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Dark Alliance

The CIA, the Con­tras, and the Crack Cocaine Explo­sion
by Gary Webb
1999, Sev­en Sto­ries Press
ISBN 1888363932
548 pages

From Amazon.com
In July 1995, San Jose Mer­cury-News reporter Gary Webb found the Big One—the block­buster sto­ry every jour­nal­ist secret­ly dreams about—without even look­ing for it. A sim­ple phone call con­cern­ing an unex­cep­tion­al pend­ing drug tri­al turned into a mas­sive con­spir­a­cy involv­ing the Nicaraguan Con­tra rebels, L.A. and Bay Area crack cocaine deal­ers, and the Cen­tral Intel­li­gence Agency. For sev­er­al years dur­ing the 1980s, Webb dis­cov­ered, Con­tra ele­ments shut­tled thou­sands of tons of cocaine into the Unit­ed States, with the prof­its going toward the fund­ing of Con­tra rebels attempt­ing a coun­ter­rev­o­lu­tion in their Nicaraguan home­land. Even more chill­ing, Webb quick­ly real­ized, was that the mas­sive drug-deal­ing oper­a­tion had the implic­it approval–and occa­sion­al out­right support—of the CIA, the very orga­ni­za­tion entrust­ed to pre­vent ille­gal drugs from being brought into the Unit­ed States.

With­in the pages of Dark Alliance, Webb pro­duces a mas­sive amount of evi­dence that sug­gests that such a sce­nario did take place, and more dis­turb­ing evi­dence that the pow­ers that be that allowed such an alliance are still deter­mined to ruth­less­ly guard their secrets. Web­b’s research is impeccable—names, dates, places, and dol­lar amounts gath­er and mount with every page, even­tu­al­ly build­ing a tow­er­ing wall of evi­dence in sup­port of his the­o­ries. After the orig­i­nal series of arti­cles ran in the Mer­cury-News in late 1996, both Webb and his paper were so severe­ly crit­i­cized by polit­i­cal com­men­ta­tors, gov­ern­ment offi­cials, and oth­er mem­bers of the press that his own news­pa­per decid­ed it best not to stand behind the series, in effect apol­o­giz­ing for the asser­tions and dis­avow­ing his work. Webb quit the paper in dis­gust in Novem­ber 1997. His book serves as both a com­plex mem­oir of the time of the Con­tras and an indict­ment of the cur­rent state of Amer­i­ca’s press; Dark Alliance is as nec­es­sary and valu­able as it is hor­ri­fy­ing and grim. —Tjames Madi­son

Avail­able com­mer­cial­ly. Learn more about Gary Webb [1].