Not having yet seen Kill the Messenger

I was going to wait until I actually saw the movie Kill the Messenger to write about it, but it plays late in the day, and we don’t usually go to movies unless they play early afternoon. (My God, I’ve become a senior citizen! Soon I’ll be grabbing early bird specials in restaurants!) I might, on my own, take a trip down the hill, but I don’t really need to see this movie to write about some important aspects of it.

Robert Ludlum (1927-2001)
Robert Ludlum (1927-2001)

  • Jeremy Renner: I enjoyed the work of Robert Ludlum. He had inside knowledge of spycraft, and wrote about hard and chiseled people who were never who they appeared to be. There were no good guys in Ludlum’s work except the occasional amateur two got trapped in events over his head. When Ludlum died, his name was trademarked and other people began to write using it, and the work turned to crap. I wish his estate had let his body of work stand on its own.

    Jason Bourne was an important character in Ludlum’s work, the only one ever to appear in more than one book. He wakes up on a beach not knowing who he is, and slowly discovers he has abilities and knowledge beyond the ordinary person. I wondered if Ludlum was seditiously inferring that Bourne was part of MKULTRA, the CIA mind control program (MK – “Mind Kontrol” has a nice German ring to it.) Matt Damon became Jason Bourne in our minds, and I enjoyed those movies, like everyone. When the fourth movie was to be made without Damon, I only watched reluctantly. renner as crossJeremy Renner playeld Aaron Cross, a man like Bourne. As I watched the movie unfold, I realized that Renner was good, the script and casting was excellent, and the chase scene in Manila at the end one of the best I’d ever seen.

    My favorite movie of all time was The Fugitive with Harrison Ford. The Bourne Legacy takes second place now. I know these are not deep and artistic movies, but if they are on the screen, I drop everything and watch them. I cannot not watch. That’s my criteria for “favorite.”

    Jeremy Renner, to my surprise, used his own resources to get Kill the Messenger made, as it had languished around Hollywood for over a decade. He thought it was important.

  • Gary Webb: In 1996 I had only had internet for a little while in my office, and was one of seven million people to go to the San Jose Mercury News website to download Webb’s Dark Alliance series. Since San Jose is in Silicon Valley, it only made sense that the little newspaper had developed a model website, complete with the ability to link to every footnote in a story. Readers were able to judge for themselves whether or not sources were legitimate and accurately used. Using a dial-up connection, I downloaded the whole series and printed it, a first for me and so many others.

    dark allianceWebb wrote about something that was already on record, Iran Contra, that typical of American scandals, something we only surface-skimmed. He uncovered just one small part of it, that the Nicaraguan Contras, thugs and terrorists from the Somoza regime, were cut off from US government funding by the Boland Amendment, so that CIA turned to its well-documented alternative means of funding, drug running, to raise the necessary cash to supply arms to them. In so doing, crack cocaine, which Congress had been warned about in the late 1970’s, made its first serious inroads into American culture, and became epidemic in the black neighborhoods of Los Angeles. Webb wrote about the means and methods of getting it into the country, and how the money made its way back to the Contras.

    San Jose Mercury News is a small newspaper, but because the Internet was used and was so effective, the story had legs. It traveled and made headlines to the point where John Deutch, Director of Central Intelligence under Clinton, had to travel to LA and face an angry black crowd and lie to them about what had happened. He didn’t get away with it, was caught in the lies. Here’s what happened:

    CIA has assets in all major newspapers, as documented by the Church Committee and reported by (real) journalist Carl Bernstein in 1977. Some, like Judith Miller or Anderson Cooper, are easy to spot, but most are mere moles, perhaps never doing anything more than watching what goes on and reporting back to the agency. With the Gary Webb matter, they came out in droves. The LA Times assigned seventeen reporters to its “Get Gary Webb” project. The NY Times and Washington Post all got into the act too. They did what American journalists do so well, attacking anyone who practices real journalism. They destroyed Webb. He was demoted at the Mercury News, and eventually blacklisted, unable to get a job on any newspaper in the country.

    Webb committed suicide in 2004. I had trouble accepting that he had done so, as when the CIA does not like someone, a staged suicide is but one means of assassination. What I have read since of the circumstances of his life indicate that this indeed is what happened. At age 49 he could no longer support himself in his profession, even as he had won so many awards for his excellent work. He was living with his mother. End of story, I suppose, except …

“Anyone can commit a murder, but it takes an expert to commit a suicide.” (Bill Corson, CIA agent)

We have living right among us professional liars, murderers, assassins, terrorists. They are centered in Langley, Virginia. Even though their Assassination Manual is public now, we don’t talk about it or them. When Agency enemies die, the mere fact that people know that CIA murders people is usually enough to keep people quiet. They have countless means at their disposal of eliminating enemies, and drugs that induce severe suicidal depression are among them.

Gary Webb
Gary Webb
Did they get to Webb in this manner? Of course I don’t know, can’t know, never will know. Just remember that the Agency is composed of thugs, murderers, liars, terrorists, and that killing people is one of the things they do best, with their second-best activity being the cover-up. So I will always suspect that Gary Webb was undone 1) by American journalists, who know nothing about journalism, and 2) by the CIA, which might have led him down the path of blacklisting so that he could not work his trade. The Agency also might well have found a way to inject him with a drug that induces suicidal depression. I do not give the Agency the benefit of any doubt. Ever.

But judge for yourself. Here’s a one-hour and twenty-four minute interview with Webb from 2001. In it he is bright, quick, well-versed, alert and possessed of a fully functioning memory. The man is anything but depressed. In short, he exhibits all the skills that made him an excellent journalist, and not a hint of depression.

The last movie* in which CIA featured prominently was the piece of excrement called ARGO, a lie spun into a bigger lie, poorly acted, obviously green-screened, and then given best picture honors even as it wasn’t even a candidate for special effects. (There was one accurate and undeniable fact as portrayed in that movie: Tehran does indeed have an airport. That’s about it, however.)

Kill the Messenger also features CIA prominently. I wonder what treatment the Academy will give it. I’ll write more when I actually see it.
*Charlie Wilson’s War also appears to be based on a CIA-sponsored screenplay. That movie too was a lie, that one sugar coating CIA’s secret war that devastated Afghanistan in the 1980’s.

7 thoughts on “Not having yet seen Kill the Messenger

  1. I was living in Santa Cruz at the time and working with, among other people, Nicaraguan Contra supporters over in Santa Clara in the free PG&E weatherization program. i used to bring in Free Trade Sandinista coffee to the office as a joke and a protest. They all loved Reagan.

    Gary Webb never said the CIA ran dope. He said they looked the other way while the Contras and their local contractors ran dope and guns.

    The LA Times tried to use what you claimed (CIA ran drugs) as a straw man to discredit Webb. They made the strawman claim that there was no evidence the CIA ran drugs. Webb never claimed there was. He said there was evidence the CIA looked the other way while the contras did the actual work.

    Webb also documented that the US Contra cocaine source also became the first adapters to the crack cocaine form of processing, and thus early fueled the crack cocaine epidemic in the US. as well as sent millions back to the Contras in the form of guns and lawyers.

    How could we possibly know if someone killed him directly or just indirectly by taking away everything he was and did? He was a great reporter.


    1. CIA was able to use intermediaries, including an MBA from Nicaragua, and CIA transportation assets were used. Webb makes all of that very clear in the interview that I linked. In the YouTube Michael Ruppert makes very, very clear that CIA was involved in drug operations, no distancing. He named names. The link above to the McCoy book Politics of Heroin also goes far beyond looking the other way, as CIA transportation moved heroin. I very clearly stated that we can never know that Webb was murdered or if he opted out, but I cited a prominent CIA agent whose says to the author Peter Janney (Mary’s Mosaic) that CIA has also advanced the art of suicide, that is, driving someone to suicide, and use of drugs to help that along were known and used.

      I stated that though we cannot know how it ended for him, that I never, ever give CIA the benefit of the doubt.


    2. PS: prior to 9/11, CIA was always careful to use foreign assets for torture, supervising if necessary, but keeping their own hands clean. In the same manner, they have “looked the other way” in drug running, except that CIA equipment is needed to transport the product and CIA influence is exerted to shot down any DEA or local law enforcement interference. This is what Ruppert was talking about.

      It’s a difference without a distinction. The attack on Webb by the big newspapers was unethical, unfounded, and designed to discredit and destroy him, and not for any other reason than that he had committed the crime of journalism (find out what powerful people are doing, report to us about it), not allowed at those papers.

      A memorandum of understanding between CIA and DEA essentially validated Webb, and I remember even Cockburn at the time saying that Webb had not uncovered anything new, but merely assembled what was already known but under and unreported.

      I took your tone to be to be harsher than it actually was. Oops.


  2. No problem. I didn’t take offense. Webb reported/corroborated what the Christic Institute had been saying for a while and he expanded on the context with his connection to FWY Ricky and the rise of crack cocaine in black ghettos. He made it ‘in the newspaper’ and as such, main stream.

    And of course there was also the poor pant-less contractor caught by the Sandinistas who helped start it all.


      1. I like this line:

        Leen says is not true. Leen makes no reference to the groundbreaking AP story in 1985 or other disclosures in the ensuing years. He just insists that “the extraordinary proof” was lacking–which it may have been for him, given his lackluster abilities.

        It is annoying that in that profession lackluster abilities are the road to success.


  3. “You show me where a man gets his corn pone and I’ll tell you his ‘pinions!”

    Paraphrased from Mark Twain’s essay Corn Pone Opinions.


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