From time to time I will publish a relatively short, modestly documented post which I intend, at some future time, to expand and use in my “historical backgrounders” series. This post is one of them.
The post very briefly discusses the CIA connections with drug smuggling, particularly in Central America, during the CIA directed Nicaragua-Contra war, the complicity of US MSM, the marginalizing by the US MSM of their own investigative reporters, and the suicide of one of the best of them. For more documentation see the National Security Archives of George Washington University here
The chaos in Central America due primarily to USG-MSM-Corporate activities, only some of which are alluded to in this post, is the main reason Central American children are fleeing their homelands and seeking refuge in the US.
1. The CIA-Drug Smuggling connection:
Today, investigative reporters and those interested in the subject are well aware of the connections between the CIA and the drug traffickers in Southeast Asia (CIA-Vietnmam war), Central America (CIA Nicaraguan-Contras) and Afghanistan (CIA GWOT).
The connections between drug smugglers in Central America and the CIA first began to leak into the media in about 1985. The MSM studiously avoided the subject (FAIR Aug 5 1987). These were the Reagan years when the country was in love with Reagan and the MSM preferred not to rock the boat.
The first U.S. report linking contras to drugs came in a Dec. 20, 1985, Associated Press (AP) dispatch by Robert Parry and Brian Barger….
Hard-hitting as it was, the story distributed by AP was considerably watered down from the reporters’ version. According to the September/October 1986 Columbia Journalism Review, AP editors omitted, at the US. government’s request, allegations involving John Hull, an American rancher who was the CIA’s contra coordinator in Costa Rica…..
(Note: Robert Parry himself became somewhat of a pariah due to his aggressive reporting. He now runs Consortiumnews, an excellent independent source of accurate and unfiltered news.)
2. Reporting the connection:
Then the unthinkable happened. On Sunday, August 18, 1996, the regional Silicon Valley newspaper the San Jose Mercury scooped the US MSM in general and the LA Times in its own backyard.
The SJM published the first of a three part series by Gary Webb a then unknown but well qualified investigative reporter. “Dark Alliance,” subtitled “The Story Behind the Crack Explosion” tied the CIA to Central American drug dealers and thus to the ‘crack’ drug explosion in America’s inner cities. Worst of all, Webb claimed that the Reagan administration was sheilding inner city drug dealers from prosecution in order to raise money for the Contras. This was too much. Tying Saint Ronnie and the CIA to inner city crime and exposing US MSM mendacity is so far out of bounds that the messenger had to be shot.
The Establishment went to work: The NYT, the WaPo the LA Times and various other establishment media, with the help of the CIA set out to ruin Webb. They succeeded.
Eight years later, with his career and marriage ruined, unable to find work, on December 10 2004, Webb was found dead with two gunshot wounds to the head. His death was ruled a suicide.
3. Recent news:
On September 18 2014 Ryan Devereaux of the Intercept culled a CIA report called “Managing a Nightmare, CIA and the Drug Conspiracy Story“ from a recently released set of CIA documents. This CIA document gives some of the background of the CIA manipulation of the US MSM. Robert Parry also wrote an article in Consortiumnews on the same subject.
- An extract from and link to Webb’s 1996 article in the San Jose Mercury
- An extract from and link to Devereaux September 18th 2014 article on the recent CIA report
- An extract from and link to Robert Parry’s September 26th article also on the recent CIA report
Colombia-San Francisco Bay Area drug pipeline
helped finance CIA-backed Contras
Published: Aug. 18, 1996
BY GARY WEBB
Mercury News Staff Writer
FOR THE BETTER PART of a decade, a San Francisco Bay Area drug ring sold tons of cocaine to the Crips and Bloods street gangs of Los Angeles and funneled millions in drug profits to a Latin American guerrilla army run by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, a Mercury News investigation has found.
This drug network opened the first pipeline between Colombia’s cocaine cartels and the black neighborhoods of Los Angeles, a city now known as the “crack” capital of the world. The cocaine that flooded in helped spark a crack explosion in urban America and provided the cash and connections needed for L.A.’s gangs to buy automatic weapons.
It is one of the most bizarre alliances in modern history: the union of a U.S.-backed army attempting to overthrow a revolutionary socialist government and the Uzi-toting “gangstas” of Compton and South-Central Los Angeles.
The army’s financiers — who met with CIA agents both before and during the time they were selling the drugs in L.A. — delivered cut-rate cocaine to the gangs through a young South-Central crack dealer named Ricky Donnell Ross….
Eighteen years after it was published, “Dark Alliance,” the San Jose Mercury News’s bombshell investigation into links between the cocaine trade, Nicaragua’s Contra rebels, and African American neighborhoods in California, remains one of the most explosive and controversial exposés in American journalism.
The 20,000-word series enraged black communities, prompted Congressional hearings, and became one of the first major national security stories in history to blow up online. It also sparked an aggressive backlash from the nation’s most powerful media outlets, which devoted considerable resources to discredit author Gary Webb’s reporting. Their efforts succeeded, costing Webb his career. On December 10, 2004, the journalist was found dead in his apartment, having ended his eight-year downfall with two .38-caliber bullets to the head….
Exclusive: With Hollywood set to release a movie about the Contra-cocaine scandal and the destruction of journalist Gary Webb, an internal CIA report has surfaced showing how the spy agency manipulated the mainstream media’s coverage to disparage Webb and contain the scandal, reports Robert Parry.
By Robert Parry
In 1996 – as major U.S. news outlets disparaged the Nicaraguan Contra-cocaine story and destroyed the career of investigative reporter Gary Webb for reviving it – the CIA marveled at the success of its public-relations team guiding the mainstream media’s hostility toward both the story and Webb, according to a newly released internal report.
Entitled “Managing a Nightmare: CIA Public Affairs and the Drug Conspiracy Story,” the six-page report describes the CIA’s damage control after Webb’s “Dark Alliance” series was published in the San Jose Mercury-News in August 1996. Webb had resurrected disclosures from the 1980s about the CIA-backed Contras collaborating with cocaine traffickers as the Reagan administration worked to conceal the crimes….