The Forgotten Politics Behind Contra's Name by Matt Morey [Kill Screen]
Do a quick Google search of “contra.” Browsing the first few pages, you should see a saturation of links about the videogame—the now-primary version of the word—sprinkled with other definitions. Next in the deck is contra as preposition: “against, contrary, or opposed to,” suitingly enough. Then, a “contemporary New York cuisine” restaurant; contra-dancing, a folksy flirty form adaptable to many musical styles; the second album by Vampire Weekend; and eventually, peeking through before being closed out again, you’ll stumble upon the elephant in the room.
The state of Ohio mourns the loss of one of their greatest citizens. Congressman Louis Stokes died this morning at the age of 90. [more inside]
In 1996, Gary Webb of the San Jose Mercury News exposed a shocking series of facts: that the CIA and the Reagan administration were covertly funding the Contras in Nicaragua by aiding and abetting the flow of crack cocaine to America, particularly inflicting terrible damage on inner-city black communities. In response, the Washington Post, New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times all began vicious campaigns to attack and discredit Webb. Although Webb was later vindicated by a CIA Inspector General report among other things, the damage was done, and the story still has an air of obfuscation and confusion around it. Along with the release of a new documentary, Freeway: Crack in the System, as well as a feature film starring Jeremy Renner as Gary Webb, Kill the Messenger, key figures in the CIA-crack cocaine scandal are beginning to come forward. Could this be the start of a renewed exploration of the government's complicity in the rise of crack in America?
Skeptics Gone Wild: Navigating America’s Conspiracy Theory Culture
But trying to explain away anyone’s specific conspiracy belief, or conspiratorial thinking in general, misses the point—the point being that there’s no longer anything especially irrational about believing that shadowy actors are subverting American democracy. Think of that CIA dispatch, advocating a propaganda campaign against the suspicious. Picture the president, slumped forward in the back seat of his limousine, a bullet through his neck. As he lays dying something new is being born, a creeping miasma of suspicion that will spread across Dallas, across Texas, across America.[more inside]
Peter Kornbluh, of the National Security Archive, has written an article about Iran-Contra coinciding with the release of the Reagan/Bush 'criminal liability' evaluations(contains video of Reagan's testimony). Confused about what exactly the Iran-Contra affair was? Here you go. [more inside]
Come for the Homicide, Stay for the Top Secret Beam-Weaponry Research: The daughter of a man killed along with two others in a slaying some link to the murder of Octopus researcher Danny Casolaro digs into the Web's conspiracy subculture; creates an elaborate online persona; succeeds, nearly thirty years after the murder, in tracking down a suspect via the Web; and then gets him arrested, put in orange jumpers, and hauled into court. Then, on the day of the hearing, Something Happens...
Introducing The Real Reagan. "There is much to appreciate and even like about America's 40th president, and his two terms in office were not without significant achievements. But Ronald Reagan and his presidency are also badly misunderstood. To mark the 100th anniversary of his birth, we are offering what we hope will be a respite from the hagiography that has taken hold elsewhere -- a critical, but fair and respectful, exploration of the real Ronald Reagan." [Via]
John McCain served on the advisory board to the U.S. chapter of an international group linked to ultra-right-wing death squads in Central America in the 1980s. As the head of the IRI, he helped finance coups against democratic governments in Haiti and Venezuela. Were those governments fairly elected? The 1984 elections were perhaps the freest and fairest in Nicaraguan history. Aristide...won the first free and fair election in the country’s history with 67 percent of the vote. In Venezuela, all of Chavez's victories in elections were monitored and certified by a variety of observers including the Organization of American States, the European Union and the Carter Center.