I think it was in early 2001 that I attended a talk given by Gary Webb in Eugene, Oregon. He recounted his efforts at the San Jose Mercury to run a series of articles that was reporting on his investigation of drug running that gave indications of government involvement. He had no idea when he began his investigation where this story would lead, but the more he investigated, the more evidence he found of this connection. The impression I left with was that Webb was a dedicated investigative journalist who had innocently did what investigative journalists were supposed to do--get at the underlying facts of the story.
I was in California at the time the series was published, and I was quite shocked at their appearance in the Mercury. Somehow the usual methods of managing such journalists failed to prevent his reports from showing up in the San Jose newspaper. He had clearly stumbled onto a major story of government involvement in supplying drugs to the inner cities of the US, something which many of us who were politically aware already suspected. Clearly he had to be stopped. I knew that the ruling class was somehow going to retaliate. It was a number of years later that I learned the full story of how they retaliated.
Years later I learned that after a two week hiatus following the series, during which time major media ignored his reports, the directors of the One Percent went to work to destroy him and his career.
As for the media’s role in Gary Webb’s tragic demise, it just confirms, once again, the lengths to which our bastardised fourth estate will go to make sure that certain compromising truths never make it out into the cold light of day. Rather than serving as a counterweight and protection against the entrenched interests of the rich and powerful, the media has been moulded by the corporatocracy into an essential form of social control. Its main functions are to sell things (including wars), to delude, distract and deceive (especially on economic matters) and to exercise effective damage control whenever compromising information leaks out.After quitting his job at the Mercury, Webb went on to write about his experiences in a book. He introduced the material in the book with the following statement:
Dark Alliance does not propound a conspiracy theory; there is nothing theoretical about history. In this case, it is undeniable that a wildly successful conspiracy to import cocaine existed for many years, and that innumerable American citizens--most of them poor and black--paid an enormous price as a result.The book probably sealed his fate.As in the murders of John Kennedy, M. L. King, Malcolm X, many Black Panthers, and others, once again I was astonished at how effectively the directors in the ruling class accomplished their work without creating a backlash among the public. I have had this experience repeated many times since then--the latest being the Boston bombing. I wonder in amazement at the apparent ease with which these ruling class operators can control the minds of the public.