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Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion | [Gary Webb]

Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion

In July 1995, San Jose Mercury-News reporter Gary Webb found the Big One - the blockbuster story every journalist secretly dreams about - without even looking for it. A simple phone call concerning an unexceptional pending drug trial turned into a massive conspiracy involving the Nicaraguan Contra rebels, L.A. and Bay Area crack cocaine dealers, and the Central Intelligence Agency.
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Publisher's Summary

In July 1995, San Jose Mercury-News reporter Gary Webb found the Big One - the blockbuster story every journalist secretly dreams about - without even looking for it. A simple phone call concerning an unexceptional pending drug trial turned into a massive conspiracy involving the Nicaraguan Contra rebels, L.A. and Bay Area crack cocaine dealers, and the Central Intelligence Agency. For several years during the 1980s, 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. Even more chilling, Webb quickly realized, was that the massive drug-dealing operation had the implicit approval - and occasional outright support - of the CIA, the very organization entrusted to prevent illegal drugs from being brought into the United States.

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. Webb's research is impeccable - names, dates, places, and dollar amounts gather and mount with every page, eventually building a towering wall of evidence in support of his theories.

After the original series of articles ran in the Mercury-News in late 1996, 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 1997. 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.

©1999 Gary Webb (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (297 )
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  •  
    Mystery Reader MS 07-06-14
    Mystery Reader MS 07-06-14 Member Since 2014

    Mystery Reader

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fascinating and complicated story"
    What did you love best about Dark Alliance?

    The drug story is fascinating and sounds well researched, but it is sometimes hard to keep up with all of the people in audio form. If I were reading it, I would probably flip back and forth to remind myself of people.


    Which character – as performed by Christian Rummel – was your favorite?

    I did not care for the voices to indicate different speakers although the Sam Nunn accent was pretty good. I am a bit of a nitpicker on pronunciation, and there were a couple of issues--Lawton Chiles pronounced as Chill-ays and the Medellin cartel pronounced almost as medallion.

    Otherwise, I liked the narration--appropriate inflection and easy to follow.


    18 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ken 06-07-14
    Ken 06-07-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Great insight to history"
    What made the experience of listening to Dark Alliance the most enjoyable?

    Learning of the events I have read a lot about growing up this book tied them all together. what i previously thought were separate issues were actually one big one and are simply amazing. If you had any doubt some operate above the law this should settle that position once and for all. If you grew up during the Reagan years and remember the headlines this book will fill in many blanks. Well researched and written it is a powerful example that anything goes when people with power want to get something done. Scary and confirms many things I already believed. If you love history, documentaries, corruption and the manipulation of power its all here. Bravo to the author for a well crafted story if true its simple to hard to believe


    15 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lucien 01-18-14
    Lucien 01-18-14 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Rude Awakening"

    My first experience with politics was sitting with an elderly women watching the Iran Contra Trials on C-Span. I was 4 or 5 and extremely bored. So when I saw this book I thought it would shed some light on what I was watching as a child. I was not prepared for this story. The story is amazingly riveting, backed up with evidence, you begin to gain respect for Rick Ross.

    23 of 24 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 03-22-14
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    "Gripping complicated story"
    What made the experience of listening to Dark Alliance the most enjoyable?

    As the child of the 1980's I vaguely remember hearing phrases like Iran/Contra/ & something about how crack was the latest plague of the far off innner cities. It was a treat -as an adult- to finally hear the entire story in such an engaging format.


    What about Christian Rummel’s performance did you like?

    What can I say- the man's a master.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes.


    15 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Parola138 United States 11-05-14
    Parola138 United States 11-05-14 Listener Since 2005

    We bite

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "an easy 5 star"

    5 stars for the perfect narration. 5 stars for the compelling, deep-digging investigative work. This book blew my mind to put it lightly. The only con about it is that dozens of Hispanic names are thrown at you that you'll most likely forget and mix up save for the few key players. If you ever wondered why everyone in modern America was on crack in the 90's, well, this will pretty much answer it for you. And you'll also find out what happens to your stolen cars!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susie Santa Cruz, CA, United States 04-28-14
    Susie Santa Cruz, CA, United States 04-28-14 Member Since 2012

    I'm Audible's first Editor-at-Large, the host of In Bed with Susie Bright -- and a longtime author, editor, journo, and bookworm. I listen to audio when I'm cooking, playing cards, knitting, going to bed, waking up, driving, and putting other people's kids to bed! My favorite audiobooks, ever, are: "True Grit" and "The Dog of the South."

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Bigger than You Thought"

    “So that they may know at what altars their communities were sacrificed.”

    This book is going to blow your mind. Some conspiracies are worse than the rumors.

    In the early nineties, while investigating the Crack pandemic in L.A., Gary Webb was led further and further down the rabbit hole, finding evidence of the CIA’s involvement in drug trafficking to fund the Iran Contras everywhere he looked.

    Webb pursued this story with exhaustive investigation, at the expense of his career. He was hung out to dry by the San Jose Mercury News when the government pushed back, but he collected his research and published this book.

    Dark Alliance confirms all your worst suspicions about the CIA and the US’s secret wars. Funding their wars with the money and blood of the nation’s most downtrodden communities. Nicely done Reagan.

    30 of 40 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joel NEW YORK, NY, United States 03-15-15
    Joel NEW YORK, NY, United States 03-15-15 Member Since 2011
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    "Excellent but not a casual listen"

    One of the best nonfiction narrations I've ever listened too and a fascinating, very thorough storyline. However the many digressions and complications mean you really have to pay attention. Great for long car trips or long quiet evenings. Not the best choice for listening in short bursts.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Powhatan, VA USA 12-31-14
    Amazon Customer Powhatan, VA USA 12-31-14 Member Since 2006
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    "Not the first or last time unfortunately"
    Where does Dark Alliance rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Similar to The Company: A Novel of the CIA by Robert Littell. It is a story that is disturbing on many levels.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Dark Alliance?

    How the news media is often complicit in covering up the truth.


    Which character – as performed by Christian Rummel – was your favorite?

    The author, Gary Webb.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    No, from living through this time it was what I remember, but with more facts.


    Any additional comments?

    This does show one of the things I have always marveled at, the drug epidemic in the US follows the types of drugs produced in areas where we have involvement. In the 60's it was Thai sticks and South East Asian drug products. In the 80's and 90's it was Cocaine. Now, it is Heroin from Afghanistan and other drugs from that region. I am always amazed that the news media reports the problems that the drugs cause but generally fails to tie the source of the drugs to the stories. Of course that would be considered as undermining the political effort. I have always thought that either the reporters are incompetent or in league with the current administration. This makes the case that they appear to just want to go with the flow when things get tough.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    oscar LEXINGTON, SC, United States 06-13-15
    oscar LEXINGTON, SC, United States 06-13-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Very disturbing and very good"

    I was surprised by how deep into the weeds the author got in order to lay out his case/story, but I can understand why. There were a few times I considered skipping ahead when there was so much that felt like I was listening to a court transcript, but those parts, while a little boring, were relevant to the story. Very glad I listened.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bruce Lynn 05-07-15
    Bruce Lynn 05-07-15

    Bruce

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    "An Uncomfortable History"

    And this excellent book in the courageous author Gary Webb details the CIA's role in the spread of crack cocaine in United States. Whether or not Gary web committed suicide is unknown. One has to wonder though whether or not his treatment led to the depression he was experiencing during his last days on this earth.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Benjamin
    Hereford, United Kingdom
    5/20/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not what I was expecting"
    Would you try another book written by Gary Webb or narrated by Christian Rummel?

    Narration was fantastic!

    I was expecting more of a story. Less of a statement


    Was Dark Alliance worth the listening time?

    After about an hour the listening became easier. Once I had become more accustomed to the bombardment of facts.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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