Whiteout: The CIA, Drugs and The Press

Overview

A shocking expose of the CIA’s role as drug baron. On March 18, 1998, the CIA’s Inspector General, Fred Hitz, told astounded US Reps that the CIA had maintained relationships with companies and individuals that the Agency knew to be involved in the drug business. More shocking was the revelation that the CIA had received from Reagan’s Justice Department clearance not to report any knowledge it might have of drug-dealing by CIA assets. Many years’ worth of CIA denials, much of it under oath to Congress, were sunk....
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Overview

A shocking expose of the CIA’s role as drug baron. On March 18, 1998, the CIA’s Inspector General, Fred Hitz, told astounded US Reps that the CIA had maintained relationships with companies and individuals that the Agency knew to be involved in the drug business. More shocking was the revelation that the CIA had received from Reagan’s Justice Department clearance not to report any knowledge it might have of drug-dealing by CIA assets. Many years’ worth of CIA denials, much of it under oath to Congress, were sunk. Hitz’s admissions made fools of some of the most prominent names in US journalism and vindicated others that had been ruined. Particularly resonant was the case of the San Jose Mercury News, which published a sensational series on CIA involvement in the smuggling of cocaine into black urban neighborhoods, and then under pressure conspired in the destruction of its own reporter, Gary Webb. In Whiteout, Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair finally put the whole story together, from the earliest days, when the CIA’s institutional ancestors cut a deal with America’s premier gangster and drug trafficker, Lucky Luciano. This is a thrilling history that stretches from Sicily in 1944 to the killing fields of Laos and Vietnam, to CIA safe houses in Greenwich Village and San Francisco where CIA men watched Agency-paid prostitutes feed LSD to unsuspecting clients. We meet Oliver North, as he plotted with Manuel Noriega and Central American gangsters. We travel to little-known airports in Costa Rica and Arkansas. We hear from drug pilots and accountants from the Cali Cartel. We learn of DEA agents whose careers were ruined because they tried to tell the truth. Cockburn and St. Clair show how the CIA’s complicity with drug-dealing criminal gangs was part and parcel of its attacks on labor organizers, whether on the docks of New York, Marseilles, or Shanghai. They trace how the Cold War and counter-insurgency led to an alliance between the Agency and the vilest of war criminals like Klaus Barbie, or fanatic opium traders like the mujahedin in Afghanistan. Cockburn and St. Clair horrifyingly affirm charges of outraged black communities that the CIA had undertaken enduring programs of experiments on minorities. They show that the CIA imported Nazi scientists straight from their labs at Dachau and Buchenwald and set to work, developing chemical and biological agents, tested on blacks, some of them in mental hospitals. Cockburn and St. Clair dissect the shameful way American journalists have not only turned a blind eye to the Agency’s misdeeds, but also helped plunge the knife into those who tried to tell the truth. Fact-packed and fast-paced, Whiteout is a richly detailed excavation of the CIA’s dirtiest secrets. For anyone who wants to know the real truth about the Agency, this is the book to start with.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Cockburn and St. Clair present a litany of CIA misdeeds, from the recruitment of Nazi scientists after WWII to the arming of opium traffickers in Afghanistan. All of this is extremely well documented ... A chilling history that many will take issue with of what the CIA has been up to in the past 50 years.”—KIRKUS

“A solid, pitiless piece of muckraking, ... Cockburn and St. Clair raise troubling questions about the role of a largely secretive government agency in a democratic society.”—San Diego Union Tribune

“A probing examination of the CIA’s chilling history of coddling major drug traffickers, gangsters and Nazi psychopaths.”—Philadelphia Tribune

“A convincing, well-researched, comprehensive condemnation of the CIA.”—Maximum Rock 'N Roll

Kirkus Reviews
An investigative report on the CIA's involvement in drug dealing and other nefarious deeds and the failure of the press to expose them. Nation columnist Cockburn and St. Clair (co-writer with Cockburn and Ken Silverstein of the newsletter Counterpunch) begin their tale with an account of Gary Webb's series in the San Jose Mercury News on the CIA's connection with drug cartels in Latin America. The series set off a firestorm in the African-American community, as it appeared the US government was involved in bringing the plague of crack cocaine to poor black communities. The mainstream press, the New York Times. Washington Post, etc. pilloried Webb, attacking the accuracy of his reporting and accusing him of fanning 'black paranoia.' In the final chapter of the book, however, the authors offer an analysis of a subsequent CIA report that by and large substantiated Webb's charges. The theme of the book is clear: the CIA acts badly, the mainstream press not only ignores but protects the CIA, yet it turns out the CIA is usually guilty of doing whatever it has been accused of. Cockburn and St. Clair present a litany of CIA misdeeds, from the recruitment of Nazi scientists after WWII to the arming of opium traffickers in Afghanistan. All of this is extremely well documented; much of it is well known, or should be. Yet what they do not do, despite the promise of the title, is spend much time on the press. Questions remain unanswered, under-theorized: Why does so much of the press seem subservient to the CIA? What are the mechanisms underlying this relationship? Does the CIA buy off the press, are reporters on the CIA payroll, or is there simply a cultural andclass affinity between the press and the CIA that makes bribing unnecessary? A chilling history, that many will take issue with, of what the CIA has been up to the past 50 years, but disappointing in its analysis.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781859841396
  • Publisher: Verso Books
  • Publication date: 9/3/1998
  • Pages: 408
  • Product dimensions: 6.53 (w) x 9.65 (h) x 1.13 (d)

Meet the Author

Alexander Cockburn co-edits CounterPunch with Jeffrey St. Clair. Together they have written Whiteout: The CIA, Drugs and the Press and A Dime’s Worth of Difference: Beyond the Lesser of Two Evils.

Jeffrey St. Clair co-edits CounterPunch with Alexander Cockburn. Together they have written Whiteout: The CIA, Drugs and the Press and A Dime’s Worth of Difference: Beyond the Lesser of Two Evils.

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Table of Contents

Preface
1. Webb's Big Story
2. Counterattack
3. The History of "Black Paranoia"
4. Introducing the CIA
5. Lucky's Break
6. Paperclip: Nazi Science Heads West
7. Klaus Barbie and the Cocaine Coup
8. Dr. Gottlieb's House of Horrors
9. The US Opium Wars: China, Burma and the CIA
10. Armies and Addicts: Vietnam and Lasos
11. Making Afghanistan Safe for Opium
12. The CIA, Drugs and Central America
13. The Arkansas Connection: Mena
14. The Hidden Life of Free Trade: Mexico
15. The Uncover-up
Index
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