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Thursday, Feb 24, 2005, 6:44 am

Paranoia will destroy ya

By Brian Cook

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What's worse? The paranoid idea that the CIA targets reporters or the sober thought that our best journalists may be killing themselves from despair?

Gary Webb, the investigative reporter whose 1996 Dark Alliance articles detailed the CIA-Contra cocaine connection, took his own life on December 10, 2004. His last story, "The Killing Game," described the US Army's use of online video games as training and recruitment tools. As reported in the article, when Miami attorney Jack Thompson spoke out against the games on ABC News, he "was deluged with angry e-mail and allegedly received death threats." Webb, who had been struggling with professional and financial troubles, was found with two shots in his head.

Legendary journalist Hunter S. Thompson killed himself last Sunday night after weeks of suffering from pain associated with various physical ailments. Long an outspoken critic of the Bush doctrine, Thompson declared in his most recent book that "the only true Blood Sport in this country is high-end Politics." On Wednesday, Democracy Now! played this little omen from a 2003 pre-war interview on KDNK community radio in Colorado:

HUNTER S. THOMPSON: ...We bombed their children. We killed their husbands and wives and we bombed them, and we're going to do it again. Just random killing like that, mass killing to force a population to get rid of Saddam so we can move in and take over and control the oil, God damn it, if that's not evil, I don't know what would be. You know, Bush, he's really the evil one in here. And it wasn't just him. We're the Nazis in this game, and I don't like it. I'm embarrassed and I'm pissed off. Yeah. I mean to say something and I think a lot of people in this country agree with me. A lot more never say anything. We'll see what happens to me if I get my head cut off in the next week by -- it's always unknown bushy-haired strangers who commit suicide right afterward. No witnesses. They have a new kind of crime.
MARY SUMA: Is that the CIA kind of crime?
HUNTER S. THOMPSON: Oh, absolutely. Anyone who's a successful criminal has got a crime. Absolutely no witnesses, no records. We can go on and on. I have to be restrained on the subject.

"I think maybe he wanted to go out before it stopped being fun," Thompson's son Juan is quoted as saying in an AP report.

**This was actually posted by ITT intern extraordinaire, Scott Witmer

Brian Cook was an editor at In These Times from 2003 to 2009. He now works on the editorial staff of Playboy magazine.

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