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GARY WEBB, 49, wrote about CIA and Crack, Found Dead
by Alex Walker ( AlexCathy [at] aol.com )
Sunday Dec 12th, 2004 10:43 AM
GARY WEBB, the investigative reporter who broke the story about the CIA's involvement with crack cocaine dealers in Southern California in the 1980's has been found dead from a gunshot wound to the head in Sacramento. He was 49 years old with two sons and a daughter. They are calling it a "suicide."
GARY WEBB, the investigative reporter who broke the story about the CIA's involvement with crack cocaine dealers in Southern California in the 1980's has been found dead from a gunshot wound to the head in Sacramento. He was 49 years old with two sons and a daughter. They are calling it a "suicide."

What an amazing "coincidence" that this happens just when Our Dear Great Dumb "Intelligence Community" is under scrutiny again. Also note, that in recent years Mr. Webb did some great work exposing corruption in the administration of California Democratic Gov. Gray Davis. In other words, Webb had a lot of "bipartisan" enemies. Also note how that sick, "liberal" Los Angeles Times is still sticking to their "cover-up" story about Webb's work. Nevermind the inconvenient fact that since 1996 the CIA, itself, has quietly admitted that most of Webb's original story was true.

The purpose of this article to alert as many people as possible of this news. Was it a suicide? Probably was. Far be it from me to spread conspiracy theories, but it's funny how so many people who have crossed swords with the goddamn CIA, including a couple of presidents, end up disgraced or dead.


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Posted on http://www.mercurynew.com, Sunday, December 12, 2004.

Gary Webb, 49, former MN reporter, author
INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST WROTE CONTROVERSIAL SERIES
By Jessica Portner
Mercury News


Gary Webb, a former Mercury News investigative reporter, author and legislative staffer who ignited a firestorm with his controversial stories, died Friday in an apparent suicide in his suburban Sacramento home. He was 49.

The Sacramento County coroner's office said that when A Better Moving Company arrived at Mr. Webb's Carmichael home at about 8:20 a.m. Friday, a worker discovered a note posted to the front door which read: ``Please do not enter. Call 911 and ask for an ambulance.''

Mr. Webb, an award-winning journalist, was found dead of a gunshot wound to the head, Sacramento County Deputy Coroner Bill Guillot said Saturday.

Mr. Webb's friends and colleagues described him as a devoted father and a funny, dogged reporter who was passionate about investigative journalism.

As a staff writer for the Mercury News from 1989 to 1997, he exposed freeway retrofitting problems in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake and wrote stories about the Department of Motor Vehicles' computer software fiascos.

Mr. Webb was perhaps best known for sparking a national controversy with a 1996 story that contended supporters of a CIA-backed guerrilla army in Nicaragua helped trigger America's crack-cocaine epidemic in the 1980s. The ``Dark Alliance'' series in the Mercury News came under fire by other news organizations, and the paper's own investigation concluded the series did not meet its standards.

Mr. Webb resigned a year and a half after the series appeared in the paper. He then published his book, ``Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras and the Crack Cocaine Explosion.''

In the past few years, Mr. Webb worked in the California Assembly Speaker's Office of Member Services and for the Joint Legislative Audit Committee. The committee investigated charges that Oracle received a no-bid contract from Gov. Gray Davis. After being laid off from his legislative post last year, Mr. Webb was hired by the Sacramento News and Review, a weekly publication.

Tom Dresslar, a spokesman for state Attorney General Bill Lockyer who has known Mr. Webb for more than a decade, was distraught Saturday when he heard that his friend may have taken his own life.

``He had a fierce commitment to justice, truth and cared a lot about people who are forgotten and society tries to shove into the dark corners,'' Dresslar said. ``It's a big loss for me personally and a great loss for the journalism community.''

Services for Mr. Webb are pending.



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Posted on http://www.latimes.com, Sunday, December 12, 2004.

Gary Webb, 49; Wrote Series Linking CIA, Drugs

By Nita Lelyveld and Steve Hymon, Times Staff Writers



Gary Webb, an investigative reporter who wrote a widely criticized series linking the CIA to the explosion of crack cocaine in Los Angeles, was found dead in his Sacramento-area home Friday. He apparently killed himself, authorities said.

Webb had suffered a gunshot wound to the head, according to the Sacramento County coroner's office. He was 49.

His 1996 San Jose Mercury News series contended that Nicaraguan drug traffickers had sold tons of crack cocaine from Colombian cartels in Los Angeles' black neighborhoods and then funneled millions in profits back to the CIA-supported Nicaraguan Contras.

Three months after the series was published, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said it conducted an exhaustive investigation but found no evidence of a connection between the CIA and Southern California drug traffickers.

Major newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times, New York Times and Washington Post, wrote reports discrediting elements of Webb's reporting. The Los Angeles Times report looked into Webb's charges "that a CIA-related drug ring sent 'millions' of dollars to the Contras; that it launched an epidemic of cocaine use in South-Central Los Angeles and America's other inner cities; and that the agency either approved the scheme or deliberately turned a blind eye."

"But the available evidence, based on an extensive review of court documents and more than 100 interviews in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington and Managua, fails to support any of those allegations," The Times reported.

Months later, the Mercury News also backed away from the series, publishing an open letter to its readers, admitting to flaws.

"We oversimplified the complex issue of how the crack epidemic in America grew," wrote the paper's executive editor, Jerry Ceppos, adding, "I believe that we fell short at every step of our process — in the writing, editing and production of our work."

The paper reassigned Webb to a suburban bureau. In December 1997, he quit.

"All he ever wanted to do was write," said Webb's ex-wife, Susan Bell, who met him when they were both high school students in Indiana. "He never really recovered from it."

Webb was born in Corona to a military family and moved around the country throughout his youth. He dropped out of journalism school just shy of graduating to accept his first newspaper job at the Kentucky Post, then went to the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Mercury News.

Within two years of arriving at the paper, Webb was part of a team that won the Pulitzer Prize in 1990 for coverage of the Loma Prieta earthquake.

Webb continued to defend his reporting, most notably in a 548-page book, "Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion," which was published in 1999.

After leaving the Mercury News, Webb worked in state government, including the Joint Legislative Audit Committee's investigation into then-Gov. Gray Davis' controversial award of a $95-million, no-bid contract to Oracle in 2001.

"The guy had a fierce commitment to justice and truth. He cared deeply about the people who are forgotten, that we try to shove into the dark recesses of our minds and world," said Tom Dresslar, a spokesman for the California attorney general's office who worked with Webb on the Oracle investigation.

But Webb's career remained troubled. While working for another legislative committee in Sacramento, Webb wrote a report accusing the California Highway Patrol of unofficially condoning and even encouraging racial profiling in its drug interdiction program.

Legislative officials released the report in 1999 but cautioned that it was based mainly on assumptions and anecdotes. Earlier this year, Webb was one of a group of employees fired from the Assembly speaker's Office of Member Services for failing to show up for work.

Webb, who lived in Carmichael, continued to write occasionally for a variety of publications. Last summer, the weekly Sacramento News & Review hired Webb to cover government and politics. He had recently written two cover stories, including one on how much money Sacramento County was making off the use of red-light cameras.

"He's obviously a skilled reporter and writer and he was doing good work for us and the evidence was on the page," said News & Review Editor Tom Walsh.

Webb is survived by two sons, Ian and Eric; and a daughter, Christine.



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