While we are all busily contemplating what happened to our civil rights, our liberties and our healthcare insurance, I thought it might be important to recognize and memorialize the kind of humanity and human spirit conspicuously and vacuously absent from American media today. That humanity and spirit was and is embodied in the memory of The Journalist, Gary Webb.
In his place we have the media issued to us by the same people who murdered the Kennedy brothers, Martin Luther King Jr and that brought us the production that was the destruction of the Twin Towers in New York City in 2001.
Gary Webb, the author of the newspaper series that became the book, Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras and the Crack Cocaine Explosion, committed suicide on this date, December 10th, 2004, after years of being shut-out from his life’s profession and his passion, investigative reporting. Almost from the day Webb had his “Dark Alliance” story published in the newspaper he worked at the time, the institutional harassment began. Webb did not realize the importance of what he had written, but the intellectuals he had come to despise for their cynicism – Noam Chomsky, Ben Bagdikian – turned out to be correct, much to Webb’s chagrin. The fix was in, the game was rigged and the lyrics to Leonard Cohen’s song, “Everybody Knows,” were pathetically spot-on. The realization that the Beast had long ago taken over all the key aspects of American life proved to be too much for a man whose career had sailed high only to come crashing down around his ears. Webb’s career and his dream of making a difference in the country that he loved died as soon as he put a pen to paper.
I feel a kinship with Webb because at precisely the same time of Webb’s final despair my own long-term career in Information Technology had come crashing down around my ears for many of the same reasons: I had dared to tell the truth and to stick to my guns. My friends came to my aid and removed all of my weapons from my household while I was in the shower, washing off the sticky feeling that I would be worth more dead than alive. In the “upside down” world of the Bush Years, telling the truth did more than get a person disinvited from the usual cocktail parties and polite company; telling the truth could be deadly. Being honest and forthright in the Bush Years meant that you could not be trusted to hold up your end of the “long con” that had been going on since 1932. That was the year that Marine General Smedley Butler learned the truth about the country he had sacrificed so much for, the year that he started turning over state’s evidence to Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Administration that fascism was as American as Apple Pie – just ask Charles Lindbergh, Henry Ford or Harvey Firestone. Adolph Hitler was an affable fellow and a good man – perhaps a tad misunderstood, but still – a top-notch gentleman of the Anglo Saxon variety. The fix was in even way back then, and some would suggest even earlier. Webb’s petty dream of having a job, making a difference and loving what he did for a living was as foolhardy as my own. Imagine an American going to work every day and loving it! Preposterous! Such things are the private estate of the rich and famous, not the working class schmuck.
You can read Webb’s Dark Alliance series here. The fact that the CIA continues to use drugs to finance its black operations and conduct US foreign policy behind the backs of the citizens who will ultimately be held responsible for that foreign policy no longer matters. What was crucial is that we all watched Gary Webb dehumanized, demoralized and humiliated, but did nothing to keep hope alive in him. We allowed our country to be stolen by a cabal of fascist thugs who proceeded to insist that human beings be detained and tortured with or without cause; that human beings have no actual rights other than the ones the Banking industry deigns to extend to us; and that The Journalist Gary Webb must pay for his impudent reliance on truth with a life hollowed out and rendered meaningless because the evil cabal deemed it just.
A crime as old as history has been committed against the People of the World and no one in a position to give a rip bothered to lift a finger, bothered to choose a path other than the one chosen by Simon Peter two thousand years before. “I did not know the man, I say to you, and I deny I ever did.” So much easier, is it not, when we can ascribe these behaviors to mere Jews rather than to people of power and moment, regardless of ethnicity, in any metropolis or hamlet anywhere in this hellish Whoville we call Planet Earth.
I mourn the loss of Gary Webb, but more than that, I mourn the loss of our collective humanity and the spirit that coursed through the veins of Smedley Butler in 1932 when he drew a line in the sand against the men whose mere fiduciary interests he had fought and nearly died to advance and defend. I mourn how the Congressional commission Butler had helped to create became twisted and distorted into a bludgeon that Senator Joe McCarthy used to attack liberals and progressives rather than the fascist businessmen who had financed Hitler and Germany’s rise to power. These men of finance, power and political moment laundered Hitler’s money and profited from the deaths of every young American man and woman who fought and died in Europe, in North Africa and in the Pacific theater – and yet we allowed these pieces of human waste to walk among us freer than the freest among us, even defending their family name while their progeny went on to commit acts so far outside the bounds of moral turpitude as to render them a distinct subspecies among Homo sapiens.
In the end, Webb saw what we are seeing right this very moment in American politics and could no longer bear the misery of so far a fall in so short a span of time. Remember his name whenever you allow an ignorant Fox News Dittohead to repeat lies and slanders against the great progressives of history, against the memory of those who died on the beaches of Normandy so that we could breathe the breath of freedom but one last time.