Britain’s secret role in the brutal US war in Vietnam

There is a myth the UK did not support Washington’s war against Vietnam in the 1960s and 1970s. In fact, Labour and Conservative governments backed every phase of US military escalation and played secret roles in the conflict, declassified files show.

  • UK sent SAS team to Vietnam in 1962, flew secret RAF missions to deliver arms, and provided intelligence to US 
  • UK governments lied to parliament they were not providing military advice to South Vietnam’s brutal regime
  • Labour government secretly gave arms to US for use in Vietnam, stressing need for “no publicity”
  • It also connived with Washington to deceive UK public over its support for US
  • UK governments knew of atrocities against civilians but backed US war aims
  • Whitehall only started to advocate a peaceful solution, on US terms, once the war became unwinnable

During its war in Vietnam in the 1960s and 1970s the US dropped more bombs than in the whole of World War Two, in a conflict that killed over two million people. The wholesale destruction of villages and killing of innocent people was a permanent feature of the US war from the beginning, along with widespread indiscriminate bombing.

Britain’s role in the war has been largely buried and must be almost completely unknown to the public. When the UK media mentions the war now, reports often simply reference the refusal by Harold Wilson’s government to agree to US requests to openly deploy British troops.

— source | Mark Curtis | 16 Nov 2022

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Britain’s proxy war on Russia

UK participation in the Ukraine conflict is far-reaching, involving military and intelligence support, arms supplies and information warfare. But as Ukraine makes gains on the battlefield, Whitehall sees the war not only as a way to defend Kyiv but to ensure the strategic defeat of its rival, Russia – a dangerous strategy.

The Ukraine conflict is also a British one, given the extensive UK role in the war, with Whitehall supporting Kyiv to repel Russia’s brutal invasion in numerous ways outlined in this Explainer.

However, UK governments do not go to war for moral or humanitarian purposes; only for strategic gain. In Ukraine, Whitehall’s main goal is to counter Russia, a power UK governments have long wanted to put back in its box and end Moscow’s independent foreign policy, which challenges NATO’s supremacy in the whole of Europe and, to an extent, the Middle East.

— source | Mark Curtis | 27 Sep 2022

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Azerbaijani Laundromat

What is the Azerbaijani Laundromat?

A scheme to curry influence, pay lobbyists, apologists and European politicians and to launder cash. The $2.9bn (£2.2bn) operation ran between 2012 and 2014 – meaning that on average $3m was channelled out of Azerbaijan every day. The source of money isn’t always clear, but it comes from companies linked to Azerbaijan’s president, Ilham Aliyev, state ministries and the International Bank of Azerbaijan, the country’s largest bank, which recently filed for bankruptcy protection. The cash was transferred into four offshore-managed UK companies. From there, it was spent in various countries, including Germany, the UK, France, Turkey, Iran and Kazakhstan.

How was it done?

By clever use of the west’s financial system. Danske, Denmark’s largest bank, handled the payments via a small branch office in Estonia. It noticed nothing amiss. The organisers of the scheme exploited Britain’s weakly regulated company system. They registered four firms at Companies House in London. These were Hilux Services, Polux Management, Metastar Invest and LCM Alliance. The first two were incorporated in Glasgow, the third in Birmingham and the fourth in Hertfordshire. The beneficial owner of the firms is a secret.

— source | Luke Harding, Caelainn Barr and Dina Nagapetyants | 17 Aug 2022

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Cut the ties to planet-wrecking companies

Dozens of protesters on Tuesday gathered at Eversheds Sutherland offices in four U.K. cities—Birmingham, Cardiff, London, and Nottingham—to call out the corporate law firm’s work for major polluters fueling the climate emergency. The activists “are protesting against the law firm’s complicity in the destruction of the planet by facilitating injunctions for companies like Esso (ExxonMobil) and High Speed 2 (HS2),” Extinction Rebellion (XR) and HS2 Rebellion explained in a statement.

— source | Feb 28, 2023

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A Mother collapses from hunger at South Tyneside Food Bank

A mother collapsed from hunger and exhaustion after walking two miles with her two young children to a food bank in South Shields, in the north east of England. On January 13, staff at the Hospitality and Hope centre in South Tyneside had to arrange for the family to be taken home and for emergency food support to be provided. The mother and partner are both working but had been going hungry so their children could eat.

Rising living costs—caused by corporate price gouging—meant their wages no longer covered their needs. Hospitality and Hope chief executive Brian Thomas said, “this is not an isolated case… Working people are entering deprivation at a scale previously unseen.” Food bank usage has increased exponentially. The Trussell Trust charity says it supplied 1.3 million emergency food parcels to people in need, half a million of whom were children, between April and September 2022.

— source | 23 Jan 2023

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Corbyn Expected to Run as Independent

Former U.K. Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn is expected to seek reelection as an independent next year after current Leader Keir Starmer and his establishment allies on Tuesday made good on their pledge to formally block the leftist member of Parliament from running under the party’s banner. After Starmer publicly declared last month that “Jeremy Corbyn will not stand as a Labour candidate at the next general election,” the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) voted 22-12 on Starmer’s motion to not endorse Corbyn’s candidacy.

— source | Mar 28, 2023

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Divide and Conquer

Talbot blames his mother’s death on NHS cuts. The album is dedicated to her and she appears on the cover.

A loved one perished at the hand of the baron-hearted right

Between 2010 and the release of Brutalism, the Conservative-led governments consistently increased the NHS budget by less than was needed — effectively reducing the amount of treatment available.

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