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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.
The British state – and quite possibly its Israeli counterpart – are attempting to shut down Palestine Action. Since its founding in 2020, the activist group has launched hundreds of operations against arms factories across the United Kingdom, especially Israeli ones. Its goal is to break British complicity in the Israeli military-industrial complex. Palestine Action has already caused serious economic damage to companies like Elbit Systems.
Joining Lowkey on this edition of “The Watchdog” is returning guest Huda Amori. Born in the U.K., Amori is a Palestinian-Iraqi whose father was chased out of his home by Israeli soldiers in 1967 and forced to flee without even a pair of shoes.
Decades later, Amori has found a way to fight back, using direct action to occupy and shut down Elbit Systems, Israel’s largest arms firm. With the help of the community in her native Oldham, Amori and Palestine Action’s occupation has forced Elbit Systems to leave the town and sell their factory at a substantial loss. Last summer, they abandoned their London headquarters. And last winter, the British Ministry of Defence canceled around £280 million (around U.S.$340 million) of contracts with the company.
Amori is about to go to court and stand trial for her actions. She is looking at the possibility of receiving considerable jail time. Apart from the usual offenses, she and others have been charged with blackmail – a charge with serious consequences, as she explained to Lowkey today:
One of the most concerning things about the blackmail charge is that it allows [the authorities] to put on orders. If you are convicted and imprisoned, even after your release from prison, you can be banned for life from campaigning, from signing a petition, from doing anything towards campaigning for the freedom of the Palestinian people. So it is clearly extremely politically motivated.”
Amori and the other members of Palestine Action maintain they are not criminals and are, in fact, attempting to disrupt a criminal enterprise whereby Britain aids an illegitimate occupation by an apartheid regime by supplying it with weaponry crucial in harassing, surveilling and killing Palestinians.
Despite the smears and condemnation from mainstream politicians, and despite the serious consequences they are facing (nine group members have been sent to jail), Palestine Action remains resolute in its determination to shut down the illegal occupation. As Amori said today:
Our actions against the Israeli war machine are continuous, and as the state ramps up some of its methods to intimidate us, we are also ramping up our campaign to shut down this company. When we started Palestine Action, we were not under any illusion that we were going to get an easy ride – that we were going to be able to stop the Israeli weapons trade in this country without any obstacles. But every obstacle they throw at us, every time they try to deter our movement, we just get stronger and more resilient.”
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.