i'm reading the washington post "investigation" that led to the mercury-news's "retraction."
first off, it argues that the cocaine that fueled the crack epidemic had many sources. ok. but it argues that oscar danilo blandon "only" handled about five tons of cocaine in his career, an estimate based on blandon's own accounts. um. and there were of course other contra/cia/drug runners involved, including possibly much higher amounts shipped by norwin meneses.
the post says
Although Nicaraguans took part in the drug trade of that era, most of the cocaine trade then can be attributed to Colombian and Mexican smugglers, and distributors within the United States including Jamaicans, Dominicans, Haitians and Americans of varying backgrounds, according to widely accepted evidence from government reports and academic studies.
but this misses the point: nicaraugua was a safe transhipment point for these very colombians and mexicans, because not only did the contras control the areas of nicaragua they were flying into, but the cia protected the planes that were coming into cali with coke and going back to nic with arms. the situation was a smuggler's dream. nevertheless the main weakness of the webb stories was certainly an oversimplification of the origins of crack.
the claims that blandon worked for the cia and that the cia knew of drug trafficking are refuted by the post on the basis of assertions by blandon himself. the claims that blandon was was ricky ross's main dealer (ross is credited by webb with flooding southern cal with cheap coke in the early 80s) and that blandon was throughout the eighties sending money back to the contras are attacked, again, only on the testimony of blandon himself.
in other words, this is no refutation. and even everything it says is true, it leaves many of the basic assertions of webb undisturbed.
the post by this time had become much more a spokesman for the cia than the paper that prosecuted watergate.