Bush’s Iraq invasion caused present bloodshed, Chelsea Manning writes

This music video by David Rovics in the USA is called Song for Chelsea Manning.

By Bill Van Auken in the USA:

The US media and the debacle in Iraq

17 June 2014

A column written by Chelsea (Bradley) Manning from his cell in the military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas has done more to illuminate the real sources of the present debacle for US imperialism in Iraq than all of the lying and self-serving pieces produced by the well-paid pundits of the New York Times, the Washington Post and the other major news outlets combined.

The column by the imprisoned US soldier, published in Sunday’s New York Times, is directed at exposing the role of government secrecy and control of the media in foisting onto the American public a war of aggression launched on the basis of lies.

Manning insists that the sudden collapse of the US-trained and funded Iraqi army and the descent of the country toward a full-blown sectarian civil war only demonstrate that the concerns that motivated him to pass some 700,000 secret documents on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars as well as US foreign policy skullduggery around the globe to WikiLeaks “have not been resolved.”

Breaking the wall of secrecy and misinformation maintained by the government and the media provoked the wrath of the US ruling establishment. The soldier and former intelligence analyst is now serving a 35-year prison term. In April, an army general rejected a motion for clemency.

Manning examines the US reaction to the 2010 election of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who had been installed by the US occupation four years earlier. The American press, the imprisoned soldier recalls, “was flooded with stories declaring the elections a success,” aimed at creating the image of the US war having “succeeded in creating a stable and democratic Iraq.”

During this same period, he writes, he and other military analysts in Baghdad were receiving continuous reports of “a brutal crackdown on political dissidents by Iraq’s Ministry of the Interior and federal police,” acting on behalf of Maliki. Opponents of the US-backed prime minister “were often tortured, or even killed,” he notes.

Manning exposes the direct complicity of the US military in these crimes, reporting that he informed the US officer in command of eastern Baghdad that 15 individuals arrested for publishing a critique of Maliki’s government “had absolutely no ties to terrorism.” The commander responded that “he didn’t need this information; instead, I should assist the federal police in locating more ‘anti-Iraqi’ print shops.”

“I was shocked by our military’s complicity in the corruption of that election. Yet these deeply troubling details flew under the American media’s radar,” he writes.

This account gives the lie to the US media chorus that the present debacle in Iraq is “all Maliki’s fault.”

Manning attributes the sharp divergence between the developments in Iraq and the media’s portrayal of them in part to the Pentagon’s censorship of coverage of the war through the system of “embedded” journalists. Reporters who had good relations with the military and provided favorable coverage got access, while those who exposed scandals, crimes and lies faced blacklisting, he writes.

There is no doubt that this system of military censorship played a major role in concealing from the American people the grisly and criminal character of a war that claimed the lives of upward of a million Iraqis, while killing nearly 4,500 US troops and leaving tens of thousands more wounded.

However, the process of “embedding” began well before Bush ordered “shock and awe” to be unleashed on Baghdad, and included not just war correspondents, but the top columnists, editors and publishers of the major newspapers and other media outlets.

People like Times publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr. and Bill Keller, who in 2003 rose from senior writer and leading war advocate to Times executive editor, lent themselves and their newspapers unreservedly to a massive campaign to pressure the American public to support a war of aggression against Iraq. They decided to parrot the government’s lies about Iraqi “weapons of mass destruction” and ties between Baghdad and Al Qaeda—both non-existent—and to eschew any critical investigation of the Bush administration’s war propaganda. On the contrary, through the sinister efforts of the Times and its correspondent Judith Miller, they embellished upon this propaganda, piling on their own lies.

Now, as the full extent of the debacle created by the wanton destruction of Iraqi society is revealed, those who served as media propagandists for the war are circling the wagons, looking to protect their own backsides. Columnists like the TimesThomas Friedman—who more than a decade ago wrote that he had “no problem with a war for oil”—and Nicholas Kristof have published pieces insisting that Maliki is solely to blame for Iraq’s disintegration, and the US had nothing to do with it.

They were followed Monday by a particularly foul column by Times columnist Roger Cohen entitled “Take Mosul back,” calling for US intervention to “drive back the fanatics of the ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria).”

Cohen uses the column to ridicule those playing “the blame game,” a breathtakingly cynical denunciation of any attempt to assign responsibility for a war that killed over a million people and destroyed an entire society.

“The facts are plain enough,” he writes “The United States invaded Iraq in 2003 because of its weapons of mass destruction. However, Iraq did not have any weapons of mass destruction.” Plain enough indeed—the war was based upon a lie, which Cohen helped disseminate.

He goes on: “There was no Al Qaeda in Saddam’s Iraq. The United States birthed it through the invasion.” Thus, another lie was used to justify the war, whose catastrophic consequences include the strengthening of extreme Islamist and sectarian tendencies in Iraq and throughout the region.

In his piece, Cohen demands that the Obama administration unleash “targeted military force” against the “fanatics” of ISIS. But he enthusiastically supported Washington’s use of these same “fanatics” in wars for regime-change first in Libya and then Syria. He waves aside any questions about the logic of such policies: “A logical approach in the Middle East is seldom a feasible approach.” The only “logic” is the use of whatever instrument is at hand to assert US hegemony and plunder the region’s resources.

“The blame game misses the point,” Cohen repeats. Both Iraq and Syria were “ripe for dismemberment” before “America’s hapless intervention.”

Whom is he kidding? The US intervention was anything but “hapless,” employing all of the firepower at the Pentagon’s command in a campaign that saw some 1,700 bombing sorties—including 504 using cruise missiles—in the space of three days.

One might just as well describe 1939 Europe as “ripe for dismemberment” and Hitler’s blitzkrieg as “hapless,” or dismiss the Nuremberg tribunals as a futile exercise in “the blame game.”

The reality is that real apportioning of blame has yet to take place. That requires that those responsible for planning and executing the war of aggression against Iraq—from Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice and Powell to the top military commanders—be placed on trial as war criminals.

At Nuremberg, it bears recalling, standing in the dock—and ultimately on the gallows—with the surviving leaders of the Third Reich was Julius Streicher, the editor of the vile, anti-Semitic weekly Der Stürmer and later the daily Fränkische Tageszeitung. While the tribunal found that Streicher had no direct part in formulating war policy, he nonetheless played a vital role in poisoning the consciousness of the German people. Without Streicher’s propaganda efforts, the prosecution argued, the German generals “would have had no one to follow orders.”

In any genuine accounting for the crimes of the Iraq war, Cohen, Friedman, Keller and those like them, who enthusiastically served the Pentagon’s propaganda machine, would have to similarly be tried for their criminal promotion of aggressive war.

Under conditions in which US imperialism is planning a new military intervention in Iraq, while preparing far more terrible wars across the planet, the unrelenting struggle against the lies of the media becomes all the more urgent in developing a struggle against militarism and war.

America the Beautiful, by David Rovics

This video from the USA is called Falmouth Historic Society & Katherine Lee Bates.

More than a century after the original poem America the Beautiful, by Katharine Lee Bates, a feminist, a lesbian, a Christian socialist, and an anti-imperialist, now David Rovics‘ take.

From Rovics’ Songwriter’s Notebook:

Monday, February 3, 2014

“America the Beautiful”

Here’s my contribution to the discussion resulting from Coca-Cola‘s multilingual “America the Beautiful” Superbowl commercial. Dedicated to whatever disgusting corporation runs the Live95.5 pop music station that my daughter and her little friends that we drive to school with most days like to listen to.

“America the Beautiful”

America is beautiful but it’s got a lot of ugly people
I heard one of them this morning on the radio
He interrupted the pop music programming
To tell us what he thought we needed to know
He said America is an English-speaking country
And that Coke commercial was just all wrong
You can’t interrupt an all-American football game
To have little brown girls sing an all-American song

He said America is beautiful but it’s only got one language
The one we inherited from the King
Although the king himself spoke German and the French helped us overthrow him
But I still don’t want to hear those girls sing
He said it and I wondered if it reminded him
Of his grandparents who were probably refugees
From Finland or Italy or Lithuania
Or perhaps from Belarus or Germany

Or perhaps they came from Ireland where they fought for generations
To try to speak the language of their birth
And now their red-faced son is shouting English is the language
In this little stolen corner of the Earth
Not Navajo or Lakota, not Tagalog or Spanish
But the language of those who came out on top
Not the language of the conquered or the ones who were here first
But the language of the ones who run the shop

America is beautiful, it would be silly to deny it
If you’ve seen the forests or the mountains capped with snow
But as I left my Japanese wife to drive to the French school
With a carpool full of gorgeous kids in tow
Who all sang along to Katy Perry and then listened to this bigot
Tell us this is an English-speaking nation
I don’t know what the kids thought but I said this guy’s a fascist
And we all agreed to change the station.

See also here.

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United States singer David Rovics

This music video from the USA says about itself:

Why Don’t They Play You On The Radio?

David Rovics

A song for Clear Channel and independent artists around the world, but especially in that most oppressive of media environments, the U$A.


It happened again last night, it happens every time I play
When the gig is over someone has to say
A question that appears to be on everybody’s brains
As they’re driving down the highway in the commuter lanes
It sure is not just me, it’s the 99%
Of artists who are wondering about the thousands they just spent
On a CD that will never make it on the air
Now all of us are grownups here, we know life isn’t fair
But the answer to the question is one I’d also like to know
Why don’t they play you on the radio?

Perhaps my songs are too cerebral, they don’t make you dance
My melodies are boring, there’s no Spandex in my pants
Maybe it’s because I don’t use a drum machine
Maybe I’m too red or maybe I’m too green
Maybe folks just don’t want to hear it, they don’t want to analyze
Anything more complex than the space between your thighs
Maybe I should wear more glitter, go to parties in an egg
Perhaps I need to go electric or show a bit more leg
But it’s something I must wonder at the end of every show
Why don’t they play you on the radio?

I’m sure there’s an exception to each and every rule
But perhaps I’m too political, and not a useful tool
To keep the music in the background and the commercials in the fore
To keep the shoppers shopping, not protesting the war
To keep the lemmings humming the same three hundred songs
The songs they play throughout the year, each night and all day long
Maybe I just don’t make the grade to be one of the chosen few
Perhaps there was a sign somewhere and I just missed the cue
Or I need to change my name to Bruce or Silvio
Why don’t they play you on the radio?

It could be I just don’t have the talent that’s involved
I’m lacking the commitment, I’m insufficiently resolved
Or maybe there just aren’t a million people who might buy
More records made by some whiny leftwing guy
Or maybe they would, but I’m just out of luck
Because I don’t have a label that can spend a million bucks
Because Sony and Clear Channel have taken over every thing
And you’ve got to pay the piper if you want to make the piper sing
And it’s the king who tells the piper where to go
Why don’t they play you on the radio?

By Jillian Littel:

The radical alternative

Tuesday 07 May 2013

A profile of David Rovics, one of the most progressive singer-songwriters in the US, who’ll be touring these islands with songs of ‘rage and love’ in a few weeks’ time

David Rovics, indie musical activist, makes his living writing and performing what he calls “songs of social significance” – a line that’s truthful and alliterative but which in no way encapsulates the insight, rage and occasional whimsy of the artist’s output.

Rovics produces some of the best music available today but as he notes in his song Why Don’t They Play You On the Radio? he’s “too red or maybe I’m too green” to make it onto the mainstream airwaves.

He’s keen that his music reaches as wide an audience as possible and that’s why he supports file sharing of his work.

“Feel free to download these songs,” he says on his website. “Use them for whatever purpose. Send them to friends, burn them, copy them, play them on the radio, on the internet, wherever.

“Music is the Commons. Ignore the corporate music industry shills who tell you otherwise.”

His songs have an honest, folky sound and his lyrics are far from meek.

In some, there’s a contrast between the harsh words and his calm voice which highlights the difference between the world as it is and the world as it should be.

Concern for the welfare of people and anger at their oppressors come through loud and clear in most of his songs.

“I think inevitably this kind of rage is naturally inextricably intertwined with love,” he says.

Rovics comes from a family of classical musicians but was drawn to populist themes early on.

Today his material reflects rampant social and economic injustice and he tours the world to lends his voice to many movements on the left, recently including Occupy and the Greek resistance to austerity policies.

“I would say that the underlying root cause of pretty much most of the things that I write about can be boiled down to in a really broad way to the conflict between the haves and the have-nots,” he explains.

Rovics has an unusually keen sense of history and the struggles of working people in songs like The Last Lincoln Veteran, Sugihara and St Patrick’s Battalion.

In all of them, he tells the stories of heroic people who chose to do the right thing in spite of the demands made by their governments.

Unfortunately, most today are unaware of these histories.

“I think people need to tell about this history and need to be inspired by it. Often the most inspiring stories and episodes in history are the ones that people don’t really know about,” says Rovics.

According to him, that’s not a coincidence. Even if mega media corporations like Clear Channel don’t recognise his genius, some very big names in the music industry do.

Tom Morello, guitarist for Rage Against The Machine and Audioslave, cites one of Rovics’s songs Halliburton Boardroom Massacre as an influence and the two artists recently collaborated on a track London Is Burning about the police violence and systemic racial injustice which sparked the disturbances throughout Britain in 2011.

Rovics expects great things from Morello’s new band Street Sweeper Social Club. He believes their great sound and Tom Morello’s name will give them the rare opportunity to successfully work as leftists in the corporate music environment.

He does a fantastic job of portraying much of what’s wrong with our world. But if injustice is the disease, what’s the remedy?

“What we need is well organised militant mass movements,” Rovics says.

And after the revolution? Apparently he’s planning to learn to play the accordion.

This article first appeared in People’s World. David Rovics is touring England, Ireland and Scotland from May 25-June 21, including a benefit for the Morning Star at the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds on June 9. Details: www.davidrovics.com.

US singer David Rovics concert in England

This music video says about itself:

Song For Hugo Chávez” by David Rovics @ ALBA @ Copenhagen 17.12.2009.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Folk legend Rovics on board for Star fundraiser

Sunday 28 April 2013

Legendary political folk singer-songwriter David Rovics will perform a Morning Star fundraiser gig at Brudenell Social Club in Leeds this summer.

The musician from Portland, Oregan, will headline the event in Queens Road on Sunday June 9, with support from folk-inspired songwriter Duncan Evans and guest speakers Aslef vice-president Tosh McDonald and Morning Star editor Richard Bagley.

Tickets are £7 in advance or £9 on the door. Doors open at 7.30pm. You can buy tickets online now at www.leedsgigtickets.co.uk/tickets/83333.

Song about murderer Breivik, video

This is a music video of the song Breivik, about the Norwegian extreme Right mass murderer, by United States singer David Rovics.

Lyrics are here.

‘Free’ trade with Colombian trade unionist-killing regime

This music video from the USA says about itself:

Drink of the Death SquadsDavid Rovics

True story first told to me by Katie Knight from the Colombia Support Network in Montana. Something like half of the union organizers that are killed in the world each year are Colombian. Colombia is also the biggest recipient of military aid in the hemisphere. This, of course, is a coincidence.


Coca-Cola came to Colombia
Seeking lower wages
They got just what they came for
But as we turn the pages
We find the workers didn’t like the sound
Of their children’s hungry cries
So they said we’ll join the union
And they began to organize

So Coke called up a terrorist group
Called the AUC
They said “we’ve got some problems
At the factory”
So these thugs went to the plant
Killed two union men
Told the rest, “you leave the union
Or we’ll be back again”

Now Coke did not complain
About this dirty deed
Why give workers higher wages
When Coke is all they really need
They phoned the AUC
Said “thanks, without you we’d go broke
And to show our appreciation
Here’s one hundred cases of Coke”

The baby drinks it in his bottle
When the water ain’t no good
The dog drinks it
But he don’t know if he should
Some folks say
It’s the nectar of the Gods
But Coke is the drink of the Death Squads

Well the workers wouldn’t take
This situation lying down
Some went up to Georgia
Said “look what’s happened to our town
You American workers got downsized
And as for us we just get shot
And those of us who survive
Our teeth begin to rot”


Well now that’s the situation
What are you gonna do
‘Cause death squads run Colombia
And they’re paid by me and you
We can let Coke run the world
And see what future that will bring
Or we can drink juice and smash the state
Now that’s the real thing


Created March, 2002
Copyright David Rovics 2002, all rights reserved

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

MEPs fail to stop EU-Colombia deal

Wednesday 12 December 2012

by Our Foreign Desk

British Labour MEPs fought an unsuccessful rearguard action in the European Parliament on Tuesday against a free trade agreement with Colombia because of the threat to trade unionists in the country.

Colombia has been described by Amnesty International as “the most dangerous country in the world for trade unionists.”

Last year alone 35 trade union members were assassinated.

“It’s unacceptable to conclude a trade agreement when the human rights situation remains so dangerous,” said Labour MEP and international trade spokesman David Martin.

This video is called David Martin MEP speaking against an EU-Colombia Free Trade Agreement.

“The Colombian government is desperate to show its commitment to protecting human rights defenders and prosecute perpetrators, but we have yet to see serious changes on the ground,” he said.

But the agreement was ratified by the European Parliament despite their efforts and will come into effect after it has been endorsed by each national government.

“I regret that the Parliament gave its consent to this agreement now,” said Mr Martin.

“Our trade relations should never be at the expense of human rights.”

Richard Howitt MEP, who speaks for Labour MEPs on human rights, said: “It’s with a heavy heart that Labour would ever vote against trade agreements, as they help to create economic growth in developing countries.

“We’re usually able to vote with our Socialist Group colleagues in Strasbourg but on this occasion, as Labour MEPs and trade unionists, we felt that we simply could not support a trade agreement with a country that has such an appalling record on trade union rights.”

Romney, Obama avoid Iraq

This folk music video from the USA says about itself:

David Rovics: Operation Iraqi Liberation (Oil)

David performs one of his songs about the War in Iraq, “Operation Iraqi Liberation (Oil)” in Port Townsend, WA at the Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.

By Dan Froomkin in the USA:

Remember Iraq? Romney, Obama Fail To Make War Major Part Of Campaign

Posted: 10/09/2012 5:56 pm EDT Updated: 10/10/2012 3:12 am EDT

WASHINGTON — In his major foreign policy speech on Monday, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said the “costly gains made by our troops” in Iraq are now eroding due to President Barack Obama’s “abrupt withdrawal.”

That was largely the extent of his comments on a war many historians consider the most disastrous in modern times and the most significant foreign policy legacy of the last Republican president, George W. Bush.

Romney didn’t elaborate on the “gains,” nor did he address whether he thought the cost was appropriate — $3 trillion in borrowed money, nearly 5,000 dead U.S. servicemembers; and as many as half a million wounded or otherwise damaged veterans. Romney also left unclear what he would have done differently if faced with a pro-Iran Iraqi government demanding a U.S. ouster and brandishing an agreement signed by Bush himself. He didn’t indicate whether he intended to send more troops back to Iraq.

And yet it was more than either candidate had said about Iraq in a long time. Less than a year after Obama ordered the last American troops out, Iraq has barely been an issue in the presidential race.

But the U.S still maintains a significant diplomatic presence there, in the form of the largest and most expensive embassy ever built. Iraq is at long last becoming a geopolitical force in the region — but an increasingly authoritarian one, closely allied with Iran.

And perhaps most significantly, Romney’s own foreign policy speech was vetted by a team of foreign policy advisers heavy with the same neoconservative ideologues responsible for the U.S. presence in Iraq in the first place. Those include former U.N. ambassador and famed unilateralist John Bolton; Robert Joseph, a former National Security Council official who included the false claim that Iraq tried to buy uranium from Niger into Bush’s 2003 State of the Union Address; Eric Edelman, who was former Vice President Dick Cheney‘s national security adviser; Dan Senor, head of public relations for the Coalition Provisional Authority [in Iraq]; and many others.

“Iraq is relevant in all sorts of ways,” said Peter Van Buren, a former State Department officer who wrote a satirical book blowing the whistle on Iraqi reconstruction efforts. “The first way of course is that those who don’t follow history are doomed to repeat it.”

Bill Moyers and Michael Winship, Moyers & Company: The 2000th member of the American military recently died in Afghanistan. There are two more presidential debates, and the question that needs to be posed to Romney and Obama is: “Why are we killing the kids that don’t need to die?” See here.

Don’t Ask and Don’t Tell: Six Critical Foreign Policy Questions That Won’t Be Raised in the Presidential Debates: here.

Dina Rasor, Truthout: Mitt Romney hopes to raise the defense budget by $2 trillion in order to purchase more Cold War-style weapons that have no relevance to our modern security threats: here.

Richard D. Wolff, Truthout: Obama and most Democrats are so dependent on contributions and support from business and the rich that they dare not discuss, let alone implement, the kinds of policies Roosevelt employed the last time US capitalism crashed: here.

Occupy Wall Street anniversary, David Rovics song

In the USA: Occupy Wall Street Begins “Year II” With Call to Debt Resistance: here.

This music video by David Rovics in the USA says about itself:

Stay Right Here

by David Rovics – Vocal and Guitar
Drums Jerrod Kaplan
Bass Arcellus Skyes

Recorded at Big Red Studio by Billy Oskay
Video Edited by Chris Chandler and Jen Delyth
Shot by Chris Chandler
with clips by Anonymous, Public Domain, The Bouyaomar and Ericu510

Because this is where they buy the politicians
Because this is where power has its seat
Because ninety-nine percent of us are suffering
At the mercy of the madmen on this street
Because all of us are victims of class warfare
Being waged on us by the one percent
Because these greedy banksters rob the country
Leaving us without the means to pay the rent
Because the last time that we had a decent government
Was about 1932
Because we the people are supposed to run the country
But instead it’s all run by and for the few
Because now we know the rich do not pay taxes
But when they need a hand it’s us who bail them out
Because we suspected we lived in a plutocracy
But suddenly of late there is no doubt

And so we’re gonna stay right here (2x)

Because both my parents lost their savings
Because I have never opened an account
Because the interest on my credit card just doubled
And now I can’t pay the minimum amount
Because these budget cuts are just immoral
With our schools as overcrowded as they are
Because there are no buses where I live
But I can’t afford to drive a car
Because so many of us don’t have health insurance
The rest of us have it but it sucks
Because the rich are riding in their private jets
While the rest of us are slogging through the muck
Because capitalism isn’t working
This system has just failed to produce
Because the one percent is prospering
While the rest of us just suffer their abuse

Because it has been demonstrated amply
That the winners are the ones who stick around
Because this world should belong to everyone
Not just the banksters who would smash it to the ground
Because we’ve noticed voting doesn’t change things
When the politicians are mostly millionaires
Because we’re learning how to stand up like Tunisians
Like they did in Tahrir Square
Where a young man named Mohamed Bouazizi
Struck a match that lit up all the Earth
And all around the world the spell was broken
And a movement for the future was in birth
Because there’s only so much sh** the rich can feed us
Before we figure out which side we’re on
Because we’ve learned if we want our liberation
It will come only if we stay here til the rising of the dawn

Because corporations are not people
And we can’t just let them choose
Because if we leave our fate to them
Then all of us will surely lose
Because the climate clock is ticking
And we can’t just leave our world behind
Because corporate rule isn’t working
And it’s time for humans’ hearts and minds
Because you can’t take it with you
Because the rich just do not care
Because it doesn’t matter how much you make
But how much you can share
Because these moments don’t come often
Because we want truly to be free
Because we know what really matters
Something called society.

A year ago, thousands converged on Wall Street, leading to a wave of global anti-capitalist protests. Laurie Penny visits Zuccotti Park in New York and talks to the remaining ‘Occupiers’ trying to rejuvenate the movement: here.

Occupy‘s protest is not over. It has barely begun: here.

You Can’t Evict An Idea: What Can We Learn From Occupy? Here.

Police block Occupy march on Wall Street one year on: here.

The Government is Finally Arresting Wall Street Bankers…For Losing Wall Street’s Money: here.

Wall Street taught me how to cheat: here.

Bank of England official: Occupy Movement right about global recession. Andrew Haldane said protestors were correct to focus on inequality as the chief reason for 2008 economic crash: here.

Martin Scorsese’s new film, The Wolf of Wall Street, treats the career of convicted stock swindler and con artist Jordan Belfort, who benefited from the rise of the parasitic-criminal finance industry in the US to make a fortune in the late 1980s and 1990s, before eventually going to prison: here.

A group of lawyers recently released over 4,000 pages of government communications obtained through the Freedom of Information Act that reveal the extent to which law enforcement and intelligence officers went to surveil the Occupy Wall Street movement in 2011 and 2012. A network of “fusion centers,” organized by counterterrorism offices, coordinated mass surveillance on Occupy groups all over the United States. These activities illustrated the fear within the ruling establishment that the protest campaign could ignite a social explosion: here.

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US singer David Rovics interviewed

This music video from the USA is called Operation Iraqi Liberation (O.I.L)David Rovics. The lyrics of a song with the same title by Anti-Flag are here.

From Green Left Weekly in Australia:

David Rovics has been described as the musical voice of the progressive movement in the US. In this interview with Green Left Weekly’s Matt Clark, he explains his motivations, his influences and his take on politics today.

Lyrics to I’m A Better Anarchist Than You by David Rovics: here.

Attila the Stockbroker and David Rovics: here.

Tony Benn, Galloway, Zephaniah, Rovics, etc. on their favourite music

This music video is called Benjamin Zephaniah – Responsible.

From British daily The Morning Star:

Red Folk’s favourite lefties chat about their musical and political highlights of 2007 and ponder the prospects for the year to come.

THE new year is upon us, so this month’s column catches up with some top lefties to hear their thoughts on the music and politics of 2007 and their hopes for 2008.

Tony Benn is rightly recognised as one of the foremost politicians of his generation, but also for his performances with folk singer Roy Bailey.

When asked for his 2007 musical highlight, he not unsurprisingly chooses the Not In Our Name CD, which was reviewed recently in the Morning Star. …

Respect MP George Galloway also has a reputation as a lover of good music.

“I’m still getting out my Dylan CDs,” he confides.

“I’ve been particularly taken by the radio shows that he did, DJing for a satellite radio station.

“I don’t know if these are generally available, I know that some at least were broadcast on BBC, but they are magical, funny, insightful and revealing.

“I’m totally hooked on Bruce Springsteen‘s album Magic and I’ve been playing one of the tracks as a kind of signature on my shows on talkSPORT, it’s Radio Nowhere. …

People’s poet, songwriter, author, musician and peace campaigner Benjamin Zephaniah had his usually busy year in 2007 and took a well-earned break in socialist Cuba over the new year.

Zephaniah had his latest book Teachers Dead published in September and has already been approached by the BBC to write a screenplay to be made into a major programme in the future.

Musically, 2007 saw Zephaniah going back to his roots and listening to a lot of early reggae records by Burning Spear, the Mighty Diamonds and the legendary Lee Perry.

Always eclectic in his musical tastes, Council Estate of Mind by British rapper Skinnyman caught his ear, as well as The Dusty Foot on the Road, an album by Somalian-born rapper K’naan, who is now living in Canada.

With a possible new album in the offing, Zephaniah looks set for an equally busy 2008.

Top US political folk singer-songwriter David Rovics, who is often to be found touring Britain, has a new live album called The Commons, which has just had a British release.

Unusually perhaps for such an accomplished musician, Rovics does not listen to much recorded music. Being based more at home of late while he brings up his daughter Leila, his living room is often full up with friends practising Balkan, Irish and old-time music.

Politically, his highlight of 2007 was the G8 protests in Germany.

He says: “The low point was and is the ongoing war crimes and crimes against humanity and the earth being committed daily by the Bush administration and the capitalist world in general.”

His message to Morning Star readers is typically forthright. “Capitalism is omnicidal, socialism is inevitable and failure is unthinkable.”