The CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) is a foreign intelligence service of the United States government. It was established in 1947 and is headquartered in Virginia.

It mostly began as the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), a military branch that conducted espionage and undercover operations during World War II and, in 1947, it was reorganised and rebranded as the CIA.

The Cold War

The Cold War began in the aftermath of World War II and was primarily between the United States (US) and its allies (the so-called capitalist Western bloc) and the Soviet Union (USSR) and its allies (the so-called communist Eastern bloc).

The US and its allies (NATO, 1949):

  • Great Britain
  • France
  • Belgium
  • Luxembourg
  • Netherlands
  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • Italy
  • Norway
  • Greece
  • Turkey
  • West Germany

The USSR and its allies (Warsaw Pact, 1955):

  • Poland
  • East Germany
  • Albania
  • Bulgaria
  • Czechoslovakia
  • Hungary
  • Romania

Taking into account the division of Germany and the establishment of the Eastern Bloc, coupled with the ideological differences between ‘communism’ and ‘capitalism’, the Cold War lasted until the dissolution of the USSR in 1991.

Officially, the CIA’s primary mission was to counter Soviet (and post-Soviet) influence.

Covert operations

The CIA has historically engaged in countless covert operations, going all the way back to the 1953 coup in Iran, in which the agency played a big role in removing Iranian Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh from power. The US government didn’t want him to nationalise Iran’s oil.

Another covert operation was the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961, which was a failed attempt, by the US government, to overthrow Fidel Castro in Cuba.

Fidel Castro smiling after outsmarting the CIA


In the early 1970s, American newspapers revealed that the FBI, CIA, US Army, and other agencies were involved in super dodgy intelligence-gathering operations (such as MK-Ultra).

MK-Ultra was a mind-control program (officially) between 1953 to 1967, involving universities, institutes, and research foundations, most of whom had no idea they were being used by the CIA.

Due to public and media pressure, the US Senate formed the Church Committee, led by Frank Church, to investigate everything.

A few covert operations

As a reminder, the following is a short list of confirmed covert operations by the CIA.

  1. Operation Ajax (1953): Overthrow of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh.
  2. Operation PBSUCCESS (1954): Overthrow of Guatemalan President Jacobo Árbenz.
  3. Bay of Pigs Invasion (1961): Failed invasion of Cuba to overthrow Fidel Castro.
  4. Operation CHAOS (1967-1974): Domestic espionage on US citizens during the Vietnam War.
  5. Operation Condor (1970s): Collaboration with South American dictatorships to eliminate political opponents.
  6. Operation Cyclone (1979-1989): Funding of Afghan mujahideen during the Soviet-Afghan War.
  7. Iran-Contra Affair (1985-1987): Secret arms sales to Iran to fund Nicaraguan Contras.
  8. Operation Gladio (Cold War Era): Secret NATO project involving “stay-behind” paramilitary organisations.
  9. Operation Northwoods (1962, not executed): Proposed plan for false flag attacks to justify war with Cuba.
  10. Operation Midnight Climax (1950s-1960s): Part of MK-Ultra; involved administering LSD to unwitting subjects.

There are many more.

Lest we forget the CIA’s history in Ukraine.

Basically, as Jeremy Kuzmarov – editor of Covert Action Magazine points out – the CIA’s history is, pretty much, wholly destructive.

I want to splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds.

John F Kennedy, April 1961

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