- Paperback: 592 pages
- Publisher: Seven Stories Press; 2nd edition (June 8, 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1888363932
- ISBN-13: 978-1888363937
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 128 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #125,860 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion 2nd Edition
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"…a densely researched, passionately argued, acronym-laden 548-page volume." —Michael Massing, The Los Angeles Times Sunday Book Review
"I find his argument to be very well documented, very careful and very convincing. In fact, the readability of the book suffers a bit from what seems to have been a fear that if he didn't include absolutely every bit of evidence he had unearthed, he would open himself up to new criticisms of inadequate reporting—but this editor's quibble shouldn't stop anyone from buying and reading Dark Alliance. Long-time followers of the contra tale are likely to find new revelations in the book…" —Jo Ann Kawell, The Nation
About the Author
In 1996, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist GARY WEBB (1955–2004) wrote a shocking series of articles for the San Jose Mercury News exposing the CIA’s link to Nicaraguan cocaine smuggled into the US by the Contras, which had fueled the widespread crack epidemic that swept through urban areas. Webb’s bold, controversial reporting was the target of a famously vicious media backlash that ended his career as a mainstream journalist. When Webb persisted with his research and compiled his findings in the bookDark Alliance, some of the same publications that had vilified Webb for his series retracted their criticism and praised him for having the courage to tell the truth about one of the worst official abuses in our nation’s history. Others, including his own former newspaper and the New York Times, continued to treat him like an outlaw for the brilliant and courageous work he’d done. Webb’s death on December 10, 2004, at the age of 49, was determined to be a suicide.
Top customer reviews
This book served as Webb's chance for a rebuttal. It is well-sourced and Webb thoroughly proved that the U.S. government was fully aware of Contras' drug trafficking. Our government also covered it up and helped them along the way.
Dark Alliance prompted an investigation by the CIA Inspector General, the Hitz report. According to most newspapers, the Hitz report "proved" that the CIA wasn't complicit in drug trafficking. However, the Hitz report is now public information and any independent-minded reader will see that the CIA, along with other US government agencies, were closely linked with several major drug traffickers.
At one point, Webb recalled: "If we had met five years ago, you wouldn't have found a more staunch defender of the newspaper industry than me ... I was winning awards, getting raises, lecturing college classes, appearing on TV shows, and judging journalism contests. So how could I possibly agree with people like Noam Chomsky and Ben Bagdikian, who were claiming the system didn't work, that it was steered by powerful special interests and corporations, and existed to protect the power elite? And then I wrote some stories that made me realize how sadly misplaced my bliss had been. The reason I'd enjoyed such smooth sailing for so long hadn't been, as I'd assumed, because I was careful and diligent and good at my job ... The truth was that, in all those years, I hadn't written anything important enough to suppress..."
Unfortunately, one of the best-kept secrets is that drug trafficking has been big business for the elites of the world for hundreds of years. The "war on drugs" is nothing but a sick joke.
Spread out before us in excruciating and embarrassing (if not often tedious) details is a picture of what can happen when a "twisted set of means" (using the proceeds of drug sales to finance an ill-advised counterinsurgency) are put to "questionable ideological ends" (overthrowing a Marxist run government to return the much hated Somocitas to power). The book demonstrates that when this illicit "means-end" pair, are allowed to operate under the cover of secrecy; behind the shield of "plausible deniability;" and under the guise of sensible national security policy, it can literally suck all of the oxygen out of a democracy.
In an effort to return the brutal and much hated Somoza regime back to power, by supporting the remnants and holdovers of that deposed regime (a ragtag bunch of crooks, thieves, drug traffickers and murders if there ever was one), reassembled as the Nicaraguan "Contras." The "Just say no to drugs" Reagan administration, ended up in bed with the worse drug traffickers of our times.
But if being in bed with the most notorious drug traffickers in the world was not bad enough, the worse aspect of this foreign policy disaster was sacrificing a whole generation of America's inner city youth to a death sentence as a result of a nation awash in an ocean of "crack" cocaine. America intercity life will never recover from this disaster.
When the two Boland amendments, prohibiting funding for a U.S. backed "Contra army," were passed, the Reagan White House, at the suggestion of none other than Colonel Oliver North himself, sought to find financing by other more novel means; to wit: North suggested that since various national security agencies were already keeping close tabs on the drug traffickers, why not allow the drug cartels free access to our "inner city drug market," in exchange for them plowing back some of their drug profits into financing the "Contra" army? When this suggestion was made in a high level meeting, most attendees were surprised and embarrassed for North for having made such a stupid idea. However, a new clever strategy had just been born, and the wheels of the national security state began to turn. According to the book (confirmed only by Escobar himself) the then Vice President Bush met with Pablo Escobar personally and "cut the deal" that led to the "crack explosion" of the mid-80s.
The Rest of the Story
Although millions of dollars in weapons and aid from drug proceeds did eventually reach the "Contras," never was there a respectable force fielded sufficient to challenge the Sandinistas. However, in the process of destroying a whole generation of black inner city youth, fueling an internecine war between ghetto street gangs, erecting a string of more than ten thousand crack houses across the nation, and filling up the jails, adoption centers and mental hospitals, the "Contra fiasco" did make a handful of drug dealers such as LA's cocaine Kingpin "Freeway Ricky Ross, rich.
The only drawback to the book is that because of the gravity and nature of the charges against the Reagan administration, it was imperative that every detail be well documented. The main resources are court records retrieved from the many indictments, etc. As a result, getting through the book is slow and tedious. But it is well worth the extra time.