The Prism

Eye on the Media

Crips, Bloods, Spooks & Crack
ADM: I can't sorbitol

Crips, Bloods, Spooks & Crack

Many of you are no doubt following the recent media and activist attention to San Jose Mercury News' reporter Gary Webb's August investigation linking the CIA's Nicaraguan Contra army thugs with certain aspects of the U.S. crack cocaine trade.

If you work in the media, here are three tactics currently being used to make people following this issue seem like nitwits.

Tactic One: Roll your eyes and huff about how 'conspiracy theorists' have been 'spreading this nonsense' for decades. Try to look really puffy, hurt, and weary at the same time.

Tactic Two: Answer the wrong question.

The L.A. Times' Doyle MacManus sternly tells us that there's no evidence that the CIA invented crack cocaine; see, here were some guys busted for selling crack in the late '70's, before the contras ever existed.

Gary Webb never suggested the CIA invented crack. He just alleged that the contras used their special CIA protection (1) to provide Colombian producers with a special conduit to the U.S., and (2) the MBA-trained Contra leader/drug pusher Oscar Manilo Blandon used his business-degree training to do smooth marketing, and that (3) this combination led to cocaine being transformed from a relatively and expensive item in the black community to a cheap and available product (with millions and millions served!).

Webb's articles never claimed the CIA or their Contra thugs invented crack.

Tactic Three: After using Tactic Two, keep repeating the phrase, there's NO EVIDENCE any of this ever happened. Try to imitate somber NPR demigod Daniel Schorr.

This is an interesting use of the word "NO," implying ZERO evidence.

What you really mean is, we don't yet have a videotape of Ronald Reagan shaking the hand of the CIA director and saying, "Ha, ha, ha, I now personally authorize you to send Nicaraguan Contras to sell crack cocaine to little black kids in Los Angeles, ha ha ha! And here's the personally signed order for you to Violate the Laws of This Country and Addict Our Teenagers to Drugs. Get on it, my good man!"

What you also mean is that included in the category of NO EVIDENCE one finds: testimony from: former CIA officials, DEA agents who resigned over the drug dealing of U.S. agents, government commissions in Costa Rica, ordinary people in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Columbia, Mexico, Los Angeles, etc.

The testimony of one U.S. official who claims he saw no 'illegal' activities will be considered DEFINITIVE EVIDENCE.

Although honest people can present real arguments against Webb's construction of the evidence, why bother? Use tried and true dodges like Good 'Ole American Commentators.

--Jeff Saviano

ADM: I can't sorbitol

In mid-October, Bob Dole blasted the Clinton White House for its absence of ethics in accepting Indonesian money. Thank you Daniel Schorr for saying that while Dole may have a point in questioning Clinton's propriety, Bob Dole's initiative may be a "double-edged sword." Schorr employed the example that Archer Daniels Midland, the agribusiness conglomerate which just accepted a $100 million penalty for sone of its illegal practices (but not others), is a major supporter of Dole. Interesting that Schorr should choose ADM as an example. National Public Radio has been steadfastly refusing to reveal how much "underwriting" money it receives from ADM, claiming that that information is "proprietary." In fact, in August I sent a letter to NPR asking them to clarify whether that was an admission that ADM might be "proprietor" of "public" radio or its information.

--David Kirsh

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