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FOR THE BETTER PART of a decade, a Bay Area drug ring sold tons of cocaine to the Crips and Bloods street gangs of Los Angeles and funneled millions in drug profits to a Latin American guerrilla army run by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, a Mercury News investigation has found.

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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?


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


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?


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
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

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

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
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?

Outstanding stand-up job by Gary Webb

From: Brian Roberts (BRoberts@Sky.Net), Kansas City, MO
Date: Wednesday, August 21, 1996
Comment: My congratulations to Mr. Webb and the
San Jose Mercury News for having the
courage to publish this most disturbing
piece. Quite unusual in these days for
a mainstream commercial paper to go that
far out on a limb to reveal disturbing
truths to the public.
My question to Mr. Webb is: Given the
obvious complicity of the US Government
--apparently at the highest level--do
you feel that the upcoming race between
Clinton and Dole represents little more
than a sad farce? Do the *people* have
*any* true democratic control in this
country--or are we simply pawns in the
hands of nefarious and powerful
international cartels?

national consensus and credible intelligence

From: Michael Bender (qadir@pacbell.net), Santa Cruz
Date: Wednesday, August 21, 1996
Comment: I would like to commend the Mercury News staff for having done such a fine job in handling the Dark Alliance expose'. The editorial boards willingness to print this story gives comfort in that even a Knight -Ridder paper maintains the journalistic independence to challenge our Executive Branch of Federal Government. Over the many years since Viet Nam and Watergate I fear the mere mention of "conspiracy" and the CIA causes our national eyes to cloud over as we anticipate the ramblings of the paranoid or disenfrachised left. What better an atmosphere for real violations of our national character to abound. Additionally I would like to compliment Gary Webb for his sober handling of the facts at his disposal and the obvious diligence of his research efforts. Finally I very much enjoyed the way the informations was layed out both on paper and on the Web.
I believe an important point, perhaps tactfully understated by Mr. Webb, is the fact that the CIA is an arm of the Executive Branch and the Reagan- Bush administration should easily be held more responsible for this debacle than was the Kennedy administration for the Bay of Pigs. Kennedy whose administration was merely three months old accepted responsibity for his CIA's ineptitude. Reagan -Bush despite more time in office and Bush's close association with the CIA could only admit blame as a function of memory loss or owing to rogue underlings. These then are the forbears of those who cry for character and christianity from San Diego.
Shamefully this duplicity is not the ken of one party. When Johnson called for the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution based on intelligence analysis we as a nation largely believed and signed on for war. Years later the rumors and noises from the fringe turned out to be true. The entire affair a fiction as much as democracy in South Viet Nam or Freedom Fighters in Nicaragua. We invaded Panama to catch another Latin American drug dealer formerly on our payroll and how many thousand Panamanians do they claim died. What dies in all these fiascos is the credibility of our leaders and with them that of the offices they soil. So when the reports come out about Pan Am 103 or TWA 800 how can we believe in "Operation Just Cause" and be sure that this is not just a hi-tech lynching for yet another uppity nigger?

Why is this STILL not being reported?

From: Michael Kaplan (KaplanMike@aol.com), Burbank, CA
Date: Thursday, August 22, 1996
Comment: I join in the overwhelming applause for the Mercury News and reporter Gary Webb.

But I find it saddening that so few of the Los Angeles stations are giving this story much, if any, coverage. Larry FortenskyÍs arrest for marijuana is big news; the biggest government scandal in a generation isnÍt.

It reminds me of a story from a Texas paper, picked up in the USA Today, about CIA links to a failed Savings & Loan during the ï80s. Apparently, they were funneling money from that to the Contras and other black-box projects. The story was as shocking (and apparently almost as well documented) as ñDark Alliance.î But the story disappeared without a trace.

Hopefully that wonÍt be the case here.

Further kudos to the electronic presentation of the story. With a wealthy of supporting materials and feedback options, this is truly the news medium of the future (though I still donÍt like reading lots of text on a screen!)

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

this is what investigative reporting is about

From: Angela Wilson (wilson@teleport.com), Portland
Date: Thursday, August 22, 1996
Comment: Webb should certainly get the Pulitzer for this series--and the MN serious applause for supporting his work. Both parties should be proud of upholding the standards of good journalism, especially in the face of the personality non-news our dailies are filled with.
To think that millions of Black
Americans are now addicted to a lethal drug because of a secret war run by the U.S. government blows my mind.
Surely reparations are called for. After all, how many Black men and women are spending years behind bars because they were small cogs in the wheels of greed, duplicity and war-mongering?
The mind reels at the damage--financial and otherwise--that has been done in the name of honor, democracy, nation-building.

U.S. Government is the World's Largest Drug Dealer

From: tom sailors (tcs@flinet.com), miami florida
Date: Thursday, August 22, 1996
Comment: It's about time someone, even if it must
be a left wing pub such as the San
Jose Mercury, has had the courage to
report this story. It's been around for
a long time. I hope you go all the way
and show America how pervasive this
situation really is. You could take the
next step by showing how your darling
Clinton conspired with the CIA to train
contras at a base in Mena, Arkansas where
thousands of kilos of coke were imported
and distrubuted to organized crime. This
was Oliver North's (aka John Cathey)
project, but it could not have happened without
Clinton signing off on the laundering of
the money through his Arkansas Development
Finance Authority. You see, I am a conservative
Republican, but I want the truth. If that
means Bush, North or whomever was involved,
I want to know. We'll see how much you
lefties really want to know the truth when
and if you expose the Clinton Dixie Mafia.

What About the Golden Triangle?

From: Wendy Webb (wendy.webb@macsch.com), Alhambra
Date: Thursday, August 22, 1996
Comment: For years I've heard stories about the CIA running their own airline during the Viet Nam war as a means to import heroin. Perhaps, now, the story can be confirmed.

I'm proud to share the WEBB name, even if I don't know Gary. Fantastic series--I look forward to more.

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