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Guns_and_butter_logoLUMPENPROLETARIAT—On this week’s edition of free speech radio’s Guns and Butter, host Bonnie Faulkner presented another discussion with author Douglas Valentine.  On last week’s edition, Valentine discussed the U.S. government’s experimental CIA-military programme called Phoenix, which he wrote about in The Phoenix Program: America’s Use of Terror in Vietnam (1990).

On this week’s edition Valentine discussed his most recent book, CIA as Organized Crime: How Illegal Operations Corrupt America and the World (2017).  Guns and Butter host Bonnie Faulkner opened this interview by asking Valentine about Major Bruce Lawlor, who was recruited into the CIA, whilst at college in Washington, D.C.  Lawlor, then, became an agent handler.  Lawlor, reported Valentine, was sent to Vietnam in 1971 to work with the Special Branch of the South Vietnamese police to oppose and penetrate the communist Viet-Cong insurgency and their sympathisers.  Valentine, referencing his article ‘The Clash of Icons‘, described the lawlessness of the CIA agents operating in Vietnam during the early 1970s and the atrocities they committed in their counterterrorism efforts with their armed propaganda teams.  Interestingly, Dr. Daniel Ellsberg, of Pentagon Papers fame, is implicated in the decadence and corruption of CIA agents in Vietnam during the early Vietnam/American War.  Valentine went on to also discuss how the CIA later managed to capture the DEA and squash all remnants of resistance to their insidious ‘spook’ culture of secrecy and lawlessness.  Valentine noted that journalist Gary Webb was clearly made an example of, for exposing the CIA’s corrupt operations, which included distribution of cocaine, which fed a crack cocaine epidemic on American streets from the 1980s onward. [1]  Listen (and/or download) here. [2]

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GUNS AND BUTTER—[18 JAN 2017]  [station identification announcements by Erica Bridgeman(sp?)]

[Guns and Butter theme music]

DOUGLAS VALENTINE:  “The only way we can get these bad guys is to be worse than them, to be more devious.  And that’s how crime and law enforcement become indistinguishable.  And the tactics, that are used in crime and law enforcement are exactly the same, except that one group wears the mantle of legitimacy.”  (c. 1:05)

BONNIE FAULKNER:  “I’m Bonnie Faulkner.  Today on Guns and Butter:  Douglas Valentine.  Today’s show: ‘How the CIA Corrupts the System’.  Douglas Valentine is the author of several works of historical non-fiction, including The Phoenix Program: America’s Use of Terror in Vietnam, about the CIA in Vietnam; and The Strength of the Wolf [2004], and The Strength of the Pack [2009], which discuss the history of federal drug law enforcement.  He also edited a poetry anthology, With Our Eyes Wide Open: Poems of the New American Century.  Today, we discuss his latest bookThe CIA as Organized Crime: How Illegal Operations Corrupt America and the World.

“Douglas Valentine, welcome.” (c. 1:54)

DOUGLAS VALENTINE:  “Thank you very much for having me on your show.”

[additional notes/transcription pending]

[snip] (c. 59:59)

Learn more at GUNS AND BUTTER.

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[1]  Journalist Gary Webb (August 31, 1955 – December 10, 2004) was an American investigative journalist.

He began his career working for newspapers in Kentucky and Ohio, winning numerous awards and building a strong reputation for investigative writing.  Hired by the San Jose Mercury News, Webb contributed to the paper’s Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of the Loma Prieta earthquake.  Webb is best known for his “Dark Alliance” series, which appeared in the Mercury News in 1996.  The series examined the origins of the crack cocaine trade in Los Angeles and claimed that members of the anti-communist Contra rebels in Nicaragua had played a major role in creating the trade, using cocaine profits to support their struggle.  It also suggested that the Contras may have acted with the knowledge and protection of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).  The “Dark Alliance” series provoked outrage, particularly in the Los Angeles African-American community, and led to four major investigations of its charges.

“Dark Alliance” became even more controversial when the Los Angeles Times and Los Angeles Times and other major papers published articles suggesting its claims were overstated.  After an internal review, the Mercury News ultimately published a statement in May 1997 acknowledging shortcomings in the series’ reporting and editing. Webb resigned from the Mercury News in December 1997. He became an investigator for the California State Legislature, publishing a book based on the “Dark Alliance” series in 1998, and doing freelance investigative reporting. Webb committed suicide on December 10, 2004.[1]

The “Dark Alliance” series remains controversial. Critics view the series’ claims as inaccurate or overstated, while supporters point to the results of a later CIA investigation as vindicating the series.  Criticism has also been directed at the follow up reporting in the Los Angeles Times and other papers for focusing on problems in the series, rather than re-examining the earlier CIA-Contra claims.[2]

Although Gary Webb’s death was officially ruled a suicide, he was found dead at home with two gunshot wounds to the head.  Webb, it seems, would be the first person in recorded history to kill himself by shooting himself in the head twice.  John F. Kennedy, it is well known, opposed the CIA prior to his assassination.  It seems dissent against the CIA can be hazardous in the USA.  Extraordinary executions, such as these, merit particularly rigorous research and investigation.

Webb was found dead in his Carmichael home on December 10, 2004 with two gunshot wounds to the head.  His death was ruled suicide by the Sacramento County coroner’s office.[68]  After a local paper reported that he had died from multiple gunshots, the coroner’s office received so many calls asking about Webb’s death that Sacramento County Coroner Robert Lyons issued a statement confirming Webb had committed suicide.[69]  When asked by local reporters about the possibility of two gunshots being a suicide, Lyons replied:  “It’s unusual in a suicide case to have two shots, but it has been done in the past, and it is in fact a distinct possibility.”  News coverage noted that there were widespread rumors on the Internet at the time that Webb had been killed as retribution for his ‘Dark Alliance’ series, published eight years before, but Webb’s ex-wife Susan Bell told reporters that she believed Webb had committed suicide.[69]  “The way he was acting it would be hard for me to believe it was anything but suicide,” she said.  According to Bell, Webb had been unhappy for some time over his inability to get a job at another major newspaper.  He had sold his house the week before his death because he was unable to afford the mortgage.

After Webb’s death, a collection of his stories from before and after the “Dark Alliance” series were published.  The collection, The Killing Game: Selected Stories from the Author of Dark Alliance, was edited by Webb’s son, Eric.

[2]  Terrestrial radio transmission, 94.1 FM (KPFA, Berkeley, CA) with online simulcast and digital archiving:  Guns and Butter, this one-hour broadcast hosted by host Bonnie Faulkner, Wednesday, 18 JAN 2017, 13:00 PST.

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[19 JAN 2017]

[Last modified at 16:18 PST on 19 JAN 2017]

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