toppling castro

In Cuba, Washington’s terror operations were launched in full fury by President Kennedy to punish Cubans for defeating the US-run Bay of Pigs invasion. As described by historian Piero Gleijeses, JFK “asked his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, to lead the top-level interagency group that oversaw Operation Mongoose, a program of paramilitary operations, economic warfare, and sabotage he launched in late 1961 to visit the 'terrors of the earth' on Fidel Castro and, more prosaically, to topple him.”

tory myths: jobs for all

The current unemployment rate of 6% is nothing to be proud of [and] many of the newly created jobs are of very poor quality.

The ranks of workers in “time-related underemployment”, doing fewer hours than they wish due to a lack of availability of work – have swollen dramatically. Between 1999 and 2006, only about 1.9% of workers were in such a position; by 2012-13 the figure was 8%.

tory myths: the great recovery

We keep hearing that national income is higher than at the pre-crisis peak of the first quarter of 2008. However, in the meantime the population has grown by 3.5 million (from 60.5 million to 64 million), and in per capita terms UK income is still 3.4% less than it was six years ago. And this is even before we talk about the highly uneven nature of the recovery, in which real wages have fallen by 10% while people at the top have increased their shares of wealth.

tory myths: deficit caused by profligate spending

The dramatic climb in budget deficit to the average of 10.7% in 2009-2010 was mostly a consequence of the recession caused by the financial crisis.

When you add together the recession-triggered fall in tax revenue and rise in social spending, they amount to 5.6% of GDP – almost the same as the rise in the deficit between 2008 and 2009-10 (5.7% of GDP).

not challenging the status quo

Schools prepare students for the labor force not just by teaching them arithmetic, English, history and so on, but also by teaching them to follow instructions, adhere to a rigid time schedule, respect authority and tolerate boredom. Lessons in this 'hidden curriculum' are taught as much in the numerous school-student interactions not involving the official curriculum as in those interactions that do. The employer trusts the teaching professional to manage these interactions in such a way as to advance the proper values.

handing over human rights

Official thinking and action on human rights has been entrusted in the hands of triumphalist column writers, bored diplomats and rich international lawyers in New York and Geneva, people whose experience of human rights violations is confined to being served a bad bottle of wine. In the process, human rights have been turned from a discourse of rebellion and dissent into that of state legitimacy

colonial india: services to britain

India was an increasingly vital market for [Britain's] staple export, cotton goods; and it became so because in the first quarter of the nineteenth century British policy destroyed the local textile industry as a competitor with Lancashire. In the second place, India controlled the trade of the Far East through its export surplus with that area; the exports consisting largely of opium, a state monopoly which the British fostered systematically ... almost from the start.

Industry and Empire

the benefits of ttip

- The Swedish energy company Vattenfall is suing the German government for €3.7 billion over the country’s decision to phase out nuclear power in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

- Canada was forced to revoke its ban on the fuel additive MMT under a challenge from US company Ethyl.

- Canada had to pay out $122 million to the Canadian paper company AbitibiBowater, which was using NAFTA rules to sue its own government from out of its office in the USA.

frackers at the heart of government

Lord Browne: former BP boss, chairman of Cuadrilla and lead "non-executive" across Government, meaning that he helps recruit other non-executives to Whitehall.

Baroness Hogg: non-executive for the Treasury, on the board of BG Group, which has significant shale gas assets in the United States.

Sam Laidlaw: non-executive to the Transport Department, chief executive of British Gas owner Centrica, which recently bought a 25 per cent stake in Cuadrilla's most promising shale gas prospect.


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