This is sort of an update from my post and discussions on Ebola.... New Film: KILL THE MESSENGER It has everything: CIA, drug trafficking and minority communities, and the destruction of the investigative journalist who exposed it all. This is about government corruption at the highest levels.... There’s an expression about the savagery of animals who eat their own young. This is a case of a journalist devoured, and ruined, by those in his own profession. This movie is also an indictment of the mainstream media. The new Hollywood film "Kill the Messenger" tells the story of Gary Webb, one of the most maligned figures in investigative journalism. Webb’s explosive 1996 investigative series "Dark Alliance" for the San Jose Mercury News revealed ties between the CIA, Nicaraguan contras and the crack cocaine trade ravaging African-American communities. Webb’s exposé of the ruthlessness of CIA-controlled drug trade during the Iran-Contra affair provoked protests and congressional hearings, as well as a fierce reaction from the media establishment, which went to great lengths to discredit Webb’s reporting. One of the biggest news stories of the 1980s was the explosion of crack cocaine in the United States. The crack epidemic not only destroyed lives in the sense that people were addicted to this powerful drug, but also it set off gang wars. Certain communities, like the African-American communities, were disproportionately hurt. Gary Webb began investigating that. Here are other observations made of how this riveting true story developed: The Reagan administration wanted to be proactive in sticking it to the communists around the world. President Ronald Reagan authorized the CIA to spend hundreds of millions of dollars building, supporting, directing the contras against the Sandinistas in Nicaragua. As Webb looked at the suppliers of the crack trade in Los Angeles, the trail led back to a U.S.-sponsored war a decade earlier in Central America. While the CIA attempted to topple the democratically elected government in Nicaragua, Webb discovered the contras had ties to the crack explosion in Los Angeles. After a year-long investigation, Webb’s story was published on the front page of the San Jose Mercury News. As a consequence, even though the San Jose Mercury News is considered a regional newspaper, it was able to get national traction, and even international traction on this story, because it was now on the web. As Webb himself was said to have put it: “We’ve got all the DEA undercover tapes. We’ve got the FBI reports. We’ve got the court records. They’re all posted for people to see.” From investigative colleague Robert Parry who covered much of the Iran-Contra story, “You have the fact that the San Jose Mercury News, being in Silicon Valley, was sort of challenging the gatekeeper function that The New York Times, the L.A. Times, The Washington Post and other big papers had assumed was theirs.” “If you go into the actual nitty-gritty of them, what you find is that there was a serious problem, that the U.S. government knew about, and that the contras were far more guilty of drug trafficking and the CIA was more guilty of looking the other way than even Gary Webb had suggested.” THEN IT GETS UGLY…. Notes Parry: “The New York Times, they do a story that is half kind of mea culpa, we should have done more with this, it was worse than we thought, and half Gary Webb’s still an idiot. The Washington Post waits several weeks and does a rather dismissive article. And the L.A. Times never reports on the CIA’s findings. So even though Webb was proven correct, he’s still considered a flake who got a story wrong.” Said another: “Gary felt betrayed by his own brethren, if you will. In his mind, journalists were supposed to expose the truth, not do the opposite, not try to quash it.” When he was interviewing with another job, they’d always say, "Aren’t you the guy who wrote 'Dark Alliance'?" And then they would kill the interview. He couldn’t make a living being a journalist anymore, and that ripped his heart out. SOME OTHER COMMENTS ABOUT “KILL THE MESSANGER” These comments, I think, are of particular interest about the movie, and apparently from some who knew what was going on.... I saw Kill the Messenger last night, and it is a pretty good film. Not great, because it tries to do too much and as a result it winds up feeling both diluted and diffusive, but it gets across its central message of how Gary Webb was assailed by the establishment for simply doing what he thought his job as a reporter was supposed to be. Director Michael Cuesta and his screenwriter Peter Landesman have three main themes for Kill the Messenger: Webb's investigation into the connection between contra leaders Danilo Blandon and Norwin Meneses, who helped to fund the contra counter-insurgency in Nicaragua by importing cocaine into the United States, and "Freeway" Ricky Ross, who became a drug kingpin in South Central Los Angeles by taking the Blandon-Meneses cocaine and converting it into crack, thus helping to fuel the crack epidemic in the US; the ensuing mainstream media backlash against Webb and his newspaper the San Jose Mercury News (and the discreet withdrawal of his editors once the heat was on); and the toll that the events took on Webb's family. People dont know that Reagan and Ollie North are solely responsible for the crack epidemic in los angeles in the late 80's, and all the crack babies born. We heard this story back then, when there was so much blow around LA, that people were doing lines at restaurants with the coke spoons around their neck.” Also dealing with over population in ghettos, they are filling the prisons now. The new solution is probably enlist and fight in worthless wars if you want a chance to get ahead. As for suicides (a despondent Webb took his own life over this), they can be provoked by more than just losing a job. And investigative journalism like Watergate. Well, Watergate was just a set-up, too. But you can see why Donahue no longer has a job after opposing the Iraq War and why few discouraging words are ever said. The Vietnam Era is Dead! It is back to like the red-baiting era of the 50's and secret blacklists, now even more effectively spread with Homeland Security databases on multitudes of people and the secrets of their lives. The irony is that one of the mainstream media voices assailing Gary Webb was the Washington Post when two decades previously that newspaper and its "Woodstein," reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, were instrumental in exposing the Nixon Administration's many crimes revealed by the Watergate break-in, the very thing that Webb and the San Jose Mercury News had done. By contrast, and as far as we know, Gary Webb had no such inside help. That is the fundamental difference between the two scenarios: Watergate was the establishment's policing its own (Nixon) with the help of the Post, whether witting or unwitting (I will note that Woodward came from naval intelligence), while Webb's "Dark Alliance" series confronted the establishment. Which may be why Webb is dead while Woodward is considered a grand old man of investigative journalism. Flash forward to the current morass of Middle Eastern & Central Asian conflicts and the heroin trade is once again booming. While Afghanistan was bombed and invaded 13 years ago because of the Taliban supporting and harboring al Qaeda, opium growing had been nearly eradicated under Taliban rule. Once the U.S. & NATO forces occupied Afghanistan and the Taliban fled, the country was having bumper crops of opium again. During those dark, dismaying days of the Bush/Cheney regime, heroin became an epidemic drug problem in the U.S. (and probably Europe too). Note: underlining my own emphasis. I definitely plan to see this movie when it's available here. I had read a brief about Gary Webb and the San Jose Mercury News, not far from Stockton. The storyline of this movie intrigues the hell out of me....and from the standpoint of alleged suspect US defense department bio-warfare connections to Ebola and AIDs, not to mention 9/11 and the lies and official corruption in US foreign policy and the fraud called the "war on terror" and living under the repression of our "national security" police state, I hope we all can find solutions and the means to make our lives meaningful, and free.