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Douglas Caddy

Gary Webb: Was he Murdered?

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From westword.com

Originally published by Westword 2006-10-05

Kill the Messenger

The tragic death of one of America's most important investigative journalists

By Nick Schou

http://www.westword.com/Issues/2006-10-05/...news2_full.html

A college dropout with 20 years of reporting experience and a Pulitzer Prize on his résumé, Gary Webb broke the biggest story of his career in August 1996 when he published "Dark Alliance," a three-part series for The San Jose Mercury News that linked the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency to America's crack-cocaine explosion via the Nicaraguan contras, a right-wing army that aimed to overthrow the leftist Sandinista government during the 1980s.

Many reporters had written about the CIA's collusion with contra drug smugglers, but nobody had ever discovered where those drugs ended up once they reached American soil. "Dark Alliance" provided the first dramatic answer to that mystery. But in the months following its publication, the story was subjected to ferocious attacks by the nation's biggest newspapers — the New York Times,the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times — and soon, Webb found himself out of a job. After being assigned to a tiny regional bureau, Webb quit the paper and never worked in daily journalism again.

Nick Schou's new book, Kill the Messenger: How the CIA's Crack Cocaine Controversy Destroyed Gary Webb, examines the tragic unraveling of one of America's most talented yet enigmatic investigative journalists. The following excerpt is being printed with the permission of Nation Books. All rights are reserved.

After days of unrelenting winter rain from a powerful Pacific storm, the clouds moved east and the skies cleared above the Sacramento valley. The snowcapped peaks of the western range of the Sierra Nevada glowed pink in the glinting early morning sun. On days like this, Gary Webb normally would have taken the day off to ride his motorcycle into the mountains.

Although it was a Friday morning, Webb didn't need to call in sick. In fact, he hadn't been to work in weeks. When his ex-wife garnished his wages, seeking child support for their three kids, Webb asked for an indefinite leave from the small weekly alternative paper in Sacramento where he had been working the past four months. He told his boss he could no longer afford the $2,000 mortgage on his house in Carmichael, a suburb 20 miles east of the state capital.

There was no time for riding. Today, December 10, 2004, Webb was going to move in with his mother. It wasn't his first choice. First, he asked his ex-girlfriend if he could share her apartment. The two had dated for several months and continued to live together until their lease expired a year earlier, when Webb had bought his new house. They had remained friends, and at first she had said yes, but she changed her mind at the last minute, not wanting to lead him on in the hope that they'd rekindle a romance. Desperate, Webb asked his ex-wife, Sue, if he could live with her until he regained his financial footing. She refused.

"I don't feel comfortable with that," she said.

"You don't?"

Sue recalls that her ex-husband's words seemed painfully drawn out.

"I don't know if I can do that," she said. "Your mother will let you move in. You don't have any other choice."

Besides losing his house, Webb had also lost his motorcycle. The day before he was to move, it had broken down as he was riding to his mother's house in a nearby retirement community. After spotting Webb pushing the bike off the road, a helpful young man with a goatee and a spider-web tattoo on his elbow had given him a lift home. Webb arranged to get a pickup truck, but when he went back to retrieve his bike, it had disappeared.

That night, Webb spent hours at his mother's house. At her urging, he typed up a description of the suspected thief. But Webb didn't see much point in filing a police report. He doubted he'd ever see his bike again. He had been depressed for months, but the loss of his bike seemed to push him over the edge. He told his mother he had no idea how he was going to ever make enough money to pay child support and pay rent or buy a new home.

Although he had a paying job in journalism, Webb knew that only a reporting gig with a major newspaper would give him the paycheck he needed to stay out of debt. But after sending out 50 résumés to daily newspapers around the country, nobody had called for an interview. His current job couldn't pay the bills, and the thought of moving in with his mother, at age 49, was more than his pride would allow.

"What am I going to do with the rest of my life?" he asked. "All I want to do is write."

It was 8 p.m. by the time Webb left his mother's house. She offered to cook him a dinner of bacon and eggs, but Webb declined, saying he had to go home. There were other things he had to do. She kissed him goodbye and told him to come back the next day with a smile on his face. "Things will be better," she said. "You don't have to pay anything to stay here. You'll get back on your feet."

The next morning, Anita Webb called her son to remind him to file a police report for the stolen bike. His phone rang and rang. She didn't bother leaving a message, figuring the movers already had arrived. They had. It's possible they heard the phone ringing. As they approached his house, they noticed a note stuck to his front door.

"Please do not enter," it warned. "Call 911 for an ambulance. Thank you."

When her son failed answer the phone for more than an hour, Anita Webb began to panic. Finally, she let the answering machine pick up. "Gary, make sure you file a police report," she said. Before she could finish, the machine beeped and an unfamiliar voice began to speak: "Are you calling about the man who lives here?"

It is normally the policy of the Sacramento County Coroner's office not to answer the telephone at the scene of a death, but apparently the phrase "police report" startled the coroner into breaking that rule. At some point early that morning, Gary Webb had committed suicide.

The coroners found his body in a pool of blood on his bed, his hands still gripping his father's 38-caliber pistol. On his nightstand were his Social Security card — apparently intended to make it easier for his body to be identified — a cremation card and a suicide note, the contents of which have never been revealed by his family. The house was filled with packed boxes. Only his turntable, DVD player and TV were unpacked.

In the hours before he shot himself in the head, Webb had listened to his favorite album, Ian Hunter Live, and had watched his favorite movie, the Sergio Leone spaghetti Western The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. In a trash can was a poster Webb had saved from his first journalism job with the Kentucky Post. The poster was an open letter to readers from Vance Trimble, Webb's first editor. Decades earlier, Webb had clipped it from the pages of the paper. Although he had always admired its message, something about it must have been too much to bear in his final moments. Trimble had written that, unlike some newspapers, the Post would never kill a story under pressure from powerful interests. "There should be no fetters on reporters, nor must they tamper with the truth, but give light so the people will find their own way," his letter stated.

That morning, Sue Webb was at home in Folsom, just minutes away from Carmichael, when her cell phone started ringing. She was about to walk out the door to bring her fourteen-year-old daughter, Christine, to school. Because Sue was running late for a business meeting in Stockton, she didn't answer. But when she recognized the number of the caller as Kurt, her ex-husband's brother, she began to worry.

"I was standing in the bathroom, and when I saw that number, I knew something had happened," she says. "I kept saying, 'No, this is not happening, this is not happening.' I was afraid to pick up the phone."

Thoughts raced through her mind. Two days earlier, Webb had taken Christine to a doctor's appointment. At the doctor's office, there was a copy of Dr. Seuss' Green Eggs and Ham, which Webb had loved reading to her years earlier. He jokingly asked her if she wanted him to read it aloud to her. When he dropped Christine off at Sue's house later that day, Christine said her father made a special point of walking up to the door to kiss her goodbye. "He told her to be good to her mom," Sue says. "And he handed her some little bottles of perfume and said, 'I love you.' When she asked him if he wanted to come in, he said no."

Sue put her daughter in the car and drove a few blocks to the entrance of the middle-class neighborhood of tract houses where she lives on a wooded hillside on the outskirts of town. "I couldn't stand it anymore, because the phone kept ringing," she says. "It was Anita, and she was just sobbing. And I said, 'Is he gone?' and she said, 'Yes.' And I just pulled off the road and started crying and said, 'Christine, your daddy's dead.' We had to get out of the car, and we sat on the grass together and just started crying. I don't even know how long we sat there."

A woman driving by pulled over and asked what was wrong. Sue gave her the number of the health-care company where she worked as a sales agent. She asked the woman to call and let them no she wouldn't be able to keep her appointments that day. Then she called her twenty-year-old son, Ian, and Eric, her sixteen-year-old, who was already at school, to tell them to meet her and Christine at Anita's house. "I had to tell them on the phone what had happened because they wouldn't let me hang up," she says.

When she arrived at Anita's house, Ian was sitting on the front lawn, tears streaming down his face. "The police had already left," she says. "I told him not to go inside." A block away from the house was a bench with a view of a duck pond. The tranquil scene seemed surreal, dreamlike, frozen in time.

"I remember feeling this sense of loss. It was the weirdest thing in the world. I had moved to California to be with Gary and had left my family behind and suddenly I felt alone. And I knew almost immediately that he had killed himself."

That afternoon, Sue met Kurt at the coroner's office. "They took us into a room, and the coroner came in and told us that Gary had shot himself and what gun he had used," she says. "It was his dad's gun that he had found when he was a security guard at a hospital in Cincinnati. Some patient had left it there, and his dad had kept it. He used to keep it under the bed. I'd get mad because we had kids, and he'd stick it in the closet."

Kurt asked the coroner if he was certain it was a suicide. "There's no doubt in my mind," he answered. He added that sometimes, people who shoot themselves have bruises on their fingers from squeezing the trigger. Apparently the will to live is so strong that suicide victims often grip the gun so tightly and for so long they lose blood circulation in their hands. "Gary had bruises on his fingers," Sue says.

A few days later, four letters arrived at Sue's house, one each for her and the three kids. Webb had mailed them before he died. He sent a separate letter to his mother, and a last will and testament to his brother Kurt. He told his children that he loved them, that Ian would make a woman happy someday, and that he didn't want his death to dissuade Eric from considering a career in journalism. His will divided his assets, including his just-sold house, among his wife and children. His only additional wish was that his ashes be spread in the ocean so he could "bodysurf for eternity."

While it was Gary Webb who pulled the trigger, the bullet that ended his life was a mere afterthought to the tragic unraveling of one of the most controversial and misunderstood journalists in recent American history. "Dark Alliance" was the first major news expose? to be published simultaneously in print and on the Internet. Ignored by the mainstream media at first, the story nonetheless spread like wildfire through cyberspace and talk radio. It sparked angry protests around the country by African-Americans who had long suspected the government had allowed drugs into their communities. Their anger was fueled by the fact that "Dark Alliance" didn't just show that the contras had supplied a major crack dealer with cocaine or that the cash had been used to fund the CIA's army in Central America but also strongly implied that this activity had been critical to the nationwide explosion of crack cocaine that had taken place in America during the 1980s.

It was an explosive charge, although a careful reading of the story showed that Webb had never actually stated that the CIA intentionally started the crack epidemic. In fact, Webb never believed the CIA had conspired to addict anybody to drugs. Rather, he believed that the agency had known that the contras were dealing cocaine and hadn't lifted a finger to stop them. He was right, and the controversy over "Dark Alliance" — which many consider to be the biggest media scandal of the 1990s — would ultimately force the CIA to admit it had lied for years about what it knew and when it knew it.

In the wake of "Dark Alliance," the series and Webb himself were subjected to unprecedented attacks in the mainstream media, which took advantage of the story's most serious flaw — implying but failing to prove the CIA helped spark the crack epidemic — to assert that the CIA had no ties whatsoever to the drug ring Webb exposed.

The attacks continued even after Webb's death. The Los Angeles Times published an obituary that ran in newspapers across the nation and summed up his life by claiming that he was author of "discredited" stories about the CIA. The paper would later publish a lengthy feature story revealing that Webb had suffered from clinical depression for more than a decade — even before he wrote "Dark Alliance." Titled "Written in Pain," it painted Webb as a troubled, manic-depressive man who had repeatedly cheated on his wife, and a reckless "cowboy" of a journalist.

Such a portrait offers only a misleading caricature of a much more complicated man. Interviews with dozens of Webb's friends, family members and colleagues reveal that Webb was an idealistic, passionate and meticulous journalist, not a cowboy. Those who knew him before "Dark Alliance" made him famous and then infamous say he was happy until he lost his career. His colleagues, with the exception of some reporters and editors at the Mercury News who found him arrogant and self-promoting, almost universally loved, respected and even revered him.

The controversy over "Dark Alliance" was the central event in Webb's life and the critical element in his eventual depression and suicide. His big story, despite major flaws of hyperbole abetted and even encouraged by his editors, remains one of the most important works of investigative journalism in recent American history. The connection that Webb uncovered between the CIA, the contras and Los Angeles' crack trade was real — and radioactive. Webb was hardly the first American journalist to lose his job after taking on the country's most secretive government agency in print. Every serious reporter or politician that tried to unravel the connection between the CIA, the Nicaraguan contras and cocaine had lived to regret it.

Senator John Kerry investigated it through congressional hearings that were stonewalled by the Reagan administration, and for this, he was alternately ridiculed and ignored in the media. Journalists such as the AP's Bob Parry quit their jobs after being repeatedly shut down by their editors. Some reporters, working on the ground in Central America, had even been subjected to police harassment and death threats for pursuing it. Webb was simply the most widely and maliciously maligned of these reporters to literally die for the story.

The recent history of American journalism is full of media scandals, from the fabulist fabrications of the New Republic's Stephen Glass and the New York Times' Jayson Blair to Judith Miller's credulous and entirely discredited reporting on Saddam Hussein's nonexistent weapons of mass destruction for the New York Times, which helped pave the way for the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Webb, despite his stubborn refusal to admit his own errors, hardly deserves to be held in such company. What truly distinguishes his fate is his how he was abandoned by his employer in the face of unprecedented and ferocious attacks by the nation's major newspapers, the likes of which had never been seen before or occurred since.

The controversy over "Dark Alliance" forced Webb from journalism and ultimately led him to take his own life. Besides Webb, however, nobody else lost a job over the story — nobody at the CIA, certainly, and not even any of Webb's editors, who happily published his work, only to back away from it under withering media attacks before getting on with their lives and receiving promotions. Gary Webb's tragic fate, and the role of America's most powerful newspapers in ending his career, raises an important question about American journalism in an era when much of the public perceives the fourth estate as an industry in decline, a feckless broadcaster of White House leaks with a penchant for sensationalized, consumer-driven tabloid sex scandals.

Webb spent two decades uncovering corruption at all levels of power, at the hands of public officials representing all ideological facets of the political spectrum. Indeed, his very fearlessness in taking on powerful institutions and officials was an ultimately fatal character trait that nonetheless embodies the sort of journalistic ethic that should be rewarded and celebrated in any healthy democratic society. In 2002, Webb reflected on his fall from grace in the book Into the Buzzsaw, a compendium of first-person accounts by journalists whose controversial stories pushed them from their chosen profession. His words are worth remembering now more than ever.

"If we had met five years ago, you wouldn't have found a more staunch defender of the newspaper industry than me," Webb concluded. "And then I wrote some stories that made me realize how sadly misplaced my bliss had been. The reason I'd enjoyed such smooth sailing for so long hadn't been, as I'd assumed, because I was careful and diligent and good at my job..... The truth was that, in all those years, I hadn't written anything important enough to suppress."

http://www.westword.com/Issues/2006-10-05/...news2_full.html

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A Libyan reproter was murdered in June and more recently one in Russia, neither of which was thought to be a suicide. That seems to be a uniquely American excuse for murder.

Also, Mr. Caddy, as a Texas attorney, would you consider lending your opinion on the real identity of Judge Willard in the David Atlee Phillips book on Cullan Davis thread?

Thanks,

BK

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Several articles on Webb's death here at:

http://www.prisonplanet.com/archives/webb/index.html

Good article, Doug, but I think they made one error....it was murder, not suicide!

Also, there were other matter Webb was researching of equal jeapardy.

The truth usually doesn't pay well in America and one sometimes has to pay with one's life....or career.

I disagree. Gary Webb committed suicide. One of my CIA sources told me recently that I should stop investigating a certain character. I asked him if my life would be in danger if I pursued this story. He replied: “The CIA don’t kill people anymore, we just discredit you.” In his filmed interview with William Matson Law, Gene Wheaton told the story that Carl E. Jenkins and Chi Chi Quintero warned him that if he went public with the information that they had killed JFK, the CIA would not have him removed, they would just destroy his reputation.

The CIA is aware that however dedicated to the truth a journalist maybe, he needs to make a living. He also wants a career in journalism. If a journalist starts getting near to the truth, he will be warned about the possible consequences for his career. This usually does the trick and the journalist decides to leave the story alone. Occasionally, a journalist like Gary Webb, refuses to be warned off. Operation Mockingbird comes into play and the journalist’s career is ruined. Gary Webb killed himself for the same reasons that Leo Damore killed himself. His career had come to an end.

The Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya was was gunned down in her apartment building last Saturday. She had been working on a story about human rights abuses in Chechnya.

Russia is the third most deadly country for journalists, after Iraq and Algeria, according to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, which says Politkovskaya was at least the 43rd reporter killed for her work in Russia since 1993. The CIA used to kill journalists in the 1960s (see the case of Dorothy Kilgallen). Now they just kill their careers.

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http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKwebbG.htm

It seems that his wife believes he committed suicide:

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americ...ticle317908.ece

Robert Chalmers, The Independent (9th October, 2005)

When the big story arrives, Susan Bell recalls her late husband saying, "it will be like a bullet with your name on it. You won't even hear it coming." It was a remark that Gary Webb overheard early in his career, from an older reporter, and would repeat, ironically, to the point that the phrase "It's the Big One" became a standing joke on his news desk. And yet for Webb, the idea that a journalist could be killed by his own story turned out to be no laughing matter. The only difference in Gary Webb's case was that his life was ended not by one bullet, but two.

We are in the living room of Bell's house just outside Sacramento, California. A perceptive, engaging woman of 48, she has turned an adjoining study into a small shrine to her late husband, who would have celebrated his 50th birthday five weeks ago. The room is decorated with his trophies: a Pulitzer prize hangs next to his HL Mencken award; also on the wall is a framed advertisement for The Kentucky Post. It reads: "There should be no fetters on reporters, nor must they tamper with the truth, but give light so the people will find their own way." When Webb's body was discovered last December, Bell says, this last item had been dumped in the trash.

Webb, one of the boldest and most outstanding reporters of his generation, was the journalist who, in 1996, established the connection between the CIA and major drug dealers in Los Angeles, some of whose profits had been channelled to fund the Contra guerrilla movement in Nicaragua. The link between drug-running and the Reagan regime's support for the right-wing terrorist group throughout the 1980s had been public knowledge for over a decade. What was new about Webb's reports, published under the title "Dark Alliance" in the Californian paper the San Jose Mercury News, was that for the first time it brought the story back home. Webb's pieces were not dealing with nameless peasants slaughtered in some distant republic, but demonstrated a clear link between the CIA and the suppliers of the gangs delivering crack to the ghetto of Watts, in South Central Los Angeles.

His series of articles - which prompted the distinguished reporter and former Newsweek Washington correspondent Robert Parry to describe Webb as "an American hero" - incited fury among the African-American community, many of whom took his investigation as proof that the White House saw crack as a way of bringing genocide to the ghetto. Webb's reports prompted three official investigations, including one by the CIA itself which - astonishingly for an organisation rarely praised for its transparency - confirmed the substance of his findings (published at length in Webb's 1998 book, also entitled Dark Alliance). "Because of Gary Webb's work," said Senator John Kerry, "the CIA launched an investigation that found dozens of connections to drug runners. That wouldn't have happened if he hadn't been willing to stand up and risk it all."

This emotive last phrase refers to Webb's experience in the immediate aftermath of publication of his three lengthy articles, in the summer of 1996. The Mercury News reporter came under sustained attack from the weightier US newspapers such as The New York Times, The Washington Post and, especially, the Los Angeles Times, infuriated at being scooped, on its own patch, by what it saw as a small-town paper.

When Webb pressed the Mercury News to allow him to investigate the LA connection further, his own newspaper issued a retraction which earned its editor, Jerry Ceppos, wide praise from rival publications, but effectively disowned Webb, who then suffered the kind of corporate lynching that reporters are usually expected to dispense rather than endure.

By 1997, Bell tells me, Webb - whose 30-year career had earned him more awards than there is room for in her study - had been reassigned to the Mercury News's office in Cupertino.

"They had him writing obituaries," she said. "The first story he had to file was about a police horse which had died of constipation."

Webb, whose plans to become a journalist had begun when he was 13, but never included equine death notices, resigned from the Mercury News a few months later. Depressed, he became increasingly unpredictable in his behaviour and embarked on a series of affairs; he was divorced from Bell in 2000, though he remained close to her throughout his life and lived in a house in nearby Carmichael. Unable to get work from any major US newspaper, he spent the four months before his death writing for * a free-sheet covering the Sacramento area. To pay off his mounting debts, Webb sold the Carmichael property, where he was living alone, and arranged to move in with his mother.

When removal men arrived, on the morning of 10 December 2004, they found a sign on his front door, which read: ''Please do not enter. Call 911 for assistance. Thank you." Webb's corpse was found in the bedroom, with two gunshot wounds to the head.

When I first heard the news, I tell Bell, I was inclined to believe the conspiracy theories that still proliferate on the internet, suggesting that Webb had been assassinated - either by one of the drug dealers he'd met while writing Dark Alliance, or by the intelligence services who were supposed to police them.

She shakes her head.

"Looking back," she says, "I think Gary had been obsessed with suicide for some time. And when he got something in his head, he was determined to do it. That was just the way he was."

Webb, Bell explains, had written four letters explaining what he was about to do - one to her, one to each of their three children - and mailed them immediately before he killed himself."Why were there two bullet wounds?"His former wife, her voice lowered to a whisper, explains that Webb missed with the first shot (which exited through his left cheek)."The second bullet," adds Bell, who has worked for more than 20 years in the area of respiratory therapy, "struck his carotid artery."

"After Gary died," she says, "a reporter from the LA Times came here. I felt weak and distressed; the whole thing was so fresh. She kept crying about how terrible it all was - by which I mean that she was, physically, crying. The story they printed was just awful. I felt she really trashed me. She said the paper wanted to make up for what it had done in the past. As it turned out," she adds, "that was not their intent."

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From westword.com

Originally published by Westword 2006-10-05

Kill the Messenger

The tragic death of one of America's most important investigative journalists

By Nick Schou

http://www.westword.com/Issues/2006-10-05/...news2_full.html

A college dropout with 20 years of reporting experience and a Pulitzer Prize on his résumé, Gary Webb broke the biggest story of his career in August 1996 when he published "Dark Alliance," a three-part series for The San Jose Mercury News that linked the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency to America's crack-cocaine explosion via the Nicaraguan contras, a right-wing army that aimed to overthrow the leftist Sandinista government during the 1980s.

Many reporters had written about the CIA's collusion with contra drug smugglers, but nobody had ever discovered where those drugs ended up once they reached American soil. "Dark Alliance" provided the first dramatic answer to that mystery. But in the months following its publication, the story was subjected to ferocious attacks by the nation's biggest newspapers — the New York Times,the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times — and soon, Webb found himself out of a job. After being assigned to a tiny regional bureau, Webb quit the paper and never worked in daily journalism again.

Nick Schou's new book, Kill the Messenger: How the CIA's Crack Cocaine Controversy Destroyed Gary Webb, examines the tragic unraveling of one of America's most talented yet enigmatic investigative journalists. The following excerpt is being printed with the permission of Nation Books. All rights are reserved.

After days of unrelenting winter rain from a powerful Pacific storm, the clouds moved east and the skies cleared above the Sacramento valley. The snowcapped peaks of the western range of the Sierra Nevada glowed pink in the glinting early morning sun. On days like this, Gary Webb normally would have taken the day off to ride his motorcycle into the mountains.

Although it was a Friday morning, Webb didn't need to call in sick. In fact, he hadn't been to work in weeks. When his ex-wife garnished his wages, seeking child support for their three kids, Webb asked for an indefinite leave from the small weekly alternative paper in Sacramento where he had been working the past four months. He told his boss he could no longer afford the $2,000 mortgage on his house in Carmichael, a suburb 20 miles east of the state capital.

There was no time for riding. Today, December 10, 2004, Webb was going to move in with his mother. It wasn't his first choice. First, he asked his ex-girlfriend if he could share her apartment. The two had dated for several months and continued to live together until their lease expired a year earlier, when Webb had bought his new house. They had remained friends, and at first she had said yes, but she changed her mind at the last minute, not wanting to lead him on in the hope that they'd rekindle a romance. Desperate, Webb asked his ex-wife, Sue, if he could live with her until he regained his financial footing. She refused.

"I don't feel comfortable with that," she said.

"You don't?"

Sue recalls that her ex-husband's words seemed painfully drawn out.

"I don't know if I can do that," she said. "Your mother will let you move in. You don't have any other choice."

Besides losing his house, Webb had also lost his motorcycle. The day before he was to move, it had broken down as he was riding to his mother's house in a nearby retirement community. After spotting Webb pushing the bike off the road, a helpful young man with a goatee and a spider-web tattoo on his elbow had given him a lift home. Webb arranged to get a pickup truck, but when he went back to retrieve his bike, it had disappeared.

That night, Webb spent hours at his mother's house. At her urging, he typed up a description of the suspected thief. But Webb didn't see much point in filing a police report. He doubted he'd ever see his bike again. He had been depressed for months, but the loss of his bike seemed to push him over the edge. He told his mother he had no idea how he was going to ever make enough money to pay child support and pay rent or buy a new home.

Although he had a paying job in journalism, Webb knew that only a reporting gig with a major newspaper would give him the paycheck he needed to stay out of debt. But after sending out 50 résumés to daily newspapers around the country, nobody had called for an interview. His current job couldn't pay the bills, and the thought of moving in with his mother, at age 49, was more than his pride would allow.

"What am I going to do with the rest of my life?" he asked. "All I want to do is write."

It was 8 p.m. by the time Webb left his mother's house. She offered to cook him a dinner of bacon and eggs, but Webb declined, saying he had to go home. There were other things he had to do. She kissed him goodbye and told him to come back the next day with a smile on his face. "Things will be better," she said. "You don't have to pay anything to stay here. You'll get back on your feet."

The next morning, Anita Webb called her son to remind him to file a police report for the stolen bike. His phone rang and rang. She didn't bother leaving a message, figuring the movers already had arrived. They had. It's possible they heard the phone ringing. As they approached his house, they noticed a note stuck to his front door.

"Please do not enter," it warned. "Call 911 for an ambulance. Thank you."

When her son failed answer the phone for more than an hour, Anita Webb began to panic. Finally, she let the answering machine pick up. "Gary, make sure you file a police report," she said. Before she could finish, the machine beeped and an unfamiliar voice began to speak: "Are you calling about the man who lives here?"

It is normally the policy of the Sacramento County Coroner's office not to answer the telephone at the scene of a death, but apparently the phrase "police report" startled the coroner into breaking that rule. At some point early that morning, Gary Webb had committed suicide.

The coroners found his body in a pool of blood on his bed, his hands still gripping his father's 38-caliber pistol. On his nightstand were his Social Security card — apparently intended to make it easier for his body to be identified — a cremation card and a suicide note, the contents of which have never been revealed by his family. The house was filled with packed boxes. Only his turntable, DVD player and TV were unpacked.

In the hours before he shot himself in the head, Webb had listened to his favorite album, Ian Hunter Live, and had watched his favorite movie, the Sergio Leone spaghetti Western The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. In a trash can was a poster Webb had saved from his first journalism job with the Kentucky Post. The poster was an open letter to readers from Vance Trimble, Webb's first editor. Decades earlier, Webb had clipped it from the pages of the paper. Although he had always admired its message, something about it must have been too much to bear in his final moments. Trimble had written that, unlike some newspapers, the Post would never kill a story under pressure from powerful interests. "There should be no fetters on reporters, nor must they tamper with the truth, but give light so the people will find their own way," his letter stated.

That morning, Sue Webb was at home in Folsom, just minutes away from Carmichael, when her cell phone started ringing. She was about to walk out the door to bring her fourteen-year-old daughter, Christine, to school. Because Sue was running late for a business meeting in Stockton, she didn't answer. But when she recognized the number of the caller as Kurt, her ex-husband's brother, she began to worry.

"I was standing in the bathroom, and when I saw that number, I knew something had happened," she says. "I kept saying, 'No, this is not happening, this is not happening.' I was afraid to pick up the phone."

Thoughts raced through her mind. Two days earlier, Webb had taken Christine to a doctor's appointment. At the doctor's office, there was a copy of Dr. Seuss' Green Eggs and Ham, which Webb had loved reading to her years earlier. He jokingly asked her if she wanted him to read it aloud to her. When he dropped Christine off at Sue's house later that day, Christine said her father made a special point of walking up to the door to kiss her goodbye. "He told her to be good to her mom," Sue says. "And he handed her some little bottles of perfume and said, 'I love you.' When she asked him if he wanted to come in, he said no."

Sue put her daughter in the car and drove a few blocks to the entrance of the middle-class neighborhood of tract houses where she lives on a wooded hillside on the outskirts of town. "I couldn't stand it anymore, because the phone kept ringing," she says. "It was Anita, and she was just sobbing. And I said, 'Is he gone?' and she said, 'Yes.' And I just pulled off the road and started crying and said, 'Christine, your daddy's dead.' We had to get out of the car, and we sat on the grass together and just started crying. I don't even know how long we sat there."

A woman driving by pulled over and asked what was wrong. Sue gave her the number of the health-care company where she worked as a sales agent. She asked the woman to call and let them no she wouldn't be able to keep her appointments that day. Then she called her twenty-year-old son, Ian, and Eric, her sixteen-year-old, who was already at school, to tell them to meet her and Christine at Anita's house. "I had to tell them on the phone what had happened because they wouldn't let me hang up," she says.

When she arrived at Anita's house, Ian was sitting on the front lawn, tears streaming down his face. "The police had already left," she says. "I told him not to go inside." A block away from the house was a bench with a view of a duck pond. The tranquil scene seemed surreal, dreamlike, frozen in time.

"I remember feeling this sense of loss. It was the weirdest thing in the world. I had moved to California to be with Gary and had left my family behind and suddenly I felt alone. And I knew almost immediately that he had killed himself."

That afternoon, Sue met Kurt at the coroner's office. "They took us into a room, and the coroner came in and told us that Gary had shot himself and what gun he had used," she says. "It was his dad's gun that he had found when he was a security guard at a hospital in Cincinnati. Some patient had left it there, and his dad had kept it. He used to keep it under the bed. I'd get mad because we had kids, and he'd stick it in the closet."

Kurt asked the coroner if he was certain it was a suicide. "There's no doubt in my mind," he answered. He added that sometimes, people who shoot themselves have bruises on their fingers from squeezing the trigger. Apparently the will to live is so strong that suicide victims often grip the gun so tightly and for so long they lose blood circulation in their hands. "Gary had bruises on his fingers," Sue says.

A few days later, four letters arrived at Sue's house, one each for her and the three kids. Webb had mailed them before he died. He sent a separate letter to his mother, and a last will and testament to his brother Kurt. He told his children that he loved them, that Ian would make a woman happy someday, and that he didn't want his death to dissuade Eric from considering a career in journalism. His will divided his assets, including his just-sold house, among his wife and children. His only additional wish was that his ashes be spread in the ocean so he could "bodysurf for eternity."

While it was Gary Webb who pulled the trigger, the bullet that ended his life was a mere afterthought to the tragic unraveling of one of the most controversial and misunderstood journalists in recent American history. "Dark Alliance" was the first major news expose? to be published simultaneously in print and on the Internet. Ignored by the mainstream media at first, the story nonetheless spread like wildfire through cyberspace and talk radio. It sparked angry protests around the country by African-Americans who had long suspected the government had allowed drugs into their communities. Their anger was fueled by the fact that "Dark Alliance" didn't just show that the contras had supplied a major crack dealer with cocaine or that the cash had been used to fund the CIA's army in Central America but also strongly implied that this activity had been critical to the nationwide explosion of crack cocaine that had taken place in America during the 1980s.

It was an explosive charge, although a careful reading of the story showed that Webb had never actually stated that the CIA intentionally started the crack epidemic. In fact, Webb never believed the CIA had conspired to addict anybody to drugs. Rather, he believed that the agency had known that the contras were dealing cocaine and hadn't lifted a finger to stop them. He was right, and the controversy over "Dark Alliance" — which many consider to be the biggest media scandal of the 1990s — would ultimately force the CIA to admit it had lied for years about what it knew and when it knew it.

In the wake of "Dark Alliance," the series and Webb himself were subjected to unprecedented attacks in the mainstream media, which took advantage of the story's most serious flaw — implying but failing to prove the CIA helped spark the crack epidemic — to assert that the CIA had no ties whatsoever to the drug ring Webb exposed.

The attacks continued even after Webb's death. The Los Angeles Times published an obituary that ran in newspapers across the nation and summed up his life by claiming that he was author of "discredited" stories about the CIA. The paper would later publish a lengthy feature story revealing that Webb had suffered from clinical depression for more than a decade — even before he wrote "Dark Alliance." Titled "Written in Pain," it painted Webb as a troubled, manic-depressive man who had repeatedly cheated on his wife, and a reckless "cowboy" of a journalist.

Such a portrait offers only a misleading caricature of a much more complicated man. Interviews with dozens of Webb's friends, family members and colleagues reveal that Webb was an idealistic, passionate and meticulous journalist, not a cowboy. Those who knew him before "Dark Alliance" made him famous and then infamous say he was happy until he lost his career. His colleagues, with the exception of some reporters and editors at the Mercury News who found him arrogant and self-promoting, almost universally loved, respected and even revered him.

The controversy over "Dark Alliance" was the central event in Webb's life and the critical element in his eventual depression and suicide. His big story, despite major flaws of hyperbole abetted and even encouraged by his editors, remains one of the most important works of investigative journalism in recent American history. The connection that Webb uncovered between the CIA, the contras and Los Angeles' crack trade was real — and radioactive. Webb was hardly the first American journalist to lose his job after taking on the country's most secretive government agency in print. Every serious reporter or politician that tried to unravel the connection between the CIA, the Nicaraguan contras and cocaine had lived to regret it.

Senator John Kerry investigated it through congressional hearings that were stonewalled by the Reagan administration, and for this, he was alternately ridiculed and ignored in the media. Journalists such as the AP's Bob Parry quit their jobs after being repeatedly shut down by their editors. Some reporters, working on the ground in Central America, had even been subjected to police harassment and death threats for pursuing it. Webb was simply the most widely and maliciously maligned of these reporters to literally die for the story.

The recent history of American journalism is full of media scandals, from the fabulist fabrications of the New Republic's Stephen Glass and the New York Times' Jayson Blair to Judith Miller's credulous and entirely discredited reporting on Saddam Hussein's nonexistent weapons of mass destruction for the New York Times, which helped pave the way for the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Webb, despite his stubborn refusal to admit his own errors, hardly deserves to be held in such company. What truly distinguishes his fate is his how he was abandoned by his employer in the face of unprecedented and ferocious attacks by the nation's major newspapers, the likes of which had never been seen before or occurred since.

The controversy over "Dark Alliance" forced Webb from journalism and ultimately led him to take his own life. Besides Webb, however, nobody else lost a job over the story — nobody at the CIA, certainly, and not even any of Webb's editors, who happily published his work, only to back away from it under withering media attacks before getting on with their lives and receiving promotions. Gary Webb's tragic fate, and the role of America's most powerful newspapers in ending his career, raises an important question about American journalism in an era when much of the public perceives the fourth estate as an industry in decline, a feckless broadcaster of White House leaks with a penchant for sensationalized, consumer-driven tabloid sex scandals.

Webb spent two decades uncovering corruption at all levels of power, at the hands of public officials representing all ideological facets of the political spectrum. Indeed, his very fearlessness in taking on powerful institutions and officials was an ultimately fatal character trait that nonetheless embodies the sort of journalistic ethic that should be rewarded and celebrated in any healthy democratic society. In 2002, Webb reflected on his fall from grace in the book Into the Buzzsaw, a compendium of first-person accounts by journalists whose controversial stories pushed them from their chosen profession. His words are worth remembering now more than ever.

"If we had met five years ago, you wouldn't have found a more staunch defender of the newspaper industry than me," Webb concluded. "And then I wrote some stories that made me realize how sadly misplaced my bliss had been. The reason I'd enjoyed such smooth sailing for so long hadn't been, as I'd assumed, because I was careful and diligent and good at my job..... The truth was that, in all those years, I hadn't written anything important enough to suppress."

http://www.westword.com/Issues/2006-10-05/...news2_full.html

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

Gary Webb's tragic fate, and the role of America's most powerful newspapers in ending his career, raises an important question about American journalism in an era when much of the public perceives the fourth estate as an industry in decline, a feckless broadcaster of White House leaks with a penchant for sensationalized, consumer-driven tabloid sex scandals.

Webb spent two decades uncovering corruption at all levels of power, at the hands of public officials representing all ideological facets of the political spectrum. Indeed, his very fearlessness in taking on powerful institutions and officials was an ultimately fatal character trait that nonetheless embodies the sort of journalistic ethic that should be rewarded and celebrated in any healthy democratic society. In 2002, Webb reflected on his fall from grace in the book Into the Buzzsaw, a compendium of first-person accounts by journalists whose controversial stories pushed them from their chosen profession. His words are worth remembering now more than ever.

"If we had met five years ago, you wouldn't have found a more staunch defender of the newspaper industry than me," Webb concluded. "And then I wrote some stories that made me realize how sadly misplaced my bliss had been. The reason I'd enjoyed such smooth sailing for so long hadn't been, as I'd assumed, because I was careful and diligent and good at my job..... The truth was that, in all those years, I hadn't written anything important enough to suppress."

These words really said it all for me. And, even though John Simkin mentions this further down in the thread,

Operation Mockingbird is still alive and well, well into the first decade of the 21st Century.

I first remember reading the series in the now defunct New Times, an LA Free Press rag that disappeared off the radar shortly after the series, and later re-surfaced in a more homogenized version of its old self, out of Phoenix, AZ. The L.A. Weekly also ran the series, shortly before losing its balls.

I believe the time frame was around 1996, if I remember correctly. I made copies of it, and handed it out to all the students in The Sociology of Law class I was taking over at Cal State Dominguez Hills, aka The University of The Ghetto, due to its close proximity and the demographics of the communities it served: Carson, Compton, and Watts.

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http://www.counterpunch.org/cockburn12182004.html

December 18 / 19, 2004

From Kobe Bryant to Uncle Sam

Why They Hated Gary Webb

By ALEXANDER COCKBURN

I read a piece about Kobe Bryant a couple of days ago. The way it described his fall made me think of Bryant as a parable of America in the Bush years, that maybe even W himself could understand. No longer the big guy leading the winning team to victory over Commie scum, but a street-corner lout, picking on victims quarter his size, trying always to buy his way out of trouble. Don't leave your sister alone with Uncle Sam! No one want to buy Uncle Sam's jerseys anymore, same way they don't buy Kobe Bryant's.

This business of Uncle Sam's true face brings me to Gary Webb and why they hated him. Few spectacles in journalism in the mid-1990s were more disgusting than the slagging of Gary Webb in the New York Times, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times. Squadrons of hacks, some of them with career-long ties to the CIA, sprayed thousands of words of vitriol over Webb and his paper, the San Jose Mercury News for besmirching the Agency's fine name by charging it with complicity in the importing of cocaine into the US.

There are certain things you aren't meant to say in public in America. The systematic state-sponsorship of torture by the US used to be a major no-no, but that went by the board this year (even though Seymour Hersh treated the CIA with undue kindness in Chain of Command: the Road to Abu Ghraib) . A prime no-no is to say that the US government has used assassination down the years as an instrument of national policy; also that the CIA's complicity with drug dealing criminal gangs stretches from the Afghanistan of today back to the year the Agency was founded in 1947. That last one is the line Webb stepped over.He paid for his presumption by undergoing one of the unfairest batterings in the history of the US press, as the chapter from Whiteout we ran on our site yesterday narrates.

Friday, December 10, Webb died in his Sacramento apartment by his own hand, or so it certainly seems. The notices of his passing in many newspapers were as nasty as ever. The Los Angeles Times took care to note that even after the Dark Alliance uproar Webb's career had been "troubled", offering as evidence the fact that " While working for another legislative committee in Sacramento, Webb wrote a report accusing the California Highway Patrol of unofficially condoning and even encouraging racial profiling in its drug interdiction program." The effrontery of the man! "Legislative officials released the report in 1999", the story piously continued, "but cautioned that it was based mainly on assumptions and anecdotes", no doubt meaning that Webb didn't have dozens of CHP officers stating under oath, on the record, that they were picking on blacks and Hispanics.

There were similar fountains of outrage in 1996 that the CIA hadn't been given enough space in Webb's series to solemnly swear that never a gram of cocaine had passed under its nose but that it had been seized and turned over to the DEA or US Customs.

In 1998 Jeffrey St Clair and I published our book, Whiteout, about the relationships between the CIA, drugs and the press since the Agency's founding. We also examined the Webb affair in detail. On a lesser scale, at lower volume it elicited the same sort of abuse Webb drew. It was a long book stuffed with well-documented facts, over which the critics lightly vaulted to charge us, as they did Webb, with "conspiracy-mongering" though, sometimes in the same sentence, of recycling "old news". Jeffrey and I came to the conclusion that what really affronted the critics, some of them nominally left-wing, was that our book portrayed Uncle Sam's true face. Not a "rogue" Agency but one always following the dictates of government, murdering, torturing, poisoning, drugging its own subjects, approving acts of monstrous cruelty, following methods devised and tested by Hitler's men, themselves transported to America after the Second World War.

One of the CIA's favored modes of self-protection is the "uncover-up".The Agency first denies with passion, then later concedes in muffled tones, the charges leveled against it. Such charges have included the Agency's recruitment of Nazi scientists and SS officers; experiments on unwitting American citizens; efforts to assassinate Fidel Castro; alliances with opium lords in Burma, Thailand and Laos; an assassination program in Vietnam; complicity in the toppling of Salvador Allende in Chile; the arming of opium traffickers and religious fanatics in Afghanistan; the training of murderous police in Guatemala and El Salvador; and involvement in drugs-and-arms shuttles between Latin America and the US.

True to form, after Webb's series raised a storm, particularly on black radio, the CIA issued categorical denials. Then came the solemn pledges of an intense and far-reaching investigation by the CIA's Inspector General, Fred Hitz. On December 18, 1997, stories in the Washington Post by Walter Pincus and in the New York Times by Tim Weiner appeared simultaneously, both saying the same thing: Inspector General Hitz had finished his investigation. He had found "no direct or indirect" links between the CIA and the cocaine traffickers. As both Pincus and Weiner admitted in their stories, neither of the two journalists had actually seen the report.

The actual report itself, so loudly heralded, received almost no examination. But those who took the time to examine the 149-page document ­ the first of two volumes--found Inspector General Hitz making one damning admission after another including an account of a meeting between a pilot who was making drug/arms runs between San Francisco and Costa Rica with two Contra leaders who were also partners with the San Francisco-based Contra/drug smuggler Norwin Meneses. Present at this encounter in Costa Rica was a curly-haired man who said his name was Ivan Gomez, identified by one of the Contras as CIA's "man in Costa Rica." The pilot told Hitz that Gomez said he was there to "ensure that the profits from the cocaine went to the Contras and not into someone's pocket ." The second volume of CIA Inspector General Fred Hitz's investigation released in the fall of 1998 buttressed Webb's case even more tightly, as James Risen conceded in a story in the New York Times on October 120 of that year.

So why did the top-tier press savage Webb, and parrot the CIA's denials. It comes back to this matter of Uncle Sam's true face. Another New York Times reporter, Keith Schneider was asked by In These Times back in 1987 why he had devoted a three-part series in the New York Times to attacks on the Contra hearings chaired by Senator John Kerry. Schneider said such a story could "shatter the Republic. I think it is so damaging, the implications are so extraordinary, that for us to run the story, it had better be based on the most solid evidence we could amass." Kerry did uncover mountains of evidence. So did Webb. But neither of them got the only thing that would have satisfied Schneider, Pincus and all the other critics: a signed confession of CIA complicity by the DCI himself. Short of that, I'm afraid we're left with "innuendo", "conspiracy mongering" and "old stories". We're also left with the memory of some great work by a very fine journalist who deserved a lot better than he got from the profession he loved.

Footnote: a version of this column ran in the print edition of The Nation that went to press last Wednesday. In fact the oddest of all reviews of Whiteout was one in The Nation, a multi-page screed by a woman who I seem to remember was on some payroll of George Soros. She flayed us for giving aid and comfort to the war on drugs and not addressing the truly important question, Why do people take drugs. As I said at the time, to get high, stupid!

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Even if Gary Webb died by his own hand THEY still killed him.

I know that many believe it was a sefl-inflicted shot, but

if Gary was indeed working on further stories that were dangerous,

a suicide is so easily arranged. Letters to family members too.

He was staying with his mom, he had young kids. Careers can be re-built.

I have a lot of doubts about this suicide story.

The CIA does both: destroyes careers and kills people.

I don't know how such decisions are rendered, just that they are.

Dawn

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Even if Gary Webb died by his own hand THEY still killed him.

I know that many believe it was a sefl-inflicted shot, but

if Gary was indeed working on further stories that were dangerous,

a suicide is so easily arranged. Letters to family members too.

He was staying with his mom, he had young kids. Careers can be re-built.

I have a lot of doubts about this suicide story.

The CIA does both: destroyes careers and kills people.

I don't know how such decisions are rendered, just that they are.

Dawn

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

That's why they call it "character assassination," Dawnie. :ph34r:

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I am currently carrying out some research into the Washington Post reporter, Walter Pincus. He led the attack on Gary Webb when he published his series of articles on CIA involvement with the Contras and the drug industry. After Dark Alliance was published Pincus wrote: "A Washington Post investigation into Ross, Blandon, Meneses, and the U.S. cocaine market in the 1980s found the available information does not support the conclusion that the CIA-backed contras - or Nicaraguans in general - played a major role in the emergence of crack as a narcotic in widespread use across the United States."

The Washington Post refused to publish Webb's letters when he attempted to defend his views on the CIA. This included information that Pincus had been recruited by the CIA when he was at Yale University in order to spy on student groups at several international youth conferences in the 1950s. Later, Geneva Overholster, the Washington Post ombudsman, criticized Pincus and other reporters working for the newspaper: "A principal responsibility of the press is to protect the people from government excesses. The Washington Post (among others) showed more energy for protecting the CIA from someone else's journalistic excesses."

When Gary Webb committed suicide, French journalist, Paul Moreira, made a television documentary for France's Canal Plus. He interviewed Pincus and asked him why he had not reported on the CIA's inspector general report admitting the agency worked with drug dealers throughout the 1980s. Pincus was unable to explain why he and other mainstream journalists completely ignored this report that helped to support Webb's case against the CIA.

Marc Cooper of LA Weekly admitted: "What I can say is that the media killed his career. That's obvious and it's really a nauseating and very discouraging story, because as a journalist, the only thing you have is your credibility. When that is shredded, there's no way to rebuild it... This is an outstanding case where three of the major newspapers in the country decided to take out somebody, a competitor whose mistakes seem by any measure to be very minor."

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Very good John! You migh well have found an example of how Mockingbird activities can KILL more than just a story about the truth!......Where is Pincus now?

Still working for the CIA. One newspaper claimed that "some in the agency refer to (Pincus) as the CIA's house reporter."

According to an interview Pincus gave to Nick Schou (Kill The Messenger), the most important legacy of Gary Webb's book Dark Alliance was that it "encouraged the CIA to be less aggressive in its efforts against Islamic terrorism, which helped enable Osama bin Laden's 9/11 terrorist attacks."

Pincus also became involved in the Valerie Plame case. In October, 2003 he wrote an article where he claimed Plame worked for the CIA and had been responsible for sending her husband, Joe Wilson, to investigate reports that Iraq's government had tried to buy uranium in Niger.

Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald issued a grand jury subpoena to Pincus on August 9, 2004, in an attempt to discover the identity of the government official who told him about Plame and Wilson. Pincus gave a deposition to Fitzgerald on 15th September. Afterwards he issued a public statement that claimed that Fitzgerald had dropped his demand that he should reveal his source. However, it is generally believed that his source was Richard L. Armitage. That is an interesting name. He was a member of Ted Shackley's Secret Team, took part in the Iran-Contra scandal and also served in both Bush administrations.

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Very good John! You might well have found an example of how Mockingbird activities can KILL more than just a story about the truth!......Where is Pincus now? An old Yalie...likely a Bones man. Sad these men think themselves 'patriots' when they only support the oligarchs, not the constitution nor what the Nation is supposed to stand for...and they can 'murder' with distant actions/inactions and control of information....individuals and start whole wars and all in between.

In consider the case of J.H. Hatfield, author of "Fortunate Son," to be similar to the incredibly sad Webb case. Tho' Hatfield appears to have been set up by Rove, then trashed in the media, then had his book withdrawn. They killed him whether they murdered him or not.

(The odd thing is that Fortunate Son was so mild. It was almost kind to Dim Son.)

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See if you can follow this, if your really bored.

x

http://www.geocities.com/area51/shadowland...3/bases078.html

y

Then go here:

http://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/...do?docId=104127

So before Blackwater, there was/is Wackenhut, formed by an ex-FBI, rightwing fanatic in 1954, punching out one of his partners to take over the private security company in Coral Gables, Florida.

Wackenhut was a Philly guy though. whose small agency suddenly got big in 1964 with security contracts for NASA, nuke sites, prisons in Texas, etc., and always hired the top federal government guys as soon as they retired, including CIA Rayburn, Bobby Inhman and DIA dir (1960-66), but were blacklisted by CIA for security breach and put on probation, as the security file seems to indicate. News reports indicate otherwise.

It appears Gary Webb was on to a Wackenhut connection when he died.

Why is this part of the JFK Assassinaion records? ]

z - bingo. Bruce Berckmans.

http://www.gunsnet.net/forums/printthread.php?t=183902

BK

Edited by William Kelly

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See if you can follow this, if your really bored.

x

http://www.geocities.com/area51/shadowland...3/bases078.html

y

Then go here:

http://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/...do?docId=104127

So before Blackwater, there was/is Wackenhut, formed by an ex-FBI, rightwing fanatic in 1954, punching out one of his partners to take over the private security company in Coral Gables, Florida.

Wackenhut was a Philly guy though. whose small agency suddenly got big in 1964 with security contracts for NASA, nuke sites, prisons in Texas, etc., and always hired the top federal government guys as soon as they retired, including CIA Rayburn, Bobby Inhman and DIA dir (1960-66), but were blacklisted by CIA for security breach and put on probation, as the security file seems to indicate. News reports indicate otherwise.

It appears Gary Webb was on to a Wackenhut connection when he died.

Why is this part of the JFK Assassinaion records?

BK

Wackenhut was the group that had the infamous BLACK HELICOPTERS without any markings.

They had a drill over Fort Worth one night with a dozen or so black helicopters buzzing

neighborhoods in total darkness for about an hour, creating one helluva racket, so much

so that it made the newspapers the next morning. The official explanation was that it

was a terrorism drill involving an "attack" on the Texas Rangers ballpark, which is

about 8 miles from my house. I watched from my balcony as several black choppers

with no lights buzzed our neighborhood at treetop level. This was about 12 or 15 years

ago. It is illegal for aircraft to fly at night without lights. I think the only "terrorism"

involved was to terrorize citizens.

Jack

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See if you can follow this, if your really bored.

x

http://www.geocities.com/area51/shadowland...3/bases078.html

y

Then go here:

http://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/...do?docId=104127

So before Blackwater, there was/is Wackenhut, formed by an ex-FBI, rightwing fanatic in 1954, punching out one of his partners to take over the private security company in Coral Gables, Florida.

Wackenhut was a Philly guy though. whose small agency suddenly got big in 1964 with security contracts for NASA, nuke sites, prisons in Texas, etc., and always hired the top federal government guys as soon as they retired, including CIA Rayburn, Bobby Inhman and DIA dir (1960-66), but were blacklisted by CIA for security breach and put on probation, as the security file seems to indicate. News reports indicate otherwise.

It appears Gary Webb was on to a Wackenhut connection when he died.

Why is this part of the JFK Assassinaion records?

BK

Wackenhut was the group that had the infamous BLACK HELICOPTERS without any markings.

They had a drill over Fort Worth one night with a dozen or so black helicopters buzzing

neighborhoods in total darkness for about an hour, creating one helluva racket, so much

so that it made the newspapers the next morning. The official explanation was that it

was a terrorism drill involving an "attack" on the Texas Rangers ballpark, which is

about 8 miles from my house. I watched from my balcony as several black choppers

with no lights buzzed our neighborhood at treetop level. This was about 12 or 15 years

ago. It is illegal for aircraft to fly at night without lights. I think the only "terrorism"

involved was to terrorize citizens.

Jack

Yea, Jack,

They got more than helicopters. They got NASA and files on 20% of all Americans.

http://www.ufomind.com/area51/ref/wackenhut.txt

"He (Wackenhut) was a close ally of Florida governor Claude Kirk, who hired

him to combat organized crime in the state; and was also friends with

Senator George Smathers, an intimate of John F. Kennedy's. It was Smathers

who provided Wackenhut with his big break when the senator's law firm helped

the company find a loophole in the Pinkerton law, the 1893 federal statute

that had made it a crime for an employee of a private detective agency to do

work for the government. Smathers's firm set up a wholly owned subsidiary of

Wackenhut that provided only guards, not detectives. Shortly thereafter,

Wackenhut received multimillion-dollar contracts from the government to

guard Cape Canaveral and the Nevada nuclear-bomb test site, the first of

many extremely lucrative federal contracts that have sustained the company

to this day."

"The second thing that helped make George Wackenhut successful was that he

was, and is, a hard-line right-winger. He was able to profit from his

beliefs by building up dossiers on Americans suspected of being Communists

or merely left-leaning-"subversives and sympathizers," as he put it-and

selling the information to interested parties. According to Frank Donner,

the author of "Age of Surveillance", the Wackenhut Corporation maintained

and updated its files even after the McCarthyite hysteria had ebbed, adding

the names of antiwar protesters and civil-rights demonstrators to its list

of "derogatory types." By 1965, Wackenhut was boasting to potential

investors that the company maintained files on 2.5 million suspected

dissidents-one in 46 American adults then living. in 1966, after acquiring

the private files of Karl Barslaag; a former staff member of the House

Committee on Un-American Activities, Wackenhut could confidently maintain

that with more than 4 million names, it had the largest privately held file

on suspected dissidents in America. In 1975, after Congress investigated

companies that had private files, Wackenhut gave its files to the

now-defunct anti-Communist Church League of America of Wheaton, Illinois.

That organization had worked closely with the red squads of big-city police

departments, particularly in New York and L.A., spying on suspected

sympathizers; George Wackenhut was personal friends with the League's

leaders, and was a major contributor to the group. To be sure, after giving

the League its files, Wackenhut reserved the right to use them for its

clients and friends."

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See if you can follow this, if your really bored.

x

http://www.geocities.com/area51/shadowland...3/bases078.html

y

Then go here:

http://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/...do?docId=104127

So before Blackwater, there was/is Wackenhut, formed by an ex-FBI, rightwing fanatic in 1954, punching out one of his partners to take over the private security company in Coral Gables, Florida.

Wackenhut was a Philly guy though. whose small agency suddenly got big in 1964 with security contracts for NASA, nuke sites, prisons in Texas, etc., and always hired the top federal government guys as soon as they retired, including CIA Rayburn, Bobby Inhman and DIA dir (1960-66), but were blacklisted by CIA for security breach and put on probation, as the security file seems to indicate. News reports indicate otherwise.

It appears Gary Webb was on to a Wackenhut connection when he died.

Why is this part of the JFK Assassinaion records? ]

z - bingo. Bruce Berckmans.

http://www.gunsnet.net/forums/printthread.php?t=183902

BK

Look at this guy Bruce Berckmans closer.

He's Princeton, USMC, US Army Special Forces, CIA JMWAVE then Wackenhut.

He holds a fake funeral for his CIA identity and then he really dies.

http://www.gunsnet.net/forums/printthread.php?t=183902

http://webscript.princeton.edu/~paw/memorials/memdisplay.php?id=7688

Princeton Alumni Weekly

Memorials Bruce Berckmans Jr. '52

Having survived a massive heart attack in 1987, and undertaken an astonishing recovery that yielded 19 years of creative activity, Buzz Berckmans found his heart weakened in mid-2006. Unable to sustain a hospital rehab program, he and his wife, Shirley, established a de facto hospice unit in their Coconut Grove, Fla., home. But a persistent infection further weakened his heart, and he died at home Nov. 25, 2006.

As a graduate of Choate, Buzz perceived the Cold War as the central challenge for the country. He cited Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” as a major influence in directing his adult life toward service. After graduation from Princeton, Buzz joined the Marine Corps, was commissioned, and served as a platoon leader in Korea. He moved into the field of military intelligence and had tours with Army Airborne and Special Forces units. After an injury in a 1961 parachute accident, he took inactive military status and served undercover with the CIA in Latin America.

At the time of his heart attack, Bruce was managing his private security-consulting firm. His recovery led him to found the Cardiac Rehabilitation Rowing Project Inc., perhaps his most significant contribution.

Buzz is survived by his beloved Shirley, four children, three stepchildren, and nine grandchildren, to whom our class offers its profound sympathy.

PAW September 26th, 2007

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