White-out: CIA, Drugs and the Press

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9781859848975: White-out: CIA, Drugs and the Press
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In the late summer of 1996, a young reporter on a California newspaper electrified the United States with the charge that the CIA had conspired in the smuggling of cocaine into the US, subsequently disseminated in the form of crack into black urban neighbourhoods. Within days, black communities erupted in fury. Radio stations in Los Angeles, Washington DC and Detroit broadcast thousands of Gary Webb's series in the "San Jose Mercury News". Black politicians seized on the issue, demanding a thorough investigation. As the furore mounted, with the "Mercury News" coming up with fresh disclosures and putting many of the basic documents up on its Internet Web site, the Washington establishment struck back at allegations that challenged the very credentials of the state. First came formal government denials. Then, convoluted and self-contradictory rationales began to appear in the nation's most influential newspapers. This is a survey of the violent storm provoked by Webb's articles. It outlines the charges and dissects the government and media counter-attacks. Webb is by no means the first investigator to explore the CIA's hidden history of drug involvement. The book goes back to the very origins of the Agency, and lays out a saga which shows that the CIA: promoted mind-control drugs in the 1940s and 50s, sponsoring LSD research on unsuspecting citizens - many of them black males, locked up in mental hospitals; was involved in the heroin trade in South-East Asia in the 50s and 60s; backed anti-Castro Cuban drug smugglers in South Florida; struck deals with heroin-trafficking Afghan mujahideen; and organized drug smuggling from Latin America, through Central America, into the US. Alexander Cockburn is the author of "Corruptions of Empire", "Fate of the Forest" (with Susanna Hecht), "The Golden Age is In Us" and "Washington Babylon" (with Ken Silverstein).

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Review:

"Cockburn and St. Clair present a litany of CIA misdeeds, from the recruitment of Nazi scientists after WWII to the arming of opium traffickers in Afghanistan. All of this is extremely well documented ... A chilling history that many will take issue with of what the CIA has been up to in the past 50 years."--KIRKUS

"A solid, pitiless piece of muckraking, ... Cockburn and St. Clair raise troubling questions about the role of a largely secretive government agency in a democratic society."--San Diego Union Tribune

"A probing examination of the CIA's chilling history of coddling major drug traffickers, gangsters and Nazi psychopaths."--Philadelphia Tribune

"A convincing, well-researched, comprehensive condemnation of the CIA."--Maximum Rock 'N Roll

About the Author:

Alexander Cockburn is a columnist for The Nation, New York Press and a range of other newspapers. He is the author of Corruptions of Empire, Fate of the Forest (with Susanna Hecht), and The Golden Age Is In Us, all from Verso. Jeffrey St. Clair has written for The Nation and contributes to the newsletter CounterPunch. He is the publisher of Wild Forest Review.

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