Gary Webb was a good investigator. He linked a drug dealer in Los Angeles, through Contra suppliers, to CIA officers and Republican politicians. His editor let the story rip, and the “Dark Alliance” series made a mighty impact on Black Americans, who saw it as evidence that the ruling class was as racist as ever.
Webb stuck a stake in the evil heart of the national security state and embarrassed the CIA’s contacts in the mainstream media. All of which was unforgiveable. Pressure was applied, history re-written, and Webb, in despair, apparently committed suicide.
The irony, of course, is that Webb had exposed only a small part of the story. The fact of the matter is that the US government has always managed large portions of the illicit, international drug business, and was doing so long before the CIA came into existence.
Documented cases abound, like the Opium Scandal of 1927, in which a “former” US Attorney in Shanghai provided a Chinese warlord with 6500 Mausers in exchange for $500,000 worth of opium.
Two years later, US Customs inspectors found a huge quantity of opium, heroin, and morphine in the luggage of Mrs. Kao, the wife of a Nationalist Chinese official in San Francisco. At which point Secretary of State Henry L. Stimson hustled Chiang Kai-shek’s ring of drug dealing diplomats out of the country.
The State Department likewise protected a ring of drug smugglers in 1934, and thus allowed heroin to pour into New Orleans. Two historians said about the Honduran Drugs-For-Guns case: “the defense of the Western hemisphere against the Axis powers…reduced to insignificance clandestine attempts to link the managerial personnel of a major cargo airline to smuggling.”[i]