Revisiting History: Nicaragua/Contra, Gary Webb, Journalist

by Marilyn J. Muir, LPMAFA

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I love the history lessons I get on Facebook as people post information and articles they find interesting. I was busy with life during the Reagan White House, and knew in a peripheral way the story of Venezuela, Contra and the scandal – I have a vague, uncomfortable memory of it all. A posting by a cousin this last week got my attention, and here I go again revisiting that history.

Gary Webb was a very bright, capable journalist, highly regarded for his quality material. He investigated and became embroiled in ongoing Nicaragua hostilities and drug traffic into the U.S. during President Ronald Reagan’s administration. Charges of U.S. CIA collusion, financing, incentive, aiding and abetting, interference, etc. abounded as Webb dug deeper into the mess. He was both lauded and exploited. Vilified, he came out of it a broken man, unable to get work and his marriage was crumbling. He eventually died – a pretty nasty story. Reporting offered date and place of birth and death. I went to the Rodden database and there he was, and his data was AA. Born August 31, 1955, Corona, CA, 2:57 PM PDT; death December 10, 2004, Carmichael, CA.

Webb’s life and death intrigued me, especially when I read the conclusion by the coroner’s office that it was suicide, and not murder by the drug cartel, political machinations or collusion by government officials. Was this possible? His life was a wreck. The next coroner’s statement stopped me in my tracks, because he said Webb shot himself in the head, twice! What??? Time to get to work, first the natal.

Webb was an investigative journalist, with a Sun/Venus conjunction in the ninth house and Sagittarius rising, with the North Node conjunct Ascendant within a degree. Venus was his Midheaven ruler: law, fairness, and justice were his career, mission and goals for this lifetime. He loved what he did, international in scope, high ideals (investigation into truth), with the communication planet Mercury wide but also in Virgo in the ninth. Rounding that out, he also had Neptune in Libra in the tenth house of career. That could give the inspiration and creativity for his journalism, with perhaps a large dose of unreality, confusion, or delusion in that area of his life, perhaps even seeking that which should remain hidden. He had to search for the truth!

Webb had a very strong eighth house containing chart ruler Jupiter. He had two wide stelliums: Leo (3) and Virgo (4) bridging the eighth and ninth houses. Those stelliums were a 59 degree cluster containing seven of his ten planets. Those in the eighth: destiny, drama, catastrophy, life and death, getting caught in the value systems of others and outright death. When reading natals, I caution the individuals about their eighth house energies, the tendency to get one’s self involved with people or situations where there is no way out. President John F. Kennedy had a strong four-planet eighth and ended up very dead as well, definitely by assassination.

As if that weren’t enough, his Moon opposed two of his eighth house planets and all were in square to his Saturn in the eleventh house of groups and associations such as the news media, cartels, drug gangs, and governmental agencies.

  • His ruler Jupiter residing in his eighth also ruled his twelfth. From my studies Ascendant/ twelfth and eighth combined can be classic suicide IF active at the time of death.
  • His ruler Jupiter was widely conjunct Pluto, also conjunct out of sign Mars, and that Mars was conjunct his Venus/Sun conjunction. Quite a degree spread – but stelliums are considered to all be in aspect if one planet is in aspect and orbs don’t count! One stellium was a Jupiter/Pluto/Mars grouping in the eighth, with chart ruler Jupiter in T-square to the Moon and Saturn. Jupiter/Pluto/Mars conjunct in the eighth indicates violent death is also a possibility. Hmmm.

So does his natal chart indicate murder or suicide? A case can be made for both.

What do the death charts activate in the natal? Progressed (Prg) to date of death, angles first:

  • Prg Ascendant square natal Saturn, 3 minutes of arc: exact, triggering the natal T-square: Moon/Jupiter/Pluto/Saturn.
  • Prg Midheaven square natal Mars 1 degree.
  • Prg Moon conjunct Prg NNode 3 degrees.
  • Prg Saturn square natal Moon, 4 minutes of arc: exact, triggering natal T-square listed.
  • Prg Jupiter/Pluto tightened natal conjunction, moved into seventh house in progressions (angular house, the seventh of open or known enemies).
  • Prg Mercury, now retrograde, within 2 degrees of natal midheaven (separating).
  • Prg Sun conjunct natal Neptune, 14 minutes to exact, within 2 degrees of prg Neptune.
  • Prg Mars in prg eighth, five degrees from eighth cusp.
  • Prg chart has bundled to 143 degrees, with two wide stelliums, one Leo (Uranus/Jupiter/Pluto) and one Libra (Mars/Mercury/Sun/Neptune).
    The cluster had been tighter but the progressing Moon had broken loose from the grouping and was opening up that bundle. Webb had been very focused for several years as the Moon worked its way thru that bundle, breaking loose about two years prior (breakthrough?).
  • Prg eighth house of destiny, disaster, and death contains the prg Libra stellium denoting that once involved, it is difficult to extract one’s self from impending doom.
  • Prg Saturn is on an odd midpoint in the progressed chart. I’ve seen this midpoint concept work previously. The prg seventh cusp is about 10 degrees from the prg Jupiter/Pluto conjunction. Prg Saturn is square the midpoint between the seventh cusp and Jupiter.

What about the date of death itself? I did not locate time of death, only date and location. Best choice is Webb’s personal diurnal (transits). Set natal date, time and place of birth, change only the birth date to date of death, and make no other changes. That chart gives you the accurate personal transits (diu) including Ascendant and Midheaven, and it’s my preferred transit method if a natal birthtime is known.

  • Two more diu stelliums: Scorpio (3) and Sagittarius (3), with Scorpio stellium in seventh house and Sagittarius stellium in eighth, all within 33-degree cluster, focused.
  • Diu Moon/Mars/Venus in Scorpio square diu Neptune triggering the natal fixed T-square.
  • Diu Jupiter 3 degrees past conjunction to natal Midheaven, major breaking news developing for several months prior (separating).
  • Diu Sun/Mercury/Pluto stellium in Sagittarius in eighth is the destiny/death statement but only Pluto is even close to the natal Ascendant/NNode conjunction, about 3 degrees.

What about diu to prg positions?

  • Diu Sun/Mercury conjunct Prg NNode/separating from prg Moon.
  • Diu Jupiter is conjunct Prg Mercury, 1 degree separating.

One last note for the diurnal chart.

  • Diu Ascendant conjunct diu NNode, one final karmic or destiny aspect?

I don’t doubt that Gary Webb was due to die that December day; there are enough activations to see when clearly. But… suicide or murder? Both conditions are triggered. We can speculate, but can we conclude? Webb’s diurnal chart for the day has two squares, four trines and five sextiles. Is it possible that his death was the most positive conclusion that day for him? He had followed his instincts and his skills into a nightmare that had no positive ending, losing job, home, family, reputation… and his life? In those high-stake games, even his family was hostage to that ending. Did he make that choice or was that choice made for him? And they say this stuff doesn’t work! 

Sources (tons) – for an overview start with:

Mr. Webb authored a book and three-part investigative series called Dark Alliance,

Nick Schou wrote the book Kill the Messenger that was made into a movie of that name,

Published in AFA Today’s Astrologer Apr 2019 vol 81 #4, republished with slight editing.

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