Kamis, 05 Januari 2017

Review Kill The Messenger 2014

Review Kill The Messenger 2014Review film Terbaru - A reporter becomes the target of a vicious smear campaign that drives him to the point of suicide after he exposes the CIA's role in arming Contra rebels in Nicaragua and importing cocaine into California. Based on the true story of journalist Gary Webb.

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Douglas Farah was in El Salvador when the San Jose Mercury News broke a major story in the summer of 1996: The Nicaraguan Contras, a confederation of paramilitary rebels sponsored by the CIA, had been funding some of their operations by importing cocaine into the United States. One of their best customers was a man named Freeway Rick — Ricky Donnell Ross, then a Southern California dealer who was running an operation that the Los Angeles Times dubbed “the Wal-Mart of crack dealing.”

“My first thought was, Holy shit! because there’d been so many rumors in the region of this going on,” said Farah 12 years later. He’d grown up in Latin American and covered it for 20 years for The Washington Post. “There had always been these stories floating around about [the Contras] and cocaine. I knew [Contra leader] Adolfo Calero and some of the other folks there, and they were all sleazebags. You wouldn’t read the story and say, ‘Oh my god, these guys would never do that.’ It was more like, ‘Oh, one more dirty thing they were doing.’ So I took it seriously.”

The same would not hold true of most of Farah’s colleagues, either in the newspaper business in general or at the Post in particular. “If you’re talking about our intelligence community tolerating — if not promoting — drugs to pay for black ops, it’s rather an uncomfortable thing to do when you’re an establishment paper like the Post,” Farah told me. “If you were going to be directly rubbing up against the government, they wanted it more solid than it could probably ever be done.”

In the mid- to late ‘80s, a number of reports had surfaced that connected the Contras to the cocaine trade. The first was by Associated Press scribes Brian Barger and Robert Parry, who published a story in December 1985 that begins, “Nicaraguan rebels operating in northern Costa Rica have engaged in cocaine trafficking, in part to help finance their war against Nicaragua’s leftist government, according to U.S. investigators and American volunteers who work with the rebels.”

Only a few outlets followed Barger and Parry’s lead, including the San Francisco Examiner and the lefty mag In These Times, which both published similar stories in 1986, and CBS’s “West 57th” TV series, which did a segment in 1987. A Nexis search of the year following Barger and Parry’s revelation turns up a total of only four stories containing the terms “Contras” and “cocaine” — one of them a denial of the accusation from a Contra spokesperson. Stories popped up here and there over the next decade, but many of them make only oblique reference to a couldn’t-possibly-be-true conspiracy theory.

Then came the San Jose Mercury News piece, a 20,000-word three-parter by Pulitzer Prize–winning staffer Gary Webb published under the title “Dark Alliance.” “For the better part of a decade, a San Francisco Bay Area drug ring sold tons of cocaine to the Crips and Bloods street gangs of Los Angeles and funneled millions in drug profits to a Latin American guerrilla army run by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, a Mercury News investigation has found,” it begins.

The series initially received little attention from major media outlets, but it was eventually transported across the nation by the Internet and black talk radio. The latter put its own spin on the tale: That the U.S. government had deliberately spread crack to African-American neighborhoods to quell unruly residents. The Post newsroom was bombarded with phone calls asking why it was ignoring the story, the paper’s ombudsman later reported.

In response, the Post, The New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times would all weigh in with multiple articles claiming that Webb’s assertions were bunk. His career was effectively ruined, and even his own paper eventually disavowed “Dark Alliance,” despite having given it a cutting-edge online presentation complete with document transcriptions and audio recordings.

The big papers had been pushing the same line for years. In 1987, New York Times reporter Keith Schneider had flatly dismissed a lawsuit filed by a liberal group charging that the Contras were funding their operations with drug money. “Other investigators, including reporters from major news organizations, have tried without success to find proof of aspects of the case,” he writes, “particularly the allegations that military supplies for the contras may have been paid for with profits from drug trafficking.”

In These Times later asked Schneider why he’d rejected the Contra–coke connection. He was trying to avoid “shatter[ing] the republic,” he said. “I think it is so damaging, the implications are so extraordinary, that for us to run the story, it had better be based on the most solid evidence we could amass.”

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