Robert Parry (journalist)

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Robert Parry
Born (1949-06-24) June 24, 1949 (age 66)
Occupation Investigative journalist
Employer Associated Press, Newsweek
Known for Iran-Contra affair reporting; Consortium News
Television Frontline
Awards George Polk Award

Robert Parry (born June 24, 1949) is an American investigative journalist best known for his role in covering the Iran-Contra affair for the Associated Press (AP) and Newsweek, including breaking the Psychological Operations in Guerrilla Warfare (CIA manual provided to the Nicaraguan contras) and the CIA and Contras cocaine trafficking in the US scandal in 1985. He was awarded the George Polk Award for National Reporting in 1984. He has been the editor of Consortium News since 1995.


Parry joined the AP in 1974, moving to its Washington bureau in 1977. After the 1980 presidential election he was assigned to its Special Assignment (investigative reporting) unit, where he began working on Central America.[1] In 1982 Parry noted the treatment received by The New York Times' Raymond Bonner, who was vilified and pushed out after reporting on the El Mozote massacre, an incident deeply unhelpful to the US government's effort to support the El Salvador government.[1]

Parry was awarded the George Polk Award for National Reporting in 1984 for his work with the Associated Press on Iran-Contra, where he broke the story that the Central Intelligence Agency had provided an assassination manual to the Nicaraguan Contras (Psychological Operations in Guerrilla Warfare).[2][3] In mid-1985 he wrote the first article on Oliver North's involvement in the affair, and, together with Brian Barger, in late 1985 he broke the CIA and Contras cocaine trafficking in the US scandal,[4] helping to spark Senator John Kerry's interest in investigating Iran-Contra.[5] The Associated Press had refused to publish the drug trafficking story, and only relented when its Spanish-language newswire service accidentally published a translation.[3] Barger and Parry continued to press their investigation of North even as most of the media declined to follow it up, eventually publishing a story in mid-1986, based on 24 sources, which led to a Congressional committee asking questions of North. After North denied the allegations, Barger was pushed out of the Associated Press, and Parry was unable to publish any further follow-ups to the story until after Eugene Hasenfus' plane (Corporate Air Services HPF821) was shot down in Nicaragua in October 1986.[1] After finding out that his boss had been "conferring with [Oliver] North on a regular basis", Parry left AP in 1987 to join Newsweek.[3] At Newsweek an early story concerned United States National Security Council staff being ordered by the White House to cover up aspects of the Iran-Contra affair, which Newsweek, under great political and media pressure, asked Parry to retract, despite his source holding firm. Parry refused, and he eventually left Newsweek in 1990.[6]

In August 1990 PBS' Frontline asked Parry to work on the October Surprise conspiracy theory,[1] leading to Parry making several documentaries for the program,[6][7][8] broadcast in 1991 and 1992. He continued to pursue it after a Congressional investigation had concluded the story was untrue, turning his Frontline research into a book published in 1993,[9] and in 1994 he unearthed "a treasure-trove of government documents" supporting the theory,[6] "showing that the [Congressional] task force suppressed incriminating CIA testimony and excluded evidence of big-money links between wealthy Republicans and Carter's Iranian intermediary, Cyrus Hashemi."[3] In 1996 Salon wrote about his work on the theory, saying that "his continuing quest to unearth the facts of the alleged October Surprise has made him persona non grata among those who worship at the altar of conventional wisdom."[6]

When journalist Gary Webb published his newspaper series Dark Alliance in 1996 alleging that the Reagan administration had allowed the Contras to smuggle cocaine into the US to make money for their efforts, Parry supported Webb amidst heavy criticism from the media.[10]

Consortium News[edit]

Consortium for Independent Journalism
Abbreviation CIJ
Formation 1995
Type news service
Headquarters Arlington, Virginia, United States
Robert Parry

Consortium for Independent Journalism Inc. (CIJ) is a non-profit US-based independent news service founded in 1995 by Robert Parry, which publishes the website Consortium News. Besides Parry, who remains its editor, contributors include Norman Solomon,[11] David Swanson[12] and Martin A. Lee.[13]


Parry launched Consortium News in 1995, using funds derived from his retirement from Newsweek. In 1999 the Consortium for Independent Journalism was founded as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization to provide an institutional foundation for the news service. However the organization attracted limited funding, and in 2000 Parry was forced to take the service part-time, taking an editing job at Bloomberg News, before quitting in 2004. After George W. Bush's reelection in 2004, CIJ "began developing what might be regarded as unlikely relationships with former CIA analysts, such as Ray McGovern, Peter Dickson, Melvin Goodman and Elizabeth Murray."[14]


From 2009 through 2013, CIJ's annual revenue was between $115,000 and $188,000.[15] A non-profit 501(c)(3), it takes donations via its website.[11] From 2011 to 2014, CIJ received a total of $40,000 in general operating support from the Park Foundation.[16]


  • Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, The Press & Project Truth (1992)
  • Trick or Treason: The October Surprise Mystery (1993)
  • The October Surprise X-Files: The Hidden Origins of the Reagan-Bush Era (1996)
  • Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq (2004)
  • Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush (2007)
  • America's Stolen Narrative: From Washington and Madison to Nixon, Reagan and the Bushes to Obama (2012)


  1. ^ a b c d Robert Parry,, A talk by Robert Parry given in Santa Monica on March 28, 1993
  2. ^ Long Island University, George Polk Awards: Previous Award Winners. Retrieved on September 23, 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d Cohen, Jeff; Solomon, Norman (January 14, 1996). "Robert Parry still investigating—in cyberspace". Eugene Register-Guard 129 (83) (Eugene, Oregon). p. 4C. Retrieved July 4, 2015. 
  4. ^ Brian Barger and Robert Parry, "Reports Link Nicaraguan Rebels to Cocaine Trafficking", Associated Press (December 20, 1985).
  5. ^ Robert Parry, 25 October 2004,, How John Kerry exposed the Contra-cocaine scandal
  6. ^ a b c d Dan Kennedy, 11 June 1996,, Parry's Thrust (Archived September 3, 1999 at the Wayback Machine)
  7. ^ Frontline, 16 April 1991, The Election Held Hostage
  8. ^ PBS, Frontline, 7 April 1992, Investigating the October Surprise at the Wayback Machine (archived August 25, 2012)
  9. ^ Trick or Treason: The October Surprise Mystery
  10. ^ Webb, Gary (1999). Dark Alliance. Seven Stories Press. p. 480. ISBN 978-1-888363-93-7. 
  11. ^ a b "About - Consortium News". Retrieved July 7, 2015. 
  12. ^ David Swanson, 18 February 2011, Colin Powell's Disgraceful Lies
  13. ^ Lee, Martin A. "On the Trail of Turkey's Terrorist Grey Wolves". 
  14. ^ Robert Parry, 28 December 2011, A Brief Narrative of Consortiumnews
  15. ^ "Consortium for Independent Journalism Inc". National Center for Charitable Statistics. Retrieved July 7, 2015.  2013 tax form is found on tab "Form 990."
  16. ^ "Grants Awarded - Investigative Reporting & Public Interest Media". Retrieved July 7, 2015. 

External links[edit]