Information Landmine

"The Americans keep telling us how successful their system is. Then they remind us not to stray too far from our hotel at night." - An un-named EU trade representative quoted during international trade talks in Denver, Colorado, 1997.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Gift to the Right from a Weak-Willed Left?

Paul Krugman of the New York Times definitely gets it, but will the Democratic "leadership"? The time for constructive left and centre-left partisanship, as opposed to the continued appeasement of GOP-style rabid conservatism, is now. Time will tell whether 2008 will be a turning point or just another failed opportunity to stop the United States' descent into full-on fascism in the 21st century.

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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

An Emerging Democratic Majority, But Will It Matter?

The Washington Post features an op-ed piece on an emerging Democratic majority throughout US politics. While this kind of thing gives hope that the great national nightmare brought on by the era of Republican fascism may be coming to a close, renewal will only be possible if the Democrats finally, and improbably, grow a collective spine and reverse the policy of appeasement that has been so shamefully apparent under the "leadership" of Harry Reid in the Senate and Nancy Pelosi in the House of Representatives.

Here's to a thorough national political fumigation in 2008 and beyond!

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Monday, December 24, 2007

Bush War Crimes Latest

The Sunday Times had an interesting article on both the US government's illegal use of torture on the authorization of the Bush Administration and the subsequent attempt to cover up such internationally-recognized war crimes. It remains extremely doubtful, however, as to whether the cowards and appeasers in Congress will actually do anything to bring America's fascist leadership to account and thus help to redress the country's greatest shame since the Native American genocide of the 19th century.

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Saturday, December 15, 2007

The confetti business...

Via way of Boing-Boing, here's a genuinely great chart about the Bush administration's skyrocketing shredding bill:

Federal Shredding Budget

Each rung of the chart is half a million dollars, and 2007's only measured to halfway through the year, meaning we can expect the incriminating-evidence-destruction budget to break that tricky $3 million barrier for the first time this year.

A Case for Hearings

Just as the Soviet news agency TASS was once slavishly complicit to the official line put out by the totalitarian communists of the USSR, so the US mainstream media is now with the line put out by the totalitarian capitalists of the US government and society and, especially, those of the Republican Party. As no mainstream media outlet would publish the following op-ed piece by three Democratic Members of Congress, it therefore leaves it to the bloggers like those of us here at Information Landmine to get the word out.

By Representatives and Members of the Judiciary Committee: Robert Wexler (D-FL), Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)

On November 7, the House of Representatives voted to send a resolution of impeachment of Vice President Cheney to the Judiciary Committee. As Members of the House Judiciary Committee, we strongly believe these important hearings should begin.

The issues at hand are too serious to ignore, including credible allegations of abuse of power that if proven may well constitute high crimes and misdemeanors under our constitution. The charges against Vice President Cheney relate to his deceptive actions leading up to the Iraq war, the revelation of the identity of a covert agent for political retaliation, and the illegal wiretapping of American citizens.

Now that former White House press secretary Scott McClellan has indicated that the Vice President and his staff purposefully gave him false information about the outing of Valerie Plame Wilson as a covert agent to report to the American people, it is even more important for Congress to investigate what may have been an intentional obstruction of justice. Congress should call Mr. McClellan to testify about what he described as being asked to “unknowingly [pass] along false information.” In addition, recent revelations have shown that the Administration including Vice President Cheney may have again manipulated and exaggerated evidence about weapons of mass destruction -- this time about Iran’s nuclear capabilities.

Some of us were in Congress during the impeachment hearings of President Clinton. We spent a year and a half listening to testimony about President Clinton’s personal relations. This must not be the model for impeachment inquires. A Democratic Congress can show that it takes its constitutional authority seriously and hold a sober investigation, which will stand in stark contrast to the kangaroo court convened by Republicans for President Clinton. In fact, the worst legacy of the Clinton impeachment – where the GOP pursued trumped up and insignificant allegations - would be that it discourages future Congresses from examining credible and significant allegations of a constitutional nature when they arise.

The charges against Vice President Cheney are not personal. They go to the core of the actions of this Administration, and deserve consideration in a way the Clinton scandal never did. The American people understand this, and a majority support hearings according to a November 13 poll by the American Research Group. In fact, 70% of voters say that Vice President Cheney has abused his powers and 43% say that he should be removed from office right now. The American people understand the magnitude of what has been done and what is at stake if we fail to act. It is time for Congress to catch up.

Some people argue that the Judiciary Committee can not proceed with impeachment hearings because it would distract Congress from passing important legislative initiatives. We disagree. First, hearings need not tie up Congress for a year and shut down the nation. Second, hearings will not prevent Congress from completing its other business. These hearings involve the possible impeachment of the Vice President – not our commander in chief – and the resulting impact on the nation’s business and attention would be significantly less than the Clinton Presidential impeachment hearings. Also, despite the fact that President Bush has thwarted moderate Democratic policies that are supported by a vast majority of Americans -- including children’s health care, stem cell research, and bringing our troops home from Iraq -- the Democratic Congress has already managed to deliver a minimum wage hike, an energy bill to address the climate crisis and bring us closer to energy independence, assistance for college tuition, and other legislative successes. We can continue to deliver on more of our agenda in the coming year while simultaneously fulfilling our constitutional duty by investigating and publicly revealing whether or not Vice President Cheney has committed high crimes and misdemeanors.

Holding hearings would put the evidence on the table, and the evidence – not politics – should determine the outcome. Even if the hearings do not lead to removal from office, putting these grievous abuses on the record is important for the sake of history. For an Administration that has consistently skirted the constitution and asserted that it is above the law, it is imperative for Congress to make clear that we do not accept this dangerous precedent. Our Founding Fathers provided Congress the power of impeachment for just this reason, and we must now at least consider using it.

For more info on this campaign go to

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

House of Cards?

Buzzflash are certainly on a roll these days in terms of quality interviews. One of the best can be found here, an interview with investigative author Craig Unger on his latest book, The Fall of the House of Bush: The Untold Story of How a Band of True Believers Seized the Executive Branch, Started the Iraq War, and Still Imperils America's Future. Check it out!

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Monday, December 10, 2007

Fascism American-style and the Death of US Constitutional Democracy

Naomi Wolf's disturbing-yet-excellent The End Of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot will be discussed in more detail in future posts. In the meantime, here is an excellent-yet-disturbing (spot the trend?) interview with Ms. Wolf that really lays out just how serious and imminent the threat of real - not rhetorical, but genuine - fascism is to US Constitutional democracy.

The hour is late: stand up against Bush, Cheney, the Republican Party, Rush Limbaugh, Pat Robertson, Fox News and the Democratic appeasers in Congress before the flame of liberty is extinguished forever.

Or, as an increasingly-obscure early-to-mid-'80s Californian right-wing (oh, the irony!) New Wave band once said: "WAKE UP! IT'S NINETEEN-EIGHTY-FOUR!"

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Saturday, December 08, 2007

R Kelly must die

Prospective visitors to Nuns Moor road will be pleased to hear that we have re-instated the death list. For those unfamiliar with this fine institution, the idea is simply to compile a list of all those people who the household feels are doing humanity a grave disservice by continuing to draw breath. R Kelly is traditionally top of the list, for obvious reasons. After that, you can add anyone you (don't) like: ours is so far a pretty standard selection of Project for the New American Century "visionaries", global media tyrants, and celebrities with their own brands of perfume - although the list gets longer every time we watch the news. Anyway, apart from constituting a binding agreement amongst house-mates to stab Tony Blair in the face if he ever walks through the front door, the main point of us doing the thing is to amuse ourselves. It might be in bad taste, but it's fun, and you shouldn't condemn something out of hand if it can relieve even a little bit of the near-terminal depression I get when I turn on the telly of a Saturday evening, only to find it was left on BBC1 and I've unwittingly exposed myself to Strictly Come Dancing. Really. Next time some particular bit of politics or culture has you so annoyed you want to punch yourself in the face, try sitting down and writing a list of the specific motherfuckers who need to be put up against a wall in order for things to be set right. You'll feel better.

Therapeutic value aside, the reason I'm going on about this little bit of apparent irrelevance is that every so often we wonder about the legality of it all - how easy would it be for us to fall foul of the Terrorism Act? Obviously, for practical purposes, it's pretty unlikely - any idiot should be able to tell that these are basically the angry rantings of a bunch of perpetual children who pose about absolutely no threat to the security of Great Britain. I very much doubt the Crown Prosecution Service would want to bet otherwise.

So what the fuck is going on with Samina Malik, who as far as I can tell, has been convicted for doing pretty much exactly the same thing? This is the girl who wrote all the (bad) poems about beheading and downloaded a couple of Anarchist's Cookbook style pdf.s. The only difference between her case and ours is that we're old and supposedly educated enough to know better. Oh, and she's a bit Islamic.

So it's a pretty vicious incursion on freedom of expression, and a racist one at that. Even if there was any plausible reason for the prosecution, this would be worrying. But the really scary thing is what it shows us about how the Terrorism Act is being used. Her supposed offence is "collecting information, without reasonable excuse, of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism" (not the poems). Now I've always thought that this was a pretty stupid law, but I do seem to remember that the justification for it when it was passed was that it was a good way to nip a potential atrocity in the bud - if you found people who were actually making serious plans to blow shit up (or whatever), then you could prosecute on the basis of that evidence far more easily. Put another way, it was billed as a way of lowering the bar for convictions of those conspiring to commit or to assist in acts of mass murder.

This whole Malik case seems to me to show that we're some way beyond that now: I'm pretty sure I'm not the only person who finds all the supposedly shocking details of her dalliance with terrorist chic to be striking evidence that the only person she could possibly have posed a threat to was herself: anyone who announces their passion for watching beheading videos on a social networking site is not a criminal mastermind, folks.

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Local Republican Backlash Against Ron Paul

Just as Ron Paul gathers momentum nationally among grassroots Republicans, at local level in his own home district the populist Texan presidential and Congressional candidate is beginning to suffer a backlash from the usual cast of unrepentant warmongers and religious fanatics who make up the GOP core in the nation's Bible Belt. The reason? His criticism of the conduct of the Iraq War, which apparently "undermines the troops", of course.

Information Landmine's favourite part of the article illuminates GOP extremism quite succinctly:

"[One of Paul's local opponents] is gathering endorsements of local officials, embarking on a fundraising effort and hoping his record on the Friendswood council makes an impression with GOP primary voters. At the city level, he pressed for property tax refunds and advocated stopping the funding of water conservation education kits for fourth-graders so the money could instead go to a Pearland pastor for sexual abstinence education for junior high school students."

We do indeed live, as per the traditional Chinese curse, "in interesting times".

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Saturday, December 01, 2007

Afghanistan, Iraq...

... many would expect Iran to follow, but is Pakistan actually the next country on the insane Neocon hit list?

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Ron Paul Gathering "The Big 'M'"

As in "Momentum", judging by his unexpected ability to fundraise. This deluge of funds is, it's claimed, largely coming from the growing base of grass-roots Republicans and other conservatives who, having got the US into the political, economic and military tar pit that is Iraq, now want to get out.

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