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Gary Webb's Death Confirmed as Suicide

NEW YORK - The death of investigative reporter Gary Webb has been confirmed as a suicide, according to a coroner's statement. There has been speculation that he may have met with foul play because he had received two gunshot wounds to the head, The Sacramento Bee reported Wednesday.
"The cause of death was determined to be self-inflicted gunshot wounds to the head," said a statement issued by the Sacramento County Coroner's Office. "Information and evidence gathered at the scene of death, including a handwritten note indicating an intention on the part of the decedent to take his own life, resulted in 'suicide' as the determined manner of death."

The statement was issued because of numerous calls to the Coroner's Office following a Bee report Sunday that Webb's death was caused by more than one wound. A former San Jose Mercury News reporter, Webb was found dead in his Carmichael, Calif., home Friday morning.

Webb gained national attention in the 1990s after writing a series of stories for the Mercury News linking the CIA to Nicaraguan Contras trying to overthrow the Sandinista government and to drug sales of crack cocaine flooding South Central Los Angeles in the 1980s.

The Mercury News and others later questioned the conclusions in Webb's reporting, and he left the San Jose newspaper in 1997 after being moved to a suburban bureau. The paper later published an apology.

Webb's ex-wife, Sue Bell, told the Bee Tuesday that Webb, 49, had been distraught for some time over his inability to get a job at another major newspaper. "The way he was acting it would be hard for me to believe it was anything but suicide," Bell said.

The Bee also reported that Webb had paid for his own cremation earlier in the year and had named Bell months ago as the beneficiary of his bank account. He had sold his house last week, because he could no longer afford the mortgage, and was upset that his motorcycle had been stolen last week.

He had apparently laid out his driver's license before taking his father's .38-caliber pistol, which he kept in his nightstand, to shoot himself.

Coroner Robert Lyons said his office had been swamped with calls. "It's unusual in a suicide case to have two shots," he said, "but it has been done in the past, and it is in fact a distinct possibility."
E&P Staff

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Hehehe... 15.Dec.2004 19:10

Tony Blair's dog

"The Bee also reported that Webb had paid for his own cremation earlier in the year and had named Bell months ago as the beneficiary of his bank account."

Yeah, if you are short of money your top priority is very likely
to make sure you will be cremated when you die ;-)

Especially when you are 49.

Two gunshot wounds 15.Dec.2004 20:09


A very contraversial person is found dead, the coroner confirms that the victim received TWO gunshot wounds and calls it a suicide. So that's that supposed to tell us? -- Shut up and don't ask questions

The message 15.Dec.2004 20:42


Whether it was suicide or foul play, I lean more towards foul play myself; it sends a strong message to other main stream journalists who might be questioning the system.

Webb's Death Threats & 'Govt People' Around Home, pre-WOUNDS 15.Dec.2004 22:06


Gary Webb: Death Threats, 'Govt People' Around Home, pre-WOUNDS; & VIDEO vindicates Webb

Gary Webb: Death Threats, 'Govt People' Around Home, beforeWOUNDS; & VIDEO vindicates Webb
author: repost

VIDEO is worth it to see Senator Kerry pop up suddenly on the screen and say something like "definitely the CIA is running drugs. Definitely." VIDEO is additionally worth it to see Michael Ruppert stating confirmations of Webb's claims, as he directly challenges potential CIA director Deutch in public based on Ruppert's backup-knowledge as an ex-LAPD narcotics detective that the CIA was running drugs. RUPPERT IS IMMEDIATELY DROWNED OUT AS THE WHOLE AUDIENCE STARTS CHEERING AND APPLAUDING RUPPERT. DEUTCH LOOKS TERRIFIED, AS HIS FAKE P.R. "L.A. TOWN MEETING WITH THE CIA" BECOMES AN ACTUAL UNSCRIPTED TOWN MEETING AS THE UGLY TRUTHS ABOUT THE CIA ARE REVEALED.

Video is a nice little overview of the whole CIA drug running operation into the United States--talking about Webb's articles, CIA statements, spin attempts, the Contras, the crack cocaine epidemic in Los Angeles (which led to Ruppert being pushed out because he had pinned it on the CIA as well). And surreality abounds: this was done by corporate TV, reposted by the people's archivist Alex Jones.

PLUS, Webb was reporting death threats immediately before being "suicided". Gary described the men around his home as 'professionals' who jumped from his balcony and ran away when Gary confronted them.


Corporate Media "confirmed" as empty liars, IMC network states

You need 16.Dec.2004 01:52

Red neck

A little more respect. Gary Webb was a real hero. A man of courage and integrity.
This isn't a who-done-it, we know who done it. This man was a dissident. He was blackballed for telling the truth.
I'm greatly angered that this could have happened to one of the finest.

do what he did 16.Dec.2004 09:53


The article below has some background info regarding the situation

Do What He Did
"... The compaņeros gave me the answer to my question. What to do about the early death of Gary Webb? Their answer was so simple, so clear, that I kick myself for not having realized it immediately. The answer: "Do what he did. Do what Gary would have done today if he were still alive." In other words, Gary's final words to the J-School also bring the answer: "A journalist is, by definition, a revolutionary." Do what Gary did: Authentic Journalism."

Gary... 16.Dec.2004 11:28

Tony Blair's dog

didn't shoot himself.

Why now? 16.Dec.2004 13:17


Any clues on Porter Goss The Bush cover-up man and the South American drug trade? Perhaps this was the connection that Gary was about to clarify.

Suicide Is A Real Possibility 16.Dec.2004 14:43

Gustav Prowler

Obviously it makes sense to wonder aloud about assasination when a figure like Gary Webb falls. Two gunshots is a difficulty suicide to pull off. But it is possible. Pick up any textbook on forensics. While you're at it, please remember that Gary Webb wasn't just a figure. He was a person. He was a warm, caring, loving, daring person who I had the pleasure to meet once. It is entirely possible that he took his own life. For more, and better thoughts along these lines, please check out the link below to an essay written yesterday by a close personal friend of Gary's.

Keep up the critical perspective, but pause to remember that dissidents often kill themselves because life becomes too painful.


the 'duh' factor is striking to witness, even here 16.Dec.2004 15:57


"Keep up the critical perspective, but pause to remember that dissidents often kill themselves because life becomes too painful."

Keep up the critical perspective? From you?



The danger comes less from a lack of critical perspectives, than emotional and intellectual cowardice to face up to the truth of all the evidence points that Webb was murdered by the US goverment cronies.

Parry, 16.Dec.2004 18:17



The reporter who did much of the original 1980s reporting on the clandestine wars in Central America, Iran-Contra and October Surprise has two stories up on his page since Gary Webb's death which are very good summaries of the evidence and investigations into the Contra cocaine network.He doesn't go in for explanations other than suicide, but his own career in journalism was totally derailed as well, and he is probably very reluctant to open himself up to criticisms which would further marginalise him by jumping to a conclusion. In this case credibility may be worth more than than the life of any one person because the villains are still at large, and they are more firmly entrenched in power than ever.

Two bullet suicide? Proof of depression? 16.Dec.2004 20:40

luna moth

The coroner noted two bullets had entered his brain, something rare (though not impossible) in a suicide..

To prevent accusations of "lunatic conspiracy theorist", this fact needs to be addressed in a logical way. How can a person shoot themselves in the head twice? What is the probability of this happening? Equally compare this to the probability of a homicide..

The depression theory also has some holes, he just recently had a front page article in the Sacramento News and Review about the military monitoring top scores on a army type video game and keeping files on the top scoring accurate sharpshooters, mostly teenagers and/or adolescents. The recent death threats (last few weeks) could be a result of this article that indicated the military is interested in long term occupation of Iraq based on their interest in young teenagers computerized target practice accuracy..

The media and Gary's ex-wife state that Gary was depressed because he couldn't get a job for a major corporate newspaper. Sure, after having gotten fired from the San-Jose Mercury News for exposing the CIA-Contra crack cocaine import to South Central LA i'm sure he was just groveling to get his old job back in corporate media..

His ex-wife seems all too willing to agree with the coroner's cause of death as suicide, that his breakup with her was enough to push him to take his own life, even after he just recently had the article published about the military war games?

So forget helping people through investigative journalism that exposes corporate government corruption/deceit, now that he can't continue with his significant other and get a corporate media job, the only other option is suicide?

Or did Gary uncover something new that the right-wingers just couldn't handle?

Notes on activism and depression;

Ever heard the saying "Action is the antidote to despair?"

Gary's recent publishing of articles that helped people see through the military/corporate government web of lies constitutes action. It would be more likely that him being inactive would result in severe depression, however, this is not the case. The fact is he was able to write and publish the recent SN&R article, this is proof of action and mental wellness (severe suicidal depression usually results in disturbed sleep, diet, thinking, etc, not in someone who can put together an article), the only proof of depression is the statements coming from his ex-wife..

Many activists do experience depression from time to time as a result of the large volumes of negative, sad, frightening information we read and convey to others. Some activists see professional therapists to help deal with the emotional overload. We all cope in different ways, as a veteran activist Gary already had developed coping mechanisms for some time or he wouldn't have been able to continue. Coping mechanisms aside, activists know the saying "If not me, who" and continue plodding on with our work, regardless of how we feel. People like Gary don't give up so easily..

4 more info on Gary Webb and the upcoming Memorial Service this Saturday in Sacramento, visit;




Webb was a hero 16.Dec.2004 22:24


If Webb was wrong about his findings that the CIA was involved in drug smuggling, then why did Iran-Contra Commission come to the same conclusion?

Much like the guy who wrote Fortunate Son, the message here is very clear... We may not kill you when it's too hot to do so, but you're life will be cut short substantially if you report what you're not supposed to.

How long do you think it will be before Greg Palast dies in a plane crash or kills himself?

Gary Webb's death 24.Dec.2004 08:36


Gary Webb was mainstream, had credentials (Pullitzer Prize), yet was crucified by the big 3(NYT,WP,LAT)for reporting what is easy for alternative, fringe, conspiracy theorists types of people to think is almost self evident. It was great that in 1996, when push came to shove, he stood firm by what he percieved as the truth. He paid a price. He could no longer be a mainstream upper middle class reporter. It is distressing to think that he committed suicide because he couldn't be financially comfortable which is what his wife was saying - couldn't find joy in the day to day without the stroking of mainstream society. I mean ex- wife. If you don't want to believe this , there are the 2, yes 2, gunshot wounds to the head. I would much rather believe he was offed by the parallel government about which he had begun talking about. Michael Ruppert talked to the ex-wife and brother and said they viewed the body. They told him the wounds were consistent if he fucked up the first shot and then got the 2nd one right. Is it ghoulish to wonder how closely they looked or were they only repeating what they had been told? His ex-wife also said that she was not surprised about Gary committing suicide. I don't know these people, I only know what I have read that Gary wrote or said. In his writings and talks he doesn't sound like someone who would commit suicide. In seventeen years of doing this, nothing bad had happened to me. I was never fired or threatened with dismissal if I kept looking under rocks. I didn't get any death threats that worried me. I was winning awards, getting raises, lecturing college classes, appearing on TV shows, and judging journalism contests. So how could I possibly agree with people like Noam Chomsky and Ben Bagdikian, who were claiming the system didn't work, that it was steered by powerful special interests and corporations, and existed to protect the power elite? Hell, the system worked just fine, as I could tell. It encouraged enterprise. It rewarded muckracking.

And then I wrote some stories that made me realise how sadly misplaced my bliss had been. The reason I'd enjoyed such smooth sailing for so long hadn't been, as I'd assumed, because I was careful and diligent and good at my job. It turned out to have nothing to do with it. The truth was that, in all those years, I hadn't written anything important enough to suppress.

Webb: I think we're talking about the parallel government. There's the government that we see and read about in the newspapers, which is essentially made up of transients. People come and go out of the White House every four to eight years.
It's the ones that stay behind; those are the people that do these types of things. Sometimes they do them with the encouragement of the current administration, but this isn't something that changes from administration to administration. I think what you see is just there.

Or: "Even if you go to the left press, there's a lot of uneasiness about these
stories," Parry continued. "Editors are afraid of being called conspiracy
theorists. People say it's old. It's a hard sell. I got tired of making it
Given his experience the last two years, Webb is a convert to Parry's way of
thinking, "The only way you're going to do effective journalism is to be truly
independent," he said. "It's a difficult thing to do, but George Seldes and
I.E. Stone did it. There's no reason modern-day journalists can't do it too.
You don't get 401-ks and health benefits, but at least you get to tell the
Barbara Bliss Osborn who wrote this is a professor of journalism at Cal State Northridge.
One's public persona is often different than the inside of one's emotional life. On the other hand, if there is a reporter the parallel government would like to have commit suicide, Gary would be on the short list. A suicide is not a life affirming proposition. It does discredit whistleblowers and send a powerful message to other reporters. We all believe what we want to believe anyway. Gepay