Review From User :

ABSOLUTELY ASTOUNDING! Should be read by every American to truly understand the origins of the of the present day African American urban condition. Picture this: the Reagan Administration comes into office and immediately sets out to depose the Sandinistas through the Contras. In the beginning, they pass a minor act that says that the CIA no longer needs to report the criminal activities of its informants to the Dept. of Justice or the DEA. Then, Oliver North and co. hook up with dozens of known Nicaraguan drug traffickers to raise funds for the illegal covert war. They do so through the importation and sale of cocaine in the United States. Planes carrying weapons for the Contras were unloaded in Costa Rica and El Salvador, only to be reloaded with kilos of cocaine and returned to the US, with a tacit understanding that the CIA was looking the other way. The principal traffickers, on CIA payroll, become the sole suppliers to one Ricky Ross, the man who would launch and monopolize the crack epidemic in South Central LA and spread it throughout the country. Through such criminal negligence, the "Just Say No" Administration for years funnelled millions worth of cocaine into poor black neighborhoods to fund this war. Any time law enforcement got close to a prosecution, gov't would suspiciously intervene, evidence would mysteriously disappear, and sentences would be unexplicably reduced. As if that wasn't enough, once the drugs-for-guns link was established, the Contra supporters turned around and started selling weapons to the LA dope dealers. In effect, they were responsible for making the Bloods and the Crips rich and then arming them, allowing them to spread out to urban ghettoes across the nation. The book is a little dense, because the author goes way out of his way to back up his facts with as much evidence as possible, considering that when he launched the story in 1996, he was attacked by the mainstream media, the government, and hung out to dry by his own newspaper editors. But he certainly touched some nerves, because this poor truth crusader, who had won a Pulitzer and many journalism awards, spent the rest of his life unable to find another reporting job, only to die alone in a very suspicious suicide (he was found with two shots to the head). I have never been more disgusted by the havoc wreaked in the name of "national security" and the complicity of the mainstream media. Spread the word.

Category: History | Non-fiction

Dark Alliance is a book that should be fiction, whose characters seem to come straight out of central casting: the international drug lord, Norwin Meneses; the Contra cocaine broker with an MBA in marketing, Danilo Blandon; and the illiterate teenager from the inner city who rises to become the king of crack, “Freeway” Ricky Ross.
Expand text… But unfortunately, these characters are real and their stories are true.


In August 1996, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Gary Webb stunned the world with a series of articles in the San Jose Mercury News reporting the results of his year-long investigation into the roots of the crack cocaine epidemic in America, specifically in Los Angeles. The series, titled “Dark Alliance,” revealed that for the better part of a decade, a Bay Area drug ring sold tons of cocaine to Los Angeles street gangs and funneled millions in drug profits to the CIA-backed Nicaraguan Contras.

Gary Webb pushed his investigation even further in his book, Dark Alliance: The CIA, The Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion. Drawing from then newly declassified documents, undercover DEA audio and videotapes that had never been publicly released, federal court testimony, and interviews, Webb demonstrates how our government knowingly allowed massive amounts of drugs and money to change hands at the expense of our communities.

Webb’s original article spurred an immediate outcry. Within days of publication, both of California’s senators made formal requests for investigations of the U.S. government’s relationship with the cocaine ring. As a result, public demonstrations erupted in L.A., Washington D.C., and New York. Then-chief of the CIA, John Deutsch, made an unprecedented attempt at crisis control by going to South Central L.A. to hold a public forum. Representative Maxine Waters later said in George magazine, “I was shocked by the level of corruption and deceit and the way the intelligence agencies have knowledge of big-time drug dealing.”

The allegations in Webb’s story blazed over the Internet and the Mercury News’ website on the series was deluged with hits – over a million in one day. A Columbia Journalism Review cover story called it “the most talked-about piece of journalism in 1996 and arguably the most famous – some would say infamous – set of articles of the decade.”

Webb’s own stranger-than-fiction experience is also woven into the book. His excoriation by the media – not because of any wrongdoing on his part, but by an insidious process of innuendo and suggestion that in effect blamed Webb for the implications of the story – had been all but predicted. Webb was warned off doing a CIA expose by a former Associated Press journalist who lost his job when, years before, he had stumbled onto the germ of the “Dark Alliance” story. And though Internal investigations by both the CIA and the Justice Department eventually vindicated Webb, he had by then been pushed out of the Mercury News and gone to work for the California State Legislature Task Force on Government Oversight. He died in 2004.

The updated paperback edition of Dark Alliance features revelations in just-released reports from the Department of Justice, internal CIA investigations, and a new cache of recently declassified secret FBI, DEA, and INS files – much of which was not known to Webb when writing the first edition of this book. Webb further explains the close working relationship that major drug traffickers had with U.S. Government agencies – particularly the DEA – and recounts the news of the past year regarding this breaking story.

After more than two years of career-damning allegations leveled at Webb, joined in the past year by glowing reviews of the hardcover edition of Dark Alliance from shore to shore, the core findings of this courageous investigative reporter’s work – once fiercely denied – are becoming matters of public record. The updated paperback edition of Dark Alliance adds yet another layer of evidence exposing the illegality of a major CIA covert operation.

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