Thursday, March 26, 2009
Gary Webb dared tell a shameful story in the San Jose Mercury News about the CIA conspiring with drug cartels to fund the Contras in the 1980s; a lot of the easily available coke which helped destroy many inner city communities was green-lighted by the likes of Ollie North and his crew of gung-ho yahoos fighting for the "moral equivalent of our Founding Fathers" in Nicaragua (or Honduras).
Alexander Cockburn and Jefferey St. Clair first off show what happened to Webb for daring to speak the truth: he was savaged by fellow "journalists" like windbag Chris Matthews-guys who typically toe the Establishment line-and without cause. None of his attackers bothered to check his story, they instead relied on government sources who were hostile to the release of this information in their attempted debunkings. Unfortunately facts don't matter, and Webb ended up fired and dying of self-inflicted shotgun wounds. Cockburn is typically acerbic as he quotes all the breathless muck in the media at the time about "conspiracy theories" and "urban paranoia" and the outrage at the very idea that the CIA could ever be involved in anything under-handed, particularly under that soft-headed kindhearted fascist Ronnie Reagan. None of the major media at the time bothered to report the fact that the CIA's own internal investigation confirmed that Webb was right.
And then Cockburn and St. Clair fill in a little backstory, demonstrating that the CIA was involved in drug-running and torture and Mengele*-style medical experiments from its inception, often with unwitting US citizens as victims. The detail is a little overwhelming, particularly if you've read Killing Hope by Blum or The Politics of Heroin by McCoy and know a lot of this stuff. But it's always good to refresh one's knowledge of covert misdeeds by the "good" guys, funded by your tax dollars. As Noam always said, these operations are only "covert" in the US-the rest of the world knows what's up, but the US taxpayer would never condone this shit, hence the designation.
*Klaus Barbie was only one full-fledged NAZI war criminal on the CIA payroll