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The MintPress podcast, “The Watchdog,” hosted by British-Iraqi hip hop artist Lowkey, closely examines organizations about which it is in the public interest to know – including intelligence, lobby and special interest groups influencing policies that infringe on free speech and target dissent. “The Watchdog” goes against the grain by casting a light on stories largely ignored by the mainstream, corporate media.
Even after more than 100 days of genocidal attacks on Gaza, the Israeli assault continues to rage. The onslaught itself is very well documented by courageous Palestinian journalists who risk their lives daily. However, the role of Western governments in all this is not nearly as widely reported.
One outlet that has tried to buck this trend is Declassified UK, which has constantly shone a light on the activities of Great Britain and the United States in enabling the genocidal attack.
Joining “The Watchdog” today to talk about this issue is returning guest Matt Kennard, a writer and investigative journalist for Declassified UK. Kennard has broken several stories about secret British collaboration and support for Israeli actions, which he will discuss today. Previously, he worked as a reporter for The Financial Times and was a fellow and a director of the Center For Investigative Journalism in London. His latest book is “Silent Coup: How Corporations Overthrew Democracy.”
Even with the war in Iraq, Kennard noted, the Bush and Blair administrations spoke the language of freedom and democracy. But the Israeli government constantly announces its intent in plain language to ethnically cleanse Gaza of more than two million Palestinians. “And yet still, our governments don’t say a word of criticism against it,” he said, adding:
And not only our governments but the oppositions in both the U.S. and the U.K… So there is no mainstream anti-genocide party. And that’s a wake-up call for all of us. We need to change the system from top to bottom. This is a red line. If we don’t make it a red line, we lose our humanity.”
On October 13, the U.K. government announced it was deploying a wide range of military assets to the Eastern Mediterranean area, including spy planes and 1,000 troops. From its military bases in Cyprus, the British military has been flying large numbers of supply flights to Israel, helping sustain the Israeli attack. As Kennard noted, in December 2020, the U.K. government signed a secret military agreement with Israel that likely commits it to “defending” the apartheid state if it comes under attack.
Britain’s military hub in the region is RAF Akrotiri, a vast, sprawling military compound in southern Cyprus. It is not only the center of British imperialism in the Mediterranean but is also home to more than 120 U.S. airmen and hosts of spies from the N.S.A. From there, both countries project their power across the Middle East, Europe, and North Africa.
But even as the British government supports Israel, the Israeli state is attempting to penetrate and interfere in U.K. politics. In 2019, Alan Duncan revealed that he was blocked from becoming Middle East Minister in Theresa May’s cabinet at the behest of the Israelis because of his mildly pro-Palestine positions. The Conservative Friends of Israel – which acts as a front group for the Israeli state – wields enormous power within the party, including the ability to make and break political careers.
The Labour Party is also deeply connected to Israel, to the point where Israeli lobbyists have funded 40% of Keir Starmer’s shadow cabinet. This kind of “entrenched espionage” eats away at and makes a mockery of the idea of British democracy, Kennard told Lowkey today.
Lowkey is a British-Iraqi hip-hop artist, academic and political campaigner. As a musician, he has collaborated with the Arctic Monkeys, Wretch 32, Immortal Technique and Akala. He is a patron of Stop The War Coalition, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the Racial Justice Network and The Peace and Justice Project, founded by Jeremy Corbyn. He has spoken and performed on platforms from the Oxford Union to the Royal Albert Hall and Glastonbury. His latest album, Soundtrack To The Struggle 2, featured Noam Chomsky and Frankie Boyle and has been streamed millions of times.