The first casualty of war is truth, and some American peace groups are a party to the deception. British record producer ‘Mudge’ has accused American peace groups of censoring a British compilation of anti-war songs being distributed in the US.
In Britain, the ‘Peace Not War’ CD includes Massive Attack, Public Enemy, Ani Difranco, Gurlfiend, Billy Bragg, Ginger Tom, and some particularly gruesome artwork. But the CD has been censored in the land of the free...
To clarify the matter, Mudge, one of the producers of the British ‘Peace Not War’ CD, claimed from London that US peace groups wanted the US version of the compilation to be less “in your face”. Mudge claimed that he “thought this was a little pathetic, but decided to defer to the local experts”.
A number of American peace groups were consulted by the British producer, including United for Peace and ANSWER. As a result, the original European version was “reworked” for the US release. Among these changes, Mudge has admitted controversial British bands Ginger Tom and Gurlfiend were removed, and that the CD booklet “lost three explicitly gory images”.
Mr Kelly said “the explicit images and the song ‘Hey Hey USA - How Many Children Did You Kill Today?’ by Brit punks Ginger Tom were considered problematic by the US peace groups and some other Americans we talked to”. As a result, Sleater-Kinney replaced Ginger Tom on the CD and the gruesome images were expunged.
“While the sentiment of the Ginger Tom song was fine, it was considered too ‘in your face’”, Mudge explained. One pacifist group in particular, United for Peace, had to “deal with regular slanderous accusations of being "anti-American", and thought the CD could bring “unnecessary hassle”.
While Ginger Tom singer Matt Ericson agreed with the decision, Mr Kelly and the other producers disagreed. “We thought the decision was “a little pathetic”, he said, “but we decided to defer to the local experts”. Mr Kelly said “I think it's interesting that average Americans might be so nationalistic that they would take such a statement personally. I would argue that Americans need a bit of a reality-check.”
Mr Kelly was also critical of the British Broadcasting Corporation, and alleged that “BBC television and radio stations censored the ‘Peace Not War’ CD, and DJs have told us they were coerced by their bosses into not playing anti-war music”.