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.
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
In 1996, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist GARY WEBB (1955–2004) wrote a shocking series of articles for the San Jose Mercury News
exposing the CIA’s link to Nicaraguan cocaine smuggled into the US by the Contras, which had fueled the widespread crack epidemic that swept through urban areas. Webb’s bold, controversial reporting was the target of a famously vicious media backlash that ended his career as a mainstream journalist. When Webb persisted with his research and compiled his findings in the bookDark Alliance
, some of the same publications that had vilified Webb for his series retracted their criticism and praised him for having the courage to tell the truth about one of the worst official abuses in our nation’s history. Others, including his own former newspaper and the New York Times
, continued to treat him like an outlaw for the brilliant and courageous work he’d done. Webb’s death on December 10, 2004, at the age of 49, was determined to be a suicide.
From the Trade Paperback edition.