24/06/2011 Newsnight


24/06/2011

As European leaders struggle to contain the Greek debt crisis, we ask if this is the moment Britain should redefine its relationship with Brussels.


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Tonight, inside the almost impenetrable world of the hackers

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who claim to have taken down the CIA, Sony and a string of other

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high-profile targets. We engage the self-styled pirate hacker group

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LulzSec in an exclusive online conversation. Is the idea mayhem or

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moral purpose? We discuss with the man who was America's top security

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chief, and a person who calls himself a hacker with ethics.

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Also, George and Michael go mad in Brussels.

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Also tonight, we reveal details of the threats made to Syrian

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activists here in Britain. And is it all over for Habitat, the

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brand that spread its magic in the Swinging Sixties?

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Tom Dixon, who was at the helm for ten years, and the editor of Elle

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:00:58.:01:01.

Decoration are here, sitting Good evening. It's been a long time,

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if ever, since a group of hackers has got up the noses of so many

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people in authority. The CIA, the US Senate, Sony, the Serious

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Organised Crime Agency, and just today the Arizona police joined the

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list. All have enjoyed the unwelcome attentions of LulzSec, a

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hackers' collective who have been breaking into computer systems

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around the world just for the "lulz", internet slang for laughs.

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Across the online world, they are asking, who are they? And what do

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they really want? Susan Watts has managed to track them down online

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Until now, everything about the LulzSec hackers has seemed to be

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about taking the mickey, from their pirate ship the into their slogan.

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Laughing at your security since 2011. But recently, their targets

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have become more high profile, claiming the US Senate, Sony online

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accounts and an American TV station among their victims. Anonymous has

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joined corrective forces with LulzSec in our newest operation.

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first, they said all this was just for laughs, the "lulz" in LulzSec.

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But now they seem to have joined forces with other online groups,

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notably Anonymous, the group that launched revenge attacks in support

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of Wikileaks. There is a definite movement of people working together

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for a common cause. We have yet to see a published manifesto to the

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best of my knowledge, but it seems that their mission is to fight

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against what they perceive to be injustice, censorship and

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unnecessary restrictions on freedom, and using any tools at their

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disposal to do that. A LulzSec are remarkably open. They taunt their

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victims on their Twitter feed, but who are they? Whirlpool, their

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spokesman, describes himself as captain of the boat. We were not

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able to talk in person, but set up a Q&A in cyberspace in a private

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online chat room. It is almost impossible to be certain who we

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were speaking to, but we did verify that he had access to the LulzSec

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Twitter feed. First, we asked about Operation anti-sex, the movement to

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LulzSec has aligned themselves with. But with the FBI and CIA amongst

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their targets, is the outcome for LulzSec inevitable? If you were a

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law enforcement agency, it is inevitable that the law when

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Feldman agency will fight back through due process. Arrests will

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follow. Everyone knows that the police will look after their own.

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So there is no surprise that law- enforcement will keep up a gear the

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moment that law enforcement agencies are under attack,

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irrespective of the quality of information in those websites for

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the harm that might be suffered. LulzSec's targets are wide-ranging,

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Today the group released confidential documents from the

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Arizona police department. It is causing chaos, and it is meeting

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their agenda. When they are releasing the kind of information

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they have, they are putting individuals' safety and privacy at

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risk. So having released user names and passwords, they have moved on

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now to releasing things like names, addresses and family details of

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serving police officers. And people involved in undercover operations.

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That could endanger someone's life. It does not seem to be for laughs

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any more. The in the hacking world, white hats are out to expose

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security weaknesses and get them fixed. Black hats are more

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malicious and out to make money. Where does Whirlpool C LulzSec

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In our online chat, Whirlpool told us the group trades in online

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currency and claims that LulzSec has received over $80,000 worth of

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donations. With 270,000-odd followers on Twitter, someone is

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interested in what they are doing. We have had personal data loss

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events in government. We have had Wikileaks. We have even had the

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phone hacking scandal. This tells us that we have serious issues in

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this country about security and confidentiality of information in

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computer communication systems. If we do not see LulzSec in the proper

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context, we will not develop the right kind of policy framework and

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legal framework to derive the correct behaviours that society

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needs. If he is right and LulzSec seeks to be more than just funny,

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who has to change what as everyone comes to terms with the broader

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challenges of cybersecurity? With us now from Washington is

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Michael Chertoff, the US Homeland Security Secretary and George Bush.

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And in the studio, James Lyne, an ethical hacker and Director of

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Technology Strategy at the computer security firm Sophos. Michael, you

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are involved in cybersecurity. James, you could be called a white

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hat in computer terminology. Michael Chertoff, you heard the

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words spoken online from Whirlpool. "we want to bring in the higher ups

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down, the police, bank and governments." how dangerous is

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LulzSec? First of all, their stated rationale is nonsense, because if

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you are invading databases and publishing private data and

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invading people's privacy, putting out their addresses, in some cases

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taking personal identifiable information and putting innocent

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people's financial reputations at risk, that is not doing a white hat

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or ethical hacking. That is destructive and thuggish hacking

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and can also be a mask for criminal activity. So we have to take this

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seriously. As we heard from the lawyer in the report, is it

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something that agencies like the FBI will try and track these people

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down and they will be subject to criminal prosecution? We have seen

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cases recently where there have been charges brought against people

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around the world. I expect to see more of those. Ironically, the

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people who are pursuing this wave of hacker attacks are likely to

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spur greater cause for control over the internet and security. So they

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may well wind up triggering an increase in security, which is the

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opposite of what they profess to be looking for. But on the other hand,

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they are probably so skilled or they will increase their skills to

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get around that anyway. You might put a block up, but they will get

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around it some way? It is a dynamic process. As one group attacks using

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a particular set of tools, there is a response. When it becomes

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effective, that prompts a different attack. So it is an on going back

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and forth. But I think this will have the consequence of spurring

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more investment into the security dimension. James, is it about

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throwing money at it? I do not think it is all throwing money at

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it. Businesses have spent a lot of money on security. It is about

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building awareness and ownership of the internet. You started when you

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were 13, increasing your computer skills. You know how to hack. You

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are a white hat, so you are encouraging people to be aware of

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hacking. But you will never get one passed them. This will always be a

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battle. There is always a way around a system. I would encourage

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people to get onto the white hats. This is the most critical resource

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we will have in our lives. But how attractive is it to young teenagers,

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men in their early twenties sitting in rooms, getting up their skills

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and making them do something that makes them seem like rebels? This

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is the core of the issue. I was a teenager playing with technology,

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and I was lucky. I ended up being encouraged in a positive direction

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in cybersecurity and had a positive sentiment about wanted to help the

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world be secure. But imagine if someone had come along, a Russian

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criminal gang, and recruited me at that age when I was naive and tried

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to get me to do something bad for money. How many people are there

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being tempted down that path? tell me. I think many. We have seen

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95,000 pieces of malicious code every day. Michael Chertoff, can

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you see a way in which hacking is for the ethical good? If you are

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talking about corporations which are perhaps acting unethically in

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terms of the age of their employees and so forth, it hackers are the

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ones that can get to the heart of the story rather than others,

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shouldn't that be applauded? problem is that everybody is the

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judge of their own cause. What one person may consider unethical,

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another may not. We are getting personal information about people -

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home addresses, financial information. You are trying to

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damage them in their personal and financial lives. You cannot pass

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that off as simply making a political point or transparency.

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That becomes the online equivalent of attacking somebody physically

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and marking them. We have to not glamorise this idea of hacking for

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political ideological motivation as something good. LulzSec said they

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were just doing it for fun in the beginning. And now they have

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adopted a more purpose, as they call it. That is about power, isn't

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it? They feel they are gaining power and can exert it. I cannot

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claim to understand their motivations, because it is so far

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from a world of values. There is never an excuse to put people at

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risk and to compromise websites. We should all be tried to make the

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internet more secure. So I cannot claim to understand their values.

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But it is certainly drawn attention to the issue. We are seeing more

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cases now of these high-profile hackers who are drawing attention

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to this. They say there is more coming out on Monday. It is a daily

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occurrence at the moment. It is, and part of the plan here is to

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keep the story going by adding new dimensions. But this will

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underscore the need to be aware of security. I hope it does not chase

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people of the internet and undermine the trust that many rely

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upon when they go on their computers.

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In a moment, is Habitat on its last chair legs? We will move over to

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our lounge to talk to its former design director and the editor of

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Elle Decoration. David Cameron has been asserting

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himself at the EU summit in Brussels today, emphasising that

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the UK will not pay the bill for a second EU bail-out for Greece.

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European Union leaders have agreed in principle to the bail-out

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package if Greece imposes the necessary austerity measures. With

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Europe at a turning point, is it time for Britain itself to redefine

:13:29.:13:34.

its relationship with the EU? Our political editor has spent the day

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in Brussels. The European Council meeting here

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in Brussels broke up today, with Downing Street claiming victories

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for Britain in two areas, firstly over not having to contribute to

:13:49.:13:55.

the Greek bail-out. The second was over asylum rules. But the quick

:13:55.:14:00.

crisis has dominated this meeting, a crisis which has ramifications

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both political and economic. Indeed, a crisis that could mean that the

:14:07.:14:17.

For David Cameron, keeping Britain out of the Greek bear out was

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something to crow about this morning. I sought assurances that

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Britain would not be pulled into a eurozone package for Greece and I

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have received those assurances. many say the Prime Minister should

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exploit this crisis to be bolder. Aren't you missing a huge

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opportunity here as many in your party are saying, to reshape

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Britain's relationship with Europe and reshape the European Union?

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What about all the Euro-sceptic things he said in opposition?

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said in opposition that we would stay out of the euro, we have. I

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said as soon as I became Prime Minister I would examine the

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situation we had. We had to get out of the European financial stability

:15:02.:15:07.

mechanism for the future. We have achieved that. I think I can point

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to a good list of achievements in Europe. Or so I can point to the

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Budget or think we can make progress in terms of cutting back

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what the Commission and Parliament have been suggesting. Reporters

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heard the Greek Prime Minister saying this crisis is a chance to

:15:24.:15:28.

build a new Europe. But what of a new Greece?

:15:28.:15:33.

Wins it be better for Greece and the European Union if you were to

:15:33.:15:37.

leave the euro or be expelled from the year in an orderly fashion?

:15:37.:15:42.

Isn't it true that your economy was never strong enough to be a member

:15:42.:15:46.

of the euro in the first place? This has been a long-standing

:15:46.:15:50.

debate and their arguments pro and con but if you put down the

:15:50.:15:55.

arguments, there are many more negative than positive. I

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understand, for example, we do not have the tool of devaluation. That

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is something other countries do have when they are not in the

:16:04.:16:09.

common currency. There are so many negative affects also to leaving

:16:09.:16:15.

the euro which would create huge problems. For example, this would

:16:15.:16:19.

mean an immediate default. Are you confident of winning the vote next

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week? I answered that. Do you think what happened here would help you

:16:23.:16:28.

win the vote next week? He told me he had had a vote of

:16:28.:16:31.

confidence here from EU leaders. While the banker England Governor

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in London was saying this morning that the eurozone's debt crisis

:16:36.:16:40.

poses the biggest threat to Britain's financial stability, back

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here in Brussels, the UKIP leader was proclaiming the death of the

:16:45.:16:53.

Europe -- the euro. The euro will not survive in its current

:16:53.:16:55.

Configuration. It may become in a few years' time the greater

:16:56.:17:03.

Deutschmark zone. There is no prospect that Greece will stay part

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of this eurozone. The fault is inevitable. How big a crisis is

:17:06.:17:11.

this? We invited two leading Brussels watchers to a local Greek

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taverna. I have to say objectively, this is one occasion when you might

:17:15.:17:19.

say what the Euro-sceptics have been saying all along is true.

:17:19.:17:23.

Economically, one size fits all does not seem to match Europe. I

:17:24.:17:28.

think Euro-sceptics will make hay, even if the Greeks do not fall out

:17:28.:17:31.

of the euro. There will be a perception of a changing mood in

:17:31.:17:35.

Europe and the fact that these people do not necessarily know what

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they are talking about. They are as baffled as we are. This is the

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point when people say maybe they are not right when they say more

:17:42.:17:49.

and more integration, onwards and onwards. A but they are tied in

:17:49.:17:53.

together and they have discovered if one of them meltdown, they all

:17:53.:17:58.

meltdown. That is certainly the fear. The danger is, as they are

:17:58.:18:05.

compelled to integrate economically, they will disintegrate politically.

:18:05.:18:12.

You have southern Europe and Spain in Greece. You have the indignant

:18:12.:18:16.

in the north who do not want to pay more. Politically, it is getting

:18:16.:18:20.

harder and harder. And that is what makes this so

:18:20.:18:25.

distinctive, compared with previous European crisis. Economic problems

:18:25.:18:30.

and political problems feeding off each other.

:18:30.:18:33.

Activists in Syria set least 15 people were killed when security

:18:33.:18:38.

forces opened fire on demonstrators after Friday prayers. This week,

:18:38.:18:43.

Newsnight has reported a undercover from Syria and also on the

:18:43.:18:46.

allegations of threats being made on opposition supporters here in

:18:46.:18:56.
:18:56.:18:57.

the UK. Tim Whewell has an update on that tonight. We have heard

:18:58.:19:03.

attempts to intimidate them. What we have now has further evidence

:19:03.:19:11.

that behind those intimidation is. There is one official, Mohammed Al-

:19:11.:19:17.

Samouri. We have heard he is the main representative of Syrian

:19:17.:19:20.

intelligence and he has tried to blackmail or threaten people into

:19:20.:19:24.

giving up their support for the opposition and working instead

:19:24.:19:29.

informally for the regime. One activist here, Mahmoud Hamad said

:19:29.:19:34.

he was called in by Mr Al-Samouri when he went to renew his passport

:19:34.:19:38.

at the embassy earlier this year. He was blackmailed on the basis,

:19:39.:19:43.

supposedly, that he had been working with the police here as an

:19:43.:19:48.

expert witness in counter-terrorism cases. I got a phone call asking me

:19:48.:19:56.

to go to the Office of Mr Mohamed Al-Samouri. Knowing what my work

:19:56.:20:02.

was, for the police and the defence on terrorism cases, I was under the

:20:02.:20:06.

impression that Mohammed Al-Samouri was trying to blackmail me. He

:20:06.:20:11.

asked me to write a letter and e- mail it to him saying I was

:20:11.:20:15.

prepared to collaborate with the Syrian intelligence. I think he

:20:15.:20:19.

meant to become an informer on my fellow Syrian residents here in the

:20:19.:20:24.

UK. What is the reaction from the embassy? We have tried repeatedly

:20:24.:20:29.

to talk to Mr Al-Samouri or the ambassador. They have never been

:20:29.:20:32.

available. The embassy denies all allegations and says they all force.

:20:32.:20:37.

They say all diplomats here work in accordance with diplomatic rules.

:20:37.:20:41.

So far, they have not been any formal complaints to the police

:20:41.:20:45.

here about possible intimidation. Nevertheless, what I understand

:20:45.:20:49.

tonight is the Foreign Office is investigating anyway and it may

:20:49.:20:54.

well speak to the embassy about this issue in due course. Thank you.

:20:54.:20:58.

If Mary Quant and Ossie Clark were the epitome of fashion in the

:20:58.:21:03.

Swinging 60s, Terence Conran's Habitat transformed the interiors

:21:03.:21:07.

of thousands of bedsits and flats during those heady days. Paper

:21:07.:21:12.

lanterns, chicken bricks, cork place mats, brightly coloured rugs

:21:12.:21:16.

and Robin Day furniture were the height of cool. But four decades

:21:16.:21:20.

later, the shop that spawned thousands of imitators has almost

:21:20.:21:25.

been engulfed by them. Habitat has been in serious financial trouble

:21:25.:21:30.

fall while and it has been bought. All but three of the country's jobs

:21:30.:21:35.

are set to close with the loss of 700 jobs. Bleak picture is rosier

:21:35.:21:43.

in other European countries. Is it the death of an brand? We look at

:21:44.:21:53.
:21:54.:22:23.

I am joined now by the designer, Tom Dixon, who was creative

:22:23.:22:27.

director of Habitat for many years and by the editor in chief of Elle

:22:27.:22:31.

Decoration, Michelle Ogundehin. First of all, your first memories

:22:31.:22:35.

of Habitat? When I went for my first interview! I did not have any

:22:35.:22:43.

connection with it before. Were you aware that it was ground-breaking?

:22:43.:22:47.

No and I lived down the road from it in the late 60s. I did not know

:22:47.:22:52.

a great deal about it a tall but when I got there, I researched it

:22:52.:22:56.

and found the extraordinary history which you have just seen. Did you

:22:56.:23:00.

find things in the archives which you could pull out and revisit,

:23:00.:23:06.

even in 1998? The problem was, when it started in the 60s, there were

:23:06.:23:10.

so many things that people needed and had never seen before. By the

:23:10.:23:16.

time I arrived, they had seen it all before. It is getting harder to

:23:16.:23:21.

find original things which people do not have already. What are your

:23:21.:23:26.

earliest memories? One of my earliest memories is the store was

:23:26.:23:30.

fun. It was an experimental activity to go shopping there. It

:23:30.:23:35.

is something that Sir Terence was keen on. You were buying into the

:23:35.:23:39.

idea of sexy modern living, it was not just about furniture. A lot of

:23:39.:23:45.

that is around us now From Robin -- Robin Day chairs to velvet chairs.

:23:45.:23:50.

My favourite piece was a sofa divined by Robin Day which Habitat

:23:50.:23:56.

bought into production -- designed by Robin Day. They took a piece of

:23:56.:24:00.

classic design and offered it at an affordable price. This is your

:24:00.:24:06.

favourite piece you brought in with you? It is a quintessential Habitat

:24:06.:24:10.

piece because it is utterly functional. It is a teapot. It

:24:11.:24:15.

works well but it is given a twist by being coloured gold. It makes

:24:15.:24:19.

something every day a bit more luxuries. When you came in and you

:24:19.:24:26.

had a chance, even then you were brought into up the ante, what was

:24:26.:24:29.

the premise that you're going to produce stuff which was different

:24:29.:24:34.

that you could not get in any other store? Not really. I'm not sure why

:24:35.:24:41.

I was Broughton. It was not clear even at that time. I think Habitat

:24:41.:24:47.

wanted to improve its design credentials. I think it struggled a

:24:47.:24:51.

lot to really invest in design in the way that it needed all the way

:24:51.:24:56.

that it did write in the beginning. Terence Conran was a designer.

:24:56.:25:01.

the time Tom Dixon came in, the point was there were a lot of

:25:01.:25:07.

imitators already. Do you think Habitat got left behind or swamped?

:25:07.:25:12.

I think they forgot that creating a good design is more than just the

:25:12.:25:15.

product. Tom brought in a freshness and new vitality but other things

:25:16.:25:20.

got left behind. I would say the quality of service and the

:25:21.:25:24.

knowledge and experience of the staff. It was not driven purely by

:25:25.:25:30.

a passion for great design any more. And arguably, the prices became a

:25:30.:25:34.

little volatile. And were they not producing things which people

:25:34.:25:39.

wanted all things which people could get elsewhere more cheaply?

:25:39.:25:43.

would say they lost their unique standpoint. Other places of the

:25:43.:25:47.

things which seemed similar enough at different prices. There was also

:25:47.:25:52.

the launch of Ikea. At the time, the modern furniture industry was

:25:52.:25:56.

on its knees in gratitude but that was never meant to last. By the

:25:56.:26:00.

late 80s when Ikea came along, there is a more homogenised idea of

:26:00.:26:04.

what is fashionable and what you should be buying? No, there were

:26:04.:26:08.

excellent prices for much better design. I think the middle market

:26:08.:26:13.

became harder and harder to really occupy. Habitat never really

:26:13.:26:18.

decided whether it was going to go up and be innovative in design or

:26:18.:26:22.

go down in price. Without knowing that, it was always going to fail.

:26:22.:26:26.

What did you think it should be? think it should be real design at

:26:26.:26:30.

affordable prices. Is it that the problem that particularly in this

:26:30.:26:34.

time, when people have to think three or four times before they buy,

:26:34.:26:38.

they either want something incredibly cheap or totally

:26:38.:26:43.

fabulous? I think the consumer is much smarter today. They want cheap

:26:43.:26:47.

but they know that will not last. They might buy an heirloom peas.

:26:48.:26:51.

The middle market have got crushed. Now, if you can buy everything

:26:51.:26:58.

online, why would you going to a shop? Ironically what --, what is

:26:58.:27:05.

surviving is the Habitat website. I would like to suggest your pieces

:27:05.:27:10.

are expensive. What is affordable now and who is able to create

:27:10.:27:15.

fabulous design at cheap prices in this country? Very few people in

:27:15.:27:19.

this country because there are not so many manufacturers here. The

:27:19.:27:24.

shame is that Habitat had a fabulous distribution network and

:27:24.:27:29.

what they produced were things like that. Pass the pineapple. This must

:27:29.:27:36.

have been -- this must have been bought in Shepherd's Bush today by

:27:36.:27:39.

the BBC but I think this is a perfect example of where Habitat

:27:39.:27:44.

should not have gone. Because you could get this in any stock as you

:27:44.:27:52.

could get this in a 99 p store down the Uxbridge Road. I think it is

:27:52.:27:55.

possible to do good design at affordable prices. Particularly in

:27:55.:28:00.

a world where there is a global market. You have a folding chair in

:28:00.:28:05.

the Argos catalogue which is less than �15 and a chair that does not

:28:05.:28:14.

look so different in Habitat costs �90, that is the problem, isn't it?

:28:14.:28:17.

No one will make the decision on anything other than price, will

:28:17.:28:24.

they? I think on the consumer level there has been a misunderstanding

:28:24.:28:27.

about what designers. Quite often, good design, you cannot see it

:28:27.:28:32.

because it is the way it works. Maybe they look similar but I

:28:32.:28:34.

guarantee the �90.10 will work better but arguably, the question

:28:34.:28:41.

is, can you make a good looking workable chair for �50. Will we be

:28:41.:28:45.

a poorer place for not having a Habitat on the high street? I think

:28:45.:28:50.

it is a sad loss of a British icon. There are three stores left, how do

:28:50.:28:55.

you think they can get up off their knees again? Personally, I do not

:28:55.:28:59.

think they can. The new owners have not bought a brand, they have

:28:59.:29:04.

bought a logo. Without going back to the original concept that Sir

:29:04.:29:08.

Terence had, I cannot see a future for it. You will not go and have

:29:08.:29:12.

another go at rescuing them? not sure they will have me! Thank

:29:12.:29:16.

you. Just one more thing from Newsnight

:29:16.:29:23.

tonight. Peter Falk, best known for playing the detective Columbo, has

:29:23.:29:28.

died aged 83. He is known for his raincoat and that catchphrase.

:29:28.:29:33.

As European leaders struggle to contain the Greek debt crisis which is threatening the stability of the 17-nation eurozone, we ask if this is the moment Britain should redefine its relationship with Brussels.


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