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Webb of Conspiracy

A memorial service for former San Jose Mercury News reporter Gary Webb was held Saturday, Dec. 18. Webb, 49, was found dead on Dec. 10 at his home in the Sacramento area of gunshot wounds to the head, the victim of an apparent suicide. The prizewinning reporter was most noted for Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras and the Crack Cocaine Explosion, first published by the Mercury News in 1996, and later--after mainstream media sources trashed the series and the Merc disowned both the story and Webb--in book form. Because Webb's work exposed the CIA's willingness to work with Contras who were also known drug lords, his suicide has sent conspiracy theorists of all stripes into overdrive--surely Webb must have been taken out by agency hit-men. But From the Wilderness (FTW) founder Michael Ruppert, a friend of Webb's who attended the memorial services with 300 others, cautions against such speculation. A former LAPD detective before starting the influential FTW website, Ruppert has interviewed Webb's family members, examined the evidence and concluded that Webb's death was indeed a suicide. "These are facts that cannot be faked unless one was to assume that Gary Webb was a willing conspirator in his own murder," Ruppert says. "The fact of Gary Webb's suicide is open and shut."

Sky Writing

Look up in the sky! What's that funny looking cloud? For the past several months, Santa Rosa reader Barry Henshaw has been calling the Bohemian offices and asking just that. At issue are so-called chemtrails, as opposed to the normal-looking contrails formed by jet aircraft exhaust when water vapor condenses at high altitude. According to Henshaw, paranormal radio host Art Bell and a gaggle of websites dedicated to the subject, chemtrails--unusual looking contrails that seem to expand rather than dissipate--may be part of a secret government conspiracy to alter the weather, inoculate the unwitting or even control population growth. "Who knows?" says Henshaw, who reports that there were so many chemtrails in the Sonoma County sky on Thursday, Dec. 16, that callers jammed the switchboards on one local talk-radio program. Is the government secretly spreading chemicals on its constituents? Nonsense, says a 2000 fact sheet on chemtrails issued jointly by the Environmental Protection Agency, NASA, the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. But then again, those guys don't believe in UFOs, either.

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From the December 22-28, 2004 issue of the North Bay Bohemian.

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