Posted on Thursday, May 29th, 2014 by Russ Fischer
One of the biggest government scandals of the 1980s was the Iran-Contra affair. That was the deal in arms were sold to Iran, with the proceeds from those sales funneled to Contra rebels fighting in Nicaragua. But arms sales weren’t the only funding tactic used to put guns in the hands of that Central American force. Contras also helped Colombians smuggle tons of cocaine into the US. It was sold as crack in Los Angeles, with money going back to the Contras. The CIA knew about the sales, and other official agencies helped prevent prosecution of those selling the drugs, so that the money got to the rebels.
It’s infuriating stuff. Right in the middle of the push for the D.A.R.E. anti-drug program and at the height of the War on Drugs, the so-called crack cocaine epidemic was facilitated by the same agencies who claimed to be fighting it. Much of the Contra-cocaine-CIA connection was uncovered by journalist Gary Webb, who wrote for the San Jose Mercury News. His reports were widely criticized at the time of publication in 1996. Despite the fact that those reports were eventually verified, his story does not end well. The film Kill the Messenger finds Jeremy Renner playing Webb, attempting to give him some new form of immortality. Watch the trailer for this sadly too-believable story below.