This series of zines, irregularly published by Microcosm, focuses each issue on a specific instance where the actions of America’s Central Intelligence Agency have been so insane, negligent or selfish that the resulting effect has been death, whether on a grand scale or of specific individuals. Subjects tackled over the years have been the CIA’s influence in the assassination of Martin Luther King. Jr, the CIA’s creation of the AIDS virus, the killing of Ojeda Rios- a Puerto Rican independence campaigner and the Patriot act and it’s erosion of civil liberties. This issue deals with the US governments illegal selling of arms to Iran and it’s use of the profits to fund the brutal Contra’s in Nicaragua. And a lot more in between.
These zines are very easy to read and yet lose no credibility, they simply lay out the facts in such a way that they are hard to ignore. Sometimes dealing with, on the surface, radical claims (such as #2; ‘Chemical Biological weapons, CIA documents about the AIDS virus, & “cures” killing faster than AIDS’) this never comes across as mere conspiratorial speculation. Issue 5 details a brief history of Iran since the Second World War, and details clearly the long-running collusion between Reagan’s pre-presidency Republicans and later the CIA and the Iranian regime, despite an embargo on arms sales. It details how Reagan, again illegally, funded the anti-Sandinista government militias in Nicaragua, and how his government constantly put their image and personal interest before the lives of thousands, not just Nicaraguan and Iranian nationals, but also American hostages in Iran and Lebanon.
There is too much information contained in the zine to go into too much depth here, and you might have already dismissed this as a simple anti-governmental history zine, but it isn’t just that. It’s not just “the CIA was bad” for it’s own sake. I personally before reading this zine had never even heard of the Iran/Contra affair before, and was not even close to being alive during Reagan’s time in office. But the relevance lies in the current state of affairs. During these years it was the rule that funding Islamic extremism was beneficial as it fought back the spectre of Communism pushing westwards. As we now know, there are repercussions to this being heavily felt around the world today. The events of the zine also help to contextualise and give a history to the current events in Iran, as well as anti-american backlash worldwide. The US involvement in Nicaragua was one of many such moves that pushed much of Latin America into civil war, the marks of which are still being felt, the recent military coup in Honduras being one current example.
This isn’t just a history lesson, these events paved the way for Iraq and Afghanistan, the events of September 11th, 2001 and the 7th of July 2005, and to know the context at least helps somewhat to try and make sense of the insane world we’re living in. I’d recommend this and as many back issues as you can find.