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In Memoriam

Gary Webb
1955 - 2004

Gary Webb, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter and author, was found dead in his home on Friday, December 10, 2004. An apparent suicide, Webb died of a gunshot wound to the head. He was 49.

Webb - author of the book Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion - was among the first (along with Democratic candidate for president John Kerry) to unravel the insidious connections between the Reagan-Bush Administration, the CIA, the Nicaraguan Contras, and the crack cocaine "epidemic" of the mid 80s. His reporting led to the exposure of what is now known as the "Iran-Contra" scandal.

The beginnings of the book Dark Alliance were first published in The San Jose Mercury News, where they ignited a firestorm of controversy. The mainstream press pilloried Webb as a conspiracy nut, even though his investigations were largely vindicated by a later CIA report obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. Webb was soon forced to resign from the Mercury News.

Speaking on the radio show Democracy Now!, Webb's friend and fellow journalist Robert Parry, author of the book Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq, offered this:

"Well, I think it's quite sad that this voice has been silenced. It was tragic and sad that the mainstream press reacted as it did. As I said to the LA Times:

'You're going to have a hard time dealing with this story, because the Times never even reported on the publication of the second volume of the CIA's report. It was that second volume that went through in great detail, really corroborating not just what Gary Webb had reported, but allegations and evidence that's far, far worse than what was in the San Jose Mercury News series.'

The far darker scandal went far higher up than anyone thought. The CIA evidence tracks the Contra cocaine problem into the White House, Ronald Reagan's White House. It tracks it into the CIA directly. That's what the evidence is. It's just tragic that the LA Times and other major publications cannot face the truth."

Two sons and a daughter survive Gary Webb.

May he rest in peace, and may his family find comfort knowing he tried to make the world a better place.

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