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Chris Cox

Reporter Gary Webb Dead at 49

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In LA Times this morning, reporter who broke the CIA Drugs story for San Jose Mercury News, died of apparent suicide. Very tragic ending for a brave journalist.

Webb authored "Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion" and did a series of talks and interviews around the country.

See links for more on Webb's investigative work.

http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews...10399522.htm?1c

http://www.parascope.com/mx/articles/garyw...yWebbSpeaks.htm

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The man broke an unusually huge story, absolutely some of the most courageous and important reporting done in U.S. mainstream newspapers in the last fifty years, Gary Webb was an inspiration and amazingly fearless, methodical and common sense reporter.

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In LA Times this morning, reporter who broke the CIA Drugs story for San Jose Mercury News, died of apparent suicide.  Very tragic ending for a brave journalist.

Webb authored "Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion" and did a series of talks and interviews around the country.

See links for more on Webb's investigative work.

http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews...10399522.htm?1c

http://www.parascope.com/mx/articles/garyw...yWebbSpeaks.htm

Tragic that Webb's career as a journalist was ruined by his ground-breaking and courageous reporting while Oliver North - who was involved in Contra drug-running - should find a second career as a "journalist" on Fox.

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In LA Times this morning, reporter who broke the CIA Drugs story for San Jose Mercury News, died of apparent suicide.  Very tragic ending for a brave journalist.

Webb authored "Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion" and did a series of talks and interviews around the country.

See links for more on Webb's investigative work.

http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews...10399522.htm?1c

http://www.parascope.com/mx/articles/garyw...yWebbSpeaks.htm

Tragic that Webb's career as a journalist was ruined by his ground-breaking and courageous reporting while Oliver North - who was involved in Contra drug-running - should find a second career as a "journalist" on Fox.

__________________________________________-

Oh, just one more "suicide"...and the beat goes on....

That "felon North" is on Fox is not just ironic, it's the way Amerika is.

Wonder what Webb was working on now. Or if this death is due to the fact that the truth about cocaine is spreading. My husband and I routinely tell our crack/cocaine clients to google "CIA and cocaine", then read and educate "the hood". Many years ago a juvenile client, in response to this advice, told me that "CIA stands for crack in America".

Dawn

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In LA Times this morning, reporter who broke the CIA Drugs story for San Jose Mercury News, died of apparent suicide.  Very tragic ending for a brave journalist.

Webb authored "Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion" and did a series of talks and interviews around the country.

See links for more on Webb's investigative work.

http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews...10399522.htm?1c

http://www.parascope.com/mx/articles/garyw...yWebbSpeaks.htm

Thanks Christy for keeping us up to date. I have been flying my A... off these past few days and not been around many newspapers or TV's. I have to admitt I was shocked when I heard the news.

I had talked to Gary a few months ago and he was going to send me information concerning a follow up on his previous Dark Allience project. Although, I did not agree with all that Gary had wrote, he was however on course as to most of it. He was one fine reporter and we had a few laughs together. I really liked the guy. He was dedicated to his work and believed in what he was doing or trying to do. He was right on about the Mexico American (AMSOG) matter and we helped eachother document some hidden details on that subject. [Ref; DEA Susan Baldin and Hector Berliz TS DEA documents posted on my new website ref; Carro Quenterro's Mexico ranch]

http://toshplumlee.info/

"...DEA Mexico OPS: These documents make reference to "Guatemalan Guerrillas" training at a ranch owned by Drug Lord CARO- Quintero in Vera Crus, Mexico. It was reported at the time this was a CIA training site where weapons were exchanged for drugs in support of the Contra effort in Nicaragua and Costa Rico. DEA Agent Enrique Camarena (KIKI) and his pilot found out about this operation known as "The CIA Thing" and were killed because of this knowledge. Plumlee and other American undercover pilots had flown into this ranch many times as reported in various sections within these documents and other news media leaks in Mexico and America. The operation was known as "AMSOG" and, as reported to Senator Gary Hart and his Senate investigators in early 1983, was an "illegal" smuggling operation through Mexico into the United States, supported by the US Military, Panama Southern Command...".

Gary liked the title on my manuscript "Deep Cover-Shallow Graves" and wanted me to finish it.... Liked I said, I am shocked. I did not know he was at that level with his life and would harm himself. I wish I could have been there for him. I considered him always "Up-Beat" and could roll with the punches and take the heat. I hope this is not like the Miami 'Tom Dunkin" matter of old.

Anyway, Thanks again. I'll be back in circulation in a few weeks after I finish baby sitting these new breed of baby Eagles. Tosh

P.S. Also kind of sounds like the Lt Col Sabo matter of a few years back. The Flight Commander at El Toro Marine Station in southern California who killed himself with a shot gun and left no fingerprints or notes. He too, had information about drugs and guns.

Edited by William Plumlee

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Tosh

True about wanting to make contact to try to prevent such a thing, especially if it is suicide.

So, he was continuing his research? You were a source for him? I wondered about that. I'm looking at the files on the ToshPlumlee site and can't find the specific AMSOG refs you cite but attached are the Hart Goodtimes letters to start with. I'll need to figure out how to post properly. Take care--I look forward to your reply.

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In LA Times this morning, reporter who broke the CIA Drugs story for San Jose Mercury News, died of apparent suicide.  Very tragic ending for a brave journalist.

Webb authored "Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion" and did a series of talks and interviews around the country.

See links for more on Webb's investigative work.

http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews...10399522.htm?1c

http://www.parascope.com/mx/articles/garyw...yWebbSpeaks.htm

Thanks Christy for keeping us up to date. I have been flying my A... off these past few days and not been around many newspapers or TV's. I have to admitt I was shocked when I heard the news.

I had talked to Gary a few months ago and he was going to send me information concerning a follow up on his previous Dark Allience project. Although, I did not agree with all that Gary had wrote, he was however on course as to most of it. He was one fine reporter and we had a few laughs together. I really liked the guy. He was dedicated to his work and believed in what he was doing or trying to do. He was right on about the Mexico American (AMSOG) matter and we helped eachother document some hidden details on that subject. [Ref; DEA Susan Baldin and Hector Berliz TS DEA documents posted on my new website ref; Carro Quenterro's Mexico ranch]

http://toshplumlee.info/

"...DEA Mexico OPS: These documents make reference to "Guatemalan Guerrillas" training at a ranch owned by Drug Lord CARO- Quintero in Vera Crus, Mexico. It was reported at the time this was a CIA training site where weapons were exchanged for drugs in support of the Contra effort in Nicaragua and Costa Rico. DEA Agent Enrique Camarena (KIKI) and his pilot found out about this operation known as "The CIA Thing" and were killed because of this knowledge. Plumlee and other American undercover pilots had flown into this ranch many times as reported in various sections within these documents and other news media leaks in Mexico and America. The operation was known as "AMSOG" and, as reported to Senator Gary Hart and his Senate investigators in early 1983, was an "illegal" smuggling operation through Mexico into the United States, supported by the US Military, Panama Southern Command...".

Gary liked the title on my manuscript "Deep Cover-Shallow Graves" and wanted me to finish it.... Liked I said, I am shocked. I did not know he was at that level with his life and would harm himself. I wish I could have been there for him. I considered him always "Up-Beat" and could roll with the punches and take the heat. I hope this is not like the Miami 'Tom Dunkin" matter of old.

Anyway, Thanks again. I'll be back in circulation in a few weeks after I finish baby sitting these new breed of baby Eagles. Tosh

P.S. Also kind of sounds like the Lt Col Sabow matter of a few years back. The Flight Commander at El Toro Marine Station in southern California who killed himself with a shot gun and left no fingerprints or notes. He too, had information about drugs and guns.

I think the following should be of interest to the FORUM in reference to the good work Gary was doing.

From: MIKE RUPERT ON THE CIA USE OF FIREFIGHTING PLANES FOR

DRUG RUNNING AND GUN RUNNING..

From: "Michael C. Ruppert" <mruppert@c...>

Date: Thu Jun 27, 2002 5:42 pm

Subject: CIA Diverts Air Tankers From Fire Fighting to Drug Smuggling - Records Show

Death of a Hero - The Murder of Jim Sabow

"...Marine Col. Jim Sabow was murdered at his home on the El Toro Marine Air Station in January 1991. His death, ruled a suicide by the Navy and the Marine Corps, has left a brave family virtually destroyed. As opposed to the official military account that Sabow, despondent over pending disciplinary actions for minor offenses committed suicide, a lingering and persistent body of evidence indicates that Jim Sabow was murdered because he caught the CIA flying drugs onto a base where he was Chief of Air Operations. Much of the evidence indicates that the cocaine arrived on the same C-130s which had been given to the Forest Service.

In a 1993 segment of her news program Eye to Eye, Connie Chung covered the Sabow death in detail and showed evidence of the murder by introducing statements from Sabow's brother, a medical doctor, that Sabow had been unconscious and aspirating blood for minutes before a shotgun was rammed so far down his throat that it sheared off the uvula. In that same segment, veteran Air America and CIA pilot Tosh Plumlee stated that he flew loads of cocaine as large as 2,000 kilos onto El Toro in the years and months prior to Sabow's death - for the CIA. Plumlee stated clearly that he was flying C-130s operated by the Forest Service and their contractors. In later conversations with this writer Plumlee admitted that he routinely flew loads as large as 2,500 kilos onto military installations in California and Arizona for the CIA.

Both Eitel and veteran investigator Gene Wheaton, who still works for the Sabow family which has a pending and oft delayed lawsuit pending in San Diego for next year, believe that the C-130s described in this story are the same ones which led to Jim Sabow's murder. Wheaton, a retired Warrant Officer from Army CID, has participated in and led investigations ranging from the Christic Institute lawsuit of 1987 to the very suspicious crash in Gander, Newfoundland of an Arrow Air flight in 1985 which took the lives of more than 250 members of the 101st Airborne Division. Arrow Air was, according to Wheaton, "One of Ollie North's favorite airlines." He was also one of the first investigators to uncover CIA drug smuggling in Mena, AK and is today working with Sabow attorney Daniel Sheehan, formerly of the Christic Institute, on the Sabow case. He has also conducted extensive investigations of the Forest Service C-130s and worked with Eitel on the case.

"The Marines were supposed to keep flight refueling records of all non-military flights in transit on through the base at El Toro," said Wheaton. "Those are government records and would have shown that the same Forest Service aircraft passed through the base at the same time that Jim started complaining to his superiors about the drugs. The base is closed now but the records should have been kept. They are government documents."

Wheaton added, "They have all been destroyed."

Frogmen, Russoniello and… Gary Webb?!

In his series of articles for The San Jose Mercury News entitled The Dark Alliance and in his brilliant book of the same name, author Gary Webb described the interference of the CIA in the infamous "Frogman" cocaine case of 1983. The U.S. attorney, a Reagan appointee, who handled the case and ultimately returned more than $36,000 in seized drug money to the CIA connected traffickers arrested in San Francisco, was Joseph Russoniello. As disclosed in Webb's book and documented in Volume I of the CIA Inspector General's report, the CIA had contacted Russoniello in an effort to contain any adverse publicity linking the arrested traffickers to the Agency. In the Agency's own cable traffic CIA stated that Russoniello was, "most deferential to our interests." ..."

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Gary Webb might well have committed suicide. However, he was still murdered by the system that punishes those people brave enough to take on organizations like the CIA.

Gary was part of the San Jose Mercury News reporting team that won a 1990 Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the Loma Prieta earthquake.

That kind of reporting was never enough for someone like Gary. In January, 1999 he said:

The one thing journalism schools don't teach, by and large, is investigative reporting. They teach stenography very well. That's why I consider most of journalism today to be stenography. You go to a press conference, you write down the quotes accurately, you come back, you don't provide any context, you don't provide any perspective, because that gets into analysis, and heavens knows, we don't want any analysis in our newspapers. But you report things accurately, you report things fairly, and even if it's a lie you put it in the newspaper, and that's considered journalism. I don't consider that journalism, I consider that stenography. And that is the way they teach journalism in school, that's the way I was taught.

In 1996 Gary wrote a series of articles in the Mercury News alleged that Nicaraguan drug traffickers had sold tons of crack cocaine in Los Angeles and funneled millions of dollars in profits to the CIA-supported Nicaraguan Contras during the 1980s.

The CIA went into overdrive in order to undermine Gary’s story. They received help in this from friendly journalists who published stories attempted to discredit Gary’s work. It was then reported that an investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department found no evidence of a connection between the CIA and the drug traffickers.

In 1997, Mercury News executive editor Jerry Ceppos criticised his own reporter and Gary was transferred to one of the paper's suburban bureaus.

"This is just harassment," Gary said after his demotion. "This isn't the first time that a reporter went after the CIA and lost his job over it." Gary resigned from the newspaper in December, 1997. His book, "Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion" Was published in 1999.

Gary’s next job was as a member of an audit committee investigating former Governor Gray Davis' controversial award of a $95 million no-bid contract to Oracle Corporation in 2001. He obviously found out some important information because he was sacked earlier this year.

Gary might have pulled the trigger but the CIA dirty tricks department prepared the way for this event.

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I just spoke to the Sacramento coroner’s office. All the guy there would tell me was that it was a death by a gunshot wound to the head. He said Gary Webb was reported dead by the Fire Dept at 8:20am, following a 911 call (he wouldn’t say from whom) at 8:00am Friday morning (12/10/04). I asked was he alive at the time of the 8am call and the Coroner said oh no, he was sure he was dead before the Fire people got there. So who placed the 911 call? He couldn’t tell me.

He would not say whether it was suicide or not and refused to issue any other details (patient-doctor confidentiality).

So my next call was to an LA Times reporter to track the trail to find out who injected “suicide” into the story, because the coroner didn’t give me any such indication one way or another. I asked how close to the head the gun was and he said he couldn’t reveal that. (I left a message for Steve Hyman who co-wrote the story in the LA Times on his death. He probably got that from the wire stories. Who was the original source of that though? Could be very important!)

I also called the Fire Department but dispatch needs the address where he was found before they could help me at all, IF they could help me at all. Does anyone know what his address was?

I’m curious. I’m curious who called 911 and why. I’m curious why the body is still there – is his entire family out of the country? Or does it take that long to make funeral arrangements? I asked would there be an autopsy and he said “the examination is complete” and that he was releasing to me “all the information that could be made public at this time.” So again I ask, who injected “suicide” as the cause of death into the story?

I don’t know. I want to know what happened. Here was one of the great investigative reporters of our time. I sure as hell hope SOME investigative reporter on the planet is going to do him the honor of looking into this death.

____________________________

Lisa: Please let us know if you learn more. Your post mkes this death all the more chilling. We really need to be on this media on this one!!!

Welcome here, sorry that it is under such horrid circumstances.

Best to Jim D. Enjoyed his and your book enormously (this time last year).

To other forum readers Lisa Pease and Jim DiEugenio's The Assassinations is one of the finest books written. (And Jim is my favorite writer on Garrison).

Tosh: Thanks for your updates on Gary.

My deepest sympathy to Gary's family at this time.

Dawn

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Sad story, leaving several children, he was right on the money with the San Jose Mercury articles, and became the focus of all the drug dealing culprits when the story hit the internet and the front pages of most papers in the U.S. that Sunday a few years ago.

I heard his interview the night before the story broke on the Tom Lycus show in CA, wrote down the URL and checked it out at 6AM EST, while you were still sleeping. By the time the U.S. was awake, his headlines were on front pages all over the World.

Pressure was brought on the newpaper by Govt. people, and Webb was transferred to their office over 100 miles away, in spite of the fact that all of his documents were on line with PROOF, the same morning. Excellent example of media surpression.

His excellent non-fiction book, Dark Alliance, which tells the whole story, is one of the important books of our generation. The story of "Freeway Rick" Ross is one that is both amazing and sad, since he is now doing a life sentence for helping the officials. John Newman was immersed in this case for a while, and shared a platform on the D.C. TV show with Dick Gregory after the host and Dick went to CIA Headquarters and put crime scene tape all over the front veranda, where they were jailed overnight.

Only Oliver North called the book "Absolute Garbage", which Gary put on the back cover, with the rest of the testimonials.

Rest in Peace, Gary, your mission is now complete.

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Gary Webb was a member of the panel formed the BBC to discuss the recent presidential elections. He discribed himself as a "author and responsible anarchist". This was his last posting on the election:

When the BBC asked me to be on this voter panel, I had no intention of voting.

I know many BBC Website readers believed I lacked conviction or forfeited my right to an opinion by being a non-voter.

But, as far as I can tell, voting for someone you don't believe in isn't a civic duty.

Rejecting both candidates is the only honest choice in that case.

The main issue for me in this campaign was the war in Iraq, and it wasn't an issue of terrorism.

The issues were all about honesty and how the US conducts itself globally.

Do I want a president who I believe led us to war through deception and falsehood?

One who shoots first and asks questions later? One who throws people in prison camps and holds them for years? No, never.

George Bush did all of those things, unapologetically, to this nation's everlasting disgrace. That's why I'm voting for John Kerry.

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The Bush family has a lot of SUICIDED authors IMHO. I put this here because it involves authors connected to BUSH family. THANKS Steve Gaal Four Bush biographers, Mark Lombardi, J.H. Hatfield, Danny Casalaro, and now Gary Webb--all "suicided" victims. What are the odds all of these people actually committing suicide? :blink:

Examining the male U.S.suicide rate for recent years

(http://www.suicidology.org/stats2001/1999datapage2.pdf), we can

extrapolate a conservative estimate of 17 male suicides per 100,000 people, or 0.017%. The odds of 4 specific, male biographers committing suicide would be the 4th power of 17/100000, or 8.3521 4.913 x 10^-17...roughly 1 chance 10,000,000,000,000,000. About as good a definition of impossible as you can get. A person would stand a better chance of playing the Canadian lottery 6/49 exactly twice in one's lifetime and winning ther grand jackpot BOTH TIMES! (That is, picking 6 numbers out of 49 possible numbers and matching all 6 numbers out of 6 random draws, on 2 separate occasions, and having only purchased two Canadian lottery tickets ever.) This calculation should be regarded as a conservative estimate: the actual odds against such a "coincidence" would be much greater. For example, if any of the biographers were female, the odds would be even greater.

REPRODUCED FOR RESEACH PURPOSES ONLY

:huh:

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A couple of interesting articles on the web about Gary Webb:

(1) Jeff Cohen, Gary Webb - Unembedded Reporter (13th December, 2004)

In this weekend's mainstream media reports on Gary Webb's death, it's no surprise that a key point has been overlooked - that the CIA's internal investigation sparked by the Webb series and resulting furor contained startling admissions. CIA Inspector General Frederick Hitz reported in October 1998 that the CIA indeed had knowledge of the allegations linking many Contras and Contra associates to cocaine trafficking, that Contra leaders were arranging drug connections from the beginning and that a CIA informant told the agency about the activity.

When Webb stumbled onto the Contra-cocaine story, he couldn't have imagined the fury with which big-foot reporters from national dailies would come at him - a barrage that ultimately drove him out of mainstream journalism. But he fought back with courage and dignity, writing a book (Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion) with his side of the story and insisting that facts matter more than established power or ideology. He deserves to be remembered in the proud tradition of muckrakers like Ida Tarbell, George Seldes and I.F. Stone.

In this era of "embedded reporters," an unembedded journalist like Gary Webb will be sorely missed.

(2) David Corn, Gary Webb is Dead, The Nation (14th December, 2004)

He was the journalist who wrote a famous - or infamous - 1996 series for the San Jose Mercury News that maintained a CIA-supported drug ring based in Los Angeles had triggered the crack epidemic of the 1980s. On Friday, the 49-year-old Webb, who won a Pulitzer Prize for other work, apparently shot himself. His "Dark Alliances" articles spurred outrage and controversy. Leaders of the African-American community demanded investigations. Mainstream newspapers - including The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times - questioned his findings. And nearly a year after the pieces appeared, the Mercury News published a criticism of the series; Webb was demoted and soon left the newspaper. Two years later, he published a book based on the series.

Webb's tale is a sad one. He was on to something but botched part of how he handled it. He then was blasted and ostracized. He was wrong on some important details but he was, in a way, closer to the truth than many of his establishment media critics who neglected the story of the real CIA-contra-cocaine connection. In 1998, a CIA inspector general's report acknowledged that the CIA had indeed worked with suspected drugrunners while supporting the contras. A Senator named John Kerry had investigated these links years earlier, and the media had mostly ignored his findings. After Webb published his articles, the media spent more time crushing Webb than pursuing the full story. It is only because of Webb's work - as flawed as it was - that the CIA IG inquiry happened. So, then, it is only because of Webb that US citizens have confirmation from the CIA that it partnered up with suspected drug traffickers in the just-say-no years and that the Reagan Administration, consumed with a desire to overthrow the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, allied itself with drug thugs.

As the news of Webb's death circulated across the Internet, some of his fans took the opportunity to demand that I issue a posthumous apology to him. Why? Because I had been critical of his series and book. But my criticism was different from that of the mainstream press. I maintained he had overstated the case and had not proven his more cinematic allegations. But I also credited him for forcing the issue and prodding the CIA to come clean. No one at the Times (New York or Los Angeles) or the Post managed to do that. And though there were problems with Webb's work, it is a pity that he was so brutally hounded.

His death is a dark end to a dark story.

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