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Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosionby Gary Webb
Synopses & Reviews
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. 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.
Now Gary Webb has pushed his investigation even further in his book, Dark Alliance: The CIA, The Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion. Drawing from recently declassified documents, undercover DEA audio and videotapes that have 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.
Book News Annotation:
In August 1996, Webb stunned the world with a series of articles in the San Jose Mercury News reporting that a Bay Area drug ring sold tons of cocaine to Los Angeles street gangs which funnelled millions in drug profits to the CIA-backed Nicaraguan Contras. This book is the result of his further research utilizing recently declassified papers and interviews with former members of the Contra drug ring, former federal prosecutors, CIA and DEA agents, and former Central American police officials.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Gary Webb draws from thousands of pages of once-secret files from the CIA, DEA, and FBI, the L.A. Sheriff's Department, and recently declassified papers from the Iran-Contra investigation. Together with Nicaraguan journalist Georg Hodel, Webb interviewed former members of the Contra drug ring, as well as former federal prosecutors, CIA and DEA agents, and former Central American police officials. This book shows how the L.A. crack market flourished through a breathtaking combination of government negligence, greed, and criminal conduct. It also demonstrates that the U.S. goverment agencies, including the CIA, the DEA, and the FBI, were aware of the activities of this well-connected drug network throughout its long existence and did little or nothing to stop it. Indeed, in several instances documented here, the Justice Department, the CIA, and the secret National Security Council unit run by Oliver North, took extraordinary steps to protect the ring from public exposure.
About the Author
GARY WEBB was an investigative reporter who focused on government and private sector corruption and who won more than thirty journalism awards. He was one of six reporters at the San Jose Mercury News to win a 1990 Pulitzer Prize for General News Reporting for a series of stories on the collapse of the Cypress Street Viaduct during northern California's 1989 earthquake. He also received the 1997 Media Hero Award from the Institute for Alternative Journalism and in 1996 was named Journalist of the Year by the Bay Area Society of Professional Journalists. He died in 2004.
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