Kill the Messenger: How the CIA's Crack-Cocaine Controversy Destroyed Journalist Gary Webb
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Kill the Messenger tells the story of the tragic death of Gary Webb, the controversial newspaper reporter who committed suicide in December 2004. Webb is the former San Jose Mercury News reporter whose 1996 "Dark Alliance" series on the so-called CIA-crack cocaine connection created a firestorm of controversy and led to his resignation from the paper amid escalating attacks on his work by the mainstream media. Author and investigative journalist Nick Schou published numerous articles on the controversy and was the only reporter to significantly advance Webb's stories.
Drawing on exhaustive research and highly personal interviews with Webb's family, colleagues, supporters and critics, this book argues convincingly that Webb's editors betrayed him, despite mounting evidence that his stories were correct. Kill the Messenger examines the "Dark Alliance" controversy, what it says about the current state of journalism in America, and how it led Webb to ultimately take his own life.
Webb's widow, Sue Bell Stokes, remains an ardent defender of her ex-husband. By combining her story with a probing examination of the one of the most important media scandals in recent memory, this book provides a gripping view of one of the greatest tragedies in the annals of investigative journalism.
larger puzzle. Sheehan saw the La Penca incident as a perfect vehicle to expose a covert team he believed was operating on the fringes of the CIA and the White House, a crew that went all the way back to the Bay of Pigs, the agency’s failed 1961 invasion of Cuba, and the covert war in Laos. In May 1986, Sheehan filed suit against Hull, Oliver North, and several Reagan administration officials later named as Iran contra conspirators, charging them with negligence in the bombing injuries suffered
to testify in the upcoming trial of one of the biggest crack dealers in the history of South Central Los Angeles, “Freeway” Ricky Ross. Webb knew the name from his investigation into California’s drug forfeiture laws. Ross was an illiterate, but highly intelligent child of Texas sharecroppers, God-fearing farmers who lived in a boarded-up shack and raised Ross with the notion that the same fate awaited him. Ross felt otherwise. After moving to Los Angeles, he became a tennis prodigy in high
Webb combined the second and third parts into one long section and sent it back to Garcia—with predictable results. “This second part is kind of long,” Webb claimed Garcia told him. “We need to cut it.” After more weeks of editorial jiu-jitsu, Webb announced that he could find nothing else to cut from the story without destroying it. Garcia finally relented, telling Webb he could repackage the story in four parts. But when he turned in a new draft, Garcia told him that Yarnold believed the story
Newspaper Series May Be Only Bit Players” that, like the bulk of the reporting that preceded it, was based primarily on quotes from unnamed intelligence and law-enforcement officials. Reporter Tim Golden wrote that while both Blandon and Meneses “may indeed have provided modest support for the rebels, including perhaps some weapons, there is no evidence that either man was a rebel official or had anything to do with the CIA.” Adolfo Calero and other former contra leaders told Golden that Meneses
Courtroom records from Weekly’s trial in Oklahoma City show the explosives were used in a covert operation aimed at uniting the leaders of various Afghan rebel factions by providing them with lessons in explosives. At Weekly’s re-sentencing hearing, he and Gritz testified they carried out the operation in the Nevada desert with the permission of a U.S. Army colonel named Nestor Piño, who then worked with Oliver North’s National Security Council, and that they were paid by Osman Kalderim, an