The chances of Fidel Castro living to the ripe old age of 90 seemed rather slim given that the most powerful nation on earth has devoted considerable energy, resources and the best part of 60 years attempting to secure his removal and death.
However, the wily old dictator and tyrant managed to avoid the exploding cigars and the foot powder intended to make his beard fall out and escaped the best efforts of the CIA unlike Salvador Allende, Ernesto “Che” Guevara and possibly John F Kennedy. The botched Bay of Pigs invasion was batted away and the Cuban missile crisis saw the Soviet nukes publicly removed from Cuba and the American nukes secretly removed from Turkey. Castro outlived a long line of American presidents, a shorter line of Soviet and Russian leaders and an entire cast of South American pantomime villains from Pinochet to Chavez.
His detractors quite rightly talk of the disappeared, firing squads, a complete absence of democratic accountability and nostalgically yearn for the days when the Cuban people were basically serfs to a family of gangsters. His admirers point to full employment rights and fair pay, quality universal health care and free and comprehensive education. It might be best to ask the serfs which family of gangsters they prefer but do not mention the disappeared in Guantanamo Bay. (more…)
Alice and the Dodo by John Tenniel
November 2017 – in a surprise move announced by the Foreign Office, former leader of UKIP and renown international diplomat Sir Nigel Farage, PhD, OBE, VC and bar, has been appointed as the next Commissioner of the British Indian Ocean Territory of the Chagos Archipelago. His previous position as Governor General of the Falkland Islands came to an end after 100 per cent of Falkland islanders voted to make Spanish the official language, rename the islands Las Malvinas, accept Argentine citizenship and pledge alliance to whatever government happens to be meeting in Buenos Aries. Sir Nigel achieved this remarkable feat just six months after arriving in Port Stanley.
Prior to successfully strutting around in a big hat covered in feathers, Lord Farage of Brussels was appointed as UK ambassador to the Cayman Islands by former President Donald Trump but when ex-President Trump was impeached on charges of tax evasion even before his inauguration and his replacement ex-President Pence was declared clinically insane after accusing his pet lizard of being bisexual, the current President Michelle Obama removed man of the people Farage from the tax haven and Brussels and removed his fingers from the till.
Sources close to the new Foreign Secretary, Gina Miller, have denied that pressure from the BBC, ITN and Channel 4 to move Farage as far away from their news studios as possible influenced the decision to post him to the Indian Ocean and it is thought that other shortlisted locations including St Helena and the Moon would not necessarily deter the failed people`s champion from shameless attention seeking and a desperate need for lots of money for doing absolutely nothing (more…)
The voting places are beginning to close and in the next few hours the 45th President of the United States will be democratically elected. Unless, of course, one or other of the candidates refuses to accept the will of the American people and challenge the outcome in the courts or there is a repeat of the “hanging chads” fiasco in Florida.
Whatever the result, the divisive toxicity of such a long and unpleasant campaign has weakened America and shaken a once unshakable confidence. That one of the candidates has managed to come this close to White House is deeply worrying and the fact that there are many Americans happy to vote for blinkered bigotry and crass ignorance as the doctrine of the planet`s most powerful nation is a nightmare for us all. Astonishingly, even up to the last day before the poll, some voters were still undecided. (more…)
Image via Press Association
Some rather momentous things went on in 1984 and, unless he was exerting influence from beyond the grave, none of the drama had anything to do with George Orwell or his vision of a dystopian future.
In 1984, Apple launched the Mackintosh personal computer and researchers in the United States announced the discovery of the AIDS virus. The Soviet Union boycotted the Los Angeles Summer Olympic Games, Bruce Springsteen released Born in the USA and Ronald Reagan was re-elected as President of the United States. Liechtenstein granted women the right to vote and the Provisional IRA attempted to murder Prime Minister Thatcher and the rest of the cabinet in the Brighton bombing. Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her own bodyguards and a month later, an explosion at a Union Carbide plant in Bhopal initially killed more than 8,000 with the death toll reaching 23,000 and still rising. British Telecom was privatised and crack cocaine first appeared on the streets of Los Angeles. (more…)
We all love a good conspiracy theory no matter how far-fetched or unlikely the juicy confection might be; so when the reputation and character of the Democrat US presidential candidate offers a buy one get one free deal on the legality of Hillary Clinton`s emails, we should form an orderly queue at the checkout. According to her rival, Hillary Clinton is the “biggest liar who ever lived” and the latest announcement from the Federal Bureau of Investigation that it has unearthed further emails not sent by or received by the former US Secretary of State, is “bigger than Watergate”. With less than two weeks to go before America elects a new President, a new Congress and a new House of Representatives, the timing and tenor of the FBI announcement is, to say the very least, interesting.
The Feds are above petty politics and like MI5 in the United Kingdom, would never engage in practices intended to influence of undermine the democratic process. Founded in 1896 as the National Bureau of Criminal Identification, the assassination of President William McKinley five years later by an anarchist led to the policy of identifying political extremists. In 1924, J. Edgar Hoover became director and in 1935 the agency changed its name to the FBI. Wire tapping, covert surveillance and extra-judicial execution halted many a gangster, bootlegger and drug dealer. In later years, the FBI was integral to the McCarthy witch-hunts and the targeting of civil rights campaigners. Hoover, in a statement strangely reminiscent of Donald Trump`s description of Hillary Clinton, described Dr Martin Luther King Junior as a “notorious liar”. Conspiracy theorists love to talk about the political assassinations that took place during the 1960s and Donald Trump loves to talk about what the National Rifle Association might like to do to Hillary Clinton. (more…)