Behind the Bastards

There’s a reason the History Channel has produced hundreds of documentaries about Hitler but only a few about Dwight D. Eisenhower. Bad guys (and gals) are eternally fascinating. Behind the Bastards dives in past the Cliffs Notes of the worst humans in history and exposes the bizarre realities of their lives. Listeners will learn about the young adult novels that helped Hitler form his monstrous ideology, the founder of Blackwater’s insane quest to build his own Air Force, the bizarre lives of the sons and daughters of dictators and Saddam Hussein’s side career as a trashy romance novelist.

Cracktoberfest Part Five: How the CIA and the L.A. Times Killed Gary Webb

Cracktoberfest Part Five: How the CIA and the L.A. Times Killed Gary Webb

Fri, 07 Oct 2022 04:01

Robert and Prop finish out Cracktoberfest with the story of the journalist who broke the CIA / cocaine story.

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It's about time you stop settling and start celebrating! Shop the latest trends in sizes 10-36 now, in stores and at It's never been easier to communicate with people, but it's never been harder to know which platform you're supposed to communicate on. Here's a simpler solution. With call, meet, and message all in one app, ring Central Makes Communication easy. With all that connectivity in the palm of your hand, you can work from anywhere with anyone at any time and never miss a beat. Because when it comes to communication, simple is better. Learn more at Ring Central. Simpler Communications. What's five in my parts? It's part five of what's all five. That's right. Which is actually gang talk. Which is quite a stretch, but anyway, a little bit. But this is our fifth part of what I am now calling Rack Week. C-I-A Week? I don't know. None of them are quite perfect, but that's what we're calling it in this episode. We'll see what titles we come up with. Very cash money of you, Robert. Thank you so, Lee. Especially. Yes. It's quite cash money of you to recognize that. So, while all. So embarrassing. Oh my god, Robert. We just got through with Iran Contra. But while Iran Contra was spinning up, I want to get to another thing that's happening. Also, if you're on here and you're listening to this, thinking it's part three, this is actually part five. And you need to go over to the, you need to go listen to the Hood politics episodes, which you can find in this feed and the Hood politics feed. So, if you're not finding it, then you're wrong. So, while all of the shit we just talked about in your show was happening, all of the North is also doing more shit of his own. And he has moved on from Iranian money to finding a new way to fund his Contra buddies. Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega. Now, Manuel had been a friend of the CIA's for a while. He and George H.W. Bush are good buddies. He had been running cocaine through his obviously Panama. Pretty good port, right? Pretty good port. Yes. Now, another, so another cultural touch point here. You guys know the Drink Champs podcast with DJ Envy and Norie, who was a legendary means rapper, right? Norie's name is Noriega, right? Referring to this dude. Yeah, okay. Yes, so little touch point here. Also, I think it's important as the listeners, if this feels a little like the way that this series went, a little like chaotic and kind of, you know, not very linear and you're hearing parts and pieces here and there. Imagine living it. This is exactly how it felt. Because all of this shit is breaking at different times. Yes. Yes. Well, for example, in 1986, June of 1986, the Times publishes an exposé on the dictator's illicit money laundering and drug activities. They cite an unnamed White House source who claims, quote, the most significant drug running in Panama was being directed by General Noriega. Now, Manuel starts to face legal consequences after this point, including the ban on selling arms to the Panamanian Defense Forces, like an international band. So while Iran contrasts breaking and all of this shit's going nuts and the Reagan administration is batting down, he sends a guy into Washington to try to get help. And I'm going to quote next from a right up in the National Security Archive. Oliver North, who met with Noriega's representative, described the meeting in an August 23, 1986 email message to Reagan National Security Advisor, John Pointexter. You will recall that over the years, Manuel Noriega and Panama and I have developed a fairly good relationship. North writes before explaining Noriega's proposal. If US officials can help clean up his image and lift the ban on arms sales to the Panamanian Defense Force, Noriega will take care of the San Nista leadership for us. So, North is telling Pointexter that Noriega can assist with sabotaging the San Nistas and carrying out assassination operations. And his suggestion is we should pay Noriega, who's under an arms embargo by us, a million dollars from those project democracy funds raised by the sale of US arms for Iran to get the Panamanian dictators help destroying Nicaragua and economic installations. So this causes a big old debate within the Reagan inner circle. Highlights include Pointexter saying he has nothing against Noriega other than his illegal activities. Pointexter's like, well, aside from the crimes, he's great. If he weren't doing all those crimes, we'd love him. I mean, he's pretty cool, excited for the fact that he's a criminal. But besides that, I mean, cool. Now, Alan Fears, who is one of the CIA agents who's heavily involved in everything happening in Latin America, is against the idea of arming one of the biggest drug lords in the area with a legal arms deal, Cash. And Fears actually may be one of these guys who's kind of kept in the dark specifically. So he'll say the right thing when he gets questioned later and see him honest, right? Like that's the, that's the kind one of the guys fears is I think. But everyone ignores. So Fears does say like, I don't think giving Noriega a million dollars is good. He is ignored. Nobody follows his advice. North meets with Noriega in London with the support of Elliott Abrams, John Pointexter and George Schultz. So Schultz, who's not on board, Iran Contra so much is like, but giving a million dollars to man, well, Noriega sounds like a great plan. He's a little cleaner. I'm going to go do this. Yeah. And Schultz is like, this is a little cleaner. Like, we got to live to move it parts. I'm not against paying foreign people to murder and get drugs. I'm not against that. I'm just saying you're to be smarter about it. I am doing more than just about it. Yeah. This is the call that Schultz makes right before deciding to one day become the board of directors for a fake blood testing company. I'm fucking George Schultz. So, um, Noriega is fizzling out, man. Yeah. Yeah. Come on. You're running contraband across multiple continents. Bro, come on, man. You should have retired and released a glory. So Noriega agrees to attack airports, electric and telephone systems in Nicaragua on the contrast behalf. And again, part of the deal is that he's going to get some cash money. Part of the deal is that everyone's going to be chill about his continuing moving cocaine through his ports, right? So, but then the things are going great for all of this until in November of 1986, we get the actual Iran Contra story, breaks right? And, you know, everything that taught we talked about at the end there happens. Yeah. And one of the things that's happening, like kind of in the wake of this, obviously the big deal, as we've talked about earlier, the big deal is that the United States was illegally selling missiles to Iran in exchange for hostages and then light about it, right? That's the big deal, right? Yes. That's what people get in fucking trouble for. Yes. But the other thing that's happening is the Iran Contra deal is tied to everything else that Oli and the CIA and the NSA are doing in Nicaragua. And all this cocaine that keeps getting into the fucking United States. And I don't know if you're aware of this, but Ronald Reagan makes a bit of a bit of an impact for himself as an anti-drug crusade, right? That's kind of his thing. So, yeah. There are some people. You would think that this would have been a bigger deal. But the fact that missiles are involved, that's the sexier thing, the IOTO is involved, right? So, that's what gets all the attention. But there is a little bit of understanding at the time from some people in the media that like kind of seems like the bigger story here is all the fucking cocaine you guys were letting into the country, right? Kind of seems like that might be a real big goddamn deal. There's a lot of leads here. I feel like you might be burying one of them. Yeah. You guys are the missiles and stuff. It's important. You guys work on that. I'm going to ask these questions. And there's a guy, a journalist who does decide during a press conference to ask like, hey, are there any connections between these contras that you were apparently funding with missile money and drug smuggling? People bring cocaine to the United States. And this guy gets screamed down, not by the press secretary, but by the New York Times correspondence standing next to him who says, why don't you ask a serious question? Bro, if you're on the New York Times, keep coming up in the show. If you're on the lectern and the New York Times and somebody loves that question and then someone else in the audience shuts it down like that. The relief that must shoot over your body at that moment like, oh my God, that's, that is, I don't know if there's a better example of dodging a bullet, you know? And like, like, you're just thinking, bro, if this fool knew I would, I would buy him whatever he wanted tonight. New York Times really got me out of a sticky one. You really got me out of this one, dog. I owe you a Rolex and homie. Yeah. They're going to help out a lot with the moral panic over the crack epidemic too. So they really, they really just work in hand and glove with, with our friends in the CIA. Well, kind of. So obviously, there are some criticisms at the time about the fact that they're very clearly and this is revealed by the stuff that comes out during Iran Contra. One of the things that we get because of Iran Contra is Ollie North's diary where he's like, help some cocaine get into the US today. Who to do? Yeah. So I found a wonderful 1988 right up in the Middle East report by Jonathan Marshall, which is a contemporary 88 is kind of the year. A lot of this is blowing up, which summarizes, you know, we have the committee that investigates Iran Contra. Marshall in this is summarizing what the committee found and what it didn't. Quote, the most glaring operational embarrassment neglected by the report is the role of drug trafficking and financing the Contras and the logistic operation that supplied them. The only mention of drugs comes in a staff memo reprinted in a report appendix that rejects media-exploited allegations of contra drug trafficking as improbable and unverifiable. Yet other congressional investigators have condemned the memo as a fraudulent misrepresentation of the facts. Amplen convincing evidence points to the existence of a guns for drugs network that brought cocaine and marijuana into the United States as the price of running arms down to Central America. The joint committee itself heard testimony from three government witnesses that a high-ranking Iran Contra leaders trafficked in cocaine. Indeed, the committee introduced into evidence a letter from Rob Owen, North's emissary to Central America, mentioning a Contra supply chain used it one time to run drugs and part of the crew that had criminal records. Nice group of boys, the CIA chose. I love it. The report silence on the involvement of terrorists in North's project democracy is no less deafening. One of the logistics agents employed in the Contra cause was the Cuban exile and career CIA officer Louis Posada. He came to Central America in 1985 after breaking out of a Venezuelan jail where he had been held for conspiring to bomb a civilian Cuban jet in 1976. That act, the worst terrorist crime ever committed in the Western hemisphere, killed all 73 passengers, including Cuba's national fencing team. Yet the report mentions Posada only in passing and then by his operational code name Ramon Medina. Just to give you an idea of the kind of folks who's all he's running drugs with. Yeah, this guy blew up a civilian airliner. Cool dude. Yeah. Now the Iran Contra investigation and report plunges the Reagan White House into its darkest hours. Public opinion falls through the fucking floor. And again, we talked about this a little bit, but like, yeah, this is the first time he's dealing with like some serious shit. And a bunch of different stuff comes out of the fallout, which you've talked about in your episodes. But one of the things that happens is that while the Reagan White House is in disarray, his opponents in Congress start digging up other stuff too that's been going on during his two terms in office. And one of the things they start to look at increasingly is this connection between CIA operations in Latin America and drugs. And one thing people who are interested in this find is a 1985 article by associated press journalist, Robert Perry and Brian Barger. Perry and Barger had published an investigation. This is the very first public evidence that the Contra is in the CIA were moving fucking drugs in the United States, which found that Contra groups had quote, engaged in cocaine trafficking in part to help finance their war against Nicaragua. The article hadn't made much of a splash because according to the Columbia Journalism Review, Reagan's people carried out a behind-the-scenes campaign to attack the professionalism of the AP reporters and quote, discredit all reporting on the contras and drugs. That's what the CIA wrote at the time. Peter Cornblow writing for the Columbia Journalism Review notes that whether the campaign was the cause or not, coverage was minimal. So the fact that all this is happening is is not like pay attention to that the way they go after these journalists and the way their goal is we have to discredit reporting on this. Yeah. And also pay attention to the fact that when this first comes up in public in 88, it's a New York Times journalist who as far as we know without any CIA advocacy shuts down a line of questioning on it. Yes. That's going to be relevant later. Yes. So in 1988, the last year of the Reagan administration, Senator John Kerry does a Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee report. He's the guy running it. They publish a report on specifically how covert support for the contras undermined the war on drugs, right? So this does get looked into and I'm going to quote from the National Security Archive. The Kerry subcommittee did not report that US government officials ran drugs, but rather that Mr. North, then on the National Security Council staff at the White House and other senior officials, created a privatized contra network that attracted drug traffickers looking for cover for their operations, then turned a blind eye to repeated reports of drug smuggling related to the contras and actively worked with known drug smugglers such as the Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega to assist the contras. The report cited former Drug Enforcement Administration had John Lawn as testifying that Mr. North himself had prematurely leaked the DEA undercover operation, jeopardizing agents' lives for political advantage in an upcoming congressional vote on aid to the contras. Yeah. Awesome all this shit. All of this, all of this stuff. It would be such a different story if the Reagan administration didn't go so hard on violence, gangs, drugs. Like if you didn't go so hard about it, it wouldn't be such a gacha. You know what I'm saying? But I'm like, you didn't have to create the DEA program and like three strikes, well they didn't create three strikes, but just all these different just very punitive laws around drugs. Like you ain't have to do that. And if you haven't thought, it wouldn't have been so like salacious. Yeah. If the fucking, if Congress had not been destroying huge numbers of people because they were caught with crack cocaine, at the same time as they were bringing in the raw cocaine that gets turned into crack in order to fund right wing death squads and other parts of the world. If that all wasn't happening at the same time, yeah, it wouldn't seem like such a goddamn conspiracy. Exactly. Because it's like, it's yeah, if this didn't happen, we would be like, this is, yeah, we would be like oil on our head. Like because of the amount of like, how many countries have gotten, when you add all, if this part is a bit more than a hundred percent, it's like, yeah, it's a bit more than a hundred percent. So we, okay, add the countries together. The amount of countries involved in this, the amount of governments, street dudes, bureaucracies, there's like nine countries involved. Yep. It's a big deal. It's as we've, as we've tried to unravel quite complicated. Yes. So this report that Kerry is kind of the guy running does not establish that the CIA is responsible for bringing crack to the inner cities, nor does it connect US officials directly to drug dealers in the United States. However, as the report concluded, it is clear that individuals who provided support for the contras were involved in drug trafficking. The supply network of the contras was used by drug trafficking organizations and elements of the contras themselves, knowingly received financial and material assistance from drug traffickers. In each case, one or another agency of the US government had information regarding the involvement, either while it was occurring or immediately thereafter. So the report also quoted the chief of the CIA's Central America Task Force, who said, with respect to drug trafficking by the resistance forces, it is not a couple of people. It is a lot of people. Now, you can't do the bad apple, man. It's all y'all. This is all damning because we have we have talked about this in the context of Iran, in the context of a bunch of other shit, years of shady dealings that we know now. But at the time, a lot of this was breaking. And at the time that report comes out, a lot of that outside information is missing, right? So most Americans who see the headlines around this, the reasonable assumption to make is like, oh, some people we armed in an unpopular conflict were also moving cocaine, whatever. The subcommittee report is not big news. People, that sounds pretty damning. People could not give less of a shit at the time when it comes up. That's 1988, seven years later, Gary Webb picks that thread back up. And he does about a year of digging. And he puts together this three-part article series for the Mercury, which blows the fucking lid off the world in like a couple of days after this thing drops. It becomes the biggest story in the country. And it's the first massive news story that's gone out primarily over the internet. That's where this thing spreads. And in order to kind of talk about how that happens, I want to quote now from an article in the Columbia Journalism Review. The demographics of web traffic are unknown, but some media specialists believe that the rising numbers at Mercury Center in part reflect what the Chicago Tribune syndicated columnist Clarence Page calls an emerging black cyber consciousness. Online newsletters and other net services made the series readily available to African American students, newspapers, radio stations, and community organizations. Patricia Turner, author of I heard it through the grapevine, the definitive study on how information travels through black America, suggests that this marked the quote first time the internet has electrified African Americans in this way. The black telegraph noted Jack Wilde, a time magazine columnist referring to the informal word of mouth network use since the days of slavery has moved into cyberspace. There is, like I didn't know the specifics of what you're saying, but it is true. Like, like, I don't know how we get information that we get. You just find out through the homies. I argue on tea. I don't know how it happens. It just does. But I will say when this broke, this was our uncles who were like, see there, I tried to tell y'all. You know, I'm saying that we thought was like, all right, man, like, you know, it hadn't been a jail a few times. You know, you didn't read a couple books. You know, you come back and you prison smart. You know what I'm saying? So like, and prison smart is a very specific type of smart, you know. And so they got all kind of information about the government and the CIA and conspired against it. And we're thinking, okay, I can maybe, you know, but like you said, it wasn't really big news. And it's, it seems so far fetched, but I have no reason to not believe my uncle. And then this happens. And it was like, that's a fact. Jack, we didn't try to tell y'all. You know, and all that started happening. And it was like, damn, it turns out, okay, and crazy. Like he, oh my god, he really, yeah, you wouldn't lie. It was you. Yeah, I was saying we believed you, but it was like, I don't know, man. Yeah, he's brought what and it's, you know, again, one of the things people can use to just credit this is picket like the edges of because it is not literally the CIA was not shipping crack directly in the city. Yeah, because that's not a very sensible way to go about doing that. Right. Just like Apple doesn't directly turn rare earth minerals into phones, right? Exactly. It's a distribution network. Exactly. But if you were like, yo, who the plug? Who's your plug? You'd like CIA. Yeah. Like no, they, they'll government the government. I get to, I get the way from the government. Like, you know, you don't. It's like, oh, wait, yes, you do. It's easy to see why people see this as a very concerted conspiracy. Honestly, there's a way in which it's much more, and I'm not going to say what happened or not because I'm sure there's more we don't what we know is damning. Yeah. If it is as simple as the left hand didn't know what the right was doing and nobody gave a shit about the impacts of these agencies and what they were doing in Latin America and how it might affect people and nobody was watching them while people were like responding to this media circus, the time created violently by destroying huge numbers of people's lives. And that's why all this happened, which is what the facts directly suggest. That's like that's enough to revolt over. That's already. Yeah. That's enough to, yeah. I don't feel like anyway. Let's let's keep telling the story because there's more to revolt over. Yes. We talk a lot about death on the show, but we don't like to talk about our own unless it's what we think about if the unthinkable happened. What would we want for our loved ones? That's what special about wish box life insurance. With wish box, you can make sure that life after you is everything you want it to be for everyone you care about. 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But it's also never been harder to know which platform you're supposed to be communicating on. There's a simpler solution. Ring Central is the complete phone system that makes it easy to call, meet, message, even facts all in one app. And with seamless device switching, you'll always be able to stay on top of business, even as your business grows. Because whether you're working from home, the office, or anywhere else, Ring Central can help you be there without having to be there. When it comes to communication, simple is better. Learn more at Ring Central, simpler communications. So Gary Webb puts out this article. It moves through the black community by way of the internet. It also a big part of this is black-oriented radio talk shows, which are huge today and really coming into their own in this period, the mid to late 90s. Boosts this phenomenon and the way in which they spread the story is by reading out the website address on the air. Never happened before. Not a thing. Not a thing in mainstream, that took like these big mainstream radio shows, drive time shit. As like reading out a, is being like, you need to read this story. Here's a fucking web link, right? That's not how journalism got spread before. But it is now. These call in programs also become a focal point of information and debate. African-American talk show hosts use their programs to address the allegations of CIA complicity in the crack epidemic. And the public response is forceful. The power of talk radio is probably like one of the best examples of like how big this is. Is Congresswoman Maxine Waters goes on a show in Baltimore in September. And she says that the congressional black caucus is going to look into this shit, right? We're going to like do a fucking thing on this. And it's it's fucking massive. And like the fact that Maxine Waters takes this up is like a big part of why this story blows out into the mainstream in a big way. Now the CIA and the NSC, they're watching this shit happen, right? They are like everyone is on this, right? This is a massive problem. And the agency, the first public thing they do when this starts to go viral is they announce we're doing an internal investigation. We're going to look into whether or not we didn't anything wrong. Like don't worry. Like like you was the vice president because you were there. Vice ass president. You were there. And like it's awesome. Yeah. So the CIA is like we're going to look into ourselves and see if we're bad people. Don't worry. You could trust us. We're good people. Obviously me. Did I smuggle drugs? Yeah. Well, me. Look, I don't want to speak for Black America here, but the evidence that I have suggests that this was not taken as overly comforting. I don't think I believe you see a lot of like gaspaces. It just like side eyes like. You got okay. Here we go. We already know though. So the Justice Department also launches an investigation. John Dewey, she's the director of the CIA at this point, has to go down to Watts and do a town meeting with concerned citizens to promise that his organization hadn't smuggled crack into inner cities to destroy the Black community. Like he has to actually sit down and go to Watts. Talk them out of this. Now that is not precisely what Gary Web's article had said. Gary Web had not made those exact claims. Because what he was saying is that what we've talked about, the CIA is making things easier for these guys who are moving cocaine into the country and then separately, webzarticles dealt with how the crack epidemic and things like mandatory minimums had hurt the Black community. And how racially disparate the charging was. But a lot of people interpreted as, oh, the CIA, there's allegations that the CIA smuggled crack into the Black community. And that becomes kind of the popular shorthand for the revelations. Representative Cynthia McKinney calls the CIA the central intoxication agency on the floor of Congress. This is a PR disaster. It is a real threat to the agency's funding. They're worried about another church committee, right? They're worried that like Congress has got to really fuck them up over this. And there's also a possibility that some people might get criminal charges who would work in the agency. That's a thing they're concerned about because of how big a brush fire this starts. I don't know, man. You think they should get some criminal charges? I might suggest if anyone belongs in prison, that was a lot of these CIA guys. And just like they go love you should say right next to the other drugs, Muggaloo. So because as you did, the agency spins up a reaction to what they internally call a crisis. But before they can really do anything, a savior appeared. You want to know who the savior is? You want to who pulls the CIA's fat out of the fire? Who is it? It's the same people who did it in 98. It's the legacy news media. All right. As we've talked about a surprise villain here. You know, well, it's his villain coming. Is it a surprise? Yeah, is it a surprise given the rest of these episodes? Or maybe it's the one we didn't expect. It's John Cena, not John Cena, it's a stone cold coming out from the back. Oh my God, the New York Times has a folding chair. Yes. Yeah. And that's who wrote, well, it's actually the Los Angeles Times is a big part of this too. Anyway, webs, as I've talked about a bunch, web story. It's the first earth shattering piece of investigative journalism in the US that came from something that wasn't a major paper of record, right? This isn't blowing up in any in like this period of time, at least. This isn't blowing up in the places it's supposed to come out of. Yeah. So the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, in the New York Times, three of the really the biggest legacy. Yeah. They're fucking angry. They're not angry because they don't want this information out. They're angry that they got fucking scooped. Right. Yep. And they're angry that in interviews, Gary Webb is saying stuff like you don't have to be the New York Times or the Washington Post to bust a national story anymore. Now Gary was well ahead of the time. Yeah. Because we know he's right, right? That's what happens. Washington Post and the New York Times, big as they are, not wear a lot of shit busts anymore. A whole lot of stuff comes up from the ground these days. And oftentimes, the New York Times and the Post these days make their money kind of paying editorial writers to comment on shit. This is the start of that. And so the people who are going to like go after them, we're going to go ape shit. A lot of them are kind of editorial writers. But the intercept does a good job of kind of summing up what happens next here in an article they wrote. Quote, newspapers like the Times and the Post seem to spend far more time trying to poke holes in the series than in following up on the under reported scandal at its heart, the involvement of a US backed proxy forces and international drug trafficking. A Los Angeles Times was especially aggressive, scooped in its own backyard. The California paper assigned no fewer than 17 reporters to pick up our web's reporting while employees denied an outright effort to attack the Mercury news. One of the 17 referred to it as the get Gary Webb team. Another set at the time, we're going to take away that guy's Pulitzer, according to Corn Blues C-A-J-R-P's. Within two weeks of the publication of Dark Alliance, the LA Times devoted more words to dismantling its competitors breakout hit than comprised the series itself. So they throw down your deads like you're guys, you're you're totally missing the point here man. You're missing in your own, you're missing the bigger story. You're missing the bigger story here, dude. And it is true. It is salty somebody got there first. We have to know, Gary Webb's reporting is imperfect. Number one, any story this big, there's going to be some errors. Of course. But especially Gary doesn't have a big editorial team. There's not a huge team of fact checkers. It is not it is it is a newer reporter. It is a newer outlet and there are some problems with it, right? So in some of them are pretty basic errors and these errors are not the result of him trying to cook something up or lie. The result of writing for a small publisher without a strong editorial team. Yeah. One of the examples of a fuck up that Webb did make is he never called the C-A-A for comment. That may sound silly, but that is a thing that you do when you are writing an article like this. You after you've got things nailed down, you go for comment. That is when I would write articles about malicious and shit like Jason Wilson and I would would wind up ringing up these fucking malicious leaders and shit to ask the questions about things they'd said online. It's what you do. You give people a chance to respond when possible. They don't have you don't have to wait for them to respond to publish the article, but you do have to give them a chance to respond. Webb claims that he did reach out and they never responded. The C-A denies that he ever reached out. We just actually don't know who's telling the truth here, but the thing that he fucks up is he never writes in the story. I reached out to the C-A for comment and they didn't give it. Right. Yeah. That is an issue. Now, a fair minded person would say, well, that doesn't mean anything about the veracity of his reporting. Yeah. But the legacy papers pounce on this shit. That's so man. There are other issues as well. The specific drug dealers Webb had hung his story on absolutely did sell coke and absolutely did use proceeds from these sales to fund the Contras, but they were tiny. We're talking the guys who are directly tied to the Contras that he talks about in a story, $50,000, $60,000. They got the Contras, something like that, right? Not a lot of money. So from the guys he's focusing on in his article, there's not enough to say that the C-A or that the funding of the Contras is making a big dent on the Contras or on the crack. Right. Like there's he's he's he's using this small case and he's assuming there's more and he is right. There was a shitload more. Yeah. But he is also kind of quoting some stuff out of context that makes his case seem stronger than it is. What he actually has is evidence that like there is something really damning here to look at and it ties into these other fucked up things that have been done around sentencing and these other disparities. And it's possible. There's a real like if he had like it's one of those things. If it were a better article, there would have been some softening of the language. A good editor would have softened some of the language and good legacy media journalists in a responsible media environment would have seen what he was saying. Even if they'd seen in a response environment, even saying the articles that went out, they would have been like, well, what he's claiming that the C-I-A brought was responsible for helping to bring cocaine and the crack of endemic end of the United States. What he's saying is an entirely supported by the case of these two guys because these guys are kind of small fry. But it's interesting that there's that much evidence. And I wonder if there's more and they would have looked into that article that came out in 1985 and got clamped down on by the C-I-A, right? They would have found other stuff including shit in that 1988 report. There was stuff they could have just found that would have been that was already out already reported already something that the government had said was true and put that with what web had been like, oh shit, there's a lot here. And then they would have looked in the more and then they would have fucking found more. That's not what the legacy media does. Instead, they pounce on the shortcomings in web series. And when they start trying to tell the other side of the story, which is how it gets framed, the C-I-A not available for comment earlier. Suddenly, yeah, we'll talk to you about this. Sure. Come on in, New York Times. You know, we love giving people access. We're the C-I-A. So we know about their efforts and their surprise delation at the willingness of mainstream news outlets to attack web out of spite. Because they wrote about all of this in internal documents that are now declassified. Yeah, they wrote shit down. There it is. Yeah, they wrote about how happy they were about what what the what fucking the LA Times and shit we're doing in a piece called Managing a Nightmare written by a C-I-A fellow named Jumovic. And I'm going to quote from the intercept again here. The C-I-A watched these developments closely, collaborating where it could without let's who wanted to challenge web reporting. Media and queries had started almost immediately following the publication of Dark Alliance. And Jumovic in Managing a Nightmare cites the C-I-A success in discouraging one major news affiliate from covering the story. He also boasts that the agency effectively departed from its own longstanding policies in order to discredit the series. For example, in order to help a journalist working on a story that would undermine the Mercury News allegations, public affairs was able to deny any affiliation of a particular individual, which is a rare exception to the general policy that the C-I-A does not comment on any individuals alleged C-I-A ties. Word. Now, the document chronicles the shift in public opinion as it moves from like, oh my god, what has the government been doing to in favor of the C-I-A's angle, which is like, nah, Gary Web's full of shit. Yeah. This trend starts about a month and a half after the series is published. Quote, that third week in September was a turning point in media coverage of this story. Jumovic wrote, and he cites respected columnists, including prominent blacks, along with the New York Daily News, the Baltimore Sun, the weekly standard, and the Washington post. So that's pretty cool, huh? Yeah. Yeah. That's, it's pretty perfect. Yeah. Yeah. Didn't even, didn't even need to do anything. They got it. They got it. They got it. C-I-A is back again. They got it. It's the only worry about it. Again, if you're on the lectern, the, the collective sigh of like, oh, oh, oh, yeah. Again. No, yeah, yeah. That's what these fools said. Nah. There's a grand conspiracy and everything is connected. Being like, well, okay, the C-I-A is doing all this shady shit to bring cocaine. And then the New York Times plays a major role in hyping up fears of a crack epidemic, which is used to justify arresting a shitload of black men and breaking up a bunch of families. And then as soon as the allegations come out that the C-I-A was the one that brought in the cocaine, well, all of these same media organizations who had pushed up the crack epidemic act to crack down on the story and the journalist who had like broken the story that they'd done this, well, yeah, that does kind of seem like a fucking conspiracy. It really does. Again, all of this actually what I think all of this is is a mix of different conspiracies, reckless and callous disregard for what is happening in Black American for who gets hurt by this. Racist policing and racist trends in law enforcement. And the fact that the media is also pretty racist, always searching for like a story and do not care as much about whether or not the story is true as whether or not you can scare people. Yeah. And just yeah, the fact that they mostly hire a bunch of fucking upper class white people from fancy schools who don't know anything about what's going on in the Black community who gets scared by this kind of coverage and racist bullshit. And who are always going to act to defend other dudes who went to Yale and just happened to wind up in the C-I-A instead of the New York Times fucking editorial desk. For sure. Cool stuff. Good time. Wonderful. Great thing. Yeah, I think you nailed it in the sense that you have all these sort of concentric circles, these forces, you know, pressing down on the community that whether it's police law enforcement, you know, unfair sentencing, war on drugs. The drugs coming in, the C-I-A, the D-E-A, all these things all falling not to mention like, you know, discriminatory housing and just all these things all happening. It's like you're anybody would think are all these people sitting around one table and kind of deciding. You know what I'm saying? And that's that's when you get into the crazy because they're not. Is this like a plan and like it doesn't know it doesn't have to be a bunch of shit that's really bad. Is the result of a bunch of different gnarly trends and conspiracy. Again, it's not that there's no conspiracies. All we've been talking about this week is conspiracies. They're just not the Illuminati. They're not. Well, yeah, it's not one big thing that all sprout from. It's audience little dudes that just happen to have, yeah, overlapping interests and people. And whether it's, and it's this weird like this weird power thing to where it's like, it's not so much I'm doing everything in my power to make sure you suffer. It's more your success don't matter to me. Yeah. You know what I'm saying? And that's like, and that's the thing that like it's what as a, I mean, sometimes it is when you're just an out and out, you know, not see white supremacists to where you're like, I am doing everything in my power to make you suffer versus you're just inconsequential and your success doesn't matter to me. You're not a part of the country. I think of you know, and there are some people who are like, no, I'm actually just super racist. And I run a police union that funds, you know, a number of camp and I want to push for mandatory minimums because I'm racist. But other people are pushing for mandatory minimums because they're, their voters got scared by the New York Times who did it because it was a good story and they're totally incredible and their kind of race is too. And all of this, all of this feeds together. Anyway, let's continue. But first, you know what isn't a conspiracy prop show straight up plans, baby. That's right. Not a conspiracy is the products and services that support this podcast. The products and services that support this podcast do meet around a big table and they do secretly run the world, but they're cool. So it's fine. They got nice shoes. They got great shoes, incredible shoes. Anyway, we talk a lot about death on the show, but we don't like to talk about our own unless it's what we think about if the unthinkable happened. What would we want for our loved ones? That's what's special about wish box life insurance with wish box. 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I want to see if the ones that are plated gold work as well as the ones with a platinum coating on it. Man, I think in Aspen they work best. Well, of course. Wiz Alps. But not the Aspen, our listeners know, the secret Aspen that exists on Mars for members of the conspiracy. There's a Europa Aspen. Yeah, there's a Europa Aspen that's all over. That's even nicer. So dope. It's incredible. The fucking shrimp cocktails. Also, better shrimp than you get there. In the shrimp that we it's just gold. It's just gold instead of poop. But yeah, you know, burn down the system anyway. Anyway. So we're talking about the media response to all of this shit and how they shut it down. One of the most useful papers in terms of putting the kabosh on people getting angry about Dark Alliance was the Washington Post. And I want to quote now again from the CIA. Because of the post's national reputation, its articles especially were picked up by other papers, helping to create with the associated press called a firestorm of reaction against the San Jose Mercury news. Now, about a month or so after of this follows kind of a critical media coverage of the series. And by the end of that first month, the quote unquote balanced reporting, just attacking Gary Webbing his article out numbers the stories that are actually taking what he's talking about seriously. And in their right up of this, the CIA credits all of this to the Washington Post, the New York Times quote, and especially the Los Angeles Times. Wed's web's editors start to distance themselves in abandon their reporter by the end of October, two months after the publication of Dark Alliance quote, the tone of the entire CIA drug story had changed. Jumovic was pleased to report quote, most press coverage included as a routine matter the now widespread criticism of the Mercury news allegations. I can bet now I don't, I'm not, I wasn't an adult during this time, but I can bet that the tone among whatever plugged in or tapped in like black people in this professional space that would be knowing all this stuff is like, you know, this is all the confirmation we need. The fact that you go after this man so much, it makes us be like, oh, so he's, so he's right. Okay. I got it. Thanks guys. Okay. Yeah. I got it. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Where? Thank you for clarifying. I was one. Yeah. But now that you're going through all this to stop him. Now I know. Yeah. Yeah. Um, and that is how a lot of people react. And we have now learned to a point of certainty with all of the stuff that's come out since it's been declassified. It's been reported on Gary Web was right. The claim that he made was that the CIA deliberately enabled the cocaine trade to fund the contras. That was absolutely true. His central thesis, his central thing that he was trying to show was real. Now he didn't have all of the information that we have in order to prove it. And that is a flaw in the article. Yeah. Um, but all of the journalism, quote unquote journalism that was done to attack Web's work was deeply flawed itself as the Columbia journalism review makes clear. All three papers ignored evidence from declassified national security council email messages and the New York Times and the Washington Post ignored evidence from Oliver North's notebooks, which then support to the underlying premise of the Mercury News series that US officials would both condone and protect drug traffickers if doing so advance the contra cause. The October 21st New York Times piece didn't even mention the Kerry committee report a decade ago, the national media low ball the contra drug story David corn observed in the nation. Now it's been there done that. On October 23rd, the Senate select committee on intelligence held its first hearing on the controversy surrounding the new contra drug allegations. Jack Bloom, former lead investigator for the Kerry committee was lead witness. Bloom testified that his investigators had found no evidence what so ever that the African American community was a particular target of a plot to sell crack cocaine or that high US official head up policy of supporting the contrast through drug sales, which is not what web had a led right. Web does not alleged a plot web says that the CIA is helping coke move into the country, which is true. Yes. And Bloom testifies further, quote, if you ask whether the United States government ignored the drug problem and subverted law enforcement to prevent embarrassment and to reward our allies in the contra war, the answer is yes. Which you might recognize as saying Gary Web was right. Yes. Right. Exactly. Exactly. Now the CIA found, of course, no intent to smuggle cocaine into the United States or to enable drug smugglers to do the same. Instead, they blamed all the extremely documented cases of contrast smuggling coke into the US as something author agents had just missed because like G. Schucks, the CIA forgot to mandate that CIA agents had to report evidence of drug smuggling by their contact. Right. That's literally the excuse. Like, well, they missed it because they weren't told to report it. So they just didn't notice it. They just missed all this blow, right? Because it wasn't their job to spot it, right? Listen, like I said, I'm here for the lobsters. I'm not here for the beef. Yeah. I don't even see those cows. I don't even see those. I don't even see what you saw. I don't even know what you saw. I'm here for this. Yeah. I'm going to quote from PBS again. In the winter of 1982, as the United States was plotting how to overthrow the Sandinese to government that came to power in Nicaragua, a letter, a memorandum of understanding MOU was being drafted in Washington, DC. The presumptive author was the US Attorney General, a late William French Smith. The recipient was the Central Intelligence Agency Director William Casey. The subject was a list of offenses that CIA field officers in the field were required to report if they witnessed or became aware of a crime, particularly if it involved an informant or someone the CIA officer wanted to recruit as an agent. The letter of understanding listed all kinds of crimes from murder to passport fraud, but it omitted narcotics violations. Because we know. Yeah. If he's killing people, we want to know. But if he's moving blow into the country, we don't really give a shit. That's literally that's what it's saying, right? Yeah. Now, this is too glaring of an oversight to have left without comment. And weeks later, there's a follow-up letter based on internal discussion in the Justice Department that gets sent to the CIA. Quote, I have been advised that a question arose regarding the need to add all narcotics violations to the list of not employee claims. This is something Smith writes to Casey in 1982 February. So, you know, that sounds good, but this actually doesn't add drugs to the list of things that have to be reported. Because Smith, instead of adding it to the list, just cites existing federal policy on narcotics enforcement and writes, quote, in light of these provisions and in view of the fine cooperation of the Drug Enforcement Administration has received from the CIA, no formal requirement regarding the reporting of narcotics violations has been included in these procedures. So basically, we're already working so good together. Federal employees are already required to talk about this stuff. Yeah. So we don't need to add, we can keep narcotics exempted from the thing CIA agents have to report because we know they will, right? Which we know they weren't. Now, Inspector CIA, Inspector General Fred Hitz tells the PBS when he's questioned that because they're asking like, what do you make of this? CIA Inspector General, it seems shady. And he's like, well, it's at best a mixed message, right? These, now listen, that's a mixed message. Yes, mixed. These do's may not be good at crime, but they are good at excuses. They're incredible at excuses. Yeah. And Hitz, they're what had happened when was game is ridiculous. Hitz, very, this is very funny claims that he, two PBS, he doesn't believe CIA agents would have enabled drug traffic to allow the contrast to fund themselves because that would have been bad PR. Now, you and I know, prop, that the Reagan administration and the CIA actively work to discredit journalists reporting on the CIA for doing just that. Yes. When the agency took any action to crack down on the drug trade, it was purely for show. In 1987, acting CIA director Robert Gates sent a memorandum to the CIA deputy director demanding that CIA officers cease relationships with contras even suspected of trafficking narcotics. Here's PBS again. Gates is memorandum instructed George to vet names of air crews, air services, employees and subcontractors with the DEA, US customs and the FBI to ensure that none of the contractors used by the CIA were involved in narcotics. For some reason, this memorandum quote, was not issued in any form that would advise agency employees generally of this policy. It stated in his report, it never got to the field agents who were supposed to use it as a guide. So it's like, look, we recognize the problem and we made it a rule that they had to run everything by the FBI and the DEA. They had to check on these guys and vet them to make sure they're not moving drugs. We noticed there was a problem and we took action. Would you tell anyone whose job it was to vet these people that they had to do that? Well, no, we forgot to. We fucked that one up. We really fucked that one up. Oopsy, dude. You know, hey, homie, that's that's clerical, bro. Listen, listen, charges to my head, not my heart. Yeah, I'm saying not a big deal. We tried to do the right thing. It just got fucked up for reasons that were completely unavoidable. Guys, guys, you're looking at the locker room. Guys, listen, when the team comes in, just make sure they know that they got to stop grabbing asses. Okay. Yeah. You got to stop grabbing asses, guys. Look, everybody's mad at us. So when you see a juicy ass, you can't grab it, okay? All right. All right, here come the guys. It's just silence. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, we don't need to say any more than that. I said it. Yeah. I said it at some point. It's in the book. You guys saw me say it. We put it in the rulebook. Now, they're not required to read the rulebook. In fact, they're not allowed to. We didn't give it to them. The rulebooks are held on the top of a mountain in Eastern fucking Turkmenistan and none of them can get to it. But it's in the rulebook. Yes. Yes. Well, what else do you want for us? You want me to track down these agents and put a paper in their hands? Yeah. I told them they can't do it, man. Yeah. They're honorable men. You know, they won't do it anyway. Yeah. So as the years have gone on and all this has come out, it has become clear that Gary Webb was guilty of being sloppy, right? It's not perfect. Or even ideal reporting. There's issues with it. His conclusions and allegations while not supported by the text of his article, though, are supported by the facts that we know now and the facts that have emerged since and a number of the facts that Gary didn't bring up. But we're available then and that the Washington Post and the New York Times and the LA Times should have brought up like the ship from the Kerry report, like the ship from the AP report in 85. Yes. Of course, the fact that Gary has been vindicated by time did not mean anything for Gary Webb. The damage had been done to his career. He was disgraced and the CIA crack up at a McStory had gone from a mainstream outrage to a conspiracy theory that was widely mocked. The Washington Post even published one of the things they do in this period is they put it in an article like a warning about the black community's susceptibility to conspiracy theories. Where's the Washington Post? We got to let you know. We've noticed a troubling trend, which is black people are sharing conspiracy theories. Look, you got a good look. You got to watch you say around him because you know, they kind of believe anything. They really think the whole government's out to get them and the media. What a silly group of people. Do you believe it? What evidence do they have that that might be happening? Yeah. It's like, yeah, it's like fucking hitting your friend in the head with a hammer and being like, yeah, his real susceptible to getting hit in the head with a hammer. Boy, that guy's head can't stop catching the hammers. Am I right? Amen. Jesus. Jesus. Can't do anything around this guy, man. Might get a hammer to his head. Can't bring a hammer out. He keeps getting hit with him. Yeah. Web's career never recovered. On December 10th, 2004, he shot himself in the head with a 38. 10 years later, David Carr, writing for the New York Times, wrote an article that serves as the closest we'll get to an apology from the great lady. We've quoted from it a couple of times here. There's widespread recognition that it was pretty fucked up. Although you can still find articles in mainstream. So Gary Web was not, you know, really fucked up and like, we weren't wrong to go after him and to ignore all of these problems and act as cover for the CIA. Yeah. Like, it's, it's all fucked up prop, but that's the story. That's all the story. Amen. So it was like seven, seven countries involved, mad moving parts, people at the highest level of government. A journalist breaks it, tells the truth, Polks has head up, the rest of the journalism community goes to know. And then it do, and then it do kills himself because he makes him feel like he's taking crazy pills. It's one of those things. There's a meme spreading around. That's like the, the, the, the, the award for the CIA award for exeglence and journalism and it's a bullet. And that is an accurate joke in like parts of Latin America, right? Yeah. In Latin America, the CIA, it was either directly did or through there. And in other parts of the world, the CIA has assassinated a lot of journalists. They don't have to do that. You don't have to send a guy with a silenced weapon to kill Gary Webb. New York Times has got your back. They're just going to hand him to suicide because they got scooped. We're good, baby. Damn. But saves us the bullet money. That's, that's, that's, see, I didn't know that one because Bloodman Marlick killed himself too. He sure did. And I'm sure there's, yeah. Boy, yeah, I don't want to get into other, it's totally understandable if you're feeling conspiratorial after this. And I'm not going to say much more than that because it's cool and fine. Yeah. Prop. You got anything to plug? Well, this has been a phenomenal piece of art we've put together. That, uh, yeah. So I'll go over to a politics pod, man. You know, where, hopefully, if you had part five of this one, you know that the pieces that this was all together was, how come I can't talk? You didn't warn me out. And I, and this was my, and this was my idea to do it, to do this series. You didn't warn me out. But yeah, no, uh, politics pod and, uh, what upcoming topics do I've honored politics? Oh, man, besides the other parts of this, I have, did we talk about the Queen already? We already talked about the Queen. We got tapping in or it's up, like lessons on how you need to tap in before you talk to people. Uh, I got a book reading list where we can get you to wait up, talk about a little bit of things like that. Um, yeah, it's a lot going on over there. Check out hood politics and get a props cold brew, tearful. Oh, get my cold brew and his book, tear form. Yes, it's all there. Yeah. And the, um, you're, you're, you're, music. Yeah, there's new music. Yeah. All, all named tear form because what's your, what's your website again? It's, is it prop hip hop dot com? Yes, it is. Thank you, Sophie. propipop dot com for all the things. prop hip hop dot com terraform. Check it all out. Uh, you can find me, uh, it with my novel, which you should read called after the revolution. Yeah, you go to any place that sells books, any website that sells books, type it in after the revolution. You can buy a copy of the home ebooks, paperback, all that. You can also type in after the revolution, AK books and you'll find it there. Talk to the homey skull, fucker, Mike. Yeah, you can learn the, the ballad of skull, fucker, Mike, uh, and more to come in the sequel. He needs a, yeah, like, skull, fucker needs his own, uh, oh yeah, side story. You're gonna learn a lot more about skull, fucker, my, but let's all fuck our own skulls. Well, right now to chill out after being sad. Thank you, bro. What a great week. Yes. Life insurance isn't just a plot point on true crime podcasts. In the unfortunate event of a death, wish box life insurance can be a backup plan to help protect your family. Go to to create a flexible term life insurance plan and get a quote in less than 10 minutes. Apply now and cancel at no cost within the first 30 days. It's easy, 100% online and plan start at just $9 a month. Get started now with their free wish builder tool at For full terms, conditions and disclosures, visit Do you live with psoriasis or psoriatric arthritis? The National Psoriasis Foundation has everything you need to live your best life with psoriatric disease. You can find their sound bites podcast wherever you listen or at N.P.F. can also help you find specialists or navigate insurance hurdles. No matter your challenge with psoriatric disease, N.P.F. has solutions for you. Visit or call 800-723-9166. Let me guess. Unknown caller. You could reduce the number of unwanted calls and emails with online privacy protection. The latest innovation from Discover will help regularly remove your personal info, like your name and address, from 10 popular people search websites that could sell your data and will do it for free. Activate in the Discover app. See terms and learn more at slash online privacy protection.