Welcome to our forum

From: Mark Hull (mhull@sjmercury.com), Mercury Center
Date: Saturday, August 17, 1996
Comment: Discuss the series and ask questions in our forum moderated by the reporter of this series, Gary Webb.


When will it end?

From: Larry (lar-jen@interaccess.com), Chicago
Date: Sunday, August 18, 1996
Comment: The story of the CIA using cocaine the Contras is over
a decade old. Though evidence is abundant, few Americans
are aware of the crimes.

The San Jose Mercury News articles show that CIA Contra
cocaine continued flowing into the USA after the Sandinistas
lost power in Nicaragua.

The US government has done nothing to stop it. Neither
President Bush, President Clinton nor Senator Dole have
ever done anything to stop the CIA-assisted drug pipeline.
As a matter of fact, evidence exists that all three hindered
investigations into the crimes. Why?

With crack cocaine from the CIA-Contra operations flooding
the streets of America, raising violence and destroying
lives, America can tolerate the crimes no longer.

As an election approaches, the candidates remain silent
on the problem. Americans cannot allow the silence to
continue. We must raise our voices and demand our government
to bring the guilty to justice and stop CIA drug pipelines.
Unfortunately, the guilty are in power.

Thank you, San Jose Mercury News! You have done a great
service to our nation.

Larry


Great series so far!

From: Ken Cook (kencook@tiac.net), Chelmsford, MA
Date: Sunday, August 18, 1996
Comment: I am part of a group of citizens on the Internet who have been following the allegations surrounding Iran/Contra and it's alleged drug connections with great interest.
We have been talking for years of how the CIA circumvented the Boland Amendments (which prohited U.S. aid to Nicaragua) by bringing drugs into this country and using some of the profits to fund their covert operations.
We have been able to document, through books and other sources, the massive drug smuggling that went on at Mena, Arkansas during the mid-80s under Bill Clinton's nose. Contra pilot training occurred there also as well as millions of dollars in drug money being laundered through Bill Clinton's Arkansas Development Finance Authority (ADFA).
Let me make the point however that this scandal is strictly bi-partisan. For George Bush, Oliver North and possibly even Ronald Reagan himself knew of these goings-on and aided and abetted in the coverup.
The lives of many good people who tried to expose this have been destroyed.
I am extremely pleased that the San Jose Mercury News has the courage to expose this sickening scandal and I look forward to the next two installments.

Regards,
Ken Cook


Mena connections

From: Gary Webb (garywebb@aol.com), Sacramento, CA
Date: Sunday, August 18, 1996
Comment: From what I could tell, the Mena, Ark. situation was connected to the Contras' East Coast cocaine operation, which was exposed in the mid-1980s by a pair of enterprising AP reporters, Bob Parry and Brian Barger, who were almost universally trashed for their efforts. John Kerry's Senate Subcommittee did an credible job of nailing down that operation and there were a number of cross-pollinations between that drug operation and the one we're writing about. Anyone interested in the details of the East Coast operation should read the Kerry Committee report. That might be something we could post here if enough people were interested in seeing it.
Additionally, the CIA inspector general announced an investigation into the Mena connection last week. Better 10 years late than never, I suppose.


Phony Drug War or massive conspiracy?

From: Brenda Grantland (fearno1@nbn.com), Mill Valley, CA
Date: Sunday, August 18, 1996
Comment: In 1992 I heard the rumor that the Iran Contra conspirators were smuggling cocaine into the country, but I never thought it would be confirmed as the truth. Now this whole phony drug war makes sense. This allows a sick bureaucracy to achieve several of their evil goals at once -- generate revenue for their illegal war, wipe out the black community with a massive drug epidemic, and create a national emergency to justify the repeal of the Constitution -- all at once. This is sick! Thank you Gary Webb for having the guts to write this story, and thank you Mercury News for publishing it.


Remember the Christic Institute

From: John (75454.374@CompuServe.com), Corvallis
Date: Sunday, August 18, 1996
Comment: Do you remember the Christic Institute about ten years ago when they filed charges against the "Secret Team" (which included Secord)under the RICOH statute. It never came to trial because the Miami judge threw it out? You never hear of the Institute anymore. My question is, what was the final disposition of their suit and does the Christic Institute still exist?


Thank You

From: Bill Enloe (enloe@mediacity.com), menlo park
Date: Sunday, August 18, 1996
Comment: I just want to thank you for the in-depth
coverage of the recent article "Dark
Alliance'. While the story itself, and most
of the information contained in it, is over
ten year old, and therefore hardly news to
those with access to information about what
really goes on in the world, it is refreshing
to see thistype of story coverved in the
mainstream press.

Keep up the good work.

Sincerely,
Bill Enloe


Tip of the iceberg

From: Shooshie (shooshie@onramp.net), Dallas
Date: Sunday, August 18, 1996
Comment: It is indeed a good thing to see this information
presented in such an organized way. The timeline
and the pipeline (animated maps) lay out over
two decades worth of information more clearly
than I have ever been able to understand it.

After fifteen years of wading through conspiracy
theories, lies, and fragments of the stories, I
believe The Mercury might yet tell me the whole
story.

Now, what is the connection to the BCCI, the
Iran/Contra story, and other activities of the 80's?
Is the S&L scandal involved? However big the
cocaine story is, it seems like the tip of
a much larger iceberg. Will we someday be able
to see the whole picture, complete with names
of US public figures involved?


Time to End Drug Prohibition

From: Dr. Lawrence Hunter (hunter@intr.net), Potomac, MD
Date: Monday, August 19, 1996
Comment: Gary Webb's breathtaking revelations
demonstrate the evil locus between
the scourge of crack and the CIA's
immoral "secret" wars. It is the
obscene profits that prohibition
brings that set in motion the process
that has led to so much death and
misery.
It is time to end drug prohibition and
with it, the profits and violence that
attract the CIA and the Crips and the
Bloods. As Webb shows so convincingly,
only the little guy goes to jail; the
leaders not only go unpunished, but get
fabulously wealthy.
Compare the failure of fifteen years
of expensive and destructive "war on
drugs," with the amazing success of
anti-smoking efforts over the same
fifteen years. Clearly, the answer
is to end prohibition and take a public
health approach to reducing drug abuse.


Time to End Drug Prohibition

From: Dr. Lawrence Hunter (hunter@intr.net), Potomac, MD
Date: Monday, August 19, 1996
Comment: Gary Webb's breathtaking revelations
demonstrate the evil locus between
the scourge of crack and the CIA's
immoral "secret" wars. It is the
obscene profits that prohibition
brings that set in motion the process
that has led to so much death and
misery.
It is time to end drug prohibition and
with it, the profits and violence that
attract the CIA and the Crips and the
Bloods. As Webb shows so convincingly,
only the little guy goes to jail; the
leaders not only go unpunished, but get
fabulously wealthy.
Compare the failure of fifteen years
of expensive and destructive "war on
drugs," with the amazing success of
anti-smoking efforts over the same
fifteen years. Clearly, the answer
is to end prohibition and take a public
health approach to reducing drug abuse.


ACCOUNTABILITY!!!

From: Matt Smith (dalem@condorsys.com), San Jose
Date: Monday, August 19, 1996
Comment: I am grateful for the truth I have discovered in this article, and I thank the MN for printing it. I had never before supposed that the government of my country would be responsible for the destruction of its citizens. To me, this seems like a can of worms that should have the power to rock Capitol Hill and have the people of this country screaming for the heads of those responsible. I want accountability! I want justice! I hope and pray the apathy that pervades this country will not keep this story from shaking them to their core. This should scare people. This should anger people, especially those whose lives were destroyed or aotherwise affected by the actions of their government.


Kerry Committee Report

From: j h woodyatt (jhw@wetware.com), san francisco
Date: Monday, August 19, 1996
Comment: Gary Webb and his associates have done a
very good job exposing the connection
between crack cocaine and the Nicaraguan
contras.

Add me to the list of people who would
like the URL for the Kerry Subcommittee
report on this "East Coast" drug
operation that appears to be connected
to all this rattling around about Mena,
Arkansas.


It wasn't paranoia

From: Debra Evans (devans@netscape.com), Mountain View
Date: Monday, August 19, 1996
Comment: For years the Black community
has complained that it has been sacrificed
by politicians and the police as the area
where drugs were allowed to exist.
Mainstream society always dismissed the
protests as the ravings of extreme
militants. Now on the front page of
the local paper is proof that what
people have been saying has actually been
going on. Hopefully, in the future,
the dominant culture will listen when
people from ravaged neighborhoods
have something to say.


Do I think U.S. gov would allow drug sales? Yup!

From: A. Hopping (wren@pacbell.net), B.C. Canada
Date: Monday, August 19, 1996
Comment: Whether it wants to or not, the U.S. gov
is allowing drugs to be sold. I only
have faith that time will solve the prob-
lem. And replace it with a new one.

Don't buy drugs. Fight to keep the souls
of your kids. Stand for right things.
Honor yourself and others.

Simplify.

Don't worry too much about it.
You'll be dead soon enough.


Some answers for you

From: Reporter Gary Webb (garywebb@aol.com), Sacramento, CA
Date: Monday, August 19, 1996
Comment: First of all, I discovered that our ruthlessly efficient online editor, Mark Hull, has already posted some of the transcripts of the Kerry Committee hearings. They're available in the Library section here.
Second, thanks to everyone who has called, e-mailed and written so far. Your response to this project has been very encouraging. Since I've been living with this story for so long, it ceased to shock me long ago. I'm glad to see it still has some punch.
As for some of the specific questions: the Christic Institute, as far as I can tell


"Opportunities multiply as they are seized."- Sun Tzu

From: Matt Robbins (mrobbins@dl.com), Cupertino, CA
Date: Monday, August 19, 1996
Comment:
To me the root of this issue is the alliance between the CIA and organized crime. This alliance which was spawned at the end of WWII when the
OSS went into Europe (mainly to work with the remains of the branch of Hitlers SS Intellingence that already had a network of spies throughout
Eastern Europe and Russia). This is when the Mob first was allied with US Intelligence in Italy to help control elections and the shipping
docks.

The problem is that this alliance has gotten far out of hand because of the the cloak of secrecy and "National Security" that can be invoked by
the CIA. This brings me to my main point which is: Of all the major world events since WWII it has been discovered by somebody somewhere that
the CIA had a hand in it.( i.e.. Korean War, Vietnam War, Kennedy assassanation, Watergate, Contra-Gate, hundreds of assassanations, and now
the crack epidemic to mention a few! There is also an overwhelming body of evidence to support this statement.)

Which brings me to my next point. Unless your employer, the mainstream media, Vietnam and Korean Vets, the Kennedy family, the black citizens,
and the rest of the people of the USA, combine their will to change the power of the CIA, nothing will change and the CIA will conitinue as
before. So if your article is just to sell some newspapers and not change anything, then all you are doing is making a dime to pay the bills,
which is not far from what the CIA and all drug dealers are really doing.

I challenge the Editors and owners of the SJ Mercury to use this story as a springboard to publicly tell the US and World all about the real
history of America and the CIA since WWII.( I also suggest starting with the JFK story and the ongoing work of the JFK Assassanation Records
Review Board). Do this and you will spark the change neccessary to restore our once great democracy. Otherwise nothing will change no matter
who you vote for in Congress or as President. It is the CIA that is the greatest National Security threat to our Democracy and our society.
(Not to mention our well earned tax dollars.)




DO NOT QUOTE OR REPUBLISH (ANYWHERE)!!!

From: Kenneth Spain (kenneth.spain@sybase.com), NYC
Date: Tuesday, August 20, 1996
Comment: Congradulations on your excellent expose'. This is what the First Amendment and its spirit of the law was meant to convey; namely just what your newspaper has done. Please call Nightline, 60 Minutes, and the other credible news shows.

Further, I wish to convey the sentiments of our citizenry, in that there should be some significant form of accountability. Some significant restitution needs to be addressed to those caught up in this nightmare. For those in prison, serious indoctrination, first on this article series, then on becoming a citizen (in a productive fashion), perhaps some serious Boot Camp discipline, and finally some sort of sentence readjustment (read reduction or parole based on participation and personal commitment to change). This is one, but not necessarily the only way, for our society to appologize for the State Sanctioned crimes against humanity (and since this was one or two communities, as your article stated, it qualifies for the acutal term GENOCIDE) to those who were targeted and abused and have had their lives corrupted by our penial system, as well as those who willingly or unfortunately were victims of this crime.

Perhaps, this was the notion and objective behind the term "getting treatment".

Who's to say, but something NEEDS to be done to restore these victims to whole.


(NOTE: it is terribly dificult to type out or review or correct spelling errors in this micro-text window)


DO NOT QUOTE OR REPUBLISH (ANYWHERE)!!!

From: Kenneth Spain (kenneth.spain@sybase.com), NYC
Date: Tuesday, August 20, 1996
Comment: Congradulations on your excellent expose'. This is what the First Amendment and its spirit of the law was meant to convey; namely just what your newspaper has done. Please call Nightline, 60 Minutes, and the other credible news shows.

Further, I wish to convey the sentiments of our citizenry, in that there should be some significant form of accountability. Some significant restitution needs to be addressed to those caught up in this nightmare. For those in prison, serious indoctrination, first on this article series, then on becoming a citizen (in a productive fashion), perhaps some serious Boot Camp discipline, and finally some sort of sentence readjustment (read reduction or parole based on participation and personal commitment to change). This is one, but not necessarily the only way, for our society to appologize for the State Sanctioned crimes against humanity (and since this was one or two communities, as your article stated, it qualifies for the acutal term GENOCIDE) to those who were targeted and abused and have had their lives corrupted by our penial system, as well as those who willingly or unfortunately were victims of this crime.

Perhaps, this was the notion and objective behind the term "getting treatment".

Who's to say, but something NEEDS to be done to restore these victims to whole.


(NOTE: it is terribly dificult to type out or review or correct spelling errors in this micro-text window)


What price, Democracy?

From: Chris Despopoulos (cud@adobe.com), Santa Cruz, CA
Date: Tuesday, August 20, 1996
Comment: The story of Nicaragua is unbearably tragic. A murderous
dictatorship is installed by the US. When the citizens
rid themselves of Somaza, the US responds by
claiming they must destroy the Sandanistas to save the world
for Democracy. And how do they -- er, I mean WE -- do
that? By sacrificing untold numbers of American citizens to the
nightmare of Crack.

How many people have suffered addiction? How many
families broken by gang violence? How much
vitality has been sucked from communities that
could otherwise have contributed to the culture,
knowledge, and yse, even the tax base of America?
How can a cost be assigned to this miserable policy
of ours to "save the world for democracy"
no matter what?

How can Bush, Secord, North, and Poindexter
sleep at night? How can any American sleep
at night knowing these traitors are free,
and even hailed as heros?

How can anybody take seriously the current shrieks for personal
accountability after we all allowed Regan and
Bush to hide behind plausible deniability?

How can any thinking person say he is proud to be an American?


Christic Institute

From: Chris Despopoulos (cud@adobe.com), Santa Cruz, CA
Date: Tuesday, August 20, 1996
Comment: Part of the indictment against Bush included
evidence that Bush, Secord, and North
were involved in suppl;ying a fleet of
airplanes to the biggest opium magnate in
the Vietnamese theater.

Do those names sound familiar?
I hope so.

Just another harmless co-inkie-dink?
I doubt it.


what happened?

From: Bret Bailey (bailey@corp.sgi.com), Sunnyvale
Date: Tuesday, August 20, 1996
Comment: Thank you for having the courage to print this story.
I've had little to no respect for the Merc(and all MAINSTREAM media) for years now because of the biased journalism.
For once I agree with your biases!! Imagine that!

p.s. What happened to all the content that was in the forum yesterday?

-Bret


Kerry subcommittee/Upcoming in drugs

From: Mark Hull (mhull@sjmercury.com), Mercury Center
Date: Tuesday, August 20, 1996
Comment: Hello there. In response to the thread about Sen. Kerry and the subcommittee questioning,
selected transcripts can be found in the library, or by heading directly to http://www.sjmercury.com/drugs/library/25.htm

Also, while the three-day main series is over, the story is only beginning. We'll continue to update this page with new stories
that Gary Webb files. Tomorrow, we'll feature new content and there should be another new story this weekend. Keep an eye out, and thanks
for the input.


Mark Hull
Mercury Center


TEST

From: Mark Hull (mhull@sjmercury.com), Mercury Center
Date: Tuesday, August 20, 1996
Comment: This is a test.


This story is more earthshattering than WaterGate and Iran/Contra COMBINED!

From: Sylvanus Bent (sylvanus-avis.bent@worldnet.att.net), Cupertino, Ca
Date: Tuesday, August 20, 1996
Comment: I don't know whether to cry or to scream.
I've heard these rumors before, but now there's no denying it.
This is treason and genocidal murder.

This could rock the '96 elections and dominate the Capitol Hill agenda for years.

I congratulate the Gary Webb and the Mercury News for breaking this story.
When will Gary be on Nightline, NBC, NPR or any other major TV / Radio news program?



DOES THE RIGHT HAND KNOW WHAT THE LEFT HAND...

From: Eric Forbes (keystone@znet.com), Santa Cruz, CA
Date: Tuesday, August 20, 1996
Comment: Unfortunately, I am not surprised by the
information in this series of articles. But
I am grateful for the MN as a mainstream paper
for publishing it.
One of the issues that grabs my attention
is the inequality of sentencing for those who
have information to share with the prosecution.
This strategy seems to be used most often with
organized crime in the mostly vain hope that the
guys who have been caught will implicate the guys
who have yet to be caught. Evidently, what ends up
happening is that the guys at the top are rarely if
ever caught, the guys in the middle are given light
sentencing in return for all their help, and the guy
who knows nothing gets hit with the full force of the
law. Are we supposed to think this is fair?
I agree with one of the other contributors to this
forum who said that these kind of problems will only
reoccurr as long as the intelligence wing of the US
government is unaccountable to the public. Obviously, we
can't trust the Congress or the Presidency to stop
things like this from happening.
I also agree with another contributor who noted that
the temptation to deal in drugs lies with the huge profits
that can be gained from them for whatever ultimate purpose
you could dream up. Prohibition does not seem to be working.
Neither does the lopsided reliance on enforcement.
Does the DEA know what the CIA is doing? Talk about
bureaucratic conflict! (All humor aside, is it ever going to
stop?)
Hopefully, more of this kind of information escapes into
the public awareness, enough to force a thorough rethinking
of the Drug War.
Thanks for the good work, Gary Webb and the MN, keep it up.


Now I know the meaning of outrage.

From: Candyce Gleason (clg@microweb.com), Richmond, CA
Date: Tuesday, August 20, 1996
Comment: After reading bits and pieces of stories
regarding this conspiracy over the past decade,
it is really shocking to see the story
presented in such a format. This is what
journalism used to be about...the truth.

This is not only a story of racist conspiracy, but
one of how much we are at the mercy of the powerful
elite in this country. Racism is detestable,
targeted genocide is unforgivable.

I's time to demand answers and accountability for
these crimes.

That our own leaders would do this to us, and I do mean
"us," makes me shake with anger and fear.

I'll be back here for updates. Again, thank you.

Candyce Gleason


great opening to the tip of the iceberg...

From: Susan Guberman-Garcia (susan@belize.com), Fremont, Calif.
Date: Tuesday, August 20, 1996
Comment: This is an excellent series. I am glad
to see a representative of the corporate
media publishing what those of us who
listen to Pacifica (KPFA) have known
for years: That the US government is
nose deep (you should pardon the
expression) in dope dealing...and that
the "war against drugs" is in fact, a
war against young people of color...a
way to perpetuate racism, destroy a
community, and desensitize the American
people to a loss of their civil liberties
all at the same time.

I hope your series does not fail to
implicate Oliver North, George Bush
and yes: COLIN POWELL in what we know
was a narcotics conspiracy run at the
highest levels of the US government.

I hope you also do not fail to discuss
the abuse of the "classification" stamp
as a way to keep the American people
from knowing the sordid deeds of their
"leaders."

May this story become a first step in
repealing the National Security Act of
1949 and reinstating the right of the
American people to know what their
government is doing.


What was Senator Dole doing...

From: S. Kramer (ar912@lafn.org), Encino, CA
Date: Tuesday, August 20, 1996
Comment: ...while all this was happening. And he
has the nerve to blame Clinton for the
increase in teenage drug use?


Great Job

From: Altaf Bhimji (altaf@wco.com), San Jose
Date: Tuesday, August 20, 1996
Comment: Thank you for the excellent coverage of this subverting of deomcoracy...I highly doubt it that other media outlets will actually pick up on the story, or that it will have any impact on the corrupt CIA, the two so-called "major parties" or on the elections...this story, like others will probably be ignored and life will go on, until we Americans actually decide we want a change...and I don't just mean a change from one special interest party to another... Altaf


Journalism as it should be

From: Lucio Benedetto (lucio@ix.netcom.com), Chevy Chase, MD
Date: Wednesday, August 21, 1996
Comment: This is an enlightening series and inspiring
series. I and a friend run a Website dedicated
to exposing what's left out of much of so-called
investigative journalism, focusing on the
Washington Post. It is exciting to see a
major news daily focus on an issue that for so long
has been either derided or utterly ignored by the
Eastern Big Boys like the Post or The New York Times.
The story of the CIA's collusion with drug dealers
during Reagan's war against the people of Central
America must be told, with the proviso, of course,
that Iran-Contra is only one small piece of a larger
and darker panorama of corruption and violence perpetuated
by the National Security State (skeptics should check out the
fine bibliography included in the Library). I hope your
series is only the beginning and that, unlike your more cowardly
establishment colleagues, you choose to further probe
these activities, revealing that they are not "aberrations",
to use the favored term of the government investigators,
but part of a deeper historical continuity that for too long
has been hidden from the eyes of the American public. Bravo!

P.S. I am going to link readers of PostMortem directly to your
site so that they may read this wonder series. It's about time
we had an example of informative investigative journalism to celebrate.

Lucio Benedetto
PostMortem - Probing, puncturing, and dissecting the Washington Post
http://www.geocities.com/capitolhill/1848/


Good work!

From: JD (aaa@bbb.com), Boston
Date: Wednesday, August 21, 1996
Comment: Sadly, I'm not surprised by what has
been uncovered. Even just reading the
Federal Register, I'm frequently shocked
by the things that the President orders
to be done. I can only imagine that the
things that remain secret are even
worse. Your article has helped uncover
the nature of those things.

Sadly, too, change is unlikely to come
soon. The Democrats and Republicans have
a stranglehold on American politics, and
neither party has the least interest in
telling the truth.


Take it whereever it leads

From: David Borja (dab@vnet.ibm.com), Sunnyvale
Date: Wednesday, August 21, 1996
Comment: I commend you for you excellent research
and ariticles detailing the contra/"crack"
connection and the CIA's colusion in this
criminal activity. Like Matt Smith of San Jose,
I want accountabilty and justice! I encourage the
Merc news to stay with this story and take it
whereever it leads. All citzens of good will,
no matter which way they lean politically,
must demand that the government stop hiding
criminal activity behind the veil of "national
security".
At the same time, we must avoid the lynch
mob mentality that manifests itself in the
hysterical left wing rhetoric ("Trageted
genocide", "Reagan's war against the people
of Central America", etc etc) of so many
of the responses in this forum. The details
on CIA invovlement, who ordered what, who
knew what, are still missing or hidden. What
is known is that the contras smuggled cocain
into the US to finance their war and the
CIA (and possibly others) allowed this go
go on. For the paranoid left, evidence isn't necessary
before they burn Reagan, Bush, et al at the
stake. Responsibility and criminal activity
may indeed have taken place at the very hightest
levels but until we have evidence, let's
avoid tossing out names and accusations.


Oliver's Army?

From: Bruce Tennant (bruce433@erols.com), Lanham/Seabrook,MD
Date: Wednesday, August 21, 1996
Comment: So the Republicans saved America from
the communists. Who will save
America from the Republicans?