Dissecting the Mainstream Media

Part 3 – Gang Pressure

In 1996 Gary Webb, a prize-winning investigative journalist at San Jose Mercury News, found himself at the center of a major storm caused by his three-part investigative series published under the title “Dark Alliance.” The series connected the CIA to the contra-cocaine scandal and alleged that Nicaraguan drug traffickers had used the drug profits from selling crack cocaine in the U.S. to finance the CIA-supported Nicaraguan Contras. The connections documented by Webb did not claim ‘direct involvement’ by the CIA but thoroughly established that the CIA was aware of the cocaine transactions and the large shipments of cocaine into the U.S. by Contra personnel. Webb’s story was supported by hundreds of documents obtained through FOIA, transcripts, and audio interviews – all of which were published later on his website.

The attacks on and denials of Webb’s series began right away. The ‘Gang of Three’ – Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, and The Washington Post, put on a united front and viciously attempted to debunk the link between the crack epidemic in the U.S. and the Contras. A decade earlier, the same ‘Gang’ had either downplayed or dismissed the 80s contra-cocaine scandal. Despite all the facts that came out of Sen. Kerry’s half-way Contra Hearings, despite sound evidence presented in an AP article by Robert Parry and Brian Berger, the ‘Gang’ never truly followed up or provided deserved coverage of Contra Crimes.

Here is what Robert Parry had to say on this:

“Webb’s “Dark Alliance” series offered a unique opportunity for the major news outlets to finally give the contra-cocaine scandal the attention it deserved. But that would have required some painful self-criticism among Washington journalists whose careers had advanced in part because they had not offended Reagan supporters who had made an art out of punishing out-of-step reporters for pursuing controversies like the contra-cocaine scandal.”

And here is another plausible reason offered by Mr. Parry:

“There was the turf issue, too. Since Webb’s stories coincided with the emergence of the Internet as an alternate source for news and the San Jose Mercury News was at the center of Silicon Valley, the big newspapers saw a threat to their historic dominance as the nation’s gatekeepers for what information should be taken seriously.”

The ‘gang’ attacks and the pressure did not deter Webb. In fact they increased his resolve to dig deeper and pursue the story further. However, the same pressure did its magic when it came to the editors at Mercury News. After their initial support and back-patting of Webb, they bent under the pressure, made their 180 degree turn, and caved in. First, they issued their retreat in writing, which did not retract on the factualness of the report but turned it into a matter of ‘gray areas’ such as “…presented “only one interpretation of complicated, sometimes-conflicting pieces of evidence” in a “few key instances.”” Next, they refused to publish the rest of the series. Then, the paper transferred Webb from Sacramento to the paper’s outpost in Cupertino (a four-hour commute) and told him he was no longer an investigative reporter; finally succeeding in having him resign and leave the paper.

In 1996, prompted by Webb’s series, the CIA started its investigation of the agency’s involvement in cocaine sales in the U.S. The CIA released the report in 1998, and George Tenet came out publicly and denied Webb’s allegations. Interestingly, weeks prior to the release of the report, ‘mysterious leaks’ made their way, and again interestingly, into The Washington Post and The New York Times stories, alleging that ‘no direct or indirect links’ were ever found between the CIA and traffickers. Of course, once the heavily redacted report was released these publications had their field day smearing and attacking Webb’s report.

While Tenet’s statement and the report’s vaguely worded conclusion were used as weapons in Webb bashing, the ‘actual’ content of the report was completely ignored and blacked out by the MSM ‘gang.’ For example: the report described a cable from the CIA’s Directorate of Operations dated October 22, 1982, describing a meeting between Contra leaders in Costa Rica for “an exchange” (in the U.S.) of narcotics for arms, which then are shipped to Nicaragua.

Six weeks after the release of the report, the CIA IG testified before the House Intelligence Committee congress and here is an excerpt from his testimony:

“As I said earlier, we have found no evidence in the course of this lengthy investigation of any conspiracy by CIA or its employees to bring drugs into the United States. However, during the Contra era, CIA worked with a variety of people to support the Contra program. These included CIA assets, pilots who ferried supplies to the Contras, as well as Contra officials and others. Let me be frank about what we are finding. There are instances where CIA did not, in an expeditious or consistent fashion, cut off relationships with individuals supporting the Contra program who were alleged to have engaged in drug trafficking activity or take action to resolve the allegations.”

Almost anyone, even those with only vague familiarity of covert intelligence operations would recognize damning information like this, buried ‘in between the lines’ and delivered using a ‘bureaucratic CYA’ choice of words.

More significantly, the CIA Inspector General admitted that CIA officers were not required to report allegations of drug trafficking involving ‘non-employees,’ – defined as paid and non-paid CIA ‘assets’ such as pilots tasked with transporting supplies to the contras. Meaning, the so-called report published ‘by the CIA’ on ‘possible CIA illegal activities’ conveniently left out any incriminating report or information involving CIA ‘assets.’

In July of the same year DOJ IG Michael Bromwich also released a report which corroborated Webb’s report. It claimed that the Reagan-Bush administration was aware of cocaine traffickers in the Contra movement and did nothing to stop the criminal activity. Robert Parry nicely summarizes the key findings of the DOJ-IG report supporting Webb:

    • Bromwich’s report revealed example after example of leads not followed, corroborated witnesses disparaged, official law-enforcement investigations sabotaged, and even the CIA facilitating the work of drug traffickers.

    • The report showed that the contras and their supporters ran several parallel drug-smuggling operations, not just the one at the center of Webb’s series.

    • The report also found that the CIA shared little of its information about contra drugs with law-enforcement agencies, and on three occasions disrupted cocaine-trafficking investigations that threatened the contras.

    • Though depicting a more widespread contra-drug operation than Webb had understood, the Justice report also provided some important corroboration about a Nicaraguan drug smuggler, Norwin Meneses, who was a key figure in Webb’s series. Bromwich cited U.S. government informants who supplied detailed information about Meneses’s operation and his financial assistance to the contras.

    • The Justice report also disclosed repeated examples of the CIA and U.S. embassies in Central America discouraging Drug Enforcement Administration investigations, including one into contra-cocaine shipments moving through the international airport in El Salvador.

Despite the ‘real content’ of the CIA IG Report, the corroborating findings of the DOJ-IG Report, and various congressional hearings and investigations filled with direct or indirect admissions, the MSM never eased up on its attacks and criticism of Webb’s articles.

In March 1998 Barbara Osborn wrote a well-executed piece on the ostracizing of Gary Webb titled ‘Are You Sure You Want to Ruin Your Career,’ subtitled ‘Gary Webb’s Fate a Warning to Gutsy Reporters.’ It’s a fairly short piece and I encourage you to take the time to read it. The article cites the following ‘loaded’ exchange:

“…Gary Webb didn’t know what was at risk. When he first spoke with Bob Parry–the Associated Press reporter who, along with Brian Barger, broke the Contragate and Contra/drug stories–Webb thought Parry was being “overly cautious.” “I thought he was being kind of foolish,” Webb recalled, when Parry asked him: “Are you sure you want to ruin your career?”

Unfortunately Parry proved to be the ‘realist.’

Osborn’s piece cites several enlightening quotes from Professor James Aucoin, a former journalist and a University of South Alabama communications professor who specializes in the history of investigative reporting. Here is one:

“Another aspect of the “Dark Alliance” aftermath which strikes Aucoin as significant is who attacked the story. In the days when investigative journalist Ida Tarbell took on Standard Oil in the pages of Harper’s, Standard Oil came after Tarbell. “In the case of Gary Webb’s charges against the CIA and the Contras,” he said, “the major dailies came after him. Media institutions are now part of the establishment and they have a lot invested in that establishment.””

And finally, here are a few thought provoking quotes from Gary Webb as reported by Osborne:

“The government side of the story is coming through the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, the Washington Post,” he said. “They use the giant corporate press rather than saying anything directly. If you work through friendly reporters on major newspapers, it comes off as the New York Times saying it and not a mouthpiece of the CIA.”


“The only way you’re going to do effective journalism is to be truly independent. It’s a difficult thing to do, but George Seldes and I.F. Stone did it. There’s no reason modern-day journalists can’t do it too. You don’t get 401-Ks and health benefits, but at least you get to tell the truth.”

Webb’s case is only one example where the corporate media unite and gang up to smear, marginalize, and silence colleagues who dare to sidestep the conventional establishment trend, who insist on carrying out real investigative journalism independently and objectively, and who actually succeed in unveiling the truth buried in between the layers of the secrecy web created by the government. Sadly, ‘the gang’ has been effective and successful. Take a look at the field; how many Webbs do you see still standing? The last time I counted, not many.

And now it is your turn. When the MSM gangs up against these reporters:

Are they acting on behalf of the ‘establishment,’ as an extension of the government, as simply a mouthpiece; or as we discussed before on the Bernstein piece, as ‘Agents’?

Is it simply a turf battle, jealousy, and ego?

Is it the Big Corporate media v small independent media or independent investigative journalists?

Does the blame lie, partially, with ‘we the people’ for allowing this?

I am looking forward to reading ‘your’ thoughts and views on this.

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Comments

  1. facetious

  2. On the other hand, I'm thinking of changing my nickname to 'fasicous' or 'fasicouscous' :)

  3. avatar Sibel Edmonds says:

    Anon the Neocon: Let's see… you say 'DEA.' Well, my DEA friends and organization members can list their many many cases where the CIA stepped in and 'made it go away.' Whether having them dropped in courts here, or, have our Embassies overseas step in and stop their investigation, or, have a few assets inform DEA targets of sting operations…They can list many: names, dates, places…

    So yes, we should count those as 'involvement.'

  4. After Sibel's last comment, I guess my real question is 'What is your involvement here?"

  5. Why are you involved here, Anon the Neocon?

  6. "Not only does the CIA in no way control drugs, it doesn't even control the assets who do drug running. 95 percent of the market is beyond OUR reach…"

  7. avatar Sibel Edmonds says:

    Zica: he is our special guest:-) Though you must admit: he is very knowledgeable and articulate. In some cases totally on the opposite side of the isle…interestingly in some cases not far from this side. That makes it interesting. I have my doubts about his views fitting with 'Neocons,' at least in some cases…I'd say a cocktail: a little bit of Neoconism here, a bit of Realism there, and a few gray areas here and there…

    On CIA & Narc: on our side, too many cases, facts, witnesses (including the DEA you mentioned) to win the argument. Do you agree Mr. Anon the Neocon?

  8. avatar Metemneurosis says:

    On Mr. the Neocon being knowledgeable – he may well be, but I feel like one of his main tricks is coming on here and speaking 'with authority', i.e. AS IF he knows stuff. You can be especially effective at conveying authoritative knowledge if you give the impression that you're not letting the discussion so far shape your response so much as vice versa by ignoring inconvenient subject matter from that discussion – shifting the specifics when convenient. As for his being articulate – I'm not disagreeing totally but several of his posts have had a lot of spelling mistakes. Let's suppose he were CIA, would this mean the CIA was trying to subvert the English language now too, or was he rushed to get to a drug deal on time? :)

  9. I don't remember Anon the Neocon espousing any neoconishness in his comments.

    The only points I recall are:

    – the populace is ignorant

    – too bad cause it's too easy and that’s boring for propagandists

    – there are no criminal conspiracies

    – the CIA is not involved in narco-trafficking, except by association

    – and, I think it was the first comment he gave, 'there's nothing new here'

    Anon the Neocon, why are you interested in Ms. Edmonds and, at the same time, unable to handle that she is facilitating the naming of names in the MSM? Why does she lose credibility for doing so?

    Why do you use Neocon in your screen name?

    I trust Ms. Edmonds because of what she has done and is doing. Just take a look at the REAL journalism to which we, her audience, are being exposed. Speaking as a commoner, it’s a breath of fresh air and a chance to share strength.

    I’m asking you to explain a little more of your precious perspective.

  10. avatar Mizgîn says:

    @Sibel:

    Your welcome. Gulen is definitely a problem that should be taken care of but I doubt that will happen any time soon. There's been some info in Turkish media lately that those happy boys on the Turkish general staff have been constructing a "coup" against Gulen which they apparently started trying to hatch in April. I guess Gulen will be able to use this to his benefit.

    @Anon the Neocon:

    My knowledge, is circumscribed to activities on livejournal, and other regional web2.0 platforms. This amounts to very little.

    and

    I found nothing interesting in Yavuz. Please fill me in.

    Yeah, you're right, it does amount to very little, particularly since you're probably not able to work in Turkish language, which is where you find a LOT of interesting stuff. Too bad.

    Same for Yavuz. It helps to have Armenian friends as they are able to sniff out a lot of info, even in Turkish, and then I pass the English back to them for the information they need.

    But Yavuz gets defended by a former Houston-based MIT type called Guler Koknar. She's all connected–ATAA, TCA, TADF and probably a lot more. Just for laughs, I should search around and see if she's connected to Mehmet Celebi.

    By the way, for general info, the mention of "Nursi" refers to Said Nursi, whose signed his name as Said-i Kurdi because he was a Kurd. He was also an "ecumenical" ahead of his time, as he was in a lot of his thought. Gulen stole Said-i Kurdi's ideas, twisted them into a Turkish-nationalist version, and promoted himself ever since.

    So Gulen and the Fethullahci are thieves and con-artists all the way around. As for the "holiness" of "Hoca Efendi", according to Nurettin Veren, "Hoca Efendi" tried to kill him here in the US and would have if Gulen's aides didn't hold him back. That would have been messy, considering that "Hoca Efendi" is a CIA asset but, hey, anything can be covered up when it comes to CIA assets, right?

    I'd say, "Ask Abdullah Catli" but–HA!–he's dead. Better to ask Yasar Oz, I guess. Or maybe Mehmet Eymur.

  11. avatar YuvbinDuped says:

    Hi Sibel,

    I have been following your story since day one! I am disgusted with the entire setup. The Banksters running America via their “divide and conquer” Democratic/Republican mechanism and mainstream media control has forced me to write a book. I am very excited to see that you did not drop off the planet, and in fact have been very busy. I will now add your site to my news folder to view on a daily basis.

    My book will be titled “AWARENESS” – “What the Democrats and Republicans Have Done For You” and will be a compilation of the egregious violations of our Constitutional republic by both parties of what I call the “duo-politic.”

    I will attempt to help the layman understand that the Bill of Rights was a contract to us by the Founders wherein if We the People ALLOWED them to create their proposed government they would GUARANTEE the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights would be protected (as a contract with America by them). I will endeavor to help them realize that the rights listed in the Bill of Rights were not granted by government but rather were our natural born rights which were merely listed by the founders in contractual form to remind us all. Unfortunately, the government through our corrupt (Bankster run) Judiciary decided that they would help us all out by “interpreting” them for us. This of course is simply their means of undermining their simple meaning. This all lead to where we are today thanks to our Republican and Democratic puppets of the CFR/Fed.

    I realize you have gone to several Senators and Congressmen for help in your plight much to your chagrin, however I believe that two men, one a Democrat (Dennis Kucinich) http://kucinich.house.gov/
    and the other a Republican (Ron Paul) http://www.ronpaul.com/, http://www.campaignforliberty.com/

    might be the only two men in Congress that will, if shown the facts, help you in your quest. The same media enemies that cover up your story have relentlessly downplayed and marginalized both these men as they have your most important story. I implore you to contact either one or both of these men. The puppets you talked to have long been compromised.

    There is a show on, believe it or not FOX News called Freedom Watch http://freedomwatchonfox.com/ with former Federal Judge Andrew Napolitano which may pique your interest also. It is carried over the internet and discusses our Constitutional rights and seeks out means to recover them.

    Sibel, I admire you for your strength, honor and integrity to continue to fight against this Bankster run Goliath we have allowed through our apathy to commandeer our republic and I thank you for everything you have struggled to expose.

    Thank you

    “I apprehend no danger to our country from a foreign foe … Our destruction, should it come at all, will be from another quarter. — From the inattention of the people to the concerns of their government, from their carelessness and negligence, I must confess that I do apprehend some danger. I fear that they may place too implicit a confidence in their public servants, and fail properly to scrutinize their conduct; that in this way they may be made the dupes of designing men, and become the instruments of their own undoing. Make them intelligent, and they will be vigilant; give them the means of detecting the wrong, and they will apply the remedy.”- Daniel Webster

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