He began his career working for newspapers in Kentucky and Ohio, winning numerous awards, and building a strong reputation for investigative writing. The series examined the origins of the crack cocaine trade in Los Angeles and claimed that members of the anti-communist Contra rebels in Nicaragua had played a major role in creating the trade, using cocaine profits to support their struggle. The series provoked outrage, particularly in the Los Angeles African-American community , and led to four major investigations of its charges. The Los Angeles Times and other major papers published articles suggesting the "Dark Alliance" claims were overstated and, in November , Jerome Ceppos , the executive editor at Mercury News, wrote about being "in the eye of the storm".
Webb won dozens of journalism awards while reporting early in his career for the Kentucky Post and, from through , The Plain Dealer Cleveland , but it was at the Mercury News , where he worked from through , that he developed a national profile. This drug smuggling into the United States, according to Webb, helped to fuel the crack epidemic of the s. The profits from this imported cocaine, Webb reported, were used to finance the Contra forces attacking the Sandinista government in Nicaragua. According to Webb, the CIA squelched efforts by American law-enforcement agents to investigate and prosecute the drug traffickers. The CIA forcefully denied the charges. The Washington Post , The New York Times , and the Los Angeles Times , all of which had ignored or downplayed evidence of CIA complicity in the drug trade for years, attacked the series, at times on the basis of claims that Webb did not actually make. He resigned from the paper shortly afterward, accepting a position as an investigator for the California state legislature. In Frederick Hitz, the inspector general of the CIA, released two reports that confirmed that the CIA had failed to fully investigate or act upon allegations that the anti-Sandinista forces it supported were engaged in drug trafficking. Despite this seeming vindication , however, Webb remained unable to find work at another daily newspaper. Dark Alliance was published as a book in
If someone told you today that there was strong evidence that the Central Intelligence Agency once turned a blind eye to accusations of drug dealing by operatives it worked with, it might ring some distant, skeptical bell. Did that really happen? That really happened. As part of their insurgency against the Sandinista government in Nicaragua, some of the C. That groundbreaking series was among the first to blow up on the nascent web, and he was initially celebrated, then investigated and finally discredited. Pushed out of journalism in disgrace, he committed suicide in Rival newspapers blew holes in his story, government officials derided him as a nut case and his own newspaper, after initially basking in the scoop, threw him under a bus. Webb was open to attack in part because of the lurid presentation of the story and his willingness to draw causality based on very thin sourcing and evidence. He wrote past what he knew, but the movie suggests that he told a truth others were unwilling to. Sometimes, when David takes on Goliath, David is the one who ends up getting defeated.
A simple phone call concerning an unexceptional pending drug trial turned into a massive conspiracy involving the Nicaraguan Contra rebels, L. For several years during the s, Webb discovered, Contra elements shuttled thousands of tons of cocaine into the United States, with the profits going toward the funding of Contra rebels attempting a counterrevolution in their Nicaraguan homeland. Within the this audiobook version of Dark Alliance , Webb produces a massive amount of evidence that suggests that such a scenario did take place, and more disturbing evidence that the powers that be that allowed such an alliance are still determined to ruthlessly guard their secrets. After the original series of articles ran in the Mercury-News in late , both Webb and his paper were so severely criticized by political commentators, government officials, and other members of the press that his own newspaper decided it best not to stand behind the series, in effect apologizing for the assertions and disavowing his work. Webb quit the paper in disgust in November This audiobook serves as both a complex memoir of the time of the Contras and an indictment of the current state of America's press; Dark Alliance is as necessary and valuable as it is horrifying and grim. Read more Read less click to open popover Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required. To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.