Height of Gary Webb
The height of Gary Webb is …m.
1. Where did Gary Webb come from ?
Gary Stephen Webb (August 31, 1955 – December 10, 2004) was an American investigative journalist.
2. What could we know about Gary Webb besides his height ?
He began his career working for newspapers in Kentucky and Ohio, winning numerous awards, and building a strong reputation for investigative writing. Hired by the San Jose Mercury News, Webb contributed to the paper’s Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of the Loma Prieta earthquake.
3. What are the projects of Gary Webb ?
Webb is best known for his “Dark Alliance” series, which appeared in The Mercury News in 1996. 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 act in creating the trade, using cocaine profits to finance their fight against the government in Nicaragua. It also stated that the Contras may have acted with the knowledge and protection of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The series provoked outrage, particularly in the Los Angeles African-American community, and led to four major investigations of its charges.
4. Somme collaborations with Gary Webb ?
The Los Angeles Times and other major papers published articles suggesting the “Dark Alliance” claims were overstated and, in November 1996, Jerome Ceppos, the executive editor at Mercury News, wrote about being “in the eye of the storm”. In May 1997, after an internal review, Ceppos stated that, although the story was right on many important points, there were shortcomings in the writing, editing and production of the series. He wrote that the series likely “oversimplified” the crack epidemic in America and the supposed “critical act” the dealers written about in the series played in it. Webb disagreed with this conclusion.
Webb resigned from The Mercury News in December 1997. He became an investigator for the California State Legislature, published a book based on the “Dark Alliance” series in 1998, and did freelance investigative reporting. He died by suicide on December 10, 2004.
The “Dark Alliance” series remains controversial. Critics view the series’ claims as inaccurate or overstated, while supporters point to the results of a later CIA investigation as vindicating the series. The follow-up reporting in the Los Angeles Times and other papers has been criticised for focusing on problems in the series rather than re-examining the earlier CIA-Contra claims.
Webb was born in Corona, California. His father was a Marine sergeant, and the family moved frequently, as his career took him to new assignments. When Webb’s father retired from the Marines, the family settled in a suburb of Indianapolis, where Webb and his brother attended high school.
After high school, Webb attended an Indianapolis community college on a scholarship until his family moved to Cincinnati. He then transferred to nearby Northern Kentucky University.
Webb first began writing for the student newspaper at his college in Indianapolis. After transferring to Northern Kentucky, he entered its journalism program and wrote for the school paper, The Northerner. Although he attended Northern Kentucky for four years, he did not finish his degree. Instead, he found work in 1978 as a reporter at the Kentucky Post, a local paper affiliated with the larger Cincinnati Post. In 1979, Webb married Susan Bell; the couple eventually had three children.
Webb’s first major investigative work appeared in 1980, when the Cincinnati Post published “The Coal Connection,” a seventeen-part series by Webb and Post reporter Thomas Scheffey. The series, which examined the murder of a coal company president with ties to organized crime, won the national Investigative Reporters and Editors Award for reporting from a small newspaper.
In 1983, Webb moved to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, where he continued doing investigative work. A 1985 series, “Doctoring the Truth,” uncovered problems in the State Medical Board and led to an Ohio House investigation which resulted in major revisions to the state Medical Practice Act. Webb then moved to the paper’s statehouse bureau, where he covered statewide issues and won numerous regional journalism awards. In 1984, Webb wrote a story titled “Driving Off With Profits” which claimed that the promoters of a race in Cleveland paid themselves nearly 1 million dollars from funds that should have gone to the city of Cleveland. The article resulted in a lawsuit against Webb’s paper which the plaintiffs won. A jury awarded the plaintiffs over 13 million dollars and the case was later settled. In 1986, Webb wrote a article saying that the Chief Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court, Frank D. Celebrezze accepted contributions from groups with organized crime connections. Celebrezze eventually sued the Plain Dealer and won an undisclosed out of court settlement.
In 1988, Webb was recruited by the San Jose Mercury News, which was looking for an investigative reporter. He was assigned to its Sacramento bureau, where he was allowed to choose most of his own stories. As part of The Mercury News team that covered the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, Webb and his colleague Pete Carey wrote a story examining the reasons for the collapse of the Cypress Street Viaduct. The Mercury News coverage of the earthquake won its staff the Pulitzer Prize for General News Reporting in 1990.
Webb began researching “Dark Alliance” in July 1995. The series was published in The Mercury News in three parts, from August 18–20, 1996, with one long article and one or two shorter articles appearing each day. It was also posted on The Mercury News website with additional information, including documents cited in the series and audio recordings of people quoted in the articles. The website artwork showed the silhouette of a man smoking a crack pipe superimposed over the CIA seal. This artwork proved controversial, and The Mercury News later removed it.
The lede of the first article set out the series’ basic claims: “For the better part of a decade, a San Francisco Bay Area drug ring sold tons of cocaine to the Crips and Bloods street gangs of Los Angeles and funneled millions in drug profits to a Latin American guerrilla army run by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.” This drug ring “opened the first pipeline between Colombia’s cocaine cartels and the black neighborhoods of Los Angeles” and, as a result, “The cocaine that flooded in helped spark a crack explosion in urban America.”
To show this, the series focused on three men: Ricky Ross, Oscar Danilo Blandón, and Norwin Meneses. Ross was a major drug dealer in Los Angeles. Blandón and Meneses were Nicaraguans who smuggled drugs into the U.S. and supplied dealers like Ross. After introducing the three, the first article discussed primarily Blandón and Meneses, and their relationship with the Contras and the CIA. Much of the article highlighted the failure of law enforcement agencies to successfully prosecute them and stated that this was largely due to their Contra and CIA connections.
The second article described Blandón’s background and how he began smuggling cocaine to support the Contras. Meneses, an established smuggler and a Contra supporter as well, taught Blandón how to smuggle and provided him with cocaine. When Ross discovered the market for crack in Los Angeles, he began buying cocaine from Blandón. Blandón and Meneses’ high-volume supply of low-priced high-purity cocaine “allowed Ross to sew up the Los Angeles market and move on. In city after city, local dealers either bought from Ross or got left behind.”
The third article discussed the social effects of the crack trade, noting that it had a disparate effect on African-Americans. Asking why crack became so prevalent in the black community of Los Angeles, the article credited Blandón, referring to him as “the Johnny Appleseed of crack in California.” It also found disparities in the treatment of black and white traffickers in the justice system, contrasting the treatment of Blandón and Ross after their arrests for drug trafficking. Because Blandón cooperated with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), he spent only 28 months in prison, became a paid government informer, and received permanent resident status. Ross was also released early after cooperating in an investigation of police corruption, but was rearrested a few months later in a sting operation arranged with the help of Blandón. The article suggested this was in retribution for Ross’ testimony in the corruption case.
After the publication of “Dark Alliance,” The Mercury News continued to pursue the story, publishing follow-ups to the original series for the next three months. Other papers were slow to pick up the story, but African Americans quickly took note, especially in South Central Los Angeles where the dealers discussed in the series had been active. They were outraged by series’ charges.
California senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein also took note and wrote to CIA director John Deutch and Attorney General Janet Reno, asking for investigations into the articles. Maxine Waters, the Representative for California’s 35th district, which includes South-Central Los Angeles, was also outraged by the articles and became one of Webb’s strongest supporters. Waters urged the CIA, the Department of Justice, and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence to investigate.
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