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 this week’s episode of “The Watchdog,” Lowkey joins veteran journalist John Pilger, as he shares his opinion on political figures from U.K. Labour Party leader Keir Starmer, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and Venezuelan revolutionary Hugo Chavez and reveals the truth about our political system and its addiction to war.
Pilger begins discussing the case of Julian Assange, discrediting not only the legitimacy of the Espionage Act (1917) but also the charges themselves, which Pilger described as “bogus”. In doing so, both commentators highlighted the striking similarities between this case and that of Gary Webb. Webb was a California journalist who uncovered the CIA’s role in flooding black communities across America with crack cocaine. He faced immense pushback and was later found dead in his apartment.
The conversation later drifted into a discussion, assessing the relationship between the intelligence service and the state media.
Drawing examples from his personal experience in Cambodia and Vietnam, Pilger highlighted how he had been subjected to a surveillance operation during the 1980s, by the intelligence services which branded the veteran journalist as “pro-Kremlin.”
“The real threat to the establishment is not China or Russia, or all the other objects of paranoia. It’s you. It is people,” he concluded.
Is there a revolving door between mainstream media outlets and the British state? Throughout the podcast, Pilger reaffirms the notion that “the free press has gone, it’s an ironic term, just as the mainstream media.”
Lowkey then speaks of Lorna Ward, former foreign news editor of Sky News, who was also an adviser to the deputy commander of NATO. In response to this example, Pilger reminds Lowkey how this practice “wasn’t uncommon” during this period.
”The British military had people all over the BBC and always have had…there’s always been that association,” he said, adding, “We’ve had Kissinger bombing the life, literally, out of countries, when he is our source, we should despair.
Ultimately, the ability for the public to access large swaths of sensitive secret information via the internet has accelerated in the last 20 years. Nevertheless, as we approach the end of 2022, independent journalists that work towards exposing the state are becoming increasingly under threat.
As the podcast draws to a close, John Pilger speaks on his personal relationship with the late Hugo Chavez, described as a “populist” who was dearly loved throughout his country.
John Pilger is an award-winning journalist. His articles appear worldwide in newspapers such as the Guardian, the Independent, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Mail & Guardian (South Africa), Aftonbladet (Sweden) and Il Manifesto (Italy).
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.