from consortium news: Since Gary Webb’s suicide four years ago, I have written annual retrospectives about the late journalist’s important contribution to the historical record – he forced devastating admissions from the CIA about drug trafficking by the Nicaraguan contra rebels under the protection of the Reagan administration in the 1980s. And each time I’ve written one of those stories, I have received e-mails attacking my acceptance of the fact that Webb committed suicide on the night of Dec. 9, 2004. Some people want to believe that he was really assassinated by the CIA or some other government agency. But the evidence of his carefully planned suicide – as he suffered deep pain as a pariah in his profession who could no longer earn a living – actually points to something possibly even more tragic: Webb ended his life because people who should have supported his work simply couldn’t be bothered. Though Gary Webb was horribly betrayed by his colleagues in the news business – and especially his editors at the San Jose Mercury News – he also was taken advantage of by people in the progressive movement, who sometimes exploited his celebrity by having him speak at their events for little or no money. There is a deeply troubling attitude within the American progressive movement that it bears next to no responsibility for people who speak truth to power and suffer horrible consequences, as Webb did. While sometimes progressives cheer the heroism, they rarely back it up with anything sustainable.