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CONTRIBUTION · 20th July 2013
Gary Webb: More Pieces In The Suicided Puzzle

By Charlene Fassa bavani,,, 12-11-5

"Any hack can safely rail away at foreign powers beyond the sea; but a good writer is a critic of the society he lives in."
- Edward Abbey

"An open and shut case..."

There comes a time when you just have to stand back and take a look at the big picture. This is one of those times. On the morning of December 10th 2004, 49 year old, Gary Webb was found dead in his modest, recently sold Carmichael, California home. Webb allegedly died from two self-inflicted gunshot wounds to the head from a .38 caliber pistol. The Sacramento coroner, Mr. Lyons, hastily ruled Webb's death a suicide heralded by his now infamous pronouncement: "It's unusual in a suicide case to have two shots," he said, "but it has been done in the past, and it is in fact a distinct possibility." Which brings up another possibility, as the Gershwin song goes, that "it ain't necessarily so." I'm referring to the lingering and distinct possibility - no make that probability - that Gary Webb was murdered.

While I agree with Mr. Lyons that it's unusual for a suicide to "have two shots" notice how cleverly Mr. Lyons fails to mention another more important detail such as it's virtually impossible to have a suicide case with two shots to the head via a .38 revolver? Think about that for a moment.

Doesn't this deceptive statement make one suspicious that a well orchestrated, top-down cover-up operation is underway? Or is this merely a minor oversight by a government official whose expertise is determining the cause of death? Here's what the iconoclastic, egdy, political commentator Vox had to say on December 23, 2004 about Webb's alleged 'suicide' that had occurred only a few days prior (posted on his website

Vox Excerpts
"... So we need to know who told the coroner to say it was suicide. The coroner knows who told him to say it was suicide and that person knows who told them to say it was suicide, and so on and so forth until you arrive at the group who ordered the hit. But to claim that after the first shot to the face the guy then re-cocks his pistol, aims and fires a second shot - it is impossible for a thinking person to accept this. And anyone with the skills that webb had would get it right the first time. No, this was a hit job... Either way it is impossible for a thinking person to accept... and that is the point.

Since the control mechanisms of human thought have been so completely implemented, there will be no questioning of anything as depicted on the news by the great masses of people, they simply accept, uncritically, that which is broadcast. Yet for the thinking people, the implausibility of the "Two Shot" story being a suicide is PRECISELY the point. They don't want thinking people to accept and believe that it was a suicide, that is precisely WHY they went with the two shot to the face story in the first place... er... third place.

It's designed to put a chill in the spines of those with the sensibilities and experience to detect this targeted threat meme. To put a chill in thinking people's spines. by saying, look, we can do what we want, and there is not a thing anyone can do about it. "just look at poor 'nutjob' gary, ha ha ha, imagine what it must have looked like, him getting off that second shot into his own face, ha ha ha." This is how they think. These are the methodologies of the illuminati, this is the very face of evil." (end of excerpts)

Or this from Robert Chambers of the UK Independent:

"I first heard about Webb eight years ago, ". . . from the Paris-based journalist Paul Moreira. Moreira ¬ a senior news producer for Canal Plus ¬ has established a reputation for courage and independence of mind in his own foreign reporting, and was recently described by Le Monde as "the Che Guevara of news media." Shortly before I left for Sacramento, Moreira, who knew Webb, had shown me unbroadcast footage which shows the French reporter making a phone call to a media commentator in the US, asking him about Webb's death."

" 'I told Gary not to go near this story," his source replies, in an emotional voice. " 'You do not understand the power of these people,' " he adds, referring to the US intelligence services. " 'Do not quote me. Do not quote me on anything. '"

"You sound very scared," Moreira remarks.

" 'I am scared," the voice replies. ' " 'Look at what happened to Gary Webb. Do something else with your life,' " the voice urges. " ' Like enjoy it.' "

Ted Gunderson: Retired FBI expert in analyzing and reconstructing crime scenes.

On Dec. 1, 2005 I spoke with Ted Gunderson about Webb's death. Mr. Gunderson is a retired FBI agent who enjoyed a distinguished career with the FBI that spanned 27 plus years. Prior to his retirement in 1979 Mr. Gunderson was a "senior special agent-in-charge" with a $22 million annual budget at his disposal and over 700 persons under his charge. Mr Gunderson told me, "my expertise is analyzing and reconstructing crime scenes." He said, "Gary Webb was MURDERED. "He (Webb) resisted the first shot {to the head that exited via jaw} so he was shot again with the second shot going into the head {brain}." I asked Mr. Gunderson what he thought about the "two shots" to the head suicide theory that posits Webb "simply missed " his brain with the first shot, so he had to shoot himself again, this time successfully hitting the brain with a .38 revolver? Without hesitation Gunderson exclaimed, "impossible!"

A colleague and one of Webb's mentors at the "Cleveland Plain Dealer schooled Webb: "The Big One was the reporter's Holy Grail, the tip that led you from the daily morass of press conferences and of cop calls and on to the trail of The Biggest Story You'd Ever Write, the one that would turn the rest of your career into an anticlimax."

" The Big One," Webb recollected, "would be like a bullet with your name on it. You'd never hear it coming." Unfortunately Webb's "Big One" turned out to be two bullets to the head.

Gary Webb speaks at the
Narco News School of Authentic Journalism
Photo D.R. Jeremy Bigwood 2003


Gary Webb believed that journalists were revolutionaries. In 2003 Gary shared his radical perspective about journalists with aspiring Journalism students while a guest instructor/editor at The Narco News School of Authentic Journalism in Mexico. Webb exclaimed: "Journalists are revolutionaries and don't let anyone tell you otherwise," Webb continued, "You have to fight to change the world." In a 2004 article entitled "Gary Webb is Dead," the author, Richard Thieme, revealed: "Gary spoke of his work in terms that I used for ministry. He had been mentored by a journalist who taught him that his work was to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable."

Excerpts from "Gary Webb is Dead"

In May 2000, I {Richard Thieme} was exploring a story with some dark edges to it. I was anxious and needed encouragement to persist. I asked Gary about the consequences of his investigation and its impact on his life. Above all, was it worth it?

"Yes," he said. "The CIA admitted it. I know it was the truth, and that's what kept me going. I knew I was right. He added, "My eyes were wide open. I knew what I was getting into. My kids suffered but I had the paper behind me - I thought." After his paper withdrew its support, he drew on the energy of people who knew the truth of the streets. "Support came from all sorts of places," he said. "Especially African Americans."

And his wife? "She was OK with it," he laughed. "She was used to me getting death threats."
(end of excerpts)


Where Angels Fear to Tread

In a 2004 BBC interview titled: "Voters' views: Gary Webb," (
Webb described himself as as an "author and a responsible anarchist" who, by the way, didn't vote. In other words, Gary had been forced to discard the comforting illusions most of us irrationally continue to harbor, while obsessively clinging to false notions of America as an exemplary, democratic republic with a "free press." It should be clear to most that at the time of his death Gary Webb had evolved into a high profile dissident, a full fledged "enemy of the state." Although it's true Webb wasn't the first journalist to uncover the CIA's extensive involvement in drug trafficking, he was the first mainstream journalist to uncover and publish his well documented findings in a major USA newspaper, revealing to the general public that the CIA's covert participation in drug trafficking had come home to roost in America.

Prior to Webb's "Dark Alliance" series there had been some coverage of the Contra drug story. In the beginning stages of researching "Dark Alliance", Webb had a conversation with Jack Blum, the "Washington D.C. attorney who headed the "Kerry investigation" (Dark Alliance p. 14-15). Blum reminded Webb that Associated Press reporters, Robert Parry and Brian Barger had covered the Contra drug story - " but they'd run into the same problems. Their stories were either trashed or ignored." (Dark Alliance p15). Speaking of Kerry, Webb comments that back in 1987-1988 the Contra Cocaine issue surfaced with a vengeance when a Congressional investigation chaired by Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts had "uncovered direct links between the drug dealers and the Contras." Webb explicates, "Kerry and his staff had taken videotaped depositions from Contra leaders who acknowledged receiving drug profits, with the apparent knowledge of the CIA." (Dark Alliance p.14)

Shortly after his conversation with Blum, Webb contacted Parry to get Parry's take on his unique story angle: the Contra, cocaine LA. connection. Webb reached him by phone. Parry admitted that as far as he knew Webb had stumbled across a fresh story angle, and he explained that the scope of his {Parry} Contra cocaine investigation had pretty much been limited to the "Costa Rica end of things." Webb pressed Parry for any advice or guidance he could offer him since Webb had never reported on a story like this before. Prophetically, like an old gypsy fortune teller, Parry warned Webb that his pursuit of the Contra cocaine story would most likely expose Webb to dangerous, dark undercurrents of power and deception. Parry proceeded to illustrate his prediction with a personally painful cautionary tale that Webb reconstructs in "Dark Alliance."

Parry excerpt:

There was a short silence on the other end of the phone. "How well do you get along with your editors?" Parry finally asked. (Webb) "Fine. Why do you ask?"

"Well when Brian and I were doing these stories we got our brains beat out." Parry sighed. "People from the adminstration were calling our editors, telling them we were crazy, that our sources were no good, that we didn't know what we were writing about. The Justice Department was putting out false press releases saying there was nothing to this, that they'd investigated and could find no evidence. We were being attacked in the Washington Times. The rest of the Washington press corps sort of pooh-poohed the whole thing, and no one else would touch it. So we ended up being out there all by ourselves, and eventually our editors backed away completely, and I ended-up quitting the AP. It was probably the most difficult time of my career." (Dark Alliance p.15)
(end of excerpt)

Another Bad Omen

Ainsworth excerpt:

Webb tracked down Dennis Ainsworth, a San Franscisco Contra supporter who had been interviewed by the FBI back in 1987. Here's what Ainsworth bluntly told Webb:

"Nobody in Washington wanted to look at this. Republican, Democrat, nobody. They wanted this story buried and anyone who looked any deeper into it go buried along with it, " Ainsworth said. "You're bringing up a very old nightmare. You have no idea what your touching on here, Gary, No idea at all."

"I think I've got a pretty good idea," I {Webb} said.

"Believe me, " he {Ainsworth} said patiently, "you don't understand." I almost got killed. I had friends in Central America who were killed. There was a Mexican Reporter who was looking into one end of this, and he wound up dead. So don't pretend you know." (Dark Alliance p.17)
(end of excerpt)

Of course, as we all know Webb listened politely and continued undaunted on "the road less travelled."

The Mighty Wurlitzer (CIA term for controlled media apparatus) and Plutocracy

Former CIA Director William Colby bragged that the CIA "owns everyone of any major significance in the major media."
(MOCKINGBIRD - The Subversion Of The Free Press By The CIA)

Plutocratic Elite Owned Media

And this from the American Free Press:

"In the old Soviet Union, the government controlled the media. Not a word of substance could be published without prior approval from the Bolshevik commissars. Today, in the United States, the situation is starkly similar. But most Americans don't even know it."

"In the United States today, it is a select handful of super-rich families and tightly-knit financial interests-a plutocratic elite-who own the Big Media and who control the government through their ownership of that media. . . ."

"Every single one of the major media outlets is controlled by this powerful interlocking combine." "ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Time, Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune-even such "regional" giants as The New Orleans Times-Picayune, The Miami Herald, The San Diego Herald-Tribune. . . . The list goes on and on."

"The so-called "mainstream" media is very much a "closed shop" and only those willing to do the bidding of the global power elite need apply. Tom Brokaw, Dan Rather and Peter Jennings and other puppets are just the public faces that the American people see." (end of excerpts)

Call me naive or hopelessly romantic, but I don't think Gary Webb was pining to be a mainstream Poodle reporter for the global elite. He had long ago disqualified himself from the corporate brand of cowed, careerist, narcissistic, and mediocre drivel that impersonates as authentic journalism. Those in the know understood that Webb's courage, integrity, and investigative prowess, as illustrated by the "Dark Alliance" series, posed a formidable threat to the invisible power structure, the fascist global network behind the scenes that controls the USA solely to enhance their bottom line and to advance their neo-feudal, globalization agenda at great expense to the American people and the entire world, albeit unknown to most.
So, do you really believe Webb killed himself because he couldn't get another job at major newspaper? Webb stated during a January 19,1999 Q & A session: "AND I'M PUTTING TOGETHER ANOTHER BOOK PROPOSAL, AND A COUPLE OF OTHER THINGS. I'M NOT GOING TO WORK FOR NEWSPAPERS ANYMORE. I LEARNED MY LESSON." Besides I can't imagine Webb didn't know that he was persona non grata as far as mainstream, investigative reporting was concerned.

Myth of the Free Press

Webb's comment: "Do we have a free press today? Sure. It's free to report all the sex scandals, all the stock market news, [and] every new health fad that comes down the pike. But when it comes to the real down and dirty stuff, stories like Tailwind, the October Surprise, the El Mozote massacre, corporate corruption, or CIA involvement in drug trafficking -- that's where we begin to see the limits of our freedoms. In today's media environment, sadly, such stories are not even open for discussion." (from the book "Into the Buzzsaw" edited by Kristina Borjesson)

Paradise found following your bliss

Webb: " In seventeen years of doing this, nothing bad had happened to me. I was never fired or threatened with dismissal if I kept looking under rocks I was winning awards, getting raises, lecturing college classes, appearing on TV shows, So how could I possibly agree with people who were claiming the system didn't work, that it was steered by powerful special interests and corporations, and existed to protect the power elite? Hell, the system worked just fine, as (far as) I could tell"

Paradise lost following your bliss

Webb continues,

"... And then I wrote some stories that made me realize how sadly misplaced my bliss had been. The reason I'd enjoyed such smooth sailing for so long hadn't been, as I'd assumed, because I was careful and diligent and good at my job. It turned out to have nothing to do with it. The truth was that, in all those years, I hadn't written anything important enough to suppress." (Webb, 'The Mighty Wurlitzer Plays On', in Kristina Borjesson, ed., Into The Buzzsaw - Leading Journalists Expose the Myth of a Free Press, Prometheus, 2002, pp.296-7)


Gary Webb was born August 31, 1955 into a conservative, Catholic military family (his father was a Marine) in Corona, California. He had only one sibling a younger brother: Kurt. After Gary's father retired from the Marines he found work as a security guard in Indiana. So the family relocated to a blue collar neighborhood in Indianapolis. That's when Gary began writing editorials for his school newspaper. It was at the tender age of around 15 that Webb discovered the truth behind the cliched saying " the pen is mightier than the sword" along with his lifelong love of controversy and truth telling.


Webb shares an episode from his younger days that reveals his initiation into the warrior writer caste, while speaking to a live audience (approximately 300) in Eugene, Oregon on January 16, 1999 :

Gary recalled: "I think I was fifteen (1970 or 1971), I was working for my high school paper, and I was writing editorials. This sounds silly now that I think about it, but I had written an editorial against the drill team that we had for the high school games, for the football gamesthey thought it was a cool idea to dress women up in military uniforms and send them out there to twirl rifles and battle flags at halftime. And I thought it was sort of outrageous and I wrote an editorial saying I thought it was one of the silliest things I'd ever seen..."

The editorial caused a brouhaha with the drill team girls who angrily demanded an apology. Naturally Gary refused even after a face to face meeting with the disgruntled ladies. Even after being threatened Gary stood his ground. "And my newspaper advisor called me the next day and said, "Gosh, that editorial you wrote has really prompted a response." And I said, "Great, that's the idea, isn't it?" And she said, "Well, it's not so great, they want you to apologize for it." [Laughter from the audience.]

I said, "Apologize for what?" And she said, "Well, the girls were very offended." And I said, "Well, I'm not apologizing because they don't want my opinion. You'll have to come up with a better reason than that." And she said, "Well, if you don't apologize, we're not going to let you into Quill & Scroll," which is the high school journalism society. And I said, "Well, I don't want to be in that organization if I have to apologize to get into it." [More laughter from the audience, scattered applause.]

Webb's adamant refusal to apologize, under intense peer pressure, to the the girls drill team foreshadowed his refusal decades later to recant, under even more intense pressure, for exposing the truth about the CIA, Contras, and crack/cocaine epidemic with his 1996 "Dark Alliance" series as an investigative journalist for the San Jose Mercury Newspaper. Webb's anecdotal story clearly demonstrates that his core career values never wavered, nor did his stubborn refusal to bow down to authoritative and politically correct dogma, regardless of the consequences.

Not only did Gary stand by his "Dark Alliance" series while at the San Jose Mercury, he eventually went a step further. After having been roundly criticized and eventually ostracized by virtually all the mainstream media pundits, his own newspaper turned against him, underscored by his editor's public denouncement of the series. As a result, Webb was forced to resign from the San Jose Mercury. On his own, Webb expanded his 3 part "Dark Alliance" series into a 500 page plus book, his tour de force : "Dark Alliance", published in 1998. There have been reports from reliable sources that, prior to his death, Webb had uncovered even more material related to his original "Dark Alliance'" investigations, and that he was in the process of completing another book about drug trafficking and the CIA. I believe the primary motive behind Webb's likely murder was to stop him from publishing his next investigative expose'.


After High School (1978-1979) Webb enrolled in Northern Kentucky University as a journalism major. He worked on the staff of the "Northern," the school newspaper. Unfortunately, he was forced by circumstances, specifically due to his father's skipping out on the family, to leave college early in order to help support his mother and younger brother, Kurt. At the time, Gary was living with his girlfriend and former high school sweetheart, Sue Bell. They were living in her parent's basement. Not surprisingly, Gary had a writing gig, at the time, reporting on the rock n' roll beat for a local, weekly rag. Shortly thereafter, Gary and Sue were married in a Unitarian Service. She was just 21 and he was 24. Together they went on to raise three children, two sons, Ian and Eric; and a daughter, Christine. Their marriage lasted an unbelievable, by todays standards, 21 years. Until Sue Bell divorced Webb in 2000.

Gary Webb's career track from the beginning was silky smooth, straight forward, and stunning. His first major career break was landing a job at the Kentucky Post. Early on Webb earned a reputation as an indefatigable researcher who dispensed truth and exposed corruption in a sincere effort to help restore the natural order of good triumphing over evil. Webb's next big break was working as a statehouse correspondent for the Cleveland Plain Dealer where he was nicknamed "the Carpenter", based on his superior ability to nail the facts down. Then circa 1987, Gary hit the big one, a staff position at the San Jose Mercury News, considered one of the top ten daily newspapers in the country. The rest is history, as they say.

Some of Gary Webb's Many Prestigious Awards:

* (1997) Media Hero Award, from the 2nd Annual Media & Democracy Congress.
* (1996) Journalist of the Year, Bay Area Society of Professional Journalists.
* (1994) H.L. Mencken Award, by The Free Press Association for the series in the San Jose Mercury News on abuses in the state of California's drug asset forfeiture program.
* (1990) Pulitzer Prize, in General News Reporting, awarded to the Staff of the San Jose Mercury News for its detailed coverage of the October 17, 1989, Bay Area earthquake and its aftermath. Webb worked with a team of 6 reporters including himself, on the Loma Prieta earthquake.
* (1980) Investigative Reporters and Editors Award (IRE), for co-authoring a 17-part series at the Kentucky Post in Covington, KY with Tom Scheffey on organized crime in the American coal industry.

Read it all with much more here
Warrior down!
Comment by Janice Robinson on 19th September 2013
Gary Webb,