A TAINTED DEAL ALLOWED DRUG FLOW
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/06/tainted-deal

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the Murder of Kiki Camarena
http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-a-dogged-la-dea-agent-unraveled-the-cias-alleged-role-in-the-murder-of-kiki-camarena-5750278


"There is no question in my mind that people affiliated with, on the payroll of, and carrying the credentials of,the CIA were involved in drug trafficking while involved in support of the contras."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... There are some things the general public does not need to know and shouldn't. I believe democracy flourishes when the government can take legitimate steps to keep its secrets and when the press can decide whether to print what it knows. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
0
maynard

Registered:
Posts: 1,154
Reply with quote  #20 
http://www.carlbernstein.com/magazine_cia_and_media.php

classic article.......


After leaving The Washington Post in 1977, Carl Bernstein spent six months looking at the relationship of the CIA and the press during the Cold War years. His 25,000-word cover story, published in Rolling Stone on October 20, 1977, is reprinted below.

THE CIA AND THE MEDIA

How Americas Most Powerful News Media Worked Hand in Glove with the Central Intelligence Agency and Why the Church Committee Covered It Up

BY CARL BERNSTEIN

__________________
A TAINTED DEAL ALLOWED DRUG FLOW
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/06/tainted-deal

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the Murder of Kiki Camarena
http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-a-dogged-la-dea-agent-unraveled-the-cias-alleged-role-in-the-murder-of-kiki-camarena-5750278


"There is no question in my mind that people affiliated with, on the payroll of, and carrying the credentials of,the CIA were involved in drug trafficking while involved in support of the contras."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... There are some things the general public does not need to know and shouldn't. I believe democracy flourishes when the government can take legitimate steps to keep its secrets and when the press can decide whether to print what it knows. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
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maynard

Registered:
Posts: 1,154
Reply with quote  #21 
http://www.scribd.com/doc/131231070/60-MINUTES-Head-of-DEA-Robert-Bonner-Says-CIA-Smuggled-Drugs


CBS News Transcripts 60 MINUTES November 21, 1993

HEADLINE: THE CIA'S COCAINE; CIA APPARENTLY BEHIND SHIPPING OF A TON OF COCAINE INTO THE US FROM VENEZUELA
BODY: THE CIA'S COCAINE
(When Mike Levine (DEA-retired) spoke with his former colleague at DEA, Annabelle Grimm regarding this case, he was told that "27 tons minimum" had entered the country)
MORLEY SAFER: A ton of cocaine--pure cocaine, worth hundreds of millions—is smuggled into the United States. Sound familiar? Not the way this ton of cocaine got here, according to what the former head of the Drug Enforcement Administration told Mike Wallace. This drug shipment got here courtesy of what he calls drug trafficking by the CIA, in partnership with the Venezuelan national guard. While rumors of CIA involvement in drug trafficking have circulated for years, no one in the US government has ever before publicly charged the CIA with this kind of wrongdoing. It is not the kind of accusation anyone in government would make without thinking long and hard.
MIKE WALLACE: Let me understand what you're saying. A ton of cocaine was smuggled into the United States of America by the Venezuelan national guard...
Judge ROBERT BONNER (Former Head, Drug Enforcement Administration): Well, they... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_C._Bonner
WALLACE: ...in cooperation with the CIA?
Judge BONNER: That's what--that's exactly what appears to have happened. (Footage of Wallace and Bonner walking)
WALLACE: (Voiceover) Until last month, Judge Robert Bonner was the head ofthe Drug Enforcement Administration, the DEA. And Judge Bonner explained to us that only the head of the DEA is authorized to approve the transportation of any illegal narcotics, like cocaine, into this country, even if the CIA is bringing it in.
Judge BONNER: Let me put it this way, Mike. If this has not been approved by DEA or an appropriate law-enforcement authority in the United States, then it's illegal. It's called drug trafficking. It's called drug smuggling.
WALLACE: So what you're saying, in effect, is the CIA broke the law; simple as that.
Judge BONNER: I don't think there's any other way you can rationalize around it, assuming, as I think we can, that there was some knowledge on the part of CIA. At least some participation in approving or condoning this to be done. (Footage of Wallace and Bonner; the CIA seal)
WALLACE: (Voiceover) Judge Bonner says he came to that conclusion after a two-year secret investigation conducted by the DEA's Office of Professional Responsibility, in cooperation with the CIA's own inspector general. And what reason did the CIA have for promoting this drug smuggling?
Judge BONNER: Well, the only rationale that's ever been offered is that that--this would lead to some valuable drug intelligence about the Colombian cartels. (Footage of a drug inspection; a ship; trucks; a building; General Ramon Guillen Davila)
WALLACE: (Voiceover) Over half of the Colombian drug cartel's cocaine crosses the border with Venezuela on its way to the United States and Europe. Back in the 1980s, the CIA was mandated by then-President Reagan to develop intelligence on the Colombian drug cartels. And so the CIA, with Venezuela's Guardia Nacional, or national guard, set up an undercover operation, a drug-smuggling operation in Venezuela that could handle the trans-shipment of the Colombian cartel's cocaine on its way to market.
The plan was to infiltrate the cartel, and it worked, for the CIA-national guard undercover operation quickly accumulated this cocaine, over a ton and a half that was smuggled from Colombia into Venezuela inside these trucks and then was stored here at the CIA-financed Counternarcotics Intelligence Center in Caracas. The center's commander and the CIA's man in Venezuela was national guard General Ramon Guillen Davila.

Ms. ANNABELLE GRIMM (Drug Enforcement Agency): I tried to work together with them. I was always aware that they were not telling me everything they were doing. (Footage of Grimm; a building; Mark McFarlin; a plane taking off)
WALLACE: (Voiceover) Annabelle Grimm was a DEA agent with 18 years' experience when she was made agent-in-charge in Caracas. And she says that the CIA station chief, James Campbell, and this man, Mark McFarlin, the CIA officer in charge at the center, told her that to keep the undercover smuggling operation credible, they had to keep the cartel happy, and the way to do that was simple: deliver their dope, untouched by US law enforcement, to the cartel's distributors, their dope dealers in the United States.
Ms. GRIMM: The CIA and the Guardia Nacional wanted to let cocaine go on into the traffic without doing anything. They wanted to let it come up to the United States, no surveillance, no nothing.
WALLACE: In other words, you weren't going to stop them in Miami or Houston or wherever. These drugs were simply going to go to the United States and then go into the traffic and eventually reach the streets.

Ms. GRIMM: That's what they wanted to do, yes. And we had very, very lengthy discussions. But I told them what the US law was and the fact that we could not do this.
WALLACE: So here you've got Jim Campbell, chief of station, who knows about this; Mark McFarlin, CIA officer, knows about this and are stimulating this--this business of sending what are uncontrolled deliveries of drugs--smuggling drugs into the United States, right?
Ms. GRIMM: Right.
WALLACE: Why in the world would they want to do that?
Ms. GRIMM: As they explained to me, that--this would enable them to gain the traffickers' confidence, keep their informant cool and it would result in future seizures of larger quantities of drugs. And also, they hoped to--I guess they thought they were going to get Pablo Escobar at the scene of the crime or something, which I found personally ludicrous.
WALLACE: But if Annabelle Grimm thought this was ludicrous, the CIA station chief, James Campbell, did not. He enlisted the assistance of CIA headquarters in Washington to get approval for the drug shipments. And his bosses at the CIA in Washington went over Annabelle Grimm's head, directly to her bosses at DEA headquarters in Washington.
Judge BONNER: They made this proposal and we said, 'No, no way. We will not permit this. It should not go forward.' And then, apparently, it went forward anyway. (Footage of Wallace and Bonner; a Guardia Nacional truck; inspectors)
WALLACE: (Voiceover) The joint DEA-CIA investigation we mentioned earlier confirmed that over a ton of cocaine made its way from the Counternarcotics Center in Caracas to the streets of the United States. And they discovered that at one point, General Guillen's national guard tried to ship 1,500 kilos at once.
Ms. GRIMM: They were not successful in that because apparently the package they had put together was too large. It wouldn't fit on the plane. (Footage of Guillen)
WALLACE: (Voiceover) General Guillen admits to the bungled operation. General RAMON GUILLEN DAVILA (Venezuelan Guardia Nacional): (Through interpreter) It was too big for the airplane door because the plane was a 707. WALLACE: The box was too big to get into the airplane, $ 30 million worth of cargo, drugs? All these officials--the Venezuelans, the Americans, the--the Colombians--all so stupid that they don't have a box that's small enough to fit inside their own airplane?
Gen. GUILLEN: (Through interpreter) The traffickers made a mistake with the plane. (Footage of Guillen)
WALLACE: (Voiceover) Is it possible that General Guillen was doing this on his own, without the knowledge of the CIA?
Ms. GRIMM: I would find it very difficult, for several reasons, to believe that they did not know what was going on. They built, they ran, they controlled that center. General Guillen and his officers didn't go to the bathroom without telling Mark McFarlin or the CIA what they were going to do. (Footage of traffic; a Colombia road sign; an airplane landing)
WALLACE: (Voiceover) The drug-smuggling operation finally unraveled nearly a year after Annabelle Grimm says she told the CIA and General Guillen that it was illegal to send drugs uncontrolled into the US. Then a shipment arrived in Miami's International Airport and was seized, coincidentally, by US Customs. Customs traced those drugs back to the Venezuelan national guard, but General Guillen told us that operation had been approved by US authorities.
Gen. GUILLEN: (Through interpreter) Look, what I see here is that there is a problem between the CIA and the DEA, and perhaps they are trying to find a fall guy, who is General Guillen. If I had anything to do with illegal drug trafficking, I wouldn't be sitting here talking to you. (Footage of Guillen; a document)
WALLACE: (Voiceover) General Guillen is right about one thing. He could travel to New York to talk to us about Judge Bonner's charges only because he had already been granted immunity from prosecution in that DEA-CIA inspector general's investigation. So we confronted the general with this document, a report from that investigation that reads like his confession. (Reading) 'Guillen lost his composure, and when directly confronted concerning his involvement in the unauthorized and illegal shipment of cocaine to the US, confesses.'
Gen. GUILLEN: (Through interpreter) Look, I say that that confession is not true. In that report, there are a lot of lies. It's useless. I have not confessed anywhere.
WALLACE: So you're clean?
Gen. GUILLEN: (Through interpreter) Clean until the last day God has for me. (Footage of Guillen; buildings; a document; McFarlin in a truck; a photograph of James Campbell; the CIA logo)
WALLACE: (Voiceover) So far there has been no legal action against General Guillen. As for the CIA officers? Well, Judge Bonner may believe that someone at the agency must have known, but the CIA and the US Department of Justice say they have discovered, quote, "No evidence of criminal wrongdoing."
However, the CIA did acknowledge to us that the investigation, quote, "Did reveal instances of poor judgment and management, leading to disciplinary actions for several CIA officers." Mark McFarlin, the CIA officer in charge of the Counternarcotics Center, resigned from the agency last year. We tried to talk to him, but he told us the CIA would take legal action against him if he violated his secrecy agreement with the agency. As for James Campbell, the CIA station chief, we learned he was brought back to the US and promoted, but then he retired. Campbell did tell us, quote, "I've devoted my life to my country and feel like a victim in this thing. This happened without our knowledge.
We were there to prevent it." While CIA headquarters declined to answer our questions on camera, off camera a CIA official involved in the Venezuelan cocaine operation did. We talked to some people at the CIA. They say, 'The DEA does the same thing all the time. They let drugs walk. They let drugs into the traffic, and look the other way to further a more important goal.'
Judge BONNER: It's absolutely untrue. And frankly it--maybe it displays the kind of ignorance that makes the CIA dangerous in this area. It is wrong for an agency of the US government to facilitate and participate in allowing drugs to reach the streets. And apparently--you know, if the--if the CIA doesn't understand that, then I--I would be concerned that this kind of incident could be repeated. (Footage of Wallace and Dennis DeConcini)
WALLACE: (Voiceover) The CIA advised us they had recently briefed the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Dennis DeConcini, and they urged us to talk with him, apparently believing he would defend the operation.
Senator DENNIS DeCONCINI (Senate Intelligence Committee): It was an operation that I don't think they should've been involved in.
WALLACE: No question, the drugs got in?
Sen. DeCONCINI: I don't doubt that the drugs got in here.
WALLACE: You'd think that maybe the agency would want to say, 'OK, we made a mistake.'

Sen. DeCONCINI: I think they made a mistake.
WALLACE: Yeah.
Sen. DeCONCINI: And I--you know, you hope when these mistakes are made that, hell, not too many more of them are, particularly when the mistake is a large quantity of substances like this that can kill people, and probably did. (Footage of Wallace and DeConcini)
WALLACE: (Voiceover) We asked the senator why no one in the CIA has been prosecuted for bringing in the drugs. Sen. DeCONCINI: It--you would seem to think there would be a good case there.
WALLACE: A case against?
Sen. DeCONCINI: Against an American who knew anything about it. But, you know, I've been a prosecutor, Mike, and you have to look at the case, convince a--a jury or a judge not to throw the case out. The Justice Department reviewed that and they decided not to prosecute these individuals from the agency. (Footage of the Venezuelan intelligence agency)
WALLACE: (Voiceover) And what about the vaunted intelligence gathered from the whole CIA anti-drug caper in Venezuela?
Judge BONNER: Well, let me tell you, I--first of all, I don't know of any. Because from what I know, no valuable intelligence of any kind was produced from this operation.
WALLACE: What intelligence was generated by the shipment of this 1,000 to 1,500 kilos, controlled or uncontrolled?
General GUILLEN: (Through interpreter) It was very positive.
WALLACE: Really? Who--who--who did you finger? What did you find out?
General GUILLEN: (Through interpreter) Right now, a truck driver and the truck that were trafficking drugs into Venezuela are under arrest. There was another truck and two similar van types were also caught.
WALLACE: So what you're saying is that you captured three or four or five truck drivers. I'm asking about intelligence in the United States that was generated by the actual shipment of these kilos into the United States.
General GUILLEN: (Through interpreter) Now whether or not here in the United States they arrested anyone or the intelligence gathered was useless, that is the responsibility of the Americans.
WALLACE: After speaking to us, General Guillen traveled to Miami, where federal agents found him and served him with a subpoena to appear before a newly revived grand jury investigation into the CIA's cocaine. But the word out of Venezuela is that the government there will not permit him to testify.
Ms. GRIMM: I look at that 1,000 kilos, at least that 1,000 kilos. I look at the fact--I mean, Mike, you're a taxpayer and that was US taxpayer money that built that center, that funded it, that maintained it. And I really take great exception to the fact that that 1,000 kilos came in funded by US taxpayer money and it hit the streets of the United States. I found that particularly appalling when you look at all the damaged lives that 1,000 kilos represents.
SAFER: And what happened to the tens of millions that were paid for the CIA's cocaine? Well, General Guillen insists he didn't get any of it. But Judge Bonner says one thing is certain, the Colombian cartel did. They got their money once the dope made it to our streets. Meanwhile, both the House and Senate Intelligence Oversight Committees continue to ask questions about what they call, quote, "the very serious charges surrounding the CIA's cocaine."


******
Watch The Video on retired DEA agent Mike Levine’s Youtube channel:
DEA Administrator Robert Bonner (Bonner later became a Federal Judge) "CIA are drug smugglers." - Federal Judge Bonner, head of DEA- You don't get better proof than this.”

CIA Drug Smuggling - The Real Body Bag Case. with Undercover DEA Agent Michael Levine (author of NY Times non-fiction bestseller DEEP COVER) being coopted by CIA in South East Asia. Also: DEA busts CIA smuggling ton of cocaine. Head of DEA Judge Robert Bonner Accuses CIA directly of being drug smugglers. You don't need more proof than this.

Here are Mike Levine’s comments on the video:
Uploaded on Feb 18, 2011
michaellevine53 8 months ago
The whole investigation conducted by DEA, revealed that they were only caught for one ton, after they had gotten away with 26 tons over the previous year. Check out some of our radio shows. Bottom line is they smuggled more dope than the Medellin Cartel
• in reply to TheUnknownGrower (Show the comment)
Synnek1 7 months ago
A Ton of "Cocaine"? More like: TONS! rofl! >;-)
michaellevine53 7 months ago
To be precise, a minimum of 27 tons...
.
michaellevine53 2 months ago
Mr. P:
I may have a problem posting the entire show on youtube, but we have used the soundtrack on radio shows that you can find on the web site for The Expert Witness Radio show.. During these shows we discussed the findings that CIA, in fact, was caught smuggling lge quantities of cocaine that the people named in this brilliant investigative piece "should" have been indicted. If this is not enough I will have my producer and co-host digitize the 60 Minute piece and put it up on that site
• in reply to MrPaulrael

michaellevine53 5 months ago
Thanks for the kind words my friend. The book was DEEP COVER, in which I accused the attorney general at the time, Edwin Meece, of blowing the cover of an undercover team while they were outside the US (in Mexico, Panama and Bolivia) and very vulnerable to kidnapping and death. Unlike the CIA officer Valery Plame who was safely ensconced in her DC office when her cover was blown. Her case was, I suppose political. I was accusing people of treason. as libelous as it gets, if not true...

michaellevine53 8 months ago
Katie:
My first lesson in this came, as I documented in THE BIG WHITE, when CIA betrayed both the American people and the Bolivian government that trusted us, by supporting the drug traffickers in the takeover of Bolivia in the now infamous Cocaine Coup. It was the bloodiest revolution in that poor country;s history and the beginning of the crack/cocaine epidemic in ours.
• in reply to Katie Nelson (Show the comment)
michaellevine53 9 months ago
Let's start by demanding indictments in THIS case; we have solid evidence and credible DEA witnesses including a federal judge. Why go off on a conspiratorial tangent if we can't get an indictment in a case of CIA getting caught actually smuggling massive amounts of cocaine into the nation they're supposed to protect? When I was boxing on a USAF boxing team my coach said "if you open a cut keep hitting it till they stop they fight or the guy bleeds all over you." I'm giving you the cut.
• 5
michaellevine53 9 months ago
my friend. Judge Bonner is still alive, so am I and so are the other DEA agents who appeared in the original 60 minute piece as witnesses detailing the case. the CIA agent who "masterminded" the smuggling of as much as 27 tons of cocaine into the US,(worse than Pablo Escobar) was named, and at the time was the CIA station chief of Venezuela. no one was prosecuted The reason i Posted it here is that , thanks to the use of taxpayer funds to manipulate media, few are aware of this scandal.
• 10 in reply to Ben Dover (Show the comment)
michaellevine53 1 year ago
My friend, this video is only a short excerpt of an extensive investigation conducted by 6"60 minutes", which in turn was based on a joint secret investigation conducted by CIA and DEA internal security. Which resulted in Judge Bonner, the head of DEA making this statement... What more do you need?
I suggest you read THE BIG WHITE LIE
And DEEP COVER for even more detailed proof
michaellevine53 1 year ago
I wrote about Noriega in "Deep Cover"-- A DEA and Customs undercover team was dealing with his people in Panama while he was still a CIA asset and protected by CIA. I don't think you will believe what happened unless you read the book and understand that every event was documented by secretly recorded audio and video. The book was a NY Times bestseller and Congress just pretended it didn't exist. Sadly, nothing has changed.
• 15
michaellevine53 1 year ago
You've got to remember that during operation Trifecta (the deep cover operation in the book), Carlos Salinas de Gortari's bodyguard, on hidden video, promised me a wide open border to traffic drugs from Mexico into the US, if we completed the 15 ton drug deal we were in the midst of...NAFTA was then on the table before Congress... Ergo a lot of powerful people in our government that wanted the operation to fail before the American people became aware of it..That IS the real story in Deep Cover
michaellevine53 1 year ago
The problem with answering your question is that it's the wrong question. It should by what logical reason would CIA have to be in bed with drug traffickers? First, is called "the junkie tax." CIA assets and black operations not funded by congress become self-funded via "licenses" to smuggle to the US. Two: There is no oversight of the CIA whatsoever, thus any "enterprising" officer can cut himself in on his asset's drug profits. If he get's caught, as in the 60 Minute piece, he's promoted.
michaellevine53 1 year ago
Where was congress? Great question. The book DEEP COVER was voted one of the most censored by the media books of the year, by BILL MOYERS "Project Censored." Off camera, Mr. Moyers told me it was "the best read and least talked about book between the beltways. (Wash. DC)." It was almost funny. Meaning Congress wanted badly to ignore the book and its charges... If we had a responsible Congress, there would be no CIA supported drug traffickers, and Mexico would not be in the fix its in now.
michaellevine53 1 year ago
In DEEP COVER, when you come to the part where the attorney general EDWIN MEECE, blows the cover of our undercover operation with a telephone call to the AG of Mexico (one of our targets) , WHILE the team was undercover in Bolivia, Panama and Mexico. Underline that passage, because the special interests have not changed.. Remember the book was a NEW YORK TIMES bestseller, and the charge would be libelous as hell were it not true. Then ask yourself why mainstream media ignored the claim.

michaellevine53 1 year ago
By the way. google it and you'll see that this past May, Evo Morales, the president of Bolivia held the Spanish translation of THE BIG WHITE LIE (La Guerra Falsa) up for it to be photographed by the world's press, proclaiming that it was the reason he had banned DEA from Bolivia. The mistake he made was that the book blamed CIA, not DEA. it described how CIA protection of top Bolivian drug traffickers helped them literally take over the Bolivian government during the "Cocaine Coup", 8/17/81.
michaellevine53 1 year ago
You seem pretty knowledgeable and more astute than most. If you get a hold of THE BIG WHITE LIE, which is about a buck or two on the internet, you'll see that the first time Crack cocaine was documented was from Sonia Atala, the woman Pablo Escobar called "The Queen of Cocaine." While undercover working with me in 1983, she spoke of "Pichicata" (smokeable cocaine base) and how it was wildly addictive to Bolivian street kids. My report to DEA predicted it hitting the streets of the US shortly.
michaellevine53 1 year ago
The fact is that Bonner didn't take a bullet, he was just ignored. CIA director (then) Woolsey toured mainstream media making the false claim that the drug smuggling resulted from "a joint DEA CIA operation gone wrong." The fact is that DEA had no part in the operations which was, as the judge said,"CIA drug smuggling." 60 Minutes was the ONLY member of mainstream media to tell the truth.. The rest did their customary penguin walk. What a shame.

michaellevine53 1 year ago
I did my own investigation including interviews with DEA people involved, before I went public on my radio show - the Expert Witness Show in NYC. The investigation revealed that as much as 27 tons of cocaine were shipped into the US by CIA before they were finally caught by US Customs. The CIA chief who ran it was named by 60 Minutes. No one was either prosecuted or lost their jobs, except for the DEA people who blew the whistle. With "protectors" like this who needs enemies?

Contact Mike Levine at:
http://www.expertwitnessradio.org








__________________
A TAINTED DEAL ALLOWED DRUG FLOW
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/06/tainted-deal

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the Murder of Kiki Camarena
http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-a-dogged-la-dea-agent-unraveled-the-cias-alleged-role-in-the-murder-of-kiki-camarena-5750278


"There is no question in my mind that people affiliated with, on the payroll of, and carrying the credentials of,the CIA were involved in drug trafficking while involved in support of the contras."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... There are some things the general public does not need to know and shouldn't. I believe democracy flourishes when the government can take legitimate steps to keep its secrets and when the press can decide whether to print what it knows. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
0
maynard

Registered:
Posts: 1,154
Reply with quote  #22 
Quotes


"In my 30-year history in the Drug Enforcement Administration and related agencies, the major targets of my investigations almost invariably turned out to be working for the CIA."

--Dennis Dayle, former chief of DEA CENTAC.(Peter Dale Scott & Jonathan Marshall, Cocaine Politics: Drugs, Armies,and the CIA in Central America, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991, pp. x-xi.)




"There is no question in my mind that people affiliated with, on the payroll of, and carrying the credentials of,the CIA were involved in drug trafficking while involved in support of the contras."

—Senator John Kerry, The Washington Post (1996).





"I have put thousands of Americans away for tens of thousands of years with less evidence for conspiracy than is available against Ollie North and CIA people...I personally was involved in a deep-cover case that went to the top of the drug world in three countries. The CIA killed it."
-
Former DEA Agent Michael Levine - CNBC-TV, October 8, 1996







"When this whole business of drug trafficking came out in the open in the Contras, the CIA gave a document to Cesar, Popo Chamorro and Marcos Aguado, too...""..They said this is a document holding them harmless, without any responsibility, for having worked in U.S.security..."

--Eden Pastora, Former ARDE Contra leader - November 26, 1996, speaking before the Senate Select Intelligence Committee on alleged CIA drug trafficking to fund Nicaraguan Contras in the 1980s





"I believe that elements working for the CIA were involved in bringing drugs into the country," "I know specifically that some of the CIA contract workers, meaning some of the pilots, in fact were bringing drugs into the U.S. and landing some of these drugs in government air bases. And I know so because I was told by someo f these pilots that in fact they had done that."

– Retired DEA agent Hector Berrellez on PBS Frontline. Berrellez was a supervisory agent on the Enrique Camarena murder investigation
.



"I do think it [was] a terrible mistake to say that
'We're going to allow drug trafficking to destroy American citizens'
as a consequence of believing that the contra effort was a higher priority."
-
Senator Robert Kerrey (D-NE)





A Sept. 26, 1984, Miami police intelligence report noted that money supporting contras being illegally trained inFlorida "comes from narcotics transactions." Every page of the report is stamped: "Record furnished toGeorge Kosinsky, FBI." Is Mr. Kosinsky's number missing from (Janet) Reno's rolodex?

– Robert Knightand Dennis Bernstein, 1996




"For decades, the CIA, the Pentagon, and secret organizations like Oliver North's Enterprise have been supporting and protecting the world's biggest drug dealers.... The Contras and some of their Central Americanallies ... have been documented by DEA as supplying ... at least 50 percent of our national cocaine consumption. They were the main conduit to the United States for Colombian cocaine during the 1980's. The rest of the drug supply ... came from other CIA-supported groups, such as DFS (the Mexican CIA) ... [and] other groups and/or individuals like Manual Noriega."

-- Michael Levine, The Big White Lie: The CIA and the Cocaine/Crack Epidemic





"To my great regret, the bureau (FBI) has told me that some of the people I identified as being involved in drug smuggling are present or past agents of the Central Intelligence Agency."

--Wanda Palacio’s 1987 sworn testimony before U.S. Sen. John Kerry's Senate Subcommittee on Narcotics and International Terrorism.



“I sat gape-mouthed as I heard the CIA Inspector General, testify that there has existed a secret agreement between CIA and the Justice Department, wherein "during the years 1982 to 1995, CIA did not have to report the drug trafficking its assets did to the Justice Department. To a trained DEA agent this literally means that the CIA had been granted a license to obstruct justice in our so-called war on drugs; a license that lasted - so CIA claims -from 1982 to 1995, a time during which Americans paid almost $150 billion in taxes to "fight" drugs.God, with friends like these, who needs enemies?”

- Former DEA Agent Michael Levine, March 23, 1998.




CIA ADMITS TO DEAL WITH JUSTICE DEPARTMENT TO OBSTRUCT JUSTICE.“The CIA finally admitted, yesterday, in the New York Times no less, that they, in fact, did "work with" the Nicaraguan Contras while they had information that they were involved in cocaine trafficking to the United States. An action known to us court qualified experts and federal agents as Conspiracy to Import and Distribute Cocaine—a federal felony punishable by up to life in prison. To illustrate how us regular walking around, non CIA types are treated when we violate this law, while I was serving as a DEA supervisor in New York City, I put two New York City police officers in a federal prison for Conspiracy to distribute Cocaine when they looked the other way at their friend's drug dealing. We could not prove they earned a nickel nor that they helped their friend in any way, they merely did not do their duty by reporting him. They were sentenced to 10and 12 years respectively, and one of them, I was recently told, had committed suicide.”

- Former DEA Agent Michael Levine, September, 1998 from the article “IS ANYONE APOLOGIZING TO GARY WEBB?”




“After five witnesses testified before the U.S. Senate, confirming that John Hull—a C.I.A. operative and the lynch-pin of North's contra resupply operation—had been actively running drugs from Costa Rica to the U.S."under the direction of the C.I.A.," Costa Rican authorities arrested him. Hull then quickly jumped bail and fled to the U.S.—according to my sources—with the help of DEA, putting the drug fighting agency in the schizoid business of both kidnapping accused drug dealers and helping them escape…. The then-President of Costa Rica, Oscar Arias was stunned when he received letters from nineteen U.S. Congressman—including Lee Hamilton of Indiana, the Democrat who headed the Iran-contra committee—warning him "to avoid situations . . .that could adversely affect our relations."

-Former DEA Agent Michael Levine, September, 1998 from the article “I Volunteer to Kidnap Oliver North”




"Drug trafficking has permeated all political structures and has corrupted federal, state, and local officials. It has deformed the economy. It is a cancer that has generated financial and political dependence, which instead of producing goods, has created serious problems ultimately affecting honest businessmen. The Attorney General's office is unable to eradicate drug trafficking because government structures at all levels are corrupted."

-- Eduardo Valle, former adviser, Attorney General in Mexico





Dennis Dayle, former head of DEA's Centac, was asked the following question: "Enormously powerful criminal organizations are controlling many countries, and to a certain degree controlling the world, and controlling our lives.Your own U.S. government to some extent supports them, and is concealing this fact from you."Dennis Dayle's answer:
"I know that to be true. That is not conjecture. Experience, over the better part of my adult life, tells me that that is so. And there is a great deal of persuasive evidence.




"He (Former Congressman Bill Alexander - D. Ark.) made me privy to the depositions he took from three of the most credible witnesses in that project, which left absolutely
no doubt in my mind that the government of the United States was an active participant in one of the largest dope operations in the world.."

--
Former Arkansas Supreme Court Justice Jim Johnson





The Contras moved drugs not by the pound, not by the bags, but by the tons, by the cargo planeloads”

--Jack Blum, investigator for the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee, testimony under oath on Feb. 11, 1987






“… he was making millions, 'cos he had his own source of,… avenue for his own,..heroin.I'm sure we all knew it, but we tried to monitor it, because we controlled most of the pilots you see. We're giving him freedom of navigation into Thailand, into the bases, and we don't want him to get involved in moving, you know, this illicit traffic--O.K., silver bars and gold, O.K., but not heroin. What they would do is, they weren't going into Thailand, they were flying it in a big wet wing airplane that could fly for thirteen hours, a DC-3, and all the wings were filled with gas. They fly down to Pakse, then they fly over to Da Nang, and then the number two guy to President Thieu would receive it.”

–CIA Officer Anthony (“Tony Poe”) Poshepny May 17, 1988 PBS Frontline episode “Guns, Drugs, and the CIA”

(Poshepny was a legendary covert operations officer who had supervised the CIA’s secret war in Northern Laos during the 1960s and early 1970s. In the interview, Poshepny stated that the CIA had supplied air transport for the heroin shipments of their local ally, General Vang Pao, the only such on-the-record confirmation by a former CIA officer concerning agency involvement in the narcotics trade.)



"It is … believed by the FBI, SF, that Norwin Meneses was and still may be, an informant for the Central Intelligence Agency."
--CIA OIG report on Contra involvement in drug trafficking (ChIII, Pt2).
(Norwin Meneses was issued a visa and moved freely about the United States despite being listed in more than40 drug investigations over the two previous decades and being listed in an active indictment for narcotics. He has never been prosecuted in this country.)



“There is secret communication between CIA and members of the Congressional staff - one must keep in mind that Porter Goss, the chairman, is an ex CIA official- indicating that the whole hearing is just a smoke and mirror show so that the American people - particularly the Black community - can "blow off some steam"without doing any damage to CIA. The CIA has been assured that nothing real will be done, other than some embarrassing questions being asked.”

- Former DEA Agent Michael Levine, March 23, 1998. CIA ADMITS TO DEAL WITH JUSTICE DEPARTMENT TO OBSTRUCT JUSTICE.



"If you ask: In the process of fighting a war against the Sandinistas, did people connected with the US government open channels which allowed drug traffickers to move drugs to the United States, did they know the drug traffickers were doing it, and did they protect them from law enforcement? The answer to all those questions is yes.""We don't need to investigate [the CIA's role in Contra drug trafficking]. We already know. The evidence is there."--
Jack Blum, former Chief Counsel to John Kerry's Subcommittee on Narcotics and Terrorism in 1996 Senate Hearings



“Several informed sources have told me that an appendix to this Report was removed at the instruction of the Department of Justice at the last minute. This appendix is reported to have information about a CIA officer, not agent or asset, but officer, based in the Los Angeles Station, who was in charge of Contra related activities.According to these sources, this individual was associated with running drugs to South Central Los Angeles,around 1988. Let me repeat that amazing omission. The recently released CIA Report Volume II contained an appendix, which was pulled by the Department of Justice, that reported a CIA officer in the LA Station was hooked into drug running in South Central Los Angeles.”

--U.S. Congresswoman Maxine Waters – October 13. 1998, speaking on the floor of the US House of Representatives.





“My knowledge of all this comes from my time as British Ambassador in Uzbekistan. I … watched the Jeeps … bringing the heroin through from Afghanistan, en route to Europe. I watched the tankers of chemicals roaring into Afghanistan.

The four largest players in the heroin business are all senior members of the Afghan government – the government that our soldiers are fighting and dying to protect.” --Former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray,2007

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-469983/Britain-protecting-biggest-heroin-crop-time.html




This war with China … really seems to me so wicked as to be a national sin of the greatest possible magnitude, and it distresses me very deeply. Cannot any thing be done by petition or otherwise to awaken men’s minds to the dreadful guilt we are incurring? I really do not remember, in any history, of a war undertaken with such combined injustice and baseness. Ordinary wars of conquest are to me far less wicked, than to go to war in order to maintain smuggling, and that smuggling consisting in the introduction of a demoralizing drug, which the government of China wishes to keep out, and which we, for the lucre of gain, want to introduce by force; and in this quarrel are going to burn and slay in the pride of our supposed superiority. — Thomas Arnold to W. W. Hull, March 18, 1840

http://www.victorianweb.org/history/empire/opiumwars/opiumwars1.html





"Here's my problem. I think that if people in the government of the United States make a secret decision to sacrifice some portion of the American population in the form of ... deliberately exposing them to drugs, that is a terrible decision that should never be made in secret."

--Jack Blum, speaking before the October 1996 Senate Select Intelligence Committee on alleged CIA drug trafficking to fund Nicaraguan Contras in the 1980s, Chaired by Senator Arlen Specter.

__________________
A TAINTED DEAL ALLOWED DRUG FLOW
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/06/tainted-deal

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the Murder of Kiki Camarena
http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-a-dogged-la-dea-agent-unraveled-the-cias-alleged-role-in-the-murder-of-kiki-camarena-5750278


"There is no question in my mind that people affiliated with, on the payroll of, and carrying the credentials of,the CIA were involved in drug trafficking while involved in support of the contras."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... There are some things the general public does not need to know and shouldn't. I believe democracy flourishes when the government can take legitimate steps to keep its secrets and when the press can decide whether to print what it knows. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
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maynard

Registered:
Posts: 1,154
Reply with quote  #23 
The Dark Stain From The Dark Alliance: Cautionary Tales From The Tragic Saga of Gary Webb
By H. "Corky" Johnson (about the author)
OpEdNews Op Eds 3/23/2013 at 13:22:19

http://www.opednews.com/articles/The-Dark-Stain-From-The-Da-by-H--Corky-Johnson-130323-304.html?show=votes#allcomments



corkjohn.com
H. "Corky" Johnson is a nationally award-winning investigative reporter/producer with more than 30 years of experience. His work has appeared in The Washington Post,on 60 Minutes and in many other media outlets.

__________________
A TAINTED DEAL ALLOWED DRUG FLOW
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/06/tainted-deal

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the Murder of Kiki Camarena
http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-a-dogged-la-dea-agent-unraveled-the-cias-alleged-role-in-the-murder-of-kiki-camarena-5750278


"There is no question in my mind that people affiliated with, on the payroll of, and carrying the credentials of,the CIA were involved in drug trafficking while involved in support of the contras."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... There are some things the general public does not need to know and shouldn't. I believe democracy flourishes when the government can take legitimate steps to keep its secrets and when the press can decide whether to print what it knows. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
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maynard

Registered:
Posts: 1,154
Reply with quote  #24 
Freeway Ricky Ross Film announced
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%22Freeway%22_Rick_Ross

http://thehypemagazine.blogspot.ch/2013/03/freeway-rick-ross-talks-music-film-and.html
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2660743/





http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/nick-cannon-play-freeway-rick-425942

Nick Cannon to Play 'Freeway' Rick Ross in Biopic
3:20 PM PST 3/4/2013 by Emily Zemler
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Freeway Rick Ross Nick Cannon Split - H 2013
Patrick Bastien; Getty Images
UPDATED: The notorious drug kingpin and the "America's Got Talent" host announced the collaboration in a YouTube video.

Nick Cannon will portray former drug kingpin “Freeway” Rick Ross in an upcoming film.
our editor recommends

Cannon appeared alongside Ross in a YouTube video posted to Ross’ Facebook page Monday to announce the movie. Nick Cassavetes (Alpha Dog, Blow) wrote the script and will direct.


“I've been wanting him to play my role since '96,” Ross said of Cannon in the video. “We got hooked up, I met him … I loved his personality.”

STORY: Nick Cannon Inks First-Look Deal With NBC

Added Cannon: “This is history in the making right here. We family now. We gonna get this thing right however long it take. The story gotta be told: the real Rick Ross.”

The brief video offers little other information regarding the planned film but does note in a caption that the script will be penned by the “writer of Blow” (Cassavetes did indeed co-write the screenplay for the 2001 Johnny Depp starrer) and includes the following description: “This is more than a movie it’s a movement. This is the story of the real Scarface.”

It's unclear whether the biopic has secured financing. Cannon will also serve as executive producer.

STORY: Nick Cassavetes' New Film Imperiled By Lawsuit

Ross, who has clashed with Maybach Music head and Miami rapper Rick Ross (real name: William L. Roberts) over use of the moniker for numerous years, gained notoriety as a cocaine trafficker in Los Angeles in the 1980s. He has been interviewed on several programs and documentaries including BET's American Gangster series.

Cannon, whose acting credits include Up All Night, Drumline and Bobby, hosts America's Got Talent. He also creator TV's Wild 'N Out, Short Circuitz and The Nick Cannon Show.

Twitter: @THR




http://allhiphop.com/2013/03/04/exclusive-freeway-rick-ross-speaks-on-his-biopic-documentary-and-nick-cannon/

EXCLUSIVE: “Freeway” Rick Ross Speaks On His Biopic, Documentary and Nick Cannon
by Keith Nelson Jr (@JusAire) March 4th, 2013 @ 9:00pm






http://www.examiner.com/article/exclusive-freeway-rick-ross-talks-music-film-and-being-him-advance-look


EXCLUSIVE: 'Freeway' Rick Ross Talks Music, Film and Being Him (Advance Look) (Photos)

Freeway Rick Ross
March 26, 2013
By: Jerry Doby
Subscribe


http://www.billboard.com/biz/articles/news/tv-film/1550597/nick-cannon-to-play-freeway-rick-ross-in-biopic

__________________
A TAINTED DEAL ALLOWED DRUG FLOW
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/06/tainted-deal

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the Murder of Kiki Camarena
http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-a-dogged-la-dea-agent-unraveled-the-cias-alleged-role-in-the-murder-of-kiki-camarena-5750278


"There is no question in my mind that people affiliated with, on the payroll of, and carrying the credentials of,the CIA were involved in drug trafficking while involved in support of the contras."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... There are some things the general public does not need to know and shouldn't. I believe democracy flourishes when the government can take legitimate steps to keep its secrets and when the press can decide whether to print what it knows. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
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maynard

Registered:
Posts: 1,154
Reply with quote  #25 
http://www.the-peoples-forum.com/cgi-bin/readart.cgi?ArtNum=1566



Title: Gary Webb - 'DARK ALLIANCE: Crack Cocaine, the CIA, the Contras, & the Censors'
URL Source: http://blip.tv/file/834451
Post Date: 2008-06-21 12:07:37 by Robin
Keywords: None
Views: 1040
Comments: 6

Part 1/4 - Gary Webb and Martha Honey

"DARK ALLIANCE: Crack Cocaine, the CIA, the Contras, & the Censors", with Pulitzer Prize-Winner Gary Webb, Dennis Bernstein, & Martha Honey. Berkeley, CA - June 13, 1998. DVD available from: justicevision.org



Part 2/4 - Gary Webb and Martha Honey

"DARK ALLIANCE: Crack Cocaine, the CIA, the Contras, & the Censors", with Pulitzer Prize-Winner Gary Webb, Dennis Bernstein, & Martha Honey. Berkeley, CA - June 13, 1998. DVD available from: justicevision.org



Part 3/4 - Gary Webb and Martha Honey

"DARK ALLIANCE: Crack Cocaine, the CIA, the Contras, & the Censors", with Pulitzer Prize-Winner Gary Webb, Dennis Bernstein, & Martha Honey. Berkeley, CA - June 13, 1998. DVD available from: justicevision.org



Part 4/4 - Gary Webb and Martha Honey

"DARK ALLIANCE: Crack Cocaine, the CIA, the Contras, & the Censors", with Pulitzer Prize-Winner Gary Webb, Dennis Bernstein, & Martha Honey. Berkeley, CA - June 13, 1998. DVD available from: justicevision.org

__________________
A TAINTED DEAL ALLOWED DRUG FLOW
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/1998/06/tainted-deal

DEA Chief Robert Bonner said CIA Smuggled Drugs


L.A. DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the Murder of Kiki Camarena
http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-a-dogged-la-dea-agent-unraveled-the-cias-alleged-role-in-the-murder-of-kiki-camarena-5750278


"There is no question in my mind that people affiliated with, on the payroll of, and carrying the credentials of,the CIA were involved in drug trafficking while involved in support of the contras."—Senator John Kerry (1996)


We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... There are some things the general public does not need to know and shouldn't. I believe democracy flourishes when the government can take legitimate steps to keep its secrets and when the press can decide whether to print what it knows. -1988 speech by Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, CIA Headquarters
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