Zakia Shiraz – White Out: The CIA and the Drugs Debate

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Event Date: 29 April – 1 May 2011
East Midlands Conference Centre
University of Nottingham  
University Park
Nottingham NG7 2RJ



Landscapes of Secrecy: The CIA in History, Fiction and Memory


Dr Zakia Shiraz (University of Warwick) – White Out: The CIA and the Drugs Debate

In 1996 Gary Webb published his controversial series of “Dark Alliance” articles written for the San Jose Mercury News which later appeared as a book. These sought to probe allegations that the CIA-backed Contras had smuggled cocaine into the U.S. Webb asserted that this had accelerated the widespread crack cocaine epidemic in many American cities during the 1980s. Webb also asserted that this was a source of money for the Contras after Congress passed the Boland Amendment, which ended direct Contra funding. Although he was heavily criticized an internal investigation by CIA Inspector General Frederick Hitz vindicated some of Webb’s reporting.

Zakia Shiraz is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Warwick and is associated with the Landscapes of Secrecy project on the CIA and American Foreign Policy, 1947-2001. She has spend time in Argentina as a researcher with the Asociación Madres de Plaza de Mayo and has recently spent time as a visiting fellow at the Conflict Analysis Resource Centre (CERAC) in Bogota. Her most recent publication is ‘CIA Intervention in Chile and the Fall of the Allende Government in 1973’, forthcoming in Journal of American Studies 2011.

Contact information: Department of Politics and International Studies, Social Science Building, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL.

Email: z.shiraz@warwick.ac.uk

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