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.
On today’s very special episode, Lowkey discusses and later analyzes the role played by external actors in dictating the domestic political environment in the United Kingdom. Through initiatives like the British American Project, these external actors have played an influential role in shaping the conversation on nuclear disarmament, the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn and Palestine.
Joining us today is Huda Amori, the co-founder of Palestine Action, an activist group that has been an integral force of the insurgency against Israel’s military interests within the U.K. Amori has led an unprecedented successful campaign in shutting down weapons manufacturer Elbit Systems’ projects across the country. Alongside her is Asa Winstanley, an authoritative journalist who has been writing about Palestine and the Israel lobby since 2005. Rounding off the panel is Matt Kennard, a former Financial Times journalist who now heads the investigation unit for Declassified U.K.
Kickstarting the podcast, Kennard discusses the role played by the British American Project, a secretive U.S. Embassy-backed group which began in the 1980s. The organization has recruited far and wide with the goal of furthering U.S. interests within British politics. Once Jeremy Corbyn became leader of the Labour Party, their knives came out. “[L]oads of characters that popped up during the Corbyn years to basically bring him down have been affiliated with in some way to the British American project,” Kennard told Lowkey.
Corbyn was replaced by Sir Keir Starmer, who, Winstanley explains, quickly went about neutralizing any threat the Labour Party posed to the establishment. As such, he said, the Labour Party effectively serves as a “control measure.” “It recruits people in from movements and neutralizes them more often than not,” he said.
Winstanley is the author of the new book “Weaponising Anti-Semitism: How the Israel Lobby Took Down Jeremy Corbyn.” It focuses on the Corbyn era, and how an effective smear campaign against him, destroying the movement that brought him to power.
“Israel lobby groups in this country were instrumental in bringing him down, in taking him down… Israelis were really the spear tip of this, they were kind of the reactionary vanguard,” he told the panel today.
Yet there is some good news. Sick of meaningless political tactics that do nothing to fight injustice, Palestine Action took matters into their own hands and directly occupied a number of arms manufacturing sites across Great Britain. Their successes only spurred more people to get involved. As Palestine Action co-founder Huda Amori said,
It [Palestine Action] had to start, had to happen, couldn’t sit by and know that this factory was operating in the same country… when you’re doing the kind of grassroots activism. It’s very easy to have hope when you see people rising up.”
Watch the whole interview here, exclusively at MintPress News.
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, 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.