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  • Dark Alliance

  • The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion
  • By: Gary Webb
  • Narrated by: Christian Rummel
  • Length: 20 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Americas
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (39 ratings)

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Summary

In July 1995, San Jose Mercury-News reporter Gary Webb found the Big One - the blockbuster story every journalist secretly dreams about - without even looking for it. A simple phone call concerning an unexceptional pending drug trial turned into a massive conspiracy involving the Nicaraguan Contra rebels, L.A. and Bay Area crack cocaine dealers, and the Central Intelligence Agency. For several years during the 1980s, Webb discovered, Contra elements shuttled thousands of tons of cocaine into the United States, with the profits going toward the funding of Contra rebels attempting a counterrevolution in their Nicaraguan homeland. Even more chilling, Webb quickly realized, was that the massive drug-dealing operation had the implicit approval - and occasional outright support - of the CIA, the very organization entrusted to prevent illegal drugs from being brought into the United States.

Within the this audiobook version of Dark Alliance, Webb produces a massive amount of evidence that suggests that such a scenario did take place, and more disturbing evidence that the powers that be that allowed such an alliance are still determined to ruthlessly guard their secrets. Webb's research is impeccable - names, dates, places, and dollar amounts gather and mount with every page, eventually building a towering wall of evidence in support of his theories.

After the original series of articles ran in the Mercury-News in late 1996, both Webb and his paper were so severely criticized by political commentators, government officials, and other members of the press that his own newspaper decided it best not to stand behind the series, in effect apologizing for the assertions and disavowing his work. Webb quit the paper in disgust in November 1997. This audiobook serves as both a complex memoir of the time of the Contras and an indictment of the current state of America's press; Dark Alliance is as necessary and valuable as it is horrifying and grim.

©1999 Gary Webb (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

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    5 out of 5 stars

The truth behind the conspiracy theories

If you are interested in the crack conspiracy this is the book you should get it lays out the compelling facts behind this theory. While also, presenting the history of this period plainly and removing the shroud of misinformation and mystery and lays the truth bare.

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awesome insight

really enjoyed the book that helps flesh out events in the 80s that were not well reported by some mainstream journos

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Shocking Revelations RIP Gary Webb. Truth will out

Well worth the wait. Gary delivers deadpan lines, after a wealth of facts and documents to prove them, lines like, US flew Nicaraguan cocaine on US transport planes into the US. Then via their paid agents including Danilo Blandon, sold massive amounts of cocaine to Rickie Ross, undercutting other suppliers. Whilst in the White House and the Senate they were raising the penalties for crack up to 100 times that for cocaine. Thus simultaneously flooding communities with cheap crack and locking up people on 10 years plus sentences. These people became the modern day slaves, where convicts in the US are exempt from 13th Amendment. Later when Rickie Ross was released Danilo was used to entrap Rickie and he was locked up for life without parole under the three strikes law. So many layers to this story, revealing the corruption at the highest levels of Government.

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exceptional read

brilliantly told tale of Government led corruption. an embarrassing set of facts that show crack epidemics is L.A. are the result of CIA backed programmes.... but never mind, at least the USA prison systems are full so fat cats are happy and rich.... shame on you CIA

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Not what I was expecting

Would you try another book written by Gary Webb or narrated by Christian Rummel?

Narration was fantastic!

I was expecting more of a story. Less of a statement

Was Dark Alliance worth the listening time?

After about an hour the listening became easier. Once I had become more accustomed to the bombardment of facts.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Matthew Smith
  • 25-09-15

Dense, thorough and complicated

This book offered some tough sledding at times for the reader and with good cause. After years of editors trying to trim essential elements of the story, Gary Webb finally had his chance to tell the story his way.

Others have correctly stated that this book is not a casual read and I concur. What it is is a story of bad timing, bad decisions and what became a bad epidemic. It is also the story of a glimpse at the Internet's capacity to disseminate truth in it's most ideal form and how hard it is to continue to champion the cause of truth with entrenched interests at work.

I would suggest this book for students of history, those looking for an even-handed approach to the extent of CIA involvement in the spread of the crack cocaine epidemic of the 1980s, and those looking to further their research into the Iran-Contra affair. There are clearly drawn conclusions, but there are still a lot of questions left to be answered. Thanks to Webb, we have an excellent starting point.

10 people found this helpful

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  • SPS
  • 06-07-14

Fascinating and complicated story

What did you love best about Dark Alliance?

The drug story is fascinating and sounds well researched, but it is sometimes hard to keep up with all of the people in audio form. If I were reading it, I would probably flip back and forth to remind myself of people.

Which character – as performed by Christian Rummel – was your favorite?

I did not care for the voices to indicate different speakers although the Sam Nunn accent was pretty good. I am a bit of a nitpicker on pronunciation, and there were a couple of issues--Lawton Chiles pronounced as Chill-ays and the Medellin cartel pronounced almost as medallion.

Otherwise, I liked the narration--appropriate inflection and easy to follow.

21 people found this helpful

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  • Lucien
  • 18-01-14

Rude Awakening

My first experience with politics was sitting with an elderly women watching the Iran Contra Trials on C-Span. I was 4 or 5 and extremely bored. So when I saw this book I thought it would shed some light on what I was watching as a child. I was not prepared for this story. The story is amazingly riveting, backed up with evidence, you begin to gain respect for Rick Ross.

32 people found this helpful

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  • Betty Holzwarth
  • 31-12-14

Not the first or last time unfortunately

Where does Dark Alliance rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Similar to The Company: A Novel of the CIA by Robert Littell. It is a story that is disturbing on many levels.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Dark Alliance?

How the news media is often complicit in covering up the truth.

Which character – as performed by Christian Rummel – was your favorite?

The author, Gary Webb.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

No, from living through this time it was what I remember, but with more facts.

Any additional comments?

This does show one of the things I have always marveled at, the drug epidemic in the US follows the types of drugs produced in areas where we have involvement. In the 60's it was Thai sticks and South East Asian drug products. In the 80's and 90's it was Cocaine. Now, it is Heroin from Afghanistan and other drugs from that region. I am always amazed that the news media reports the problems that the drugs cause but generally fails to tie the source of the drugs to the stories. Of course that would be considered as undermining the political effort. I have always thought that either the reporters are incompetent or in league with the current administration. This makes the case that they appear to just want to go with the flow when things get tough.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 22-03-14

Gripping complicated story

What made the experience of listening to Dark Alliance the most enjoyable?

As the child of the 1980's I vaguely remember hearing phrases like Iran/Contra/ & something about how crack was the latest plague of the far off innner cities. It was a treat -as an adult- to finally hear the entire story in such an engaging format.

What about Christian Rummel’s performance did you like?

What can I say- the man's a master.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes.

15 people found this helpful

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  • David Campbell
  • 25-05-20

Must Read

The historical context of this book and the implications laid put withing its contents are worth going over. It matters because if illegal funds and drugs were allowed to flow through USA with direct knowledge by some in the Government....Draw your own conclusions once you've read it and follow it up with some readings and viewing of the same documents and testimonies that are available that Webb used. Truly remarkable work and true old school investigative journalism that is become seldom seen today. Too bad Gary flew too close to the sun and paid the ultimate price for his work.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Paul
  • 07-01-19

CIA complicit and cocaine trafficking in the 1980s

Gary Webb masterfully investigated, researched and unequivocally documented his findings, regarding CIA, FBI and top government officials, funding of Nicaraguan Contra Rebels through the sale of millions of dollars cocaine into the United States.

This book is a must read, as it gives the reader depth and knowledge of the corrupt and covert actions that took place in the 80s and 90s, and continue to take place in 2017 to current date.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Joel
  • 15-03-15

Excellent but not a casual listen

One of the best nonfiction narrations I've ever listened too and a fascinating, very thorough storyline. However the many digressions and complications mean you really have to pay attention. Great for long car trips or long quiet evenings. Not the best choice for listening in short bursts.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Parola138
  • 05-11-14

an easy 5 star

5 stars for the perfect narration. 5 stars for the compelling, deep-digging investigative work. This book blew my mind to put it lightly. The only con about it is that dozens of Hispanic names are thrown at you that you'll most likely forget and mix up save for the few key players. If you ever wondered why everyone in modern America was on crack in the 90's, well, this will pretty much answer it for you. And you'll also find out what happens to your stolen cars!

3 people found this helpful

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  • Susie
  • 28-04-14

Bigger than You Thought

“So that they may know at what altars their communities were sacrificed.”

This book is going to blow your mind. Some conspiracies are worse than the rumors.

In the early nineties, while investigating the Crack pandemic in L.A., Gary Webb was led further and further down the rabbit hole, finding evidence of the CIA’s involvement in drug trafficking to fund the Iran Contras everywhere he looked.

Webb pursued this story with exhaustive investigation, at the expense of his career. He was hung out to dry by the San Jose Mercury News when the government pushed back, but he collected his research and published this book.

Dark Alliance confirms all your worst suspicions about the CIA and the US’s secret wars. Funding their wars with the money and blood of the nation’s most downtrodden communities. Nicely done Reagan.

36 people found this helpful